A Bystander


Alasdair MacIntyre, a philosopher,  in his book ‘After Virtue’ offers the following thought:

I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’

Religion as a moral measuring stick has been replaced with an age, strangely with a huge evidence of moral pressure, but an age that doesn’t offer a way through – a clear path. Instead we are immersed in a quagmire of politicization, scapegoating, shaming, blaming -  depending on where you fit in the story. The only way to absolve ourselves from being right in the guilt or accountability chamber is to become a watcher and bystander. Watching political, tribal and cultural powers slugging it out. Instead of our lens seeing any moral struggle as something between me and God it now takes on a framework around groups or, as McIntyre notes the story that I find myself a part of.  

The present age, more than any other, certainly gives us a looking glass to see what our storylines are. Technology makes us privy to far more of the story that we sometimes care or need to know. Does our voyeurism then make us responsible? We saw it. Therefore, we know. Therefore, we are responsible? David Brooks points out the danger of this moral crisis:

At least religions offer people a path from self-reflection and confession to atonement and absolution. Mainstream culture has not clear path upward from guilt, either for the individual or groups.


I am a part of a God Story.  That becomes very relevant to keep in the foreground. I am a part of this world and its storylines but also a part of a supernatural story.