I’m picking up Clemens Sedmak’s Doing Local Theology as often as I can at the moment, and finding something spellbinding almost every time I turn the page. He has developed a series of short theses and explains each via a few pages of profound thought about the locale we inhabit and the way in which we can uncover Christ there.
Today’s genius is on the subject of woundedness. Thesis 5 says: “We do theology because we share a vision and we experience wounds.” I’m interested in the idea that our wounds prompt us to think and seek answers, and this can be the start of a journey of theological reflection. This has rung true in my own life and I’ve seen it in the journeys of others. We also do theology out of a sense that there is a better vision and a liberated life and this hope does not die in us, even when circumstances are the opposite of this.
He says: “We do theology out of a vision of resurrection. We might think of the open tomb as our symbol, but we must not also forget the symbol of the cross. We do theology out of an experience of the cross. We do theology as wounded people, sometimes we do it because of our wounds. No one can go through life without getting wounded. No human soul leaves life without wounds, humiliations, and experiences of injustice and rejection. We all carry wounds.
Our deepest wound is the fact that we do not want to be healed. Fromm talks about our escape from freedom; we do not want the responsibility of it. Sedmak suggests “we are afraid of being touched by God. God could upset our lives, plans, projects. Healing can be painful. ”
He goes on: God wants to heal our wounds without making them magically disappear. The wounds are still there, like the wounds of the risen Lord…We do theology because we hope the wounds may be the source of strength…
We all have our cross to carry. We do theology because people suffer. Doing theology is a way to attend to the wounds of our time.”
I have needed to reflect on this today as I struggle so much with politicians and the moronic election idea of selling off housing association properties. I have advocated with people over housing needs, homelessness, inadequate accomodation for families, outrageous squalor and disrepair offered by private landlords, people in refuges waiting to bid for housing, disabled people who need to move to live somewhere suitable, people with mental health problems trying to fight the bedroom tax so they can stay living in the place they are familiar with, feel safe and have support. This is the single most destructive and stupid policy that will benefit the few (their fellow rich, who buy up the ex housing association houses and then rent them out privately for a lot more money. The son of a cabinet minister has apparently bought up 40 of these already in recent years. )
Social housing is needed for a reason – and more so than ever when mortgages are unobtainable to so many people now. There are higher standards of maintenance, more affordable rents, community amenities and better cohesion for those who can’t afford to buy or don’t want to – keeping on top of the maintenance of a home isn’t always easy or possible if you are ill, live alone, have a disability, are a lone parent of young children…This policy wounds us, now and in the future when our children will need homes. It causes further injustice by taking away something that is needed by those less well off, effectively giving it to the rich; this wounds us all.
The sense of the common good is nowhere to be seen in this policy, which will impact future generations, and will continue to fuel the housing bubble – which I believe is one of the hidden agendas of this policy. It will keep cash coming into the treasury from stamp duties, keep speculators, developers, mortgage lenders and private landlords happy, keeping up the cost of rents. A “free” market economy can become like a ferocious man eating plant, needing to be fed with fresh spending and injections of cash, whether they come from a legitimate or sensible place or not. I really hope Cameron and his cronies get eaten.