RSAnimate’s productions get 5 of 5 stars from me pretty much every time. This 10 minute bit of Jeremy Rifkin’s Empathic Civilisation is worth every second and reflects beautifully on how the internet is providing an outlet for our soft-wiring towards empathy. Case in point: Troy Davis. The world saw, the world came running. Solidarity. But the Georgia Board of Paroles missed a few steps in the selfhood stage maybe? They couldn’t see past their agendas for “justice” and political posturing.
I realize this issue was about more than empathy. And for some it wasn’t as much about Troy Davis as it was about the barbaric reality of the death penalty itself. For others, it was simply a miscarriage of due process, of justice. But in the final analysis, our ability to experience empathy is what mobilized us. What if this were my son, my neighbor, my grandchild? So, we look at the failure of the Georgia Parole Board and how their adherence to their rules blinded them to the inaccuracy in their verdicts. So, what kills selfhood? Many things. But one things stands out to me today: The abortion of radical grace. We need radical grace in order to develop with healthy boundaries and a sense of self without shame. We need radical grace in order to be motivated to move beyond our destructive habits.
So what is radical grace? Radical grace is a revolutionary force of understanding and empathy whereby we facilitate merciful justice in order to inspire and facilitate opportunity for change, healing or closure in and for others, so that we might ALL THRIVE. Sometimes radical grace wields fierce, and even brutal words in the face of tyranny, oppressive deceit and corruption. Why? Because it is inspired by the empathetic response. Tyranny, deceit, corruption all divorce us from our humanity, from the value of selfhood and the habits of radical grace. We instinctively snarl at their destructive tools and that, that is radical by sheer virtue of the fact that we’ve been told from grade school to high school and on that we must NOT disrupt the status quo or we risk being branded.
Go ahead, brand me. Brand me radical grace activist, radical truth advocate, radical status quo disruptor. Why? Because our lives, our living, our loving, all…all are so profoundly precious.