By David Dark, August 19, 2022
(RNS) — “He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars.” This is a helpful and handy adage from the poet William Blake. It’s also a deeply moral summons to particularity in the doing of attempted good, a call to specificity. Go granular or go home, he might say, because “Generalized Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite. And flatterer.”
Generalization, in politics and religion, might work in accruing cred, coin, clicks and book sales, but particularity is where the righteousness — the heavy moral lifting — is.
In recent weeks, as elected officials who once tweeted “Back the Blue!” now target federal law enforcement while also tweeting Bible verses, my mind has turned to some of the public arrangements that make this publicly abusive behavior possible. There are of course political parties, donors, voters, but there are other institutions just as essential (if not more so) to successfully winning and wielding office. I refer here to churches. It’s time to think and speak more specifically about the behaviors they normalize.
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