Monday, March 14, 2011

'Time Does Not Flow'

A diocesan priest writing the lead article in the Kyeongyang Magazine reflects on a book, read many years ago, "Time Does Not Flow,"that argues that the problems we face today have the same origin as the problems faced in the past. Do we spend enough time, he asks, reflecting on the conditions of our society and on the values we treasure most?

He cites a number of issues our society is currently facing: the Four River Project, the North-South standoff, military deployment overseas,  disagreements on welfare, judicial independence and political pressures, balancing environmental concerns with economic development, inequality of educational opportunities, among many other controversial issues. Each segment of society has a different understanding of how these issues should be resolved, each segment, having its own value judgments, often find themselves  in conflict with other groups in society.

Many have heard about "Don't Cry, Tonj," a documentary film honoring one who sacrificed himself for others; this is a value that transcends time and does not change. The film presents the life that Fr. Lee Tae-seok lived fully right to the end; our hearts go out to him, and with tears, says the priest, we agree with the choices he made and the life he lived.  

When we see what is happening in society among some of the privileged we have doubts, whether the leaders have a consistent moral value system. We routinely see the evasion of the law and breeches of ethics that the ordinary citizen has difficulty imagining. Our congressional public hearings evoke anger   rather than pride and trust in our representatives, our children give up their citizenship, rampant investment in real estate by politicians, widespread tax evasion, false resident registration, and falsifying educational records ,testifies to how pragmatic our values have become. And for each infraction there is some excuse.
This year we remembered the second year anniversary of the death of Cardinal Kim. A writer in the daily press said of him, "With the passage of time we cherish his memory all the more."  We respect his values and what he stood for.

The writer urges us to  bring to life the kind of society most of us want to see. It will require, he says, a firm commitment on our part, starting with some basic values and courageously working to see them implemented.

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