July 1, 2012
Debriefing Auschwitz: Part 1
So I’m back in the States, on retreat(ish) working through the lessons of this trip to Auschwitz.
With answers to the above, I’ll get back to you, but here’s a thought for now: this trip itself is a product of the Shoah, proof that people can indeed learn from the past (so there is still a point to studying it). Over a dozen seminarians, people who are devoting their lives to their religious traditions, can have wonderfully crunchy, intricate discussions about theology and about the day-to-day practice of serving God and can treat our differences with genuine profound respect.
Not only did nobody try to convert, or sneer at, or in any other way deprecate the tradition of the others—we were actively fascinated with one another, secure enough on our own paths to appreciate the particular beauty of other ways.
This is, I believe, a product of post-Shoah thinking, what some call postmodernism. Horror at what happens when people try to impose their absolutes, an understanding of human knowledge as partial, situated and interested, and a willingness to entertain the idea that difference is a gift, not a threat.