Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©

 The default position for many people is hostility. Their immediate reaction to anything is hostility.

Where does hostility come from? Theologians point to “original sin.” Other’s just say “nature.” Either way, it’s part of our makeup. Some, though, claim that we are born innocent and that hostility is learned, through being mistreated when we are young or taught to despise those who are different. Regardless of its source, so many people are hostile in all they do and think.

There is a difference between paranoia and hostility, just as there is between competition and hostility.

Paranoids are not primarily hostile; primarily they are afraid.

You don’t have to be hostile to compete. Some folks can compete, quite successfully, without being hostile either to the other competitors or to themselves. Many cannot compete without being hostile, because they are always hostile.

There is a difference between aggressive and passive hostiles. Passives are afraid to express their hostilities, for fear of reprisal. They assume that since they are hostile they will be met with hostility. They don’t want to deal with “blowback,” so want others to fight battles for them, to express their hostility for them.

I encounter this often among cancer patients. Normally it is a good thing if a cancer patient is a “fighter.” I meet many patients, though, who are hostile but not fighters. They want others to fight cancer for them—doctors, nurses, “prayer warriors,” medicines, chemo, radiation. They do not want to pray or meditate or be positive or go to support groups or have a decent attitude. They don’t want to do anything except sit back and scowl and say to others, “It’s your job to make me well.”

These are the folks who vote for hostile leaders--the politicians who are hostile to the world, to other political parties, to other nations, to the environment, to other races and religions. Passive hostile citizens are afraid to step up and confront their foes with hostility, in part because they are afraid of retaliation but in part because they know it’s wrong. Either way, they want someone else to be hostile for them.

It’s like when I say, “We won,” about the IU basketball team. “We” did not win. “They” won. The players won, not I. I bask in their glory, though, because I identify with them. So it is with passive hostiles who glory in the hostility of their leaders.


The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP], where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.] We no longer live in the land of perpetual winter, but I am in the winter of my years, so I think it’s okay to use that phrase. I don’t know why I put that © on; it’s hardly necessary.

Katie Kennedy is the rising star in YA lit. [She is also our daughter.] She is published by Bloomsbury, which also publishes lesser authors, like JK Rowling. Her new book, What Goes Up, comes out July 18. It’s published in paper, audio, and electronic, and available for pre-order even now, from B&N, Amazon, Powell’s, etc.

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