Thinking about Bin Laden

Ignatius thought that the spiritual life is a life in tension. Black and white thinking is to be avoided. We’re to seek neither sickness nor health, neither wealth nor poverty, but to always seek only God. Lisa Kelly finds this “Ignatian tension” a helpful way to think about the killing of Osama Bin Laden:

I believe in the God of justice. I believe in the God of forgiveness. I believe because all human beings are created in the image of God, God can be found in all life, innocent or guilty. I believe that God, the Divine, dwells in all things, and so I am called to find the divine even in the most heinous of places. And I am called to be self aware and admit the ways that I or my country has harmed innocent life as well. I am called to challenge evil in all its manifestations. I receive no consolation from the suffering of another. I am desolate at the perpetuation of violence continuing to keep us so far from the God of love that we seek.

Read the whole thing.


  1. Thank you for this post. I find it so challenging to communicate my feelings about such events. Life is not black and white but human beings often are tempted to think that way as it is easier.

  2. Methinks the majority fail to recognize the difference between celebrating someone’s death and wanting that person out of their space. It is extremely difficult for man to envision means towards resolution to tyranny whether relational or global. The lower mind sees relief in getting rid of the offender by the most definite means possible. The higher mind seeks alternatives.
    Personally I think we could make good use of all those little islands scattered among the seas and oceans. That way nobody gets hurt and they get to rely on the GOODNESS of man for provisions.
    Do not kill means just that.

  3. Glad you posted this reminder about the perils of black & white thinking, especially among people of faith. The public discourse about whether “good Christians” should reveal even a molecule of celebratory relief at the death of Osama Bin Laden has been making me nuts. More nuts?
    It’s so clear to this sociologist (raised Jewish) that all reactions and responses are deeply anchored in the personal history, cultural identity and religious socialization of those offering commentary. I may, if I can muster the stomach lining and energy, write my own post about that meta-level view of it all — not to mention Teshuvah 101.


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