Blogging my thoughts: attending the musical “Party People” at the Berkeley Rep
Blogging my thoughts, October 27, 2014 on the Berkeley Rep Play, “Party People” by Peter Krey
I’ve been reading the Psalms this morning and Ps 24 is the King of Glory Psalm that we usually read around Christmas time. The thought occurred to me while reading: “Lift up your head, you Gates that the King of Glory can come in. Lift them up, O ancient doors!” Those are doors that have not opened for centuries, perhaps millennia. So Christ, the true Son sent by and from God opens these doors and enters bringing the gracious presence of the Lord – and a society, like that for example of India or ours can take a new step forward. The medieval historian, Marc Bloch defined revolution as a society’s taking a new step forward in history.
Yesterday I attended the musical “Party People” about the Black Panthers and Young Lords. They could not open the old doors, because they confronted our society in the same clothes that our society wears – touting rifles and wanting the same kind of power that they hated the American empire for. Instead of opening and entering through the doors that have been shut and locked for centuries, and taking our society one step forward constituting a revolution, they set us back and society took a step backward.
The FBI with their CO-INTEL-PRO easily obfuscated their trust in each other because they did not rely on the ultimate trust that transcends every human trust – so the King of Glory could not come in. “Blessed are those who come in the Name of the Lord!” Not that this vindicates the old unjust society in any way, shape, or form that turned them all against each other. We just learned that the FBI and CIA harbored and protected 1,000 NAZIs as assets against the Soviet Union in the Cold War. “Had they no decency?” one might again ask. Imagine an FBI informer having two children with one of the Puerto Rican radical women all the while being an informer that led to many of their deaths! But fighting for justice on the same terms as the representatives of the old order (using violence and torture) brings about the train wreck of their movement. It goes according to the old insight that critiques Marxism: if Karl Marx had only said, “Workers of the world in God’s name unite” there would have been no stopping the movement – but it would also not have tried to feature the material. They chanted “justice, justice, justice” – but it can be required almost in revenge or required in a gracious way that goes forward with forgiveness. But forgiveness should not reduce the urgency of taking the next step forward in a society toward a greater approximation of justice. Psalm 130 “But with you there is forgiveness that you may be feared.”
Truthfully, during the play they became so real I forgot that they were actors! It was strange to experience them taking bows after the performance.