Radical Trust

Brueggemann suggests that the biblical witness clearly depicts David, not as trust-worthy but nonetheless trusted by God. This radical trust in humans is the foundation of the wisdom tradition. I first encountered radical trust in Herman Waetjen’s translation of Romans 1:17 – “trusting into trust.” But what does such radical trust mean?

Radical trust means that:
The poor are to be trusted, just as the rich are
Blacks are to be trusted, just as whites are
LGBTQs are to be trusted, just as straights are
Muslims and Jews are to be trusted, just as Christians are
Immigrants are to be trusted, just as residents are
Children and youth are to be trusted, just as adults are
Politicians are to be trusted, just as neighbors are

That last one was hard to write, until I realized that radical trust does come with filters – namely, responsibility and transcendence. When any individual or group acts irresponsibly – that is, uses their status, condition, or opportunity to aggrandize their own power – they are not to be trusted. When any individual or group is so focused on things that they lose a transcendent perspective – that is, they act in such a manner that denies “the mystery of life’s underlying order and direction for the sake of those entrusted to us” – they are not to be trusted. Radical trust is radical because of its filters.

The current state of affairs in American society is that radical fear has replaced trust. Radical fear is transposed into radical ideologies which have no filters other than “us” versus “them.” Decisions are brokered on the basis of those ideologies, resulting in increasing chronic anxiety which feeds the radical fear and produces more extreme and rigid ideological schemes. Our politicians are the tip of the iceberg; we are the iceberg!

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