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#35 / Jonestown Theology: Lenten Explorations in the Valley of Death

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Wikimedia / Nancy Wong

Wikimedia / Nancy Wong

 

“I’d never detach myself from any of your troubles.  I’ve always taken your troubles right on my shoulders and I’m not gonna change that now.” -Jim Jones

 

“I know how you feel.” Have you ever heard that phrase before? I hate it. How can you know how I feel? Such an understanding is impossible. You can’t feel how I feel. To say that you know how I feel is to lie. When you lie, you have created a suspicion that causes me to reject your words and furthermore makes me suspicious of anything else you might say. The same was true for Jim Jones.

 

By claiming to be so closely bound to the troubles of each member of the community, Jones is attempting to illustrate his undying loyalty to the community. The problem is that these words are a lie. Even if he really wanted to, it would be impossible for Jones to take on everyone’s burdens. That’s just not the way it works. Jones talks about carrying the troubles of the community to reaffirm himself as the savior of the community. If Jones was able to carry the troubles of the community, why didn’t he just save the community from death. He didn’t know their troubles. He only knew his. When one concentrates only on their self…death always comes quickly.

 

Amen.

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