Karl Barth in 1947:

Let us ask ourselves: What does the suffering which has fallen upon humanity in these past years mean for our thinking and our total experience? Have not things gone as they did with Samaria and Jerusalem? Judgments of God came. Things happened which thirty years ago we would have thought impossible. Six million Jews were murdered. Fire fell from heaven. Whole nations were led into exile. But all that has come and gone as a wing blows over the grass and flowers: they are bowed again for a while, but when the wind stops, they raise themselves up again. Is there a single man who has really become fundamentally different because of the falling bombs? And if it should become yet a little worse than it was, things would hardly be any different. Could atom bombs change and renew man? The very thought is absurd!
-Learning Jesus Christ Through the Heidelberg Catechism, 43-44

The metaphor of the grass bowing to the wind and then snapping back is so apposite, I am surprised that it isn't employed with regularity. All crises feel intractable and permanent in the moment, and all of them end. It's the reason for the endless capacity of man to endure, and the reason so many moments of potential change fail to produce much real change. When nothing much comes of the endless series of international crises, that's the reason, and it's the reason much is unlikely to come from Ferguson, too: the wind stops blowing and there's no longer anything that needs fixing so far as the grass is concerned.

(It is a remarkable metaphor to employ when speaking in Germany in 1947: "I know you think you have experienced something transformative, but let me assure you that you have not changed at all." Even more impressive because largely correct.)

It is also, for this reason, the perfect metaphor for the internet.

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