civility is the opposite of taking up your cross

Civility Is The Opposite of Taking Up Your Cross


There’s nothing civil about taking up your cross, and there’s nothing more dangerous in the world that we’ve created today than civility.








  • Civility means not creating a disturbance (e.g. “letting people eat in peace”).
  • It means minding your own business and
  • being pleasant and good-natured in your interactions with others.
  • It means keeping your conversation safe and vanilla with people you don’t know well.
  • It means being compliant and agreeable when authority figures demand something of you.

 Civility is basically the moral code of suburban white culture.
  • If you’re pleasant,
  • mind your own business, and
  • don’t burden other people, then you have performed your moral duties to the world entirely.

Civility is basically the moral code of suburban white culture. 

In the law and order version of morality, this understanding of civility is the definition of citizenship.

There is no reason to:
  • raise your voice or
  • say anything that deviates from the autopilot banter of generic, interchangeable capitalist transactions, because as long as you trust the authorities and say yes sir and yes ma’am, everything will be fine.


when we are socialized to make civility our highest virtue, it’s very hard to break out of that civility when great evils require us to respond by doing or saying something unpleasant.

when we are socialized to make civility our highest virtue…

distinction between civility and discipline:
If I allow my anger to flare up into a selfish, undisciplined reaction to injustice, I might haphazardly inflict violence and destruction upon anyone who is caught in the crossfire.

To be disciplined means that my behavior is intentional and strategic.

Sometimes discipline means smiling and shaking hands with someone who has done tremendous harm and forging a mutually beneficial temporary alliance.

Discipline can also mean shouting “Shame!” at a government official in a Mexican restaurant as a strategic means of political pressure.


civil disobedience.

It isn’t actually civil.

At least not in the sense that agreeable suburban white people use that word.
Civil disobedience doesn’t imply politeness or agreeableness.
It implies disciplined nonviolent resistance.

It isn’t haphazard or careless, but it had better be disruptive and emotionally upsetting to somebody or it’s not going to change much of anything.
 Sometimes people who do civil disobedience break things. I’ve known nuns who got felonies and served lengthy jail sentences for deliberately damaging expensive military equipment in order to protest nuclear weapons.


there are people who think that civil disobedience is supposed to be polite.

A certain kind of white pacifist goes to political events where getting handcuffed is a prearranged photo op.


Pleasant photo op “civil disobedience” doesn’t apply any political pressure; it’s simply a means of performing for oneself.

Jesus didn’t get crucified for having impassioned scholarly debates with religious leaders.

It’s being disruptive and disagreeable as part of a strategic expression of solidarity with people whom the civil folks feel fine ignoring.


So be merciful. See the humanity in everyone.

Offend. Resist. And do it all in love.


Author: charlesburchfield

I am an artist working primarily with collage.

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