Betrayal by Comrades and Loved Ones

By C. Don Jones

Betrayal within a community or organization that is attempting to make the world a better place feels like the ultimate contradiction. I tried once to write a short story called “Murder in Utopia,” but getting my head around a motive other than pride or jealousy proved too difficult. We who are in DSA and in faith communities are committed to that better world, but we are not conflict free. We work on various projects within our chapters. Some DSA folks might want to reach out to other organizations. Some members may object to the projects or the partners. Disputes over tactics, strategies, and the allocation of resources are to be managed democratically within the group. Discussing the matter immediately before a vote is more about winning than listening. We know some people within a chapter or committee may be toxic. Do we wait for toxic people to remove themselves? When discussions break down, how do they restart? Is any problem ever resolved in democratic organizing? These are organizational questions that involve people who want to build a better world. And too often, the organizational questions bleed into personal relationships. As Christians approach the story of betrayal within a group whose members all wanted a better world, moviegoers have an opportunity to see a fictionalized version of a deep, perhaps unforgivable, betrayal in a Christian community in the movie Women Talking (spoiler alert). The questions raised by the movie have particular resonance in Holy Week and in any “beloved community.”

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Image credit: The Capture of Christ by Cimabue