Contempt and Hate Sloshing Around Is A Huge Moral Issue.

If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?

Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?
Many of my Republican friends would protest and say it isn’t true –
they don’t hate people, nor even hold them in contempt.
They love them.

They just wish they’d straighten up and … I don’t know what.
Not be poor?
Not be born into economically oppressed inner cities (or stagnating rural areas)?
Not grow up in an American subculture?
Not be persecuted?
Not be abused?
Talk like the white majority in whatever community they are in?
Go to church with them?
Don’t listen to weird music?
Don’t get arrested for things that white people are doing but don’t get arrested for?
I don’t know what they want, frankly. Maybe they just want to be comfortable in their self-esteem.

But some, of course, are quite willing to express it directly as contempt and are proud of it.

Sadly, if they are voting Republican, whatever the motive, they are putting lots of people in positions of power who, in the name of those who voted for them, are Continue reading

The Billionaires Win Big. What Next?

The billionaires won big in yesterday’s election, so the Party-That-Tends-To-Hurt-People got stronger.

But, as the hurt increases, the ‘little people’ (which seems to be most of us) will not blame that party.

They (we?) will dutifully follow the teaching of the billionaires (through, e.g. Fox News) and blame the other party, the Party-That-Frequently-Tries-To-Help People.

Do we need to abandon this dollar-dominated, greed-driven, manipulative foolishness? Maybe really get into something more Gandhian, or more ML Kingian, maybe something that would even be more Christian, more basic, more powerful? Or maybe get more of a hybrid, where the spiritual power of the one strategy for good alters the nature, and thus the effectiveness, of the other strategy for good.

I have to think about that.

Losing Gov Candidate says, “Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly … ” (Micah 6:8)

Chuck Hassebrook (D-NE Governor candidate) closed out his campaign last night by quoting Micah 6:8.

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?”

Coming from him that is entirely credible because that’s how he has lived his entire life. And unlike others, he did not go into politics wealthy and he’s not coming out of it wealthy.

Capitalism: Does Anyone, Biblically, Have Authority to Interfere in Economic Matters?

A major theme of the Bible is that there is indeed a higher standard for public behavior than the preferences of the wealthy and powerful of this world.
I’ve experienced it a number of times – many of my Christian acquaintances can get so worked up with contempt and even hatred for their government. They often seem to have no respect at all for the idea of government interfering in people’s lives in any way – or at least not in well-off or successful people’s lives.

We've all heard it. Something like ...
Those attitudes are not actually capitalism. They are anarchism of a certain sort, or radical libertarianism, or tea-baggery.

And of course I am stating it in extreme terms. But I actually do hear it in those terms.

Aside from the fact that such radical anti-government attitudes are quite un-American in sentiment, there IS this question that bothers me.

Question 1: What are we going to do with Isaiah?

Many times in Isaiah (and other places in the Bible) there is a complaint like this one in Isaiah 1 Continue reading

When You Chop Down a Tree a Few Chips Must Fly / Gaza & Israel

This is from a powerful diary over at Daily Kos. It lists casualties of the Israeli efforts to subdue the Palestinians in two recent months. Her article adds some very helpful historical illustration and comment.

I do not ask that you read the lists. But do scroll through them; you’ll get the point.

Both lists span July 8, 2014 to August 13, 2014. And the people on both lists were just that, people. Living, breathing, dreaming people.

Operation Protective Edge Wood Chips From July 8 to August 13, 2014

Israeli Wood Chips
Majority military, mandatory conscription. Continue reading

When You Work On It It’s No Longer Impossible – “A Set of Problems to Solve, One After the Other”

Here’s the guy who did the (illegal) high-wire walk between the towers of the World Trade Center. Dare you think about the impossibe? – especially something impossible that badly NEEDS doing?

It’s impossible. But that would not stop me from considering it.
Interviewer: I assume that an illegal or clandestine wire-walk, or any other kind of performance involving a major public building, would be much more difficult today.

P.P. It would be impossible. But in my life I work on the impossible, so when you work on it it’s no longer impossible. It becomes a set of problems to solve one after the other. Obviously the world has changed. New York has changed. Human beings on earth have changed, and it’s impossible. But that would not stop me from considering it.

Walking on Air
Man on Wire
Philippe Petit

You Can Pray and Still Be Wrong

Here’s William Jennings Bryan, about 100 years ago. He’s rejecting the idea that because a man is rich, powerful, and a faithful churchgoer his behavior should be automatically honored and imitated.

It is not necessary that all Christian people shall sanction the Rockefeller method of making money merely because Rockefeller prays.

[from Michael Kazin, A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan, 2006, p125]

[Reposted and slightly edited from Feb 2007]