Posts Tagged ‘evil’

Let us prove him wrong.

March 16, 2017

God does not need any favors from the likes of us mere humans. Nevertheless, if you are like me–that is, if you call yourself a Christian–you can do us all a favor–you can do this nation a favor–  by proving this man wrong.

Hedges

He opines that we Christians are working ourselves into a fascist movement.

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP5gjrh-3Ew

I have respect for this man and his opinion. Chris Hedges is a smart man, a doctor of divinity; he was a good reporter for the New York Times, and a Pulitzer prize recipient. But his assessment about Christians is incorrect. Or at least I hope it is incorrect.

Let us therefore prove him wrong in his analysis of us.

We are not fascists; nor do we want to be.

Let us remind Chris what it means to be Christian. Let us do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Let us not do to others what we would not want them to do to us.

Let us demonstrate to Mr. Hedges, and to whomever it may concern, that we live and we act on behalf of the man from Galilee who came to bring good news to the afflicted.

Let us fulfill the command of that prophet who admonished us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to give shelter to the those who need it.

Let us visit the widow, the orphan, the stranger, the prisoners.

Let us act on behalf of the healer who was sent to bind up the broken-hearted.

Let us be advocates for  the the one who was taken prisoner, the one who came to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners.

Let us proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and of his judgement on all of us.

Let us comfort all who mourn.

Let us hunger and thirst for righteousness (not right-wingedness).

Let us be merciful.

Let us love mercy, and do justice, and walk humbly with our God.

Let us proclaim the message of the one who exhorted us to love one another.

Let us heal, if we can, as he healed the sick, the lame, the blind.

Let us speak truthfully, because we shall be made free by the truth.

Let us act honorably, as Jesus himself did on the night he was arrested, when he told Peter to put down the sword.

Let us be bold in our kindness, as he was.

Let us speak confidently about the power of love, compassion and mercy, as he did when he preached on the Mount.

Let us be brave, as Jesus was when he went to the cross rather than betray the redemptive, resurrective mission that had been laid upon his shoulders.

Let us not be haters, nor slanderers, nor liars, nor killers, nor maimers, no adulterers, nor thieves.

Let us love those who see themselves as our enemies.

Let us love those who make themselves our enemies.

Let us not be enemies.

Let us love those who despitefully use us.

Let us love those who abuse us.

Let us love those who accuse us.

Let us not become fascists.

Let us not be deceived by the fascists.

Let us not be used by the fascists.

Let us not be despised by the socialists, nor the communists, nor the jihadists.

Deliver us, Lord, from the jihadists.

Let us project calm on the political waters as you invoked calm on the sea of Galilee.

Let us be Christians who love the Lord and who strive to love all people whom the Lord has brought forth.

Let us conquer death, as you have done, Lord, and then live eternally with you in peace and love.

Let us pray.

Forgive us our trespasses, Lord, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

And Let us not be agents of evil.

We do have a message of mercy for all men and women. We do have a song to sing.

Glass half-Full

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To Save the World

October 11, 2014

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing, end them. . .

This problem, described in archaic language by a Shakespearean prince, Hamlet, can be stated more simply this way:

Should we suffer, or should we fight?

Should we accept the world as it, or is it better to struggle against all the bad stuff?

Should we concede, or strive toward tikkun olam, the repairing of the world?

And even if we choose to oppose the (sea of) troubles in this life, can our resistance put an end to them? Can “opposing” those troubles  actually defeat them?

If you or I can put an end to the injustice and or dysfunction of this world, then maybe we should get busy working toward that end. But if this quest–to resist the evil of this world– is fruitless,  a lost cause, then why bother? What difference does it make?

Maybe we just have to suffer through it.

That’s what  one religious founder, Jesus of Nazareth, did. He suffered through the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” that were flung upon him. He suffered all the way through torture and crucifixion until death itself overtook him.

For a few days.

But his boldly compassionate life included not only suffering and bearing the pain, it also included serious resistance against the powers that be. He was a man who took arms, spiritually, against a sea of troubles, by speaking publicly against the injustice that humans impose upon one another, and he used his hands proactively to heal people, and to release folks from suffering and oppression.

I think his life was quite unique in this respect: he actually, and very effectively, trod a middle path between these two choices–submission and resistance.

He was an example of bearing up under the burden of suffering, while simultaneously launching a campaign against what is wrong in this world of human striving that manifests as dogmatic religion and ineffective government.

Now we know from history that Jesus’ struggle to live a meaningful life, a life that truly made a difference, was a failure.

Because, you know, he ended up dead and publicly humiliated and all that.

On the other hand, if you consider what all has been done in his name since he lived, it could be that the work of his life–the suffering and the active resistance–attests that his legacy is more perpetual than it may at first appear.

From the standpoint of world history, his story is everlasting. This persistent story of a savior who conquered death itself has transcended the world. He has won the world by overcoming the world’s cynical resistance.

His was the greatest life ever lived. He opposed the slings and arrows by submitting to them. Thus he rendered them powerless against his sacred work. He  overcame the world. Who else has done such a thing? and then lived to tell about it. You gotta believe.

This was accomplished, paradoxically, without actually “taking arms.” He fired no gun, wielded no knife. Jesus’ only sword was the one in his mouth. What an exceptional way to repair the hearts of men, as if that were possible!

While other religionists have resorted to the sword of conquest, here was a man whose only weapon for opposing the evils of mankind was the sword of the Spirit.

To be, or not to be (with Him). . . that is the question.

Glass half-Full

the Narnia wardrobe

April 10, 2013

Nineteen thirty-four,

Nazis in

Nuremberg attempted to

nullify the glory of God;

nihilistic they were;

nixing the opinions of mankind, by

nineteen thirty-

nine, had made war a sacrament, until there remained

no decency left in their

nefarious reign over Deutschland. In

nineteen forty, they moved against the world, with

noxious occupations in Austria, Czechoslav, Poland.

Nobody could reverse their ruthless belligerance.  Everywhere the

National Socialists went,

no good thing was tolerated.

Never had the world seen such hateful conquest.

Next country over to the west on the

North Sea was the

Netherlands;  when the

Nazis came, some good people there hid Jews so they would

not be found,

nor arrested,

nor sent to death camps.

Near the upper regions of some refuge homes, probably

next to a wall, there might be found a wooden wardrobe, which is

not a collection of clothes, but a rather unusual piece of furniture.

Nailed or hinged to the back of it, there could be a false panel, very

narrow, on the other side of which secret accommodations might

neatly conceal

neighbors or other persons who have fled the

Nazi police, which are the beastly

nemeses of Jews and other innocent

non-aryans. We could say that beyond such a hiding place

nestled behind a wardrobe was a

neverworld of fear and imminent danger that

never should have existed. But the world is a terrible place.

 

Once upon that same awful time, a professorial fellow–

name of Lewis,

native of some quaint and curious shire,

near an Oxford

nook of England– he reported the existence of a

never

neverland. It was, he imagined, a reichish otherworldly scene,

niftily cloaked clandestinely

near the rear of some such nonesuch transportive wardrobe;

now it took innocents away, into a

netherland of frigid fright and badness to a land badly ruled, in

necromancy, and oppressed by an evil queen, a

netherworld region beyond a 1940s’ wardrobe that Lewis

named

Narnia.

Now truly, there is

no such place as Narnia, but if ever there was, I would hope the

noxious fuehrer tyrant should be

negated, and

nullified by children of the rightful King.

 

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

The Star

December 24, 2012

There was this unique star,

okay?

And these wise men were expecting it,

and so when they saw the star,

they followed it,

expecting something good.

But when they arrived,

the news of their enquiry fell into the wrong hands,

and some terrible things happened.

But it wasn’t their fault.

And furthermore,

not everything that happened

was terrible.

There was some glorious stuff going on too

in spite of the evil.

There is a lesson in this.

Even wise men

will generate unintended consequences

in this world.

But the star of hope still shines.

And the woman with child

is still to be treasured

and protected

in this precious life

no matter what happens

no matter who goes crazy and kills people.

Glass half-Full

Church was bombed, Birmingham 1963

January 24, 2011

We do not fathom the power of innocent blood crying out from the ground until years later.  The grievous force of such injustice  reverberates in the lives of those whose grief runs deeper than the evil that inflicted it.
Terrorism is counterproductive. A terrorist who inflicts, by the planting of bombs, violence and death on innocent victims might as well shoot himself, and his cause, in the foot. The extreme iniquity of such irresponsible acts serves ultimately to harden the resolve of  surviving victims whose lives were affected by the atrocity.
I realized this today in a new way while listening to Amy Goodman interview Danny Glover on the radio, on Democracy Now.

They mentioned Angela Davis, and the fact that she had been raised in that volatile atmosphere of Birmingham in 1963, when local racists had set a bomb beneath the 16th Street Baptist Church. The bomb had killed four innocent children–little girls attending church.

Little did those reprobate terrorists know, but their irrational atrocity cut a deep slice of potently productive  grief into the 9–year-old soul of  nearby resident Condoleeza Rice, whose friend Denise McNair was killed in the bombing.
Our former Secretary of State of the US later had this to say about the  tragic incident:
“I remember the bombing of that Sunday School at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. I did not see it happen, but I heard it happen, and I felt it happen, just a few blocks away at my father’s church. It is a sound that I will never forget, that will forever reverberate in my ears. That bomb took the lives of four young girls, including my friend and playmate, Denise McNair. The crime was calculated to suck the hope out of young lives, bury their aspirations. But those fears were not propelled forward, those terrorists failed.”
– Condoleezza Rice, Commencement 2004, Vanderbilt University, May 13, 2004

I lifted that quote from Wikipedia.

Ms. Rice’s richly productive life attests to the truth that the destructive efforts of KKK terrorists had not deterred a tender-hearted 9-year-old girl from rising to great achievements. In spite of the heavy deck of hate and discrimination stacked against her, Condi went on to overcome the evil that had killed her childhood playmate. Later, as a scholar, concert pianist,  and Secretary of State of the United States of America, she disproved, convincingly, the errant prejudicial irrationale of her community’s attackers.

Terrorism is counterproductive to the cause of the terrorist.

And unpredictable. Even as a bomb’s deathly remains and its victims cannot be predicted before the explosion, neither can the effects of such bloody deep wounds on the heart of a community and its diverse members.
While young Condi was later motivated to excel mightily in scholarship and diplomacy, another former resident, Angela Davis, of that Birmingham neighborhood charted a very different course
to overcome the injustice of Jim Crow. Angela was ten years older than Condoleeza; she was studying in Paris when she recognized the names of young Birmingham victims in a newspaper. Her stringent understanding of that putrid white supremecist tide was propelling her  toward radicalism, advocacy of violent resistance, and ultimately a life of eloquent speaking and teaching, the aim of which was to educate others about the evils of racism.

Angela and Condi were two very different women, with powerfully contrasting paths in this life. But as disparate as their two testimonies are, both lives are  persuasive evidence that death-spewing terrorism is counterproductive to the cause of the terrorist.

But the cry of innocent blood is powerfuly dynamic in the lives of the survivors,  and just as unpredictable as the bomb itself.

Glass half-Full

To lady gaga and aaron melcher

May 9, 2010

As I was mourning the death of billions of marine and marsh organisms  in the Gulf of Mexico this morning, I was searching aimlessly on the web like many people do these days. I followed a link to an NPR story about videos currently on youtube starring lady gaga and aaron melcher.
If the melcher video represents US military presence in Afghanistan, then I am also mourning, now, the tragic circumstances of those Afghans who must endure the American decadence that we have exported to them, and with which we occupy their land.

Although the following words are not my own (they were written almost 2000 years ago), I post them to illuminate the extremity of our present situation, which is a tragic
confluence of historically destructive events:

“Come here, and I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,
with whom the leaders of the earth committed acts of immorality,
and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.

And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.
The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality,
and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery: Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth…

For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality…
And the leaders of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning,
standing at a distane because of the fear of her torment saying:

Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.
And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more…
for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!  And every shipmaster, and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance,
and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning.
Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been (will be) laid waste.”

Torture

March 4, 2010

Torture is evil.
What, you don’t believe there is such a thing as evil? You think that everything that happens is just random, in the midst of a universe where evil and good do not exist except in the souls of naive humans who dream this stuff up?
Well, you’re wrong there. Believe me, torture is evil–wherever and whenever it is practiced, whether by KGB, CIA, or SLA.. It is never justified.
We in the civilized world have due process of law and trial by jury. You believe in evolution? This is it. Due process supplants torture as the genomically improved means for highly evolved humans  to establish truth in a world plagued by evil.
Is waterboarding evil? Yes.
Is torture evil when Jack Bauer does it?  No, because Jack Bauer doesn’t really exist. He’s just a character that some tv writers dreamed up.
But the implicit advocacy of torture in Jack’s character is evil.  And I say that being a fan of 24. But life ain’t simple and shit happens, and I’m confused by my own predilictions to be entertained by action shows with twisty plots and timely themes that take on our 21st century grappling with evil.
Torture is evil, spite of the fact that Jack Bauer seems to make good use of it. Don’t believe everything you see on tv.
Hamas men torturing their own comrades in a prison–that’s evil.  And that’s the depravity that Mosab Hassan Yousef discovered when he was in an Israeli jail. That revelation of evil to young Mosab drove him to the awareness that something is rotten in Hamas.  Something is rotten in the world.
Yes, Virginia, there is evil in the world.
And torture is it, among other things, like for instance concentration camps.