Carpe Aeternum

Finding the Eternal in the Every Day

Archive for the tag “United States”

Time to Misbehave

Let me start with this disclaimer: In the words of Captain Mal Reynolds, “I aim to misbehave.” So if that bothers you, read no further.

You can accuse me of overreacting but the resent ban on refuges is the worst possible thing that our president could have done. If we as a people, allow this to stand we are in grave danger. As I have made the case in a previous blog, the sacred writings of the Jewish and Christian peoples abound with warning form God to protect those in danger and aid those in need or he will get pissed. Toppling of kingdoms level pissed. For those of you who are God fearing people (Jewish, Christian or Muslim) this should terrify you.

If you are not God fearing people, you should mock those of us who claim to be if we do not react to this. Any inaction on the part of those proclaiming to believe in God is true validation to you that we are nothing but a pile of hypocrites. Or at best a bunch of mindless idiots who have sold our souls for the safety of group think.

I feel the hymn Rise Up O Men of God fits this moment.

Rise up o men of God

in one united throng

bring in the day of brotherhood

and end the night of wrong

We need to rise up. We cannot remain silent when something this egregious happens in our land. The consequences are too dire to stay silent.

Shame on me for not raising this call in the heat of Black Lives Matter, for not screaming louder about Standing Rock. Both of which fall in the same category of what makes God pissed.

But this latest move scares me. Truly scares me. I hope it scares you too.

So much of Jesus’s teachings revolve around caring for those in need. He even states he came to preach good news to the poor and to free captives. If this is not core to what we are doing as people proclaiming to follow him, trying to be like him, then we are taking the name of Christ in vain.

I believe that an approach to God and faith must come from an inclusive place. It must start that all are equally loved by God. If my understanding of Christian theology does not start with Christ dying for everyone, then it falls apart completely. If ALL are loves and ALL have been redeemed, the ALL must mean ALL. Including my Muslim friends and brothers. They cannot be excluded. They cannot be cast out.

Jesus’s directives to are for those in need have no qualifiers. It is not limited to North American Christians. It is to anyone in need. Especially refugees. Even Muslims.

If any of you want to call this nation a Christian nation yet refuse to allow Muslims in, you have ceased to have Christian nation.

In face of this move by our president, I call to you who call on the name of God, in the name of God to push back against this. Our God desires we side with the oppressed. The founders of this nation have provided us the means to prevent our government from trampling us. Use your voice. Use your pen. Use your computer. Let those in power know this cannot stand.

Mario Savio stated my sentiment well.:

  • There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

When reading a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, it astounded me as it did him, how little people responded to the actions of Hitler once in power. So much passivity lead to so much anguish. We can’t let the same happen here. If we remain quiet, it will.

Don’t passively let our government perpetuate hatred. Rise up people of God. Proclaim freedom for the captives. Chose brotherhood over oppression. Join me, and misbehave.

Wrath of a Merciful God

For years various Christians, some claiming to be prophets, have warned of God’s wrath falling on America because of our immorality. We have been very, very naughty and we need to be spanked. You know, in a righteous, not sexy way. No fetish indulgence here.

But is immorality truly the America’s worst sin? If God were to punish us, would that be the reason?

By my reading of scripture, it seems the two things that seem to piss of God more than anything else, and I mean, really piss him off to the degree to bring famine or economic collapse or invasion by enemy armies, that top two does not include immorality.

The things that made God lash out at his chosen people, seem to be idolatry – placing other gods ahead of him, and injustice – not caring for the poor, the needy, the outcast, the destitute. The stories in scripture where God lashes out stem from these.

Scripture teems with calls to care for those with less. Typically this comes as providing food to the hungry, but this has far more manifestations. Those with are expected to share with those without. If you have food and someone doesn’t, share. If you have power and someone else does not, protect them. If you have strength and they are weak, use that strength to help. Freely dispense your wisdom, knowledge and justice.

The real struggle of this roots itself in personal wealth. Conceptually we may agree with this but to actually take my money and give it to someone else is hard. It seems like it’s hard to give away my food. Yet I throw food away. As a nation, we throw out an obscene amount of wasted food. But I feel like I don’t have abundance to share, that my margin is too slim for real generosity.

Fatherhood taught me a lot about justice. It is not making sure that both have the same number of cookies, although that can be part of it. It is holding and comforting the one that has been hurt. It is redirecting the one who has hurt the other. It is teaching them to share and take turns. It is teaching them to help each other.

And, from the place of power and abundance, it is me lifting them to places they can’t get. It is me preparing meals, or providing food. From my excess, I meet their needs.

According to Christian and Jewish scriptures, the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. This only second to loving God. Basically these two commandments sum up the triggers to God’s ire. When asked, Jesus defined neighbors, he told the parable of the Good Samaritan; his response stood religion and cultural convention on its head.

Jesus wants us to love those we chose to reject, those we despise and deride the most. He expects us to love and serve those we would reject if they tried to help us. As a society, we do not do this. In the wake of the election, it appears that much of our nation is running the opposite direction from this.

If there is any reason for God to kick America’s ass, it is the lack of justice. Racism runs rampant. Poverty continues to grow. LGBTQ people still suffer abuse, hate and violence. My friends of Mexican descent now fear being deported, even if they are citizens. We stand on the brink of repeating the sins of the Nazis by registering Muslims. Collectively we fear helping refugees from war torn countries more than we fear the repercussions of rejecting them.

America used to be the land of opportunity. For everyone. Just like the words on the statue of liberty proclaim, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Now, America is only the land of opportunity for the privileged.

This is a land of abundance. A land of wealth. A land of power.

And a land of injustice.

We should be terrified that God might call us into account for that imbalance. Many want to call the United States a Christian nation but we are not. A land that so blatantly and arrogantly dismisses those in need and Christ’s teachings about that cannot call themselves his people. That would be taking his name in vain. For those of you who aren’t aware, that’s early on in the list of big bad things not to do. Jesus said we can experience forgiveness to the degree we are ready to dispense it. What if the same is true of mercy?

If it is, we are in a world of hurt.

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