“We preach tithing to the poor people of the world because the poor people of the world have had cycles of poverty, generation after generation,” he said. “That same poverty continues from one generation to another, until people pay their tithing.” Mormon take on solving poverty
Thoughts about Isaiah Chapter 61
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me”
I have not been called to join a church or be validated by the formality of an organized sect. God, the Eternal Father in Heaven communes with me. His spirit lives in me always. Father has called me and invigorates me through the Spirit. I and the Father are one. And so are each of you.
“He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor”
Our Father is the God of Compassion. The poor are numerous and their poverty is not only a want of bread, but a poverty of spirit. Yet theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. The gospel is a living practice of the life of compassion, concern, kindness and advocacy on behalf of the poor. I am not called to get the poor to join churches, but to love the poor as I myself love the Father.
“He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted”
Those who mourn will be comforted. The meek will inherit the earth. He hath not sent me to say ‘Be of good cheer, say your prayers, and God will bless you.’
He hath not sent me to say ‘Take upon yourself my name and declare that I am your redeemer and all will go well with you.’
He hath sent me to cheer the brokenhearted with my own strength and spirit, pray for the brokenhearted as I pray for my own brokenheartedness. He hath sent me to bring the brokenhearted into my own circle of prayer and bless them by deed more than word.
“To preach deliverance to the captives.”
Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled. The merciful will be shown mercy. He hath sent me to teach the captives about their freedom and to work with them to attain freedom. He hath sent me to place less value on my own riches and comfort and a greater worth on acts of goodness for the sake of goodness. He hath not called me to stand in a church, speak from a book, condemn from the pulpit and retire to my mansion.
“And recovering sight to the blind”
He hath not called me to say, ‘Lo, come to my chapel and be saved,’ but to send me out of my chapel and into the darkness with a light of compassion and action. Where there is blindness, I come to teach vision, a life led by the Spirit, and knowledge of the God of Compassion. I come to urge repentance to wholeness in an absence of blind guilt, sorrow and a sense of condemnation at the hands of those who deem themselves righteous rather than upright.
“To set at liberty them that are bruised.”
The pure in heart will see God. Peacemakers will be called the sons of God. And the persecuted? Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. He hath not called me to inflict fear, shame nor guilt, but to bandage wounds, pour on oil and wine and carry to the inn and pay from my own sources for the ministrations of healing.
“To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
A time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. The acceptable year of the Lord is every year, every month, every week, every day as God and Heaven are a living part of every moment.
The Father of the Prodigal Son is the God of Compassion.The Prodigal Son is but one of all the marvelous offspring of the God of Compassion. He is frail and flawed, but now wise from his earlier immaturity. Aware of his failings, he knows that he has failed to hit the mark and owns his own mistakes. In not blaming Satan for his actions, he has not only ownership of his failures and successes, but proprietorship of his life. He has come to know what Jesus knew.
The eldest son is the scorekeeper, too willing to condemn when the score does not please him. Yet the Father of Compassion equally ministers to the shortcomings and failures of the elder brother, who comes to understand the value of each child in the eyes of his Father.
How wonderful to be part of a family where the God of Compassion has no favorites, no chosen, and no view that some sons and daughters are more worthy and righteous than others.
The woman caught in adultery was a temptation offered to Jesus by the pride and willful blindness of the judgmental mob. Jesus was not tempted, but stood next to the woman and offered his own life in a wager that goodness was greater than condemnation.
In the Father’s house are many mansions. Yet those mansions are not arrayed on rising steps of worthiness where the children of God are separated into castes of disparate worthiness. Souls do not come to those mansions by virtue of a ledger of good deeds and obedience, but by being good for the sake of goodness. And goodness is a pearl of much greater value than righteousness.
Heaven is not where we start but where we are. We construct our mansion on earth which will also be our mansion in Heaven. It will be constructed not on the sand of blind conformity or willful condemnation of what we as mortals judge to be evil or laden with sin. Heavenly mansions will be built only on the Street of Compassion.
The Christ Path is a Path of Action and Impact. It is impervious to whether or not we are deemed good or righteous by others. It is the path that does not seek outward recognition, but personal and private satisfaction in the pursuit of goodness.
It is that Spirit of Life that will cause the God of Compassion to reward openly.
The oldest Christianity os that which came to flower in the beginning before the confusion of men led to misconceptions about church and belonging; before priests and popes took it upon themselves to tell God what to do and the people how to behave; before preachers built churches after the fashion of courthouses where they could throw the book at the congregation.
There is sadness in the idea that Christian goodness brings to pass the will of God primarily through group action, political advocacy and judgmental separation of one soul from another for perceived circumstances of sin.
An image of a resurrected Jesus as a judgmental God honoring and endorsing the actions of those who condemn and separate is one difficult to reconcile to the life portrayed in scripture of He who preached a God of Compassion.
Christian goodness brings to pass the will of God when it is individually infectious, passing from one soul to the next spontaneously. An epidemic of this sort will more thoroughly impact our people than all that crusades, revivals and political legislation have accomplished in the two centuries of our nation and two millenniums of regulated orthodox enforcement.
There seem to be two fundamental approaches to Christian practice in our day and age. One is the social construct of churches and their potential for group achievement. Many practicing Christians will find sufficient satisfaction only in this context and that will be, in my opinion, a good thing.
The other fundamental approach is that of Mystical Christianity. Many practicing Christians hunger for something more powerfully spiritual in their lives. For them the Holy Spirit does not come in flashes during exceptionally powerful moods of righteousness or good deed. Rather, constant awareness of the Holy Spirit, of communion and oneness with God are part of their deepest desires.
The world needs both – not to be saved by the ultimate religion of the greatest truth, but to be enhanced by an exemplar of organized social achievement on the one hand and by personal spiritual invigoration, experience and inspiration on the other.
We need not be imperial with an idea of bringing the world to Christ.
We need to stop pretending that the world is that to which Adam and Eve were banished.
Rather, we must recognize that the world we have is that from which in God’s wisdom, Adam and Eve were sent.
Like that marvelous couple, we must realize that we are not only in the world, but of the world. If we do so, we will seek, find and be one with our Father, the God of Compassion; the God proclaimed by Jesus the Christ.
Who are those most offended by knee-taking as a genuine, civic and even patriotic expression of concern about what Americans are aware of or ignore?
Drugstore Patriotism: The wearing of one’s prideful ego, narcissistic posturing and nationalistic foolishness on one’s sleeve in order to be seen, in order to be heard and in order to grind a particularly mindless ax.
To those who are quagmired into a belief that taking a knee is only about a song and a flag: It’s the lies that kill.
The remembering will go on for lifetimes long after the acrimony and partisan politics have faded. The legacy of public drugstore patriotism will be an ongoing and painful confusion for many of the same reasons that caused a shift in American civic awarenes during the VietNam War.
Wannabe “peace celebrities” are on their soap boxes with “We-are-too-polarized-to-communicate-so-we’ve-got-to-stop-challenging” brand of pop-psycho-pretend-statesmanship blather. It’s still too early for that. That time is not here yet. For all sides – not just one – the time to start acting peaceful, regretful and anxious that we stop talking nasty is now.
I don’t know how many citizens slept thru civics class, let alone even included such a class in their maturation process. I do know that constant bellowing at the electorate on how they should vote is about as effective as bellowing at the store shoppers outside a box store the day after Thanksgiving. Aren’t we all bellowed out and tired of being bellowed at? Bellowing as a form of educating someone else on how they should vote is the tired and proven Democratic path to loss of elections. Democrats are still learning this lesson.
Genuinely pissing all voters off is where it’s at.
There is nothing more powerful in arousing a national sense of indignation than to have a bunch of mom and pop towns and villages start waking each other up with infectious resolutions. That will outdo political educating and bellowing every time. The answers to the questions of why are more transparent, obvious and politically rancid.
PBS has an awesome series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick entitled The VietNam War. I don’t recommend you watch it. I demand that you do so. You’ll see and learn more truth about both sides of the conflict than you might think. You’ll also understand more about governments that mostly tell you what it wants you to think – not know – in pursuit of an agenda. You may come to suspect that drugstore patriotism begins at the highest levels of government and is dispersed throughout the country by a media seeking profit, not wise civic awareness.
Who are our most precious citizens now when it comes to talking with experience about military service and what it means to be a genuine patriot? Real veterans, not the pretend kind. Among them let’s have more veterans who have banded together and taken a stand; who’ve spoken out and continue speaking – who in fact refuse to be silenced; and whose respect the current leadership in both parties has lost completely as they focus on the drugstore kind of audience.
When precious national blood is sacrificed and reason demands justification, shallow partisan politics seriously wound the fabric of all families in America. The time to speak out has never been more critical. Voices … it’s our time to tell the leadership, regardless of which party, that this drugstore tragedy must stop as soon as possible.
Not one more citizen need die to preserve the lies. It’s the lies that kill.
The lie that the correct side is only my side kills.
The lie that disagreement with me means you aren’t on the right side kills.
The notion that I’m right and you are wrong and nothing good will happen until you admit you’re wrong and I am right is a winning tactic for debates … I suppose … where a referee says, “Yup, that guy with that argument is the smartest.” It’s also a lie that can kill.
Limiting yourself to the drugstore patriotism doesn’t go too far in any wider venue where your pretend posture has become the cheapest, most demeaning and diminishing turd regarding the value of every human life.
A presidency or a party with intellectually foppish projects and a parade of presidential wannabes who attempt to don some sort of wise-statesman cap and gown have worn this particular fabric so transparently thin as to offer the American electorate nothing but pure intellectual insult.
Drugstore patriotism says NFL rather human dignity and the national sorrow of racism. Drugstore patriotism says NFL rather than Puerto Rico.
Drugstore patriotism says tavern talk rather than sincere discourse.
“In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. To criticize one’s country is to do it a service … Criticism, in short, is more than a right; it is an act of patriotism – a higher form of patriotism, I believe, that the familiar rituals and national adulation … My question is whether America can overcome the fatal arrogance of power.” –
J. William Fulbright
“On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.
Is not nationalism — that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder — one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?
These ways of thinking — cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on — have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.” – Howard Zinn, July, 2007
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
A church is suing the Trump administration, claiming it can’t perform one of its religious duties. That duty is resettling refugees, and the suit comes from the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia in Washington state. Will James of member station KNKX reports.
Regarding the homeless …
the poor …
and right now particularly, the veterans.
If we can’t see them they don’t exist in our moral conscience.
They are subject to priorities governed by agency number crunchers
… governed by legislatures driven by political considerations and misguided perceptions of how the public feels about it’s military society and its poorest segment of society.
Welfare reform as legislated nationally by the self-righteous political thugs a la Gingrich-America-contractors in the mid 1990’s was in some ways cynical – primarily driven by negative images designed and created by the framing forefathers of partisan swift-boat crowd that can turn Johnny Appleseed into Oil Can Henry.
a single mother standing in the grocery checkout line with a child sitting in the grocery cart and with food stamps in her hand
… surrounded by presumptuous non-food-stamp patrons smug in awareness of being “better-than” and resentful of that young mother
who probably cheated on her application in order to qualify for food assistance.
Furthermore, I’ve met smug Daddies who have bragged about their sons’ studhood; their procreative ability to seduce girls but then dodge responsibility and accountability when that stud-ness results in conception;
… jerk baby-boomer-aged blowhards who actually insist that the slut who lured their wunderkind son into bed deserved what happened. Despite birthing his grandchild she deserved nothing from their son but contempt.
Except when after the child is born they sometimes push their sons into courtrooms for custody of what might be their only grandchild.
What happens in a society when a father teaches his son irresponsibility and that it’s okay to whisper anything necessary in the dark in order to get the clothes off?
And then find the junior-high-level maturity of that lover-boy stud in a tavern bragging pridefully about how they did it while whining indignantly when the Division of Child Support comes knocking.
Single pregnant females of course are accountable and responsible for their pregnancy as well as the males. But we as a society tend very much to blame the mothers almost entirely, look the other way regarding a criticism of the father because he’s out of sight and therefore out of mind.
That’s the same sort of thing that drives public apathy toward the homeless.
And don’t get me started about churches who get all straining and diahhretic about what gays are doing but don’t pour out of their churches and into the street in moral outrage about how a nation stays bereft of real morale values while worshipping consumption.
Prayers to the God of War
The two great commandments, (Love God and love your neighbors) require that you not see your neighbors through the eyes of your government, your politicians and most especially your religions and your preachers.
Talk is never cheap …
nor are hyperbolic and belligerent writings … not in 2008 during a campaign … and not now.
“September 12, 2008
BILL MOYERS:Welcome to the Journal.How ugly will it get?
… the American author Oliver Wendell Holmes said that language is sacred, and wrote that its abuse should be as criminal as murder. He called it “verbicide”…violent treatment of a word with fatal results to its legitimate meaning…”
America has yet to make “verbicide” a hanging offense. Indeed under the First Amendment guarantee of free speech, pretty much anything goes. There are some limits — Holmes’ son was the Supreme Court justice who noted in a famous opinion that you cannot falsely shout fire in a crowded theater. That’s because words have consequences and not just in politics.
People in Knoxville, Tennessee, are asking if one of those consequences could be murder. Our correspondent Rick Karr traveled there to investigate. Let me warn you — some of the language you’ll hear is graphic, provocative and downright raw.
RICK KARR: On a steamy Sunday morning in July a man armed with a twelve-gauge shotgun burst into this church in Knoxville, Tennessee and opened fire. Seconds later, one person lay dead, another mortally wounded, and six injured.
…Police said that he told them “that all liberals should be killed … because they were … ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country’s hands in the war on terror and … ruined every institution in America….”
REVEREND CHRIS BUICE: The man who walked into this sanctuary on July 27th was armed with a gun but he was also armed with hatred, he was armed with bitterness, he was armed with resentments, he was armed with indiscriminate anger. He was armed in body and spirit.
I watched again Bill Moyers’ review of the Tennessee Church murders (2008) where a man influenced by long-time vilification of liberals as everything from political traitors to persons who are not human and in need of extermination.
That would be me … some who has – among other social attitudes – an admitted liberal perspective. But also someone who has no self-accusing sense that I deserve extermination – particularly at the hands of someone hypnotized by liars.
We know which liars don’t we?
The ones who imply that liberals are sub-human and less worthy than radical self-named “conservatives.” Many of these are tragic people who in reality have become pawns in a political battle. They’ve compliantly accepted someone else’s mass-issued value judgments – “values” that ought to have no place in churches that profess a relationship with “the living God and Christ Jesus” as someone recently said to me.
I consider myself an active spiritual human being – not liberal and not conservative – but one trying to include Jesus’ God of Compassion in how I approach life. I flat out disagree with any who somehow believe the Jesus was a social conservative and that He taught that wealth is a sign of God’s favor or disfavor.
I see nothing in His words that even suggests that political conservatism is equal to godliness. Social conservatives tend to think of themselves as “optimists” in wordage that smacks of self-righteousness – the sort of prayerful pride portrayed by Jesus in Luke:
God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Speaking then in terms of what actually amounts to free-market religious capitalism, these supposed religious economic experts equate conservatism to a willingness to work; that a willingness to work is more naturally present in the socially and politically conservative mind.
A liberal mind, in this regard, must be lazy – but not too lazy to be working hard to get something for nothing. The whole point then suggests strongly that productivity as a spiritual test has to do with the self-proclaimed attribute of industriousness and self-reliance driven by political philosophy.
Apparently one must not be able to be industrious, self-reliant or contribute to the overall national well-being if one has liberal thoughts.
In that regard, I ask about the greatest evangelical conservative self-publicizers who have enriched themselves by merely talking about work, industry, and the spiritual efficacy of hard work. They have enriched themselves through talk and promises, all the time waiting for someone else to send them money …
Espousing the religious free-market system, political evangelical talking points emphasize the primacy of people needing to take personal initiative and work towards achieving self-support and self-reliance.
Good ideas, but not particularly applicable when explained by the self-righteous as necessary in a society that blindly worships and believes the American economy is actually based on universal free-market opportunity, participation and competition. This admirable view also only makes conservative sense if one believes in an imaginary cookie-cut world where each and every soul is identical in ability, potential and circumstance.
That such a world does not exist seems to mean little to folks bent on self-serving justifications for defending themselves against those of us who would criticize their judgmental minds and question their degree of genuine compassion. Having equated liberalism as giving away the economic farm to those who are lazy and refuse to contribute, many who deem themselves social conservatives have accepted the liberal straw man spawned out of talk show and talking-points propaganda.
Lazy refusers-to-contribute come defined by all sorts of social attitudes. However, in my professional experience as a social worker in the public assistance system, the more outspoken among the lazy are those who describe themselves as “conservative” and who blindly insist that they would work if immigrants, other minorities or the crooked poor had not stolen their jobs.
Someone has certainly made available to these souls that which they assume is justifiable vindication of their own laziness.
Such “conservatives” have always run afoul of Christian teachings and historical practices of honest, love-based charity that intends in its acts practices of love, compassion and generosity. The conservative idea of charity seems to limit itself to determining just who might qualify as the “worthy poor.”
The “worthy poor” are the poor defined by publicity-minded social conservatives as those toward whom measured and tight-fisted conservative charity will bring the greatest public rewards to the givers, not the receivers … those charity cases that will drive up production, prices and CEO bonuses.
Such is the precise hypocrisy described in the Sermon – acting publicly to be seen by others as righteous.
When a conservative quotes the old proverb
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day — teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,”
the twist to this is that all who do not know how to fish, have insufficient resources to fish, or do not live near a fishing hole may be given –through genuine conservative morality – two loaves and seven fishes; and that’s all. A conservative’s duty to charity has been met.
“We told you how to fish and it isn’t our problem if you have no boat, don’t know how to build one and have to go fishing from your wheel chair. Now show some initiative!”
According to conservative propagandists, liberal ideology reveals in its thinking a version of government that is overly generous and that exercises far too much compassion on behalf of it’s citizens.
These propagandists insist that government can actually and with confidence hand off the compassion obligation to everyone else. A nation of compassionate conservative citizens will take care of our own poor “privately” through altruistic compassion – the very attribute of liberal social justice that they themselves seem to oppose.
There aren’t enough compassionate conservatives among us who have demonstrated the validity of this particular notion.
Free-market capitalism by definition is opposed to such a notion since aggressive competitiveness underlies any ability of the market to provide affordable whatevers to the populace.
An economic bottom-line theology would never permit giving away all one has – as Jesus suggested – to help the poor without a consideration for turning a profit; perhaps even getting a receipt for the willing and faith-based donation as proof to God of one’s goodness.
If among social conservatives there is such a massive compassion, why would we ever encounter a single mother with a food assistance card in the grocery store?
If her full time minimum-wage job won’t pay living expenses and feed her children at the same time, what would an ideal generous and altruistic social conservative do about that?
What happens most of the time is an almost whispered declaration that she somehow deserves her lot because economic and religious free-market politics says God expects her to succeed to self-reliant mode all on her own faith and initiative.
If a conservative wants to teach someone to fish, rather than give away a fish – which apparently is so repulsive – what harm would there be in some evangelical hero stepping forward and hiring that single mother who is willing to work, but paying her twice the minimum wage as long as she works hard?
Couldn’t do that for everybody?
Then why make public insistence in the holiness of godly conservative free-market hypocrisy that such is possible and that generous citizens will do so?
I may be wrong, but I seriously doubt that the Living God and Christ Jesus would proudly pat the self-interested purveyors of social and political stinginess on their tiny little minds and say,
“Well done thou good and faithful servant.”
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