Thursday, October 4, 2007

First, I'm grateful that more than half of the miners trapped underground in Carletonville, South Africa, have been rescued. I pray that they all get out safely. Next, I know I've got comments I've not responded to, but, once more, please bear with me. We've been away. Before I play catch-up, though, I want to comment on a NY Times article today about “SECRET” government "ENDORSEMENTS" of "SEVERE INTERROGATIONS" (emphases mine) by US intelligence operatives. Ironic, since I watched "The Good Shepherd" on VCR a couple days ago. No point getting into the story, which is about the early CIA years. Enough to say that near the end, the audience are privy to a joke: we hear that the reason insiders refer, not to "the CIA", but to "CIA" without the "the" prefix, is much the same as the reason one refers, not to "the God" but to "God". Not fussing about blasphemy here. God is Cool and can take care of Godself. What I wonder is how anybody, let alone Christians, can stomach this devilish soup? How is it perfectly fine for Some People to treat Other People vilely and without regard for their worth as children of God, ostensibly to secure the safety of the aforementioned 'Some'? As far as I know, there is no religious teaching of any kind that says that any of us is NOT a child of God. One's clear obligation in charity to one's fellow human person has no caveat. For Christians, the teaching (Luke 6:27-8) is "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you...." As a person who believes the whole Jesus foolishness (First Cor 1:17), I find this duplicity both daring and dangerous. Still, it’s the inconsistency that needs to worry ALL of us, Christian or otherwise. How is anybody to trust anybody or believe anything when, on a matter as basic as the integrity and inviolability of the human person, there’s no widely advertised, consistently held moral position according to which states and individuals are accountable? There’s a notion out there that since the Body of Earth has held out this long, the environment will simply continue to take the battering we give it. That is supremely foolish. The same is true for the Societal Body. It won’t keep taking the beating we give it any more than the Earth will. And when we are overtaken by the Absolute Corruption of Absolute Power, it ain’t gonna be pretty. Selah.

9 comments:

FSJL said...

Pam, thanks for encapsulating many of the reasons why I am not a Xtian. American Protestant Xtianity (and Catholicism is not far behind) is a religion of power -- the power to tell people that they are immoral if they love each other, the power to claim that god speaks with an American accent, the power to assert that difference is sin. (Consider, for example, the love Sadie Fields, a leading figure on the Xtian right in this state, shows for her daughter: http://atheism.about.com/b/a/122886.htm)

God, you see, has forgiven them, so whatever they do cannot be wrong. God hasn't forgiven Muslims for being Muslim, gays for being gay, the poor for being poor, blacks for being black, and so on. Those whom god hasn't forgiven deserve to be punished. Just ask George, the man whose favourite political philosopher is Jesus (he said so himself), who, as we all know, ordered his followers to bomb, torture, gun down, and otherwise terrify the sinful in the name of love. The part about loving your neighbour as yourself being, clearly, a wicked Communist interpolation.

Blackgirl On Mars said...

Hello Pam, thanks for this. I added you as a link on my blog...I think you have really important stuff to say. Ricky (from Denmark) recommended you. Hope you stop by Blackgirl on Mars soon...stay strong and keep writing.
Hugs,
the lab

clarabella said...

Hi, Black Girl on Mars whose blog has shifted! Thanks for coming by and for the kind comments. I've visited you, more than once, and enjoyed the visits. When I'm not so pushed hard, and can properly appreciate, I shall leave a calling card! Thanks for the link to my blog. I've dropped behind on communication, as you can see. My husband's sis died, so we went to Jamaica for the funeral, then, as soon as we came back, we went off again to see the beautiful Zoey grandchild. The problem is we drop way behind on EVERYTHING when we go away, and so, like not-so-little hamsters, we're running full tilt all the time and staying in exactly the same place! Anyway, I'm off traveling again tomorrow, to see – guess who? Ricky from Copenhagen, and Adam Sebastian! I'll tell her we've talked. Stay well and warm, meantime. And stay in touch.

clarabella said...

Fragano:
Beg pawdon. Lang time me no say nutten. I want to respond to this comment though. It is necessary to differentiate between churches (believing, God-loving communities of people) and their governments, as much as it is necessary to distinguish between nations and THEIR governments. I admire and empathize with the people of Myanmar. I can't say the same for their government, however. THE Catholic Church and THE Protestant Churches must be understood as distinct from Those Communities of Christians who, Identify as Catholics and Protestants. Many of us are aware of this, though a lot of us aren't. The situation with Islam has obliged many Muslims to acknowledge that what their 'leaders' do in the name of their religion often has little to do with Islam, the Koran and Islamic teaching through the centuries. As for who God has forgiven – I think that is all of us. At least it's on offer, on the condition that we forgive one another. It's we who can't seem to be able to do that. It ain't easy sometimes, I admit, but it has to be done, or we will all be in a whole lot of trouble – not from a retributive God, but because hate, sustained, can only lead to bad results. As to those who maim and murder in the name of goodness and righteousness, there's a word: "Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind." Be well. You never told me what Trevor is up to, BTW?

FSJL said...

Pam, I have nothing but the deepest respect for you. I believe that you walk the walk, as they say.

However, while I believe, with Auden that we must love one another or die, I have yet to find religion does much to promote this.

Trevor is currently Dean of the School of Education at CAU, and I haven't seen him much since the beginning of the semester. I really got to know him a few years ago when we were part of an expedition to Nicaragua run by his wife.

clarabella said...

Fragano:
I don't use the word 'religion' much these days because it signifies so many different things to different people... Ergo a cult may be a religion and Anglicanism may be a religion and Christianity may be a religion... It's become rather an ugly word, I fear, ugly and divisive. A lot of people now speak of spirituality, but that word has its problems too. I begin to understand why some believers will not speak the name of their God. It seems increasingly an intelligent thing to do! Once we allow the familiarity to start, the Transcendent rapidly becomes earthbound and manipulable. Better to have one's mortal, limited condition continually emphasized. I'm very glad for Jesus in this respect, since he was a very human man, a decent man, a good man – easy to follow. And, for what it's worth, we are all of us following somebody, so I'd as well be following him. Not propagandizing, just sharing my way of looking at things.

FSJL said...

Sounds to me as if you're slipping into the Socinian heresy there.... :)

My position, well, consider this passage from the Analects of Confucius:

Tzu-lu put up for the night at the Stone Gate. The gatekeeper said, 'Where have you come from?' Tzu-lu said, 'From the K'ung family.' 'Is that the K'ung [Confucius]who keeps working towards a goal the realization of which he knows to be hopeless?'



I know you're not propagandising. I'm past redemption, I'm afraid.

clarabella said...

Have you ever heard of Tony De Mello? A Confucius type. God being the way God is, you are probably, willy nilly, already well on your way to installation in the heavenly courts. BTW, I don't see how I am slipping into the Socinian heresy. My soul will go on, and yours, re-installed in resurrected bodies in due course. The grease of grace to make that so was applied in the beginning.

FSJL said...

'Grease of grace'? The sound I hear is Augustine of Hippo turning in his grave.

Hmm. Pam, you've fallen into a completely different heresy: universalism!