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Nov. 28th, 2009

overlook

Happy Angst-giving!

Stripped of propaganda, hypocrisy and historical revisionism, the story of "thanksgiving" is thus:

European pilgrims came to this nation looking for a place filled with opportunities. Some came for religious freedom. Some came to start over. But all came with the hopes of prosperity. Upon arriving, the pilgrims found an abandoned village which soon became their own settlement. It was hard work building a new life and their Calvinistic work ethic wasn’t enough to carry them through. Thankfully, they made friends with a local who already spoke English (Squanto) because he had learned the language while serving as a slave to Europeans abroad. Squanto helped these early colonists survive.

As time passed, the settlers formed an uneasy peace with the Wampanoag nearby, who at that time numbered at least 12,000. But in the years that followed, they were almost wiped out,, like many other peoples, suffering genocide under self-proclaimed "Christians" who longed to fulfill their "Manifest Destiny". As their numbers increased, the Native population decreased. Our “blessings” came at great price for those who previously dwelt these lands.

The Thanksgiving holiday, although held for many years, was popularized in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln.

According to Lincoln:
Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

However, truth be told, when we believe that such abundance comes from the will of God, rather than through our own sins, we sanction our evil. Now, that isn’t to say that we should not be thankful for the blessings we have received. It is to say, however, that if we are going to be thankful, we must also be angstful. We must lament and repent for the ways in which our affluence has come unjustly. If we believe that the various empires who oppressed the Israelites deserved their judgment, yet overlook the same abuses by "America", we are living in a double-standard that God, immutable as He is, does not share.

In the writings of the early disciples, blessing is rarely ever tied to material wealth. In fact, it is often the poor who are called "blessed". We are told to be content because of things such as suffering and persecution and salvation.

So let this day be one where we see without illusions, where we lament the sins of the nations in which we reside as we honestly thank Jesus for those things that are truly blessings from Him.

See "No Thanks To Thanksgiving" by Robert Jensen

Nov. 10th, 2009

jesus stencil

Good News For Whom?

For disciples of Jesus, there are guiding ethics (i.e. enemy love, non-violence, love for God and neighbor, care for the earth, the poor, the orphan, the widow, the stranger etc.) that if not practiced stagnate the Christian way of life from its intended and earliest forms into dismal misconceptions. If we do not put into practice these ethics, it transforms our entire attempt into a contemptible facade (read: "religion"). We cannot afford to neglect our mandate to care for the poor, the universe or to participate in a loving activism toward all others. These are examples that Jesus set before the church, that we were intended to follow. These ethics are present and have precedent in the earliest Christian writings and history and can be found throughout church history.

The Gospel literally means ‘good news’; in its original Koine Greekeuangelion’. The Gospel is God’s good news to the suffering, the dominated, the oppressed, the victimized and the marginalized persons in this world. The church, as most Christians understand it in the United States, is the body of believers both locally and globally who are to act as ambassadors and participants in Kingdom of God. The church is entrusted with the ‘good news” and is to proclaim and live out that good news. This Gospel is good news because it doesn’t merely rely on information; it is supposed to foster and provide solidarity and reconciliation between God and us and then between each other. The Gospel is an announcement that the way in which the world is currently is not the way in which it is supposed to be, nor the way in which it will always be.

The Gospel is God’s loving, forgiving, exciting, shocking, counter-cultural announcement that our world is not the world. It is an announcement to those who are always falling behind, who can’t get it all together on their own. Its the Good News that all the marks that this world tells us are important really aren’t that important, that we were created to love and to be loved; "to worship God and enjoy Him forever".

anarchist chef

Favorite quotes this week

"Obsessive compulsive people get it done right the first time--other people have to do it over and over again."

"The only difference between martyrdom and suicide is the press coverage!"

Nov. 7th, 2009

overlook

Contradictions, inspired by Leo Tolstoy

Most of us live in flat contradiction to, as disciples of Jesus, all we know, and all we regard as vital. This contradiction runs through everything, in economic, political, and interethnic activities.

It was ancient humans who lived in societies based on the division of humanity into masters and slaves, because they believed such a distinction was divine and must always exist. They believed they had the right to enjoy the good things of the planet at the expense of others, and to keep them in subjection for generations, since they believed humanity came from different origins, were base or noble in blood. They believed that they, as part of their particular national or even ethnic group were the only true humans.

But we, as disciples taught to live as our God lived incarnate, cannot believe such things and therefore cannot live as most do.

"Do not be conformed to the world, but rather be transformed by the renewing of your minds."
(Romans 12:2)

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Oct. 1st, 2009

fascism warning

A little riot porn from the G20 protests in Pittsburgh, 2009

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Sep. 30th, 2009

jesus stencil

Ubuntu

In the paper, "Justice: The Order that Love Requires", put out by Justice Ventures International, the author stated, "Love can never do less than justice. It can only do more."

Try to put yourself in each of the following three vignettes, imagining what your initial reaction and desired reaction would be to each:

1. You walk past a homeless person
2. You hear of a massive crisis on the other side of the planet
3. A close friend is having a crisis

Now ask yourself:

What is an act of godly justice in response to this event?
What is an act of godly love in response to this event?

For me, concerning the homeless person, a "just" response might be to get him off the streets and into a charity shelter, while a "loving" response might be to bring him into my guest room at home to live with me and share dinner, being careful to make clear that my motivations for sharing my home and food have nothing to do with my own kindness, but rather stem from how much Jesus has done for me and my resulting desire to share it with as many others who will listen.

It is possible to seek "justice" but not do it in love. In other words, the most "just" response might not be the most loving. Who are we to even insist that the homeless person leave the streets and become a "normal" citizen like us though? It isn't an issue of morality.

Concerning local and global crises, there also seems to be a disconnect. It seems much easier to think of helping the homeless person (but honestly how many of you actually do--or do you not rather try to switch lanes or walk a different way--all to avoid the uncomfortableness of their situation?). But, regardless, it is much more difficult to think of what you can do in the wake of a tsunami, famine, war or government taking power and brutalizing a people. The Christian Peacemaker Teams and similar groups who actually board a plane, go to the affected areas and attempt to love people (and actually care for them) come to mind. The internet has also helped in making direct connection to individuals involved in global crisis more realistic. But there seems to be an ambivalence from knowing of crisis after crisis, day after day after day, not to mention our, coming from industrial commercialized states, personal complicity in some crises (unconscious consumption).

It also occurs to me that if I stand in solidarity with the homeless person or immerse myself in the suffering of those in an international crisis but ignore my close friend in trouble--then I am in serious error.

Jesus' love restores us to Himself and to each other. Sitting down to counsel a friend who is going through heartache is no less an act of justice or love than helping a homeless person or traveling to an impoverished country.

"Whatsoever you do to the least of these, you do to me,"
-Jesus


"If one of you tells them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled;' and yet you didn't give them the things the body needs, what good is it?" (James 2:16)

Sep. 21st, 2009

anarchist chef

A Doctor's advice on what to do if They force you to take an H1N1 vaccine

The following was composed by Dr. Russell Blaylock as a method to reduce autoimmune reactions to the flu vaccines only. Do not use this if you have the flu itself. These are just general observations and not medical advice.Read...Collapse )

Sep. 17th, 2009

light asleep

In this my time of dying (well part of me anyway)

"Time of Dying"

On the ground I lay
Motionless in pain
I can see my life flashing before my eyes
Did I fall asleep?
Is this all a dream
Wake me up, I'm living a nightmare

I will not die
I will survive

I will not die, I'll wait here for you
I feel alive, when you're beside me
I will not die, I'll wait here for you
In my time of dying

On this bed I lay
Losing everything
I can see my life passing me by
Was it all too much
Or just not enough
Wake me up, I'm living a nightmare

I will not die
I will survive

I will not die, I'll wait here for you
I will not die while your beside me
I will not die, I''m waiting for you
In my time of dying
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Sep. 16th, 2009

jesus stencil

Thoughts on Christian participation in the conservative "revolution"

Lately there has been quite a bit of impassioned and downright angry activity by political conservatives, many of whom consider themselves Christians, against the policies of President Barrack H. Obama, especially concerning socialized healthcare, wanton economic waste, and ever more intrusive government activities. Such sentiments have been most recently expressed in the April 15th tax-day "TEA parties", the townhall protests across the U.S., and the astounding 2 million march on Washington, D.C.

The people who organize and attend these events are largely hardworking, unpopularly patriotic and most of all, fed up with the way things have been conducted under President Obama (despite the fact that he has merely continued the same policies orchestrated under former President George W. Bush).
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Sep. 11th, 2009

overlook

People Who Have Questions About 9/11 (Cont. Part 2)

The rest of the people who have officially questioned the state publicized account of the events of September 11, 2001.

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