Posts Tagged ‘Sunday thoughts’

images-220Check out this article from Forward Progressives, which I found on one of my favorite blogs, Kissing Fish: Christianity for those who don’t like Christianity.

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Once the greed-driven have acquired and protected, they begin to covet. They are not satisfied with all they have; their eye is on all that they don’t have. (Luke 12:15)

Seems pretty straight forward.  Greed is perpetual.  The more one has, often the more they want.  Isn’t that exactly what we’ve seen in the past 30 years?  Isn’t this what Trickle Down Economics has given us?  In the past 30 years the top 1-5% has grown exponentially, never more so than in the last decade.  Yet what has it brought us?  Economic failure not seen in over 80 years.

images-219Millionaires crying out they need more.  To save our economy they must have—more.  Many of these same businesses that proved in the 90′s, with higher taxes, that they could experience historic economic growth now claim that higher taxes destroy growth.  They now claim economic prosperity isn’t obtainable at “job destroying” levels of taxation like we had in the 90′s—when we had historic economic growth.

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When we talk about the environment, about creation, my thoughts turn to the first pages of the Bible, the Book of Genesis, which states that God placed man and woman on earth to cultivate and care for it.  And the question comes to my mind: What does cultivating and caring for the earth mean? Are we truly cultivating and caring for creation? Or are we exploiting and neglecting it?

The popes have spoken of human ecology, closely linked to environmental ecology. We are living in a time of la-tot-cartoons-pg-ocean-acidification-killing-sea-life-we-are-culpritscrisis: we see this in the environment, but above all we see this in mankind … Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules. God our Father did not give the task of caring for the earth to money, but to us, to men and women: we have this task! Instead, men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the ‘culture of waste.’

Pope Francis to the crowds of pilgrims and visitors to St. Peter’s Square this week

He went on to stress what has become a recurrent theme for him: the contrast between how culture views the well-being of the financial world with the well-being and needs of the poor and the homeless.

If you break a computer it is a tragedy, but poverty, the needs, the dramas of so many people end up becoming the norm. If on a winter’s night, here nearby in Via Ottaviano, for example, a person dies, that is not news. If in so many parts of the world there are children who have nothing to eat, that’s not news, it seems normal. It cannot be this way! Yet these things become the norm: that some homeless people die of cold on the streets is not news. In contrast, a ten point drop on the stock markets of some cities, is a tragedy. A person dying is not news, but if the stock markets drop ten points it is a tragedy! Thus people are disposed of, as if they were trash.  Our grandparents used to make a point of not throwing away leftover food. Consumerism has made us accustomed to wasting food daily and we are unable to see its real value.  Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of those who are poor and hunger.

Since taking office in March, Pope Francis has said he wants the 1.2-billion-strong Roman Catholic Church to defend the poor and to practice greater austerity itself. He has also made several calls for global financial reform.  Around 1.3 billion tons of food, or one third of what is produced for human consumption, gets lost or wasted every year, according to the United Nations’ food agency.

If more Christians thought this way, the world would be a different place.

The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ:  all of us, not justimages-143 Catholics,Everyone!  “Father, the atheists?”  Even the atheists.  Everyone!  And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class!  We are created children in the likeness of God, and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all!  And we all have a duty to do good.  And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace.  If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter.  We need that so much.  We must meet one another doing  good.  “But I don’t believe, Father.  I am an atheist!”  But do good:  we will meet one another there.

Pope Francis

Not everyone who is saying to me Lord, Lord shall come into the reign of Heaven; but the one who is doing the will of my father who is in the heavens.

Jesus

By Roger Ray, of The Emerging Church

images-133Michael Dowd, the author of “Thank God for Evolution” is one of the most internationally distinguished graduates of Evangel University. He and his wife, a science journalist, have made it their life’s work to travel, write and teach about the inevitable connection between spirituality and science. He sometimes makes me a bit uncomfortable in his dismissal of ancient religious texts in favor of “scientific evidence as our new scripture.” But my discomfort comes from feeling like a dinosaur with an awful lot of education in those ancient texts but I bow to the inevitable truth that rational evidence will take the place of all a priori truths.

Where religion sets itself up in opposition to science, religion is writing its own epitaph. As I have watched the debate between pastors on this page regarding matters of sexual orientation the words of Shakespeare’s Macbeth keep coming to mind because the debate seems to me to be, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Some people are gay. Some people are straight. Those are just the facts and religion cannot change thatimages-132 reality. I was asked several years ago to take a vote in the church I was serving to become officially “open and affirming.” My response was, “What would it mean if the board voted against that resolution? Would our gay members suddenly stop being gay because they didn’t have board approval?” A church can no more effectively vote on sexual orientation than they can vote on gravity. Churches that hope to have a future must deal with reality not superstition.

I am deeply sorry for the discrimination that same sex couples have suffered at the hands of conservativeChristians but, when conservative Christians have gone the way of the “Flat Earth Society” there will still be gay people and straight people. Still, as I have pointed out in conversation with Michael Dowd, a recent Gallop Poll (uselectionatlas.org) showed that 51% of Southerners and 49% of us in the Midwest still believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. The percentages on the east and west coasts are somewhat less discouraging but the numbers across the United States call into doubt the efficacy of our science teachers. It may be a tribute to conservative churches that they can restrain the beneficial effects of a century of science education in half of the population but this denial of reality cannot last much longer.

images-131It doesn’t matter if you put ten thousand people in a giant “Six Flags Over Jesus” church, beat drums, shout, dance, speak in tongues, listen to impassioned and tearful sermons and come away absolutely convinced that the earth is flat because, dear readers, the earth is not flat. You can put a million people in a church and wave ancient texts over your heads that were written by people of faith who did not know where the sun goes at night but who told you that homosexuality is a sin and it still doesn’t change anything. Some folks are straight and some are gay. Now, many gay people have been manipulated by religious fear and guilt into trying to live in a straight relationship and that unnatural circumstance leads to miserable marriages, spouse abuse, alcoholism and suicide but it never changed one gay person into being straight anymore than the Flat Earth Society managed to change the shape of the planet. In my estimation, the best religion deals with what is true and not what is clearly false.