Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Religion & Nuclear Energy

"Religion is the most dangerous energy source known to humankind. The moment a person (or government or religion or organization) is convinced that God is either ordering or sanctioning a cause or project, anything goes. The history, worldwide, of religion-fueled hate, killing, and oppression is staggering."
—Eugene Peterson
(from the introduction to the book of Amos in the Bible paraphrase The Message)

Check it Out: Is Nuclear Power the Answer?

Deport the Stranger & Create Orphans

A recent raid in Ohio rounded up 160 illegal aliens. What were these hoodlums doing? They were working for one of our nations largest poultry suppliers. They were trying to make a living for their families, many of which are now displaced:

"A day after one of the largest workplace immigration raids in Ohio, the Hispanic community in Cincinnati's suburbs was scrambling to track down missing family members and arrange care for children whose parents were caught up in the raid." *

These aren't dogs. We can't just lock them up, deport them, and pat ourselves on the back at the end of the day for a job well done. These are people who are trying to provide a better life for their kids. Kids who are now wondering where their parents are. Local law enforcement doesn't feel it is their responsibility to make sure these kids are o.k. i understand that laws are there for a purpose. That purpose is defeated when we don't consider the bigger picture or fail to treat human beings as such.

From a scriptural perspective i wonder God thinks of our treatment of the "stranger", "sojourner" or "alien". What would he think about our tearing families apart and creating orphans? Here's what Sheriff Jones thinks about it:

'Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones, known for his tough stance against illegal aliens and a longtime advocate for enforcement of immigration laws, said he was "pleased" by the results of the multijurisdictional law-enforcement initiative.

"This is what can happen when we all work together," Sheriff Jones said. "This is how the system should work. I fully expect that efforts like today's will continue. To those companies that employ illegal aliens, I say: 'Take heed. You could be next.' " *

i wonder what God would say to Sheriff Jones.

i applaud the efforts of those churches that have become sanctuaries for the sojourner and aliens among us. Acting not simply in accordance with the law, but with the spirit of the law of God.

Perhaps we should let the Native Americans determine who the immigrants are and deport whoever doesn't 'belong'. i'd like to hear them determine the status of Sheriff Jones.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Western Civilization

I think it would be a good idea.
Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization

Thursday, August 23, 2007

CNN: God's Warriors

i just finished watching CNN's God's Warriors. The series was well done. It focused on the fundamentalists of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. i've yet to watch the one on Islam yet, but so far the first two are available on YouTube.

i was so proud of my former pastor Greg Boyd. After showing all the Christian fundamentalists, they did a spot on Greg. It began with the caption "The Heretic". i couldn't have been prouder. Greg offered a sane voice to the conversation. He spoke of the first Iraq war, and how he cried when he saw thousands of Americans stand when the symbols of the American flag, three crosses, and fighter jets were all integrated. He said he realized that American Christianity had a deep problem when you can mix Jesus ("blessed are those who make peace) with machines of death and destruction and somehow think the two are meant to be merged.

Thank you Greg, for being a true prophet. They call you a heretic, but remember what God's people did to the prophets he sent to them.

Boyd clip from God's Warriors

Boyd's reflections on the clip

Saturday, August 18, 2007

ONE

i've recently joined the ONE campaign. They are working to address global poverty and injustices. They are an active and influential group that works hard to show people how they can get involved and make a difference. If you've always wanted to do something, but didn't know what you could do, check out ONE.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Directing Our Voices

It doesn't take a revolutionary to complain. All of us know exactly what is wrong with and in the world and can deliver a good speech about it. Some are more convincing than others. For instance, my childhood hero, Zack de le Rocha, organized a band and put a powerful political message to melody ("Mad-boy grips the microphone with a fist full of steel!") He woke me up to a world that existed outside myself, where wearing name brand shoes wasn't a crisis situation. i found out that there are gross atrocities occurring around the world and within my own nation that have been overlooked by a complacent, beneficiary people. i learned that there was a rage that dwelt inside of me.

"What, the land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy"

The only problem was that i didn't know what to do about it. So i complained and began to question things like Manifest Destiny, and whether the mass genocide of an entire people group was really God's will and blessing for me and those who looked like me. And i wondered how the Land of the Free could so readily enslave and oppress another entire people group. i wondered if we were still oppressing people groups. But i didn't know what to do about it.

Rage Against the Machine broke up after Zack decided it wasn't doing enough to put people into action for the causes most dear to his heart. But recently they've appeared together again on a number of occasions and have plans to continue to show up at special events. i wrote the band to encourage them to show others how to put their voice to action and show people how they can help bring about change.

To their credit, their website does contain a "Take Action" link showing local organizations and events people can rally with. This is a great first step. i too am learning how to do more than just complain. i believe people want to be part of making the world a better place. They just don't understand the issues or what they can do to effect change.

Let's help inspire people to take action

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sinead's Summa Theologica

Sinead O’Conner is releasing a new album called “Theology”. It is not a bash against God and religion, as we might expect from say…Alanis Morrissette or Tori Amos (both of whom I like). Instead it is a reclaiming and recapturing of a loving God.

It is a reaction against extremists of any religion, who portray God as ‘Wicked Judge’, war criminal, hate monger, side-taker, and generally disgruntled. Rather than complaining, Sinead works toward reclaiming, restoring, exonerating, recasting, reshaping our understanding of God. In essence, she is on a para-rescue mission to seek out and set God free from the prison of the fundamentalists, wherever and whoever they are.

God is Love

Thanks Sinead, for helping us reclaim anew an old concept.

An Introduction to Theology

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Broadening the Issues

Why do we let the politicians determine which issues are relevant to our faith? The Scriptures speak to a wide range of issues, beyond abortion and homosexuality. i am a bit suspicious that the Right keeps these two issues at the forefront, knowing that the issues will never be resolved, which means they'll always have their conservative supporters without having to actually resolve the issues. When both the House and the Senate are under Republican control and these issues still don't get resolved, you have to doubt that it will ever happen. Let's get beyond these two issues. Here's a quote i recently read:

We need to directly challenge the single-issue voting that comes from shrinking all our religious and moral values down to only one or two issues, and all candidates should be examined by measuring their policies against the complete range of Christian ethics and values. On that wider and deeper list of religious and moral values are poverty, the environment, war, truth-telling, human rights, our response to terrorism, and a “consistent ethic of human life” that included abortion, but also capital punishment, euthanasia, weapons of mass destruction, HIV/AIDS and other pandemics, and genocide around the world.

From: God's Politics