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Archive for August, 2012

“God will protect us from bad things” & American Nationalism #rape #freemarket #climate #OWS

August 24, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

This whole rape can’t cause pregnancy thing has me thinking abou the tentacles of this current of “God will protect us from ourselves” mentality of the right wing (both the political and the theological).  The notion that God won’t let pregnancies happen from rape is a form of this.  The “free market fundamentalism” is a form of this (and also,  not coinicidentally,  a very convenient justification/”have at it”  kind of attitude to “let it all hang out” and it will all come out  in the wash.  Consequences are but “collateral damage” in light of the “greater good for everybody” (“everybody” here is simply code for the ones considered as somebodies,  as opposed to those who don’t count).  And then there’s the environment and global climate change.  Same deal.  I wrote a blog post last week lambasting this attitiude as put forth so clearly in a WIRED article trying to knock down climate change and lumping it with a history of other things that “didn’t happen”.  I

I have heard people use this same line of thinking regarding our financial issues in the United States.  We even made it out of the depression.  The bottom didn’t fall out.  we worked it out”.  But what happpens when the political will to “work it out” is just not there?  What happens when the power of those who like their situation becomes so great that they have the effectual power to prevent the measures of those who ARE ACTUALLY trying  to work it out with REAL SOLUTIONS?  At  least some ACTUAL attempts at solutions?  The RW (and thier oligarchic backers)  would have us stop all this “class warfare” of “accusations” and “unite  the country” like it was “back when Jefferson was a fundamentalist Christian” (courtesy David Barton)

This is a serious problem of casting God as a cosmic fall-back to prevent us from destroyiing ourselves.  If all this bad shit can’t possibly happen,  then what is one to think of the Holocaust?  (that’s the most obvious caveat to this).  But this is rampant in our politics now.  I am reminded of Jeremiah’s warning to the religious leaders of his day.  He warned them not to take refuge  in “We are the People of the Lord,  the People of the Lord,  the People of the Lord”  (you can just hear the sarcastic tone he must have used to say this dripping from repitition of the phrase).  Being God’s people does not shield from consequences.  Becuase if you think it does,  then you are even more likely to suffer the consequences of that.

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“Radical Individualism Has Failed” Reflection on @BrianMerritt ‘s “Death of Justice” #occupychurch #OWS

August 24, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

Brian Merritt has written an excellent OccupyTheology sermon.  The only thing I dont like about it is that there are too many great things in it I want to quote in full.

 I am told by a prepackaged and consumeristic society that there are non-threatening and easy answers to societal’s ills.  The reality is that recycling will not save the planet, voting for a Democrat will not stop war, a personal boycott will not stop homophobia, driving an expensive fuel efficient car will not reduce your footprint and eating expensive local produce will not help farming.  These are false and unbiblical views of salvation.  Sin is often seen as corporate and the solution to it is often catastrophic and radical.

That last line is key, I think.  “Sin is often seen as corporate and the solution to it is often catastrophic and radical”.  We in America often are led to believe that simply by “casting a vote” that we can change things.  Aside from that becoming ever more UNTRUE,  it has never been as simple as that.  As MLK said, ” the powerful do not give up their positions of power voluntarily”  And the systems they have painstakingly put into place and shaped have become ingrained,  and opinions have been molded to support these structures.  They don’t crumble without hell to pay.  This is why Occupy hasn’t “failed”.  It’s only just begun.  It may well be that this “lull” is stepping back to take stock of the strength of the system against which they have dared to question.  It truly isnt going to be easy.  And it will take a much more widespread and localized building of communities of resistance.  the Civil Rights movement learned this.  They built,  over many years,  a massive landscape of “Beloved Communities”.  But it seems the key here is “many years”.  That’s what it often takes.  Community takes years.  Community doesn’t have an incubation period.  It is always in the process  of being born.

A few other gems from Brian’s sermon:

Believing that we can individually change the world is truly unbiblical

individual salvation … plays well in a consumeristic culture

Amen to that.   Individual  salvation is the gnostic heresy of our day.  It truly takes the embodiment out of the  picture,  and buries it “inside”,  where it can be shielded and uninformed by the flesh and blood struggles,  as if the two can be separated.  And the consumerisitc culture likes it this way.  This individualistic spirituality makes for good citizens,  especially if it can be recast ithe  image of the dominant values of our  culture,  and deemed “Christian America”.  And those who speak the language can ,  by their words,  forward the dominant values in the guise of  Christian values.  This is the Religious Right.

[Justice] won’t come from the right or left, but from people who are forging their commitments to each other

It took me  years to really let this realization sink in.  James KA Smith wrote (writes) about it in his books . Stanley Hauerwas became my ecclesia-priest,  speaking and writing of the church as that body which contains us “resident aliens”,  and that no true spirituality can incubate apart  from it.

It is high time for those of us in the church to proclaim that radical individualism has failed

And this is a primary Occupy Theology dogma (yes,  I insist upon it) .  The Occupy movement even recognizes the indispensability of the community.  It is the incubator of resistance.  And the secular Occupy movement has trumped most of American spirituality in this way.  There are invaluable insights on what we have missed in the American church.  As Brian says, “it is high time for the church to proclaim that radical individualism has failed”.  Before I secured the domain, occupytheology,  I had sought occupychurch.  Because  for me,  this is my focus.  Radical individualism has  failed.  Has been failing.  Has always failed.  This is why,  from the beginning,  God calls apart a people.

GOP Chair in Franklin Co. Ohio on Early Voting Cutbacks: “Urban Voting turnout machine” not worth “accomodating”

August 22, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

Franklin County (Columbus) GOP Chair Doug Preisse :

I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—(read African-American)—voter-turnout machine

Apparently,  Mr. Priesse seems to think that the “voter turnout machine” is somehow a form of cheating,  since he doesn’t consider them worthy of “accomodatation” to vote.  He baiscally is defending the idea of keeping their “turnout”  from having its impact;  keeping it fropm happening wherever they can.  Statements like this that belie their phony justifications and show them for what they are:  cynical. racist dismissals of VOTING RIGHTS.  He is revealing his defense of the disregard these people have for the process (however broken this process is in so many ways due to the money influence, it still has to be protected if this country is to meet standard one of what they claim is a democracy).

The worst form of optimism: Argue “because its never happened yet” via @Wired

August 18, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Theoblogical

Matt Ridley (WSJ,  which explains a lot from the  outset) cover story in the most recent WIRED: Apocalypse NOT.

He says “Get a grip”.  HE needs to do that,  since his entire article is spent talking about previous apocalyptic warnings that didn’t come to pass.  But then on the climate change issue,  where everyone that’s worried say that time is running out,  Ridley lists several inane arguments about how “many are saying”  (and he doesn’t quote scientists,  and includes ZERO of the ACTUAL signs that back up the DATA being given to us BY SCIENTISTS  — and THEY do in fact,  HAVE DATA,  which he conveniently ignores in favor of all his “hey,  it’s going to be  fine.  Chill.”   Pure baloney.

To proceed on cumulative courses with the argument that “we’ve always worked it out  somehow”  is dangerous,  deluded thinking.  The very nature of cumulative effects is that they get worse (which they are),  and they are denied by those who have interest in doing the things which are adding up to cause  the damage that is being done.  (Think “Noah’s contemporaries” and their derisive reactions to his warnings).  The argument Ridley makes is nonsensical in logical terms.   He argues “it’s never come to pass BEFORE” against warnings that aren’t addressing what has PREVIOUSLY HAPPENED.  Their warnings detail they way we are eroding the ecosystem,  which DOES have data to back it up,  and DOES HAVE SCIENCE regarding the LIMITATIONS (and data regarding the effects  of those limitations already in evidence).

I frankly don’t even know what this kind  of article has to do with the kinds of stories WIRED covers.  I suppose it was simply one of those pseudoscience articles they figured would be of interest to the more conservative ideological readers.    Flimsy.  Actually,  the subtitle of the article is backwards:

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry About End Times

No,  this kind of thinking is exactly why you should.

The Ryan Plan “Numbers” (Unspecified “revenues”) via @KrugmanNYTtimes

August 17, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

So, whenever you hear people talking about Ryan’s deficit reductions, bear in mind that over the first decade all of the alleged deficit reduction comes from revenue and spending numbers that are simply asserted, not the result of any policies actually described in the “plan”.

via What’s In The Ryan Plan? –

It’s just as Krugman says here. When Ryan says they “haven’t run the numbers yet”, he blows the lid off of what they are ACTUALLY masqueradng as “numbers”. And what are they? It’s the “assertions” made based on the dogma “it just does”. There’s “revenues” that magically occur from the tax cuts on the rich, without any corresponding numbers to back it up. So they start from the unsupportable trickle down nonsense, and use that “common sense” to flatly assert that “revenues happen”, which they incorporate into their plan.

All the claims of major deficit reduction therefore rest on the magic asterisks.

A “plan” that can only exist in a following that doesn’t care to or doesn’t know how to look at any actual numbers.  Only  listen to variations on the same economic myths which one now HAS to adopt if he is to be considered as Republican.  Sad indeed.