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Christian Witness


Jeannot
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CHRISTIAN WITNESS

 

Jesus said the darnedest things, at least in Luke. He says to hate our parents, he curses the rich and blesses the poor. In fact, if you look at his words generally, you can see that he is given to hyperbole in order to make a point.

 

I have a quarrel with the witness of SOME Evangelicals, because sometimes it seems to be the program of the Republican Party rather than that of the Bible. They simply disregards certain pointed sayings of Jesus and instead prefers a Republican spin. Even tho Jesus indulged in hyperbole, yet he is making a point, the point that Cardinal Bernardin called “the preferential option for the poor.” You cannot serve God and Mammon (possessions).

 

Certainly the poor—or “destitute” in Greek—are not all saints, and they frequently commit the same sins we all do. And they too can be infected with greed. Nevertheless, they are the victims of social injustice, and to deny them such justice because they are sinners is to upset the whole Christian message. Wolfgang Stegemann says “The first followers of Jesus, like their master, were from the poor and hungry, not as the result of any renunciation of possessions but because in fact they possessed nothing.” He adds that this may be hard to take because social criticism then is “voiced not by ethically motivated heroes of renunciation but by probably very unattractive characters.”

 

Arer Jesus’ words against wealth are in the same category as his warnings against the pursuit of power and of physical pleasure. I believe they are, and they come under the rubric of “worldliness,” a fixation on “the things of this world.” As Jesus in John says, Satan is the prince of this world.

 

But Christians are called, in a sense, out of this world. They are to work for a world transfigured, the Kingdom of God. That is why I have great respect for the ideals of monasticism, whether of the East or West, with its vows and ideals of poverty, chastity and obedience—designed to fight our natural lust for wealth, sex, and power. Instead, their practice was ora et labora, pray and work.

 

I don’t think God or Jesus is either a liberal or a conservative. I think he is a radical. And Christians are called to be radicals. We disagree with one another all the time, of course, and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s done in the spirit of what St Paul calls agape, love or charity.

 

John Dominic Crossan sees the birth of Christianity taking place in the episodes in Luke where Jesus sends out first twelve, then seventy itinerant apostles (missionaries). Crossan makes a case that these are the homeless destitute being sent to the merely poor householders practicing subsistence farming. Both are victims of the political/religious power structure centered in Jerusalem, with satellites in such Galilean cities as Sepphoris and Tiberias.

 

The Jesus Seminar (!), BTW, said at least one good thing: “For Jesus, God’s kingdom is a modest affair, not obvious to the untutored eye. It offers little by way of earthly reward. Its demands are staggering. He apparently did not want it confused with traditional mundane hopes.”

 

Crossan also says that there was always dissension such as we have today in the Church: He speaks of the commercialization of Palestine under the Romans, and adds “That commercialization process set against one another those poor peasants who might be dispossessed tomorrow and those destitute peasants who had been dispossessed yesterday. It is these destitute landless ones and poor landed ones that the Kingdom of God movement brings together as itinerants and householders.”

 

“Compassion, no matter how immediately necessary or profoundly human, cannot substitute for justice, for the right of all to equal dignity and integrity of life. Those who live by compassion are often canonized. Those who live by justice are often crucified.”

 

IOW, almsgiving is restitution. As St Vincent de Paul said, “You must have great love for the poor in order that they may forgive you the bread that you given them.”

Edited by Jeannot
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You are so right. We have a right to freedom of speech. People should have a right to food and water. With our technology no one needs to go without food.

 

Jesus served the poor and oppressed people. If we want His communion with the Father, we will have to go to the inner church of our soul because our extroversion only distracts us and makes us insecure. This meaningless external chitchat only keeps us in the mind and separates us from rejoicing in the inner communion with all. Those that contemplate and meditate on the different images and sounds that produce spiritual realization receive inner unity. If one performs inner observances sincerely and receives the sacrament of unity, he or she will have mastered the uncertainty caused by one's mental complex and he or she will find that life has taken on a mature quality of service and sacrifice for all of humanity. May we all have the strength to serve the poor.

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"You are so right. We have the right to freedom of speech. People should have a right to food and water.

With our technology no one needs to go without food"

Soma

 

Along those lines I was thinking of a statement made by Daniel Quinn, the author of Ishmael. We are the only species that puts food under lock and key. If you want food ,you have to buy it because somebody "owns" it.

 

"Consider the birds of the air....". It's always amusing to me to watch America's Funniest Home Videos. There will be a scene where a human has carefully purchased some food from a vendor. All of a sudden a seagull will swoop down and just take it , leaving the human aghast ,("hey I paid for that ").

 

Another time I was driving to work ,in the morning. I was stopped at a red light. There were some geese foraging for food on one side of the road ,in a park. The lead goose got up and walked across the road to get to the park area on the other side of the road. When he did this all the other geese got up and walked to the other side too, in single file, and they were not in a hurry! The procession lasted a good five minutes. The humans were stuck in their cars in both directions as the geese proceeded. The geese didn't have jobs, they didn't need money, they didn't know what time it was. Granted we could have run them over, but nobody did.

 

 

MOW

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Mow thanks, we can learn many things from the animals. Their minds are synchronized with the Father's and Mother's God Consciousness giving them natural physical movement without inhibitions. They moisten, grow, give birth, bring forth blossoms, wilt and wither in the garden of evolution. This is why there emanates a healing calm from nature which is a flowing simple ancient remedy for the fevers, meanness, insanity, injustices, ambitions, greed and jealousies of an unnatural existence.

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