Monday, September 13, 2010

King of kings

Having a theology night with some friends we decided to bring up the idea of pledging allegiance to the flag. At the end even the most "God and country" attender decided that he could not see a time where Jesus would stand up to say the pledge of allegiance. One of the things I've had hammered into me lately is that no matter how nice the system looks it will always be fundamentally flawed.

Part of believing in Jesus is believing that his system is the best way to live, and if that's true then I can pledge no allegiance, trust in no other hope and believe in no other solution but that declared by Jesus. So while I think the soldier is out there doing something they believe is honorable as a Christian its not something I believe will ultimately be the source of peace. Another friend said its true that Christ is the best way to live but we live in a fallen world, at that moment I was reminded of the warning that serving two masters will only leave my souly divided.  And its true, we see time and time again the church allowing itself to be manipulated by the powers of politicians to lead them into false teachings that support the bombing of children and people now turned into "targets" and "casualties". Either you love your enemy and forgive people, or you go and fight a war of revenge and protect something that was never meant to last. The truth is you can't be a "God and country" believer and stand on steady ground.

I know that this rejection of patriotism is an offense to the sensibilities to the "God and country" spirit that has overtaken the evangelicals of the West but wrong is wrong, just look at 1 Samuel 8:7-20. When Israel asked for a king it was a rejection of God as their king, and the Lord warned them that they would have a system that in many ways looks like ours today. Sure things look nice, and yes we should pray for our troops who are put in an impossible situation everyday, but I will not support a hope that is faulty and lies in the supremacy of man's reason over God's call to love. We are people living in the year of the Lord's favor, when the church is at its best, when its really changing hearts and as a result the world, its when it is ardently opposed to anything but the absolute truth espoused in the Gospel.

Just a small note on the church culture in America right now, maybe we don't have an image problem, maybe the problem is that we have an imagine.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I've always thought that people who were particularly upset at the audible arrival of a fly in a room were just a bit crazy and I confess that my father is one of those people. The hunt would usually start with some formal announcement in a cartoon-like voice,"fly, you must die". I can picture him hunting down the fly, waiting for it to land and then slowly walking up swatter in hand and --whack-- he's missed  it and the thing flies off. Eventually my father's persistence would pay off and he'd kill the thing. For some reason beyond my comprehension he would show his kill to our dog who would give it a good sniff  before my father wiped the dead fly into the garbage. I've become one of those people when it comes to injustice.

Lately I've been swatting at several flies, hoping to see them die but its a bit harder to swat away these issues. Each day I find new stories of public support for the most ridiculous things: outrage against a project to build a Muslim community center in New York, the canceling of a school prom because a girl wanted to bring her girlfriend, Dr.Laura, Rush Limbaugh and The Tea Party Patriots ever growing popularity, and the police state in Arizona meant to scare immigrants people out of the country. I read, research and swat away the defenses of thinly veiled attempts at segregation, oppression, expulsion and degrading of people marked the "other" in America. But the flies continue to buzz and as the noise grows bigger I'm alarmed that more Americans aren't trying to get relief from that incessant buzzing, maybe they just don't hear it.

Putting the imagery of flies aside there is a current of stupidity that is spewing through American politics right now. We have an America where our president is perceived by 1 in 5 Americans as a Muslim and only 3 in 10 can correctly identify him as a Christian.The problematic part of all this is that these are poll numbers that are declining, meaning that Americans at one point knew the president was a Christian but the power of  truthiness revision has increased these myths to accepted truth. There comes a point where truth is not about facts but rather what is perceived to be true. Right now a group of politicians are playing up white paranoia via the Southern Strategy, and an anti-Muslim phenomena known as Islamophobia is taking hold of nearly some 70% of Americans.

In times such as these I feel it is necessary for a collective response of peoples dedicated to social justice. We must engage with the mainstream middle-class to hold honest discussions about these issues and work on building of common ground through community projects to end the powerful indifference that this otherness paranoia has been stirring up.This engagement by the middle-class will then demand the change of the powerful elite in our society and the governing represenatives as they realize they must adhere to the will of the people to remain in power. Personally, I've found the best way to check my own biases is to constantly engage in inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue. I take those experiences with me into my home, church, work, and school. When we spend time really getting to know people we start breaking down subconscious barriers that have seperated us and the experiences we share have a powerful ability to change the way we think when we hear messages lumping groups of people based on their race, nationality, religion or sexual orientation. It is my hope that through open dialogue, common effort, and collective struggle we can create the desire for a change so strong that it demands a political climate that cares about social justice issues.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Because I could not find a soapbox application on Facebook.

I have thought about the way I would like to live my life and over the past year I have decided that I would prefer travel to the thirty year house mortgage and charity over the security of a 401k 9-5pm office job.To be completely honest I would have to say that this is less of a revelation as it is a confirmation of what I have known since I first watched the complexity of our world as seen in the movie Seven Years in Tibet. I think I was about 10 years old then and the impact was made manifest immediately as I tried to mimic the practice of harmony with the world that I witnessed in the monks. It was that film among many other seemingly disconnected experiences that ultimately gave me permission to follow the sacred romance of traveling and partaking in the work for social justice.

So here I am a Senior in college preparing for an unprepared life, trying to focus my hope and aggression into progress towards a more just society and world.

As for this blog I'm not sure of its purpose, suffice it to say that there are things that need to be said.