Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Politics of Jesus

I found a crazy picture on Facebook the other day, portraying Jesus as the Savior of the United States of America.  Ironically he's surrounded only by Americans (I guess he didn't save anyone else), of whom the drastically large majority are white or Anglo-European Males. [Click on the photo for a larger version]

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bumper Sticker of the Week

Blogging towards Sunday, November 1

Simple words, often taken for granted.  Jesus may have not been the first to pronounce this 'abbreviation' of the commandments.  It was a hot topic in his day among religious scholars and leaders: which of the 613 commandments given by Moses have priority over the others?  Philo of Alexandria, Josephus and Hillel all spoke on this.  Yet here Jesus equates these two commandments: Love of God and love of Neighbor.  They aren't to be confused and yet they can't be separated.  One can't simply be a mystic, talking of love of God, abandoning oneself to the divine and invisible without caring and committing to the concrete, the here and now, the pertinence of those with whom we live.  One can't simply be an activist, taking up every cause because we all are created equal with the same rights.  Love of neighbor has to be more than that.  Those two together are the greatest, the essential, the unavoidable.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Clean Energy: what's broken with America

I finished reading the book "Hot, Flat and Crowded" by Thomas Freidman this past week.  It's an energetic  wake-up-call of a read challenging America (and the larger world) to get with it, to let good science speak louder than politics, to look long-term for solutions to our current economical and environmental problems instead of to short-term political gain by those running for office in the next 2-4 years and/or  financial gain by multinationals.  Newsweek recently ran an other clear and concise article on the impasse in which we sentence ourselves entitled "Clean energy should trump politics"

You have to wonder why is it that we repeatedly let politicians cower in the wake of screaming plebite citizens who have barely graduated high school and demand that we drill in the oceans, burn coal like crazy and keep gas cheap all to keep them happy today?  What about their children?  My children?  While we let states filled with oil and coal dictate our national policy, or even continue to allow Detroit - awash in bail-out money - insist on keeping the status quo in order to sell their gas-guzzlers, or ignorant MSNBC or FOX news driven fans shape our national energy policy, while we turn a deaf ear to PhDs formed and working in that field?

Community Empowerment
saving the dimond post office

For the past 5 months efforts have been underway to act in view of preventing the closure of the Post Office in Oakland's Dimond District near the corner of MacArthur and Fruitvale.  Scheduled to close for financial reasons, in light of the larger financial balance sheet problems of the US Postal Service, the fight was organized around the character of the neighborhood, desiring to ensure that it continues to be a place of vibrancy, presence and exchange and continues to grow in that direction.  It's a testament to the fiery community organizing power and passion of Oakland, in particular to the Oaklanders that call the MacArthur corridor, from the Dimond to the Laurel, home.  Here's some online media blitzes on it (sorry couldn't find any bloggers covering it):

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bumper Sticker of the Week

I'm not sure if I find this funny or tragic: probably both.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blogging Towards Sunday October 25, 2009
What's the real miracle? [article]

This passage comes at the conclusion of a long section in Mark (chapters 8-10) which begin with another encounter with a blind man and address the notion of discipleship: what does it mean to follow Jesus?  What does it cost?  At the conclusion of this central part of this gospel is another healing: Bartimaeus the Blind Beggar becomes Bartimaeus the Free Follower.

Blind, he has only begging as a career option.  In being healed, despite his obvious marginalization by society manifested in the ways the crowds tell him to "shut up" when Jesus passes by and he cries for help, he re-enters society not on his knees but on his feet.  Jesus makes him whole: meaning that he's healed, not just his eyes, but his relational place in society, his relationships with his family, his self-view as unimportant and forgettable.  He leaves behind what is quite possibly the only way he ever knew to make a living: begging.  He gets up and walk forward, step by step after the One that not only invites him to a knew life but who also makes it possible in all its various levels.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blogging Towards Sunday, October 18

Leadership Vacuum in the Church

There's been a ton of recent brouhaha about President Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.  Some saying he hasn't done enough.  Others wondering who else could have been nominated, recognizing an apparent leadership vacuum in the world of those working to and for peace.  This recent picture from the Economist raising the issue - is Obama already great before he's done anything? [article] Are we so desperate for models of authentic, sincere and effectively world-transforming leadership that we reward those that seem to have promise?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

GLO: translating the Bible for the E-world of the Net Gen

I saw this video on facebook today advertising a new sort of social-networking, e-friendly, created for Gen Net.  Pretty amazing.  I wonder if it'll work and how much it'd cost to buy enough for a whole church to use.  I love the way in which you can easily make connections between the text, the context and our context.  I guess I'm a fan, and a member of the targeted population.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Friday, October 09, 2009

Blogging Towards Sunday, October 11th

Text familiar to many yet perhaps unknown to most of us.  We think it's about a young rich ruler, yet the text never says he's a "ruler."  We tend to think it's a blanket a marxist-inspired Jesus message against the rich, yet Jesus seems to be saying that no one can be saved: poor, rich; male, female; young, old; Jew, Gentile.  Only God saves.  Salvation - eternal life - is a gift, the eternal standard-bearing statement of the reformation - it can't be earned, won, merited or inherited, it can only be received.

Needing to redefine our political vision of family

Catching up on news - and trashy news - yesterday I learned that the father of ex-Governor Sarah Palin's grandson is going to pose for Playgirl.  I don't blame Levi Johnston, like the family of his child, he just wants to ride his moment of fame and possibly get of Alaska by doing so.  I freely admit that I'm a politcal pramatist, leaning heavily to the liberal-side - yet ironically in this season becoming more seasoned by capitalism.

The irony of the whole situation is that here is a political family who based their whole political upswing, and continuing and emerging political machine upon the notion of "going rogue" in the sense of returning to the better days of yore when family meant everything, when we worked hard for what we earned, when America was great.  Curiously enough in those days stereotypically: women didn't work and stayed home, young men wouldn't pose nude in a girlie magazine and America was forward-looking instead of history-fantasizing.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Bumper Sticker of the Week

I'm beginning to run low on bumper stickers and not seeing many here in France.  SO - it's your moment of glory.  If you see a/some good one(s) - get a picture and email it to me and I'll give you a shout out!