Saturday, September 30, 2006

Would I? Could I? Hard Kingdom Questions

James- Born of Frustration- Video Clip

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I can relate to this song much of the time when the world seems so crazy and out of control:


All this frustration
I can't meet all my desires
Strange conversation
Self control has just expired
All an illusion
Only in my head you don't exist
Who re you foolin'
Don't need a shrink or an exorcist

Show me the movie of who you are and where you're from
Born of frustration
Caught upon the webs you spun
Where's ther confusion
A vision of what life is like
Show the movie that doens't deal in black and white
Talk talk talkin 'bout who's to blame
But all that counts in how to change
Stop stop talkin 'bout who's to blame
When all that counts in how to change

All this frustration
All this frustration
Who put round eyes on a butterfly's wings
All this frustration
All this frustration
Who gave the leopard spots and taught the birds to sing
Born of frustration
Born of frustration

I'm living in the wierdest dream where nothing is the way it seems
Where no one is who they need to be
Where nothing seems that real to me
'Bout time we filled our lives
Upon the walls of gold no solid ground
The world is spinnin' endlessly
We're clinging to our own beliefs
Born of frustration
Born of frustration


Johnny Cash- Sunday Morning Comin' Down- video clip

Click the arrow for an awesome, classic video!!

How A Collective Mind Is Manipulated

This is an example of American political meddling in its early form. Guatemala the "Banana Republic" was maipulated in the early 1950's. This clip explains the CIA and American gov't involvment in toppling the elected gov't and the subsequent "installation" of a leader sympathetic to American business interests ie/ United Fruit.

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Chomsky Video Clip- On Responsibility

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Missionary Conquest

CNN: Geronimo's Heir Wants Bush to Return 'Skull and Bones'

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John Kerry is a "bonesman" from Yale too. GRRRRRRRR.

Better Way- Written by: Ben Harper

Click on the arrow to hear the song at his official website. It is track 2 in the player at the top of the page.

Better Way

Written by: Ben Harper

i'm a living sunset
lightning in my bones
push me to the edge
but my will is stone

fools will be fools
and wise will be wise
but i will look this world
straight in the eyes

what good is a man
who won't take a stand
what good is a cynic
with no better plan

(hope these words feel pleasant
as they rest upon your ears)

reality is sharp
it cuts at me like a knife
everyone i know
is in the fight of their life

take your face out of your hands
and clear your eyes
you have a right to your dreams
and don't be denied

i believe in a better way

William Badke, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Meaning of Everything

Indigenous Philosophy on Sustainable Living

Winona Laduke speaks.

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Christians would do well to realize that the Native/Indigenous philosophy can and should be reconciled to proper biblical exegesis about the Kingdom of God which exists here and now and not just in some world down the road.

The Meaning of Genesis

I believe modern man is missing one of the major pieces to the puzzle by misunderstanding his role with regards to his relationship to Earth. Our society has become more and more individualistic, less family and community based, more materialistic and less spiritual. In fact most people don't even understand what spirituality really is. It has been confused with religiosity or religious legalism. There is a huge and ever widening gulf between man and his environment. People generally wander around not knowing where they came from, what how they got here or what role they are supposed to play in man's unfolding future. This makes for some very restless and unsatisfied people. Contemporary Christian "religion" seems to be failing to pick up this slack as it ought to be able to. People do not seem to have clear lateralization between a religion they can believe in- and one they can EXPERIENCE each and every day. How much more powerful would the churches much more centered and or grounded would mankind be if this were not the case?
It's funny, most of the kids I grew up with that were regular church goers don't attend any longer...On the other hand some people that were not church goers or religious thinkers are now attending church and wrestling with life's bigger questions. It makes me wonder if another two decades will show people swapping places like this again. It makes me wonder what it was that people did not find in church that caused them to stray or likewise what people were missing in the world that has led them to church.
I personally testify that it is people's search for religious truth, or general lack of it in their everyday lives at least, that drives them to do most of what they do. Establishing a belief system or comprehensive worldview that they can EXPERIENCE instead of only believe or have faith in could make a great difference in the lives of individuals, communities even nations or the world itself.
I believe also that having a greater understanding and sense of purpose begins first with the fear (respect) of God and then respect for his creations. Creation has order, it is structured by God who structures all life. By understanding that the physical world is ordered perfectly by the maker, we may understand that human experience has the same sort of underlying order to it. The existence of the world then means; not chaos, but order, and if humans wish to exist within that order, they should integrate into the creational order. This is what wisdom and/or spirituality is all about.
It is simple really, God is the source of life, therefore, Creation has a relationship with God in which it responds to him as it's Maker, acknowledging his power and grace. This is a far cry from the ideas being passed along by our churches today and I believe this misunderstanding to be the root cause of mostly all of the shortcomings of the Church throughout history. Generally speaking, the idea that this Earth is only a disposable backdrop for the moral play of mankind is being proliferated much to the detriment of mankind itself. I acknowledge that the Bible tells us that the Earth will pass away someday. However, I fail to see how this eventuality relieves us as humans from taking care of the gift of Creation while we still have it in our care. In fact, I would venture to say that if our priorities concerning this were more in proper alignment, we would not have some of the other problems we have like the population explosion, lack of food and medical care for the masses and materialism over spirituality which leads to disharmony of every sort.
I do not necessarily think it is wrong that we have shopping centers and motorcars and golf courses and cable tv and luxury hotels with casinos. I do see that the priorities of humans are waaaay out of whack. It is possible I believe to have bounty, good times and good things in life and still be taking careof business. I respect the idea that we should care for people before worrying about a paricular problem in nature, but I don't see how the two become completely different issues, they are symbiotic.
The Bible itself demonstrates that God's mood regarding the behaviour of man is usually clearly demonstrated by the state of the Earth we live upon. When he is pleased, it is fruitful and yielding- when he is not happy it becomes unfruitful and covered with stubble and desolation. Creation was meant to bear two kinds of witness, glory to god who made it and his ongoing nuturing care for what he has made. Understanding this enables us to comprehend what it means to bear his image on Earth by representing him, we see that it is our mandate as human beings to enhance creation's witness to the glory and nurture of God.
It could be said that nature itself bears a five fold witness to God. In the Bible you find glory, nuture, also penalty , precariousness and finally reclamation of a cosmos polluted by sin. Many have remarked about a solution of ridding the planet of many people to return "Mother Earth" to its natural state. The "religious" world has used statements like this to disavow themselves from the environmental movement because they see it as elitist (wishing to rid the planet of "unworthy" men) and nearly equal to goddess worship because of the mother image. These are common traps that people fall into because the religious world has had almost nothing to say on these issues and the secular world has sought to pick up the slack. The term "Mother Earth"- as I understand it did not actually originate from any ethnic belief but from an American newspaper writer who was trying to convey something an Indian had told him..."The Earth is LIKE our Mother", in an effort to explain their reverence, not worship, of creation. This has been a popular mistranslation and misconception.
As for ridding the Earth of sinful and unworthy men, that is God's business and it has been done according to the book of Genesis. God has promised not to destroy EVERYTHING again, but does that mean that societies or civilizations themselves are safe from wrath? I doubt it. God operates among men via covenants. There has been the Old Covenant of Law, The New Covenant of Christ, and the constant covenant of man's role as steward of his creation. God keeps his end of the bargains, are we? I have experienced the power and healing that can come with the type of understanding I am talking about first hand. I don't think that mankind or contemporary Christianity will see the kind of revelation and revival it sorely needs until people in general rediscover the meaning of the Genesis.

Everyday- Dave Matthews

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You've Got To hide Your Love Away- The Beatles

A grand old tune...yeaaaaahhh.

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Guido de Bres

First published 1560 and revised 1566 and 1619, this "Confession" was used during and since the Reformation as a major teaching document in Protestant churches. A small part of it follows in the translation used in the "Psalter Hymnal" of the Christian Reformed Church.

ARTICLE 1: The Only God

We all believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that there is a single and simple spiritual being, whom we call God -- eternal, incomprehensible, invisible unchangeable, infinite, almighty, completely wise, just and good, and the overflowing source of all good.

ARTICLE 2: The Means By Which We Know God

We know him by two means: First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe, since that universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God: his eternal power and his divinity.

As the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20, `All these things are enough to convict men and to leave them without excuse.'

Second, he makes himself known to us more openly by his holy and divine Word, as much as we need in this life, for his glory and the salvation of his own.

Knowledge, Power and Morality- A Native American Perspective

These quotes are attributed to: Vine DeLoria, Jr. - Standing Rock Sioux

"Western civilization, unfortunately, does not link knowledge and morality but rather, it connects knowledge and power and makes them equivalent. Today with an information `superhighway' now looming on the horizon, we are told that a lack of access to information will doom people to a life of meaninglessness -- and poverty. As we look around and observe modern industrial society, however, there is no question that information, in and of itself, is useless and that as more data is generated, ethical and moral decisions are taking on a fantasy dimension in which a `lack of evidence to indict' is the moral equivalent of the good deed."

"In recent years we have come to understand what "progress" is. It is the total replacement of nature by an artificial technology. "Progress" is the absolute destruction of the real world in favor of a technology that creates a comfortable way of life for a few fortunately situated people. Within our lifetime the differences between the Indian use of the land and the white use of the land will become crystal clear."

Native American Spirituality


Robert Staffanson Executive Director, American Indian Institute

Note a dictionary's definition of spirituality: "devotion to spiritual (i.e. metaphysical) things instead of worldly things." This definition does not apply to Native Americans because they do not recognize a dichotomy between "spiritual" and material things.

A simplistic definition of Native American spirituality would be that it is the opposite of pragmatism (i.e. short-term concern with "practical" results). While Native American spirituality is not easily defined, it has several defining characteristics:

a) Recognition of the interconnectedness of all Creation, and the responsibility of human beings to use their intelligence in protecting that inter- connectedness. That applies particularly to the lifegiving elements: water, air and soil.

b) A belief that all life is equal, and that the presence of the life spark implies a degree of spirituality whether in humans, animals or plants. In their view the species of animals and birds, as well as forests and other plant life, have as much "right" to existence as human beings, and should not be damaged or destroyed. That does not mean that they cannot be used but that use has limitations.

c) Their primary concern is with the long-term welfare of life rather than with short-term expediency or comfort. They consider all issues and actions in relationship to their long-term effect on all life, not just human life.

d) Their spirituality is undergirded by thankfulness to the Creator. Prayer, ceremonies, meditation and fasting are an important part of their lives. But they ask for nothing. They give thanks: for all forms of life and for all the elements that make life possible, and they are concerned with the continuation of that life and the ingredients upon which it depends.

Traditional Native Americans believe that any of their people who lack spirituality are no longer Indian. Traditional Native Americans do not see any spirituality in our "western" world. They believe that we have a kind of mindless materialism that is destroying both us and the world we live in.

Chomsky On Human Destiny

The Secret Buried in the Torture Bill [VIDEO]

Posted on Alternet by Evan Derkacz at 10:17 AM on September 29, 2006.


The Myth Of A Christian Nation > Central Thesis

Gregory A. Boyd, the Author of "The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church", writes,
"My thesis which caused such an uproar, is this: I believe a significant segment of American evangelicalism is guilty of nationalistic and political idolatry, to a frightful degree, I think, evangelicals fuse the kingdom of God with a preferred version of the kingdom of the world (whether it's our national interests, a particular form of government, a particular political program, or so on). Rather than focusing our understanding of God's Kingdom on the person of Jesus- who incidentally, never allowed himself to get pulled into the political disputes of his day- I believe many of us American evangelicals have allowed our understanding of the Kingdom of God to be polluted with political ideals, agendas, and issues."

Theocracy Watch

Friday, September 29, 2006

Contrast of God's Kingdom and Empires of the World > repost

I have realized lately that part of what drives me to write about some of these things is a certain guilt that I feel in my own heart. Not only am I priveleged to be an American, but a Christian and God fearing person as well. As both American and Christian I am a member of a group that not only has proclaimed that it is right about the meaning of life on this planet...but that we, the chosen, are the ONLY ones correct on matters of religion and geopolitics. That proclomation bears a heavy weight and responsibility. It begs the question that if such is true..why all the chaos and confusion and injustice and disharmony in our own society and in our own churches and in the world at large to which we assume to be the arbiters of freedom and reason? How can we look upon the horrors we have both enabled and in some cases caused in this world with such equanimity? I know that America often regarded as the best hope for a safe and humane world that has ever been seen...this is the scary part...that this is as good as it gets.

I remember when my public school teachers first began to indoctrinate me and my peers in the early 1970's (I started kindergarten in 1969). Our country was engaged in an unpopular military conflict then as now. The Viet Nam war and the war in Iraq are not the same exactly...but there are a good many paralells. One paralell for sure is that we have a huge miltary machine engaged in a theater of guerilla warfare. So, far it does not appear that the outcome is going to be much different this time around. My schoolteachers saw fit to try to explain to us concepts like "Utopian ideals" and why we should not ever expect to see them work because the world was so full of evil and selfish people. They explained that anarchy would surely ensue...if certain utopian ideals were played out in the real world of "civilization". They were of course talking to a bunch of 3rd and 4th graders that would have believed that the earth was pyramid shaped and the moon was an enormous glowing spitball coughed up by the Supreme Being if they had insisted so and provided some slick graphics to drive the point home. I am pretty sure in fact that most of my peers and I all still believed in Jolly Old Saint Nick back then too.

The teachers further explained to us how carpet bombing Viet Nam so that people would stop being communists or dropping atomic bombs on non- military targets in WW2 actually saved more lives than it snuffed. The same would be true of the fire bombings of dozens of Japanese cities full of men women and children- hundreds of thousands in fact- that were burnt to smithereens although the only thing they may have had to do with the miltary machine-states waging war across the globe was perhaps their desire to maintain a lifestyle...i.e. continue being Japanese. As I have gone on through life I have noticed that not too many people ponder or question the conventional wisdom of all of this geopolitical generalization and indoctrination and actually determine if these ideas and/or methods are philosophically sound and morally correct or even historically accurate or not. To do so invites instant derision.

I have actually dared to read up on the dropping of the atomic bomb, for instance, instead of just figuring that whatever my fourth grade teacher contended was golden gospel- and guess what....there actually are some folks that contend that Japan was on the verge of surrendering before the bombs...they were in fact strategically defeated already and within months the conflict in the Pacific theater would have concluded...without opening pandora's box of atomic/nuclear weapons. I cannot say whether or not this is true...who knows? Precisely...nobody can say for sure one way or the other...but the debate is not over and done with because some teacher or some author or some commentator said so.

Practically no-one endeavors to answer the question of, "even if a world free of strife (Utopia) is not possible- shouldn't we be trying to get as close as possible?" It has been done- this getting very close. Tribal Native America was as peaceful, God -fearing and stable of a place as ever existed (still not sin or violence free I acknowledge)...and it existed for tens of thousands of opposed to any other known empire you can name. So it got wiped out by a group that eventually became the United States. Fair enough... a liberally idealistic society gets wiped out by a more heartless and greedy group, the only thing that this proves is that a "Quasi-Utopian" system of direct democracy cannot co-exist with the existing paradigms of western thought..yea, though it pains me to say so...Western Judeo Christian thought- or more specifically still- what this brand of thought has become.

It often puzzles me how the masses in this country can fail to understand that when the rest of the world sees America engaging in acts of "sanitized" warfare, bombings (shock and awe), WMD's, mass violence, manipulation, fear, intimidation, coercion and so on they see TERROR tactics. They see us as living by a double standard. Listing the litany of good, humanitarian things the U.S. has done does nothing to erase this point in the minds of much of the rest of the world whether you and I "get it" or not. The bloodshed leaves more of an impression than the noble things we are trying to do. This concept is now being bitterly debated in the media. It is duly noted that the ongoing violence and the knowing, willfull slaughter of innocents in Iraq is being perpetrated mainly by insurgents (or terrorists if that makes you more comfortable) and not our people (even though our bombing campaigns and sanctions have killed untold numbers of innocents). The fact is that they are reacting to our presence there and our foreign policy...we are part of the equation. warfare the ONLY way to deal with this situation? To even suggest such a even enter into this discourse is all but squelched in the mainstream.
People who ask these types of questions and seriously grapple with the answers are often labled as liberal (read as socialist=communist) seditious (read as aiding and abetting the enemy=terrorist), politically motivated (read as democrats seeking power) or lost in fantasy. Now that the media is beginning to wake up (after being totally on the "Operation Iraqi Freedom and Shock and Awe bandwagon at the start) and ask hard questions and put all the carnage in perspective...they too are being attacked as anti-American and accused of sensationalizing the bad news. Does it make sense for the media to attempt to undermine the system that enpowers and enriches them ...undermine the world by default...just to make some political hay and/or sell newspapers? If you believe that the media is actually doing just that...tell me again who the pessimist and unrealistic idealist is...I am getting confused. The definitions of conservative and liberal are all a blur.

Now, this brings us back around to a point I have been working up to concerning how CHRISTIANS should feel and react to the situation at hand. I think this is relevant because this whole Iraq-war enterprise has been sold to us as a primarily "conservative", hence, Western- Judeo- Christian- ideological- exercise in military humanitarianism. Let me paraphrase some thoughts of other Christian writers (credits to Lee Camp and his book Mere Discipleship) in this arena of warfare and utopian dreams:

"...Underneath the end justifies the means" logic lies the assumption that the way of Christ is simply not a relevant social ethic, lest injustice reign and the violent vanquish the righteous. Christians cannot take the way of Christ Seriously, or society will fall apart, will sink into a spiral of unmitigated violence. Civilization itself is at stake. Jesus cannot have meant that we take him seriously in the realm of social and political realities- after all, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF EVERYONE DID THAT?! Consequently, "Jesus", "Christianity", and even "discipleship" are reduced to mere "spirituality", a realm that has little if anything to do with the concrete realities of culture, civilization, and politics. To use different language- Christendom (the blending of religion and empire) has seperated doctrine and ethics into two seperable categories, rather than seeing them as two sides of the same coin. Numerous times the book of Acts describes the Christian faith as "The Way", a designation that strikes one as remarkably different than our word "religion". "Religion" often connotates a set of beliefs and practices seperable from everyday life; as such, "religion" is in a sphere distinct and seperate from things like politics and society and culture. But if the claim that Jesus is Lord is "a Way or The Way"- then we cannot so easily seperate his "Way" from every facet of life. Note that the Jews expected a MILITARISTIC style Messiah...that is not what they got.

One of the most ardent pagan critics of the early church posed the "what would happen if" question to the early Christians' refusal to either employ violence or venerate the empire as the primary means through which they might contribute to society. Castigating second century disciples, the pagan Celsus angrily maintained that "if all were to do the same as you, there would be nothing to prevent [the emperor] being left in utter solitude and desertion, and the affairs of the Earth would fall into the hands of the wildest and most lawless barbarians; and then there would no longer remain among men any of the glory of your religion or of the true wisdom'. I.E. Celsus asked, What if everybody did that? Answering himself he stated that the empire would fall apart, we would be overcome by our enemies and on top of that you would not get to practice your religion! But the response of the early Christian theologian, Origen, demonstrates that the "commonsensical" nature of Celsus' attack was not always seen as a trump card.

First off, Origen realized that the one who asks the "what would happen if everybody did that" question does not, of course, mean for us to take the question literally. If everyone loved their enemies then Jesus' teachings would not be problematic. If everyone shared their wealth, then Jesus' commands would not be seen as a stumbling block. If everyone forgave offenses "seventy times seven", then Jesus' insistence would fail to disturb us. So, Origen responded to Celsus, if in folowing Christ "they do as I do" then it is evident that even the barbarians, when they yield obedience to the Word of God, will become most obedient to the law, and most humane. But the reality, of course, is that not everyone "does that". And thus when face with the "reality" of a world in which people appear to always "look out for number one", when our world proclaims "take care of yourself or no-one else will", when our culture surrounds us with a message that we should "go for the gusto", "acquire as much material welath as possible", and to make sure that WE are happy and secure- then the call to discipleship sounds quite threatening. The "reality" of sin, the "reality" of injustice and oppression, the "reality of "market and economic drives, the "reality" of "how things work" are thought to trump the serious calling to follow Jesus: "Many people will not love you in return", "and some people'd just as soon kill you as look at you" and "you just can't reason with some people", and some people are just taking advantage of you and/or the system". "Jesus' Way works in an "ideal world" but not in the "real world" where you must "get your hands dirty" if you're going to "make a relevant contibution to society". But we must question as Origen did whether the logic of Celsus was very realistic after all. To the unbliever, Origen maintained that it is not the warring and self seeking peoples of the Earth who preserve society- instead, it is the people of God who are "assuredly" the salt of the earth: THEY preserve the order of the world; and society is held together as long as the salt is uncorrupted.

So, the question ought not be "what if everybody did that", but, "what will happen if Jesus' "disciples" refuse to act like Jesus?". For Origen, if "disciples" refuse to act like disciples, there will be no salt, there will be no light, and then indeed there will be no "order", "justice" or "civilization". and if the salt has lost its saltiness, so Jesus said, it is foolish, insipid, good for nothing, but to be thrown out in the mud and be walked upon. Nonetheless, the pagan logic of Celsus ultimately won over a large number of adherents among christian tradition ( a legacy which continues to this day in the "conservative" movement in geoploitics). The percieved need to run the world, or the empire, or the market economy, or the nation-state gives rise to the apparent "commonsensical" basis of the pagan's logic: if you take Jesus seriously, things will simply fall apart. And so in varied, nuanced and subtle ways, the "Way of Christ" has been set aside in favor of other authorities, which would show us what we should do and how we should do it...when we're out here kicking around in the "real world". "

So to close out these thoughts let me say that insofar as I can tell by the contemporary definitions (which I have often stated are restrictive and insufficient) Jesus IS A LIBERAL. Therefore if you wish to call me one...I will accept it as a compliment...not that it really means anything relevant in any holistic sense. Also, if you wish to call yourself a Christian you cannot do so realisticly and also be someone who primarily espouses the values of the WORLD. You cannot serve two masters. You can respect civil authority and abide by the laws of the land so long as they do not contradict God's laws.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bring Me To Life

I like to think of this song as a prayer.

Look what happens when you change the word darling to God.


"Bring Me To Life"
(feat. Paul McCoy)

how can you see into my eyes like open doors
leading you down into my core
where I’ve become so numb without a soul my spirit sleeping somewhere cold
until you find it there and lead it back home

(Wake me up)
Wake me up inside
(I can’t wake up)
Wake me up inside
(Save me)
call my name and save me from the dark
(Wake me up)
bid my blood to run
(I can’t wake up)
before I come undone
(Save me)
save me from the nothing I’ve become

now that I know what I’m without
you can't just leave me
breathe into me and make me real
bring me to life

(Wake me up)
Wake me up inside
(I can’t wake up)
Wake me up inside
(Save me)
call my name and save me from the dark
(Wake me up)
bid my blood to run
(I can’t wake up)
before I come undone
(Save me)
save me from the nothing I’ve become

Bring me to life
(I've been living a lie, there's nothing inside)
Bring me to life

frozen inside without your touch without your love (God)
only you are the life among the dead

all this time I can't believe I couldn't see
kept in the dark but you were there in front of me
I’ve been sleeping a thousand years it seems
got to open my eyes to everything
without a thought without a voice without a soul
don't let me die here
there must be something more
bring me to life

(Wake me up)
Wake me up inside
(I can’t wake up)
Wake me up inside
(Save me)
call my name and save me from the dark
(Wake me up)
bid my blood to run
(I can’t wake up)
before I come undone
(Save me)
save me from the nothing I’ve become

(Bring me to life)
I’ve been living a lie, there’s nothing inside
(Bring me to life)

Where The Streets Have No Name

Where The Streets Have No Name"

I want to run
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I want to reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name

I want to feel sunlight on my face
I see the dust cloud disappear
Without a trace
I want to take shelter from the poison rain
Where the streets have no name

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We're still building
Then burning down love
Burning down love
And when I go there
I go there with you
It's all I can do

The city's aflood
And our love turns to rust
We're beaten and blown by the wind
Trampled in dust
I'll show you a place
High on a desert plain
Where the streets have no name

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We're still building
Then burning down love
Burning down love
And when I go there
I go there with you
It's all I can do
Our love turns to rust
We're beaten and blown by the wind
Blown by the wind
Oh, and I see love
See our love turn to rust
We're beaten and blown by the wind
Blown by the wind
Oh, when I go there
I go there with you
It's all I can do

The Government VS. All Saints Church (AKA "The Body of Christ")

Concerning the articles below...forget for a moment whatever your position might be on the war and pretend the same conflict of interests exists over one of your own pet say abortion, gay marriage, cat juggling or whatever...Say your Church takes a stand on that issue contrary to what the goverment is considering doing or has done and the government decides to make moves to shut you up and shut you down. This is indeed an untennable situation for us to be in. Now, really think about whether its possible to get around this situation of unacceptable compromise by infiltrating the government with Christians. Or would it not be better to work in unity and servanthood within the other words BE the Church...BE the City on a Hill....BE salt and an example instead of being in a business arrangement where you can never really serve two masters at once? This does not mean sitting back and doing nothing while the World (government) countermands us. After all...BE ( as in- BE the Church) is a verb.
I have long held the belief, bolstered by my knowledge of the American Indian experience (the concept of manifest destiny) as well as examples taken from Islam- that when geo-politics and religion, church and empire mix...bad things happen. Keeping the Church and empire seperate seems then to be healthy for both in the end. Feel free to comment...I am not trying to flaunt my "rightness"....I am seeking the right answers just like you.

Here's two articles about a case that clearly demonstrates how the government always subordinates the message of the Church and how the Church co-opts itself to the Government. The second link that argues the Government's case is the most telling of the two with its "Business Deal" thesis.
The third link is a pdf file of the incident that put the IRS on the Church's tail.

Cut and paste these url's to read the articles Jan06/Art_Jan06_oped2.html


Ok- forget whatever your position might be on the issue being discussed in this article and see if you can spot a slight inconsistency with the application of the IRS laws- this group apparently being immune. Be sure to run the video stream and take special note of the big posters of candidates behind the speaker...UNBELIEVABLE....the double God!! this regime is wiping their butt with the seems they only police those who disagree with them...or at least just those that mess with their pet campaign issues (copy and paste the url):

cross reference this article with the article entitled "The Christian Right and the Rising Power of the Evangelical Political Movement" - by clicking on "All Saints" at the bottom of this post.

Big Brother Online


Pink Floyd, Echoes- Live @ Pompeii

Hit the arrow for a video treat

Monday, September 25, 2006

Crispy Critter (deep fried Fox) > have some

Click on the little green arrow for part 1.

pt.2 here (cut and paste):

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Let's say I break into your home...

I recently recieved a propaganda e-mail about a hypothetical situation as commentary about immigration. I have modified it as seen below.

Let's say I break into your home. Let's say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave. But I say,"I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors; I've done all the things you don't like to do. I'm hard-working and honest (except for when I broke into your house).

According to the protesters, not only must you let me stay, you must add me to your family's insurance plan, educate my kids, and provide other benefits
to me and to my family (my husband will do your yard work because he too is hard-working and honest, except for that breaking in part).

If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my right to be there.

It's only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I'm just trying to better myself. I'm hard-working and honest, um, except for well, you know.

And what a deal it is for me!! I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of selfishness, prejudice and being an anti-housebreaker. Oh yeah, and I want you to learn my language so you can communicate with me.

Why can't people see how ridiculous this is?! Only in America....

Sitting Bull says, "HMMM, interesting...among the most elementary of moral truisms is the principle of universality: we must apply to ourselves the same standards we do to others, if not more stringent ones. It is a remarkable comment on Western intellectual culture that this principle is so often ignored and, if occasionally mentioned, condemned as outrageous. This is particularly shameful on the part of those who flaunt their Christian piety, and therefore have presumably at least heard of the definition of the hypocrite in the Gospels."

Now, circulate this if you still feel the same way.

Eleven Inherent Rules of Corporate Behavior - Jerry Mander

"Technological evolution is leading to something new: a worldwide, interlocked, monolithic, technical-political web of unprecedented negative proportions"


The following list is an attempt to articulate the obligatory rules by which corporations operate. Some of the rules overlap, but taken together they help reveal why corporations behave as they do and how they have come to dominate their environment and the human beings within it.

  • The Profit Imperative: Profit is the ultimate measure of all corporate decisions. It takes precedence over community well-being, worker health, public health, peace, environmental preservation or national security. Corporations will even find ways to trade with national "enemies"—Libya, Iran, the former Soviet Union, Cuba—when public policy abhors it. The profit imperative and the growth imperative are the most fundamental corporate drives; together they represent the corporation's instinct to "live."

  • The Growth Imperative: Corporations live or die by whether they can sustain growth. On this depends relationships to investors, to the stock market, to banks and to public perception. The growth imperative also fuels the corporate desire to find and develop scarce resources in obscure parts of the world.

    This effect is now clearly visible, as the world's few remaining pristine places are sacrificed to corporate production. The peoples who inhabit these resource-rich regions are similarly pressured to give up their traditional ways and climb on the wheel of production-consumption. Corporate planners consciously attempt to bring "less developed societies into the modem world" to create infrastructures for development, as well as new workers and new consumers. Corporations claim that they do this for altruistic reasons to raise the living standard—but corporations have no altruism.

    Theoretically, privately held corporations—those owned by individuals or families—do not have the imperative to expand. In practice, however, their behavior is the same. Such privately held giants as Bechtel Corporation have shown no propensity to moderate growth.

  • Competition and Aggression: Corporations place every person in management in fierce competition with each other. Anyone interested in a corporate career must hone his or her ability to seize the moment. This applies to gaining an edge over another company or over a colleague within the company. As an employee, you are expected to be part of the "team," but you also must be ready to climb over your own colleagues.

    Corporate ideology holds that competition improves worker incentive and corporate performances and therefore benefits society. Our society has accepted this premise utterly. Unfortunately, however, it also surfaces in personal relationships. Living by standards of competition and aggression on the job, human beings have few avenues to express softer, more personal feelings. (In politics, non-aggressive behavior is interpreted as weakness.)

  • Amorality: Not being human, corporations do not have morals or altruistic goals. So decisions that maybe antithetical to community goals or environmental health are made without misgivings. In fact, corporate executives praise "non-emotionality" as a basis for "objective" decision-making.

    Corporations, however, seek to hide their amorality and attempt to act as if they were altruistic. Lately, there has been a concerted effort by American industry to appear concerned with environmental cleanup, community arts or drug programs. Corporate efforts that seem altruistic are really Public relations ploys or directly self-serving projects.

    There has recently been a spurt of corporate advertising about how corporations work to clean the environment. A company that installs offshore oil rigs will run ads about how fish are thriving under the rigs. Logging companies known for their clearcutting practices will run millions of dollars' worth of ads about their "tree farms."

    It is a fair rule of thumb that corporations tend to advertise the very qualities they do not have in order to allay negative public perceptions. When corporations say "we care," it is almost always in response to the widespread perception that they do not have feelings or morals.

    If the benefits do not accrue, the altruistic pose is dropped. When Exxon realized that its cleanup of Alaskan shores was not easing the public rage about the oil spill, it simply dropped all pretense of altruism and ceased working.

  • Hierarchy: Corporate laws require that corporations be structured into classes of superiors and subordinated within a centralized pyramidal structure: chairman, directors, chief executive officer, vice presidents, division managers and so on. The efficiency of this hierarchical form (which also characterizes the military, the government and most institutions in our society) is rarely questioned.

    The effect on society from adopting the hierarchical form is to make it seem natural that we have all been placed within a national pecking order. Some jobs are better than others, some lifestyles are better than others, some neighborhoods, some races, some kinds of knowledge. Men over women. Westerners over non-Westerners. Humans over nature.

    That effective, non-hierarchical modes of organization exist on the planet, and have been successful for millennia, is barely known by most Americans.

  • Quantification, Linearity, Segmentation: Corporations require that subjective information be translated into objective form, i.e. numbers. The subjective or spiritual aspects of forests, for example, cannot be translated, and so do not enter corporate equations. Forests are evaluated only as "board feet."

    When corporations are asked to clean up their smokestack emissions, they lobby to relax the new standards in order to contain costs. The result is that a predictable number of people are expected to become sick and die.

    The operative corporate standard is not "as safe as humanly possible," but rather, "as safe as possible commensurate with maintaining acceptable profit."

  • Dehumanization: In the great majority of corporations, employees are viewed as ciphers, as non-managerial cogs in the wheel, replaceable by others or by machines.

    As for management employees, not subject to quite the same indignities, they nonetheless must practice a style of decision making that "does not let feelings get in the way." This applies as much to firing employees as it does to dealing with the consequences of corporate behavior in the environment or the community.

  • Exploitation: All corporate profit is obtained by a simple formula: Profit equals the difference between the amount paid to an employee and the economic value of the employee's output, and/or the difference between the amount paid for raw materials used in production (including costs of processing), and the ultimate sales price of processed raw materials. Karl Marx was right: a worker is not compensated for full value of his or her labor—neither is the raw material supplier. The owners of capital skim off part of the value as profit. Profit is based on underpayment.

    Capitalists argue that this is a fair deal, since both workers and the people who mine or farm the resources (usually in Third World environments) get paid. But this arrangement is inherently imbalanced. The owner of the capital—the corporation or the bank always obtains additional benefit. While the worker makes a wage, the owner of capital gets the benefit of the worker's labor, plus the surplus profit the worker produces, which is then reinvested to produce yet more surplus.

  • Ephemerality: Corporations exist beyond time and space: they are legal creations that only exist on paper. They do not die a natural death; they outlive their own creators. They have no commitment to locale, employees or neighbors. Having no morality, no commitment to place and no physical nature (a factory, while being a physical entity, is not the corporation). A corporation can relocate all of its operations at the first sign of inconvenience—demanding employees, high taxes and restrictive environmental laws. The traditional ideal of community engagement is antithetical to corporation behavior.

  • Opposition to Nature: Though individuals who work for corporations may personally love nature, corporations themselves, and corporate societies, are intrinsically committed to intervening in, altering and transforming nature. For corporations engaged in commodity manufacturing, profit comes from transmogrifying raw materials into saleable forms. Metals from the ground are converted into cars.

    Trees are converted into boards, houses, furniture and paper products. Oil is converted into energy. In all such energy, a piece of nature is taken from where it belongs and processed into a new form. All manufacturing depends upon intervention and reorganization of nature. After natural resources are used up in one part of the globe, the corporation moves on to another part.

    This transformation of nature occurs in all societies where manufacturing takes place. But in capitalist, corporate societies, the process is accelerated because capitalist societies and corporations must grow by extracting resources from nature and reprocessing them at an ever-quickening pace. Meanwhile, the consumption end of the cycle is also accelerated by corporations that have an interest in convincing people that commodities bring material satisfaction. Inner satisfaction, self-sufficiency, contentment in nature or a lack of a desire to acquire wealth are subversive to corporate goals.

    Banks finance the conversion of nature insurance companies help reduce the financial risks involved. On a finite planet, the process cannot continue indefinitely.

  • Homogenization: American rhetoric claims that commodity society delivers greater choice and diversity than other societies. "Choice" in this context means product choice in the marketplace: many brands to choose from and diverse features on otherwise identical products. Actually, corporations have a stake in all of us living our lives in a similar manner, achieving our pleasures from things that we buy in a world where each family lives isolated in a single family home and has the same machines as every other family on the block. The "singles" phenomenon has proved even more productive than the nuclear family, since each person duplicates the consumption patterns of every other person.

    Lifestyles and economic systems that emphasize sharing commodities and work, that do not encourage commodity accumulation or that celebrate non-material values, are not good for business. People living collectively, sharing such "hard" goods as washing machines, cars and appliances (or worse, getting along without them) are outrageous to corporate commodity society.

    Native societies—which celebrate an utterly non-material relationship to life, the planet and the spirit—are regarded as backward, inferior and unenlightened. We are told that they envy the choices we have. To the degree these societies continue to exist, they represent a threat to the homogenization of worldwide markets and culture. Corporate society works hard to retrain such people in attitudes and values appropriate to corporate goals.

    In undeveloped parts of the world, satellite communication introduces Western television and advertising, while improvements in the technical infrastructure speed up the pace of development. Most of this activity is funded by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as agencies such as the US Agency for International Development, the Inter-American Bank and the Asian-American Bank, all of which serve multinational corporate enterprise.

    The ultimate goal of corporate multinationals was expressed in a revealing quote by the president of Nabisco Corporation: "One world of homogeneous consumption. . . [I am] looking forward to the day when Arabs and Americans, Latinos and Scandinavians, will be munching Ritz crackers as enthusiastically as they already drink Coke or brush their teeth with Colgate." Page 31

In the book, Trilateralism, editor Holly Sklar wrote: "Corporations not only advertise products, they promote lifestyles rooted in consumption, patterned largely after the United States.... [They] look forward to a post-national age in which [Western] social, economic and political values are transformed into universal values... a world economy in which all national economies beat to the rhythm of transnational corporate capitalism.... The Western way is the good way; national culture is inferior."

Form Is Content Corporations are inherently bold, aggressive and competitive. Though they exist in a society that claims to operate by moral principles, they are structurally amoral. It is inevitable that they will dehumanize people who work for them and the overall society as well. They are disloyal to workers, including their own managers. Corporations can be disloyal to the communities they have been part of for many years. Corporations do not care about nations; they live beyond boundaries. They are intrinsically committed to destroying nature. And they have an inexorable, unabatable, voracious need to grow and to expand. In dominating other cultures, in digging up the Earth, corporations blindly follow the codes that have been built into them as if they were genes.

We must abandon the idea that corporations can reform themselves. To ask corporate executives to behave in a morally defensible manner is absurd. Corporations, and the people within them, are following a system of logic that leads inexorably toward dominant behaviors. To ask corporations to behave otherwise is like asking an army to adopt pacifism.

Corporation: n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.
—Ambrose Bierce, 1842-1914.

Why We Fight > The Military Industrial Complex as the Matrix


A must See.

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere, it is all around us, even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window, or you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage... born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.

NO SHELTER> Rage Against the Machine

Click on the small arrow in the corner of the screen to stay on this page while digging the clip.

Olbermann: Bush owes us an apology

But, don't hold your breath.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Jesus Camp

I have just watched the trailer for "Jesus Camp". I found it quite un-nerving. I have not seen the movie yet- but I shall tomorrow as it is playing now. Initially, what scares me about this movie is not the idea of training children concerning Jesus or what the world might think of this…but the theology the children are apparently being trained with. They are apparently being trained to attempt to change society….not by being representatives of God on Earth by being the "Church"- but rather by overtaking the political structures AKA the World. I wrote earlier today at length on this concept.

Click on the little arrow next to the words Jesus Camp to see the trailer...

Also check out these by cutting and pasting:

You Gotta Keep 'Em Separated

Concerning the separation of church and state and the "clash of civilizations"

Matthew 4:8-10

8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Begone Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD, YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY YOU SHALL SERVE’”

Do Not Love the World

1st John 2:15-17

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

The Church and the State (or nation-states) are in many ways incompatible. States are part of the world and its value systems and the Church's business is none other than to be the CHURCH...not to run the world....not to assist God in directing human history. The Church and "civilization" (the World) are (or are supposed to be) two mutually exclusive entities. Human(istic) civilization and the Kingdom of God are not synonymous.
On Romans 13 which is popularly taken out of context with Romans 12 and the rest of the Bible is understood by Christians in different ways. As noted in the study helps of my life application study Bible:
"All Christians agree that we are to live at peace with the state as long as the state allows us to live by our religious convictions. For hundreds of years, however, there have been at least three interpretations of how we are to do this:

(1) Some Christians believe that the state is so corrupt that Christians should have as little to do with it as possible. Although they should be good citizens as long as they can do so without compromising their beliefs, they should not work for the government, vote in elections, or serve in the military.

(2) Others believe that God has given the state authority in certain areas and the church authority in others. Christians can be loyal to both and can work for either. They should not, however, confuse the two. In this view, church and state are concerned with two totally different spheres--the spiritual and the physical--and thus complement each other but do not work together.

(3) Still others believe that Christians have a responsibility to make the state better. They can do this politically, by electing Christian or other high-principled leaders. They can also do this morally, by serving as an influence for good in society. In this view, church and state ideally work together for the good of all.

None of these views advocate rebelling against or refusing to obey the government's laws or regulations unless those laws clearly require you to violate the moral standards revealed by God. Wherever we find ourselves, we must be responsible citizens, as well as responsible Christians."

For a clearer understanding of what Romans 13 actually means- read the book of Habbakuk and notice how God "orders" nation-states. It will give you a a clearer than ever view of how God "orders" nations and punishes them...yet the wickedness in the world is not authored by God or from his is from our own freewill, pride and selfishness that brings about the consequences ...God just permits and sometimes punishes.
Habbakuk will help you understand how on the one hand we are to not love the world or anything in it...and at the same time be at peace with the way God is handling human history...and trust him that even if the wicked prosper now...they will not escape justice....all we have to do is TRUST and leave vengeance to him...and stand for Truth and right....fully prepared to pay the cost even unto death... A nation that rises to power does not necessarily have God's approval

It is popular right now to refer to the conflicts in the Middle East as clashes between "Christian Civilization" and "Islamic Civilization" which is simply in error. "Christian Civilization" is rightly labeled as a myth- especially since the death and ressurrection and redemptive work of Christ.
To paraphrase at length Dr. Lee Camp, author of "Mere Discipleship" which I simply insist you must read:
The Constantinian cataract, the viewing of the world through the lens of the unscriptural and ill advised blending of church and empire, distorts our vision so that we believe the power brokers, the emperors, and the mighty that use force to control human history. Believing that WE must make "things turn out right", we seek to get hold of such power for the purposes of the "good" and the "right" and even God. In "Christendom", the unscriptural and ill advised blending of church and empire, we try to employ the methods of the rebellious principalities and powers to defeat them at their own game.
However, one thing that all Scriptures make very clear is that: the principalities and powers of this world, the kings and princes and queens and presidents- they do not run the world, though they assume so. It is not nation-states that run the world or determine the real meaning and purpose of history, but God. It is not the power structures of the World or the nation-states that after all do not follow the edicts of Christ- but the faithful people of God who are most important on the stage of history. It is not those with wordly might, but the obedient, despised minority whom God chooses to be a light to the nations. We will not "make a difference in the real world" by trying to beat the powers at their own game; we will not "make a positive contribution to culture" or "exercise responsibility" by playing games on the principalities' terms. Instead we, as Christians, are called to be a people walking in faithful discipleship to the Way of Christ, and thereby to be the salt and light the rebellious world so desperately needs. It is not through the might of nations that you are to be a light- but through being the faithful people of God and living by example.
I believe that this speaks directly to this quote from an article I recently read elsewhere concerning the "clash of civilizations" thesis concerning the conflicts in the Middle East:

"For a religion to serve as the basis of a culture, it must seek to preserve peace but also be willing to use force. All major religions tend toward this mean."

When the Church insists upon adjusting itself to the ways of the World, the “church" itself may end up being the greatest threat to Christian faith- because it ends up offering a substitute for the Gospel. When the "church" presents to the world a second rate counterfeit, rather than the real thing, the original gets discredited. By playing at "religion", rather than walking in adherence to the Way of Christ, the Church becomes its own worst enemy.
In other words, a "cultural Christianity", in which many people ascribe to the "Christian Faith", but few walk in true discipleship, SHOWING the world what God created the world to be- this is APOSTASY. Apostasy then will not come about by everyone openly renouncing Christianity- but by many people assuming the name "Christian" without being doers, and followers of Christ’s teachings- by being admirers of Christ, but not true disciples.

The Church is often referred to as the BODY of Christ- which points us to what the identity of the Church is intended to be. The Church is called to be no less than a community that continues to incarnate (to embody) the will of God. The Church is then, much more than just doing religion or government right. Being the Church means embodying God's intentions for the world as revealed in Christ. Church is not about showing the world how to be "religious"- but SHOWING the World how it is supposed to be a world that reflects the intentions of its Creator. In juxtaposition to the Creator's design, the World schools us in self- preservation, self- maximization and self- realization; the World trains us to live and die, kill and wage war for the "free market economy", "our way of life", "freedom", "democracy" and/or lifestyle. But, imagine the radical implications of a community, a Church, that refuses to bow to such systematic indoctrination in self-preservation and instead internalizes the knowledge that these are things that are of the old order, the stoichea, the powers, works of the flesh that have been defeated with Christs crucifixion and are even now passing away.
The problem then of human conflict is not rooted in religious legalism or law but in the reality of slavery to sin, a lingering submission to the power of evil that is simultaneously personal and social, individual and communal....lust, greed, selfishness and fear of death...all things that true Disciples of Christ are LIBERATED from the bondage of.

The relationship between democracy and Christianity does provide a helpful case study for the moral implications of worship. Christians can on one hand, be grateful for democratic orders. In fact, many of the practices of a democracy are analogous to practices of the Church....for example the right to free speech. Free speech, in a way, respects the practice in which all are allowed to share their insight and perspective. Similarly, the right of the free exercise of religion relates to the freedom entailed in the practice of adult believer baptism. Christians can rightly celebrate the respect shown to individuals in liberal democratic orders, especially over and against the tyranny of despotic regimes.

On the other hand, the Church cannot assume that democracy in the United States or elsewhere is an ultimate value to be preserved at all costs- because there are certain commitments in democratic political orders that stand at great odds with the directives of the Christian faith. For example, in 1990 political commentator George Will gave his approval to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that "freedom of religion" did not permit Native Americans to violate state law against the use of peyote in their religious services. Whether one believes that Native Americans or anyone else ought to use peyote in worship is unimportant here. Will's central thesis- a forthrightly idolatrous claim- is of great concern...i.e. "A central purpose of Americas political arrangements is the subordination of religion to the political order, meaning the primacy of democracy."

Will supports this thesis, which speaks directly to the precepts of the "founding fathers'" like Jefferson, by reciting standard mantras of classical, political liberalism: The Founding Fathers wanted to "Tame and domesticate the religious passions of the sort that convulsed Europe. How might such a goal be accomplished? By refusing to establish religion, of course, an instead establishing a commercial republic- a capitalism. They aimed to submerge people's turbulent energies in self interested pursuit of material comforts." Religion then, according to this interpretation of John Locke, is to be perfectly free as long as it is perfectly private- mere belief- but it must bend to the political will (law) as it regards conduct." Thus the realm in which freedom of religion exists is restricted to thought, to belief, to the mind: "Jefferson held that "operations of the mind' are not subject to legal coercion, but that acts of the body are. Mere belief, Jefferson says, in one god or twenty neither picks one's pockets or breaks one's legs.
Whether Will's interpretation of the "founding fathers," intentions is accurate or not, such an understanding of democracy is idolatrous. Discipleship is not rooted in mere belief- but in the ultimate authority of God and Christ. To claim that Christ is Lord indeed flies in the face of a constitutional theory that makes “religion” both private and subordinate. What this interpretation does afford us is an opportunity to question whether the Church in America has more often interpreted Christianity through the lens of Western political traditions, rather than interpreting those political traditions through the lens of a biblical worldview. Are we indeed to allow our political traditions to privatize and domesticate our "religious passions"?
Has our own pursuit of economic self interest led us to keep our "religion" in its own socially irrelevant sphere?

The gospel is not merely a "belief system", giving mental assent to "sound doctrine" so that one might "go to Heaven". The Gospel calls us to participate in the Kingdom of Heaven, to embody the will of God on Earth, empowered by the Holy spirit to do so. We have been called to participate in the new reign and social order proclaimed and made real by Jesus. This is no "religious passion” that we can domesticate through consumerism.

Simply put, faithfulness to the teaching of the Master is of first importance, everything else is supposed to find its place within the sphere of obedience to the Lord. However, such faithfulness is thought to be naive within the empire. In the empire we are encouraged to give consent to "whatever is necessary" for 'the good guys" to win....whether it be clusterbombs, nuclear weapons, torture, or pre-emptive "uphold the good"...

Another fallacy in this "clash of civilizations" thesis we see now regarding the conflicts in the Middle East, is that those who have "professed" Christianity have been essentially innocent since the days of the crusades...and that most of the blame for the current "clash of civilizations" lies with Islam- see these quotes:
"We have seen the roots of Islamic violence in the life and teachings of Mohammed. We have seen that world events have conspired to place Islam and Christianity in a conflict of civilizations that has stretched from the sixth to the twenty-first century.

What the future holds is unknown. What is known is that Islamic civilization has a strong tendency to violence that stretches back to the days of Mohammed and that has begun to flare up in resurgent terrorist and revolutionary movements.

The conflict with militant Islam may last a long time—centuries, potentially—since even if curing Muslim society of its violent tendencies is possible, it would involve ripping out or otherwise neutralizing a tendency that has dominated Muslim culture since the days of its founder.

This is not an easy task, for Muslims willing to make the change would be portrayed as traitors to their religion, amid renewed calls to practice Islam in its original, pure, and more violent form in order to regain the favor of God. The signs of the times suggest that we are, indeed, in for a "clash of civilizations" that will be neither brief nor bloodless.

But what also is known is that God has a plan for history and that his grace can work miracles. It is yet possible that—through one means or another—God will bring about a more peaceful world in which militant Islam either is not a threat or nowhere near the threat that it is today.

If this is to happen, our cooperation with God’s grace will require prayer, courage, resourcefulness, and a realistic understanding of the threat we are facing. Until then there can be no illusions about Islam and its endless jihad."

Do not be deceived. The Pope's recent words of truth concerning how violence is not pleasing to God apply also to so called "Christian civilization" as well as Islam. Both our scriptures and our history books depict the widespread prevalence of sin, injustice, abuse, and domination which are deeply woven into the social fabric of not only the world at large, but America throughout its entire narrative. Though the twentieth century began with waves of unbounded hope- the trust in "progress” soon gave way to disbelief and despair. Technology has allowed us to build bigger and better weapon systems to kill more people, industrialization allowed us to mass produce those weapons as well as the material trappings of the "market driven economy"; mass media allowed the propaganda- driven mobilization and indoctrination of entire populations to both use and defend that technology and industrialization in service of killing their contravention of the biblical edict to love enemies and never return evil for evil because vengeance belongs to God.

Hitler's anti-Semitic Holocaust remains an indescribable horror of our age. But, Paul reminded his Roman readers that they ought not judge others when they thereby condemn themselves: in response to the injustice of others, and in the name of utilitarianism, United States forces likewise decimated Japanese men, women and children in our firebombing of Tokyo and our nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki...We did likewise in Dresden and Hamburg Germany. In our Cold War wake and mindless rush toward mastery and domination we created a world where total destruction by nuclear conflagration is a constant and impending threat right up until this very moment. We napalmed children and innocent adults in Viet Nam to "make the world safe for democracy". We have created a world in which MAD- mutually assured destruction- is no sci-fi acronym but stated government policy in response to any threatened attack or affront to our idol, democracy. We have held policies toward the Middle East for decades that oscillate between neglect and reactionary bombing... we have exploited the poor and pumped wealth and weaponry into the hands of tyrants and the men we now call enemies throughout the Mediterranean basin...including poison gas, bombs of every sort and all other sorts implements of death and destruction...We have backed Israel unfailingly even when they have also been outside of God's plan for mankind. In the last decade, according to U.N. estimates, we have contributed to the deaths of at least half a million children in Iraq through sanctions and shock and awe tactics...before "Operation Iraqi Freedom" commenced....and then wax innocent and pious when we recieve blowback in the form of "terrorism". "Terrorism" being noted as what one does with carbombs as opposed to laser guided bombs and televised "shock and awe" glory.

Someone will undoubtedly tag these assertions as "liberal-America- hating -blasphemy and pie- in -the-sky- touchy-feely- lovey-dovey- denial of realities.... an assertion that I will openly challenge. In the light of the sobering reality of ongoing rebellion to God's purposes, Christians cannot naively assume that "niceness" will necessarily entail "niceness" in others. The political "realists" are quite right on that score: pacifism is naive if it assumes that it will bring about easy victory over one's enemies. Christians must realize that walking in the Way of the Cross, may indeed lead to a cross. If you are "nice to people", the possibility exists that one may be killed. The Way of the Cross is indeed a costly way of dealing with injustice, conflict, and rebellion against the ways of God. It is certainly NOT for the weak of heart. To be a disciple that follows in the non- violent- way- of- Christ that harbors no fear of death in the midst of a culture that thrives on fear and worships domination is no easy work... in the Middle East or the West.
BUT, it is not the true Disciples who naively believe they can cure the world of war. Very often, it is the purveyors of warfare and "peace through superior firepower" who exhibit a utopian trust in the power of violence! Thus, World War 1 was called "the war to end all wars", wars are always characterized as good versus evil, and America's most recent campaign has been too often suffused with the rhetoric of "ridding the world of evil," of "getting rid of terror," and other such utopian dreams. This is of course nonsense. War IS terror after all.
SOOO, Disciples of Christ, actual followers, refuse to fight wars not because they naively believe they will thus rid the world of war, instead we do not fight because the Kingdom of God HAS come, in which war is banished, in which it is possible to order our lives according to the justice, peace and assurance of the primacy of God.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Bush and His Cohorts Would be Wise to Implement Jesus' Agenda

Gaza Breaking Point

Read the article by clicking the little green arrow next to the title.

Mr. President! Such Language Sir!

Book: In lead up to war, Bush's temper flared over reporters; Cheney aides mistook watering hole for WMD hiding place

" President Bush was driven by a visceral hatred of Saddam Hussein, which he privately demonstrated in expletive-laden tirades against the Iraqi dictator. In May 2002--months before he asked Congress for authority to attack Saddam-Bush bluntly revealed his ultimate game plan in a candid moment with two aides. When told that reporter Helen Thomas was questioning the need to oust Saddam by force, Bush snapped: "Did you tell her I intend to kick his sorry mother f^*#+ing ass all over the Mideast?"

George W. Bush began to take part in a Bible study group in 1985, after two decades of binge drinking. For two years he studied the Scriptures and put his heavy drinking behind him. In that same process, he succeeded in refocusing his life, which had been diffused and confused, into a coherent cosmic vision--or ideology--which corresponded to the mentality of the conservative evangelicals of his country.

(sidebar: As a backstage audio-visual- technician I can personally attest to being an eyewitness of Mr. Bush on a drinking binge on two seperate occaisions during his governorship of Texas from 1994 -2000. These occurances were well after his alleged conversion in the late eighties and one was actually during his campaign for president for the 2000 election. So was his conversion real or part of a campaign stategy? Examine the evidence and decide for yourself.)

When Bush decided to run for office, political strategist Karl Rove helped him make the link with the evangelical sector. While other candidates were discussing polemical themes, Rove advised him that it was much better for him to simply speak about his faith. Bush presented himself as "a man with Jesus in his heart." When a reporter asked him who his favorite philosopher was, Bush replied: "Christ, because he changed my heart." That corresponded perfectly to the extreme individualism of fundamentalism, and it constituted what in the metalanguage of evangelical code words is called "personal witness."

Politically, Bush's discourse has been very effective, but theologically the results have been more problematic, as evident in particular in three areas.

Manicheism: This ancient heresy divides all of reality in two: Absolute Good and Absolute Evil. The Christian church rejected Manicheism as heretical many centuries ago. But on the day after 9/11, the President first stated the position he would continue to maintain: "This will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil, but good will prevail." Later Bush defined his enemies as the "axis of evil," a term that is theologically and morally loaded.

Given that state of sublime innocence in his own country, like Adam and Eve in paradise, Bush can muster only one explanation for the terrorists' hatred of his nation: "There are people who hate freedom." In other words, they are so evil that they abhor the good because it is good. (But if the terrorists hate freedom, why have they not attacked Canada, which in some respects is more democratic than the United States? Why is there not the same hatred for Switzerland, Holland or Costa Rica?)

Messianism: When Bush, then Governor of Texas, decided to seek the presidency, he described his decision in terms evangelicals would understand as a divine mandate: He had been "called," a phrase that evoked the prophetic commissions of the Hebrew scriptures. He summoned to the governor's mansion all the leading pastors of the region to carry out a ritual of "laying on of hands," a practice that corresponds above all to ministerial ordination. He told the pastors that he had been called (obviously, by God) to be the presidential candidate. This language of divine calling has been frequent in his declarations and at a much accelerated rhythm since September 11, 2001.

In his State of the Union address the following year, Bush reaffirmed that "history has called America and our allies to action." Soon after the 9/11 attacks, speaking to a joint session of Congress, he proudly declared that "the advance of human freedom--the great achievement of our time and the great hope of every time--now depends on us." As he declared in his 2003 State of the Union address, the nation must go forth to "confound the designs of evil men," because "our calling, as a blessed country, is to make the world better." "Once again," Bush announced as war preparation was building up, "this nation and our friends are all that stand between a world at peace and a world of chaos and constant alarm. Once again, we are called to defend the safety of our people and the hopes of all mankind. And we accept this responsibility...and we go forward with confidence, because this call of history has come to the right country."

Bush does not seem to have much hesitation in identifying God with his own project. In a speech in September 2002, Bush cited a Christological text in reference to his war project: "And the light [America] has shone in the darkness [the enemies of America], and the darkness will not overcome it [America shall conquer its enemies]." When he appeared in a flight suit aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, he said to the troops: "And wherever you go, you carry a message of hope--a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'To the captives, come out! to those who are in darkness, be free!'"

Manipulation of Prayer: True prayer does not pretend to tell God what we want Him to do but rather asks that God tell us what He wishes us to do. We do not pray in order to enlist God in our ranks but to examine ourselves, to change and to do God's will. Therefore, the confession of sin and repentance are crucial moments in prayer and worship. Prayer has played a role without precedent in the Bush presidency and in the propaganda of the evangelicals who support him. Photos of Bush at prayer are common. Great publicity was given to the fact that during a prime-time news conference shortly before his speech giving the ultimatum to Saddam Hussein, Bush asked his advisers to leave him alone for ten minutes. In evangelical symbolism, that meant that a man of prayer was going to commune with God, somewhat like Moses on Mount Sinai.

It is remarkable how closely Bush's discourse coincides with that of the false prophets of the Old Testament. While the true prophets proclaimed the sovereignty of Yahweh, the God of justice and love who judges nations and persons, the false prophets served Baal, who could be manipulated by the powerful. Karl Marx concluded that religion is "the opium of the people." But Marx never knew committed Christians like Camilo Torres of Colombia, Oscar Arnulfo Romero of El Salvador, Frank Pais of Cuba, Ernesto Cardenal of Nicaragua, Dietrich Bonhoeffer of Germany or Martin Luther King Jr. of the United States. How paradoxical, and how sad, that the President of the United States, with his heretical manipulation of religious language, insists on proving Karl Marx right.

Translated by Thomas E. Ambrogi. A longer version (available at appeared in Signos de Vida.

I am simply amazed at how many "conservatives" and Christain thinkers, who at the beginning of the "Reagan revolution" preached about always questioning and being skeptical of government and politicians, have given this man, Bush, and his administration a free pass just because he/they claimed to be Christians, said they were against abortion, and opposed gay marriage. Boy, that was an easy sale!

Friday, September 08, 2006


click the green arrow next to the word Halabja for an educational video

Cut and paste the address below for an educational article.

Do Not Be Decieved By This World

1 Timothy 6:11-20

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christlike), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart.

12 Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses.

13 In the presence of God, Who preserves alive all living things, and of Christ Jesus, Who in His testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I [solemnly] charge you

14 To keep all His precepts unsullied and flawless, irreproachable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Anointed One),

15 Which [appearing] will be shown forth in His own proper time by the blessed, only Sovereign (Ruler), the King of kings and the Lord of lords,

16 Who alone has immortality [in the sense of exemption from every kind of death] and lives in unapproachable light, Whom no man has ever seen or can see. Unto Him be honor and everlasting power and dominion. Amen (so be it).

17 As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be proud and arrogant and contemptuous of others, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches, but on God, Who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for [our] enjoyment.

18 [Charge them] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be liberal and generous of heart, ready to share [with others],

19 In this way laying up for themselves [the riches that endure forever as] a good foundation for the future, so that they may grasp that which is life indeed.

20 (Timothy,) guard and keep the deposit entrusted [to you]! Turn away from the irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Winning Earthquakes > Quotes You Should (Have) Know(n)

It does not require many words to speak the truth.
~Chief Joseph

These simple but eloquent quotes should be on the tips of our tongues.

You can no more "win" a war than you can win an earthquake. The whole enterprise is about survival, damage control and recovery.
~Scott E. Starr

History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.
~Ronald Reagan

It is useless to attack men who could not be controlled even if conquered, while failure would leave us in an even worse position...
- About the quote: Thucydides was a Athenian historian, born in the 5th century, BC. Here, he is quoting the Athenian general Nikias on the proposed invasion of Sicily during the Peloponnesian War.

The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions.
~Robert Lynd

It would be easier to subjugate the entire universe through force than the minds of a single village.

The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.
~Albert Camus

Suspicion must always fall on those who attempt to silence their opponents.
~Ian Buckley

In any war, the first casualty is common sense, and the second is free and open discussion.
~James Reston
About the quote: American Journalist (1909-1995), best known for his work with the NY Times.

What an immense mass of evil must result...from allowing men to assume the right of anticipating what may happen.
~Leo Tolstoy

May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
~Albert Einstein

The voice of never more needed than when the clamor of fife and bidding all men...obey in silence the tyrannous word of command.
~Charles Eliot Norton

The cry has been that when war is declared, all opposition should be hushed. A sentiment more unworthy of a free country could hardly be propagated.
~William Ellery Channing

The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure.
~Lyndon B. Johnson

War is fear cloaked in courage.
~General William Westmoreland

Let not your zeal to share your principles entice you beyond your borders.
~Marquis de Sade

Never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter.
~Sir Winston Churchill

War is wretched beyond description, and only a fool or a fraud could sentimentalize its cruel reality.
~Senator John McCain

The dangerous a defender of militarism and its ideals of war and glory.
~Colonel James A. Donovan, Marine Corps

Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
~Benjamin Franklin

Today the real test of power is not capacity to make war but capacity to prevent it.
~Anne O'Hare McCormick

Liberty and democracy become unholy when their hands are dyed red with innocent blood.
~Mahatma Gandhi

The chain reaction of evil--wars producing more wars -- must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so...
~Robert A. Heinlein

An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.
~Thomas Paine

Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.
~George Washington

I am not blaming those who are resolved to rule, only those who show an even greater readiness to submit.

After every ''victory'' you have more enemies.
~Jeanette Winterson

Violence as a way of gaining being camouflaged under the guise of tradition, national honor [and] national security...
~Alfred Adler

Non-violence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak... Non-violence is hard work.
~Cesar Chavez

The dangerous patriot...drifts into chauvinism and exhibits blind enthusiasm for military actions.
~Colonel James A. Donovan, Marine Corps

Before the war is ended, the war party assumes the divine right to denounce and silence all opposition to war as unpatriotic and cowardly.
~Senator Robert M. La Follette

Peace is constructed, not fought for.
~Brent Davis

Democracy is not an incident that happens overnight, nor a gift that America can give to the world. It is a culture which needs peace to evolve.
~Shirin Ebadi
About the quote: Ebadi is Nobel Peace Laureate of Iran. This quote is excerpted from the 5/5/06 Washington Post's "Diplomatic Dispatches," by Nora Boustany.

The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same.
~Marie Beyle

It is always easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.
~Alfred Adle

The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault.
~Major Ralph Peters, US Military

All nations want peace, but they want a peace that suits them.
~Admiral Sir John Fisher

Imperialism is an institution under which one nation asserts the right to seize the land or at least to control the government or resources of another people.
~John T. Flynn

Because I do it with one small ship, I am called a terrorist. You do it with a whole fleet and are called an emperor.
~A pirate, from St. Augustine's "City of God"

Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it.
~Noam Chomsky

The terrorist is the one with the small bomb.
~Brendan Behan

The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.
~Frederick Douglass

What is morally wrong and can never be advantageous, even when it enables you to make some gain that you believe to be to your advantage.
~Marcus Tullius Cicero

Historically, the most terrible things--war, genocide and slavery--have resulted from obedience, not disobedience.
~Howard Zinn

We thought, because we had power, we had wisdom.
~Stephen Vincent Benét

If, finally, violence meets with violence, we have confirmation of the age old adage that war though it kills many men, makes many more men evil.
~Fritz Medicus

The great error of nearly all studies of war... has been to consider war as an episode in foreign policies, when it is an act of interior politics...
~Simone Weil

Our children are not born to hate, they are raised to hate.
~Thomas della Peruta

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.
~Edward R. Murrow

Military glory--that attractive rainbow, that rises in showers of blood--that serpent's eye, that charms to destroy...
~Abraham Lincoln

It is far easier to make war than peace.
~Georges Clemenceau

Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war.
~Thomas Merton

I guess every generation is doomed to fight its war...suffer the loss of the same old illusions, and learn the same old lessons on its own.
~Phillip Caputo

The worst crimes were dared by a few, willed by more and tolerated by all.

War's a game, which, were their subjects wise, Kings would not play at.
~William Cowper

The greatest protection against war is a well educated populace.
~L.L. Castetter
About the quote: Castetter was a WWI veteran; this quote is from the 1930s (from p. 178 of the book "A Page A Day," ed. by Kenneth Adams, published by

War is a failure of human intelligence.
~Patricia Sun
About the quote: Patricia Sun is an internationally renowned philosophical psychologist.

In modern war there is no such thing as victor and vanquished...There is only a loser, and the loser is mankind.
~U Thant , Burmese UN Secretary General

If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.
~John Lennon

[War] might be avoidable were more emphasis placed on the training to social interest, less on the attainment of egotistical grandeur.
~Lydia Sicher

Every nation has its war party. It is not the party of democracy. It is the party of autocracy. It seeks to dominate absolutely.
~Senator Robert M. La Follette

It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.

The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.
~George Orwell

I hope....that mankind will at length, as they call themselves responsible creatures, have the reason and sense enough to settle their differences without cutting throats...
~Benjamin Franklin

If we don't stop behaving like the British Empire, we will end up like the British Empire.
~Pat Buchanan
About the quote: From Buchanan's 5/9/06 article "Why Are We Baiting Putin?"

We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children.
~Jimmy Carter

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
~Margaret Mead

Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.
~William Penn

We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Department of Defense is the behemoth...With an annual budget larger than the gross domestic product of Russia, it is an empire.
~The 9/11 Commission Report

Where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control.
~Lord Acton

I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.
~Thomas Jefferson

Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.
~Hugo Black, Supreme Court Justice

Paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people...
~Hugo Black, Supreme Court Justice

The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.
~William Colby, former CIA director
About the quote: as quoted by Dave McGowan in his book "Derailing Democracy"
(remember this next time you are listening to Limbaugh, Bennet, Boortz, Ingraham, Hannity or O'Reilly or anyone else of any "significance in the major media".

A tyrant has succeeded in his search for absolute power when his own people fear to question his actions.
~Ramman Kenoun

Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice.
~Lord Acton

Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.
~James Madison

Wars teach us not to love our enemies, but to hate our allies.
~W. L. George

I hate war for its consequences, for the lies it lives on and propagates, for the undying hatreds it arouses...
~Harry Emerson Fosdick

Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
~George Orwell

Freedom is whatever the president says it is, pending revision.
~James Bovard

Our country is now geared to an arms economy bred in an artificually induced psychosis of war hysteria and an incessant propaganda of fear.
~General Douglas MacArthur

The statesman who yields to war no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.
~Sir Winston Churchill

It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood...War is hell.
~General William Tecumseh Sherman

One day the end of the world will come as a result of a 'justified' war.
~Mikhail Gofman

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
~Issac Asimov

Our enemies...never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people...and neither do we.
~George W. Bush
About the quote: From remarks by the president at the signing of The Defense Appropriations Act for 2005 (8/5/04)

Dulce bellum inexpertis (War is delightful to the inexperienced).
~Erasmus, the 16th-century scholar

The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.
~Marcus Aurelius

Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths...I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?
~Barbara Bush
About the quote: Mrs. Bush spoke these words on ABC's "Good Morning America," March 18, 2003.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

How is it possible for people to consider themselves supporters of the troops when they approve of an event that throws those troops into...peril?
~Ramman Kenoun

In this war – as in others – I am less interested in honoring the dead than in preventing the dead.
~Butler Shaffer

You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
~Jesus Christ