Monday, October 30, 2006

One Church- Many Tribes


Click the arrow to visit the link.

I just bought this book and am anxious to read it. I believe that it probably says many of the same things that I am getting at in the post below.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

God's People- Community, Culture and Citizenship


Well, I have been meaning to get around to explaining my "Native" citizenship and cultural issues and concerns more fully for some time. I feel that the time is right at this moment as I am now riffing off of the thread entitled “For What Its Worth” two posts back. I feel that it is important to make things clearer for several reasons. I feel this need first, because I need for my friends and fellow Christians to understand this on a personal level. I simply need the understanding and moral support from my friends and family if I am to accomplish what I feel I need to as far as healing the relationship between Christ and my "Indian" brothers. Secondly, I think it is imperative for Christians to go back and examine the relationship that has been created between themselves and Indigenous people- not only in the history books- but NOW in places like the American Indian reservations, the Amazon basin and the Arctic. Next, I believe that a close examination of these relationships will reveal powerful lessons not only about culture, but about ideology, spirituality, religion and the intent of the Creator for all people. Not only will it help the natives heal and understand the true nature of Christ- but it will help "Christians" take a sobering look at their own culture and sometimes skewed values...which should, in turn, help the whole planet and all the dwellers upon it.
I want to make it clear that do not think of what I am about to say as a diatribe or a rebuttal- but as a clarification and perhaps mission statement. Some things I will say here may be perceived as an intellectual head-slap or as divisive and hurtful to Christian or national unity. Please know that my intent is the exact opposite…that of education, healing and unity. I would simply ask you to hear me out and turn off the filters. The two gents that will most likely be the first to read this are in fact two of the people I respect the most and wish the least to offend. The fact is that my mission is none other than to combat the indoctrination of the world- not to play cultural favorites. I remember once an uncle of mine made the comment that , “Scott (a “half breed”) was a regular suburban white kid for all his life and then one day he woke up and decided he was an Indian because it was more romantic and mysterious and it made him feel adventurous and gave him an “identity” that was something other than ordinary". I will tell you that this was not what happened at all. What did happen was strictly between God and I and was not part of my personal quest for “identity” at all. It was purely spiritual and about me following a path that I was being instructed down by God- nothing more and nothing less. I will eventually speak more about this later.

The first thing I would like to address is the term Native-American itself. I wish I had a coin for all the times that I have ever been lectured about or read somewhere about the evils of “hyphenated Americanism”. So the logic goes- if I call myself a Native- American, an African-American, Asian-American, Dutch-American or whatever else- that I am not really a good American at all…that I am clinging to some outmoded or outdated ethno-cultural identity that is somehow subversive and destructive to the whole- to the very fabric of America. Let me just say that anyone that thinks that this is the root of the problem is simply not in touch with history or racial realities at all. I will leave it alone other than that. Now, for the point that I wish to make the most of: The term Native-American itself is nothing more than accommodative language. The term was created by some well studied scholar or social scientist- not by a “Native-American”. The term is often used by other “Native-Americans” because otherwise people don’t know what to call us or how to categorize or compute our ongoing presence. There is a whole other topic in itself on that point alone. I will simply leave that sidebar alone for now. I recently read a chapter in Lee Camp’s “Mere Discipleship” that asserts that disciples of Christ do not necessarily make good Americans, Englishmen, Frenchmen or so on. This would also mean that Disciples would not make good Cherokees either. And so it is true. Nevertheless, this does not mean that I can realistically become NOT Cherokee anymore than I could become NOT a member of my family, NOT a member of my community, state or nation. The responsibilities I have to each of these people groups remain...especially with regards to carrying forth the Word, the Way and the Truth and the Light. The Bible tells us to remain content with whatever situation we find ourselves in when we become Christian…and also to fulfill that role, even if we are a slave, to the glory of Christ. We are simply to regard ourselves as not only players in that role but primarily as members of the Kingdom of God which is already now at hand. We are to simply to consider ourselves as God’s people then - each with different functions and roles to contribute through. The Bible does not ask us to homogenize or sacrifice our roles within family or community people groups – but to view these roles within a larger context of God’s family.
The fact is that most of the "American Indian" Nations or tribes have never had a problem considering themselves as one part of a larger scheme and/or family. Most tribes have names for themselves that simply mean “The People”. The Cherokee, for instance never called themselves Cherokee. Cherokee is a English bastardization of a term used by another tribe when referring to the “Cherokee”. The “Cherokee” actually called themselves either Ani-Yunwiya, which means “The First People” ( the Original People, the Principal People are also sometimes used in translation) which means essentially “God’s people”-or Ani- Keetoowah, which they assert is the religious, ceremonial and personal name given to them by God himself when he placed them upon this Earth and gave them instructions about how to live (which they are still attempting to follow despite the cultural onslaught and the pressure to assimilate). So, please note that the term Native-American is a term used for the language accommodation of a larger cultural force that never really much tried to comprehend, respect, co-exist with or learn anything either from or about the people that lived upon this continent before them. On that note- we “Native- Americans” generally stopped caring what “Americans” called us or thought about our cultural identity a very long time ago- regarding it as nearly hopeless to reach them. However, I still believe that there is hope. Hopelessness means victory for the real enemy of all men. The problem is that the “mainstream” culture and the “powers that be” cannot be ignored or left to carry on without our voice of protest and resistance raised because that in itself would definitely ensure the final destruction and assimilation of “Native” culture and traditional values. These values and worldviews have withstood the onslaught because they are relevant to the whole, because they work and because they have power... a power that originates from none other than God. These views are often closer to the original intents of the Creator and I dare say even the Bible than what we see today being practiced by “Mainstream Christians”. I will address these areas specifically as time allows.
Now, let it be understood without a doubt that this concept of cultural resistance by “Natives” not only applies to “America” at large- but also to “Christendom”….or to put a finer point on it with reference to other discussions here…”THE DOMINATION SYSTEM” which the Cultural Church has most definitely participated in (see the post “A Violated Covenant”). The point of all that is this: One cannot hide behind or take shelter in their patriotic sensibilities and/or jingoistic image of America OR their concept of homogenous Christian unity and expect this impasse to simply be surrendered or go away. It won't... not until people like me have been totally exterminated or bred out of existence.
The fact is that when Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves- he did not mean for “Us” to go out and try to homogenize everyone. To love your neighbor necessarily means to fellowship with them, listen to them, to respect them, to learn about them and from them, and to honor our treaties and covenants with them. It also implies that we should in fact be willing to somewhat BE LIKE them in the interest of being missionaries- instead of always requiring them to culturally be like “Us Good Christians”. Needless to say, little of this was ever done historically in the relationship between “Natives” and “American Christians”. Also people generally think in historical terms regarding “Natives”- that they are a dead culture. Native Culture is LIVING- not just an archaic and nostalgic relic of imagination, museums and dusty history books. Today, people like me who are “Native”, “White”, “American” and “Christian” all at once- remain citizens of each of these groups in the interest of evangelizing those of our respective people groups that we cannot leave behind- and are meeting with little understanding and much resistance in the process. I mean- if I isolate and just say I am a Christian and only that- forsaking the other people groups that I am a member of- what happens to the others? Moreover, I have chosen to speak on these things for another reason- that being that not only am I hoping to show my fellow “Natives” and indigenous people the true nature of Christ as I understand him- but also my fellow Christians.

I remember once reading somewhere about an elder “Indian’s” encounter with a psychologist/anthropologist. The “Indian’ said to the scholar, “You presume to analyze me as you listen to me speak and answer your questions- but you ought to know that I am also analyzing you by the questions you ask and do not ask and by the way that you respond to the things I say.”
The point of this little anecdote is not to suggest a paternalistic approach that says, “Silly pilgrim, just listen to me/us- we have all the answers and all the right questions too.”
In fact that approach is the very thing I am trying to break through because “Christians” have held this approach far too often. The results of this approach speak for themselves. The point is: Please listen…this is important not only for “them” but for you.

There are in fact some very good and very deep reasons that indigenous people have resisted “mainstream cultural values for over 500 years. These reasons also bleed over into resistance to “Christianity” because very often “Christianity” has become polluted by the cultures inside which it resides. The sad part is, as previously stated, that the "Native" values often more closely approximate the biblical model of the Kingdom of God than anything one can point to in contemporary culture including the present formulation of the Churches themselves. I will speak more about specifics on the points of contention with “Native” and Pop-culture as soon as I can think about it a bit more before writing and compiling exactly which of those issues that should be addressed. Meanwhile, it is sleepy time.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

For What Its Worth


click the arrow in the corner of the screen to play.

Is it just me or does 2006 feel a lot like 1967 lately?
Do you remember or know about all the circumstances, events and turmoil of 1968?
Would you say that history is about to repeat itself?

version two:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30W3iRL48gQ&mode=related&search=

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Autonomous, Co-operative Networks




Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2004 18:19:51 -0600

Ok, I don't have the focus to write a thesis at the moment but here's something I offer you to think about in the vein of "new topic".
I have been carrying this one in the sidepocket of my mind for a good while. First, please forgive me for often referring to my ethnos when I converse with you. All I can say is that it is in the warp and woof of me. To surrender my place of who I am would be a terrifying loss of identity. I think that is what is wrong with most of the world right now.... Correct me if this is not a conservative view... If its not then I really am lost. People don't know who they are and where they came from and just what it is they are suppose to be doing with themselves anymore. They try to get it from tv and other media I suppose. People have lost their context...their identity. The root connection for me is that when I was lost too...I found the answer to who I was, where I came from and what I am suppose to be doing- not in a church pew (although that is where it all starts), not in my family home in suburbia...but in my familiy's traditional native culture and worldview....the one that stood for thousands of years but has almost been erased from the face of God's earth, and the same one that men Like Newt Gingrich suggests be surrendered and homogenized into pop culture once and for all now. I agree that America must pull together as one nation if we wish to survive, however, this does not mean surrenderring our individuality or diversity completely - but creating a network of diverse, autonomous communities working towards a common goal and common unity. If we remember this concept then we will not always be dividing and sub dividing ourselves into seperated- hyphenated false categories. Then, we can express our diversity and cultural perspective without detracting from the goal of the whole. I will always be a Native- American, A citizen of the United States and a member of the human family and God's Kingdom. Try to take away or harm any of these parts of me and you will have a struggle on your hands. I imagine we all feel the same about this from our own perspective if we have in fact devoted any thought to it. Getting in touch with this root connection of who I am was a potent experience with real spiritual occurances and huge realizations and paradigm shifts. All humanity points toward this same set of truths regardless of the distractions and tragedies of the dark side of human nature. I have something relevant to say on my mind that many of my ancestors died trying to say unsuccessfully.
I know, as you do too...no question in my mind about that...that our world is at a huge nexus right now...and in every phase of existence too...especially spiritually. Politics!! Its well known that our nation's democracy was modeled after the Roman senate, Greek thought and also after models of government exhibited by the Iroquois League of Nations and other tribal governments. The model of government exhibited in much of Native America was designed well enough to last eons. It was more streamlined...more decentralized...more conservative...more balanced...more in line with God's Law- Natural Law...better suited to humanity and the family structure as well as the food chain. I think it is worth mentioning that the early Christian Church was also set up this way. I believe this model of civil government was also more like what the founding fathers of the United States had in mind. Forget about the fact that it was a long time ago (not really so long) and dealt with fewer people (although in the tens of millions instead of the hundreds of millions) and a different world stage. I'm just tallking about the flow chart like exquisitely simple design of it. Never mind all that other stuff right now. Think about the formula...the model. Its about individual and community rights and responsibilities.
Thomas Paine I believe it was (Common Sense?), kind of touched on where I am going with this on the States' Rights tip. He was also talking about a network of more autonomous communities like I am. Now before you start thinking I'm talking about socialism or liberalism and dismiss it- start thinking about how a system like this would have to be and could be done. I am not such an idealist that I can honestly say that I think my vision OR...the world as it is set up right now is salvagable. I beleive that niether is salvagable without cataclysm to motivate some real paradigm shifts. I also believe we are going to live to see that cataclysm if we are not in fact watching it hatch right now. I am a BIG picture thinker. I am so beyond all this partisan political crap that the mainstream culture has been bantering about.
We can pull America out of her decaying orbit if more people will get serious and focus. To hell with all this right-left stuff...lets get back to the center...the source. This is what I have been talking about the whole time in a way. Can you see that model in your head? Think about that for a new topic. Our generation's turn to hold the reigns is coming right up.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Europe’s Problem—and Ours

click the arrow to jump to the article.

excerpt: "What biblical man had perceived as a liberation from the whims of the gods or fate—the self-revelation in history of the one God who was neither a willful tyrant nor a remote abstraction—atheistic humanism perceived as bondage. Human greatness required rejecting the biblical God."


This really was a very good, although dense article. At its heart are some of the same ideas we have been kicking around. I believe that THE mission of the Church is to BE the Church - thereby setting a basis for culture by its example. The positive influence that the Church has always had on morality, culture and politics is undeniable and important. It has been when the Church has strayed from its message and decided to employ the methodologies of the "World"...i.e. the "Domination System"- that it has been an enabler and contributor to the greatest of human tragedies.

Tnnkas to a friend for this article!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Christian Right and the Rising Power of the Evangelical Political Movement



The Christian right has no religious legitimacy. It is a mass political movement. It ignores the core values of the Christian religion, summed up by Jesus in the sermon on the mount, and the core values of American democracy. They are not biblical literalists as they claim- but selective literalists choosing bits and pieces of the Bible that conform to their ideology and bigotry and ignoring, distorting or making up the rest. ~Chris Hedges

AUDIO LINK


Cross reference this one with the post entitled "The Government Vs. All Saints Church (AKA the Body of Christ)- by clicking on All Saints at the bottom of this post.

The Reluctant Redneck Speaks About Foleygate


Click the small arrow in the corner of the screen to play.

Ok- I am going to join this fellow's fan club.

That's all I have to say about that.

Love Not The Domination System- from Augsburger's Dissident Discipleship



from Chapter 5 - "The Practice of Resolute Non-Violence":

sub heading: Love Walks

(There is a)...deeper understanding, a radical wisdom that violence begets violence, which begets violence again.

The common wisdom on the streets of L.A., like the wisdom on the streets of most cities, holds that violence is the ultimate reality. This is the conviction of people in democracies and dictatorships, in "developed' as well as 'undeveloped" countries. Here are its basic assumptions.


1. The world is a dangerous place.

2. Human beings are innately, intrinsically, violent.

3. The enemy is evil, more violent than we are, and beyond change.

4. We have only three alternatives: accomodate violence, avoid violence, or use violence ourselves- go along with it, run from it or do it before they do it.

5. The answer to violence is more violence. Evil is the bottom line, and violence its language, logic and ultimate reality.

6. Violence can solve our problems decisively. Power, domination, and extermination of evildoers will stop the spiral, prevent the violence from feeding on itself, extinguish resentment, intimidate those who would seek revenge, render retaliation against us impossible, allow us to dominate benevolently.

Those are the storm waves of violence , beating on counter-currents of equal violence. each side is willing for the other to die to insure its own safety.

Active non- violence steps out of the pitching boat and onto the pounding waves and does the supra-rational. It walks on the water and finds it firm. It summons its courage and reaches outto the enemy as a person. It thinks of the enemy's needs and fears (motivations); it acts in commitment alloyed with compassion. it chooses the surprising.

sub heading: Love Not The Domination System

The way of the cross is not an inner spiritual surrender as Luther taught, or a profound sentiment of spirituality as pretension holds, or any of the other conceptual, emotional, volitional , spiritual definitions of experience that identify the cross with physical, familial or vocational hardships. The way of the cross is the willingness to die.

The World, in the way Jesus used the word, refers not to geography or place, but to "the domination system" by which human societies control, compute, and conflict. This is biblical scholar Walter Wink's best translation of cosmos The domination system is a set of cultural values, basic survival assumptions, and political structures that actively control, impose upon, and exploit human kind through violence and domination(Wink 1992, 139-55)

Of his disciples Jesus said, "They are strangers in the world, as I am'; in other words "they are strangers to the domination system as I am a stranger to the domination system' (John 17;14,16 NEB)We too live in a domination system of organized fear, institutionalized greed, rationalized violence, and socially accepted hatred, but we are strangers to its creed of greed, fear, coercion, and we-they thinking. There is no true spirituality at the end of the pursuit of greed, none that carries out the practices of hate. These are acts of obedience to the domination system and not the reign of God.

Every violent action is an act of faith in the domination system.

Every commitment that answers violence with violence is an act of obedience to the domination system.

Every allegiance to the values embodied in the domination system is an affirmation that men are superior to women, whites to people of color, and the wealthy to the poor, that the northern hemisphere is better than the southern hemisphere, the West than the Third world, and human beings than nature.

Every surrender to the domination system legitimates the un -questioning validation and justification of the use of force and violence. Then even when violence fails to resolve conflicts, it is merely discredited.

Clarence Jordan, farmer, Bible scholar and translator, and founder of Koinonia farm in Georgia thought deeply about the kinds of retaliation he observed in the tit for tat interactions in Southern society:

Jesus pointed out the stages through which the law of retaliation had passed, and how it finally came to rest in the universal love of the Father's own heart. There were four of these steps, each clearly defined and each progressing towards God's final purpose. First, there was the way of unlimited retaliation; second, that of limited retaliation; third that of limited love; and fourth, that of unlimited love (Jordan 1952)

Obviously, the first is both eyes for an eye, all teeth for a tooth. The second is eye for an eye, a penny for a penny and no more. The third is "love your neighbor and hate your enemy' (matt 5:43 NKJV; see also Lev.19:18). The fourth is to love as God loves, drawing no lines between friend and enemy, between those who reciprocate and those who do not. One loves in this fourth way- not because it works or is guaranteed to change enemies, but so that they will be "children of their heavenly Father" (Matt 5:45)
END

This is what the modern Church has misunderstood- even among its most prolific "leaders". This is what has been so thouroughly subverted in our culture...this is where it has all gone wrong...where the breakdown of the family and culture began...and how the destruction of our world will commence...unless things change drastically and soon among those who call themselves God's people. This understanding of what the domination system is and refusal to participate in it is true conservatism...the idolatrous faith in the redemptive power of violence is the true secular humanism and liberalism. God gave us freewill- its always been there- from the oldest stories of the Bible. It was when we passed up all of our chances and consistently chose wrongly when we were smitten with collapse and disaster of our own device. A better and more stable and saner world is possible- despite the idea that there will never be peace due to twisted interpretations of the book of Revelation and the end times...eschatology...which we will address next.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The "Just War Theory"

excerpt:

"The principles of a Just War originated with classical Greek and Roman philosophers like Plato and Cicero proposed by S. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, and made available for everybody by Hugo Grotius... However, it is a "theory", and with it hundreds of bloody wars have occurred in the last 1600 years... and may be it is time to think of a New Way, considering the teachings of the Gospels and the the personal pacifist attitude of Pope John Paul II and many other modern Christian leaders."

A REAL Christian Reacts To The Swindling of Evangelicals

The Truth About Peacemaking


I have been meaning to respond to a message (below) that I recieved in another discussion on another forum during a conversation instigated with a book review and exchange about Ann Coulter and her inflammatory and vitriolic style. I had made some of the same arguments and statements that can be found elsewhere on this blog- visit this link for the original context: http://www.challies.com/archives/002056.php

-and this is what was said in return just before further posting on this topic was cut off:

From Jerry Morningstar

Scott - thanks for all the information on the decision to drop the bomb. However - I still disagree with your overall position. When a nation is treacherously attacked the way the US was at Pearl Harbor - dragged into a war they were not seeking - they get to choose how to end the war with the smallest cost in lives of their own soldiers. The reality is that Japan was dragging its feet in surrendering - there is documentation that even the women were trained to to fight to the death with spears should an island invasion occur. There is no question - more Americans would have died. Your information cites the fact that US pow's believed they may have been killed if the Japanese govt. had not collapsed so quickly.

I sympathize with pacifists from the standpoint that there is much that is abhorrent in any kind of war.

But - in a sinful world where there are struggles for power and domination - God says a state has a right to defend itself however that must take place. Oftentimes that will involve the use of force and violence.

One illustration:
Suppose you are sitting upstairs in your house and you hear a young woman scream - you look outside and two thugs are accosting a woman in the street - you run outside and tell them to leave her alone - they refuse and push you to the ground giving you a bloody nose.

You have a choice:
A) you can continue to try to talk some sense into them - but they will only strike you more and more
B) You can say to yourself - 'Now I don't believe in violence - I better stay out of this - and go call the police' - of course it will be too late by the time they arrive
C) You can go to the garage and get a baseball bat and subdue the attackers

I think choice C - is the more Christian position

It is possible to elevate the virtue of peace to the expense of justice

Being a peacemaker - means as far as a situation depends upon us - our actions are in accord with peace. i.e. we do not start fights - we do not go around trampling others' rights, etc. It doesn't mean to sit by and let thugs carry out their wills.

Many people thought the way you do in Europe in the 30s - We can't go to war with Hitler - it's not the right thing to do. We are to love our neighbor after all. Meanwhile - he is systematically exterminating our other neighbors who we are also supposed to love.

Turn the other cheek is a great verse - and a difficult one to apply. I believe Jesus intended for us to use it when it came to how we are treated personally - but not when others whom we are responsible to care for are mistreated. In those situations we protect - we show courage - we defend.

I appreciate your arguments - I have to stand on the other side of the fence though.

END

Ok, I will now respond to this in the comments.- SS

DEPLETED URANIUM ALERT! Invisible War, Part 1


Click the arrow to jump to the hyperlink.
This video has several parts.

Excerpt:
"Depleted" uranium and the alarming claims of soldiers and Iraqis who have been exposed to it. Weapons of Mass Destruction in Washington DC? It is known world wide, he says, that DU weapons have long-term implications that, right now corporations and governments are hiding. The use of uranium weapons is absolutely unacceptable, and a crime against humanity. Consequently the citizens of the world and all governments must force cessation of uranium weapons use.

Do you remember "Gulf War Sickness"?

Could "DU" munitions be a possible explanation for that?

bonus- copy and paste the url: http://nucnews.net/2000/du/du.htm

Robert Fisk, "The Conquest of the Middle East" part 1

Click the arrow to jump to the link. Make sure you watch all four parts. There are five parts if you count the intro.

This is a very interesting take on the situation- very different from what is generally offered in the mainstream media. Commentary and analysis are welcome. Just don't show ignorance by de-generating to name calling and stereotyping.

bonus- copy and paste the hyperlink(this is revolting from any kind of moral viewpoint)- be sure to note the comments-this still doesn't resolve the fact that a Christian should not relish the demise of an enemy who is attempting to surrender - or the use of outlawed incindiary munitions. However, I do apologize for falling for this ruse. War is a very ugly thing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiwOVaznIZI

What the Amish are Teaching America



Published on Friday, October 6, 2006 by CommonDreams.org

What the Amish are Teaching America

by Sally Kohn

On October 2, Charles Carl Roberts entered a one-room schoolhouse in the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. He lined up eleven young girls from the class and shot them each at point blank range. The gruesome depths of this crime are hard for any community to grasp, but certainly for the Amish — who live such a secluded and peaceful life, removed even from the everyday depictions of violence on TV. When the Amish were suddenly pierced by violence, how did they respond?

The evening of the shooting, Amish neighbors from the Nickel Mines community gathered to process their grief with each other and mental health counselors. As of that evening, three little girls were dead. Eight were hospitalized in critical condition. (One more girl has died since.) According to reports by counselors who attended the grief session, the Amish family members grappled with a number of questions: Do we send our kids to school tomorrow? What if they want to sleep in our beds tonight, is that okay? But one question they asked might surprise us outsiders. What, they wondered, can we do to help the family of the shooter? Plans were already underway for a horse-and-buggy caravan to visit Charles Carl Roberts’ family with offers of food and condolences. The Amish, it seems, don’t automatically translate their grieving into revenge. Rather, they believe in redemption.

Meanwhile, the United States culture from which the Amish are isolated is moving in the other direction — increasingly exacting revenge for crimes and punishing violence with more violence. In 26 states and at the federal level, there are “three strikes” laws in place. Conviction for three felonies in a row now warrants a life sentence, even for the most minor crimes. For instance, Leandro Andrade is serving a life sentence, his final crime involving the theft of nine children’s videos — including “Cinderella” and “Free Willy” — from a Kmart. Similarly, in many states and at the federal level, possession of even small amounts of drugs trigger mandatory minimum sentences of extreme duration. In New York, Elaine Bartlett was just released from prison, serving a 20-year sentence for possessing only four ounces of cocaine. This is in addition to the 60 people who were executed in the United States in 2005, among the more than a thousand killed since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. And the President of the United States is still actively seeking authority to torture and abuse alleged terrorists, whom he consistently dehumanizes as rats to be “smoked from their holes”, even without evidence of their guilt.

Our patterns of punishment and revenge are fundamentally at odds with the deeper values of common humanity that the tragic experience of the Amish are helping to reveal. Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done in life. Someone who cheats is not only a cheater. Someone who steals something is not only a thief. And someone who commits a murder is not only a murderer. The same is true of Charles Carl Roberts. We don’t yet know the details of the episode in his past for which, in his suicide note, he said he was seeking revenge. It may be a sad and sympathetic tale. It may not. Either way, there’s no excusing his actions. Whatever happened to Roberts in the past, taking the lives of others is never justified. But nothing Roberts has done changes the fact that he was a human being, like all of us. We all make mistakes. Roberts’ were considerably and egregiously larger than most. But the Amish in Nickel Mines seem to have been able to see past Roberts’ actions and recognize his humanity, sympathize with his family for their loss, and move forward with compassion not vengeful hate.

We’ve come to think that “an eye for an eye” is a natural, human reaction to violence. The Amish, who live a truly natural life apart from the influences of our violence-infused culture, are proving otherwise. If, as Gandhi said, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,” then the Amish are providing the rest of us with an eye-opening lesson.

Sally Kohn is Director of the Movement Vision Project at the Center for Community Change and author of a forthcoming book on the progressive vision for the future of the United States.

The True Iraq Appeasers


click the arrow for audio about this from Democracy Now!.

Published: September 4, 2006
Peter W. Galbraith, a former U.S. ambassador to Croatia, is author of "The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End."

WASHINGTON In his most recent justification of his Pentagon stewardship, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld reached back to the 1930s, comparing the Bush administration's critics to those who, like Joseph Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador to Britain, favored appeasing Adolf Hitler. Rumsfeld avoided a more recent comparison: the appeasement of Saddam Hussein by the Reagan and first Bush administrations.

The reasons for selectivity are obvious. So many of Saddam's appeasers in the 1980s were principals in the 2003 Iraq war, including Rumsfeld (and now Robert Gates).

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan initiated a strategic opening to Iraq, which was then in the third year of a war of attrition with neighboring Iran. Although Iraq had started the war with a blitzkrieg attack in 1980, the tide had turned by 1982 in favor of Iran, and the Reagan administration was afraid Iraq might actually lose.

Rumsfeld, whom Reagan had chosen as his emissary, visited Saddam in December 1983 and March 1984. Inconveniently, Iraq had begun to use chemical weapons against Iran in November 1983, the first sustained use of poison gas since a 1925 treaty banning that.

Rumsfeld never mentioned this blatant violation of international law to Saddam, instead focusing on shared hostility toward Iran and an oil pipeline through Jordan. Rumsfeld apparently did mention it to Tariq Aziz, Iraq's foreign minister, but by not raising the issue with the paramount leader he signaled that good relations were more important to the United States than the use of poison gas.

This message was reinforced by U.S. conduct after the Rumsfeld missions. The Reagan administration offered Saddam financial credits that eventually made Iraq the third-largest recipient of U.S. assistance. It normalized diplomatic relations and, most significantly, began providing Iraq with battlefield intelligence. Iraq used this information to target Iranian troops with chemical weapons. And when Iraq turned its chemical weapons on the Kurds in 1988, killing 5,000 in the town of Halabja, the Reagan administration sought to obscure responsibility by falsely suggesting Iran was also responsible.

On Aug. 25, 1988 - five days after the Iran-Iraq War ended - Iraq attacked 48 Kurdish villages more than 150 kilometers from Iran. Within days, the U.S. Senate passed legislation, sponsored by Claiborne Pell, Democrat of Rhode Island, to end U.S. financial support for Saddam and to impose trade sanctions.

To enhance the prospects that Reagan would sign his legislation, Pell sent me to eastern Turkey to interview Kurdish survivors who had fled across the border. As it turned out, the Reagan administration agreed that Iraq had gassed the Kurds, but strongly opposed sanctions, or even cutting off financial assistance. Colin Powell, then the national security adviser, coordinated the Reagan administration's opposition. The Pell bill died at the end of the congressional session in 1988.

The next year, President George H.W. Bush's administration actually doubled U.S. financial credits for Iraq. A week before Saddam invaded Kuwait, the administration vociferously opposed legislation that would have conditioned U.S. assistance to Iraq on a commitment not to use chemical weapons and to stop the genocide against the Kurds.

At the time, Dick Cheney, now vice president, was secretary of defense and a statutory member of the National Security Council that reviewed Iraq policy. By all accounts, he supported the administration's appeasement policy.

In 2003, Cheney, Powell, and Rumsfeld all cited Saddam's use of chemical weapons 15 years before as a rationale for war. But at the time Saddam was actually gassing his own people, they considered his use of chemical weapons a second-tier issue.

The Reagan and first Bush administrations believed that Saddam could be a strategic partner to the United States, a counterweight to Iran, a force for moderation in the region, and possibly help in the Arab-Israel peace process. That was, of course, an illusion. A ruthless dictator who mounted an attack on his neighbor, Iran, who used chemical weapons, and who committed genocide against his own Kurds was never likely to be a reliable American ally.

Saddam, having watched the United States gloss over his crimes in the Iran war and at home, concluded he could get away with invading Kuwait. It was a costly error for him, for his country, and eventually for the United States, which now has the largest part of its military bogged down in the Iraqi quagmire.

Meanwhile the architects of the earlier appeasement policy now maintain the illusion that they have a path to victory, if only their critics would shut up.

Peter W. Galbraith, a former U.S. ambassador to Croatia, is author of "The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End."

The Call - The Walls Came Down


Click on the small arrow at the corner of the screen to stay with this page while watching or listening

This one goes out to the Author of "Tempting Faith"- David Kuo

The Call- The Walls Came Down- Lyrics:

Well they blew the horns
And the walls came down
They'd all been warned
And the walls came down
They just stood there laughing
They're not laughing anymore
The walls came down
Sanctuary fades
congregation splits
Nightly military raids
The congregation splits
It's a song of assassins
Ringin' in your ears
We got terrorist thinking
Playing on fears
Well they blew the horns
And the walls came down
They'd all been warned
But the walls came down
I do't think there are any Russians
And there ain't no Yanks
Just corporate criminals
playin' with tanks

The Police - Invisible Sun- 1981


Click on the small arrow at the corner of the screen to watch or listen while staying with this page.

This song has a brooding mood- yet I find it hopeful:

Lyrics:
I dont want to spend the rest of my life
Looking at the barrel of an armalite
I dont want to spend the rest of my days
Keeping out of trouble like the soldiers say
I dont want to spend my time in Hell
Looking at the walls of a prison cell
I dont ever want to play the part
Of a statistic on a government chart

There has to be an invisible sun
It gives its heat to everyone
There has to be an invisible sun
That gives us hope when the whole days done

Its dark all day, and it glows all night
Factory smoke and acetylene light
I face the day with me head caved in
Looking like something that the cat brought in

There has to be an invisible sun
It gives its heat to everyone
There has to be an invisible sun
That gives us hope when the whole days done

And theyre only going to change this place by
Killing everybody in the human race
And they would kill me for a cigarette
But I dont even wanna die just yet

There has to be an invisible sun
It gives its heat to everyone
There has to be an invisible sun
It gives us hope when the whole days done

Friday, October 13, 2006

Tempting Faith- (You've Been Had)- pt. 2


Click on the small arrow at the corner of the screen to watch or listen while staying with this page.

see pt. 1 below.

A new expose' on how the GOP and the presiding admin. has seduced and used the evangelicals for political power.

excerpt:
More than five years after President Bush created the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, the former second-in-command of that office is going public with an insider’s tell-all account that portrays an office used almost exclusively to win political points with both evangelical Christians and traditionally Democratic minorities.

Ahhhh yes, when faith meets politics-

...sorta like when Church meets the State, the World meets Chrisitianity, an Indian meets with a Uncle Sam bearing a treaty ... or when...er....faith meets politics...


"We tried to tell them,"- Chief "Runs With Scissors"- Blacktoe Tribe

Fellow Christians- wake up and BE the Church- rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's.

The Roots of Christian Right Unilateralism

Click the arrow.
Excerpt:
"While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community, we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self defense by acting preemptively...

Today humanity holds in its hands the opportunity to further freedom's triumph over all these foes. The United States welcomes our responsibility to lead in this great mission (emphasis mine).

But our responsibility to history is clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.

--The National Security Strategy of the United States (2002), p. 6, preface, and p. 5. "

A related quote from Walter Wink's "The Powers That Be":

""The myth of redemptive violence is, in short, nationalism become absolute. This myth speaks for God; it does not listen for God to speak. It invokes the sovereignty of God as its own; it does not entertain the prophetic possibility of radical judgment by God. It misappropriates the language, symbols, and scriptures of Christianity. It does not seek God in order to change; it embraces God in order to prevent change. Its God is not the impartial ruler of all nations but a tribal god worshiped as an idol. Its metaphor is not the journey but the fortress. Its symbol is not the cross but the crosshairs of a gun. Its offer is not forgiveness but victory. Its good news is not the unconditional love of enemies but their final elimination. Its salvation is not a new heart but a successful foreign policy. It usurps the revelation of God’s purposes for humanity... It is blasphemous. It is idolatrous."

Another related paraphrase from Lee C. Camp's "Mere Discipleship":

"It is not the true Disciples of Christ who naively believe they can cure the world of war and sin and evil. 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."

Evangelical "Right"?

Click the arrow for a visit to the other side of the looking glass.

The site you will find there is a zinger...no I do not endorse it....but this is how much of the world sees the Church, the Body of Christ nowadays...not good...now what?

Anybody still think having Christians attempt to overtake political structures is a good thing? I maintain rendering into Caesar what is Caesar's and letting the Church BE the Church is best for both Church and State- instead of the Church co-opting itself to the "World" ( I consider the idea that we Christians can control humanity by employing the infernal methodology of wordly politics in the first place to be a very "liberal" - even humanist notion). Wake up.

Right? Left? - return to the SOURCE...

"For, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."- 1 Corinthians 10:26

BE the Church.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tempting Faith- (You've Been Had)-pt.1


click the arrow.

A new expose' on how the GOP and the presiding admin. has seduced and used the evangelicals for political power.

excerpt:
More than five years after President Bush created the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, the former second-in-command of that office is going public with an insider’s tell-all account that portrays an office used almost exclusively to win political points with both evangelical Christians and traditionally Democratic minorities.

Ahhhh yes, when faith meets politics-

...sorta like when Church meets the State, the World meets Chrisitianity, an Indian meets with a Uncle Sam bearing a treaty ... or when...er....faith meets politics...


"We tried to tell them,"- Chief "Runs With Scissors"- Blacktoe Tribe

Fellow Christians- wake up and BE the Church- rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's.

See pt. 2 above.

Is God Green?



Click HERE for the a presentation from PBS.

"For, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."- 1 Corinthians 10:26

Excerpt:
"A new holy war is growing within the conservative evangelical community, with implications for both the global environment and American politics. For years liberal Christians and others have made protection of the environment a moral commitment. Now a number of conservative evangelicals are joining the fight, arguing that man's stewardship of the planet is a biblical imperative and calling for action to stop global warming.
But they are being met head-on by opposition from their traditional evangelical brethren who adamantly support the Bush administration in downplaying the threat of global warming and other environmental perils. The political stakes are high: Three out of every four white evangelical voters chose George W. Bush in 2004. "Is God Green?" explores how a serious split among conservative evangelicals over the environment and global warming could reshape American politics."

The World and the Earth are two different things.

The Earth is of God...the World is of man and is the dominion of the devil. Can you see it?

I personally have been speaking for a good long time about how mankind will not come into spiritual wholeness without understanding his purpose with regards to his intended role in Creation....that he cannot serve effectively without understanding this directive...that the proper understanding on this issue is the greatest witness and recruiting tool as an ambassador of Christ and representative of the Church- His body- that we will ever have. Even men that cannot initially understand the Word can understand Natural Law- harmony, balance and glory as revealed in the beauty and complexity of Earth- and if they see Christian people living this example- coming into the fullness of God's purpose and spirit- THEN they will be more apt to convert- to become Christian and THEN be saved....this is a piece of the puzzle we can not do without and still be credible and effective in the mission to seek and save the lost. The Church is not presently credible to much of the world because of this rift and the other schisms that follow as a result. I can point to my native American ancestry and the holocaust that occurred as a prime example of that principle at work. However...the winds of change are starting to blow.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Multiculturalism By Design- The Lessons of Babel

My great, great grandfather, Redbird Smith, a spiritual leader of the Keetoowah Nighthawk Society (the religious arm of the Cherokee tribe)- over one hundred years ago spoke of a "designed purpose of the Cherokee." He said,
"I have always believed that the Great Creator had a great design for my people, the Cherokees... Our forces have been dissipated by the external forces, perhaps it is has been just a training, but we must now get together as a race and render our contribution to mankind... We are endowed with intelligence, we are industrious, we are loyal and we are spiritual but we are overlooking the particular Cherokee mission on earth for no man nor race is endowed with these qualifications without a designed purpose."

I believe this holds true for ANY people grouping- and I believe it is in keeping with God's Word. I am trying hard in my life to live by it and live up to it.

God made the peoples of the Earth diverse for a reason. We are interdependant on one another. We learn from one another. We all have different contibutions, purposes and perspectives. If you are a student of the Bible- do you remember the story of the tower of Babel? When man became too proud...became too enamored of his own intelligence and skill- forgot God's purposes and thought only of his own...in fact seeking to reach and rival God himself....there God divided man into the different races and language groupings. He set forth a principle there of
diversity an interdependance...of co-operative networks- even if we live inside the same borders. So then- diversity and "multiculturalism" are the design of the Creator...of God. Do we men really own any of this Earth? Do we have control? When we become so prideful and selfish that we cannot bear our neighbors and fellow men unless they think, act and speak just as we do- are we commiting the prideful errors of Babel over again? What will befall us if we continue on that path? Take a look at today's headlines for clues.

I have heard the KKK use this same story about Babel to argue against race mixing.
However, I believe that the concept of race mixing was the very thing that God was up to. He divided us into different aspects of a shared network- if he had not intended us to mix and mingle and ultimately live and work in together he would have separated us completely and permanently- onto different planets perhaps...or in different planes or dimensions. Now why do you suppose he did not do that?

Monday, October 09, 2006

What EVERYONE Should Know About Reconciliation- by John Dawson

This offering is the gold standard on the subject. Click the arrow to read.

Excerpt:

"Why Me?
If the people of your nation have broken covenants with God and other nations and violated relationships with one another, the path to reconciliation could begin with your act of confession. The greatest wounds in human history, the greatest injustices, have not happened through the acts of some individual perpetrator. Rather they have happened through the institutions, systems, philosophies, cultures, religions and governments of humankind. Because of this, we are tempted to absolve ourselves of all individual responsibility. However, God looks for individuals to "stand in the gap" just as He spoke through Ezekiel:
"And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one."(Ezekiel 22:30) This is a most amazing statement made by the Lord after the land of Israel had been destroyed by the Chaldeans. Could this great tragedy have been avoided by a single man who would build the wall and stand in the gap before the Lord for the land? That is certainly the implication. This gap is the breach between God and people that is created by transgression. The Lord Himself looked for a person who would stand in that breach for the land, but He could not find anyone."

Excerpt:
Four Healing Steps

We believe in Confession, Repentance, Reconciliation and Restitution.

CONFESSION:
Stating the truth; acknowledgement of the unjust or hurtful actions of myself or my people group toward other persons or categories of persons. (This is often seen as our main theme but this is simply because it is the place to begin and contemporary Christians have neglected it...)

REPENTANCE:
Turning from unloving to loving actions.

RECONCILIATION:
Expressing and receiving forgiveness, and pursuing intimate fellowship with previous enemies.

RESTITUTION:
Attempting to restore that which has been damaged or destroyed, and seeking justice wherever we have power to act or to influence those in authority to act.


Click on Articles under resources and then "What is God Requiring" for an excellent treatise on the subject.

A Violated Covenant- from "For This Land" by Vine DeLoria ,Jr.


cut and paste this link for more info:

http://www.nah.uiuc.edu/faculty/treaty/FTLcontents.html

On The Case of The American Indian In World History from: "For This Land" by Vine DeLoria Jr. The essay was written some time in the sixties the Book itself is a year or two old. A reviewer of this book wrote,
"This is a book that every American should read, especially Christians, educators and students of religion.”
Vine DeLoria is one of the great interpreters of religion in America. If one can remain a Christian after reading this book, s/he might be a pretty good one." I agree with this assessment completely as a Christtian and an American Indian. Real truths, especially religious or political truths, are only arrived at when the mind and the beliefs it stores are challenged and contemplated.
This essay definitely brings some very relevant points that bring the breadth and depth of the case into a clearer and more accurate focus.

American Indians are in the situation they are in to this day because of a total inability of the non-Indian Christian world to understand itself. Educational, economic, social and legal problems of Indian peoples stem almost directly from protestant theology and a misapplication of basic
biblical ideas in the arena of political thought. Until the non-Indian peoples understand themselves and the religion they profess to confess, the
situation will grow continually worse. The time may yet come within our lifetime of a genocidal war against American Indians being waged by these same churchgoing Christians who are now obliterating other parts of Southeast Asia. With such a prospect in the offing, is it any wonder that from a variety of sources from within the American Indian community have come voices attempting to raise a variety of issues? For many Indian people understand all too well the inability of the Christian peoples to realize their religion here on Earth as a viable social force. Too many times Indian peoples have seen the humanity of Christianity give way to more abstract forms of oppression by people firmly convinced they are following God's will. And fanatically determined to carry out God's will as they are able to understand it, they have perpetuated massacres and theft unparalleled in the history of mankind.
The most drastic error of Protestant theology as applied to the American Indian peoples has been the total inability of the Christians to understandtheir own idea of "covenant".
Initially, a covenant was a pact between the peoples of two nations whereby the integrity of each nation was pledged to uphold the agreement. A covenant did not give people the right to intrudeon the other partner of the agreement. Indeed, it meant that the spiritual faith of the two peoples was pledged so that the agreement called for the best efforts of the two groups to fulfill the terms of the agreement.
With the development of Christian theology after the death of Jesus the whole idea of The New Covenant permeated explanations of the meaning of life and death of the founder of the religion. Declaring that everyone who accepted the teachings of Jesus, later Paul and still later Luther, the various Christian denominations found in the idea of a New Covenant a community transcending time and space and bound together by a faith in the uniqueness of history as exemplified in the Christian story.
Where the New covenant meant new community, a gathering of saints, a
communion of the saved, to that degree the individuals composing the heavenly city were required to act positively in response to the message they proclaimed to the world and by which they were encouraged to judge the secular world. Thus Christians were told that they had been freed to live in a state of near-grace. By transcending the law and dwelling permanently within covenantal relationship, Christians bound themselves to living a life of creative , a life in which they were not judged solely by their transgressions of law, but by the vision of life in it's totality toward which they marched.
But, there was no corresponding understanding by Christians taken as a corporate group that they had a duty to incarnate the covenantal life in their relationships with peoples different than themselves. Law quickly replaced covenant and Christianity bogged down to the concept of a god who laboriously recorded each and every transgression of individuals for use in the afterlife when He would exact vengeance. It was this lower conception of divinity and hence society that Christians believed in when the "New World" was "Discovered". And the early colonial governments reflected ascales-and-balances concept of both law and covenant in their dealings with each other and with their own settlers. Combined with the perversion of covenant was a misapplication of the conceptof Genesis to go forth and multiply and the placement of man as havingdominion over all other species of creation. According to the Genesis legend, when man was given the right to name the animals, he was given dominion over them since by creating their names he had in effect participated in their creation also. As Co-Creator, one might have argued, man had a corresponding responsibility to care for the non-human elements of creation. In tending the garden of Eden, man had a corresponding responsibility to the earth itself to maintain it's fruitfulness. All of this, particularly the edict of man's responsibility, was perverted by Christian theologians.
Early in the history of North American exploration, the fundamental responsibilities of Genesis became interpreted as man's right, and basically
the White Man's right, to use whatever he wanted and however he wanted to use it. Thus, slavery was justified as God's rightful contribution to the
economic well being of the Americans, God's chosen people. Wholesale destruction of forests, the game, the original peoples of the continent were justified as part of god's plan to subdue and dominate an untamed wilderness. Nowhere was there any sense of stewardship between diverse elements of the new Christian settlers, either collectively or individually, and the continent as they found it.
Within THIS context one can trace the tragic story of the American Indian peoples. The United States and the individual colonies signed treaties with the various tribes at which the faith and good will of the United states and it's component states was pledged. Missionaries representing the respective denominations attended these treaty signing sessions, each assuring the tribal leaders that if the government of the United States did not uphold the treaty, his church and his God would guarantee them. Indeed, missionaries promised that God himself wanted the tribes to sign the treaties because of his foreordained plan to create cities, suburbs and shopping centers on the North American Continent.
Within the treaty context, then, total faith and good will of the two parties, the Indian tribe and the United states, were pledged. Treaties were covenants of the new lands insofar as they affected the relationships of individuals of the two disparate treaty groups. But, as soon as the treaties were signed, and often before the signing was even official, large groups of settlers following God's divine command to subjugate the Earth went forth into the reserved Indian lands. The tribes were thus pushed further and further backwards into the interior. At no point was there an acknowledgement by the allegedly religious people of the new nation that once having pledged the faith and validity of their religion, there was a corresponding responsibility to actually uphold the treaty.
The settlement of the continent, therefore, was one in which people, claiming to be divinely inspired members of a New Covenant, refused for a moment to keep their covenantal commitments to people whom they had given them.
Article by article, treaty by treaty, the spiritual faith given by the white Christians was violated in favor of God's other commandment, also misinterpreted, to subjugate the earth. It is therefore ridiculous to view Indian tribes as a people who do not and probably cannot understand the requirements of either religion or civilization. Both religion and civilization require, for their fundamental integrity, the premise that one can be taken at his word for what that word spiritually represents. Instead history has shown a marvelous ability of the white Christian to quibble on the meanings of specific words contained in treaties and statutes, finding in tortured interpretations of those words the loophole required when one is breaking faith.
In a corresponding development, responsibility to the Earth and it's creatures has been studiously avoided. Instead, exploitation for the sake of exploitation has been the rule. Property rights have taken precedent over any sense of affinity for living creatures and their rights. The buffalo were exterminated to provide grazing lands for cattle, and misuse of these grazing lands resulted in the creation of the Great Dust Bowl followed by farm programs in which land is kept unproductive in order to maintain a false economy for selected land owners while millions throughout the world starve.
The justification for taking American Indian lands has always been: they are not doing anything with them. Underlying this complaint has been the idea
that the earth itself can have no rest. it also must be exploited and used. There is no responsibility of man not to destroy the world. On the contrary, the more the world can be changed, the theology has run, the more concrete poured, the more freeways, apartment buildings, slums, football stadiums, in short, the more confused edifices created, the better God is pleased. God, then, created the Earth most ineptly. It was fortunate for God that man was available to recreate the world as it should be.
Now, the chickens have come home to roost. The entire Viet Nam fiasco revolves around the question of covenant. To what extent are we bound by our promise to protect the south Viet Nam republic? And the answer has been that we are bound to the point where it becomes our duty, our God given duty, to massacre old men, women and children and babies- for their own good - and for our good, to defend them. When 83% of the citizens of this country, this Christian Country, think that Lt. Calley did right in executing the people at My Lai, then one can see how far from the reality of
what they proclaim, the Christians have drifted in four centuries.
Instead of creating the world in a better way than the Deity- Christian peoples have only succeeded in creating a situation in which mankind may well extinguish itself within a generation unless pollution is controlled. And even that statement is not really correct. Unless the white Christians control pollution, all of mankind, Christian and non-Christian, may become extinct. This obvious fact, rather than the theological fancies of the past, tells us of the relative truth of the genesis legend. For if man was given the right to totally subjugate, then no harm would come to him. such, according to to our best scientific minds, is not and has not been the case. Outside of a massive repentance and a society turned completely around, there appears to be no solution to modern problems. Unless mankind takes it's responsibilities to the world, and unless Christians take their
responsibilities to non-Christians, as serious and critical calls to action, we really have no future. we will have created our own judgment day far in advance of any divine plans for the event.
In the field of human rights there must be a radical change in the
attitudes. If it has been stated that Indian treaties will be upheld, then it is the responsibility to uphold them. No amount of quibbling over phraseology can change that basic response. If all men are created in God's image, there should be no question, at least among those alleging to be Christians, to carrying out those programs and projects that will most nearly approximate that condition. The continual bickering over legal sophistries with respect to treaty rights, integration and race relations, welfare, the aged, orphans and burial rights, speaks of a society in which
law and not covenant dominates. That society and it's members who so loudly proclaim to be members of the covenant, the New Covenant, should either put up or shut up.
Most of us really know what is right. We rarely do it. But, there is a corresponding responsibility on Christians today that faces no other group. For Christians have not only proclaimed that they are right, they have proclaimed that they ALONE are right and that everyone else is wrong. And then they have backed away from their responsibilities to uphold the right. When minority groups have tried to get them to respond in a manner of spiritual commitment to the principles which they proclaim and not the legalistic footnotes behind which they have always hidden, then the
Christians have fought back thinking all efforts to make them live up to their responsibilities are subversive to the great society that they, allegedly with God's help, have created.
The case of the American Indian is clear and uncomplicated. American Indians suffer because the non-Indians have devised ways and means and rationalized arguments for not keeping their word. Non Indians have violated their covenants with Indian tribes. let them fulfill these treaties and covenants and then come talk to us about problems. for it is then we will be able to discern which problems are our problems and which problems created by non-Indians for us.- END
(
Thus these issues at hand are not part of some ancient or revisionist
history but part of the legacy of HERE and NOW. look at statistics on
social problems within the remnants of Indian communities...it's sickening, the highest ratios of poverty, mental illness, addiction, disease, suicide...look it up yourself instead of getting your news of the world from cable TV or talk show hosts who tell you all that all this multiculturalist crap is just an angle at raiding your tax dollars. These are the problems that beset a people when they are dehumanized by a white washed version of history and constantly reminded that their ancestors were not really people at all, the continent being empty of real people until 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue and they are not really people now, who deserve to have their treaties and rights upheld and deserve nothing more than a status as cartoonish mascots. Note that the council on race relations that convened under the Clinton administration and did a national tour composed itself of Whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians. Where is the voice of the American Indian today? Nearly wiped out...nearly forgotten...
Do not insult our intelligence by telling us we are all on some theoretical equal playing field nowadays...after the hypocritical dominating culture has
decided how when, where and why the "game" is played. I dare say the
"playing field" would be very different if any philosophical or ideological input had been allowed by minority cultures...What year was it anyway when Blacks or Indians or women respectively were finally allowed to cast a vote?
Land ownership is the basis for all socio political power. Where the
lands of the American Indians have gone so too has gone most of their power, their voice and possible contribution to the betterment of the human race....
However, my father taught me this...The Indian Nations are not a defeated people, but rather, a people still under siege by a force that does not have our spiritual, cultural or ecological best interests at heart. The choice is yours...let it go and have yourself a drink...assimilate and participate in it...or fight it to the very bitter end...Is my choice too obvious? As too the religious aspects of the argument I would simply say that I wonder sometimes how God's will could be such as to produce this situation...the answer is that it has more to do with man's will than God's. It is not the fault of faulty data or religious insight from God, but the twisting of it by prideful man...his freewill that has made things the way they are. It's
not God's fault...it's man's fault...and I choose to remind people of that and hope they will reassess what they believe and why. So what does modern day America owe the remnants of the American Indians? That is the question it all comes down to every time isn't it? It is understood that either justice or the honoring of old promises and treaties is still too expensive or at least more than the culture at large is willing to give...How about some truth is history lessons then? Or perhaps a little bit of respect...a little dignity? How about changing the name of the professional football team in the Nation's capital to something other than "Redskins"? That in itself would be a start. I also encourage the Indian nations such as they
are to move away from the mentality of smoke shops, tourist traps, bingo parlors and casinos. My message to them is that before people will much listen to these kind of rants about the loss and disrespect of our culture- we need to raise the next generation to be something more than drunks, convenience store clerks, bingo callers, cocktail waitresses, blackjack dealers and bickering tribal politicians. It has all the earmarks of a lost cause eh? So what...I'm still going down swinging all the way. I think this is what a man is for in this world...to fight the good fight no matter what the odds....besides I figure my time is better spent doing this than watching TV and filling my head with crap that a person would have to be crazy to give a rip about in the larger context of the meaning of life as a human being in God's image on this Earth.)
S. Starr

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Winona LaDuke > audio archive @ I.U.

HOPE (Willy Whitefeather Vision)


Click on the arrow at the corner of the screen to listen or watch while staying with this page.

This is an awesome clip from a spiritual perspective.

"The power of peace lies within each of us."

for more info: http://ecohood.info/

Why Are We Here?


Click on the arrow at the corner of the screen to watch or listen while staying with this page.

Why are we here? GOOD QUESTION! Watch the clip and then ask yourself if you have ever heard the term "stewardship"...and in what context? HMMMMM.

PURPOSE...it suggests morality and order...natural order even...I wonder outloud where those concepts could have come from.

Yellow Dust


click on the arrow at the corner of the screen to watch or listen while staying with this page.

What uranium on the Navajo Nation was really used for. Awesome clip!

Bonus Round; A trailer clip from the documentary "Trespassing"

Summary: By focusing on the Native American struggle for spiritual and cultural autonomy on disputed lands in the U.S. Southwest, "Trespassing" unpacks a deadly political and ethical controversy around land rights, uranium mining, nuclear testing and the disposal of nuclear waste, and examines the ability of a culture to bring itself to the brink of annihilation while simultaneously producing "gatekeepers" to combat that annihilation. Trespassing offers an in depth and provocative examination of historical survival and struggle designed to impact the present generation and alter a deadly course of action.

clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AbrlqoLdx4

Prayer Is Good Medicine- Healing Words- Larry Dossey, M.D.



Conscious Universe

Do you believe in God- or anything "supernatural"? Do you believe in the power of prayer? Do you believe in spiritual warfare? Do you believe in the existence of angels and demons- good and helpful spirits or evil ones? Do you believe that the powers of light and darkness are manifested all around us....like the Bible and the vast majority of all peoples who have ever lived believes? Then you'll have no trouble believing this.

Wounded Knee


click on the arrow at the bottom of the screen to stay with this page while viewing or listening.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Powers That Be




Excerpt:
"The myth of redemptive violence is, in short, nationalism become absolute. This myth speaks for God; it does not listen for God to speak. It invokes the sovereignty of God as its own; it does not entertain the prophetic possibility of radical judgment by God. It misappropriates the language, symbols, and scriptures of Christianity. It does not seek God in order to change; it embraces God in order to prevent change. Its God is not the impartial ruler of all nations but a tribal god worshiped as an idol. Its metaphor is not the journey but the fortress. Its symbol is not the cross but the crosshairs of a gun. Its offer is not forgiveness but victory. Its good news is not the unconditional love of enemies but their final elimination. Its salvation is not a new heart but a successful foreign policy. It usurps the revelation of God’s purposes for humanity... It is blasphemous. It is idolatrous."

Ecuador Versus Texaco


This case is absolutely shameful:

Visit these links:

http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2005/s1361018.htm

http://www.amazonwatch.org/view_news.php?id=1016


http://www.amazonwatch.org/view_news.php?id=995



This is the Texaco position:

http://www.texaco.com/sitelets/ecuador/en/legal_archives/press/2005-02-02_health_news.asp

The Zionist Ideology of Domination Versus the Reign of God

excerpt:
" I shall not fear anyone on earth.
I shall fear only God.
I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
I shall conquer untruth by truth.
And in resisting untruth I shall put up with all suffering."
(The Treasure Chest, Harper & Row, 1965, p. 73)

Confronting the Powers

This is an awesome series of lessons. I actually read the one of books in this series back in 1994 while living in Waco. I used to frequent the Baylor library quite often and spent MANY hours studying all manner of Theology and comparative religion and psychology and ...well you name it.

Pay special attention to lessons 4 and 5 ( the link I provide takes you to lesson 4)...get to the various lessons by hitting the "next" or "previous" buttons at the bottom of the pages.

excerpt: "This Myth of Redemptive Violence is the real myth of the modern world. It, and not Judaism or Christianity or Islam, is the dominant religion in our society today."

"Peacemaking Amid Political Revolution" - John Howard Yoder

(Unpublished paper, available at Associate Mennonite Biblical Seminary)

LINK

"The Limits of Obedience to Caesar: The Shape of the Problem" - John Howard Yoder

(Unpublished paper, available at Associate Mennonite Biblical Seminary)

The Baptism of Jeffrey Dahmer- Dark Journey, Deep Grace


The Baptism of Jeffrey Dahmer

(Reprinted from the Christian Woman May/April 1995)

by Roy Ratcliff

Convicted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was beaten and killed Nov. 28, 1994, by a fellow inmate at the Colombia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wis. The attack occurred while Dahmer and another inmate were cleansing a bathroom in the prison gymnasium.

The minister who baptized Dahmer shares his story and tells about a courageous woman who thought Dahmer was worth saving.

I first heard about Jeffrey Dahmer's desire for baptism through Roy McRay, a preacher in Milwaukee. He had received a phone call from Curtis Booth of Crescent, Okla., who had sent a Bible correspondence course to Jeffrey. Just a couple of weeks later, Mary Mott of Arlington, Va., had done the same; and at the end of the course, Jeffrey had requested baptism. After making the necessary arrangements with the prison chaplain to meet Jeffrey and to confirm his understanding, I learned about Mary. She had sent Jeffrey a World Bible School correspondence course after seeing a TV report about the book written by Lionel Dahmer, Jeffrey's father. Mary felt a deep conviction that this young man needed to hear the Gospel. She sent him a letter that said essentially, "I don't know if you want to do this, but I believe it would help you if you studied the Bible." In the New Testament, Paul wrote about Timothy's sincere faith, which first came from the women in his life, his grandmother and his mother. Paul then added these words: "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self– discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7). Mary is to be commended for the faithful spirit of power and love that drove her to reach out, even against the advice of other people, and try to save the soul of someone so commonly despised.

Mary did not know whether her efforts would be well received. She simply acted on faith. To her delight and surprise, Jeffrey answered positively. At the end of the Bible study course, he wrote both Mary and Curtis requesting baptism.

Mary didn't know whom to call, but she tried the best she could to tell others that Jeffrey wanted to be baptized. When I first was informed of this request, I contacted the prison chaplain. I told him that the congregation in Baraboo, Wis., was closer than mine. I said that I would contact the minister and that we would make arrangements to meet with Jeffrey.

The minister in Baraboo told me he was planning to move out of state and could not come with me. He also had been contacted by Mary. He had received a phone call from her and photocopies of her letter to Jeffrey, including his reply asking for baptism. I was given the photocopies, and we wished each other well.

After my initial meeting with Jeffrey, I phoned Mary to tell her how the meeting had gone. We have been in contact with each other ever since. When I first met Jeffrey, I asked him why he wanted to be baptized. He answered that he always had thought from watching televangelists that baptism was optional. But he had concluded from his Bible study that baptism was necessary.

Jeff and his dog FriskyPhysically, Jeffrey was an average–sized man of 33. He did not appear to be a weight–lifter but looked quite normal in build. I would guess his height to have been around 6 feet and his weight about 190 pounds. His hair was slightly blond, and he wore glasses. Some days he was shaven; other days he was not. He usually wore prison clothing and looked like all the other prisoners.

Jeffrey appeared to get along well with the other inmates. One earlier physical attack was made on him in prison, but that was exceptional. The attacker only recently had been placed in Jeffrey's unit, and he later confessed that he had attacked Jeffrey only to gain publicity. Jeffrey revered the Bible as God's Word. Because of some information he had read, he preferred the King James translation more than others, believing it to be more accurate. We spent quite a lot of time discussing Bible translations.

He also was influenced deeply toward the premillennial viewpoint of the second coming of Christ and the once–saved–always–saved viewpoint of the televangelists. But he was very open to Bible study and studied on his own as much as he could. He also read everything that was sent to him.

I asked Jeffrey what his religious background was. He explained that his parents had attended the church of Christ when he was a small child and continued to attend until he was about 5 years old. From that time on, he had not had any religious contact at all except for television and the times he lived with his grandmother. He did note that his father had been a faithful member of the church when Jeffrey was a child.

I was not able to study the Bible much with Jeff before baptizing him. Most of our time was taken up with how to accomplish the baptism in a prison setting.

The chaplain was resistant to bringing in a baptistry, even a donated one. Apparently, he had received a similar request before because he said prison policy did allow using the prison whirlpool tub for that purpose. Someone previously had donated a baptismal robe, which was in storage. Once permission was granted, which took two weeks, I met with Jeff, the chaplain, and two prison guards. After taking Jeff's confession, we were escorted to the medical facility where the tub was located.

Jeff was concerned about the baptismal "formula" to use. I normally say, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of your sins." He had been told that baptism was invalid unless the name of Jesus was the only name mentioned. After studying with him about this matter, he agreed to allow me to us the words with which I was comfortable. After Jeff changed into the baptistry robe, I went in and baptized him.

Nearly everyone raises the question about Jeff's sincerity. But I was there, and these questioners weren't. I deal with people who want to be baptized all the time. Knowing for certain the sincerity of the one requesting baptism is impossible. I just accept the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 12: "[O]ut of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" (v.34 NIV).

I cannot know the condition of another person's heart unless I listen to his or her words. I listened to Jeff's words, and I watched his eyes and his body language. I listened to the tone of his voice and observed his mannerisms, and I am convinced that he was totally sincere in his desire.

Some people wonder how baptism might have benefited Jeff in terms of his stature with the prison system. The answer is that it had absolutely no effect on his life sentences. He still had 15 life sentences to serve in Wisconsin and one in Ohio, if he was ever released from the Wisconsin prison. But being released never would have happened. He had accepted the fact that he would die in prison.

Jeff had nothing to gain in this life by being baptized; he had everything to gain in the next life. He was baptized for the same reason anyone else is baptized. In the light of the Bible, he surveyed his life and concluded that he needed to be saved.

Jeff's death comes as a major surprise to me and his family. I last saw him when we studied together the day before Thanksgiving. He was in good spirits. He led a prayer and gave me a Thanksgiving card, expressing his gratitude to me for studying the Bible with him.

Jeff was beginning to embrace the Christian spirit. His father and several pen pals saw a major transformation in who he was after he became a Christian.

His father has been restored and is again a faithful member of the church, as is a younger brother, who was converted in college.

A memorial service was held for Jeff, which was attended by his family, several Christians, and two sisters of one of his victims who had grown close to the Dahmer family since their brother's death.

I developed a very good sense of friendship with Jeff, and I am feeling a sense of loss. He had a hunger and a thirst for righteousness like I haven't seen in a long time, and I will miss him.

“Roy Ratcliff, a graduate of York College and Oklahoma Christian College, has been a minister for 24 years and works with the church of Christ in Madison, Wis. He and his wife, Susan, have two grown children.”

How many of you believe that Jesus Christ has been glorified by the Amish?

Click the arrow to read the link.

"How does God seek to establish peace on earth though us- the Church?"
Is it by empowering us to destroy our enemies? Or is it by providing us a Saviour by which we can attain a spiritual peace in a fallen world, a life of liberation from fear and death via a redeemed eternal soul- by following and imitating the way of that saviour?"

Kill Your Television- Or At Least Unplug From It Often



Jerry Mander on "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television"

Ostensibly one could make the same arguments for the computer.