This morning on one of the news programmes a Republican pollster who is considered a very objective observer of trends and such, had a cross section of Americans composed of some 30 or so people of various ages, incomes, gender and race. He asked the following question “If I gave you a check for ten million dollars and the only catch was that you had to leave the country and never come back would you take it?” All but two raised their hands in the affirmative! He was, so he said, “saddened and shock” that this many people so representative of the American culture who would take the check and would be willing to leave the US for good. What planet does he live on!
When your nation has become an oligarchy and less than 2% own 98% of the wealth, when you cannot afford to educate your children or yourself, when you are facing increasing health care costs that are simply put immoral, when you see your parents become by necessity destitute in order to have elder care, and when an increasing number of your fellow citizens make minimum wage despite how hard they work, when you see people drawing less than 500 dollars of SS and still being charged for health care and lastly when you see those who have almost bankrupted the nation being not only spared jail time but actually given millions in bonuses why would any rational person be shocked! Add to this that you live in a country that arms its police force like a military strike force, a strike force that targets minorites in particular and is allowed to kill people with impunity. Again why would you be shocked!!!
Second item: I have a confession to make. When I think of what Jesus tells me to do,indeed tells all of us, at least those who claim to follow him, to do with regard to my/our enemies, which is forgive and pray for them, I fail miserably. I cannot bring myself to sincerely pray the Lord’s Prayer if I am really honest about how I feel about these cretins called “ISIS”. The truth is I don’t forgive them or their feudal, tribal and primitive religion! In fact if we were able to round up these soul less creatures who behead children, hang people, behead journalists and laughingly post the barbarity of the crime, sale women and little girls into sexual slavery, bury people alive, and routinely shoot unarmed soldiers, if we were able to corral them in one place and then precede to nuke them I would not feel sadness. Lord have mercy but I would not. Forgive me Jesus but that is how I feel.
The paradox is that I know on an intellectual level that though the feelings are honest feelings they do not negate the command that Jesus gives us. This paradox creates a vacuum and as we all know from our 9th grade science class nature hates a vacuum. So what can fill it?There is only one answer and that is Grace. How many times are we told not “to feed the beast” and yet we routinely fill its feeding cup with racism and bigotry and hate of all kinds. As the old Methodist Book of Discipline would put it we are “in most need of grace” and for that grace let us pray.
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