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May the Light of Jesus Overcome American “Christianity.” Amen.

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MAY THE LIGHT OF JESUS OVERCOME AMERICAN “CHRISTIANITY.” AMEN.

Reading the news is disheartening to say the least. I think that’s why I’m not blogging much lately. By the time I’ve read about what’s going on in America and the world, the air is taken out of me for the day.

I generally try to write about finding hope and light in dark times. I try to reflect the heart of Jesus, who came to reconcile all things and all people, to unite everyone in love, to set us free from what keeps us from being our most joyful true selves.

It’s hard to occupy that space these days, so it’s hard to write. I’m not seeing much joy or light in America, much less from my fellow Christians. Americans are becoming a mean-spirited people, if our “leaders” are any indication, and many in my religious tradition are held captive by the dark mire of power and money.

Rotten Fruit

Christianity is meant to connect our spirits with Divine Love and thus transform our hearts to care for the poor & marginalized. The fruit of the spirit, the Bible says, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. Our scriptures tell us we are meant to bring light and hope to a hurting world, to help people “live life to the full.”

Instead, right-wing Christians seem to be just like the majority of Americans who don’t give a fig about the poor and marginalized. No transformation whatsoever. It’s beyond indifference, it’s disdain. These Christians argue for larger military budgets and cuts to health care for the poor, for tax breaks for billionaires, and for the violent agenda of the NRA and the earth-killing coal barons. And Jesus weeps.

In today’s news, we see Christians rejoicing because the Supreme Court says they don’t have to bake cakes for their marginalized neighbors. Meanwhile, hardly a peep about thousands of Puerto Rican Americans literally dying of neglect because of the actions of the guy those very Christians put into office.

We Should Be Ashamed

We should all be mortified and ashamed by today’s news that U.N. human rights investigators are slamming America for neglecting our poorest people. Forty-one million Americans already live in poverty, and the U.N. says that trump policies will result in “windfall profits” for the rich and large corporations and “severe deprivation” for the economically marginalized.

“If food stamps and access to Medicaid are removed, and housing subsidies cut, then the effect on people living on the margins will be drastic,” says investigator Philip Alston. “The policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege to be earned, rather than a right of citizenship.”

“Deliberately designed” to spit in the face of Jesus.

But God forbid gay people should be able to order a wedding cake.

The Light Shines in the Darkness

And yet. And yet … as I write, hundreds of Christians are gathered at the U.S. Capitol in solidarity with the poor. Many are being arrested to draw attention to the abusive policies of this administration. I’d be with them if my aching hip permitted it (though probably not getting arrested; I’m not that brave yet).

Instead, I’m showing my solidarity with the Poor People’s Campaign in D.C. by fanning the tiny flame of hope within my own heart and sharing the light with you. Jesus’s light will not be put out, even by his misguided followers.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

 

 

 

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Terror in Mexico, Hope in Paris

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TERROR IN MEXICO, HOPE IN PARIS

When the United Nations was founded seventy years ago, nobody but a science fiction writer could have imagined that human beings would one day threaten the very climate of the planet. Too ridiculous to think about. Yet seventy years later, the largest Pacific hurricane in the history of the hemisphere is roaring towards the coast of Mexico, set to claim the latest victims of climate disruption.

Larger, more frequent, and more intense storms – just as predicted. And, as it happens, 2015 is shaping up to be the hottest year in recorded history.

At the groundbreaking for the U.N. on October 24, 1945, U.S. President Harry Truman said that the challenges of the day were no longer “impersonal natural forces,” but human relationships. In the 21st century, the two have combined: human hubris and short-sighted greed have made natural forces very personal indeed. Just ask the victims of Katrina or Sandy.

Truman’s words that day are just as true today: “The real dangers confronting us today have their origins in outmoded habits of thought, in the inertia of human nature, and in the preoccupation with supposed national interests to the detriment of the common good.” He went on to say that the U.N. could promote “a spirit of reasonableness” that would address these challenges. He had hope, he said.

I want to have hope, I really do. It’s too late to stop Hurricane Patricia from slamming Mexico, but some scientists think we still have time, time for humanity to demonstrate “a spirit of reasonableness” and leave our great grandkids a habitable planet. I pray that’s so.

I don't have grandkids, but I have a nephew with kids and they are doing their part...

I don’t have grandkids, but I have a nephew with kids and they are doing their part…

At the end of November, world leaders will gather at a U.N. conference in Paris to – once again – discuss taking action to slow the climate crisis. Politics and corporate greed, much of it American, have colluded to stop meaningful U.N. action thus far. Secretary of State John Kerry says that this time, “failure is not an option.”

Except that it is. Corporate money talks.

For the love of God, and in honor of the Mexican people who will surely die in the storm tonight and in the flooding over the days to come (the only other category five storm ever to hit this area killed 1,800 people in 1959), can we please, please stop the madness?

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