Prosperity at what Cost

Do you know what I like best about the New Testament?  The part where Jesus of Nazareth tells his followers to starve children, withhold medical treatment from the ill, turn out on the streets the aged, judge others and find constant fault .  Yeah I really like the part where The Christ told the people to be uncharitable, judgmental and to seek personal wealth at the expense of others.  I also really like the part where he told the priests to build massive edifices to themselves and their own egos and demand the last dime from a poor mother so the minister could buy a new Cadillac.

Those are the parts of the New Testament I really like.  What those parts aren’t in the New Testament?  Are you certain? Surely they must be, those are the Christian values we are legislating. Those are the Christian values our oh so Christian government and their supporters are telling us are the foundation of our Christian Nation so they must be there somewhere, you and I simply haven’t read the Bible correctly.

Pope FrancisIf you can’t find that part of the New Testament either, perhaps we need a real ‘Come to Jesus’ with those who claim Christianity is the framework, no the very foundation of the United States, but fail abysmally to follow any of its tenants.  Maybe it is time for those of us who have a problem with the entire Prosperity Gospel to stand up and hold accountable those who have decimated generations of our people, the very  soul of our nation through their greed and complete lack of empathy. I like this new Pope in Rome, he has turned the fervent followers of the gospel of self, the theology of Free Market on their ears and their asses are thoroughly chapped.  Pagans that is what he called them recently, I like that though I suspect true Pagans might take exception.

We come to the end of another year and we have slipped further down the road to perdition.  You don’t agree with my assessment of where we are today let me give some examples, tell me where I am wrong:

  • Income gap widens between the ‘have’ and the ‘have nots’.
    • The American Dream is out of reach for many today and the once robust middle class is disappearing.
  • More children are hungry and living in poverty than at any time since the Great Depression.
  • More families are homeless.
  • Unemployment remains steadily high, above 7% overall but in some groups above 10%.
  • Education is slipping, we are falling steadily behind other nations in all critical skills;
    • Math, Science, Technology, Literacy
  • Retirement guarantees for those who fought for this nation will be cut, while Congress will keep theirs intact.
  • Banks and bankers, those nefarious organizations and the men who lead them, you know the ones who nearly brought the world economy to its knees and we the people bailed out, they fought and won to remain free to do it again.

That is just a partial list there are worse things we should acknowledge though, things we say only in whispers to each other for fear of the backlash.

The culture war is in play, it is in full force, it is insidious and ugly.  This is a war to win the hearts and minds of those who do not have the wherewithal to discern truth from lies, what they know is their life is getting worse, the American Dream is out of their reach and it is someone’s fault.

The war on women is ramping up; it is insidious and nastier by the month.  We think of this as only the issues on abortion, it is not.  This is across the board; it is rape, violence, education, access to healthcare.  It is how women are portrayed by and in media when it comes to single mothers, poverty and welfare.  It is a host of issues placing women in a harsh and glaring light, forcing us onto a scarlet carpet for a slut walk not of our choosing.

Racism is not a thing of the past; truthfully, racial tensions are high and the ugliness only the icing on a cake that has been slowly baking since the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.  The viciousness spewed daily by those in the media and those hidden behind avatars in social media is nothing less than horrific.  Those who deny the blatant racism within our society are nothing less than willfully ignorant.

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Should I continue?  This is simply rubbing the tip of an iceberg I personally find bone chilling.

As the year draws to a close, I wonder what have we done to fix what is broken, or are we instead caught in an endless loop.  Caught simply pointing out the problems, pointing at our dysfunctional government and corrupt elected officials then shrugging, thinking there is nothing to be done.  Have we simply decided to laugh at their stupid, inane utterances, while wondering at the constituency that elected them without demanding change?

Let me help, they are us. Unless we do something, unless we stand up we are that constituency that continues to elect the idiots, the fear mongers, the Hawks, the Free Marketeers; we are the problem even if we don’t pull the lever.

The rich continue to enrich themselves, to serve a God I don’t think most of us recognize.  The rich have convinced a very large part of this nation and many other nations of a number of things that are not true, have never been true and will destroy us, soon if we don’t start speaking up, if we don’t start demanding a change in behavior both public and private.

I leave you with this, a discussion of empathy something we are sorely lacking.

Note: all references to the Bad Bible were a take off on a Twitter comment. For the life of me I cannot find the original Tweet, however my comment is not a copy.

Comments

  1. I think you start this article out by referencing the newest translation of The New Testament and it is called, “Walking In The Light Of The Obstructionist Right” edition and it presents the new “Right Wing Jesus” . . . the Savior with the child on his lap and the automatic rifle in his left hand . . . the Jesus who started the first Liberal Free Medical Clinics known to man and who instituted the concept of the breadline for the needy long before the Right Turds kidnapped Him and chained Him to their voting booths.

    The “Real” Bible speaks of the coming of this counterfeit Christ and it has a name for Him – – – “AntiChrist – – – He looks and talks like the real deal but His words and works are couched in darkness and the end thereof is more destruction and suffering than Life, Salvation and Healing.

    This image of Christ is an invention of something as dark as the image itself . . . The Contemporary Radical Right Wing Extremist element that is now rising among us . . . just as the ancient prophecies foretold.

    • The Jesus of antiquity and of contemporary authentic Christianity is compassionate, kind, caring, long-sufffering, tolerant, accepting, forgiving . . . and a host of other virtues. But I have had a few taco-brained radicals argue me that the image of a “Forgiving and Tolerant” Jesus is a false, lying “Liberal” image and that in their opinion, Jesus carries a celestial hammer with which He is just waiting to beat the heads of sinners in. That is how twisted so9me of them have become in our day. They are now rejecting the Christ of Mercy and have reverted to the Old Testament image of a God who kills and destroys rather than seeks, finds and saves.

      • It is a strange and sad world we live in, isn’t it? So called ‘Christians’ reverting to the Bible of antiquity, pre-Christ. Forgetting all the teachings of the man who came and bled, yes even died for them. Strange. I wonder what they will answer too?

        The prosperity gospel is one that scares me. I listen to some of the preachers sometime to try to understand them. They are like snake oil salesmen. Selling a ‘cure’ that will kill you.

        • Dear Val:
          I have to agree with you but I have a personal “take” on the “Prosperity” doctrine that seems to work for me.

          I am of the opinion that as human beings and especially as Christians we are supposed to be a channel of God’s Blessings to others.

          “Give to him who asks and from him who would borrow turn not thou away.”

          Of course we have to exercise discernment.

          So when a ragged person comes up and asks for money I usually offer to take them for a meal but I never give money because they might go and get drunk or something with what I have given.

          But the idea is that if someone comes asking for food or something of that nature, then I believe it is not a coincidental meeting but that God has sent them my way so I can practice my generosity.

          If I have it I give it and if I don’t have it at the time I can say as The Apostle Peter said, “Silver and Gold have I none, but such as I have give I unto thee…” (And what the Apostle had that he could give at that moment was a blessing which he uttered and the lame man walked.)

          I guess we are supposed to give what we have: (a) Time, (b) Talent (c) Money – – the works of head, heart, hands and health . . . to benefit the needy whenever we are asked. A widows mite is fine if that is what is at hand and I have often had nothing more than a widows mite to offer.

          The thing is that mysteriously everything I have always given in this manner seems to return to me in one form or another at one time or another – – – never too much and never too little . . . but always exactly what is needed to keep things in balance.

          But the secret is that I cannot do things this way in the expectation of receiving something for myself because if I get selfish about it or focus attention of my willingness to give rather than on God the provider of all needs, then the flow shuts itself up and I find the door closed until I can once again put the credit and the praise where it properly belongs.

          As to “I wonder what they will answer to?”

          I think they will answer to the same as everyone will answer to: We are all on this earth for a life that is very short and very fleeting and afterward we will all be judged according to – – the standards set by God. No one escapes that confrontation. It is the destiny of us all, rich, poor or in between – – black, white, yellow, red or green – – we all shall stand and our lives will be laid bare in the presence of the Divine and our reward after that will rest in the Mercy and Justice of He whom some of the Righties are actually stupidly and ignorantly denying.

          They are definitely denying at the peril of their eternal souls but they have become so wise in their own eyes I doubt if they have the slightest idea of what they are storing up for themselves.

          • Mine is different John, but then I am not a Christian. I give, what I have whether it is time, money or the work of my hands.

            I don’t judge what another will do with what I give. If they choose to drink, I am not one who will judge them for it. I wish they wouldn’t, truly but it is not mine to determine. I keep extra money in my car so I can pass it out the window. I would rather buy a meal, but it isn’t always an available option. So I simply do what I am moved to do, offer what I can.

  2. Unfortunately for every step forwards that we make there are another twenty backwards, it seems like we are in a continuous downward spiral and things never really get any better. Yes there are those that consider it to be a better world but then I guess from the rich mans purse it always will be, the gap between the rich and poor is so vast that I wonder if the world will ever change. I have enjoyed reading this posting Val and what a brilliant writer you really are, you always write with such a passion and I love calling in here and reading whatever you have offered us 🙂 🙂

    I know it won’t be easy but have a Merry Christmas and pull a cracker with me my sweet friend 🙂 A friend that calls into my Space is Mary Rose and she always ends her thoughts to me with ‘You Matter’ and YOU do also Val 🙂 🙂

    You matter a great deal to all of us 🙂

    Andro xxxx

    • Andro, I am so sorry I didn’t see this earlier. I am such a schmuck. Thanks for your comment, you are right the wealthy are lining their pockets by picking the pockets of those without a two pennies to rub together. Ah well, eventually those without will rise up and demand balance.

  3. Val, I find this dichotomy so frustrating and mind-boggling. They don’t get it. They are speaking out of both sides of their mouths. I was shocked not too long ago when Sarah Palin implied there must be something wrong with the Pope for being so charitable. He’s in the wrong?? I guess Palin would know. Once again I am thankful that McCain didn’t win the election. The Tea Party has taken this country too far to the right. Ted Cruz is despicable, but can we ever get back to a more rational, thoughtful society, one who cares about the poor instead of vilifying them–as if they wanted to bring this poverty upon themselves?? I wish I knew the answer.

    • Every single time Ms. Palin opens her mouth I am thankful. I may not always agree with the President, but I am thankful it is him in the White House versus the alternative.

  4. I wish the Ayn Randian conservatives would just be honest and admit that they are dog eat dog Darwinists, not “Christians”. The conservative political ideology has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus. He would be the first one chasing them out of the temple with a whip.

    • I wish this also. I always found the Rand books fascinating, especially given her background. It was hard for me to wrap my head around that level of compassionlessness, in anyone. But now, for us to have legislatures who grovel at the feet of a woman who wrote fantasy books about a dystopian society based on piracy, well it is frightening.

  5. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    I saw on tonight’s news that Beyonce visited Walmart (I wish she didn’t visit Walmart, I really don’t like a single thing I’ve heard about how they function) and while there she took $50 off everyone’s bill, paying for it herself. If those with position, power, money – it’s wonderful and enormous and great how they got there – if they could just do more charitable acts, never forget the “average” person, the whole world would be so much more well.

    A bleak post, Val, and sad to read.

    • I didn’t see that about Beyonce, I can only hope this is the only reason she went there was to be kind. If I can avoid that hell hole, so can she. I will have to go find the story, thanks for the heads up.

  6. I have no words. The rich keep getting richer and the poor, poorer.

    • Clearly, I had a few words. I had more but I tried hard to keep this to a thousand. It is a terrible time isn’t it? We have seen this all before, Rome burned, the streets of Paris ran with blood, Europe burned…we have seen this all before.

  7. Yup Val. You’re right about all of it. What have we done to our world? I think we are now devolving.

  8. Brilliant post Val, and riveting intro – you’re so right… feed the hungry… I find it staggering to see those photos of police surrounding tables of vegetarian food to be given to the homeless and hungry, and the givers being arrested and prevented from carrying out Jesus’s injunction.

    • I think we are losing our way, humanity is losing its humanity. I think it is that simple. The YouTube video is amazing, I have watched it multiple times now and still find it stunning. Empathy, not compassion that is what is missing.

  9. At first, I was wondering what version of the New Testament you were reading! (Sarcasm intended) These folks care nothing about the disenfranchised and most vulnerable of us. They hope to develop in us an apathy that keeps us from fighting, and ultimately keep us in the margins.

    The numbers on unemployment, poverty, hunger, gun crimes, mis-education, et al, in this country are abhorrent! We should and could be so much better, but the greedy folk are at the wheel, and not Jesus (yes, even pagans would agree). They took God out of the equation a long time ago, and put ego in its place.

    • That my friend is the problem, even for those of us who do not claim Christianity but understand the framework and claim it, even for us we seek the higher ground. There is, even for us, a mass exodus of spirit taking place. Our empathy is lost along with compassion. I weep for our future and the future of coming generations if we fail to stand up and take back the world, not just the nation but the world.

      We can spew the numbers, what do they mean if they don’t stab us in the heart and make us weep? Make us bleed?

      • Folks are so distracted and otherwise preoccupied, that they fail to make time to advocate on behalf of these matters. Very scary. I’m hardly a pessimist, so I’ll focus on those who do. I am very hopeful, though not naive. I pray that the sound of the trumpets which do blow on behalf of the more disenfranchised and vulnerable of us, drown out the pessimism, hopelessness, and bigotry of those that do not.

  10. I think our governments long ago abdicated their Christian heritage. I wonder if that’s why the world is so dysfunctional now?

    • Our founders, that is the US founders made a very clear stand that it was never to be aligned with any Church or single religious teaching. It was and should always remain a Democratic Republic ruled by law, not a Theocracy. In fact, we have that clearly written into our Constitution, we are a nation that respects each citizens right to worship, freedom of religion. Our founders made their intent clear in multiple documents, including letters and even treaties.

      Many of the Founders of the United States were not Christians. So they did not abdicate their heritage, this is the problem Ian especially for those of us who wish to maintain our freedoms. It is the fact so many of our leaders claim one thing, demand others follow their lead yet clearly, for any with the eyes to see do not follow the teachings of the very religion they claim as their own.

      Religion belongs in the house of worship, in private homes and in our everyday acts of kindness and charity. It does not belong in our legislative bodies, under any circumstance. This is especially true where we have a nation that is a mixture of so many cultures and faiths.

  11. Bleak but unfortunately true, Val.

    Peace,
    Eric

  12. AirportsMadeSimple says:

    Blue or brown, he’s still the best: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CiyKeSnSxk
    that being said, here’s a great commentary:
    http://listofx.com/2013/12/05/10-reasons-why-republican-leaders-dont-like-pope-francis/

    • I love X, he is one of my favorites. Snarky but so absolutely dead on all the time. Thanks for these, they are fitting.

      I am trying to catch up with days worth of reading of the blogs I have missed. Just been settling into the new normal, trying to fix my mind.

  13. Why is our Governor collecting a pension while still working, yet denies healthcare to those who are in need? Stop welfare to our politicians is my vote!

    • This is a wonderful question isn’t it?
      Another great question is, why are multi-millionaires collecting social security and medicare yet demanding our legislature vote to reduce it for others, who actually need it.

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