According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Humanity Is Not Defined By "Militarism" and "Consummerism"

On “the War” and “the Economy”

by Mason Slater
February 16, 2012

Sometimes I think that American politics is simply a mechanism for finding one hundred different ways to promise the same thing.

Yes, there are differences between the various candidates for president, and the two main parties, but lately it has seemed to me that those differences are greatly exaggerated.

Points of dissimilarity, such as their stance on defining marriage or who gets which tax cuts, are pushed to the front to obscure the fact that they are all just offering us variations on the same narrative.
Almost every candidate, and the party platforms of both Republicans and Democrats, promise us year after year that they will grow the economy and secure America’s “special place in the world,” which is of course a not-so-subtle reference to our continued military superiority.

And this sounds right to us because we have convinced ourselves that our narrative, nationally and personally, is defined by consumption and war – what Walter Brueggemann calls “therapeutic, technological, consumerist militarism” in The Practice of Prophetic Imagination.

Consumerism and militarism have come to play such an essential and interconnected role in the American story that Wendell Berry can justifiably refer to them in terms of impersonal forces, The War and The Economy, in his novel Jayber Crow.
The War and The Economy were seeming more and more to be independent operations. The War, I thought, was just the single Hell that is always astir in the world…And the nations were always preparing funds of weapons and machines and people to be used up whenever The War did break out in full force, which meant that sooner or later it would … Also, it seemed that The War and The Economy were more and more closely related…The War was good for the Economy.”
We’ve decided that economic advancement at any and all costs, and America’s military superiority over any and all rivals, are worthwhile goals that somehow increase our peace, strengthen our communities, and advance the common good.

But instead we have unending wars and a whole “security” industry in our airports and public spaces, disintegrating communities from urban centers to the rural farmlands, and the shrinking of the “greater good” to nothing more than our collective ability to consume more year after year.

People are made for more than this, war and consumption may be parts of the human experience but they are not the most important parts. Such a view reduces our humanity, ignoring our souls, our loves, our neighborhoods, our environment, our art, our virtues and vices, our story.

As Gospel people shouldn’t we be offering a political vision of what it means that Jesus-is-Lord that is more than just a baptism of Right or Left wing promises of economic growth and national security?

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