Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21

Pentecost +24 - Year C

Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21

Theory: The wicked will be destroyed by G*D.
Response: Warning taken - I will bless G*D forever - and ever.

What we think we understand, we attempt to put into action. We've experienced wickedness in individuals, corporations pretending to be people, and negative campaign political expediency. Overall, the perpetrators don't seem to be destroyed, but rewarded. We had another election, in a long string of elections, that would solve everything by changing the players without changing the way in which the players would interact.

It is as if many found their standard of living to have been reduced or demolished and decided that if G*D is not going to destroy the wicked in the short-run while we continue to get it in the neck, we will bless G*D by taking matters into our own hands, striking out where we can. This is not an issue of wisdom, but, following an old pattern set by G*D, an attempt to apply a structural solution to a relational issue (remember edenic expulsion, universal floods, partisan language, famines, exiles, and more).

This is an excellent example of being blown about by every wind of doctrine. Many do not have the tools to have seen this election coming, much less its ramifications. Many others have taken advantage of those who have put themselves at the mercy of increasingly bitter partisanship and ultimate short-term power. All of us are caught in eddies of an old way of capitalism dying from its own internal contradictions, with no clear successor. We have lost the infrastructure to reestablish jobs that will support a family. Appeals to jobs and further lessening the essential regulatory function of government will fail again, shifting us from a debilitated democracy to an increasing acceptance of fascism. This image shows that critical fault-line:

At issue here is not a particular economic theory or projection. We might well translate the beginning understanding as, "The wicked will be destroyed by whatever is their current economic paradigm". We attempt to hold on to blessing our economic system, whatever it is at the time, until it is simply untenable. One way of mitigating this dynamic is being as clear-eyed as possible about our idols we so practically follow. Our short-term theories of cause and effect are much clearer than that of whatever might be meant by "G*D".

It is easy to predict that things will continue to fall apart (not just in an African tribe, but everywhere that is touched by empire - American, Christian, or otherwise). A key question for us as we near the end of another church year is, "What does it mean to participate in an economy (physical or spiritual) that focuses on bringing life for all (Luke 20:38) and not just praise or give power to the most violent (whether with a gun or a fountain pen)"? Have we really come through another church year and not come any closer to knowing we are together in our present life and we can't push things off on esoteric speculations about heaven or angry responses against our neighbor. If next year grows out of this year, there is not much to hope for. So, courage, friends, keep it real as best you can - it will have to be enough.

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