Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Rational Priest of Mercury

This Tom Toles cartoon appeared in today's Los Angeles Times, and it deftly elucidates a critical truth that seems to frequently elude so many. That truth is

Everything anyone does is rational.

It is veritable. There is not a single thing that anyone does that is irrational. In fact popular web pundit Vox Day has a fine new book out shredding the silly blitherings of "new" atheists such as Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, and Day makes the following point. It is not the irrational atheists we must concern ourselves with, it is the rational ones, they're the most dangerous.

Uh, excuse me, but there are no irrational anyones. There is nothing that is irrational. The reason this is so is because of a simple corollary to this, something which only makes sense with a grounded understanding of God in truth, that is, not in some convoluted World conception of Him. That corollary:

While everything is rational, not everything is righteous.

People do very rational things, things that are done with perfectly good reason, according to how they feel, what they believe, how they live, all perfectly good reasons--perfectly rational.

But those things may also be horrifically deceitful and murderous.

The Toles cartoon simply points out this fact brilliantly. A financial power broker who goes about his job extracting value from people, or more simply engages in wholesale human sacrifice, may be someone who we revile especially when he's found out. But when he professes to doing nothing illegal, or worse, nothing we wouldn't do, then he seems to gain a great deal of admiration.

No wonder Mercury is worshipped by so many.

For a more comprehensive look at this phenomenon, my latest webzine featured article gets into it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

That Sucking Sound Again

Just wanted to direct you to another wonderful episode of Opus, from which you may gather a great gob of understanding about how the world works.

It's here.

It appeared in papers around the nation last Sunday, the 9th, and the week that followed presented a fine smattering of proofs. Fed comes out of lenders' anxiety closets to trade government securities for bad loans, Fed swoops out of anxiety closet (with big "S" on shirt) to rescue Bear Stearns, the Feds (no relation to the Fed, mind you) vote to keep listening to the American public's whisperings by refusing to put a moratorium on earmarks...

Oh! But those virtuously wholesome presidential candidates, Senators McCain, Obama, and Clinton were among the 20-some senators who voted for it!

My faith is restored!

The American Civil Religion is still going strong!

Thank goodness, because I'll certainly want my heaven filled with 72 Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders, all with small noses and deep dimples. And of course no Democrats!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Spirit Words

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about more happenings in the "housing crisis" crisis, namely that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wagged his finger at lenders about their questionable business practices, namely continuing to lend gobs of cash to borrowers who simply cannot pay it back.

After I'd made the post I felt really weird, and I went over and over in my mind what I wrote. Something in me was pulling at my soul somehow, and I just have a feeling that God was moving me to consider what I'd written.

As I went over it again, I think it may have been a couple of things. They are both tied together, and as I think about it more I can see why it is reasonable He spoke to my heart. (I will also add here parenthetically that I'm not one to boast about spiritual movings in my being and that God tells me what's what after I throw a fleece over things. I'm simply pointing out that I felt a certain way about something I did, and there is no doubt God speaks in whatever way that is even if it is through my present processing of the things He's taught me in the past.)

I will start by simply reiterating that I am very cynical. I really go nuts whenever I see something that is thoroughly idiotic or foolish. What makes me more crazy sometimes is when I know I can't go off on said idiotic thing because God teaches that we should call no man a fool. I'm good with that, but, really, sometimes it kills me! There are just a lot of times I want to lay out what I'm feeling in my blog.

The stuff I shared yesterday in that post is solid stuff, that Ben Bernanke is essentially Jesus to some people (no matter how impossible it is for him to reconcile lowering rates with berating lenders for lending), that the World through the Fed is scratching and clawing to get people to be good but can only fail miserably in the end, all that.

But I also said that people of the World effectively have no value.

Wow. That just needs to be qualified.

They have tons of value, given them by God. The thing is, when they don't appropriate it by Him and use it for purposes that are of Him, namely that of loving others with His love, then they are effectively

Tossing that value in the trash.

It's that simple. I make this point to some extent in the home page piece at my webzine, but that too, that very point, is one of the truths that just drives me crazy. People don't see they are doing that. It is part of the lie. The Lie. Remember that one?

"I am a god and will not die."

That's the essence of the "no value" issue. I read Proverbs 11:19 the other day. It is frightening: "The truly righteous man attains life, but he who pursues evil brings about his own death."

Brings about his own death. What else is having "no value" than being dead? And just as significantly: no one is choosing to do that but him.

That second thing that got me about yesterday's post is that after I blithely pointed out the "no value" thing, I never mentioned the way to have value. Of course that is by Jesus Christ, simply because he is the one who redeems, or "buys back." Think about that.

Buying back.

If you are going to buy back something, then you must think it has value.

Jesus redeems, and by doing so, he takes that immense value He put in each one of us--the one that each of us has carelessly flushed-- into what it should be: Love for others that brings extraordinary increase for all.

That's it. It's not complicated at all. We're nothing--dirt, dust, vapors blown by the wind--that's what we are...without Him. If we say we are something we're lying to ourselves. On the other hand if we seek God's purposes for what He made us to be, then we can be truthful about what is good and genuine and beneficial.

But, yeah, here I am, Mr. Cynical--if it is that easy, how come so damn many not only keep lying to themselves but are so damn good at convincing people to lie even more?

Okay, gotta just let Him mend my heart again. He does it every night. How wonderfully merciful is that.

As it is I just need to let my words, however many they are, a lot or a few-- I pray and hope they are Spirit words-- those words I share with my family, with my colleagues and students, with my friends and neighbors, and yes, to readers of my web work, go out and just be there.

Maybe someone will see Truth in all His glory.

How valuable is that.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Lord Fed Gets a Bit Tired of The Game: "Come On You Guys, Cut That Out, Come On..."

It seems Fed Chair Ben Bernanke yesterday got a little more testy with lenders, asking them to knock it off with the huge mortgages. Essentially:

"Hey you guys, I'm goin' crazy here cutting rates and you're off on a shopping binge. What gives?"

What gives is simple.

Investing in people with no value is risky.

It's tough when you're relying on people who by the ton say foolish things like "I thought we could pay back our loan with the increased value of our home, and, now, well, our home didn't go up like we thought and, ahem, the payments are more than the home is worth, so, well... there ya go."

The whole lot of them schlurping the dregs that they can, extracting value. It's all just human sacrifice, really. All of the World inhabitants doing it, from Great Lord Fed himself to the itty-bittiest debtor.

I speak a bit about it a bit more at my webzine, here.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Darfur Savior George Clooney Comes Clean

Superstar Superactor Superhunk Super-bring-attention-to-bad-things-in-really-rotten-places-across-the-globe-guy George Clooney had his superpersona splashed all over the cover of this week's Time magazine. Inside was a full spread about him, some more of him, and a few other things about him.

As I make a feeble attempt at humor here, please know that I don't dislike Clooney at all. I actually like his movies, I do think he's a fine performer, and all the rest of it.

In fact, with the wife and kids out seeing the grandfolks and me with a league basketball game late tonight, I rented Michael Clayton which my wife had already seen with a friend. I haven't seen it yet but I plan to just before my game. I get the idea this is about a lawyer who gets mixed up in some kind of shenanigans that high level people get mixed up in, and he's looking for the truth that others don't want him to see, and there are some twists and thrills and all that. I also know about the tag for the film: "The truth can be adjusted." Oooo, how're they going to do that? Annnd the film got critical acclaim and was picked by some to win big Oscar night if it wasn't for No Country for Old Men.

Anyway, this blog post is about George Clooney, and something quite profound that he said in the Time piece. Before that, I do want to mention that last year at about this time, my webzine's home page piece was about Darfur and how impotent the World is at actually even thinking it could do anything about the tragedy there. So impotent, in fact, that the World itself makes it like that so the most visible operatives can pretentiously spout about how much they're trying doing to try to see if they can try to make it so people can try not to have things bad like it is in Darfur. And all that.

George Clooney is just one of the most visible exploitees who can't see the World in action as it really is. He righteously seeks to end the horrors in Darfur, and I'm not being facetious about that at all. It is righteous, more power to him. He is bringing attention to it. He is doing at least a bit with his Not on Our Watch group. He is getting some money donated and relief provided. That's great, it really is.

But he said something in that Time piece which is stunning, given his commitment to ending all bad things everywhere. And I'd venture to say all people who want to end bad things everywhere and are also a bit honest about how much they are truly spinning their wheels would feel the same way Clooney did as he confessed to Time.

Here is what he said, shortly after returning from a humanitarian stint:

"I've been very depressed since I got back. I'm terrified that it [his Darfur advocacy] isn't in any way helping. That bringing attention can cause more damage. You dig a well or build a health-care facility and they're a target for somebody. A lot more people know about Darfur, but absolutely nothing is different. Absolutely nothing."

The despair just screams from that quote.

As well as the truth.

The truth is not compicated at all, but, well, wait. It may be very complicated for people so abjectly ensconced in the World that they can't see the Grace of that Truth.

That would be Jesus Christ.

Not the Jesus Christ of the World out valiantly trying to rescue Darfur. That Jesus could be anybody, it could be George Bush, George Clooney, George Washington Resurrected who'd lead a U.N. brigade to machine gun to death all the janjaweed, yay! It could be George of the Jungle for that matter, but it won't make a lick of difference.

All these Jesuses will only spit a slobber of something that may be kind of nice on these Darfur folks, and nothing else. They're still destitute in the most horrific way, as Clooney so honestly admits.

The Real Jesus, as shown through the flesh and bones of those not contracted with the World--He is the One who fully liberates, fully provides, fully enriches, fully blesses, and fully all the other things that make us truly joyous and vibrantly prosperous.

All that stuff going on in Darfur, is really just the ruinous effects of widespread institutionalized value extraction. I mention that value extraction stuff because it is the subject of my latest home page piece.

Think human sacrifice is thing of the distant past? Nah. It's around today, all over the place, just repackaged to make it more palatable.

Although... Those victims in Darfur...

That human sacrifice seems pretty awful to me.

Would George Clooney see that and perhaps give it up to The One who'd actually do what he'd like to see there? I dunno. He'd probably have to give up being on Time, maybe even being Superhunk of Hollywood. Intractably of the World, they'd have nothing to do with a Clooney who'd be Jesus' flesh and bones.

Very risky, very risky indeed.

But hey. Maybe he'll get tired enough of seeing the truth adjusted in real life.