Monday, September 29, 2008

Value Extractors Even More Stunned

I'd like to humbly recommend a new word for placement in the English lexicon, if I may.

The word is dismendacity.

Please, allow me. Mendacity is the practice of willfully furthering falsehood, and the prefix dis- always means to go against, to reduce, to take apart.

With the new word in place, one may be a bit more edified when analyzing today's World events. Let's look, shall we?

By a narrow margin the House of Representatives voted down the infamous $700 billion "bailout package." Even as they tarried the stock market was beginning its record plunge, ending up 777 points down on the day, a precipitous 7% drop. (What's with all the 7's? Must be something biblical. Well, that in a minute.)

Enough members of Congress refused to bless it simply because they saw that they were about to compel their consituents to hand over gobs of money to enable rank irresponsibility. Financiers and Wall Street gurus of all stripes lent (whoa, lent, how are they doing lending? I dunno. But I digress...) --they lent their two cents worth (a princely sum these days. Oop, I can't help myself...) and it was all fine rigmarole about just what they think about how things will shake out.

Splendidly erudite economese, I must say.

But you won't hear squat from any of them about what's really happening.

At about 4:30 today on the local all-news-all-the-time radio station here in the Los Angeles area, USC prof Raphael Bostic was prattling on about the "crisis," and he said something very interesting. He said that the question that is being asked in some form is, "How much are we going to demand from these banking institutions up front?"

Think about that.

What exactly must that thing be, pray tell?

How meaningful will it be for the VAUNTED BANKING INSTITUTION to say, "We're going to pledge our carpeting, by golly. There it is, all 800 square feet of it, a good $57 at least. And hey, we've got toasters we haven't given away yet. Still in the boxes!"

Excuse us, Mr. Banking Institution Guy, but what about your assets, you know, that stuff of value reflected in what your clients have entrusted to you and your stockholders own?

"Guh? What's that?"

Precisely.

This is where the word comes in. Remember it? I'll remind you.

Dismendacity.

It is nothing other than the practice of not lying. Active real practical actual incessant vigorous not-lying, especially about the value of yourself or of others to the extent you would hold no intention whatsoever of carving out chunks of their value. Because in the end, at its core, all of this economic turmoil--all of it--is the result of plain mendacity.

In my last post I asked the question, essentially, "If all of this stuff that is going on is true, then doesn't it follow that people are worthless?" This may chafe some, but really, I'm just asking the question. I'm not saying they are. I'm not saying they're not.

What is the truth, however?

Sure people do awesomely wonderful marvelous things. They make neat buildings. They write boffo books. They dance spiffy mambos. Please, I'm not making fun. I love those things.

But really.

If you're dead, what difference does it make.

Right now the World is going crazy trying to come up with some solution to the mendacity problem. Look at Congress and the Bushies the past few days. You can almost see the lumps on their heads from banging their heads against the wall, that same wall from which Humpty fell, and they are just not getting how to put him back together again. People have done the exact same thing every twenty years or so for eons and eons and eons.

Lots of banging heads. Bang, bang, bang. What--are--we going--to do--about--this financial--collapse...

"Hey guys! How about this? How about practicing some dismendacity?"

Huh?

Oh, and they're not getting it just because it's a new word--ahem, thank you, thank you very much--but they're not getting it for one simple reason.

They're out of the Kingdom. In fact they're miles and miles and miles from the Kingdom. Not only that, but they like mendacity. All the head-banging is happening only because they've got to find more novel ways to continue doing value extraction. World inhabitants don't approach the mendacity problem to get rid of it, but to make the lie look different. As their heads hit the wall you can hear them slobber--listen close now: How do we do more mendacity but just make it better?

It is only in the Kingdom where you can unashamedly practice dismendacity.

Only by Christ and His love can you know what it means to be genuinely dismendacious.

Actually being transparent about who you are, what your value is (in Christ that's actually a lot, really!) how much you revel in using His gifts to build community and be sure everyone is cared for with all they need to be perfectly content. That, by the way, is a hundred times what the World offers. A hundred times. Jesus said as much, there it is in Mark 10. Look!

These pipsqueaks couldn't even spring for a piddly $700 billion.

Christ would give you the universe and every single thing that is beautiful, wonderful, and glorious in it. He is all over value enhancement, by the galaxy-load.

All it takes is some dismendacity. A breeze with Him.

Impossible with the World.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stunned Credit Contracters

As the current economic "meltdown" progresses, two axioms are confidently spouted by power brokers both political and economic: "We must restore confidence in the market," and "We must prevent a serious contraction of credit." Everyone hears them often and we all breathe a sigh of relief because it seems these guys really know what's going on and they're on the job to fix it.

But what do these two statements really mean?

What exactly is "confidence in the market," as if our trust must be in the place where buyers and sellers meet? For that is all that a market is, a place where buyers and sellers meet. Is there something wrong with that--are the market seats too lumpy? Are the market floors a bit too slippery? The lights in the market just too bright? Air conditioning doesn't work properly?

No, it is not the market that is at fault. It is the people who do business there. And why does "confidence" in those people need to be "restored"? It is simple.

It is because so many of them are liars and so many of them know they are liars that grandiose plans for elaborate regulation are demanded so we can be more sure we won't be lied to again. The point is not so much that Caesar is all over regulation of some kind, but that so many need to be put under his thumb. This from a populace that refuses to acknowledge its complicity in all of this, indeed abjectly dismissing out of hand any suggestion that there is a thing called

Sin.

And what about this "contraction of credit" thing? What's with that? The word credit is actually Latin for "he believes." If credit is being contracted, doesn't that then mean that the belief in someone--or better, the widespread belief about a whole bunch of people--is not really what it was thought to be? If "contraction of credit" is feared, then doesn't it follow that this means that, wow, people are worthless, and World inhabitants are simply making note of that? In other words, is it then indeed true that there are that many individuals who cannot be trusted to have the value they said they had or that some thought they had, and to some profound extent they've been lying and doing a really good job of it?

Whup, there's that thing again no one wants to confront.

Sin.

Oh, gee Dave, that's what those in the Middle Ages obsessed about. Go away, you with your Neanderthal religious ideas. We've got real problems to deal with, like trying to get everyone to believe people have value by waving 700 billion greenish rectangular papers in front of their faces.

Meanwhile, a group of pastors have decided to speak from their pulpits this weekend to brazenly endorse or reject certain political candidates, a no-no according to IRS rules. The purpose is to create a case for the Alliance Defense Fund to run with so it can challenge those rules in court and provide church leaders with more freedom to address political issues.

What does this have to do with the economic crisis? If you can answer two questions you may be able to connect the dots.

Who makes the laws that govern the World's assessment of value?

Who sets the value of those who've trusted in Christ and His work of salvation, and then committed to live in His Kingdom by His word and counsel?

Are these two the same?

Most pastors seem to think their Jesus assesses value the way the World does. They may say they know about Kingdom value, but I don't know. They get a nice hefty paycheck from the World by being 501c3 non-profit corporations. Interesting, they're engaging in blatant violation of IRS rules just to keep their tax exemptions--they want to spit at the World and stay on its payroll.

No wonder they have no credit.

Everyone running around like Chicken Littles, arms flailing and voices screeching "The market is falling, the market is falling! Credit is shrinking, credit is shrinking!"

Really, come on, this is a surprise?

Unless you take the World's cue and continue lying to yourself.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Stunned Value Extractors Circle the Wagons

A good friend of mine is a young financial analyst at Bank of America. We meet for a meal occasionally and talk about the things of the World. I've been interested in particular in his take on what I've written about value assessment. What is interesting is that even as a devout Christian himself, he very graciously confesses he just does not get what I'm writing, all of what I'm saying is just way over his head. He's even told me, "I just look at the plain words of the Bible."

This should bewilder me because this is precisely what I am doing. But I understand. I understand why, as smart as he is, he is oblivious to what the World does:

My friend has been fully indoctrinated in the things of the World by those who are sworn to keep him looking at only the World.

Many profound truths have emerged from the economic whirlpool in which the country is drowning right now. I submit that these truths are some of the simplest to understand, but I will say that it does require the mind of Christ to get. I'm no spiritual genius, but anyone may understand if they'd just ask God to share those things with him.

With a $700 billion dollar bailout of financial institutions of all stripes--add this to all the other money pledged and the tab is up to a trillion dollars and change--the latest "Too Big To Fail" entity is the American people themselves. Over and over you hear the most powerful big shots from Capitol Hill and the Bush Administration that they just can't let the economy tank. It is frequently said this way, "We just can't fail the American people."

But it is also quite clear that if you go around rescuing people from the consequences of their foolish choices, you enable them to continue to make those same foolish choices. This is called a "moral hazard," and every educated individual knows about it. It's just...

Few know what is going on as a result of that condition.

And this is where many get derailed from a quite simple, plain understanding of things. Many just cannot see that there are two different realms in which one may live.

There is the World and there is the Kingdom.

In the World is where you have good people in government, banks and investment firms, and even churches who will manage your foolish behavior if you let them do so. In a very real sense, when it is announced that $700 billion is being pledged to bail out whoever and whatever, the World System is simply putting a price tag on its job of sin management. In other words, if you are a sinner refusing to do what it takes to have your sinfulness eliminated completely, then the World must do its job of being your master.

And all week it has been easy to see how pricey that can be.

On NBC's Meet the Press this morning, Washington Post business analyst Steven Pearlstein performed with an exquisitely subdued exasperation and said this about the very wealthy financial mavens and the awful decisions they made:

"They were fooling themselves, they weren't fooling us, they were fooling themselves and they were fooling us at the same time..."

Guh?

What is also happening from this is that the most rabidly conservative Ron Paul supporter-types will screech red-faced about how socialist this all is (and it certainly is) and advocate running off to Montana with gold and guns in hand. What they don't get is that if they have Christ's name of their lips they are dishonoring Him by running away from being salt and light to a dying world.

If they do stay amongst those He'd like them to minister to, but they remain in 501c3 incorporations and all the other World contractual obligations designed to keep people's sin in check, they're immersing themselves in the very World they so revile--being abjectly double-minded as James so incisively wrote in the Bible.

This is just not rocket science.

But $700 billion.

There are that many people who just don't get it?

Who just don't get that this amount is dwarfed by Jesus' blood shed on the cross to get rid of it all completely?

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Stunned Value Extractor Show

This promotional photograph was issued yesterday for the premiere of another boffo Broadway hit. The spotlight hit the rising curtain and... Oooo! There they all were! The star-studded cast of that spectacular production We're All Really Upset About All This and We'll Really Take Care of Business This Time, Really.


An historic week on Wall Street has been capped by this entertainment extravaganza. Hey, it's the weekend! They're all there, the SEC chairman, Treasury secretary, and Fed chairman, deftly playing the parts of all the king's men working valiantly to put Humpty together again. Of course headlining the event are the most powerful legislative leaders, center stage, representing Humpty.

Humpty. As in Humpty Dumpty your average Joe and Josephine American, proud World inhabitants.

The story so far: Poor poor Humpty needs to be rescued from his toxic behavior. Because Humpty is so prone to fall off walls, and to push others off walls too, he definitely needs the Caesarian horde to frequently prop him up. The newest wall is called "Resolution Trust Corporation." A wonderful piece of set construction I must say.

I can't wait until the toxic hurricane reaches category eight! Then the most fabulous part of the show occurs: the helicopter (what a set piece that is!) drops gobs and gobs and gobs of rectangular greenish papers on all the stars (including Humpty!) in gargantuan piles reaching to the rafters of the theater. The stars smothered in papers! Gobs and gobs and gobs of papers that look really neat, spilling into the audience! Everyone crushed under the weight of papers that are really neat looking!

What a show!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So What Is It With Stunned Value Extractors?

To get the full context of this post, I invite you to read my post from yesterday. This is sort of an addendum to that piece.

I left my keyboard yesterday thinking about how much I wear my heart on my sleeve. Some of me thought "You blew it Dave. You slipped too much emotion into the issue. Let the facts speak for themselves." The other parts of me just thought, "So what. This is you, what you want, how you feel about that."

I also felt uncomfortable getting across the idea that I'm convinced no one understands the way Gods economy works. I have very good friends who I know do get it. The thing that makes me sad (oh no emotions again) is that it is very hard to see where people in some measured way are truly acting on what Jesus said. Actually being ungrafted to the World. I can only think of His words in Luke, there at the end of chapter six: "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?"

Yes, I confess there are times I don't do what He says. I'm still grafted in some ways that dishearten me, even grieve me. I still have a mortgage, for instance, meaning I've put myself in some profound state of servitude to the World System when that service should be to God exclusively. There are all kinds of considerations about my place in all that which I'm not going to delve into now.

I will add that a big part of my expression in any of these venues is so I may connect with ungrafted individuals who've been as wise as serpents and innocent as doves. They have gathered in faithful communities to worship God in spirit and in truth and give deep honor to the gifts He gave us to manifest the Kingdom here. Is that as a large bustling metropolis? Could be. Is that as a quiet pastoral village? Could be that too.

It is just the people are loving because they are Christ's.

And I know that is not happening in grafted churches plugged into the Roman church and Cain's Agency of Law Enforcement by girding 501c3 incorporations. There is one thing I see in those places, no matter how smiley everyone is.

Fear.

I caught this on MSNBC.com today, a quote from an unnamed senior investment strategist about the 400+ point drop in the Dow Jones today. “People are scared to death,” he said. But didn't the Fed just pledge $85 billion to AIG to bail them out? I thought everyone was supposed to be all chipper now that Caesar has made another righteous value pronouncement? I thought the stocks were supposed to rebound after that?

People instinctively know when they are being hosed. Even as much as they want to be exploiters they'll fight to the death the exploitation of them. The real frightening thing is that after they scurry off to their holes to protect themselves from the wolves, they'll just plot to do something else to exploit the exploiters, and really just end up with novel ways to do--

Human sacrifice.

This is why sometimes I get stunned by the exploitees being stunned, when really, I shouldn't. Why should I. Those without Christ--or better: those with a straw-man Christ--will do human sacrifice. They'll live scared to death. They weren't in a state of not being extraordinarily exploited before all this economic crap happened, they just did a better job of denying that they were.

This is the essence of why I want to live in a community among authentic Christ followers. This is not to abandon the world at all, but to be the freedom from the fear that people would actually want to have. They just don't know it because there are so many people lying to them and they've lived with it so long they don't know what it means not to lie themselves.

Just part of the fear.

I guess from what that financial guy said, today that fear just hurts more.

My question is, why have it hurt at all?

It's just there is only One Way it can't hurt.

Again, a whole treatise on the way the World does finances is here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stunned Value Extractors

Before teaching my Advanced Placement U.S. Government class the very first period of the day on Monday, I peeked at MSNBC's news site to catch any up-to-the-minute stories. Here was the headline I saw screeching across the top:

"Markets Stunned by Lehman Bros. and Merrill Lynch."

After my students filed into class, I displayed this on my TV screen and told them this:

"I'm stunned that they are stunned. Come on, what were they thinking?"

The they to whom I refer are indeed all the people who misassessed things so much that the current economic collapse is unfolding. I further explained this for my students using an illustration about a lender cheerfully handing over a home loan with $3,000-a-month mortgage payments to a gleefully willing guy earning $1,000 a month.

These people are stunned?

My students laughed at the abject folly of this.

Everyone is now beholding the idiocy of valuing things by the World, yet no one knows squat about what to do. Last night on NBC's national newscast, anchor Brian Williams literally toured the CNBC studio and approached four different financial reporters to assess the damage. All looking very dapper yet grim, they proceeded to provide the most elementary spittle about what's going on.

No surprise, this is the World talking.

What is so mind-numbing is that after the skyscraper-loads of financial experts pontificate about how it is this or that, they completely fail to see Who the answer is. Oh, I'll tell them.

It is Jesus Christ.

"Oh but he's just some silly religious figure. Please don't get me wrong, I respect your views, but get your butt outta here with your fantasy blitherings about Jesus."

No wonder they can't get it. They're nowhere near getting it, they're sworn agents of Cain, every one of them. After all, God sent Cain out of His presence. It's as if you told one of them there was a nose in the middle of his face and he said, "I respect your beliefs and all, but there's a--what's this you call it, a nose on my face? Ha! Now go away, this is serious business."

And it is serious business. Cain's economic agents are now going bananas trying to get frightened people to stay in the fold. That's what they do. Jesus is no part of it. Caesar is, however. Notice: whenever the feds spurn a failing TBTF* the market tanks. The Dow Jones yesterday dropped 500 points after the government said "No bailout for you, Lehman Bros." Whenever the feds step up to offer a hand, the markets rebound. Today the Fed issued no change in interest rates, and this was treated as the glorious word that things aren't as bad as they thought they were. (*TBTF: Too-Big-To-Fail)

There ya go. Caesar says it, and it is so. At least what we all think is so, we think...

Who are you following? Whose value assessments are you following? If you are following Caesar's, whether it is Congress or the Fed or a super-duper-uber-financial institution, then you are, in the end, toast.

What if, however, you were following Christ's? Yes, what if you actually valued things the way Christ does?

Think about it, a major reason the economy is so shaky right now is so many people thought their home prices would continue climbing. Why did people believe that? These poor, poor homeowners were exposed for who they really were, value extractors no better than the lenders who themselves were yankin' on the system.

Whose value assessment were they trusting? Come on, whose value assessment capacity are you trusting, and if it is not that of the One who made it all to begin with, why are so insane not to? Oh, right, fergot, your Jesus is just a hairy guy in a neat picture on the wall of your church. Sorry.

On a Sunday morning interview show former Fed chair Alan Greenspan said that until housing prices stabilize we're going to have this crisis. Guess which agent of Cain helped everyone believe their house values were going through the figurative roof? By pumping the economy full of easy money during his tenure in the 1990's and early 2000's, why Alan Greenspan, of course!

There are so many people who listen to these guys, so many exploitees working like crazy to be exploiters too. So many working, working, working the system so they can carve out value from wherever, from whoever. It doesn't matter who they are, lenders and homeowners jerking each other around, investors and bankers jerking each other around, Treasury Secretaries and massive securities brokerage firms jerking each other around, it doesn't matter.

It's the World at work, fully engaged in big-time human sacrifice.

The worst is not that there are so many doing these things, that's their thing, but that there are so many who say they are Christians doing it too. So many of them are plugged firmly into the World System and doing things exactly the way the World does them that there isn't a lick of difference between the jerkers and the people who really shouldn't be jerking anybody.

It's one thing that all of these financial geniuses are utter fools, it's disheartening that so many who say they believe in Christ are just as foolish for signing up with them. Frequent a church that grips its 501c3 like it can't do without it? Employed by a company chartered and required to register you as a taxpayer? Hold a property "ownership" agreement that grips you like a vise?

Why do I go on about it. Why do I exhaust myself saying any of this. I've already written a couple of homepage pieces on my webzine about this--the first is here, and the second is right after it. I'm repeating myself here. Forgive me.

I only do this because I hurt for them. That's all. I see the despair, I see them banging their heads with a frying pan and I just want to tell them about the way it won't hurt anymore.

"Hey, I got it, if you'll allow me. Try this. Maybe it'd help if you stop hitting yourself on the head with that frying pan."

All I get is, ""No, that's not it. Now go away with your crazy ideas."

Wham. "Ouch." Wham wham. "Ouch that hurts." Wham wham...

I know very few people will catch this blog post, if any. There are 57 gazillion blogs and web items out there drawing people's attention. That's cool. I don't really care if no one reads this.

But only if someone gets the idea from whoever somewhere. And that's what makes me saddest. I just see no one seeing this. Am I the only one who is saying anything about it? Because it seems that way is why I write this here, in case someone does by some miracle read this. Ahem, not just read it but get it. There is no way, no way I'm the only one saying get with Christ, get with the One who has the entire universe in His hands and get out of the World with those awful contracts that shout "I'm all about jerking people around no matter how wholesome I look!"

It just can't be.

Just, where are these people?!

Oh, and yeah, I should mention my latest homepage piece is about how I feel it at times. I do tend to let my heart drape itself all over my sleeve. That's here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Latest Feature in the 9/11 Extravaganza

It is 9/11 and the common sentiment is that we commemorate things today with solemn events and quite contemplation. I wonder how many think at all about how much our "imaginations are catastrophized," a term Tupper Saussy coined to describe precisely what World operatives are still doing to a large extent with grandiose 9/11 mythology.

Here is the latest that I saw:


This is the memorial for the Pentagon victims, and right when I saw this photograph I could not help but think, "airport runway lights." You tell me, does this not look like runway lights for an jet airliner to land right into the Pentagon building? Could this be a subliminal suggestion that we are to believe that what hit the Pentagon on 9/11 was actually an airliner? Furthermore shouldn't this be interpreted as a subtle message about the bright glory of a work which effectively mobilized the nation to battle evildoers on a grander scale?

The latest about 9/11 is from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which issued a report with the definitive word on how World Trade Center Building No. 7 collapsed. If you haven't seen what happened to No. 7, you should. Look for it, it's on-line all over the place. The official finding is now a hodge podge of theories strung together with the emphasis this time on the steel expanding and weakening and whatever other things steel does in a fantasy world.

Fact: Tower No. 7 collapsed in on itself within seconds with no visible cause.

Official version: Steel twisted and bent in odd but sophisticated ways to cause this to happen.

Question: How can that physically happen?

Response by authorized personnel: What are you, a bunch of wild-eyed conspiracy theorists?

Imagine if this kind of thing happened in the comfort of your home environs.

Fact: The laundry basket, once in the garage, suddenly whacked me at the side of my head while I was reading in the den.

Official version: The ground and air moved around in geologically and meteorologically sophisticated ways to cause this to happen.

Question: How can that physically happen?

Response by authorized personnel: What are you, some kind of a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist?

At this point many would seethe and rage against the media and their toadying government for behaving like this. "Let's start a new investigation!" they'll cry. Come on. This is where the 9/11 truthers really lose it. What exactly do they think they'll be told when there's a "new investigation"?

Deceit is job of the World operatives they're censuring. They're just as susceptible to more novel ways of catastrophizing the imagination. What a phenomenal tool this is to keep a grip on a populace immersed in fear, including the 9/11 truthers.

The only thing to do is this, something I end virtually every blog post with:

Get out of it all. Go to the Kingdom. Ask the One who has the ticket there, Jesus Christ. Let Him wash away your fear by putting yourself in His mighty grip. Do that by leaving your pathetic World incorporations that only stir that fear. The only thing that can happen when you put your hand in His is that

You'll love. And others you're around will love. Really, you'll have everything you'll ever want.

I'd like to call that

Rapturizing the imagination.

How about that. Rapturizing the imagination. You'd feel genuine joy, consume vibrant reality, behold the rich hearts of those who love with His love, immerse yourself in the beauty and wonder of Him and His domain.

Who is this "Rapturing" God? Some thoughts about Him are here.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Value Extractors at Work

This past summer I was visiting my father and we were out on the patio enjoying dinner discussing economic issues. The conversation drifted toward the question of why the dollar is so weak, and I offered some standard economese to explain. Eventually I got to the core reason any currency is valued as it is:

It has to do with the way people perceive value, and a currency is merely a reflection of that value assessment on a macro scale.

My stepmother couldn't understand. She wondered how that could be when our productive capacity in the U.S. is still so much stronger than that of other countries, particularly in Europe where the Euro has seemed to be doing a gleeful trampling dance on the sprawling dollar.

In today's Los Angeles Times Tom Petruno's column bears out incisively the exact point I was making. The dollar is making a comeback and the key reason has to do with perceived value. His main point is that the dollar is appearing attractive again because people are seeing that oversees industries are not producing what people thought this past summer they would against the U.S.

Sooo, the swing is back toward valuing U.S. productive capacity and the measure of that, the dollar.

Nothing has value except that which people do for one another. Nothing. Nada. Zipporino.

There are two ways people can do things for one another that have any value. One is to do it out of fear, from the conception that punishment is coming if you don't whip up something at your job. The law is all over making sure people drudge up some piddle of goop that others will find tasteful in some way.

The second way is actually kind of a radical idea, one that far fewer people utilize than they should. That way is to do it out of the love one has for the one he or she is producing for. This comes easily for the joyfully eager worker simply because he knows he is loved by a God who died for him and has an entire Kingdom available to him through eternity.

Yes, it's true the only way you can do it via that second way is by Jesus Christ. It is only through Him that you can value things with the most accurate assessment of actual value. The World can only bonk about with that perceived value, but followers of Christ know, and do, love. I wrote a whole homepage piece about it at my webzine, it is here if you are intersted.

In my latest homepage piece, however, I wrote about rage. And I thought about how I concluded it, and I think it was fine, but I left out something that wasn't necessarily required for the piece to be complete. I've still sort of scratched my head about it, and I'll elaborate on that here.

It comes from an important question. "If Jesus was so enraged about some things, yet He still went to the back of the line, dying at the hands of Cain's agents, well, what's the point? Indeed, what's the point of feeling deeply about things if we're all just putty in Cain's fingers?"

Note that I emphasized that Jesus allowed Caesar to have his way with Him for a moment. The key is that moment was critical for Jesus to demonstrate the kind of love we are to have for one another, and out of that comes the most paradoxical but quite veritable

Eternal life with Him in the Kingdom.

The thing is that World people will do their World thing. Tom Petruno will elaborate expansively on the rabid value extraction practices of rich powerful World operatives who not only exploit markets but people's combative desires to schlurp up stuff. What is so outrageous is how many people saying they believe in Jesus do this with such abandon.

It is just not complicated. In fact it is right there in Jesus own words:

Gain the World, lose your soul.

This doesn't mean we slosh around in rags pronouncing our great piety. It just means we live in the Kingdom by His love--as holy and living sacrifices I might add, sowing with precisely what God gave you to do that however much that is--and all the glory of the Kingdom is thrown in, right now, not just later in heaven.

Ah. This is just so elementary. I wonder why I even take the time to blog on it.

The point then is, really, how come so many just aren't getting it...

I very much struggle with that. What is up with that? I go way beyond rage into deep sorrow when I speak with Christian leaders and graciously point out Jesus' words right there and get a great big fat

"Guh?..."

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been in freefall for months, their top execs are about to get their fat rearends fired, and the taxpayer is about to bail them out whether he likes it or not. This is only a symptom of the wretched way the World does value assessment. Because so many of them are paid so much to go "Guh?..." I doubt you'll find a tiny handful of pastors who understand squat about what this means.

There it all is folks. I don't have to make this up.

The World, right there being wretchedly awful. And the Kingdom, right there, with Jesus' words making it as clear as bright shiny daylight.

Who is getting it?

The road is narrow, but I really hope it is not that narrow.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Politically Correct Rage

This week the Republicans are planning to "tone down" their national convention festivities, since ribald partying would be quite unfashionable when a hurricane threatens the Gulf Coast states. Never mind that people are dying all over the place at the hands of people who lie, cheat, steal, murder, exploit... If it's a big thing that'll be in the papers everywhere, and you're a politician of any stripe, then you've got to make big whoop-tee-do about how adept you are at championing whatever good thing you can do to stop it. Or help it. Or whatever you're supposed to do with it.

Now this kind of behavior doesn't particularly rankle me. It used to when I put my faith in the World System and sought entertainment from its elaborate film and stage productions. This is what Cain's agents do, it's their nature.

What does steam me a bit is when people who say they follow Christ sign up with this World System and then rage against anyone who calls them on their true devotion. I feel it also when people say they understand but when you look at what they say to justify that understanding you find they are just mimicing World operatives.

I saw one of those places in a book that some Christians are looking at these days called unChristian. Sure it has some eye-opening observations, but really, none of what they point out or suggest is new.

Same old refusal to truly understand, and to actually do what it takes to be wholly gracious.

I pounded out my webzine's home page about it this month, and if you're interested it is here.