Since when are secular companies, practicing competitive business in a free market society supposed to speak for the Church? Is that what Christians really want? And would that actually “put Christ into Christmas” – or just make him another commodity, traded on the Market?
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Speaking from a perspective of enlightened self-interest, it’s clear that in a capitalist economy the stronger the lower and middle classes are, the more money those at the top are going to have.
And speaking from a perspective of faith, God’s concern is not those whose hard work and unmerited advantages put them at the top. It is the well-being of all – especially those whose hard work and undeserved disadvantages have put them closer to the bottom.
Foolish idolatry! Can you imagine, wrapping up some little stone statues to keep them warm, while a child lies shivering in the very same night air? We good Americans, schooled in the virtues of Christian orthodoxy, have been gratefully enlightened beyond such silly, abusive hypocrisy. We would never do such a thing.
Or would we?
In his research on “happiness economics,” John Helliwell writes: “if 10 percent more people thought they had someone to count on in life, it would have a greater effect on national life satisfaction than giving everyone a 50% raise.” “Someone to count on” – not economic factors that can be measured - that’s the solution to our problems.
Being a successful neurosurgeon is apparently no guarantee you won’t embarrass yourself in the national spotlight. I’m not sure which constitution Dr. Carson had in mind when he opined that no Muslim is fit to be the President. The US constitution guarantees freedom of (and freedom from) religion, and specifies that no religious litmus test shall deter anyone from holding office.
I think of my nation, still divided, still judging one another not by the content of character, but by the color of skin. I think that there are a lot of very complicated factors in this case, but what I know is that this mostly comes down to America’s Original Sin, and unless and until we can finally own it and engage the very hard work of healing we’ll always be waiting on a jury…
I’m told that Trump’s appeal is his honesty. Finally, they say, a politician who actually speaks his mind instead of all that politically correct drivel. Am I alone in preferring a little discretion from those who will lead us? If your “honesty” makes you that poor a role model and such an embarrassment to the values of decency and respectability, common courtesy and just basic good manners – it should also disqualify you from being taken seriously in the public and political arenas.
We deserve so much better.
But something has changed. I believe this. I believe that we are about to engage in a critically important, and extremely difficult, national conversation about the racial injustices inherent in our society. I am not afraid of the conversation that is coming. And it is coming – and all churches need to be involved in it. It’s too important, and the integrity of our faith will require it.
We face a basic choice in how we live our lives: will we live out of humility and grace and be fundamentally welcoming, accepting, open to all, or will our fundamental disposition be one of judgment, exclusion, alienation?
I don’t need to understand you to accept you. I can only hope you will offer me the same grace.
“Extending protections” is not about understanding the transgender person. I cannot claim that understanding – just as I do not understand being a woman, or being poor, or being black. That lack of understanding, though, does not lead me to assume the right to discriminate. And those protections do not depend on my approval or agreement with your life choices – my personal approval, my party’s approval, my church’s approval – because our nation declared independence for ALL.
Trying to reconcile the biblical verse with the desperate plea of a dying man makes my head hurt – and my heart ache. How can we make sense of the frustrations and anger and feelings of helplessness that accompany each new report of another life unnecessarily lost?
Perhaps you feel the same? I know lots of people have doubts and questions about a world where these things can occur. And do occur – over and over. So I offer these thoughts. I wish they were solutions. But all I have are thoughts, ponderings, and a struggle to understand – on those difficult days when it’s hard to sigh; when you can’t breathe.
By Amy Jacks Dean