The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Archive for June 2007

Cornel West: the fundamental question of politics

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Cornel West, in an interview about the state of the presidential campaign, offers a breathtaking vista of the purpose of it all:

clipped from www.democracynow.org
CORNEL WEST: I think that we’re beginning to move to some of the serious subject matters, but we’ve still got a long way to go, though, Amy. You know and I know that the fundamental question is always, what is the quality of service to everyday people, what the depth of love and sacrifice to empowering everyday people.

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For students of the life of Jesus, would not this question be consistent with his day-to-day passion? Yet have we ever heard it said? How far removed is Christianity from its Christ, when people of faith agitate for exclusion or condemnation or national supremacy!

Click on the link for the rest of the interview.


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Written by Monte

June 28, 2007 at 5:18 pm

Posted in Politics, Poverty, Religion

Why I use the lectionary

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Four years ago, I was pondering several “how’s:”

  • I benefit from a tradition that treasures being “Spirit-led” in the choosing of topics and texts. But given the inherent subjectivity of inner guidance, how could I avoid preaching my own unseen prejudices?
  • Naturally, Scriptures that I knew well often came to mind as preaching possibilities. Was I limiting my preaching – and possibly my view of God – by leaning too much on passages I knew?  How could I require myself to explore those with which I was less familiar?
  • I was learning about the wisdom God had given others in the church. How could I benefit from their insights? When someone had a song or a dance, how could I look down the weeks and see … Read the rest of this entry »

“Of course not!” Readings for Sunday, July 1

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Jesus gets put off by some anti-Jewish Samaritans. His followers want to defend his honor by roasting them with lightning bolts (religious zeal is a wonderful thing, don’t you think?). Jesus, ever more passionate about people than honor, responds, “Of course not!”

So much to learn, there is, from his examples! “Of course not!” is a pretty good answer whenever someone suggests people should be punished for mere insolence. “Ridiculous!” might be another good one, and in harmony with Jesus’ outlook. Yet his disciples would do so instantly; religions and governments have more often followed them than him.

May we reject such folly! Read on …

Proper 8 (13)
July 1, 2007

Luke 9:51-62; 2 Kings 2:1-2,6-14; Galatians 5:1,13-25; Psalm 77:1-2,11-20

Luke 9:51-62
51-54When it came close to the time for his Ascension, he gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

June 25, 2007 at 3:14 pm

“Evangelicals … deserting the religious right in droves”

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An intriguing article from the Baltimore Sun by Thomas Schaller details a sea change in American politics. Do you think this could represent a renewal of emphasis on developing character and passions like those of Jesus (previously eclipsed by 20th century zeal for doctrinal and political orthodoxy)?

clipped from www.sojo.net
“Evangelicals – especially the new generation of pastors and young people – are deserting the religious right in droves,” wrote Jim Wallis, author of God’s Politics, in a February commentary in Time. “The evangelical social agenda is now much broader and deeper, engaging issues like poverty and economic justice, global warming, HIV/AIDS, sex trafficking, genocide in Darfur and the ethics of the war in Iraq.”
For example, somebody should alert the Republican presidential aspirants to the declaration issued this spring by a coalition of top evangelicals that renounces “torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees” and calls for the United States to embrace the Geneva Conventions. During last month’s South Carolina debate, with the notable exception of Arizona Sen. John McCain, the GOP candidates tried to out-macho each other on the treatment of detainees…. Mitt Romney boasted that he’d like to “double Guantanamo,”


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Written by Monte

June 23, 2007 at 12:53 pm

Grammar question?

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Written by Monte

June 23, 2007 at 12:16 pm

Posted in Blogs

CIA to reveal (some) illegal actions

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Truth sets us free. This will be helpful.
Messy, ugly, and embarrassing, but helpful.
May we (the USA) see ourselves and be seen by others for who we are and what we have done, not for history the way we wish it were.

clipped from www.democracynow.org
the CIA is preparing to declassify hundreds of documents that detail some if its most infamous and illegal operations. The records are believed to cover the period from the 1950s to the 1970s. They include details on domestic spying, infiltrating leftist groups, drug tests on US citizens and assassination plots against foreign leaders. In advance of the release, the National Security Archive has published a new set of documents revealing the Ford administration was concerned about the documents’ eventual disclosure. In a memo to Ford, then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said a 1974 article by the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh on the CIA’s infiltration of anti-war groups was “just the tip of the iceberg.” Kissinger also warned that “blood will flow” if several other operations were exposed

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PS: I am a fairly intuitive (i.e., unaware) grammarian, so had to give some thought to “was” or “were,” above.  Found a useful tip about it at Lousy Writer (just in case anyone were interested).


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Written by Monte

June 23, 2007 at 11:34 am

Posted in Politics, Terrorism

“Death to al-Qaeda!”

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Al-Qaeda briefly, but perhaps auspiciously, out-Satans the USA in the public mind at Najaf:

clipped from www.democracynow.org
Thousands Rally Against Al-Qaeda, US in Najaf
In other Iraq news, thousands of people took to the streets of Najaf in a show of unity following last week’s attack on the Askariya mosque in Samarra. Demonstrators waved Iraqi flags and Shia banners with slogans including “Death to al-Qaeda.” Marchers also called for an end to the U.S.-led crackdown on Baghdad.

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Written by Monte

June 23, 2007 at 11:31 am