The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Posts Tagged ‘powerful

Ask the powerful five questions

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Like wealth of most kinds, power seems to make people smaller. Washington, D.C., (for example) is not known for its champions of selfless idealism.  Yet many of those same people came into politics with a hope of doing good.  I suspect it is a very hard place from which to keep focused on justice.

Tony Benn, Labour‘s second-longest serving member of parliament in the U.K., proposes five plain-spoken questions:

Those might raise a fuss, eh? (h/t Homeyra!)

Here’s another Benn thought-provoker:

If you talk about a global answer to a global crisis, you can’t just talk about the movement of capital, now we are told all the time we must not have protectionism, but the most powerful protectionism in the world is immigration policy. Capital can move anywhere in the world to boost its profits. But labor can’t move because of the immigration control. Now I am raising huge questions, I recognize that. But if it is legitimate for a big American company to go to Malaysia where the wag[es] are low and triple their profit, why shouldn’t a Malaysian looking for high [wages] just go to America?

Well?  Immigration as protectionism – now there’s a fresh insight!

Palm Sunday Rebellion

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Here’s the last half of my Palm Sunday sermon.  In the opening, I talked about how obvious it must have seemed to Jesus’ Palm Sunday followers that he was beginning a military coup.  Find out why at Disclosing New Worlds.


Sagrada Familia #6
Image by Alex Millà via Flickr

There’s no question in their minds that Jesus is there to conquer. And Jesus has intentionally played the part. He knows the local puppet governor will hear. He knows the Roman military machine will hear. And he knows he’s throwing rebellion in their faces.

How will tyrants respond? Think of shouts of “Free Tibet!” in Lhasa.  Or the student uprising in Tienanmen Square. Or singing the Chechen national anthem in public in Chechnya. Peasants pitching rebellion are crushed without mercy.

Extra troops were in Jerusalem during the Passover, in preparation for this very kind of thing. Passover, after all, was about the liberation of the Jews from a foreign government. The Romans would be putting on a show of force.

He’s come to wage war, all right – but no one is understanding what kind of war he’ll fight. The Romans are small potatoes to him – he’s waging war on death and darkness and power, and he’ll defeat them all.

But the crowd’s expecting literal war. And that’s not what Jesus does.

Hosanna filio David
Image by Lawrence OP
via Flickr

How strange it is that everybody there makes that mistake, and we study it, and wonder how they can have missed it. And then our generation reads Revelation’s war-talk and assumes without question that Jesus’ will return in the future to fight a violent war. As McLaren observes, when Jesus comes back to fight, his mighty sword comes out of his mouth! I want to smack my head. How could I have overlooked the obviously metaphorical language used there?

Could we still be like the 1st century crowd, expecting Jesus to bring war? Could we be making the same mistake?  Doesn’t it matter that warfare is completely inconsistent with everything Jesus demonstrated?

But here’s another strange thing: It’s all outside the city.

See the last verse? He goes to the temple, looks around, heads for Bethany. Once inside the city, the acclaim is gone.

Outside of it, the crowds adore him. Inside of it – in the seat of religious power and government power – nobody shows up. As Lawrence Moore writes at Disclosing New Worlds: Read the rest of this entry »