The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Posts Tagged ‘Religion

Gov. Huckabee Decides God No Longer Omnipresent

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Poor little god!

Gov. Huckabee says God has been “systematically . . . removed from our schools.” (You know, as in: “should we be surprised that our schools become places of carnage?”)

I have seen people removed from schools.  A police officer – usually large – escorts away a scrawny 7th grader who’d done something along the lines of smoking dope in the bathroom. The kid vanishes, last seen as a pair of small eyes barely elevated enough to peer solemnly out the cruiser’s back door window. Removed.

Apparently, something similar happened to Gov. Huckabee’s god.

Too bad. Some kind of law enforcer that must’ve been, stronger than god and all. Some pathetic little god that was, too, that heavies could just toss him into the back seat and whisk him away.

I wonder what god it was.  Does it sound like the same one who spoke to Job:

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?

On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angelsshouted for joy?”

And

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons[c]
or lead out the Bearwith its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?

Has that God ever been small enough to be “systematically removed” from any place in the cosmos?

See, I know students and teachers and administrators and bus drivers and secretaries and custodians and para-professionals who pray their way through every day of their public school careers. They’re pretty convinced that “the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him . . . ” Right there. In school. They don’t pray “on street corners” “to be seen by others,” (as Matthew describes – and that kind, when commanded by staff people, is illegal, thank God.) They pray, instead, secretly, to a God who is unseen, believing that he hears and responds.

That kind of prayer in school is protected by every court in America.

Wouldn’t that kind of God have to be present now, right now, everywhere, no matter what people do? And, as far as that God being “systematically removed,” well, LOL.

 

 

 

A letter from Guido

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Sometimes you come across a story so holy that your only concern is not messing it up.  This is one. Guido is a friend of a friend, Donnie Miller.  Donnie writes at One Church Planter’s Journey, where this note from Guido was published.  If you want a little background, follow Donnie’s “Love Wins” tag here.


As I get older I realize that a lot of my views on life seem to change. One of them is the subject of religion. I grew up thinking that religion was all about control of the people and if you didn’t fit the mold you were thrown to the other side of the line. Either you’re a good person or a bad person. Most of my experiences with churches have been bad ones.

Guido (at right)

I believed you don’t bother me and I won’t bother you. They criticize you if you don’t follow their rules even if you didn’t know the rules. From what I know of Jesus I thought he talked to all people and did not judge them but explained what they should be doing and let them figure out what they needed to change.

My opinion has changed over time but more in the past couple years. A big influence in my thought change has come about because of a couple, who years ago I would have judged as those church people and avoided like the plague. It all started one day when my door staff guy at work called me and said some church ladies were there I thought “Oh NO here we go again”. (Several years before some church ladies had been in our parking lot picketing and handing out negative brochures.) He said they were leaving some gifts for the girls. I think he asked them if they had paint bombs in them because he was also leery. After talking to the employees and the staff I found it odd they would bring stuff to dancers and thought what’s their angle? So this happened again the ladies came to the door dropped off gifts, smiled then left. I thought that’s nice so I had my bartender put together a basket of nice things for the ladies and drop it off. I later thought to myself “wow I’m interacting with church people”. Read the rest of this entry »

Wanted: A prophetic voice in the healthcare debate

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Time for the religious and humanist communities to insist that reform itself is not enough: Time for the plan that gives “‘care’ the priority over ‘profits'” and over “‘what will fly in D.C.'” (“simply code words for ‘what those congressional reps who are dependent on the contributions of the health care industry are willing to allow to get through their committees.’”)
clipped from www.tikkun.org

Engraving of the Prophet Amos by Gustave Doré ...

[T]he Religious Community has a responsibility to be a Prophetic Voice, and to insist on the approach that is most consistent with actually giving “care” the priority over “profits” for the health care profiteers, and saying that that must be the principle guiding the health care debate.

That would mean endorsing Congressman John Conyers’ HR 676, The United States National Health Insurance Act, insisting that the media give attention to the ways that that kind of “single-payer” plan would be both more cost efficient and provide better care, and insisting that the discussion be shifted to the issue of care rather than “what will fly in D.C.,” which is simply code words for “what those congressional reps who are dependent on the contributions of the health care industry are willing to allow to get through their committees.”

Obama has cut the ground from under the progressive perspective by convincing them all to be “realistic” […]
he faces no counter-pressure … apart from the pressures to his right […]
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Many other good points are made in Rabbi Lerner’s post. I recommend it.

I want love to win the day.  I want care for the least to matter more than riches for the CEO.  And I see no ethical reason to compromise with those who protect millionaires.

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When atheists come to church (sermon of July 5)

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C Vonaesch - Femme Touchant Jesus

C Vonaesch - Femme Touchant Jesus

Last week, Jesus, pushing through a crowd, was secretly touched by a woman who’ d been bleeding for 12 years; her bleeding stopped.  She who’d been untouchable by the rules of the day touched him; she was then well, and he became untouchable.  She gets well. He takes on her “uncleanness.”

And then he touched a 12 year old girl who had recently died. He was now “unclean” twice-over (touching a dead body made him so a second time), but the girl was alive.   She gets life. He takes on her “uncleanness.”

Magnificent.

And the next thing that happens is that Jesus, the now-famous, compassionate, but scandalously irreligious traveling teacher, goes home to Nazareth. And while he’s been amazing everyone, at Nazareth, Jesus is amazed.

What could possibly amaze Jesus? Read the rest of this entry »

Indonesia: Radical Muslims’ parties lose support

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Bravo, Indonesia!

The world’s largest Muslim nation rejects radicals at the polls:

clipped from www.nytimes.com

Indonesia’s Voters Retreat From Radical Islam

Session of the Indonesian People's Representat...
Image via Wikipedia

[H]ere in the world’s most populous Muslim nation […] Islamic parties [are] suffering a steep drop in popular support. […]

In parliamentary elections this month, voters punished Islamic parties that focused narrowly on religious issues, and even the parties’ best efforts to appeal to the country’s mainstream failed to sway the public.[…]

The party had projected that it would double its share of seats in Parliament even as it stuck to its founding goal of bringing Shariah, or Islamic law, to Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, with 240 million people. […]

Altogether, the major Islamic parties suffered a drop in support from 38 percent in 2004 to less than 26 percent this year […]

[F]undamentalist measures seem to have alienated moderate Indonesians […]

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