Category Archives: Misc

The Rebel Jesus – Christmas, kindness and … oh yes, the Sermon on the Mount. Maybe.

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There’s a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

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Full lyrics:

All the streets are filled with laughter and ligh
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by ‘the Prince of Peace’
And they call him by ‘the Savior’
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There’s a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

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Would Someone Just Shut The Pope Up?

Would Someone Just Shut That Pope Up?

Some on the political right are going absolutely nuts over Catholicism’s new pope, Pope Francis.

Rush Limbaugh has labeled him a Marxist and numerous rightwing conservatives want the pope to stick to moral and spiritual issues rather than discuss economic challenges of the common man, which he supposedly knows nothing about — it seems that the pope has limited infallibility powers, although Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was heavy on economics: not an economic prescription but clear recognition that there are those that have and do not work to benefit those with little, and those that are without much more than their soul through the length of their lives.

Pope Francis biography

Yet, not all American conservatives are going bonkers. The American Conservative just published a piece that takes a balanced look at what the pope has actually said and tried to consider his words in context, which is rare in almost any discussion of policy these days.

From the opening paragraphs of The American Conservative‘s story Would Someone Just Shut That Pope Up?

Since the release of Evangelii Gaudium there have been countless articles and commentary about the economic portions of Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation. Some of the commentary has been downright bizarre, such as Rush Limbaugh denouncing the Pope as a Marxist, or Stuart Varney accusing Francis of being a neo-socialist. American conservatives grumbled but dutifully denounced a distorting media when Pope Francis seemed to go wobbly on homosexuality, but his criticisms of capitalism have crossed the line, and we now see the Pope being criticized and even denounced from nearly every rightward-leaning media pulpit in the land.

Not far below the surface of many of these critiques one hears the following refrain: why can’t the Pope just go back to talking about abortion? Why can’t we return the good old days of Pope John Paul II or Benedict XVI and talk 24/7/365 about sex? Why doesn’t Francis have the decency to limit himself to talking about Jesus and gays, while avoiding the rudeness of discussing economics in mixed company, an issue about which he has no expertise or competence?

Pope Francis has done much more than just talk, the pope has made some early substantial changes both in how the church interacts with people (moving homeless centers to where the homeless are) and in how the pope personally presents himself to the public (less bling, more humility, less judgement and more embracing of people as having challenges).

Reality is that Pope Francis is not trying to prescribe economic policies. He is acknowedging that our economic lives have gone a bit of whack. Those that have seem to have much more than they did just a few years ago, and those without seem to have less. This varies based upon locale. In many areas of the world where 25-50% of work-age adults have no jobs then the pope’s message is bound to ring true. Within the USA, with its widespread affluent society, the message will seem quixotic to many as we live life in our zoned affluent neighborhoods and do not have to live with those that fall from economic grace — because when they do they move out and disappear.

Below are some ways that Pope Francis is working to portray himself as a pope of the people:

1. Uses a wooden chair instead of a golden throne.
2. Does not wear the gold-embroidered red stole.
3. Wears his old black shoes instead of the classic Prada red slippers.
4. Wears a metal cross instead of the one with rubies and diamonds.
5. His papal ring is silver, not gold — and he reused a prior design. Tradition is that each pope have a unique design created for their reign.
6. Wears black pants under the cassock, same as he wore when a common priest.
7. Had the red carpet removed.

 

Pope Francis - how he is different

Pope Francis – how he is different in personal style from his predecessors.


Note: I am not a Roman Catholic. As a Unitarian we are taught to investigate and to honor the best of thought and philosophy offered by all of the world’s religious traditions and teaching. Pope Francis seems to be off to a good start on getting a conversation going about where our society is and where it is going. In my personal belief, all actions undertaken in our lives are economic actions no matter how trivial or whether an exchange of money is involved. Economics involves the making of moral decisions, whether that is our intent or not. I look forward to hearing more from Pope Francis. Actions are more important than words.

Bill Golden
aka Bill4DogCatcher

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Nelson Mandela and flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff

Nelson Mandela and flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff

There has been some grousing that President Obama has order the U.S. flag to fly at half-staff in honor of South African President Mandela’s passing.

“The president may order the flag to be flown at half-staff to mark the death of other officials, former officials, or foreign dignitaries. In addition to these occasions, the president may order half-staff display of the flag after other tragic events.”

— U.S. Flag Code, para 3.

Twice before has a president directed the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff for a foreign dignitary.

President George W. Bush ordered flags to fly at half-staff at the passing of Pope John Paul II in 2005, and President Lyndon Johnson bestowed the honor in recognition of the passing of Winston Churchill in 1965.

American flag at half mast

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Nelson Mandela the Terrorist?

Nelson Mandela the Terrorist?

Nelson Mandela - 1990 South Africa
Nelson Mandela – 1990, South Africa

Not all of what has been written since President Mandela’s death has been about the good that came from his life. There are those that prefer to focus on why he went to prison in the first place: armed terrorism … or was he a freedom fighter? =^)

My buddy Lou D’Abbraccio gave an eloquent perspective on this and the plight of black South Africans:

“… would the country have agreed to the changes necessary to address past injustice without the threat, or the reality, of violence? That question will go unanswered; Were I in his position, I might have embraced the same tactics if that is what it took to bring about change. If he had persisted in those tactics after de Klerk ended apartheid, he would have been like any other post-colonial thug. What made Mandela different, and worthy of praise, is that when he rose to power, he did reject those tactics, and pursued reconciliation over retribution. He could have been Mugabe – but he wasn’t. In his moment, he chose to be a statesman. It doesn’t excuse the rest, no – but it is worthy of praise nonetheless.”

Well said, Lou.

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Three Rules of Living a Public Life

Three Rules of Living a Public Life

Rule #1: Never, ever admit that you are wrong. It makes you look weak.

Rule #2: Gently flipflop if you have to admit you possibly were factually challenged. Attack the other side as having misled and then say that honest people can reach different conclusions … and if that doesn’t work:

Rule #3: See Rule #1.

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Zenfully solving problems

Half of all problems can be ignored and they will turn out all right. Somehow magic will happen.

The other half of the problems we will just make them worse by trying to fix them. If you don’t have a good solution then don’t muck with it.

The important thing is to focus on just a few things which make a real difference and let everything else work itself out.

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Equal Marriage Rights – My View

Equal Marriage Rights

Suddenly lots of folks have discovered that maybe government should get out of sanctioning marriage — except they don’t really mean it.

>>> Example: Some would argue that rather than allow marriage among gays that the government just get out of the marriage business altogether and allow traditional marriage to be between a man and woman — but outside of government definition. This newfound solution to a modern problem sounds good but really it just sidesteps the larger implication of ‘what is marriage’.

‘Marriage’ is about economics and property rights more often than love and just wanting to live life with someone.

We could probably solve this quickly if government really did decide that ‘marriage’ happened between two people and was none of the government’s business … and if everyone that wanted to claim benefits and/or property rights filed for ‘civil union’ status then we could fix this quickly … whether man-woman, man-man, or woman-woman.

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Am straight, married and with two kids. I admit to not understanding the attraction to the same sex … but I also accept that it happens for other folks and it is normal for them. It would be nice if the Supreme Court redefined ‘marriage’ as meaning ‘civil union’ and we march on …

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