Tag Archives: religion

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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ISLAM / ISIS and Extremists criticized as not ‘Nation of Islam’ but ‘Anti-Muslim’

ISLAM / Where are the moderate Muslims speaking out? If you ignore anything said by a Muslim then you probably have heard nada, zip, zilch.

Last week the highest cleric in Egypt, the Grand Mufti, unconditionally condemned ISIS and extremism.

On September 10th, the American Muslim community held a press conference that strongly condemned extremists, and specifically ISIS. They also pledged their love and respect for the American ideal … being an ideal for all.

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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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Religion / Pew Institute Report: One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation

(AP) – Rachel Zoll is covering a new study that shows that for the first time in its history, the United States does not have a Protestant majority. One reason: The number of Americans with no religious affiliation is on the rise. The percentage of Protestant adults in the U.S. has reached a low of 48 percent, the first time that Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has reported with certainty that the number has fallen below 50 percent. The drop has long been anticipated and comes at a time when no Protestants are on the U.S. Supreme Court and the Republicans have their first presidential ticket with no Protestant nominees.

Read the entire AP article

The AP article is based upon a report recently released by the Pew Institute entitled One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation – Pew Institute

One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation - Pew Institute

Pew Institute notes in its precis of the report:

“The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.”

“In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%).”

Read the complete Pew Institute Report (PDF)

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Belief in the market square – Let’s protect what makes our society great

Belief in the market square

We like to think that we live in a postmodern age, an age where we all as individuals can freely pursue our own lives and seek our own paths. The freedom to do that comes from freedom of speech as much as anything else.

Freedom of speech is actually under attack in many ways. One of those ways is through threat of violence by religious believers that oppose blasphemy.

Whenever anyone attempts to control the conversation, or to stifle questioning of beliefs or dogma, then we all lose.

What truly makes our way of life ‘great’ is that the only truths which are worthy of public respect must earn that respect through allowing open questioning of their validity.

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Hillsdale College recently published a piece entitled Blasphemy and Free Speech by Paul Marshall a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute.

This piece often makes many references to Islam, but it wasn’t too long ago that blasphemy laws or retribution for blasphemy was also common in Western society.

There are still too many occurences of violence towards those that do not believe or behave as we believe appropriate — such as the 70 year old Jewish woman that was beaten recently by five Jewish men because she was suspected of being a missionary, which blasphemed their community and their beliefs. As it turns out, she was indeed a missionary of sorts: she was teaching converts to Judaism how to be good Jews.

Blasphemy laws are the breeding grounds for intolerance and the inbreeding of hate.

We must be respectful to other beliefs but we must also insist that our culture is built on the right to free enquiry, freedom of speech, and both the freedom of religion and freedom from religion.

If your faith is big enough facts do not matter

If your faith is big enough facts do not matter

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