A Modest Proposal: A Day of Atonement for all the World’s Religions | Think Tank | Big Think

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This piece from big think is a about a day of atonement, in their spit atonement for religion. However, how about a day of Atonement for social media mavens and the bad boys and girls of public discourse who seem not to have an inkling of notion about the responsibility they carry in terms of public trust in the public arena and as gatekeepers albeit by default and being in danger of hellfire.

Rush Limbaugh, Imus, any lying politicians, and everyone else who have offered up sorry excuses for free speech and even sorrier excuses for apologies over what they’ve said, rumors they’ve started especially when they’ve know they were lying and being manipulative. Some make their lies unapologetic talking points because obviously their position is so righteous the end justify the means Niccolò Machiavelli style. Apology doesn’t seem hardly enough in light of the death of ambassador Chris Stevens.  Two themes reemerge; we live in serverely uncivil times; our world is so small now and anyone has access to everyone.

I guess we’re good with “no harm no foul.” Obviously though just because ya can’t immediately detect harm doesn’t mean harm has not occurred. I say “gatekeepers by default” because maybe the day of atonement should be for us the end user and possible true gatekeeper that seem to crave hype at any cost, controversy and caustic conversation that tickles our itching ears and back up what we think. We listen to it, digest it, laugh about, shake our heads and pass it on like “gospel.”

Rachel Maddow raised a thought about the point of view of a media end user in Arab countries like Egypt where every thing that gets to the public is censored and allowed by the government, no wonder they think this “Innocence of Muslims” is mainstream and approved by our government, that is the world they live in. Rachel said we need to spend time or more time educating others about our exercise of free speech as opposed to defending it. She was more succinct than that.

What is scary is folks in censorship parts of the world have an excuse having no idea that this thing is put out by a couple of ignorant yahoos with deep pockets. Well that’s not scary what is scary is how much of the time we in this country can easily, easily vet out the stupid junk like “Innocence of Muslims,” and we don’t. Umm hmm, yall know.

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9/11 a Minority “Report”

I Remember 9_11 2001

I was dropping my daughter off at day car and it was on TV there.  I will always remember my daughter who, like her dad when the 1st plan came in, had no idea what was going on and who wasn’t quite two years old exclaiming how pretty the flames were.

I also remember Rock and Roll DJ’s at a loss for what to play and one Cleveland DJ succumbing to the realization, “I got nothin.”

I remember being at an arts forum about 9/11 with Tom Schorgl, President and CEO of Community Partnership for Arts & Culture and listening to a mostly Caucasian audience talk about how they didn’t feel safe any more in America, in their homes, and telling them, “Join the party, that’s how I feel most days in America where discrimination is a Black man’s constant companion and police are not his friend”… cut to Trayvon Martin.

I was struck by how I didn’t and don’t feel any less safe because of 9-11.  I remember many people of color, especially comedians, extolling, “Alright! America got some new niggas now! We can take a break for a minute!” referring to a new high priority racial profiling in government and among John Q Public directed at “Arab looking” people inundating them in a cloud of suspicion, hatred, being feared and stereotyped and pick out for lambasting by association no closer than “the look.”   Niggers indeed.

I became very concerned as I saw how the Bush administration in my view was using the opportunity to erode even more of our right to free speech and privacy especially with as I recall new wiretapping initiatives.  I still feel that the administration used this as an expansionist opportunity and an opportunity to get the American people more disengaged with our own empowerment.  His answer to this issue for American people was stick your head in the sand, act as if nothing is going on.. “Go out and shop! Go to Disney World!” Admittedly this is partly because since the Kennedy administration we have been in a product driven society made to look like a consumer driven society, but  here is a 2008 view from Washington Poster Andrew J. Bacevich about the implications of Mr. Bush sending us shopping I believe deserves a read.

I remember many of the stories of courage and how much of America pulled together in one way or another.  I remember welling up with tears at how horrific it must have been for people directly involved and their families, the overwhelming suddenness of it all.

I was horrified seeing civilians jump to their deaths rather than be burned alive. All of this was a very slow burn effect going from it not dawning on me initially to having it hit buttons and having had to shove some of my issues way, way down.

Eleven years later 9/11 is no less grave and I am regretfully no less the iconoclast.  Prayers for a better world through embracing  and investing in the inner world.  Politicians don’t have your answers, nor do academicians, nor do holy men, the kingdom of God is within you.  Breath in Breath out be congruent and authentic.

Two poems generated behind 9/11

Sometimes ya just gotta laugh.

Dis’ Functional Family

Neglected child

You Love yo’ mommy

all the while

She dotes over brothers

hosts many suitors

educates her daughters

receives your accusers.

America the Beautiful

ample breasts

firm and full

to feed her children

two strong arms

to hold them tight.

Colored child

a neglected child

Mad and hurt by

mommy’s abuses

yet of her womb

none the less,

bears her name

but not daddy’s best.

Bastard

claim the accusers.

Bastard child come and fight.

See mommy’s arms

strong to fight.

She dotes over brothers

hosts many suitors

educators her daughter

receives your accusers.

Fight for mommy, your brothers your sisters!

Fight!

Copyright 2002 CIOFaithwalker

Devils’ Plague

When the plague is present

others feel the fever

at arms length they keep you.

There is a stench

it turns their heads downwind.

They lock their car doors

when you walk by.

Women’s hands’ and arms grab

with an

involuntary pinch

at purses as they huddle

and hurry their young.

Men pat pockets

and quicken their steps.

“Those minds are predisposed

to violent thoughts, you know

steal and rape and kill”

they think.

Eyes follow you

and thrust daggers deep

into your flesh.  If you

are blessed you are alive

one more day.

From whence comes their contagion

that affects you so deeply

who is to say?

03.18.02

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Who the Son has Set Free is Free In Deed (and your little tongue too!)

A blog called Nation of Wussies written in October 2005 bemoaned what the writer saw as the deterioration of boldness in spreading the good news by pressing for rights to speak.  In this blogger’s sights specifically the right to say Merry Christmas was all the rage on Christian radio I believe.  The author felt it fed right into the flavor of the time, PC or political correctness.

Here earlier in 2012 I ran across a call to arms event for the church and pastors recently that skirts a major issue in the church for clergy and laity and I feel the author’s above pain.  The event is called, “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.”  The impetus is from an organization called, The Alliance Defending Freedom, formerly the Alliance Defense Fund. What I know of the organization is that it readily defends Christians’ freedom of speech under the law.  For instance, a student attempts to start an after school bible club but the school will not allow it mistakenly believing it violates separation of church and state statutes or it forbids a bible club from passing out and posting flyers to promote the club.  The ADF will represent the student or group for free.    According to its blog it is “a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.” The Truth capital “T” is referring to Jesus whose one title out of many is the Truth.

The ADF presents a five point platform to encourage folks to participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday a part with which this writer take great exception.

One issue is the ADF is encouraging the church to preach the “truth” about candidates.  It was common place as I was growing up where politicians would be Christians for a day, show up on Sunday and do their song and dance during election season never to darken the doors of the church until next election year.

It used to be that competence and ethics played second fiddle to party line.  As the landscape changed and more people of color ran for office race was added to the mix.

Even though those politician now had the weight of whatever church behind them, in many cases, the strength of the church support was not based on a governing church body or committee, say of pastors and deaconesses, coming together to choose to support a politician based on research and vetting.  Now that it is taboo to bring politicians into the pulpit directly the ADF wants preachers again to preach “the truth” about them.

If you listen to Christian radio or Christian television it becomes clear that many times various programs have an agenda that goes beyond upholding Christian core values and can delve into ideology that often strongly suggests that one party or politician is simply “not our kind,” and even broach nationalism, militarism, imperialism messaging that God and country are one.  Should the church by association be telling congregations for whom to vote or right out dictating such?  Maybe they should be however; to this writer the whole fallibility issue is more than troublesome.

This ADF’s, “… five reasons your support is vital,” seamlessly blends promoting the church as the repository of, “Issues such as life, marriage, the family, the economy, the poor, and many others that are addressed specifically in scripture,” into “… bold pastors preaching biblical Truth about candidates and elections from their pulpits …” Does this event promote teaching and preaching biblical “issues” or preaching the “truth” about candidates? I am confused.

Some may remember Otis Moss III challenging Black clergy on the right to marriage for Gays and Lesbians.  Should he have watered down his message by aiming it at a politician or in this case the pastor that prompted the letter, point being it was a strong message about an issue covered in scripture albeit not agreed upon by clergy?  Reverend Moss delineates between what the church is supposed to support and its involvement in the civic political arena, an area that perhaps as a harbinger of dogma the church should think twice or even thrice about engaging in.  I am in no way saying the church doesn’t necessarily belong but I will venture to suggest that an undue amount of energy is placed here taking away from other areas where the church can have eternal impact furthering the great commission.

I’d much rather see more energy invested into putting more people on the airwaves like perhaps Chris Fabry or Janet Parshall (both Moody talk show hosts) to do these things than focus on having off task messages from the pulpit.  I wonder how many Chris Fabrys and Janet Parshalls are there in secular radio?

As far as 1st amendment rights we have much more to be concerned about with laws and the culture on hate speech, not as a church issue only but as a free speech issue nationally.

The ADF piece goes on to ask, “How can the exercise of religion be free if your church is subject to fines and penalties for something you as a pastor say from the pulpit” and continues with one of its five points being, the free exercise of religion requires a free pulpit.

Scripture cannot be any more emphatically against this point; free exercise of religion does not require a free pulpit.

Understanding what is meant by the popular definition of religion it may behoove us to revisit a definition of religion that is not harkened to nearly enough.  The English Standard Version of the bible says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”  Isaiah chapter 1 verse 17 says, “learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow..” Not being a bible scholar it is very possible I have missed scripture exhorting us to make it easy for those of the faith to speak truth or Truth from a soapbox.

Without exhorting pastors, preachers, teachers, laity and all to speak in season and out (2nd Timothy 4:2) I think, “pulpit freedom Sunday,” boils down to whining and this is the crux of my opposition to the event.

According to the ADF youtube video hawking this event, the first event that took place in October 2011 was “the first time in 50 years that hundreds of pastors stood up proclaiming a message of biblical truth…” and blamed the Johnson tax code amendment for it not having taken place in that previous 50 years.  If this isn’t an indictment against a cowardly church I don’t know what is.

Outside scripture one has to look no further than Martin Luther King to see that he did not have a free pulpit no matter what the laws of the land said about freedom of speech prior to the Johnson amendment.

As a matter of fact Reverend King preached against the law of the land, that is to say in direct opposition to the cultural norms of the time and civil law.   Would that Reverend Doctor King only had loss of his 501c3 status to worry about.

Apostle Paul walked in resolute civil disobedience being constantly beaten, jailed and admonished not to speak the name of Jesus. The free exercise of religion does not require a free pulpit; it requires revelation knowledge of pastors and speakers that whom the Son has set free is free indeed, free in deed.  I find it very interesting that pastors in lands where there is persecution of Christians like China as a rule don’t ask for laws to be legislated that make it easy for them to preach but that the Spirit of the most High will sustain them, just like Paul prayed for boldness and courage, just like he encouraged Timothy to speak boldly.

Though the ADF advances that every church and pastor has the right to decide what is preached from their pulpit they don’t acknowledge that with freedom, in this case freedom of speech comes responsibility and also the “freedom” if you will to suffer the consequences of your words, actions, and stance that many times is a standard and indictment against the culture.

Since this Johnson amendment has been enacted; another controversial sermon has been uncovered from a North Carolina pastor who made national headlines with his sermon that stated gays and lesbians should be held behind electric fences until they “die off.”  Video of Pastor Charles Worley’s sermon went viral after he made the controversial statements during his Mother’s Day sermon at the Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, NC. Posted May 2012 By Chris Dyches – email

A South Florida pastor, Jack Hakimian, whose sermons include “Bible Says Gays and Sex Addicts Can Change and Should Change,” is under review by the Miami-Dade school district for his Sunday services held inside North Miami Senior High School. Huffington Post.

Here is a knuckle headed pastor for you, Sean Harris who says punch your kids if they act Gay, so it doesn’t seem that these people are lacking freedom in the pulpit perhaps lacking decorum, wisdom, civility and possibly even love is missing but freedom to speak irresponsibly or otherwise, ummm no.

The ADF proclaims,“America needs to hear from pastors.  Pastors in America have a rich tradition of speaking prophetically and boldly from their pulpits on the great issues of the day.  The voice of America’s pastors led the way through independence, slavery, civil rights, and have even influenced which men and women we put into public office.”

As true as this may be I fail to see how this very statement make the case that we need a free pulpit by harkening to three examples, independence, slavery, and civil rights that took place when a free pulpit was the least of the church’s worries.  This writing goes on to say, “the voice of pastors is unjustly silenced every election cycle,” when the truth of the matter to me is that pastors self censor rather than face the consequences like Dr. King, Malcolm X, Aung San Suu Kyi, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Mahatma Ghandi  and a myriad of others who spoke not from behind the skirt tails of the pulpit but out in the streets, parks, upper room apartments and the like.  Paul Robeson who was not a pastor was severely punished for his views to the point where he was not allowed to leave the country losing most of his ability to make a living and defiantly singing at the US Canadian border to thousands on May 18th 1952 from the back of a flatbed truck.

This event, Pulpit Freedom Sunday, is a wake up call to me to press into the boldness of the spirit of God like never before.  I re-determine to speak, act and move what and how I believe God would have me speak, act and move and not give in to the cowardice in me, the desire for adoration and acceptance and the want to belong when it is in direct opposition to my walk of love in spirit with the Spirit in me.  It reminds me to continue to unravel what it truly means to be in the world but not of it and to remember what revelation of God’s word has shown me about how to be part of the world but not of it.

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New Monasticism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

See on Scoop.itThe New Liberation Theology

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Discriminating Against The Unemployed – latimes.com | Inclusion 360

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Ten Things I Have Learned: Milton Glaser (Part of AIGA Talk in London) | ReVision Arts

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DOUBT IS BETTER THAN CERTAINTY

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Nieman Reports | The Jobs Crisis

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Obama, Romney and the Low-Wage Future of America…

“They will hire people to take care of their large homes and to tutor their children in Chinese, tennis, and sophisticated strategies for getting into the best private schools and universities. They will hire personal assistants to shop, pay their bills, and run their errands. Coaches will come to their homes to instruct them in physical fitness, mental relaxation, and spiritual transcendence. They will need maids, cooks, and gardeners.”

See on nieman.harvard.edu

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