Posts Tagged ‘Economy



20
Apr
09

Imperialism, Colonialism and “Disciple-Making”

The adherents of Christian religions include upwards of 2 billion people – almost one-third of the world’s population, according to David Barrett, an Evangelical Christian who is the compiler of religious statistics for the Encyclopedia Britannica.[1] While Christianity began in the Middle East, it is generally considered a European/American religion. Those areas, however, do not encompass the majority of adherents. More Christians, in fact, are found in the “third world” – those areas that were formerly colonized by various European powers.  The story of the spread of the world’s most prolific religion during the second millennia of Christianity is at least interesting, if not informative of the current political and military efforts of the West, most notably the U.S., seemingly aimed at making converts of another sort – disciples of Western democracy and capitalism. Continue reading ‘Imperialism, Colonialism and “Disciple-Making”’

31
Mar
09

Homophobia, Apartheid, et al

           Periodically, I suffer from the delusion that culture and society can actually be understood, and that I can speak with some knowledge towards that understanding. This fabrication in my mind, fortunately, passes with time, saving poor innocent bystanders the terror of witnessing the inner workings of my mind. Alas, this is not one of those times.

Reader beware! These may be nothing more than the ramblings of a madman.

           I am recovering from my former life – being a recovering addict, recovering economic exploiter, recovering sexist, recovering racist and recovering homophobe. In my newer life, I am a combatant in a war against all manner of exploitation, oppression, manipulation and dehumanization of any and all people. There is, as you know, no worse critic that someone recovering from a particular expression of a disorder. Continue reading ‘Homophobia, Apartheid, et al’

28
Mar
09

God’s Economy

Having accepted the challenge to discuss economic theology with a Presbyterian session of a large metropolitan church, and having overheard in conversation the “ideal” minister being described as a “CEO” type, I began with a simple exercise – one I had presented several times before to different audiences. The exercise takes advantage of the preponderance of business language and processes being used by sessions and boards of religious institutions.

Continue reading ‘God’s Economy’

23
Mar
09

Religions Put Emphasis on Least Theological Issues

Theologically speaking, God can be found in all situations. In even the most heinous of events, we can trust God to be at least suffering with those who suffer, mourning with those who mourn and crying with those who cry. So even in this trying economic time, we can envision God’s concern for those who are worst hit by our unfolding system of commerce – the worst hit, of course, being the poorest of the poor and not particularly those whose fortune may have been trimmed by a few billion. Given this, I find interesting the results of a Pew Forum survey of religious people in which they were asked where President Obama and the legislature should concentrate their efforts. Additionally interesting, although I have yet to find an explanation, is the fact that the categories include only white religious people. We are left to surmise the purpose of that decision.

pew623

Continue reading ‘Religions Put Emphasis on Least Theological Issues’

23
Mar
09

Government Averse to Curbing Big Business Arrogance

In his commentary, AIG bonuses follow an American tradition, Julian Zelizer cites long-standing tradition as the real culprit in the AIG bonus scandal. While both parties are trying to paint the other as complicit, Zelizer makes the cogent point that the Fed’s long-standing tradition of avoidance when it comes to the management and profit-making of big business has been the real enabler.

Zelizer wrote: “In many ways, the bonus scandal was utterly predictable and would likely have happened regardless of which party was in power. And if history is a guide, the populist outrage over the bonuses may not fundamentally change the federal government’s relationship to private business. Traditionally, American politicians in times of crisis have resisted aggressive interventions by government into business which would tamper with managerial prerogatives and profits.” Continue reading ‘Government Averse to Curbing Big Business Arrogance’

21
Mar
09

Finally, Laying Blame Where it is Due

I don’t normally like the “blame game”. It is, many times, used to lay blame for negative outcomes on the lowest level of management possible, so that when heads roll they are insignificant. It is a process of scape-goating – finding the lowest person on the ladder of decision-making on which the corporate sins can be laden and then slap them on the behind and send them out into the wilderness of public scrutiny. When, however, there is a systematic strategy of avoiding responsibility, laying blame where it is due becomes the method by which healing can occur. Continue reading ‘Finally, Laying Blame Where it is Due’

20
Mar
09

Post-Exilic Community in Haggai & Zechariah 1-8

While there seems to be little disagreement over the dating of the prophesies of Haggai and Zechariah[1], the same cannot be said about conditions of the society to which they were delivered. To a large extent, the differences stem not so much from the content of these Biblical books as from varying ideas about the nature of the Babylonian exile of the Judeans. Knowledge of the number and societal standing of the exiles would, of course, have great bearing on the current understanding of both the returning exilic population and those remaining in Judah during the course of the seventy year dispersion. The details relating to the Judean society that can be gleaned from the pages of these prophetic books must be examined in light of the range of ideas that prevail about the previous period. Continue reading ‘Post-Exilic Community in Haggai & Zechariah 1-8’

12
Mar
09

Book Review – Between Vengeance and Forgiveness

How do nations or societies respond after periods of mass violence, indescribable episodes of systematic torture, rape and slaughter of minority or marginalized populations, or even ethnic cleansing and genocide?  Historically, of course, the most common response of populations freed from such oppression has been retaliation in at least equal measure, if not more profoundly violent and obscene in character. Despite the world, in the twentieth century, experiencing atrocities of more magnitude and frequency than ever before, Martha Minow somewhat optimistically details several societal responses aimed at seeking collective healing and reconciliation. After discussing the poles of vengeance and forgiveness, Minow expounds on the strengths and limitations of legal remedies, truth commissions and efforts at reparation, before finishing with other possible efforts for reconciliation. Continue reading ‘Book Review – Between Vengeance and Forgiveness’

03
Mar
09

What Must Our Children Think

I’ll think about the following the next time I hear someone say something about the “younger generation.”

There are some interesting statistics – nay, absolutely awful ones – from a CNN article this morning. According to the Pew Center on the States, there were 7.3 million adults incarcerated in this country during 2007. A synopsis of the statistical findings should raise a lot of questions:

That is over 3 out of every 100 people in the country.

People of color were disproportionately more represented than whites – over 9 per 100 of black adults and more than 5 per 100 of Hispanic or Latino adults.

Maybe that doesn’t sound too bad to you, Continue reading ‘What Must Our Children Think’

27
Feb
09

Is Hate a Mental Disorder?

We live in interesting times. Since the election of Barack Obama, hate groups have begun growing. Since the economy has tubed, hate groups have begun growing. Hate, it seems, flourishes whenever major change occurs or disaster strikes. According to a CNN article, “Growing Hate Groups Blame Obama, Economy“, hate proponents seem to think they have very rational grounds for their attitudes and actions. As a culture we seem to regard hate with varying degrees of disdain or apathy. Blatant racism is largely disdained, while blatant sexism is discouraged and heterosexism seemingly encouraged. All, however, are based on irrational fears and anti-social behavior. In what way are any to be considered normal responses? Continue reading ‘Is Hate a Mental Disorder?’

13
Feb
09

The Myth or Reality of American Civil Religion

The term “civil religion” was first used by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, an eighteenth century philosopher and writer, and refers to “the religious dimension of the polity“, or the intertwining of religious presuppositions with the political and social aspects of life. It is easy to understand why Rousseau would be critical of religion, since in 1717 he was born and subsequently raised in Geneva, at that time a still flourishing theocracy – in other words, a civil society under the rulership of God and scripture. His cynicism gave Rousseau a keen perception of the role of the power of suggestion in social life, which is illustrated in this famous quote, “The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said, “This is mine,” and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society.”  Continue reading ‘The Myth or Reality of American Civil Religion’

12
Feb
09

Poor & Helpless – Two Different Things

 There is sometimes a perception that low-income people are victims or helpless, as well as another that they are deserving of their economic status because they lack certain skills, ambition or values. A study performed by the Gallup organization reported that 54% of the U.S. population believe that “low self-esteem” was a significant factor in homelessness, and alcoholism a causal factor in 52% of cases, although 94% believed the homeless could lead productive and self-sufficient lives if given the opportunity.(i)  Both views tend to understand the low-income population as powerless to get what they need. While this is certainly true of some, for many these judgments may simply be the perceptions of economically or socially privileged people that ignores the ingenuity and creativity expended by low-income people in pursuit of basic survival, especially since more people are fighting for economic survival than in the past. Continue reading ‘Poor & Helpless – Two Different Things’

09
Feb
09

Matthew’s Talents vs. Luke’s Minas

Why the Matthean Parable of the Talents and Lukan Parable of the Pounds/Minas Differ.

Despite a strikingly similar core story, Matthew’s parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30) and Luke’s parables of the minas or pounds (Luke 19:11-27) are not considered by most scholars to be parallel. Besides notable differences in the storylines of each parable, the issues of location within the narratives, expected audiences and the general theologies and/or slants of the respective evangelists enter into the equation. This post seeks to ascertain the similarities and distinctions of the two parables before summarizing the theories expressed by scholars about the underlying reasons for the differences that exist.

Continue reading ‘Matthew’s Talents vs. Luke’s Minas’

05
Feb
09

Land Ethic – A Model for Environmentalists?

Catching up on some old reading, I came across an article, “The Land Ethic” by J. Baird Callicott, that stirred my juices for discussing some aspects of environmental ethics. I do this from time to time, it’s part of my ‘illness’ to engage in something for sheer geekfest value. If this interests you – hmmm, well, I wouldn’t want to criticize. Continue reading ‘Land Ethic – A Model for Environmentalists?’

03
Feb
09

Towards a More Robust Community

 … building a better place for all.

What is community?

The first, and most important, ingredient of community is people. A community is a group of people who share a common sense of belonging to something. That commonality is most likely a place like a neighborhood or village. Sometimes there are micro-communities that form into a community – smaller groups of people with common interests who cooperate with other groups to achieve broader goals. This is actually the most common definition of a healthy community. Continue reading ‘Towards a More Robust Community’




... or, preaching from both ends

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That's too bad - I'm so sorry. Oh, well, just try to make the best of it. What you'll find here is a variety of essays and ramblings to do with things theological, social, whimsical and, sometimes, all three. I don't write to get famous - trust me, I've been told how futile that would be - but to express myself. I love to communicate and browbeat - ummm, I mean dialogue - about the things I find intriguing. Since you're here, and the door's locked, why don't you stay a while. There's a page bar under the header with links to information about us - I mean me. Don't forget to tell me what you think - in a nice way, I mean.

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