The Necessary Saving of Capitalism and Christianity

Those who have lived their entire lives in functioning democracies may find it hard to grasp how easily minds can be won over to the totalitarian dark side. — Uki Goñi is a Buenos Aires-based journalist

Those seeking power
chant that the greater
people are being attacked

by the lesser people,
those sucking the blood
from the very structures

of advanced civilization.
Their voices grow louder
and more shrill, “We must

separate the brown and
black babies from their
parents before the babes

can be indoctrinated in-
to militant masses who
want to destroy evan-

gelical Christianity, pro-
mote sexual promiscuity
and endorse abortions.

This sleazy, scum of the
earth has to be eliminated
before they can take up

arms, before they out-
number us and destroy
our God granted capitalism

and all of the wonderful
cultural inheritance from
our Northern European

ancestors and desecrate
our churches dedicated
to the glory of our Lord

and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
And as they took up arms,
the listeners, formerly

just ordinary Americans,
shouted, “Amen!” and
headed for their Jeeps

and Hummers. The wan-
nabe leaders looked at
each other, shrugged,

winked and said, “That
was easy.” Hitler would
have smiled.

The Last Several Years

If the last several years
have shone us anything,
it is that there is a small
but vocal percentage of
citizens who fear and
therefore hate but we
now also see that there
is a significant percent-
age who see and reflect
the wonderful diversity
and inclusivity of our
immigrant nation and
embrace it with wonder,
gratitude, hope and
grace.

The Man Was Poor As In “Poor Man”

[The] “poor” — those who are powerless, dismissed, or considered lesser in society. This is far larger than mere economic poverty. In the United States, we are pretty much trained to blame people who are poor, immigrants or refugees, victims, or gay, lesbian, or transgendered people. Far too many seem to think, even if to themselves, that if “those people” would simply work a little more, do things the right way, change their minds, stay hidden, or just “pray a little harder,” we’d all be better off. — Richard Rohr

The man was an immigrant —
whose mother died when the man
was eight and whose father died
when the man was thirteen.

The man was an orphan —
abandoned in a strange land,
tossed from foster home
to foster home.

The man was a foreigner —
who spoke a foreign language
and had to learn the new
language all on his own.

The man was “second fiddle” —
to the only son of the foster family
and when the only son left, never
to return, the man became the
caregiver to Grampa Carl and
Auntie Ann.

The man dropped out of school —
and went to work and
decided to become a businessman
in the new land.

The man went on the “bum” —
during the depression, hopping
railroad cars, being attacked,
having to fend for himself.

The man came home —
married and had two children,
and for awhile, drank away his pay.
The couple fought almost every day.

The man started his own business —
gained respectability, dressed
nicely.

The man, missing something —
became a Christian and an
elder in his church.

The man, compassionate by nature —
identified that compassion with Jesus.
The man was loved by many including
his two children and, in her own way,
his wife.

The man had a heart attack —
and couldn’t keep up his
sole proprietor business.

The man asked the pastor —
to stop by for support. The
pastor told the man that
the man had to “pray harder.”
The man told the pastor —
“I’m all prayed out.”

The man took his own life —
poor man. At the funeral,
so many mumbled, “Poor Man.”

How many “poor” men and women
are there — out there — who believed
Lady Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door”?

All the man wanted —
was to see that lamp
beside the golden door
and so do so, so very many more.

This Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, For Instance…*

…corporate evil is often culturally agreed-upon, admired, and deemed necessary, as is normally the case when a country goes to war, spends most of its budget on armaments, admires luxuries over necessities, entertains itself to death, or pollutes its common water and air. — Richard Rohr

Today, for instance,

how can you be German
and not cringe at the Holocaust,

how can you be Scandinavian
and not cringe at the Vikings?

Today, for instance,

pick an ethnicity and cringe.

Today, for instance,

how can you be a white American
and not cringe at slavery, ethnic
cleansing, systemic and endemic
racism, war after war after war,
a budget bulging with armaments,

how can you be a human
and not cringe at what we are
doing to God’s billions of years
in the making Bible — creation,

how can you be a Christian
and not cringe at what Christianity
has done in siding with the
power structures instead of
finding solidarity with the oppressed,

how can you be a Christ-bearer
and not cringe at how we just
keep slapping Jesus upside
the head,

how can you be Judas
and not cringe at how you
sold your soul for thirty
pieces of silver,

how can you be Cain
and not cringe at killing
Abel,

how can you be Adam
and not cringe at how
you blamed Eve and
keep blaming Eve?

Today, for instance…

now that places of worship
erroneously, callously and
cynically have been declared
“essential” in this age of the
virus, how can we not cringe
at the thought of blithely
gathering, praying, singing
while possibly sentencing
each other to illness and
death?

Today, for instance,

how can we not cringe
as we continue to
kill Jesus all the while
Jesus continues to love
us into eternity?

Today, for instance,

how can we simultaneously
cringe and rejoice at love?

Today, for instance,

perhaps it is only in
light of that eternal love
that we can cringe courageously
without losing hope.

*thoughts based on readings
and meditations, 05/24/2020

Tragedy and Statistics, Memorial Day Weekend, 2020

“One death is a tragedy;
a hundred thousand deaths are a statistic.”

“Open up the churches starting the Sunday of
Memorial Day Weekend; churches are essential.”

“What are the two occasions where the most germs are passed?
Rock concerts and Sunday morning worship.”

Church deaths may start as a tragedy only
to become one more statistic.

The opening hymn? “This World Is Not My Home”

This world is not my home
I’m just a passin’ through.
My treasures are laid up
somewhere beyond the blue.

The angels beckon me from
heaven’s open door
and I can’t feel at home
in this world anymore.

Oh Lord, you know
I have no friend like you.
If heaven’s not my home
Then Lord what will I do?

The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore.

A Mostly COVID Conscientious Backyard — Four Tanka

Nine out of ten fish
wear waterproof masks and swim
six-feet apart in the pond.
Chipmunks wear masks. They all stare
daggers at the mask-less squirrels.

Birds nest in the trees
but can’t fly if they wear masks
so they all fly safe
joining birds of a feather —
maples to birches and back.

The animals stare
at a masked dog on the porch.
They are united
except for those naughty squirrels
who just don’t seem to care.

All would like to play
without all the restrictions,
but they are patient
unlike impatient humans
who act more like naughty squirrels.
.

We Be

“We be stayin’ in our luggage.”
the black rapper rapped;
the white guy considered his growing psychic baggage,
and then settled in for a long spring nap.

This same guy didn’t get the metaphor
for ready to go while staying safe in the ‘hood’;
he thought blacks were givin’ what-for
but he needed to get in the groove.

They, all ethnicities, agreed
that they in any and all hoods
have a common need
and those are now understood.

Stay apart by six feet,
wear a mask,
be very discreet —
that is your task.

And so they made their task routine
by staying home in self-quarantine
and the white guy continued his at home nap
while the black guy continued to rap.

Naively, He Confronted the Elders

He confronted the elders when
they said there would be no
pulpit exchange with the black,

female pastor of a local congreg-
ation. He asked why and they
said it was not because she was

black but because she was a
female. He said they can’t stop
a female from preaching in our

denomination and they said that
they just had and he abruptly said,
“I quit.” He went home  and woke

his wife and told her that he just
quit his first pastorate at age 30
and she shouted, “You did what!”

and that they would talk about it
in the morning and now after all
these years of a pretty secure

retirement, he wonders why so
very few in Washington are will-
ing to do the right thing. Not that

he was so brave as much as a
fool rushing in or more like out,
but, still, it did all work out.

Sister Tree/Brother Grass (What You Can Do In The Yard That You Can’t Do At The Barber Shop During Spring Shut Down)

The very, very large maple
as part of life’s cycle
dropped leaves (seemingly tons
of leaves) in the dune grass
choking the grass from
it’s very own life cycle.
The man, not wanting the
grass to suffer
and not wanting to
destroy the CO2 absorbing
and oxygen expelling tree,
had the tree trimmed to a crew cut
and the leaves raked
and the grass got its annual cut
and the tree breathes
and the grass grows
and there were thanks
all around —
not to mention
the tree trimmers
and the grass cutter
and rakers
who got bonuses.