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Monday, September 21, 2015

THE NEWS -- FROM THE POLITICS OF DIVERSION, TO FAITHFUL COMMITMENT


We are browbeat by a plethora of entertainments.  It hard to discern any facts, much less give them their structures, from the mountains of scintillating details.  How to discern truth, when diversion is the order of each and every newsday.

      One of many bomb ravaged neighborhoods in Damascus, Syria


Photo shown round the world this Sept. -- Body of refugee 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi

Submerged below dramatic tragic images that do sometimes appear [as with the current flood of refugees] is just the plain banality of war—its pain, sufferings, destruction, with no higher purpose other than perhaps the greed for oil and power.  Our conflicts in the Middle East, are not in defense of democracies; these nations don’t exist as democracies.  In this combative process, our own democracy is under threat of becoming a plutocracy, run by rich military industrialists.  This all to the delight of the evil one who roams about all nations and religions seeking the ruination of souls.
  


War is the brainstorm from Hell, masking rotten pride with glory.  Where did all these migrants, refugees come from, unprecedented since the worldwide disaster of WWII?  From our fears, a multiplicity of savage unnecessary wars propagated out of the toppling of our World Trade Towers.  How should we respond to this multitude, 14 million plus, displaced by these wars and their decimating economic effects?


he Gospel of Luke 16, the story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar at his gate, has the crucial answer.  We must recognize them, welcome them, and try to meet their needs.  We must beware of this tendency to build walls to keep them out, and the gates we won’t open, or we shall march powerfully into eternity yearning for a drop of healing water to touch our own tired tongues, to moisten our parched souls—finding ourselves far across a chasm from the love of God.

Syria is at present the source of most of the world’s refugees.  A recent report from FAIR indicates how the U.S. has intervened there, only helping to further provoke a disastrous civil war.  Please take time to read this informative review.  http://fair.org/home/down-the-memory-hole-nyt-erases-cias-efforts-to-overthrow-syrias-government/
  
We have the words of St. James’ epistle [I’ve reversed paragraph order] from yesterday’s Sunday service, for further contemplation.   JAS 3:16—4:3

Where do the wars
and where do the conflicts among you come from?
Is it not from your passions
that make war within your members?
You covet but do not possess.
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war.
You do not possess because you do not ask.
You ask but do not receive,
because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Beloved:
Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,
there is disorder and every foul practice.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure,
then peaceable, gentle, compliant,
full of mercy and good fruits,
without inconstancy or insincerity.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace
for those who cultivate peace.

This is today!  That more may celebrate, let us pray.




 We welcome the words of Pope Francis as he comes to visit the USA tomorrow.

Monday, September 14, 2015

9-11, THE TIDAL WAVE OF VIOLENCE


As we drift pass another week in which we commemorate the tragedy of our 3000 plus citizens who died Sept. 11, 2001, now 14 years ago, is it possible we can begin to examine more deeply why that happened, and awaken to the fact that more than a million, mostly Muslims, have met a war-on-terror death since?  Were we just asleep at the wheel when mostly Saudi teams [our best Arab-state friends] commandeered four super-jets to point them at four of the most important buildings in America?  Why then, did we shift so swiftly from a hasty Afghanistan invasion, to a massive shock and awe attack on Iraq, which had nothing at all to do with wounding us on 9-11?  It’s impossible for me to believe as some do, that our government planned to kill its own people, but the manipulation of these events has had terrible effects.

CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq — even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.”  Sept 4, 2002

The answers to these questions are crucial to our future as a nation, yet will be difficult, and slow in coming.  But already the consequences of our war-on-terror-anywhere response to 9-11, are unrelenting and tragic.  Together with the power elites committed to warfare in many countries and factions [Russia, China, France, Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, England...to name a few] we are helping plunge the world into ever widening violent disasters:  the first one post 9-11 = Afghanistan; then Iraq, then Libya, then Syria, then Ukraine, now Yemen [with Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria as constant sad baselines].   None of these are even close to peaceful resolution, but instead pervasive magnets for weapons and warriors, provided by almost every nation with a robust military industry, ours being the most powerful.
CBS News report Jan 29, 2002
As in the Port Huron Times Herald - Sept. 8, 2015

 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, one of the thousands that did not make it

Where do all of these waves of refugees come from?  Never since the cataclysm of WWII have so many been swept away homeless.  They come from the all these wars and destroyed economies we have been intimately involved in.   I do hope that when Pope Francis comes to visit soon, that he calls on our government and the faithful, as he has towards Europe, to open our hearts and borders to these millions who’ve lost their homes to war.   May we be called to heed the warning of Luke’s gospel, chapter 16, {the rich man and Lazarus at his gate} and tear down our walls, and gates – beating our swords into plowshares so all may have good work and be fed.


References
“Human rights groups say that, for the foreseeable future, there is every reason to expect migrants from Syria and other countries in crisis to descend on Europe in ever greater numbers. In Syria alone, 11 million people have been displaced by war, seven million within the country’s borders and four million outside, mostly to Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.”

“Critics Push U.S. to Help Europe by Taking More Refugees”

Monday, September 7, 2015

CESAR CHAVEZ--LABOR DAY SHOULD BE A DAY OF GREAT HOPE FOR OUR COLLECTIVE FUTURE

March 31, 1927 – April 23, 1993
!Que viva la soledaridad!  !Long live our interconnectedness!  !Gracias a Dios!  Thank you Cesar Chavez for your years of labor to help the struggle for farm workers to be recognized as full members of society.   May we acknowledge many of our migrant workers as having been here long before there was a USA.  And may we welcome the most recent immigrants and refugees caused by our many years of rampant wars that have terrorized other nations’ shores.





Thus it began and so continues. -- After our CIA ups the ante to weaponize Arab Spring.  Syrian refugees fleeing the violence in their country make their way to a refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq July 31, 2012   

QUOTES OF CESAR CHAVEZ
"Do not romanticize the poor...We are all people, human beings subject to the same temptations and faults as all others. Our poverty damages our dignity."
"Our very lives are dependent, for sustenance, on the sweat and sacrifice of the campesinos. Children of farm workers should be as proud of their parents' professions as other children are of theirs."
"People who have lost their hunger for justice are not ultimately powerful. They are like sick people who have lost their appetite for what is truly nourishing. Such sick people should not frighten or discourage us. They should be prayed for along with the sick people who are in the hospital. "The love for justice that is in us is not only the best part of our being but it is also the most true to our nature."
"The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating."
"The non-violent technique does not depend for its success on the goodwill of the oppressor, but rather on the unfailing assistance of God.
"It is not good enough to know why we are oppressed and by whom. We must join the struggle for what is right and just. Jesus does not promise that it will be an easy way to live life and His own life certainly points in a hard direction; but it does promise that we will be "satisfied" (not stuffed; but satisfied). He promises that by giving life we will find life - full, meaningful life as God meant it."



hese are some of the words of the nonviolent organizer of the United Farm Workers Union--Cesar Chavez.  His vision and hard work brought dignity and justice to the people of La Raza and latinos everywhere.   He fasted forty days two times as a witness to opponents, and to bring spiritual strength to the people of his movement.  He died alone in one of the farm houses he’d grown up in, after having a hard day in court with agribusiness lawyers who were trying to foreclose that small piece of property left to his family.



References
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/world/middleeast/arms-airlift-to-syrian-rebels-expands-with-cia-aid.html
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzbL3X68TEI

Illumination by Kathy Brahney