“Business As Usual” Until It’s Too Late – or Is it?   Leave a comment

“Democracy don’t rule the world. You better get that through your head.This world is ruled by violence … but that’s better left unsaid.”   Sundown on the Union, Bob Dylan

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I don’t know about you, but when I look around, I can’t believe the way so many people behave these days. What I mean is, I read what’s in the paper and the online news, and it’s enough to make me lose hope – or at least lose sleep. It makes we want to shout from the rooftops, protest in the streets, and try to use social media to shriek the truth. I want to talk to anyone who will listen. And yet, so many people seem to be going about their lives as if nothing were happening – for them it’s just “another day, same sh–.” But it’s not just another day” and it’s not just the “same sh–.” It’s a new day, and soon what’s happening quietly and noticed by a minority, will be felt by the masses. By then of course, it will be too late to do anything about it. Or maybe it’s already too late.

Here a just two very potent examples of what I mean:

A GIANT NEW CENTER TO SPY ON AMERICANS

* As we speak, in Utah the NSA is building what will be the country’s biggest spy center ever. When completed it will be five times the size of our nation’s capital, and be used to intercept emails and phone calls from millions of people of interest (Americans) and others who are connected to them. The NSA is doing this already, and has intercepted between 15 and 20 trillion communications since 9-11. William Binney, formerly a senior NSA crypto-mathematician largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network, is now warning against it. Holding up his thumb and forefinger close together he says, “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.” I read this article almost a week ago, and I still can’t get it out of my mind. And yet, unless I missed it, it hardly created a stir online or in the press. The Hunger Games is much more important.

A BRUTAL AND ORGANIZED SYSTEM TO SUPPRESS DISSENT

* Today I read an Aljazeera article. I haven’t seen anything quite like it elsewhere. It seems only an outsider can really show us the mess we’re in. In his article “The Myth of Freedom in the Land of the Free”, John Stoehr summarizes the forces behind the disappearance of freedom in the U.S. – they are threefold:  “One is the funneling of wealth upward so that the top 10 per cent owns and controls half the wealth. The other is the organising of state violence to protect the oligarchy in case anyone gets wise to what’s happening. Perhaps there’s a third: the executing of state violence in the name of security.” For those of us involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, these are not new revelations. Stoehr is just naming what we’ve been seeing in New York City, Oakland, UC Davis, and plenty of other places across the country. And even though most people have seen these things too – so many seem unmoved or unconcerned. Don’t they know that they could be next? I know not everyone is sympathetic to the Occupy Movement. OK, that’s fine. But why is it only liberal politicians and liberal religious leaders speaking out about civil rights abuses? It seems pretty important to me. Again, are you waiting until the system turns upon you to be concerned? (It may be sooner than you think.)

My burden is twofold. I’m hoping that through my small voice and the voices of others, the masses will wake up to what is happening. People power is the only thing that can save us. That’s the one side. The other part of my burden has to do with the church – the believing church (conservatives, Evangelicals, etc.) I don’t understand their silence, and since I’m one of them, I’m frustrated and embarrassed, to say the least.

In his new book, How God Became King, the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and renowned Bible scholar N. T. Wright says that the Wesleys got it right as Christians in a way that has since been lost. They put together “… both the ‘spiritual’ experience of knowing the love of God in one’s own heart and life and the ‘practical’ experience of living a holy life for oneself and of working for God’s justice in the world….” (p. 37) Today’s believing church focuses almost entirely upon “knowing the love of Christ” and “living a holy life for oneself”, and seems oblivious to God’s concern for “justice in the world.” This is inexcusable and not honoring to God. It truncates the “knowing” and the “living”, and eliminates credibility for those who look on. It has to change, but I see no evidence that it will.

Maybe I’m just a fool for believing things can change (or should be changed).

Maybe I just haven’t let Dylan’s words really sink in.

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