Who Can Stand Upright?

 

The unjust cry out for revenge justice: “No Justice, No Peace!

The envious shout for equal outcome justice: “Fair Share!”

Feminists rally for Pro-choice justice: “Abortion is a Civil Right!”

The LGBT coalition demands lifestyle justification justice: “We demand equality and not your approval!”

Social justice advocates crave an inclusive world: “Check Your Privilege!”

Environmental advocates seek justice “against the onslaught of oppressive toxins and toxic oppressions that threaten to submerge out homes!”

Parents call for education justice: “No Child Left Behind!”

Those who have lost loved ones to inhuman acts petition for criminal justice

…the scales of justice are constantly tugged on by the just and unjust. Yet, in the end, God determines who stands to lose everything and who stands to gain everything.

 

It would appear, looking at just a sampling of recent events, that we have been created by God with a need for justice. There seems to be within us a deep-rooted desire for things to be put right. And because things are not right in our eyes, there is a constant clamor for resolution. Humanity longs to be restored and reassured among the inhuman events occurring every day. Yet justice, in a world of people dehumanized by sin, is often abstracted and ad hoc, and even beastly. And for many today, human rights have morphed into individual rights to justify inhuman behavior.

When man’s justice bypasses deliberative and evidence-producing due process it has deteriorated into kangaroo courts, lynch mobs, mob rule, vigilantism, Cain-killing-Abel retribution and whatever feeds the beast within with power. Diametrically opposite of man’s degraded justice, God’s justice is not a knee-jerk reaction. Rather, it is consistent with God’s character which God has made know to us. Mercifully and within the surety of God’s name, God’s justice is also restorative and humanizing. It is universal and fair – it applies to everyone for all time. And, it includes due process and evidence.

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the LORD comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. -the Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. 4:5

And,

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – the letter to the Hebrews 4:12

Not only does God’s word go to the heart of the matter, Scripture gives us the means to learn of God’s character and the nature of His justice. Scripture reveals God’s justice in history and God’s justice to come.

With dreams and vision, the books of Daniel and The Revelation of Jesus Christ graphically depict the beastly empires and their beastly rulers. The empires and their rulers do not acknowledge God as sovereign. When they do they oppose God. Both books describe in vivid detail God’s justice in dealing with the de-humanized beasts in the world.

In 587 BCE king Nebuchadnezzar and the ruthless Babylonians conquered and pillaged civilizations. The king’s army captured Jerusalem and plundered the temple. Israelites were taken into exile in Babylon, a city which historically and metaphorically represents a center of man’s opposition to God.

Daniel’s account describes the exiled Israelites being commanded by the king to pay homage to that which isn’t God. Implied in the account, the four Israelites had been taught early on about the One True God and that idolatry was forbidden. They understood from reading the Psalms (115:8) that those who worship idols become like the idols – inhuman.

Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.

And, from Psalm 135:15-17 the futility of seeking justice from idols:

The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths.

Daniel and his three friends are told they must worship a towering gold statue of king Nebuchadnezzar. They resist, making it clear that that they “walk in the name of the Lord our God”. God saves them and vindicates their stance. From this episode we learn that God vindicates those who wait for his justice. Again, the Psalms provided their pleadings:

Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, And I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.  Psalm 26:1

Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! Psalm 43:1

Save me, O God, by Your name, And vindicate me by Your power. Psalm 54:1

God’s sovereign justice is revealed to king Nebuchadnezzar in a vivid and perplexing dream about a statue. Daniel’s God-given interpretation describes the king as the statue’s head of gold. The statue’s body is made up of different material elements each representing different kingdoms. In the dream the kingdoms come and go. Daniel goes on to say that an everlasting kingdom – the Kingdom of God – will not be crushed but “it will crush all these kingdoms” and “will endure forever” (Daniel 2).

In Daniel 3 we learn that the king hasn’t learned a thing from the dream or about the One True God other than Daniel’s God is just another god to be respected. The king goes on to create an enormous image of gold. He demands for it to be worshipped like a god.

Daniel 4 records the king’s vision. Another interpretation follows with Daniel describing a tree being cut down and the king being humbled “until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes”. We learn that the king’s mind becomes the end result of his self-worship – inhuman and like a wild beast of the field.  The book of Daniel gives us insight into God’s vindicating justice. We see God seeking to spread knowledge of himself within a beastly empire.

 

The Revelation of Jesus the Messiah is a long letter relaying what Jesus was told by his Father about future events. Jesus communicates what he has been told to an angel. The angel then reports the revelation to the Lord’s servant John. And John, we learn in Rev 1:2, is someone in God’s court room who “bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus the Messiah”.

John also bears witness to the judgments that will rain down, like stars falling from the heavens, on the “…kings of the earth, the leading courtiers, the generals, the rich, the power brokers, and everyone, slave and free” as they run to hide themselves “among the caves and the rocks of the mountains” screaming.

“Fall upon us!” they were saying to the mountains and rocks. “Hide us from the face of the One who sits on the throne, and from the anger of the lamb! The great day of their anger has come, and who can stand upright?” – Rev. 6: 12-17

The letter is from “He Who Is and Who Was and Who is to Come”. The Son of Man – the True Human and Lord of Creation– is introduced in Revelation chapter 1. He is the one who can rightly judge the beastly rulers and their empires and the Beast itself and those who allowed themselves to be marked by the Beast.

The letter records God’s accounting of those entrusted with the Gospel at one time. Seven letters are read to seven churches. These written assessments remind me of the writing on the wall in Daniel’s day (Daniel 5: 24-26), condemning a ruler who held authority over others and acted against God and man. Ultimately, beastly rulers will not stand before God. They will be removed from power.

“Then the hand was sent from Him and this inscription was written out.

      “Now this is the inscription that was written out: ‘MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.’ “This is the interpretation of the message: ‘MENE’—God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. ‘TEKEL’—you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. ‘PERES’—your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.”

And, like the seven symbolic days of creation, there are seven seals which are opened and seven trumpets are blown and seven bowls of God’s wrath are poured out onto creation. In the day of the Lord the world will be purged of its patterns of perverted tyrannical power and of those who have rebelled against God and took on an inhuman existence, even to the extent of murdering those loyal to God:

When the lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been killed because the of the word of God and because of the witness they had borne.

 They shouted at the tops of the voices. “Holy and true Master!” they called. How much longer are you going to put off giving judgment, and avenging our blood on the earth-dwellers?” -Revelation 6:9-10

 

Revelation, as it describes the beast that comes out of the sea, parallels Daniel’s vision description of beasts (Rev. 13). Both the beast from the sea and the beast of the earth are defeated in battle.

Before we “see a new heaven and new earth” (Rev. 21) the enemy of man and the Son of Man, the Deceiver, the Great Beast, the Satan, will be dealt with once and for all:

… the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

 

Unlike many of the world’s attempts at justice, God’s justice names evil for what it is and deals with it. Evil’s power was dealt with on the cross. Jesus took all evil upon himself and defeated it. Evil no longer has power over us, unless you decide it to be so. For the loyal, God is Just and Justifier:

God put Jesus forth as the place of mercy, through faithfulness, by means of his blood. He did this to demonstrate his covenant justice, because of the passing over (in divine forbearance) of sins committed beforehand. This was to demonstrate his covenant justice in the present time: that is, that he himself is in the right, and that he declares to be right everyone who trusts in the faithfulness of Jesus. – Romans 3: 25-26

 

Will God’s final justice have you crying out about acts of justice on your terms: “Hide us from the face of the One who sits on the throne, and from the anger of the lamb! Who can stand upright!?” Or, will God’s justice vindicate your loyalty to His faithfulness?

Will God’s justice be the sum of all your fears or the sum of all your fealty?

The Rise of Resentment

 

Ressentiment is the French translation of the English word resentment. In philosophy and psychology it is a concept that was of particular interest to the existentialist philosophers. According to the existentialists, ressentiment is a sense of hostility directed at that which one identifies as the cause of one’s frustration, that is, an assignment of blame for one’s frustration. The sense of weakness or inferiority and perhaps jealousy in the face of the “cause” generates a rejecting/justifying value system, or morality, which attacks or denies the perceived source of one’s frustration. This value system is then used as a means of justifying one’s own weaknesses by identifying the source of envy as objectively inferior, serving as a defense mechanism that prevents the resentful individual from addressing and overcoming their insecurities and flaws. The ego creates an enemy in order to insulate itself from culpability. – Wikipedia

 

The resentment worldview has a perverted self-interest value system:

The resentment worldview has a perverted accounting system:

“Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.” – Milton Friedman

 

We are told by Jesus to “love your neighbors as yourself”. To do this we must consider our own self-interest and then apply the same measure of self-interest toward our neighbors. This parity of accounting is not unlike the Lord’s accounting of forgiveness: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others their trespasses.” As mentioned above, the resentment worldview has a perverted accounting system: the self is to be credited and others must be debited for there to be parity in their world. If the word “fairness” is ever to be applied socially and economically to our culture then these two commands of our Lord define its limited and personal application.

Apart from the resentment worldview of “fellow travelers” and socialist sympathizers, I believe that many of us know that self-interest is not selfishness. We take care of our bodies. We wash and feed and exercise them. We think and dwell on good things and not on twaddle. We work and seek to pay our bills on time. We take our responsibilities to our family and to those around us seriously. In all of our transactions, social and economic, we strive to maintain a good name.

Going beyond a universal self-interest, a Jesus follower’s self-interest takes into her accounting what appears to be the opposite of self-interest – losses (see Mark 9: 43-47) or dying to self. Her losses (and subsequent gains) go right to the bottom line of her P & L statement: “What shall it profit a woman if she gains the whole world and loses her own soul?” The bottom line is what she gives out of in parity and fairness to her neighbor.

Scripture gives us God’s world view. And, early in Scripture, we read of contrasting worldviews: the worldview of resentment and its perverse self-fulfillment accounting and the worldview of God and His “on earth as it is in heaven” accounting.

In the familiar Genesis narrative (Genesis 37) of Joseph and his brothers, the brothers took account of how they thought they were treated and compared that to how they thought Joseph was treated. From their recorded behavior we find out that jealousy in the face of the “cause” generates a rejecting/justifying value system, or morality, which attacks or denies the perceived source of one’s frustration.

Joseph became the source of their envy. Born in Jacob’s old age, Joseph had the gift of his father’s love. Joseph also had the gift of dreams – presumptuous dreams the brothers thought (Gen 37:8). And Joseph was given an ornate robe from his father Jacob. They also considered Joseph a tattle tale (Gen 37:2).

Resentment rose in the brother’s hearts. Heated arguments followed and then boiled over. Joseph became the stated enemy of their egos. The brothers acted on their resentment. Joseph was sold into slavery after almost being done away with under a Democratic death sentence (Gen 37:18).

Years later in Egypt, when tables are turned, Joseph did not hold resentment in his heart. He did not reciprocate (Gen. 45). He dealt with his brothers, not by returning upon their heads the evil done to him, but with God’s accounting worldview: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’

 

Resentment worldview onlookers that day would have testified that something bad happened years ago and now someone had to pay. And that brings us to today.

The Life of the Party

 

The office of the Director of Behavioral Management Services (BMS), Social Sciences Division, Administration Building No. 1 of 20, Government Dept. of Social Services, Godwin Ave., Washington D.C.:

A knock on the door.

A voice from inside, “Come in.”

“Life Coach Tidd reporting sir.”

“How did it go today, Tidd? Have a seat.”

“Thank you, sir.” Tidd takes a seat.

“It went well I believe. This morning I coached client Xym to continue his lifestyle. He was questioning whether his former church would accept him. I told him, ‘No matter, this government accepts you as you are. You are free to be yourself. If you are not yourself you will be unhappy. And our mission at Behavioral Management Life Coach Services is to pursue happiness with you, the client. Happy clients are the best advertisement tax dollars can buy.’ Xym seemed relieved.

My ten o’clock client, a youth pastor, I once again had to remind him of our Uniform Behavior Code which must be presented weekly to the youth. He was more than a little hesitant…”

“Remind him, Tidd, about our Universal Morals Seminars. Sounds like he needs a refresher course. We must teach our youth to be nice, pleasant, respectful. We teach them self-improvement and doing one’s best, and feeling good about oneself…and all that. We must form our youth while we can, before any thoughts of You Know Who enters the picture.

Let me remind you, Tidd, that our core mission is to generate self-happiness. We want our clients to feel good about themselves. You Know Who is not particularly interested in our daily problems. That is why we are here, Tidd. We are here for them. We are inclusive and You Know Who is not. We listen, we coach, we improve the life process for each and every one of our clients. And we do it for free!”

“Sir, this youth pastor asked me if I knew about grace. I said of course I did. I watch Will and Grace.”

“Excellent response, Tidd. Keep redirecting his thinking. We must deconstruct any inherited meaning so that we can construct what the people want constructed today, here and now. And besides, it makes no sense for this youth pastor to get all mucked up with some ancient spiritual mumbo jumbo when our Moral Code is so…so relevant and compassionate. Religion is values. But we are a values organization based on settled social science. Keep in mind that we Life Coaches are precursors to our clients in the discovery of truth. No savior from on high delivers like we do. ”

“So true, Sir. Sir, I also talked to Anna, you know the one, the feminist. I encouraged her to go ahead and write her article laying out the case for women in the work place to be promoted every two years. I told her that she is a wondrously talented person who has been sinfully suppressed by males running a patriarchal system and that the feminine had been imposed upon her by superior forces and reinforced by a culture of romance in art and literature. You should have seen her swoon.”

“Good work, Tidd. You remind me of myself when I life coached in the field.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“Tidd, I am going to promote you. But before I do I want you to attend the “Cultivate the Imperial Self” training course. It is mandatory for all level three Life Coaches. The training will give you a chance to brush up on yourself. You will also learn how to do consciousness raising and how to cultivate indignation and righteous resentment and to have both directed at metanarratives. In other words, there will no longer be one voice. Also, as part of the training you will learn how to make your clients suspicious of any written word and how to liberate language from the shackles of dictated meaning. And, critical to our mission, you will learn how to build consensus among our clients. Consensus building insures our client’s happiness. The more “Likes” the better, and all that.

Before the end of the week, Tidd, let me know if any of your clients want individual rights. As you know they must fill out an application first and then I will talk to the Department of Rights. They usually issue guaranteed SCOTUS honored rights in a matter of five business days. It sounds like your client Anna needs a right to be promoted every two years. Let me know about that one. Janet, the head of our Rights on Demand Department -Rodd – will ram it through for you. Get my gist, Tidd?”

“Yes, sir, and quite funny at that, if I may say so. Thank you, sir.”

‘In any case, individual rights are the wellspring of our organization. Without them where would we be? Hand them out freely. But remember to tell them what equality says, “No rights without their duties.”

“Yes, sir. And, before I go, here is my list of follow-up appointments.”

“You are coming to the dinner tonight, Tidd, aren’t you?”

“Oh, yes, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

“Good. See you there.”

 

Later that night:

“Life Coach F.E. Tidd we are awarding you the 2017 Pat ‘Em on the Head Kick ‘Em in the Ass Achievement Medal for Life Coaching Excellence.

 

 

 

 

© Jennifer A. Johnson, 2017, All Rights Reserved

Michael Novak – Catholic Scholar and “celestial philosopher”

 

“Capitalism forms morally better people than socialism does,” Mr. Novak said in a 2007 interview with Crisis, a magazine he and the scholar Ralph McInerny founded in 1982. “Capitalism teaches people to show initiative and imagination, to work cooperatively in teams, to love and to cherish the law; what is more, it forces persons not only to rely on themselves and their own moral qualities, but also to recognize those moral qualities in others and to cooperate with others freely.”- Michael Novak, Catholic Scholar Who Championed Capitalism, Dies at 83

“At the heart of the Novakian vision is freedom—free people, free markets, free institutions. But Novak’s vision of freedom, like [Irving] Kristol’s, is not the doctrinaire libertarianism that the word evokes for many today. Much less is it the “me generation” liberal counterfeit of freedom that licenses people to do whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want, with whomever they want, so long as there is no immediate palpable harm to others.

Rather, it is the idea of unleashing the human spirit for the creative pursuit of excellence.”

” –Michael Novak, 1933–2017, by Robert P. George, On the life and influence of the prolific Catholic philosopher

 

~~~

On February 17, 2017, we lost a great Catholic intellectual and “celestial philosopher.”

This Acton Institute video introduces Ambassador Novak and offers a conversational look at his life and work. Novak’s valuable experience and his wealth of wisdom makes this video well worth viewing.

Novak’s masterpiece:  The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

Pope John Paul II was one of many admirers of Michael Novak. It would be worth your while to read this entire encyclical written in 1991. It addresses social issues, Marxism, socialism and capitalism.

CENTESIMUS ANNUS, JOHN PAUL II

42. Returning now to the initial question: can it perhaps be said that, after the failure of Communism, capitalism is the victorious social system, and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society? Is this the model which ought to be proposed to the countries of the Third World which are searching for the path to true economic and civil progress?

The answer is obviously complex. If by “capitalism” is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business economy”, “market economy” or simply “free economy”. But if by “capitalism” is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative.

 

“New Things”:

43.…Man fulfils himself by using his intelligence and freedom. In so doing he utilizes the things of this world as objects and instruments and makes them his own. The foundation of the right to private initiative and ownership is to be found in this activity. By means of his work man commits himself, not only for his own sake but also for others and with others. Each person collaborates in the work of others and for their good. Man works in order to provide for the needs of his family, his community, his nation, and ultimately all humanity.

 

Centesimus annus

The ‘Out of Sync’ Debate, Log 5-4-2017

“My job is to make clear to everyone just what the secret plan is, the purpose that’s been hidden from the very beginning of the world in God who created all things. This is it: that God’s wisdom, in all its rich variety, was to be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places – through the church.” The Apostle Paul, Ephesian 3: 9 & 10

~~~

Often, I will engage atheists, the LGBT, SJWs and others on Twitter. I seek to debate them from a Kingdom perspective. I will inject myself into a conversation where I see a bashing of God and Christians with throwaway statements and a misuse of Scripture to promote, say, socialized health care.

It is easy for atheists, the LGBT, SJWs – anyone – to make such statements on Twitter. There is the cover of anonymity and a copy and paste groupthink mentality. Invariably, the ‘conversation’ ends with the atheist or LGBT-er or other being dismissive, derogatory and using ad hominin.  In the socialized health care debate, misappropriated Jesus quotes are used for shaming by SJWs.

As I debate, I find that atheists believe that “science” is all-you-need truth, trumping anything one might have to offer.  They readily assume that science is superior over ‘subjective’ Christianity, which holds dogmatic beliefs. In practice, though, the atheist asserts his belief system, his values, as being dogmatic and backed by a nebulous theory of scientific evidence.

The other day, I engaged Heisenberg @Atheist_in_nc. He made a reply to someone denigrating Christians. He asserted that mind and body can be “out of sync” per evolving scientific evidence, evidence which he doesn’t provide. Science had nothing to do with his original antagonistic reply. Here are our two Twitter profiles:

Our Twitter Profiles:

Heisenberg @Atheist_in_nc

“Spent 27 years as an adult pentecostal. Soul winner. Prayer warrior. Bible college graduate. Was born again through the gospel of reality.”

 

Cindy wity @WityCindy

“A follower of The Way and a Milton Friedman Libertarian in the midst of the demolition derby called Illinois. Always pithy, never picayune. Pro-human & Debate”

 

Here is the (complete>) Twitter feed and more evidence of the fact-value split in our world. I “cut” to the pre-op chase:

~~~

Debating helps me define what I think about issues. I often find that I need to research more. And, I learn from each encounter, especially about how other’s think and how they view the world. Post-modernists eschew the overarching domain of right and wrong – Christianity, for the domain of particularity – personal values couched in scientism.

It is not easy to debate in 140 characters. So, such encounters help me tweak my words to have more meaning in less space. Another reason to take a stance on issues: to stand out for the Kingdom of God in the rubble created by the post-modernist destruction of institutions. Sadly, I don’t get much collegial help from other Christians in these debates. I don’t know if the intellectual Christians have opted-off Twitter to write books and blog posts but Twitter appears to be a battle front in need of push back. Kingdom Christians must engage the culture where the people are and not from their Bible towers and fortresses. How else will Epicurean and Deist people know that Jesus is alive and actively engaged with mankind and that his Kingdom has been inaugurated on earth?

 

Here is another (complete>) Twitter feed, about socialized health care as pushed by James Martin SJ. James has been characterized as the Bill Nye of Catholicism by other Catholics:

Here’s James Martin, SJ, being ‘inclusive’:

To be researched:

The Dreamer

 

Charles pulled open the door to the Gravity Pub and went in. The near campus bar was dark and full of conversation coming from TVs and crowded tables. Charles found Dimitri and sat down next to him at the bar. The bartender placed two beers and two shot glasses in front of Dmitri and Charles. The bartender returned to fill the shot glasses with vodka. Dimitri placed a twenty on the bar and the bartender made change. “To respect!” Charles toasted. The two drank down the shots.

“Congratulations Charles.” Dimitri gave Charles a slap on the back. “Now that you have a master’s degree in social justice, the world is your oyster, as they say.

“So far the world is my headache.  I have received no job offers since graduating.”

“Give it time.  Here, let’s have another shot”, Dimitri offered and threw a twenty-dollar bill on the bar.

After two beers and several shots of vodka, Charles stood up next to Dimitri and pointed a finger in the air above him.

“My friend, for too long the one perthent have exploited tax loopholes making them richer. The rich are taking their wealth and all of the income and moving their profits overseas making the poor pay the bills. Their gain is our sthruggle!”

Conversations in the room stopped.

“Sit down tiger”, Dimitri pulled on Charles jacket, “These jokers already heard all this stuff.”

“I’ll not sleep until income inequality is error…radicated.”

“Give it time.  Here, let’s have another shot”, Dimitri placed two twenty-dollar bills on the bar. He told the bartender that he was ready to settle their bill.

Charles sat down again. He looked despondent. After an hour he said goodnight to Dimitri.

Charles pushed open the door to the Gravity Pub and went out. The brisk night air in his lungs made him yawn. Looking up at a sodium streetlight he proclaimed, ” A mather’s dugree…now maybe I’ll get some re…thpect …Joe …he rethpects me… I gave him a two dollar thip!” Charles stood colorless under the yellow light proclaiming to passing cars his grand achievement.

After some time, Charles made his way home. He plunked down on the futon in the basement. He tried to remember how he got home. His thoughts were not working in any order. He lay down. His eyes, heavy with sleep, closed. The room settled down, became dark and then a large room opened before him. A room with chandeliers. A room with a large audience. The audience was looking at him. There were cries of “Speech! Speech!”

“Friends, today is a good day for the world. You have recognized my worth. I want to eradicate inequality…for too long the rich have stuffed their mattresses with wealth. The rich have the entire world’s money and their trickle down has never worked. When the rich get richer, the middle-class doesn’t benefit. No, the rich stash their cash. They buy trinkets. Their money was made on the backs of underpaid workers. Automation technology destroys the working class…Save the …”

In the next moment, a man in a tux looped a medal around Charles neck. It was the Nobel Prize. The audience stood to their feet applauding. And then a white figure with a halo came toward him. Inga was bringing him roses. As he reached for them he found himself in a ballroom dancing with Inga. She asked him, “What are you going to do with all that money?”

“I will buy a drum set. Yes, I will buy a drum set!”

“Charles, wake up.” Mick, Charles’ younger brother, thumped Charles on the head with his forefinger.

“Ow! Wh…what do you want?”

“You were talking in sleep. Hey, can I borrow a dollar?  I will pay you back with my allowance.

“Aw, go away. My head hurts. Bring me aspirin and some water.”

“Aw, go away.

 

A week later Charles met Dimitri at Gravity.

“We’ll have another beer, Joe.”

Joe the bartender set the beer in front of Charles and Dimitri. Charles looked at him and asked, “Joe, how much do you make?’

“I make enough to take care of my wife and two daughters.”

“I mean how much do you make?

“I make minimum wage plus tips. This is a second job.”

“See what I am saying Dmitri? The greedy one percent has drained this man of his humanity.”

Joe gave Charles a puzzled look and walked away.

“Those rich greedy bastards. Those fat cats hoard money in Swiss banks.  Wait till the world sees what I can do to make things right! I have no patience for the rich. Who are they to have so much when Joe has so little?

“See that framed dollar on the wall”. Leon pointed to a 4 x 6” frame above the liquor bottles, “I will frame the first dollar I take from a rich man.”

At that moment Charles phone rattled on the bar. He picked up the phone and saw that this mother had called. He pushed 1 and his mom’s number was dialed.

“Mom, what is it?”

“Several boxes arrived today for you. What are they?”

“It’s a drum set. I’m gonna play drums in a band.”

“You are also going to start paying rent to stay here.”

“Mom, not this again. I need to pay off my student loan. I have no job. The rich have made it almost impossible for people like me.  And why should I work for minimum wage when I have a Master’s Degree? Look how much I have invested in myself.”

“You have to start somewhere. Your dear departed father worked for fifty years so that you and I had a roof over our head. He wouldn’t want you to be a leech. Now, either you pay rent or you are out. Get home now and get these boxes out of the living room.”

“Mom, I’ll talk to you later.”  Charles ended the call.

“Dmitri, can you buy me one more beer and shot?’

“Sure. Trouble at home?”

“Ah, my mother wants me to pay rent. As if I was made of money.”

The bartender placed two beers and two shot glasses in front of Dmitri and Charles. He returned to fill the shot glasses with vodka. Dimitri placed a twenty on the bar and the bartender made change.

The two raised their shot glasses. Charles toasted to the end of the oppression and they drank. When the beer was gone Charles stood up.

“I better get going before my mother has a conniption fit. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Charles walked out. Pushing open the door to the Gravity Pub he went into the night air yawing.

At home Charles moved the boxes down to the basement. He opened them and checked the contents. When he couldn’t stop yawning he lay down on the futon and closed his eyes.

In the descending blackness he came upon daylight. He saw himself outside his mother’s car in front of a store.  The car was running and the car keys were locked inside. His Nobel medal hung around the rear view mirror. Frantic, he looked around for help. His professor came by and said, “You shouldn’t have done that”. A politician walked by and said “Someone will come along to help, trust me”. A man in a Mercedes pulled up and said. ”Hey I’ve got just the thing you need.” The man opened his trunk and pulled out a Slim Jim. The man proceeded to unlock the door through the car window’s weather stripping. When the door opened the radio blurted out, ”Mama may have, papa may have, But God bless the child that’s got his own, That’s got his own.”

Charles opened his eyes, winced and held his head. “Damn”, he moaned, his mother was playing her music again.

As years went by, Charles went on to become a respected professor of Social Justice at his alma mater. After tenure Charles received a six-figure salary. He summers in Costa Rica where he gives lectures about the one percent and income inequality. He went on to write “Structural Marginalization, Social Justice and Solidarity Action for the Education Challenged”. The book was well-received by his peers but did not sell in the open market. Soon after the book release Charles became the owner of Gravity Pub. Dimitri went on to start a hedge fund that gave away fifty percent of its profits. Charles’ mother died in her home with an unused drum set.

 

 

 

 

© Jennifer A. Johnson, 2017, All Rights Reserved

The Clash of the Tribalists

 

Do you find it ironic that the two major political candidates and their parties each rail against and denounce a “rigged system” but went ahead and rigged their own respective conventions for a certain outcome?

~~~

When someone cuts in front of you in the grocery store line (as happened to me this past weekend) and then looks the other way pretending that no such thing ever happened, well, that is pretty much what happened at the Republican National Convention. Conservatives were approaching their turn to speak during regular order and in come Trump supporters and the RNC Rules Committee between them and order.

Dissenting Conservative voices were kept from speaking while those who got their “way“ looked the other way as if nothing happened. This type of strong arm bullying tactic, often used by supporters of banana republic dictators, is being employed to “Make America Great Again!”

The Rep party has become diluted with a Victim Tribe so large that it will never be the same. This tribe includes the likes of the KKK’s former leader David Duke because Duke agrees with Trump or, better, Trump thinking matches Duke’s thinking.

The GOP, in forcing the nomination of a reality TV persona, could have just as well nominated Kim Kardashian. Kardashian has been successful at what she does and she knows how to market her herself just like Trump Towers. And Kim Kardashian also knows how to negotiate a deal to get what she wants.   And Trump is only a hair to the right of her politically, if one were ever able to put a fork in Trump’s waffling values.

Trump’s The Art of the Deal is effectively about getting what you want at any cost to others. And that is exactly what America’s victim tribes are all about. So enter Trump, the “negotiator” who gets what he wants. This time he is saying, in effect, that American values are negotiable in order to “win.”

“I would renegotiate so much of everything.” — Donald Trump

With the convention of the New Progressive Right (fka, the Republican Party) mercifully behind us now and the Democratic National Convention upon us we can clearly see that both 2016 Presidential Campaigns offerings are bestial bones thrown out to the Victim Tribes who stand barking before the altar of government.

Who are the Victim Tribes? Those who have a certain grievance, who are hashtag myopic; those who demand attention and some form of protection provided by government. The Victim Tribes gather around the Twitter trough and feed off of each other’s misery. Daily we are inundated with their melodrama.

Briefly, The Victim Tribes:

The middle-class-blue-collar-folks-who-hate-change-and-the “rigged system”-and-demand-a-rigged-system-of-their-own tribe.

The OWS-anti-Capitalism-$-pro-Socialism-$-college-is-my-right-so-pay-$ tribe.

The Black Lives Matter-except-when-aborted-or-murdered-by-another-black tribe.

The LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ1234-narcissism-is-an equal-right-and-is-to-be-normalized tribe.

The Feminist-we want-whatever-men-must-have-to-succeed tribe.

The environment-and-climate-change- “settled science”-Inquisition-and-apocalypse-now tribe.

The “I am an Illegal Immigrant and America is all about me” tribe.

Added 7-28-2016: Here is a recent example of the Tribalist’s Litany of Demands. It is delivered using the Rhetoric of the Perennially Aggrieved and Ungrateful and of the SJW Flag-wavers in the Long March of Cultural Marxism. These are the ones who are held “hostage” to “all forms” of injustice within the world’s freest nation:

Presumptive Green party presidential nominee Jill Stein appeared at the Occupy DNC rally across from CIty Hall in Philadelphia today (or at the “Bernie Sanders rally” as one cop put it) to speak before a cheering crowd full of Bernie Sanders supporters and other activists.

“Power concedes nothing without a demand,” Stein said, quoting Frederick Douglass, “and we are that demand.”

Stein told the crowd that they stood for “economic justice, for racial justice, for workers justice, for climate justice, for indigenous justice, for women’s justice, for LGBTQ justice.”

“We will be a unified movement, an unstoppable movement,” she said, “because we are for all the forms of justice.” She criticized the mainstream for trying to divide and conquer the crowd. “They would like us to be a movement to stop fracking over there, and a movement to stop police violence over there, a movement to stop deportation over there,” Stein told the crowd. “We need to be all of those movements, all together, that’s how we’ll stop the unstoppable.”

Stein also called for an “emergency jobs program to end the crisis of climate change,” healthcare as a human right, a “welcoming path to citizenship,” and an end to police violence and student debt. (emphasis added)

-Jill Stein Addresses Disenchanted Sanders Supporters at Occupy DNC Rally

~~~

Long before the petty over-leveraged and unhinged jejune shtick of a life Trump received a majority popular vote during the primaries for saying nothing of import I left the Republican Party. I could see that the RNC was no longer a party for conservatives and certainly not for Christians. As a Christian who is politically a self-governing classical liberal, I cannot align myself with the Moral Relativism Platforms of either the DNC or the RNC.

This November I will vote down ticket. I will not vote for Trump or Hillary. I will vote down ticket for the Conservatives who are still left out there, any who are like Ted Cruz.   By all accounts Ted Cruz is a Conservative and one who will keep his word while seeking to honor God and our country’s Constitution. It was Cruz who stood before the RNC barbarians and told those who had ears to hear, “Vote your conscience.”

Sadly, the conscience of the many has become calcified due to persistent media inflammation and a lack of Living Water.

~~~

Christian Libertarianism

Good to the Last Drop?

 

That Terry thought he was a vampire didn’t seem to faze Teresa.  It did faze his parents and friends.

A mother tugged a small boy through the outside door.  A teenage girl came out the inner door, crossed the room and left behind the mother and son.  A therapist stuck his head out of the inner door and looked around the room and saw his next client, a thirteen year-old boy.  “Hi, come on in.”  The boy dutifully followed the therapist.  A fiftyish woman came in the outside door and proceeded over to the glass window to check in with the clinic’s receptionist. Terry no longer paid attention to the ebb and flow of people in the clinic’s lobby.  Waiting for psychologist Teresa to claim him, Terry sat in the lobby as he had ninety-nine times before and always dressed in black.

“Hi, Terry, come on in.”

Carrying his dog-eared Virtual Gamer magazine Terry shuffled through the held door.

At the beginning Teresa was made aware of his parent’s concerns, their disbelief. When Terry had started to cut his arms and stomach to collect and consume his own fluids, they called N.B. Clinic.  They hoped for some reparative therapy that would bring back their child from the “grave.”  So, Terry’s parents sat down with Teresa.

They wanted to know what triggered Terry’s transformation:  “Was it us?  And what makes Terry sleep walk every night?  And why did he only want play outside at night?”

Terry’s parents related how they would wake in the middle of the night, every night now, to find that Terry had left the house.  He would roam the neighborhood in his black pajamas hissing.  It had to be more than simple parasomnia.

When they did find Terry his face would be covered in blood and the remains of dead cats and dogs were scattered about. The sight and smell of blood gagged them. Terrified by Terry’s manifestation, Terry’ parents wanted to do anything to bring their son back to from this state. He used to play so gently with his stuffed animals.

But after ninety-nine sessions, Terry’s parents were now told to accept their son’s “vampirism”.  As Teresa had explained it on the phone, vampirism was becoming an accepted behavior and that Terry’s self-image and his dignity depended on his being a vampire.  “It is something that he cannot control and it makes him feel human.  Besides,” she said, “it’s likely genetic – Terry’s need for plasma.  He believes that has the ability to extract some kind of energy from living things to strengthen him. I see this kind of thing all the time at N.B. Clinic.”

 

“I wish my parents would accept me the way I am.”

“They are trying, Terry. I met with them recently.  Give them time.”

“I wish everyone would accept me the way I am.  I was born this way, you know, and it’s not what they think.  I know who I am now.  You can see that.   Why can’t others?”

“Well, Terry, the world is not always friendly to minorities.  But there are social justice warriors who are advocating for you right now.  They are making a difference.  Still, there are so many fundamentalists who reject the notion of nocturnal plasma-sucking activities that it is an uphill fight.  Give it time.”

Teresa continued, “But you need to be secure in yourself, Terry.  Last week I gave you information about a local Vampire Community support meeting.  Did you go?”

“Yeah, it was alright.  I got to be myself without having to hide my feelings.  A lot of the kids said they came out of their coffins to their parents.  I just wish my parents and friends… I just wish the whole world was a safe place for me and my friends.”

“You and I both wish that Terry.”

 

 

 

© Sally Paradise, 2016, All Rights Reserved

“And what we must not do, what we must never do, is turn on our neighbors, our family members, our fellow Americans for something that they cannot control and deny what makes them human,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch

“This is about the dignity and the respect that we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we as a people and as a country have enacted to protect them, indeed, to protect all of us,” Lynch said

The Human Condition: A Root of Bitterness is Fuel to Burn

 

Two campaigns. Two distinct political parties. And two very similar underlying class warfare tropes being megaphoned in order to incite discontent, anger and anarchy in the heart of the voter.

Both campaigns are stoking the political fire of self-interest with the dried roots of bitterness.

~~~

“A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much while so many have so little…We need a tax system which asks the billionaire class to pay its fair share of taxes and which reduces the obscene degree of wealth inequality in America” –Bernie Sanders

~~~

“There may be somebody with tomatoes in the audience. If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you?

Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.” –Donald Trump, encouraging violence at his rallies, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Feb. 1, 2016

~~~

Bernie Sanders wants the vote of the young and old dependents because life isn’t fair. There is a disparity of wealth in the world and Bernie’s wants to be your Fixer. Each generation’s Bernie knows better than anyone in history how to make envy work for you. Now, it’s OK to be envious when everyone gets on board. So, let’s call it “Democratic Socialism”.

And why Democratic Socialism: “You are human.” Well, yeah, I exist. But more than that, my better nature knows that envy is part of my baser nature.

2016:  The subhuman demands for all kinds of “more” by the soon-to-be jack booting vox populi is a paean to the “wonders” of collectivism. This populist tripe runs parallel with Trump’s hogwash.

 

The codependent “settled science” supporters of Trump, also young and old dependents of another’s largesse are hearing that a vote for Trump will leverage their dignity, influence and economic standing.  Apparently his supporters had allowed all three to be debased before Trump came along. Excuses are in vogue.

Listening to Trump, one would hear Trump boast that he is a “Fixer”, a negotiator, a wheeler-dealer bar none.  Free Trade, influence, Mexico…life in America hasn’t been fair and Trump is your man to make “America Great Again”, to level the playing field.

Trump’s teaser:  “The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.” –Donald Trump

 

 

Whether it is Bernie’s entreaty to a collective of common purpose with his take on “A Future to Believe in” or Trump’s Nationalistic common purpose appeal to “Make America Great Again” both slogans share a common theme:  “Vote for me and together we will make great gains against unfairness. The monopoly of our common purpose – “Fairness” – can be ours.”

Both camps ply the same Marxian argument: “You are not to blame. You have worked hard, you played by the rules and yet others are gaining more than you. Someone or something is to blame – “The Establishment”; “The Rigged System”; “Capitalism”; “Wall St.”, “China.” “Trade”; “The little people.”

 

For our benefit, ancient history recorded such fair-share covetousness, now called “fairness” by Bernie fans and “leveling the playing field” by Trump.

 

Scenario one:  Joseph and the gift of a coat.  This story is common knowledge so I won’t repeat the whole story here.

Joseph had many older brothers who tended their father’s flock.  They played by the rules.

Joseph was gifted a beautiful garment by his father, out of the father’s love for Joseph. Now, pop psychology would decry such a gift as being unfair to the older brothers.  But, in a Christian worldview, the older brothers should have rejoiced with Joseph.

Instead, out of growing envy, bitterness and anger, the brothers sent Joseph away into slavery, unbeknownst to a grief-stricken father.  They wanted things to be fair by leveling the playing field – Joseph out of the picture, more for them. They wanted to assuage their anger by removing the reason for their anger.

 

Scenario two:  the prodigal son parable. Told by Jesus.  Again, a well know parable.

The prodigal son demanded all of his inheritance up front. Perhaps he had home schooling tuition bills to pay and some wild oats to sow.  Later, coming to his senses after feeling his empty pockets he returned home to his father.

His father was ecstatic about his son’s return. His brother, not so much.  His brother saw what transpired – a willfully impoverished son is gifted a second chance by his father.  No fair!

The play-by-the-rules brother becomes disconsolate, pouty and sorely envious of such treatment.  The brother had tended to his father’s business and didn’t fall out of line. No fair! Expectations had been high all along.  But now a root of bitterness also began to grow deep inside.

The brother wanted the playing field leveled.  The daggers in his eyes told the story.  He wanted to stick it to his prodigal bother and be rewarded by his father for playing by the rules.

“I want somebody to make things fair!!! Use force. Use whatever to make things fair!!!”

~~~

Democratic Tyranny is something that you can vote for this election season. But not the next one. Your choices will be taken away.

~~~

“Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.” — Theodore Roosevelt

~~~

~~~

Humanity Thrives on Moral-Guided Free Market Economics and Acts of Creation

In response to the collectivist ideologies of Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren and their proposed free market epitaph “You didn’t build that…” I offer two videos that provide insights about our humanity, creation, transcendence and economics. Epicurus, by the way (see previous posts regarding Epicurus), knew about humanity at a base level. Epicurus withdrew from transcendent.
The first video includes an interview with Rev. Robert A. Sirico of the Acton Institute. I first heard this interview while watching Fox Business’ Varney & Company. It contains a surprise ending.

In the second video Rev. Robert A. Sirico speaks at Creighton University about his conversion from Marxism and socialism and his reckoning of justice with a God-given humanity and transcendence. He speaks of going on to embrace a morals-directed free market economics which in the act of creation produces a bigger pie for all to share in.
Transcendence takes acknowledgement and submission to the Sublime. It takes one to be faithful in small things. .And, what you create-“build”-transcends all the output of man-made ideologies and political jingoisms. Grab some coffee first before you sit back and enjoy truth.