Tag: occupy wall street

14Nov

Deconstructing Self Hatred

There is a new “occupy” movement in town. It’s called “Occupy Birthright Israel” —a group of Jews who have decided Israel is “occupying,” well, Israel, and that the state of Israel should be abandoned as a “military state that oppresses Muslims” (I would say Palestinians here, but the Christian population of Palestine is being drive out by someone —must be Israel, according to the world media). They even have a video up on YouTube.

What I find most interesting about this group is the incoherence and self-hatred in their written manifesto.

We embrace diaspora, even when it causes us a great deal of pain. We are the rubble of tangled fear, the deliverance of values. We are human. We are born perfect. We assimilate, or we do not.

We remember the labor movement. We remember the camps. We remember when we aged too quickly. We remember that we are still young, and powerful.

We will not quietly witness the violation of human rights in Palestine. We refuse to become the mother who did not scream when wise King Solomon resolved to split her baby in two.

We demand daylight for our stories, for all stories. We seek breathing room and dignity for all people. We are committed to the struggle. We are the struggle. We will become mentors, elders, and radical listeners for the next generation. It is our sacred obligation. We will not stop. We exist. We are young Jews, and we get to decide what that means.

This is all supposed to be radically profound, I guess, but in the end, it’s just a mishmash of anti-Semitic nonsense.

Humans are not “born perfect,” not even the humans who made this video. If they were, there would be nothing to atone for. How can you decide not to assimilate into a the “collective identity?” If all identities are collective, what does it mean not to assimilate? There were camps in the labor movement? Of course not —these two statements pushed right up against one another are supposed to suggest the National Socialists (NAZI) labor camps were the same thing as the “oppression of labor” communists and socialists are fighting against. The National Socialists built their entire program on collective identity, as well, by the way.

Solomon offered to split the baby in half to find out who the real mother is. Clearly these “young Jews,” need a new Rabbi who teaches something about what the actual Scriptures say, rather than the pablum they’ve been fed. Being a “radical listener” simply means to take whatever I say, and twist it into a meaning you desire. This is supposed to be a good thing?

They give away the real game in the last sentence. “We get to decide what being Jewish means.” In other words, “We don’t like being Jewish, because it’s not hip, it’s not cool, and it’s not acceptable in the circles we like to frequent. So we’re going to redefine Jewishness so we can hang out with the people we like, and appear really compassionate and caring to the world.”

Sorry, you don’t get to decide what it means to be Jewish. God already did that.

12Nov

Taking the Lord's Name in Vain

When a woman of a certain traditional bent gets married, she takes her husband’s name. When a son or daughter is born, they take their father’s last name, and sometimes the first and middle name of a beloved family member. When Abraham first arrived in Canaan, he built altars and proclaimed the name of the Lord.

When you are baptized into Christ, you take the Lord’s name. You become a Christian, a member of the household of God.

At Occupy Wall Street and the allied events, there are police officers in the symbolic 99 percent, wearing uniforms. There are self-proclaimed mothers in the 99 percent. There are Marines. There are Muslims and Jews, yoginis and puppeteers. Sometimes they proclaim their tribes on signs in protest-movement Magic Marker; other times their meaningful headgear speaks loud enough: firefighter’s hat, bus driver’s cap, yarmulke. There are Christians, too, eager to be seen as Christians. They face a special challenge. They want to make the church visible, so they wear clerical collars or other religious garb, like the albs, or white robes, that lay Christians may also wear. … “All of us respect the title of chaplain, which inherently suggests we are there for other people,” Ms. Richmond said. “No chaplain would ever impose their own beliefs on someone else who has come for help.” Whether in a hospital, in the military or at an Occupy event, chaplains are not evangelists, Ms. Richmond said. –New York Times

They are there, of course, to prove “the Church,” loves these protestors, to prove God loves… What? Occupy violence? Occupy greed?

What is a Christian at this protest to support? Are you trying to prove to the world that Christianity is actually very worldly? That God just loves everyone, that the only “sin” is “oppressing the poor,” and everyone is going to go to heaven?

When she meets people in need, her job is to find meaningful language for people who have no liturgical tradition: “If you define your connection with something larger than yourself by climbing a mountain, how do we connect with you when you’re in a hospital bed?” … “It’s not about my personal faith tradition; it’s about theirs.”

Christianity isn’t a “personal faith tradition.” Christianity is either the greatest truth that’s ever been told, or it’s one of the biggest farces —the biggest lies— that’s ever been invented. Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. There are no other choices.

Begin a Christian means taking God’s calls against greed and violence seriously. That means taking God’s call to convince others of the truth of Christianity seriously. It doesn’t mean standing around in a clerical robe in solidarity with anarchists and communists in order to prove how “nonjudgemental” God is.

Calling yourself a Christian is taking the Lord’s name. Calling yourself a Christian because it’s your “personal faith tradition,” while failing to take Christianity seriously —that’s taking the Lord’s name in vain.

12Nov

Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain

When a woman of a certain traditional bent gets married, she takes her husband’s name. When a son or daughter is born, they take their father’s last name, and sometimes the first and middle name of a beloved family member. When Abraham first arrived in Canaan, he built altars and proclaimed the name of the Lord.

When you are baptized into Christ, you take the Lord’s name. You become a Christian, a member of the household of God.

At Occupy Wall Street and the allied events, there are police officers in the symbolic 99 percent, wearing uniforms. There are self-proclaimed mothers in the 99 percent. There are Marines. There are Muslims and Jews, yoginis and puppeteers. Sometimes they proclaim their tribes on signs in protest-movement Magic Marker; other times their meaningful headgear speaks loud enough: firefighter’s hat, bus driver’s cap, yarmulke. There are Christians, too, eager to be seen as Christians. They face a special challenge. They want to make the church visible, so they wear clerical collars or other religious garb, like the albs, or white robes, that lay Christians may also wear. … “All of us respect the title of chaplain, which inherently suggests we are there for other people,” Ms. Richmond said. “No chaplain would ever impose their own beliefs on someone else who has come for help.” Whether in a hospital, in the military or at an Occupy event, chaplains are not evangelists, Ms. Richmond said. –New York Times

They are there, of course, to prove “the Church,” loves these protestors, to prove God loves… What? Occupy violence? Occupy greed?

What is a Christian at this protest to support? Are you trying to prove to the world that Christianity is actually very worldly? That God just loves everyone, that the only “sin” is “oppressing the poor,” and everyone is going to go to heaven?

When she meets people in need, her job is to find meaningful language for people who have no liturgical tradition: “If you define your connection with something larger than yourself by climbing a mountain, how do we connect with you when you’re in a hospital bed?” … “It’s not about my personal faith tradition; it’s about theirs.”

Christianity isn’t a “personal faith tradition.” Christianity is either the greatest truth that’s ever been told, or it’s one of the biggest farces —the biggest lies— that’s ever been invented. Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. There are no other choices.

Begin a Christian means taking God’s calls against greed and violence seriously. That means taking God’s call to convince others of the truth of Christianity seriously. It doesn’t mean standing around in a clerical robe in solidarity with anarchists and communists in order to prove how “nonjudgemental” God is.

Calling yourself a Christian is taking the Lord’s name. Calling yourself a Christian because it’s your “personal faith tradition,” while failing to take Christianity seriously —that’s taking the Lord’s name in vain.

8Nov

Don't Covet

You can’t read the smaller text unless you click on the picture, but there are small “thoughts” coming out of the world saying things like, “stick it to the capitalist,” “tax the rich,” and other popular “99% Occupy-Whatever”/leftist slogans. And while I’m not one of those who believes the Ten Commandments apply to Christians today, the point is well taken.

Coveting is defined as a bad thing by God.

Those who want “the rich” to pay for their college, or for their homes, or whatever else, are coveting.

Now we could say that “the rich” stole this money in the first place –and there’s actually a strong case to be made in this direction. But have we forgotten a fundamental ethical reality? Two wrongs don’t make a right. If someone steals something from you, the right answer is not to steal it back.

The right answer is to go back to basics. To enforce equality before the law. To accuse those who have stolen of the theft, and to prove it in a court of law.

Not to stand in the street and ask the government to use it’s power to “steal back” what you think was stolen from you. If the first theft makes the first man immoral and wrong, what does the second theft make the second man? And if it’s okay for you to covet what “the rich” have, and take it from them, then why wasn’t it right for them to covet what you have, and take it from you?

Or are we so embroiled in situational ethics now that it’s all about power rather than truth? If it’s all about power, then how does the individual man –the perpetual minority of one– ever have hope of obtaining justice?

8Nov

Don’t Covet

You can’t read the smaller text unless you click on the picture, but there are small “thoughts” coming out of the world saying things like, “stick it to the capitalist,” “tax the rich,” and other popular “99% Occupy-Whatever”/leftist slogans. And while I’m not one of those who believes the Ten Commandments apply to Christians today, the point is well taken.

Coveting is defined as a bad thing by God.

Those who want “the rich” to pay for their college, or for their homes, or whatever else, are coveting.

Now we could say that “the rich” stole this money in the first place –and there’s actually a strong case to be made in this direction. But have we forgotten a fundamental ethical reality? Two wrongs don’t make a right. If someone steals something from you, the right answer is not to steal it back.

The right answer is to go back to basics. To enforce equality before the law. To accuse those who have stolen of the theft, and to prove it in a court of law.

Not to stand in the street and ask the government to use it’s power to “steal back” what you think was stolen from you. If the first theft makes the first man immoral and wrong, what does the second theft make the second man? And if it’s okay for you to covet what “the rich” have, and take it from them, then why wasn’t it right for them to covet what you have, and take it from you?

Or are we so embroiled in situational ethics now that it’s all about power rather than truth? If it’s all about power, then how does the individual man –the perpetual minority of one– ever have hope of obtaining justice?

2Nov

Occupy Greed

This is a poster put out by Occupy Oakland calling for a general strike today, November 2nd. A pair of hands chained together with dollar signs. What I think they mean to imply is the people have been enslaved by the 1% through money. Let’s break the bonds of the 1%!

As the Bible says, “money is the root of all evil,” right?

Wrong.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. -Timothy 6:10

Lets look at these “Occupier” demands for a moment. Jobs with a “living wage.” Free health care. Free education (including complete forgiveness of all existing student debt).

Any common thread here? I can see one. Greed.

Here we have the ultimate irony: people protesting against the greed of others, making greedy demands for themselves. This is one of the reasons the entire “occupy” movement rings hollow for me. What they are essentially saying is, “Others have taken too much out of their greed! I want more! And I want more now!” It’s a cry of greed against the “greedy 1%.”

Another reason? The name of the movement —to occupy is to control, rather than to liberate. Armies occupy enemy territory. They don’t liberate it. Then there’s the ubiquitous communist raised fist. Any movement that claims it wants freedom with these icons, and these words, clearly only wants the freedom to rule with that iron fist. But the Occupy movement has always been long on drama, and short on thinking.

To return to the poster…

There is one person who can enslave you to the love of money. It’s not the “1%.” There is one person who can choose to be greedy, to love that which money brings more than the people around you. It’s not the “1%.” There is one person who can make you break the law by camping in a publicly owned park, ruining the lives of others so you can make the point that you don’t get enough —enough money, enough attention, enough free stuff. It’s not the “1%.”

Greed is a personal sin.

Those chains of money you’re enslaved by? They’re chains of your own making.

1Nov

Worth Reading

I wish the Occupy Wall Street movement would be a little clearer about what they’re protesting. … before I can make up my mind whether or not I support them, I think they need to tell us whether this is more about money or morality. What troubles me is that much of the anger of the protesters seems to be fueled by a sentiment about wealth that Judaism long ago rejected. There have always been people who believed that spirituality demands that we forsake materialism. Rich people are wicked by definition. Accumulating a great deal of money is a sin. –Aish

Every once in a while, a quiet small voice would remind me of a key lesson I learned: my job was not to be liked, but to make a difference. –Aish

Instead of pulling up their socks and encouraging the production — not redistribution — of wealth, the leaders of the Democrat-run White House and U.S. Senate blamed former president George W. Bush for the current economic calamity. No American really bought it. So then the Democrats blamed the Japanese tsunami. No more luck. Blaming the Arab Spring and the European economic crisis did not do the trick either. Now the Democrats are blaming Wall Street — whatever that means — and America’s rich. They are the real evil. They are sucking the people’s blood, wrecking America. –PJM

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