Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Interesting, the president of Iran seems to be a pluralist, in that he thinks he and Bush worship the same God. He asks Bush a lot of questions, talks some about history, but seems to be saying we'll do our own thing one way or another.
Monday, May 08, 2006
FATHER: I am the creator of the universe. Before the world was, I am. I know every hair on your heard. I formed you form the mud of the earth. I chose Abraham and his descendents to be my people, making a promise to him that I shall keep. I was with Moses in the desert and on the mountain. I rebuked David for his sin,and comforted him for his lose. I went with my people to Babylon and brought them home.
Then I led my only son Jesus to the cross and death, and brought him back from death to new life that all of you may follow. I am God the Father.
SON: I am the redeemer. When the Father spoke at the start of creation I was his Word. I came into the world as you did, a human child, born in a stable at the edge of the Roman Empire. When I came of age I was baptized by John and then started to talk to people about the things of life. I said people should love God. I said people should see themselves in others and love them accordingly. I said religion is about worshiping my Father, not being unflexable and having power. I thought all the world should be freed from sin, death, and the devil, and so I hung out with people considered unwanted. I healed the sick, and even raised a friend from the dead. When I was in Jerusalem I disrupted worship in a temple. After that I was killed on a cross.
That wasn’t the end of me though. I conquered death by coming back from the dead in glory. I told the people I hung out with to continue my work and that I would return. I am God the Son.
SPIRIT: I am the sustainer. At the beginning of things I hovered over the uncreated universe and after the Father had fashioned you He breathed me into you, giving you life.
When the Son’s cousin, John, baptized him came to him in the form of a dove and I declared him the Son of God.
After Jesus was resurrected and returned to heaven I came to his companions, the disciples. I came to them so they could communicate to others that Jesus lived, died, and rose again, in any language. The book of Acts says if you are Baptized you shall receive me. I am with Jesus’ followers to this day, leading them to follow him. I am God the Holy Spirit.
I've also finished reading "Stories of Emergence: Moving from absolute to authentic." I feel this book is what "a Generous Orthodoxy" should have been. It is a set of 15 autobiographical essays of Emergent Church folk. The people who contributed are quite diverse, from Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, to Parush Parushev, a formerBulgarian Communist, to George Baum, a former Lutheran who has a touching story about loosing his brother and his faith to aids, and regaining his faith in a very Lutheran way, remembering his Baptism.
I've also started reading Jimmy Carter's "The Hornet's Nest" and Jim Wallis's "God's Politics." I have to say Jimmy is letting me down, as for Jim, check out his letter to Jessie Ventura.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
As I was hoovering the floors today I got thinking about Hamarabi’s law (just hoovering by itself is boring). Hamarabi’s law, is for all intensive purposes a law of retaliatory justice, which is in many ways traditional justice, and at the time of its inception a liberal law used to restrain overzealous, vengeful forms of "justice."
Todays Justice system seems focused on deterrence, keeping people from committing crimes and keeping criminals away from the rest of society. This type of Justice could be called a Restraintative Justice.
Now the question for us Christians is what kind of justice are we called to practice? Jesus says "You’ve heard it said ‘love your neighbor and hate your enemy’ I say unto you love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you." This is in some ways no justice at all. Then I think deeper it’s a Relational Justice. This goes back to loving others as ourselves. It is projecting the I into the Thou, it is admitting that in general people do things not because they are our enemy, not because they are "evil" but because what they have experienced in their life has made them see the world in the way they do.
Now, one might say, "that means everything is relative, we should let rapists rape us, murderers murder us, and terrorists terrorize us, after all they are just acting out in a way rational within their world." By no means, after all loving our neighbor includes loving oneself, and further loving someone doesn’t mean letting them do whatever the hell they want. Instead it includes entering into dialogue with them so they get a wider understanding of why we feel their actions are wrong?
So what of "punishment" or "enforcement" or "education" or whatever we want to call it? My first thought was to create a situation in which they would experience their crime through their victim’s eyes. Basically a symbolic version of Retaliatory Justice. I thought about this for a while. It might foster empathy within the criminal.
Then I thought of the case of Dolstoyevski’s mock execution. When the writer Dolstoyevski was still a young lad he was quite radical, which isn’t a lauded thing in Czarist Russia. He and some of his radical brethren were caught being radical and the order went out "off with their heads" and the first two radicals were killed, next was that author of yore, and the Czar’s horseman came, galloping quickly, and said "the Czar pardons they all, they just have to live in Siberia." Those radicals who remained swore fidelity to the Czar, gave up their radical ways and were emotionally scarred for life.
Now it could be said, in favor of symbolic punishment, that the Czar’s methods were not proportional to the crime, neither in the first action, mock execution, nor in the secondary punishment. Still, when I think of Clockwork Orange and such I wonder about the results of non-physical punishment.
This post is pettering off. If anyone has any thoughts about justice that they had while cleaning rooms in an old abbey post them…