Copperheads and Haunting Dread; A Land More kind than Home

CAsh

This is one of the best ‘off the wall’ books I’ve read recently. While the material itself may not on first glance entice one, I soon became drawn into the story. It’s all about what goes on inside a storefront whose show window is covered over with newspaper. There is a so called Christian ‘snake-handlers’ church going on inside that building in a small town in Western North Carolina. People are dying, a kid saw something (what?) that he shouldn’t The preacher is a manipulative (potential spoiler) charalatan. The narrators are:

1) a kid

2) a church lady

3) the sherriff.

This is an account of a time when things went terribly wrong for a number of people and yet…how they came to terms with their circumstances and…life goes on. Once I became  hooked on this story, there were times, when I just wanted to jump right into the book and ‘set folks straight’ on their faulty thinking patterns. And in the end, one can only wonder what will become of the kid-Jess Hall. He certainly had seen a whole lot of strange goings on for an eight year old.
A great character study of individuals and group dynamics.

Move over teabaggers. Make room for the Espresso Patriots.

TR gave us the Square Deal, FDR the New Deal; OBAMA, give us the Real Deal!
It’s about time our country reinvigorates, revitalizes, revamps Education, Infrastructure,
and the Industrial Government Complex. As Thomas Friedman has titled his new book
“That Used to Be Us.” If you haven’t read this book, please do so.
It can be us again, back in the saddle again, off to reinvent America, and by proxy, the world.
China is sick, Russia is aging, while Muslim reactionaries are getting pinged by Predators, and ST6.
There’s a leadership vacum out there craving to be filled by stalwart sensible Espresso Patriots, teabaggers!
Let me hear an Amen!

Some say we’ve outgrown God, Others say We’ve outgrown Technology. What’s up with That?

Old Car

A quick read of any newspaper makes it clear, we are in a brave new world, a world which, judging from the works of Christopher Hitchens, has ‘outgrown’ God. God is not ‘sophisticated enough nor perhaps even intelligent enough to deal with the fast pace, the amoral code of conduct, ad nauseam, etc. Therfore it becomes the duty of believers everywhere to set teh record straight, while there still is some memory of such a record. Humanity has not outgrown God. Now admittedly, the ice gets thin here (climate change)? For while there are those who say we’ve outgrown God, there are some righteous godfaring types who are as quick to say ‘we’ ve outgrown technology.
For instance, if you are following genetic engineering at all, you’ve heard the genes that produce spider’s silk can be grown in a goat teat. The results are a very strong and lightweight  material. A question arise; What would God do? Well, the answer is he’s made man a little lower than the angels and given him a brain in the bargain. Hopefully junior’s brain with the spider silk in the goat’s milk is a brighter idea that Dad’s vision of yanking petrochemicals out of the ground and polluting the earth, air and sea all over the place.  

This strong material is being used for bulletproof vests for the military.  It is also used to make surgical patches and for other uses as well.
While ther are those who see a conflict between technology and God, my only response can be be “If God did not want people to think, God could have saved everyone a whole world of trouble by giving the dominon-over-the-world thing to the ants.
Those kind gentle hearted souls who look askance at technology have my sympathy. I too am often amazed how in the 20oo’s, CEOs made almost 300 times what the average Joe/Joane did. In the 1960’s, the ratio was 10% of that. Be that as it may, technology and the benefits of smarts arent going away anytime soon. Now is no time for the kind-hearted touchy-feely types to turn off on technology. The dynamic between government, industry and the people is a never ending battle- even food, a basic element of life gets caught up in the fray.

Speaking of replacing petrochemicals with organics, the gas and auto industy offers a classic case study in how industry and government have pulled one over on the people . Thanks to consumer activists, we now have (more expensive)safer cars with cleaner emissions. But even now, fuel efficient lags far behind.

Read EcoBarons–most urban areas would have been far better off with mass transit instead of such reliance on the automobile.

What the world needs now more than ever is for industry, government and the people to all meet at the same table and act in the best interests of everyone.

During the American Revolution, the church played a vital role in such a societal transformation…would that it could again.

Christmas at the White House

God is not dead

While it may delight scholars like Christopher Hitchens to throw brickbats at Christmas, some of his information is more a reflection of his agenda then a reflection of mainstream (common) Christian practice.
1) Christmas does not celebrate the birth of a ‘Miraculous Baby.’ It is a celebration of ‘the Godhead appearing in human form.’
2) As a nation founded in large part as a refuge for persecuted Christians, Americans need not look to the Quoran for proof ‘Mary mothered a prophet.’

We read in Luke 1:46-55 where Mary herself says:
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.’ RSV

Note also Mary’s commonness. She refers to herself as a ‘lowly handmaiden,’ much as Michelle Obama refers to the White House as ‘the People’s House.’ By all means, the midwinter celebration of common people should be celebrated in the ‘the People’s House.’ It is not an accommodation to the President. Indeed, has there ever been a President of the United States who said ‘God is dead?

Christianity is a religion of the people. It makes no claim to exclusivity. Over the years, as new adherents were welcomed to the faith various trappings have been added to the celebration of Christmas. There were no carols or Christmas trees in Bethlehem in the year ‘0.’ Indeed, there was no year zero. But more on that later. Christmas trees were added by the tribes of Europe as Christianity spread there. Evergreen Trees…Evergreens/Eternal Life/Get it? It is a bit of a reach, I know, but go for it. There is a metaphor in there somewhere that makes a kind of statement on how life goes on, despite famines, wars, crime, the storms of winters and…ad infinitum.
To confront the disasters of life, some people may rely on ego defense mechanisms; others practice faith, such as Christianity preaches.
So; who says when it is Christmas? –I agree completely with Mr. Hitchens and his adherents. No one knows the exact date The Christ was born. According to the Gospel accounts of ‘shepherds in the fields,’ theologian William Barclay speculates it was likely spring–when the shepherds stood guard over the baby lambs. Attacks from predators necessitated the additional protection. This again demonstrates the flexibility of Christianity meeting the needs of common people. The Christmas celebration was established in mid winter as this is a time when people are more often in a more reflective frame of mind, as they tightened their belts, planned their futures and engaged in other such chores as are appropriate to Christmas. In the old days, in the spring, folks were too busy planting crops (and guarding lambs).

We really should explore the question of ‘When is it Christmas’ much deeper? There actually is no year ‘zero. There is only a year 1 BC and a year 1 AD. But no year zero. The Julian Calendar was not even established until 525 AD, about 100 years after the fall of Rome. The concept was simple. Basing our calendar on the birth of Jesus, the eternal king, allowed everyone to use common series of years.

Prior to this uniformity, people might say ‘in the 23rd year of the reign of King John,’ or ‘in the year King Uzziah died.’
I am however, not so rigid a Christian thinker as to NOT believe that at some future time (whether it be 500 or 5,000 years from now) some other Great Event may occur that utterly changes how we common people synchronize our calendars. I will only say this. Whatever that future event might be, it will have to be really BIG to beat Christmas.