Archive for the ‘Christ’ Category

The World Turned Upside Down

Since we are getting into how screwed up things can be when one forgets the lessons of history, or succombs to a more pleasing revised version of history, I present the ballad The World Turned Upside Down.

This was first published on a broadside in 1643 as a protest against the policies of Parliament relating to the celebration of Christmas. Parliament believed the holiday should be a solemn occasion, and outlawed traditional English Christmas celebrations. There are several versions of the lyrics. It is sung to the tune of another ballad, “When the King Enjoys His Own Again”.

Listen to me and you shall hear, news hath not been this thousand year:
Since Herod, Caesar, and many more, you never heard the like before.
Holy-dayes are despis’d, new fashions are devis’d.
Old Christmas is kicked out of Tow
Yet let’s be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn’d upside down.
The wise men did rejoyce to see our Savior Christs Nativity:
The Angels did good tidings bring, the Sheepheards did rejoyce and sing.
Let all honest men, take example by them.
Why should we from good Laws be bound?
Yet let’s be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn’d upside down.
Command is given, we must obey, and quite forget old Christmas day:
Kill a thousand men, or a Town regain, we will give thanks and praise amain.
The wine pot shall clinke, we will feast and drinke.
And then strange motions will abound.
Yet let’s be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn’d upside down.
Our Lords and Knights, and Gentry too, doe mean old fashions to forgoe:
They set a porter at the gate, that none must enter in thereat.
They count it a sin, when poor people come in.
Hospitality it selfe is drown’d.
Yet let’s be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn’d upside down.
The serving men doe sit and whine, and thinke it long ere dinner time:
The Butler’s still out of the way, or else my Lady keeps the key,
The poor old cook, in the larder doth look,
Where is no goodnesse to be found,
Yet let’s be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn’d upside down.
To conclude, I’le tell you news that’s right, Christmas was kil’d at Naseby fight:
Charity was slain at that same time, Jack Tell troth too, a friend of mine,
Likewise then did die, rost beef and shred pie,
Pig, Goose and Capon no quarter found.
Yet let’s be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn’d upside down.

Of course, those who take the term “Conservative”, yet are hardly holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, are more than willing to turn the world upside down.

Even more amusing are the ancestors of the Puritans who want to put “Christ back into Christmas” when Christians were trying to ignore the holiday because of its pagan connections.

Christianity, The Golden Rule, and Social Justice

I have had these thoughts simmering in my head for a while after having received something from a Jewish Social Justice site talking about the golden rule: Love your neighbor as yourself.

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)

The Golden Rule is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights, in which each individual has a right to just treatment, and a reciprocal responsibility to ensure justice for others. The main point of the Golden Rule is that a person attempting to live by this rule treats all people with the same consideration as he would expect to receive, not just members of his or her in-group. The “golden rule” is exemplified in many Christian stories, in particular the Parable of the Good Samaritan. One point that gets missed is that the Samaritans is that the Jews and Samaritans didn’t get along, yet the Samaritan was the only person who helped the traveller.

It seems that the question being asked today is “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9) with the answer being “NO”.

But does the Bible make a responsibility to watch out for and care for one another? When one turns to the New Testament, it becomes clear that the answer is in the affirmative. In fact, there are many passages which emphasize that people do have responsibilities to others, and not just our immediate families: hence the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10: 29-37

These were two groups that normally did not get along, yet the Samaritan showed the Jew compassion. Southern Beale had an interesting quote from Ezekiel 16:48-50 about Sodom and Gomorrah where God compares Jerusalem to Sodom:

As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.

“‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

Daisy Deadhead pointed out that Christ was no fan of the rich, and that is the Gospel. Daisy points out the passage:

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Matthew 19:21-22

That is not the only place where riches and materialism are pointed as being contrary to proper spiritual growth. For example:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-20

Oddly enough, we have those who would say that the Gospel of Social Justice is a perversion of Jesus’s message, yet that statement is wrong. There are more than enough examples of where there is the commandment to “be your brother’s keeper” in most of the World’s religions. I have only scratched the surface of where the Bible commands that should one maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor. The Bible contains more than 300 verses on the poor, social justice, and God’s deep concern for both.

Ultimately. there is nothing wrong with a prosperity gospel, as long as it makes clear that EVERYONE deserves to share in the prosperity, not just the few. But, that’s prosperity and not GREED that I am talking about. Social justice is about treating others as you would have them treat you. Indeed, it is being your brother’s keeper in that you watch out for his welfare as you would your own.

See also:
Isaiah 58
Versions of the Golden Rule in 21 world religions
Am I My Brother’s Keeper? | Daily Devotion from Genesis 4:9-16 | RayStedman.org
The Bible on the Poor or, Why God is a liberal
God Calls Us To Show Mercy and Compassion to Our Fellow Man
How Greed Destroys America

Peter O’Toole as God Of Love from The Ruling Class

Something MikeB posted got me thinking about this (and he may recognise the quote).

This is one of my favourite films.

The World of Religion

From the Misanthropic Principle

Christian Charity

This topic is on my mind since the “Gospel of Scrooge” Christian wanted to leave comments on this blog as well as Glenn Beck’s comment suggesting that any church promoting “social justice” or “economic justice” merely was using code words for Nazism and communism. I find that there is a strange form of Christianity in the US which is in contrast to such ideas as:

“Christianity is about helping those who are more vulnerable than ourself”

Or something the Dean said in his opening prayer at the Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols From King’s College, Cambridge:

“Pray first for the needs of the world–for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the persecuted, the bereaved”

I found it interesting that the concept of Christian Charity was given short shrift in the US–even though I could be guilted into giving money when an old lady shakes a Christian Aid canister in my face. But, that is the difference between British and US Christianity.

The old adage that “20% of parishioners contribute 80% of the funds” still appears to be true today in U.S. Christianity. Did you know that 22.1% of U.S. Christians give absolutely nothing to charity in any given year? Would it trouble you to learn that most church going U.S. Christians donate only 2-3% of income to the church they attend and to other charities each year? Equally disturbing is that a mere 9.4% of U.S. Christians give 10% or more of income.

Perhaps the reason is to be found less in the fact that U.S. Christians are stingy and more in the fact that they are not schooled in the teachings of Christ. Thus they can talk about being pro-life, yet are not willing to provide true life affirming programmes: such as our “Gospel of Scrooge” commenter’s being against Head Start and proper schooling. The stinginess is due to the fact that they do not hear that they are to consider “the poor, the hungry, the homeless, and the persecuted”. Instead, the poor are poor by choice, not because their ignorant “gospel of Scrooge” doesn’t allow for the needs to help these people out of their holes of poverty.

The Christmas season is one where we celebrate the return of light into the world. The light is that of Wisdom, not of ignorance. It is the tool by which we can ultimately transform our world. But that transformation must be for the good, not for the continuance of the world’s suffering and discord. Thus, the light conquers the darkness.

This is the hope we celebrate at this time when the light has conquered the dark and the world renews itself. That there will be a better world where we work to solve the world’s problems.

The Fear Monster Doesn’t like me because…

Lots of good reasons, but I like this young woman’s

I just wish her mouth was in sync with what she’s saying.  She looks like a bad 1960s Japanese cartoon.

And she”s cut off at the end of her speech.

From the Al Tirah facebook page

Fear MonstersFear Monsters Freedom means being able to brandish a gun.

Empathy Monsters And when you accidentally shoot yourself in the foot, to have the health insurance cover to cover it.

Fear MonstersFear Monsters Let’s face it: Glenn Beck IS America.

Empathy Monsters I’m moving to Sweden.

    • Empathy Monsters Fear Monsters gets their political news from one Web site that is totally comprehensive except for spelling and fact-checking.