Welcome to my new blog.
As I indicated in the side bar – this may be regular, this may be very irregular – let’s journey together to see how we go.
There is a lot of upheaval in the world at the moment.
We have learnt about “Alternative Facts”.
Electors have looked at the candidates in the recent Presidential Elections, and I think a significant number of people thought, one of the candidates is saying some pretty mean and horrible things, but it is just to get elected. Unfortunately, what we are seeing is what he talked about, he is delivering.
President Trump decided to pretty much ignored the 75th remembrance of the Holocaust, and on the same day decided to ban travellers from certain countries to enter the USA for a period of time, and significantly reduce their refugee intake – and only after severe vetting (what ever that means).
Last week, many Christians around the world would have read and contemplated “The Beatitudes” – Matthew 5: 1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (NRSV)
When I look at political leaders across the globe, including my own here in Australia, what am I seeing.
- Governments that persist with “Trickle Down Economics”, which the vast majority of economist state doesn’t work. All it does it transfer more from the poor to the rich.
- Governments that favour business over the individual, be it on property rights (corporate over the community), lack of compliance (how many companies in Australia over the last 12 months have been identified as systematically underpaying their workers?), profits over delivering to the individual (look at the banking sector in Australia that really has not had any penalty for the massive losses incurred to individuals from fraudulent practices of their wealth management arms, or say the insurance arm of the Commonwealth Bank where management overrule the medical staff on insurance claims). This are systematic examples of the failure of corporations to honour their side of the social licence provided to them to have the protection of a corporation rather than personal exposure.
- Governments that seek to make people worse off based on false information and action (think CentreLink debt recovery program in Australia)
- Governments and politicians that use fear of groups to support their political objectives – think refugees in Australia (offshore detention centres) and the US Executive Order on immigration and refugees that is based around countries, but is really an attack on a religion (remember that the conservative evangelical Christians at the same time will be arguing for their religious freedom rights!)
- Governments and politicians that are using fear based on race, origin and sexual orientation to enhance their justification for active discrimination against certain groups.
Yet many within these governments around the world boldly state that they are driven by a personal acceptance of Jesus Christ and committed to following “Christian Principles”
However, what I see are government that:
- are not willing to help the poor, in fact they seem intent on making the poor worse off
- through their actions will see an increase in deaths and more people mourning (think refugees, think suicide of LGBTIQ people, think young black men killed)
- through their actions that are trying to have a smaller number of richer people controlling the wealth of the world, leading to an increased poverty globally
- through their power, oppress those who are willing to fight for righteousness
- show no mercy, think of torture the President of the USA has approve, think of the refugees that Australia is putting in Manus Island and Nauru and our failure to provide appropriate medical care and refugee processing
- think of the people that are complaining about the peaceful protests, and I expect as protest around the world increase, the powerful will use non peaceful means to try to discredit them
- think of all the people being put in prison, when alternatives could be explored (some countries are closing down prisons, where as in Australia and the USA we are constantly building more)
We are entering a dangerous period of time.
People older than me have seen this before. Radical ideas based on fear, using scapegoats such as the Jews, Gypsies, Gays in the 1930’s – now being replaced by Muslims, Latinos/Blacks and Transgender people (but LGBTIQ more generally will be incorporated I expect).
Back then were politicians and world leaders who thought it best to appease, and to deal with quietly behind the scenes. They even held up a a piece of paper. But that didn’t stop the atrocities in the 1930.
Yet today, we have similar language, some speaking forcefully, but many others such as Australia’s Prime Minister Turnbull trying to appease and work behind the scene. Yet unless there is a different response, history may well repeat itself, just on a grander scale.
There are those that are speaking up – such as 15 year old Royce Mann – in his poem he presented at the Ebenezer Church, ATL, GA, on Martin Luther Day, January 2017.
It is time to rise up, and reclaim Christ’s Gospel:
Jesus called us to love our neighbours as ourselves.
It is time for us as Christians to rise up and stand against the false teachings by some preachers that align themselves and associated with riches, power and oppression of groups (the stand out amongst them is the LGBTIQ community) – the 21st century Pharisees. Jesus tore strips of the Pharisees and they played a big part of putting him on the Cross.
It is time for us as Christians to rise up and stand against the abuse of political power to suppress and injure groups (be they minorities, other religions etc). Remember there were powerful political forces in Jesus time, and also some weak ones, who knew there was no case against Jesus, but he didn’t stand in the way.
It is time for us as Christians to rise up and stand against the abuse of marginalised people. The political and conservative evangelical right are gunning globally against LGBTIQ rights, with a particular focus on Transgender people in the USA and LGBTIQ people in Australia by trying to stop marriage equality. Many governments are withdrawing funding from the poor and disabled who are need of health care, education, housing etc. Jesus stood with the poor, the sick, the disabled, the outcasts, the Samaritans.
It is time for us as Christians to rise up and stand against discrimination, based on race, sex, sexual orientation, colour of your skin, ethnicity, religion. These forms of discrimination are tools of those in power to stay in power based on creating fear and anxiety. Jesus called us to love one another as we love ourselves.
At this time of the liturgical year – I am fascinated by the Bible readings we are provided with, which are a complete contrast to how the “Christian” leaders around the world are leading.
It is time for Christians to rise up.