Monthly Archives: November 2011

Mammon

Mammon

 

Western Youth have prescience, energy and their parent’s money to fund their protests.  But before you think this too cynical, it is often their voice that ends up prophetic, speaking into current social trends – trends that can be destructive.  They may not have all the answers but they are asking some of the right questions.  They think things can and should be changed.  I like that.

 

Their voice is as yet unencumbered by some of the pragmatic realities of those who have to work, raise families and make reasonable compromises as regards their earlier idealism.  But without their voice, their passions and angers, things are less likely to change.  Most revolutionaries are, or at least were, young. It doesn’t always make them right but when they get it right it is well and right they did.

 

They are also reactionary but sometimes reaction corrects ‘out of kilter’ action.  If we left everything to them there would be little left, but it we don’t listen to them there may be even less left.

 

Their current bout of protests is about something that matters –  money, and we all know money matters.  Capitalism is presently being eroded (I should say undermined) by those who are its benefactors.  And the frightening alternative is a return to statist socialism that is apparently gaining some ground in the think tanks of the future – our universities.  It is being suggested that Marxism collapsed more because of ‘application issues’ than the, utterly dehumanizing, nature of it.

What an absurdity!  Human nature alone will always predict communism to collapse as it robs the vital and sustaining characteristics of hard work, ingenuity and productivity.   Once that is suppressed all you have left are its poor cousins  – corruption, elitist power, a bleak and grey existence and little to no food.

(A broken capitalism is better than a robust socialism, especially as practiced by the former USSR, North Korea and other failed or fading states.)

 

But, back to the streets and the steps.  Even though they protest the capitalism that affords them education, liberty and free speech, their protest is not without merit.  The stunning and unbridled greed of banks, governments and those who know better (should know better) virtually beggars belief.  Any voice crying in the wilderness has been systematically shut down or ‘better’ still openly ridiculed by the experts who failed to see the writing on the wall ‘of weighed, weighed and found wanting.’

 

If the mistakes made were mere ineptitude these people should have been thrown out of their profession, which professes to know what it failed to acknowledge.  If the massive, titanic, collapses were devised deliberately our courts, nay our jails, should be full.

These men have without care of implication ruined the future of millions of less adventurous souls, people who, naively as it turns out, believed banks and the financial institutions that cling remora like to them were safe places – as safe as shark infested reefs.

Mammon is alive and well, as much as a cancer is alive and well.  It’s greedy tentacles wrap and strangle the life out of normal fiscal responsibility and profit, yes profit.  Normal cells of ‘profit and risk’ have gone rampaging malignant, metastasizing thru the body corporate.

 

I suspect we will look back on this juncture in history ‘a gasp’ at the shameless audacity of people that kept on getting away with it, and, if you can believe it, rewarded. Still are!

 

And it must be remembered that legislation won’t do what only a change of attitude can produce.  But I imagine that this is only the result of deep problematic recessions that knock the senselessness of the accumulation and the worship of money out of us.  I hope not, naturally – for recession that is, I don’t like getting knocked around.

 

We demand that we have progressed beyond the primitives who lay prostrate at the feet of bizarre idols.  But we haven’t.  Grown men and women are still bowing to senseless, voiceless idols of our own making.  Mammon has made a glittering come back, and we are at its mercy, which is a great pity as it is merciless.

 

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Self Esteem – What’s Love got to do with it?

SELF-ESTEEM, WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

By Valerie McIntyre

Most of us, in some form or fashion, male or female, struggle with self-esteem issues. I believe it is systemic in western culture, in perhaps an embarrassing way. In other parts of the world, where people are fighting just to live, low self-esteem takes on a whole other color. But for those of us who have grown up in a fairly stable environment, it’s a shame that we struggle with this monkey on our back, but we do. I grew up in a house without a father–mostly. My dear Dad was in and out of jail for white-collar crimes, such as embezzlement. He just couldn’t help himself, literally. His absence didn’t make for a secure home life, and it bred in me a constant sense of fear and anxiety. I never knew what the future would hold, and I had a suspicion it might not be nice. My mother was a wonderful, creative woman who did her very best to keep it all together, and she did. Both sides of the family pitched in so my mother didn’t have to work when we were growing up (my father’s family was wealthy). But when I was 12 they got divorced and I never saw my father again, he died when I was 18 and out of the country with no chance to say good-bye.

In a society rife with divorce, I know my story isn’t rare. Plus, there are a myriad of reasons why the west struggles with low self esteem, everything from guilt (we have too much), or shame (I have too little), broken homes, or a media that tells us we will never live up to that image we see in the magazine. Seamus Heany, the historian, wrote that in ancient times gold rings were the symbol of power—today it is sex. In addition to all the obvious issues I faced, I was also a hyperactive child, so there was a steady stream of negative reinforcement. I was ALWAYS in trouble, and I was an excellent little Pied Piper, which meant I had most of the neighborhood following my mini acts of mischief. I was constantly zinging between fear and outright rebellion. It was a dizzying mess. And yet there were incredible times of peace, mostly when I was outside, in nature, often alone daydreaming, thinking up stories and schemes for the life I would live one day. I had plans, things were going to get better.

Well, many, many years later things did get better, but it’s been a long haul and it’s clearly not over yet. Being recently married I’ve had to deal with a new host of self esteem issues (there’s a new boss in the house and it isn’t me.) But here’s something I’ve discovered recently. All along, through all those crazy years, heartbreaking times, disappointing moments, I knew that deep down inside I was someone worth loving, because someone did love me. I was created in someone else’s image, someone perfect. And he loved and loves me. He has my best interest at heart, and he has my back. No one and no circumstance can take that away from me. When I was about 10 years old and I was having a particularly bad day, I lay down in the grass and looked at the sky and I knew that someone much bigger than me knew exactly how I felt. I knew that one day we would be together forever and every tear would be wiped away, I would be fully known and I would feel fully loved. That truth has never left me. That is where our self-esteem should live, not in a good body or a six-figure job, but in the loving hands of someone who loves us more than we can even imagine.


Tithing and Generosity

Tithing and Generosity

 

 

Tithing has engendered many an unhealthy argument; unhealthy in that the point is missed in the argument.  But still people rage and tremble.

The Old Testament law of tithing, and a law it certainly was, hasn’t been superseded with a discount.  On the contrary and easily ‘argued,’ the teaching of Jesus assumes the tithe and goes beyond it – it goes beyond it in the attitude of the giver and in the action of the giver.

Jesus doesn’t so much teach tithing as generosity.  He speaks of giving things away that are accrued and unnecessary in a manner that to the most dim witted amongst us can hardly be construed as anything less than, giving more than a tithe.

Generosity doesn’t argue the case for or against tithing.  It gets on with the attitude and spirit of Christ whilst others squabble over law and grace, OT and NT, in ways neither helpful nor particularly generous.

In fact, and well stated by someone, tithing is ‘training wheels’ for the art of giving.  And an art it is, as it requires all of your attitudinal finesse.

And it is striking that most, not all but most, opponents of tithing don’t even go far as the tithe, which strangely points more to their greed and lack of faith than to a case for the abolishing of tithing.   They huff and fume about biblical correctness, which itself seems to spawn the same sort of intolerance that political correctness glosses over.  Their attempt at denying the place and value of tithing doesn’t help anyone, much less their cause.

Even if someone persuasively, passionately and Biblically could mount a case against tithing being applicable, it would make little difference to the attitude Jesus was at pains to secure, nor to our desire to be generous – we would still give more than the tithe anyway.

If you are going to argue against tithing, and why would you, make sure you are at least tithing or you will be the one stuck in the OT.


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