Sunday, September 09, 2012

Kiss up, kick down. Jesus.

Today's sermon is Mark 12. It gets a bit long, so there's a page break after Kate Upton .

12 Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones,[a] wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some. Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’  But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.

9 “Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others.

A chief function of any government is the protection of property.  You may have built it, but without a functional government, you aren't getting any value.

10 Have you not even read this Scripture:
‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.

11 This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”[b]

12 And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away.

Even really good Bible passages have filler.

13 Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words. When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?”

But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” So they brought it.
And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”

17 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”*

And they marveled at Him.

In the land of the witless, the halfwit is King. Until they tear him up & pick a new one.

18 Then some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him; and they asked Him, saying:  “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife; and dying, he left no offspring. And the second took her, and he died; nor did he leave any offspring. And the third likewise. So the seven had her and left no offspring. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as wife.”

24 Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?  For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.  But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?[c] He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.”

Kind of important theologically to distinguish afterlife from the day to day.

28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving[d] that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’[e] This is the first commandment.[f] And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no other commandment greater than these.”

32 So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul,[h] and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
But after that no one dared question Him

This is pretty much the whole ballgame, isn't it?

35 Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David?  For David himself said by the Holy Spirit:

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’[i]

37 Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”

And the common people heard Him gladly.

38 Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

As any politician will tell you, the image is much more important than the words. For 1700 years, ambitious lads have read this & thought :Sounds good to me!

Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much.  Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites,[j] which make a quadrans.  So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury;  for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

The Church looks for pennies as well as pounds.
In the last thrilling entry in this blog, I expressed the hope that the Democratic Convention showed an attitude of inclusion, that Love Your Neighbor & Listen to Her are central to having a workable society.

It's necessary to remember how far we are from making all this a reality. Spend time reading Counterpunch, Greenwald & Taibbi. It's not so much that we have 2 sets of laws, it's that law is less & less absolute. Law applies to the middle class. The highest are above the law, the lowest under the boot. There's a war on whistleblowers, protection of mighty criminals, and the continuing grinding down of the working class by the overlords.

One question is whether to assume that Obama & the ruling class in Washington are merely tools of the plutocracy, willing stooges, or simply open to pressure. In a lot of ways this is like Descartes wager on GOD** - you have to assume they're open to pressure. All other assumptions lead to doomish conspiracy theories.

That the Republicans were able to almost publicly declare their intention of preventing a recovery*** to improve their chance of regaining power, follow through with it, and be rewarded for this in 2010 shows the depth of the rot. Our media is a filter of courtiers and morons, and their bosses who happily cash the checks in hopes of keeping the game going a bit longer.

Is there a chance that there will be a break in the success of the top down class warfare of the last 30 years? Of course. That war never ends. The question is whether we will replay the 1930s or the 1860s. It's a pretty easy choice, and the field is wide open. We just need to be ready the day after the election. That's the time to show up at the party offices, ready to push a broom & have a voice.

*The Church of the Fancy Prelates is, as usual, facing a massive credibility failure. One test is in Kansas City. Bishop Finn has been convicted of failure to report molestation. An important point is that this is also a violation of Canon law. Caeser has had his bite - but left enough for the Church to do the rest. Will they? Or will the old patterns reassert, and the Cardinals above & priests below rally around him? Is it even worth checking up?

**GOD in any version I'm aware of would have said to Descartes : You mock me, and cast him off. I'm not mocking anybody, at least in this sentence.

***If you're new here, Hi.  I don't believe a lasting US recovery on the old easy money, cheap oil terms will happen. We need to cut waste in energy & administration to get by in an increasingly competitive world of increasingly scarce resources. It's fairly important to remember that Democratic policies at least nod to this, while Republicans are in frantic denial.


Susan of Texas said...

One question is whether to assume that Obama & the ruling class in Washington are merely tools of the plutocracy, willing stooges, or simply open to pressure.

Yes. Sometimes we choose, sometimes we are used, sometimes we are persuaded. It all comes to the same thing, however. People choose evil. They choose to make a sacrifice instead of love and care for others. They don't look beyond the present system.

The elite want to make the afterlife just like their own world because they can't envision a better world and are afraid of creating a worse one.

Our fathers fought and died for freedom. And some of them envisioned a better type of world, and worked to create that world.

People are afraid because they think they have something to lose. An authoritarian won't fight until they no longer have anthing left to lose.

I am watching people support Obama's decision to withhold the morning after pill from minors while saying the right will take away the right for incest and rape victims to have an abortion. Who do they think are incest victims, except mostly underage girls?

But Paul Ryan! Who wants to cut Social Security, like Obama. He would be worse, but hey, when you vote for the lesser of two evils you always end up with more and more evil, because evil people are always trying to get away with more and more. No SS in two years versus none in ten years makes no difference to most of us.

Downpuppy said...

Geez, Susan, you've been down so long it may seem permanent. I lost focus a couple times writing it, but if it ended up unclear - the point is that the struggle is never finally won or lost.

Which is a terrible thing if a kid is forcing you to watch the weekly Bleach stuck into a fight between Ichigo & Irahime that's already dragged on for over a month, but otherwise something we can take heart in.

Susan of Texas said...

I dont mind the fight but the illogic is killing me.

Downpuppy said...

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, woman! Logic is fun. People are fun. They just don't have all that much to do with each other.

Dan Riley said...

If I had seen that nun at the age of those boys, I would able to get her out of my mind...and they would never be able to get me out of the church. So that would be a good thing, right? (Tonight I dream of Dolores Hart with a whole new habit...)

Downpuppy said...

Sister Kate blesses you.

I was going to do a whole excursion into the role of nuns & monks. Picture worked better.

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