Sunday, March 27, 2005

a resurrection dream...or so it seems to me

We had a quiet dinner with friends and neighbors in various states of hopeful disrepair this Easter.

The poet Wendell Berry slipped this word in edgewise...

In a dream I meet
my dead friend. He has,
I know, gone long and far,
and yet he is the same
for the dead are changeless.
They grow no older.
It is I who have changed,
grown strange to what I was.
Yet I, the changed one,
ask: "How you been?"
He grins and looks at me.
"I been eating peaches
off some mighty fine trees."

Wendell Berry, Collected Poems, North Point Press, 12th printing, 2000, page 206

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

the U.S. Budget is a moral document

A note I sent my U.S. Representative and Senators as the new budget leaves committee and begins its course through the Congress:

Senator Boxer, Representative Cunningham, Senator Feinstein:

I believe the proposals on the table from the House and Senate Budget Committees include penalties against the most vulnerable Americans and welfare payouts to the most privileged Americans. As a person of faith I find this unconscionable.

"It is," Jesus said, "the sick who need a physician." I call on you to be doctors for those who need help, not those who can help themselves.

The U.S. Budget is a moral document. Please lead your colleagues in doing the right thing.


Jim Hancock

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

killing for the hell of it

Last month, Marine Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis famously said, "Actually it's quite fun to fight them, you know. It's a hell of a hoot…It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up there with you. I like brawling…You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil…You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

Marine Corps Commandant General Mike Hagee, wishes Mattis had chosen his words more carefully. World Magazine columnist Gene Edward Veith, on the other hand, concluded that: "As in other vocations, so in the military, there is nothing wrong with enjoying one's work."

To Dr. Vieth, Martin Marty poses a few questions:

If a Christian believes that humans are made in the image of God, should it be "a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them"?

World Wars I and II, and many other wars, had Christian fighting Christian, sometimes because they were drafted to do so against their will.  If a Christian believes that another Christian is a child of God, should it be a "hell of a lot of fun to shoot" and kill him?

If a Christian is an evangelical -- like those to whom World magazine is directed -- and he must kill someone who is as yet unevangelized, thus cutting short his potential for salvation, should it be a "hell of a lot of fun" to shoot him?

If a Christian is a grandson, son, father, husband, brother who knows that survivors of his killed counterpart will suffer all their lives because of his necessary act of killing, should it still be a "hell of a lot of fun" to shoot him?

If a Christian is to pay special attention to the weak, and he decides that someone "ain't got no manhood left anyway," should he do Darwin's work and eliminate the unworthy, taking a "hell of a lot of fun" in doing it?

Can the unconvinced -- and I don't mean just the "What Would Jesus Do"-types -- at least ask how finding it a "hell of a lot of fun to shoot" those who "ain't got no manhood" squares in any way with "love your enemies"?

It just startles me what people who claim to know something about God are willing to put their name to in 2005.

So, with a line from someone who didn't claim to know much about God, I'm out:

"When I began as a prayerful student to study Christian literature in South Africa in 1893, I asked myself again and again, ‘Is this Christianity?’ And I could only say, ‘No, no. Certainly this that I see is not Christianity.’ And the deepest in me tells me that I was right; for it was unworthy of Jesus and untrue to the Sermon on the Mount."

Mahatma Gandhi’s Ideas: Including Selections from His Writings, C. F. Andrews; pp93-95 The Macmillan Company, 1930

Monday, March 07, 2005

speaking of Jon Stewart (or was it Jim Wallis?)

Did you see Jim Wallis on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart? No?

Well, here you go, then: Jim Wallis on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

you'll forgive me, i hope

You'll forgive me, I hope, for posting words I didn't write and to which I don't think I have anything to add.

“The Left mocks the Right. The Right knows it’s right, Two ugly traits," Bono writes on the back of Jim Wallis' new book, 'God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It. "How far should we go to try to understand each other’s point of view? Maybe the distance grace covered on the cross is a clue.”

I could sure use a clue.