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16 September 2008

"Don't you think God finds these smug egomaniacs morally repellent? Recoils from their smugness as from hot flame?"

And he said, "Absolutely. They are everything He or She hates in a Christian."

I have been in a better mood ever since, and have decided not to even say this woman's name anymore, because she fills me with such existential doubt, such a sense of impending doom and disbelief, that only the Germans could possibly have words for it.
I read AGES ago (long before the moron in the white house took control)that Rabbi Joshua would be appalled at the things which were said and done in his name. I think it was in Clyde Edgerton's novel Raney, but I have the feeling he felt the same way as his character.
posted by brujita 16 September | 01:28
Wow, that was a pretty amazing bit of bile. And yup, it's come to that. I realized yesterday that it's because of her, the thought of her, that I've been dragging around a sack of bumm. Then Idiocracy came on late last night, and not by mistake.

Thanks for this.
posted by Hellbient 16 September | 07:45
Anne Lamott rocks.
posted by danostuporstar 16 September | 09:22
That's good. That's really good.
posted by grabbingsand 16 September | 10:08
(apologies for the wayward "more inside"!)

Yep, it helped cheer me up a little, too. I read it after my drive home last night, during which I spontaneously started crying while going through Laurel Canyon because I so desperately don't want the evil people masquerading as saints to win. Again.

But as Hugh Janus (hee hee, I always giggle) very succinctly said the other day: "keep loving. Keep fighting."
posted by scody 16 September | 13:20
This was a good read. I especially liked this:

Figure out one thing you can do every single day to be a part of the solution, concentrating on swing states. Money, walking precincts, registering voters, whatever. This is the only way miracles ever happen -- left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe. Right foot, left foot, right foot, breathe.

And I have to agree that most of what masquerades in politics (and many churches) as Christian is so far from what the Gospels say that they are not Christian, in essence, at all. I think they can only continue to float because most of the followers of those types of leaders don't really read and study the Bible much at all - they just listen to sermons and go to study groups, taking in highly filtered information.

I was schooled by Quakers and old-school Protestants, who don't really go for that degree of distance between the reader and the scriptures. Personally, I love the Gospel of Matthew. One read through Matthew leaves little doubt as to where Jesus stood on "the issues.":

Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. you need before you ask him.


15"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. ...
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'


23...Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"

26Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."


1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
5"Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'

8"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers....

15"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

27"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.

28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

33"You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation."

Can there be any doubt what Christ would be saying to today's religious hypocrites if he were on Earth right now?

What if he is?

...Or already was?

posted by Miko 16 September | 14:23
Can there be any doubt what Christ would be saying to today's religious hypocrites if he were on Earth right now?

There is none, the Bible does not expire. Thank goodness. And heaven help us- it's almost amazing that something written so long ago is still both so personally and culturally relevant.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 16 September | 14:49
Miko, just remember who our only Quaker presidents were. ;-)
posted by stilicho 16 September | 16:45
Jesus had no executive experience.
posted by scarabic 16 September | 18:40
heh, stilicho!

Believe it or not, Quaker philosophy was in effect with Nixon at least a little bit. His anti-elitist stance was motivated in part by the Quaker conviction that we are all equally powerful and equally valuable in the sight of God. He was very resentful, as it happens, of the liberal elite to which he couldn't gain entry, and began building a coalition of conservatives who felt anger and exclusion, and began the strategy of reaching out to the underclass for support for a conservative agenda. At the same time, he did have some unusually tolerant/progressive policies for his time - he was the first to award government contracts to minority-owned firms, he worked hard on Native American issues, he ended the Viet Nam involvement, and he oversaw the final integration of the military.

It's important to note, though, that Nixon was a Western (California) Quaker, who were a branch of the faith that have more in common with Biblical fundamentalists than with the Eastern Quakers who eschewed pastoral leadership and advocated the peace testimony. Billy Graham eulogized him. And, a lot of Quakers were agitating for his impeachment before he resigned. He was never all that into his faith.

[Hoover was also a Quaker].
posted by Miko 16 September | 21:51
[I looked a bunch of that up for insurance. I've always been a bit weirded out that Nixon was Quaker. But just like MFK Fisher, his brand of Quaker is a little different.]
posted by Miko 16 September | 21:53
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