Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


December 17, 2013

We the People: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem

CROSSVILLE — “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

One of the times Jesus wept was when he looked out over Jerusalem, the city that had rejected him, and foresaw its suffering and destruction. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way of peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:42, New Living Translation)

When Jesus was born two thousand years ago, angels appeared singing “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth!” Peace and compassion was Jesus’ message. But two thousand years later, like Jerusalem, we still reject the Christmas gift of peace. Instead we have chosen perpetual war, poverty, injustice and environmental destruction.

Jesus set the standard of love for us when he told us to love each other as he has loved us. He said that the greatest commandment was to love God; the second was to love our neighbor. He didn’t say that it would be a nice gesture if you loved your neighbor as yourself; he said it was the second commandment. Jesus could hardly have made things clearer: don’t spend your life accumulating wealth for your own selfish purposes while ignoring other people’s poverty and suffering.

In this land of unbelievable wealth, in this country some insist is a “Christian nation,” at least a third of the people live in poverty. Are we as a nation going to extend a helping hand to those in need, or will we abandon America’s most vulnerable people? “If you don’t want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying that you want a country based on Christian values, because you don’t.” — Unknown.

Somewhere along the way, the loving, compassionate Jesus heralded by the angels two thousand years ago has been hijacked. The Jesus who was a friend of the sick and poor has been turned into a guardian of the privileged. This is amazing, since this is the same Jesus who warned the wealthy that they were in grave danger of blowing their chance of getting through the pearly gates.

To put it bluntly, there are people telling lies about the Bible who should know better, and probably do. Some of the super-rich and their foot-soldiers are now using their own version of the old-time religion to restore feudalism. There are a number of translations of the Bible in my house, plus copies of the New Testament in the original Greek. The minister I was married to for almost 70 years never found the capitalist Jesus in any of them. Neither have I.

When our lawmakers tell you they have to cut social spending so that our children’s future won’t be burdened with debt, make it clear to them that millions of children won’t even have a future unless we help them right now. If we take care of all our children now, they will take care of the future. And be sure to remind our lawmakers that millions of our children don’t have enough to eat, but that the Pentagon already has enough weapons to kill everyone on earth.

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  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

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