Wednesday, January 20, 2010
This Week: Witness
Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
This week (January 18-25) every year marks a week of prayer for worldwide Christian unity. This year, the theme is 'You are witnesses of these things.' When Jesus uttered these words to his disciples just a few days after Passover in 29CE, he was empowering them to live out what they experienced in Jesus: his brutal death, glorious resurrection and continually extending an invitation for anyone and everyone to join (repentance) the Jesus way-of-life. Jesus fulfilled the law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms, embodying perfectly God's way-of-being in the world. Each and every disciple is called to be a 'witness' (the Greek is martus, where we get the English word 'martyr') to the New Reality of Jesus in a world filled with oppression, injustice, pain, greed, confusion and anxiety. To be a martyr is to live for Something that overcomes these de-humanizing effects: patiently, persistently and practically.
Every Wednesday, EasyYolk attempts to highlight a few issues/events to focus our wisdom, discernment, prayer and action in order to more faithfully and effectively witness to God's Reign:
1. Haiti: this morning, another aftershock: 5.9. More damage, more homelessness, more fear and trepidation. There are a reported 12,000 US military in uniform on the island at this time. This looks very much like an occupation. The Haitian people need food, water and medical supplies, not weapons. Can we really blame Hugo Chavez for his reaction, when US troops have invaded and occupied many, many countries during the past 50 years?
*Check out more posts from Brain Demon and Theological Autopilot.
*We can all donate $10 to the Red Cross for the Haitian relief effort by texting HAITI to 90999.
2. 'Revolution' in Massachusetts: GOP state senator Scott Brown pulled off the major upset last night over Dem. Martha Coakley. Signicance: this breaks the 60 Democrat vote filibuster-proof supermajority in the US Senate and threatens to derail reform in many important areas: health care, tax code, immigration, financial regulation and climate change. All the focus right now is on the severely compromised health care legislation and what congressional Democratic leadership will do to attempt to salvage it. Perhaps the best thing would be to scrap the whole project and work on a new issue with much clearer communication. Democrats should take on finanical regulation of Wall-Street. This is on the lips of progressive Democrats (far left) and Tea Party Republicans (far right) and it is unfathomable that it has taken this long since Congress bailed them out back in September 2008.
3. Torture: More and more is being unveiled concerning the past 8 years at the Guantanamo Bay prison. Scott Horton's investigative reporting questions whether 3 simultaneous prisoner suicides at the facility is really plausible. His work is quite compelling. Followers of the tortured Messiah should care about this issue and press the President and Congress to act in accordance with the Geneva Convention and punish those who have not complied. President Obama promised Gitmo would close within a year ending January 22, 2010 (this Friday). Unfortunately, that won't happen due to delays.
*For more info, check out this BBC Q&A report.
4. Corporations and Elections: The Supreme Court will hand down its decision on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission tomorrow. The Court, very likely, will give corporations unlimited power to give to candidates and election causes. Since the 70s, corporations have gained more and more political power because the Court has recognized them as being equal to individuals citizens, equating political donations with 1st Amendment freedom of expression. However, corporations and unions have been banned from spending $$$ on political ads. The Court decision may change that. Significance: our political leaders are owned by the corporations and other special interest groups. Our beloved democracy is being transformed into a corporatocracy before our very eyes.
Senator Russ Feingold cringes at the possibility of corporations gaining more power in our society:
Our elections would become like NASCAR races - underwritten by companies. Only in this case, the corporate underwriters wouldn't just be seeking publicity, they would be seeking laws and policies that the candidates have the power to provide.
Just another week, inspired to build 'a whole new world' (II Corinthians 5:17).