Wednesday, December 28, 2005

More 21st Century Integrity

"This nation sits at a crossroads. One direction points to the higher road of the rule of law...The other road is the path of least resistance" in which "we pitch the law completely overboard when the mood fits us...[and] close our eyes to the potential lawbreaking...and tear an unfixable hole in our legal system."

Is it Senator Ted Kennedy complaining about President Bush ignoring the laws governing government tapping of phones and "mining" e mails?


It's Tom Delay (currently under indictment) urging that President Clinton be punished for having an affair with an intern.

Friday, December 23, 2005

why do they hate us?

It's not our freedom they hate ... it's that of the United States that is personified by our United Nations ambassador, Mr. Bolton. He' s just the epitome...

Los Angeles Times

"It was always expected he would be controversial. Bolton came to the post by the political back door: President Bush appointed him during a congressional recess after it became clear that the battle over his confirmation was going to be a long one.

"The ambassador clearly relishes a fight. He recalled that when he was applying at law firms for a summer job back when he was a young man, one lawyer told him to rethink his desire to be a litigator, saying that most of his interactions every day would be with people who wanted to "rip your clients' lungs out."

'"He asked me, 'Is that really what you want to do?' And I thought about it and I said, 'Yeah, that is exactly what I want to do.' " '

A Quakerly take on this might be that someone who wants to do the work of peace making (ostensively the mission of the United Nations) might wish to have just such an attitude: where else would one dedicated to the values of the Sermon on the Mount want to be, as Jesus wanted to be with the sinners? One who wanted to reconcile differences with other nations and build enduring structures for peace would, of course, want to work among those who hate the United States.

But that is not, of course, why Bolton wants to be with people who dislike the United States. He's not interested in peace making. The United Nations to him, and to the current administration, is really just one more weapon in the global war for American hegemony, it's one more front in the war to keep the Great American Party going. This war has been going on for so long, now, that we are acclimated to it and we don't call it a war, at all. We call it "The American Way of Life.."

And that is why they hate us.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

in case you missed it...

only a lawyer would enjoy reading someting like the intelligent design decision but there is some interesting stuff in there about how far people will go to try to force others to accept their religion. For example, the case relates this interesting incident:

In the midst of this panoply, there arose the astonishing story of an evolution mural that was taken from a classroom and destroyed in 2002 by Larry Reeser, the head of buildings and grounds for the DASD. At the June 2004 meeting, Spahr asked Buckingham where he had received a picture of the evolution mural that had been torn down and incinerated. Jen Miller testified that Buckingham responded:

“I gleefully watched it burn.” (12:118 (J. Miller)). Buckingham disliked the mural because he thought it advocated the theory of evolution, particularly common ancestry. (26:120 (Baksa)). Burning the evolutionary mural apparently was insufficient for Buckingham, however. Instead, he demanded that the teachers agree that there would never again be a mural depicting evolution in any of the classrooms and in exchange, Buckingham would agree to support the purchase of the biology textbook in need by the students. (36:56-57 (Baksa) (emphasis added)).

Case 4:04-cv-02688-JEJ Document 342 Filed 12/20/2005 Page 108 of 139

Buckingham was a school board member and one of the major supporters of the intelligent design program.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

putting a few pieces together...

Mona Charon writes:

"...Iraqis once again demonstrated their eagerness for democratic practice by standing in long lines at voting places around the nation. How can the United States possibly leave this job unfinished? To leave is to fail."

"President Bush is making selective use of an opinion poll when he tells people that Iraqis are increasingly upbeat.

"The same poll that indicated a majority of Iraqis believe their lives are going well also found a majority expressing opposition to the presence of U.S. forces, and less than half saying Iraq is better off now than before the war."

This Quaker's take: The lack of integrity snowballs as people gradually lose sight of the Truth, mesmerized by the ventriloquist voice of gods they have created to serve as the benefactors in their fertility cults.

9 "Therefore I bring charges against you again,"
declares the LORD.
"And I will bring charges against your children's children.

10 Cross over to the coasts of Kittim and look,
send to Kedar and observe closely;
see if there has ever been anything like this:

11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged my/their Glory
for worthless idols.

12 Be appalled at this, O heavens,
and shudder with great horror,"
declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 2

"And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall."

Bob Dylan

Merry Christmas for Christ/The Spirit is born...and dies...and is the hearts of all people every day.

"...the Quaker conviction that covenantal participation is based not on doctrinal confession but on hearng and following God's voice."

Douglas Gwyn
Covenant Crucified
(Quakers and the Rise of Capitalism)
p. 193

Friday, December 16, 2005

Oh, that we really were so dangerous...


"WASHINGTON - A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn't know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.

A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a “threat” and one of more than 1,500 “suspicious incidents” across the country over a recent 10-month period.

“This peaceful, educationally oriented group being a threat is incredible,” says Evy Grachow, a member of the Florida group called The Truth Project.

“This is incredible,” adds group member Rich Hersh. “It's an example of paranoia by our government,” he says. “We're not doing anything illegal.”

My take on this is that it's too bad we're not actually dangerous...

It's not hard to understand how a peaceful, education oriented group is considered to be a threat. The Jesus movement, a peaceful educatonally oriented group, was a threat to the Jewish establishment of its day for the same reason that Quakers, another peaceful educationally oriented group, was a threat to the Puritan establishment of its day--both worked, in essence, to unite the practices of the society in which they lived with the vision of the covenants with God that they espoused.

But that is not what our current "peace" movement is doing. What Rich Hersh says, above, is true: what we're up to is not "illegal"--it's not even dangerous to anyone except the particular leadership of the moment. We do not pose the kind of danger to our culture that Jesus and George Fox did. Our peace movement is an "anti a particular war" movement. When the war in Iraq is over, when George Bush is gone from the White House, our peace movement will fade back into the woodwork of history, its lasting influence negligible. Not really dangerous, at all.

The Jesus movement and the Quaker movement (the "Lambs War") both sought a fundamental reordering of society from the grassroots. Each sought to turn its culture away from the hollow forms of its day, and from the frustrating, alienating social and spiritual practices and relationships that divided people and made them prey upon one another, rather than praying with one another. Each sought to turn its culture away from materialism and the other "doctrines" that lead people to shove everything except God into that God shaped hole in their heart. Each sought to turn people away from the things they pursued to satisfy themselves which were actually the very things that were making them crazy (Both John the Baptist and James Nayler, if they walked around downtown Portland long enough to acclimate themselves to the cultural trappings, would understand perfectly well what was going on and what the antidote is).

Our current peace movement is not dangerous in this way. Our current peace movement speaks little of the dynamics of our society that make war the natural outcome, not an irrational abberation, of the pursuit of its values. Our current peace movement speaks little to the kind of cultural conditioning that includes things like two national holidays a year that amount to little more than info-mmercials to sell/condition us on the idea that killing people is the way to establish peace and to find security.

Yes, there is a part of this peace movement that is not animated by the simple belief that it's just the war in Iraq that is wrong but, rather, that war is a logical and necessary manifestation of a system that humans have developed to rely upon for their "security" instead of God, who have placed creaturely well being above spiritual well being, who have, to paraphrase Isaiah (and Jeremiah and...), gone over to the dark side.

If the day ever comes that the vision of this element in the peace movement grows into a significant presence then it will be as dangerous to our fallen culture as a whole as the current peace movement seems to be to the current administration.

For the moment, however, the peace movement is not concerned with spirituality and is content to leave the culture of the SUV in place. For the most part the peace movement is as spiritually disoriented as the Bush Administration and for so long as it is will have a similar, transitory impact on the unfolding of events.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Not Getting the Message...

"In Washington, Adam Ereli, a State Department spokesman, said the
administration was determined to achieve greenhouse-gas reductions not
through binding limits but through long-term work to develop cleaner

There is, in short, no reason to change the way that our
conditioning/culture keeps people consuming, consuming, consuming to
make some people who control the production wealthier, wealthier and

(the Bush administration sent someone named "Adam" out to give the
world this message. What's funny is that it doesn't strike them as
ironic enough to avoid doing). (I believe, myself, that there are no
coincidences where the Spirit is at work revealing Truth to those
looking for it.)

The message is that we should just rock on, that there is no reason
for us to throw off and repent our worship in the fertility cult of
ever expanding capitalism and development...there is no reason for our
party to ever end. That's what say our high priests of prosperity and
materialism. (we don't pay temple prostitutes to ensure we get a good
harvest, rather we pay investment counselors and brokers and insurance
agents to ensure we get a good return on our investment.

Because technology will save us (this is not really a new message, is
it?)...we don't have to save ourselves from the consequences of our
debauchery...machines will save us--but, of course, even if their plan
works out they will only "save" the earth, not our souls...there's
still the matter of the impact/karma of the debauchery that will work
out in our personal futures.

The Bush administration (and the bi partisan prosperity machine it
whose agenda it pursues) assures us, again, that there is no reason to curtail
the profits by easing off on the ruthless exploitation of the earth and
of other humans. There is no reason to find simpler and healthier ways to
live (finding, for example, things other than SUVs to fill the God
shaped holes in our hearts). We can also make additional profits by
the technical means we will use to keep the party going!!! Machines
will make it possible for us to orgy on while continuing the exploitation of the
earth and other human beings. It's win-win.

Rhetorical question: where is John Woolman when we need him?

Rhetorical answer: we all have to be John Woolman, ourselves.

"In all our cares about worldly treasures, let us steadily bear in
mind that riches possessed by children who do not truly serve God are
likely to prove snares that may more grievously entangle them in that
spirit of selfishness and exaltation which stands in opposition to
real peace and happiness, and renders those who submit to the
influence of it enemies to the cross of Christ."

John Woolman's Diary