Walk Out of the Tomb – Walk Into a New Reality

Photo R. Meshar

Photo R. Meshar

Not too long ago my friend L contacted our parish to let them know that she was interested in forming a new small Christian community. But life being what it is, there were other priorities at the parish and as time went by it became clear that things might not happen within the time frame she had in mind. Rather than become irritated, annoyed, or continue to repeat her request (i.e. nag), she contacted some people she thought might be interested then hosted our first meeting. A wonderful group came together. Through her own initiative, she created a supportive group of people with similar values – a group that she wanted to be part of.

This is the challenge of Christianity. This is what we see in the model of Jesus. Jesus never demanded that the religious authorities of his day change to his way of thinking. Neither did he nag them to do things differently. Rather, he created a community of women and men who shared his values and lived out of those values.

When Jesus was confronted by those in authority he stated his values or offered a parable to shock others into a new way of thinking. Everyone was invited to join in – but not pressured or coerced into doing so. Even when his family confronted him – demanding he come with them and accept their way of viewing the world (a patriarchal, tribal worldview), Jesus responded by radically changing their definition of family – “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? These people here with me now are my family!” (Mark 3). Then he went about his life, not expecting or demanding that his genetic family see things his way or change.

Neither did Jesus spend much time with family or religious authorities who didn’t share his values. After all, the best way to resist patriarchy and tribalism is simply not to participate in it. In moving toward a better, healthier way of living, one naturally moves away from ways that are harmful or toxic.

The same path is open to each of us too. We can continue to bemoan the fact that families, corporations, hierarchies or institutions fail to share our values. We can expend much energy pressuring or demanding them to change – or we can simply start living in a different way. We can change. Like my friend L, we can live into a new reality and invite others to join us.

Resurrection: Walk out of the tomb. Walk into a new reality.

“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” 
Richard Rohr

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True Freedom

Photo R. Meshar

Photo R. Meshar

If I’m not able to freely choose that which contributes to my health and wholeness – whether it be healthy, mutual relationships, nutritious food or enriching activities – then I’m not truly free because something or someone else enslaves me. That enslavement, addiction or distraction impoverishes me because it keeps me from being able to choose freely for those things which will keep me healthy and sustain my life.

Justice begins within.

Wealth Inequality – Meet the Reality

If you think you have a good idea about wealth distribution in the United States – watch this short video gone viral on Wealth Inequality in America and then tell me if your understanding squares with reality.

Likewise, read “Exceptional upward mobility in the United States is a myth.” Check the results of this new study from the University of Michigan here.

Lest you believe the often repeated – but false – meme “But the rich create jobs,” let me remind you that the rich have been subsidized with lowered income and capital gains tax rates since the mid-nineties and jobs have not been created. In fact, in subsidizing the rich with billions in government welfare (lowered income tax rates) millions of people have become unemployed.

The truth is that the rich do not create jobs. Merely having money does not cause one to start up a business. Rather, it is demand that motivates new business start-ups. Demand for goods and services creates jobs. A strong middle class, therefore, stimulates demand and in doing so creates jobs.

You may also be surprised to know that small business owners are the largest employers of our economy – not big corporations. Helping the middle class helps them expand and create jobs.

If you want a healthy, job-creating economy, support tax policies that provide basic necessities for those who are vulnerable (mostly women and children) and strengthen our middle class. Eliminate massive government welfare for the rich and corporations inherent in income and capital gains tax subsidies.

How to do this? You may also like Eliminate Capital Gains Tax Subsidy and Time to Tax Wall Street.

True Cost of Gun Ownership

Michael Olenick’s post The Lesson of Newtown – Time to Charge for the True Cost of Gun Ownership (posted on NakedCapitalism) offers a pragmatic solution to the “gun rights or violence” dilemma. Olenick writes,

Rather than parsing the Second Amendment one more time there is an easier approach, one typically favored by conservative gun owners for other public policy issues: end cost-shifting. Force those who chose to own guns to bear the full cost of the mayhem their hobby unleashes. Ending the gun subsidies will eventually end the gun violence.

Olenick notes that,

This solution does not violate the Second Amendment: people are still free to own all the guns they want; they just have to pay full freight for the cost of guns to society.

Further he explains how his solution also leverages the right-wing’s propensity for use taxes:

Right-wing politicians seem to have equal zeal for taxation based on use and against cost-shifting, so it will be interesting to hear them defend why non gun owners should subsidize the massive cost of widespread gun ownership. I can’t wait to hear the Tea Baggers explain why the cost of open gun ownership should be externalized to the families of the slain children, those who survived, and all the other terrorized first graders, teachers, and parents in the country.

I realize that to many people their guns are precious. Guess what: I think my first-grade daughter is precious too. . . I know it’s brazen but I’m even willing to say our kids are a hell of a lot more precious than your guns.

Read all of his post here. The fact is that ethically, all rights are not created equal. Our right to life, safe schools, safe homes and safe neighborhoods trumps others’ right to own weapons.  Gun ownership violates these basic human rights – at a huge cost to our society. Gun owners should bear this cost.

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