Tag Archives: Domination systems

To Live is to Learn — The World Is My Classroom

For me, “to live is to learn” in the great classroom we call “the world.”  When I reach the point where this is no longer true for me it will be time for me to permanently check out of this life.

This great classroom is full of things to be learned. The physical world around me with all of its beauty and splendor;  the world of ideas in history; in philosophy; in  biography; in theology and spirituality and religion and in science. I am also constantly learning from the people I’m surrounded by and interact with.  All are also part of the great classroom I inhabit day after day.

I always have been an avid reader and my interests are varied and widespread. For example, currently I’m reading a book by Walter Brueggemann Out of Babylon that compares the Jewish exiles living under the domination system of Babylon to Christians in the U.S. living under  the domination system of American empire. Both try to answer the basic question How do we retain  our identity as Jews or Christians under the domination systems we are currently living under?   I’m  currently reading Breathing Under Water by Richard Rohr, which is about the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous applied to Christian spirituality. I just finished a biography of President George Herbert Walker Bush, The Power and the Destiny (a book on tape that was read to me, which was 625 pages in length), and another biography of John Newton, famous for his life as a slave trading sea captain and begin transformed by his conversion to Christ. He wrote the wonderful hymn Amazing Grace to describe that transformation. I’m now listening to a book on tape, The Indigenous Peoples of North America.

Besides books, I learn each day from people who visit me–my ministers, my family, my friends, my hospice team–They are all part of my classroom.

I learn from the media as they report and editorialize on the news of the day. Programs such as: PBS Newshour, Washington Week, CBS’s 60 Minutes and the morning and evening news programs.

I long ago crossed the threshold of learning because I had to do so (as at school) to learning because I loved to do so.  That is the true test of success for our educators  today.  It is “to enable children to emerge from schools with the life-long desire and love of learning, while having the tools to do so.

As students go back to classrooms this Autumn, I pray that teachers, administrators, board members and legislators keep this lofty goal always in their minds. We need to produce students who strive to and love to learn–not because it is necessary to pass some test, but because it is necessary to satisfy the craving to learn that is a trait of all people if it is not smothered out by those who are preparing them.

Killing Jesus—-Why??

 

We often are so eager to get to the Easter Lilies and the cries of  “He is Risen”, that we forget the significance of what happened the Friday preceding Easter—the Crucifixion.    Without the crucifixion there is no resurrection!    Early Christians were known as the “people of the Cross”, not the Resurrection.    God sent his Son into the world in the human form we know as  Jesus of Nazareth.   Jesus revealed a God to us who is like a loving Father.   He proclaimed the Kingdom of the God he called “Father”, and by his life and his teachings Jesus revealed what the characteristics of that Kingdom are. These characteristics turned the world upside down in his day.  The Kingdom of God needed no temple system with its sacrifices and wealth for the priests and scribes.   The Kingdom of God advocated for the poor, the outcast, the leper, the sinners and said that the “greatest among you shall be the servant of all.”   That phrase about “servants” caused those who were powerful to be uneasy.   The Kingdom of God, as Jesus proclaimed it, was subversive to the economic, social, religious, and political domination systems of the day.   And so these systems combined to kill him!    The same could happen in our day, and in fact has.

St. Anselm, back in the 11th Century came up with a reason that Jesus died on the cross in his “atonement theory”—-postulating that God’s righteousness had to be satisfied and that to atone for the sins of all humanity, God demanded that Jesus be sacrificed on the cross to “pay” for humanity’s sins.  I find it difficult to believe that the God Jesus came to tell us about—a God of love for humanity and all creation—would demand an innocent human sacrifice to pay for our sins!   No—-I believe that human sin crucified Jesus on that cross.   Human greed, human lust for power, and human fear killed himHuman economic, social, religious and power systems combined to kill Jesus because these systems were threatened by his message of life in the Kingdom of God.

 If Jesus came back today and preached and taught and acted toward the domination systems of our day, the result would be the same—-they would kill him—-perhaps not on a cross, but would do so by refusing to even consider everything that he taught and preached and did.  His cross today would be a cross of indifferencebut the effect today is the same—-it silences Jesus once and for all so that the demands of the kingdom of God will not infringe on our comfort, our wealth, our ambition for power, and our economic domination by the few over the many.  God did not demand Jesus’ death, he was the messenger that human beings killed because of his message that threatened their comfortable way of life.  

“He is Risen!”   we will shout this coming Easter Sunday!   I praise God for the promise of the resurrection and the eternal life through that resurrection which is assured to followers of the Christ due to that resurrection!