Choosing What We Will Serve

Emily Heath: “In Moby Dick Captain Ahab lives for finding and killing the giant whale that had injured him. And his obsession destroys not just him but others. In The Picture of Dorian Gray the protagonist so worships his own beauty, that it becomes his downfall. And in Harry Potter, Voldemort so fears death, that he kills multitudes to try to avoid it.

The false gods we worship, the distractions, the things we put our faith in other than God, they will not save us. They will more often than not aid us in our own destruction.

And yet, more often than not, we do it anyway. We find idols all around us. And we put our faith in them instead of in God, even when we don’t realize we are doing it.

I said a few moments ago that we worship not just one hour a week on Sunday mornings, but every hour of our lives. I believe that is true. No, we don’t sit in pews and offer up formal prayers to our distractions, but they are there none the less, and we do worship them.

We worship them by giving them our attention. Our time. Our money. Our hope. We let them shape our identity and define us. We let them give us meaning. And far too often, they leave us disappointed.”

Emily C. Heath

The following was preached as a sermon on Joshua at the Congregational Church in Exeter, Sunday, August 23, 2015.

Everyone has heard of Moses. He was the guy who talked to the Burning Bush. He told Pharaoh “let my people go”. He helped his people cross the Red Sea and went up on the top of the mountain and came down again with the Ten Commandments. As Biblical figures go, he’s a rock star.

But the guy you probably don’t know as much about, is the one who had the unenviable task of following him in the job. The one who had to assume command after Moses died just shy of the Promised Land. The one who had to lead the people as they figured out what it was to no longer be lost in the wilderness, but to be putting down roots.

His name was Joshua. And his job was…

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Choosing What We Will Serve

John Wight – “Mass migration: Destroyer of empires and super powers” — RT Op-Edge

“Unsurprisingly, the political classes sitting at the apex of this unsustainable reality are in denial, refusing to countenance for a moment their role as authors and architects of a world that creeps every closer to the abyss. It is a congenital disorder they share with their Roman antecedents. Like them they are increasingly attached to the deployment of force and hard power to deal with the symptoms of the gross inequality and inequity that underpins the global economic and political system. In so doing they continue to deepen rather than alleviate the problem.

As the Roman philosopher, Seneca, reminds us: “For greed all nature is too little.”

Donald Trump is no Seneca. He is, instead, a monster created by an apparatus of greed and rampant individualism that will, if unchecked, lead inexorably to its own destruction.

The scenes of desperate humanity we are currently witnessing at the Channel port of Calais and in Macedonia are the product of a world underpinned by greed and the philosophy that says “might is right.” It cannot last on this basis. What is more, it doesn’t deserve to.”

via Mass migration: Destroyer of empires and super powers — RT Op-Edge.

John Wight – “Mass migration: Destroyer of empires and super powers” — RT Op-Edge

Shaun King, Daily Kos – “Episcopal priest on road trip with interracial family shares harrowing story of police harassment”

“You seem nervous. Why are you nervous?”

“I’m nervous because you separated me from my family. I’m nervous because your partner is hovering over them. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there have been a lot of high profile incidents of police killing black people in the last few months. And you partner has his hand resting on his belt, near his pistol. So yes, I’m nervous.”

That’s what I thought. That’s what I wanted to say. But the angels of discretion (or perhaps those of cowardice) kept me quiet.

“No, I’m not nervous.”

“Hm.”

via Episcopal priest on road trip with interracial family shares harrowing story of police harassment.

Shaun King, Daily Kos – “Episcopal priest on road trip with interracial family shares harrowing story of police harassment”

The Confederate Flag, the History of the South, and the Testimony of our Sisters and Brothers

“I have thought of Senator Pinckney’s words since the terrorist attack on Emmanuel AME Church, but instead of the account of Thomas in the Gospel of John, who came to believe after seeing what his sisters and brothers were telling him, I have thought about a different post-resurrection account in the Gospel of Mark: “Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen” (Mark 16:14). I feel sad because it feels as if many are seeing and hearing the testimony of their sisters and brothers of color, but yet they refuse to believe. The hardest part for me when it comes to racism in America is this: My sisters and brothers won’t believe me when I tell them my own experience of racism in this country. They refuse to believe my brown, black, and Native American brothers and sisters, too. There is a dogged refusal in many parts of our country and in our church in this nation to listen and believe the testimony of our sisters and brothers when it comes to the reality of their lives, especially when it relates to the pain and effects of racism.”

via The Confederate Flag, the History of the South, and the Testimony of our Sisters and Brothers.

The Confederate Flag, the History of the South, and the Testimony of our Sisters and Brothers

Charles Pierce – “Chattanooga Shooting: American Violence Never Ends”

“According to estimates, so far in 2015, on almost 27,000 occasions, an American chose that same course of action. They all had problems they had decided they could not solve. They all had grudges. They all had something that made them angry enough. And, as a result, almost 7,000 of our fellow citizens are as dead as the people in Tennessee. This is not an explanation that satisfies any particular agenda but, unquestionably, we are a very fearful nation with an unacknowledged history of violence that also has armed itself very heavily. Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, an American citizen, chose a very American course of action.  He had a problem he couldn’t solve so he reached for the most American of solutions. He reached for a gun and he killed some of his fellow citizens.​”

via Chattanooga Shooting: American Violence Never Ends.

Charles Pierce – “Chattanooga Shooting: American Violence Never Ends”

Hannah Levintova, interviewing filmmaker Mark Silver – “3.5 Minutes, 10 Bullets, and 1 Racially Charged Tragedy” | Mother Jones

MJ: You’re from the UK, which treats firearms very differently than the United States does. How did that affect the film’s outlook? MS: I like to think that it gave me a less judgmental perspective. It’s always weird coming to the US and seeing how powerful the gun lobby is and how passionate some people are about the use of guns when you come from a place where hardly any of our police have guns. I understand philosophically the right to self-defense and the Second Amendment. But consider what practical effect these concepts have. It’s very simple: If there wasn’t a gun in Michael Dunn’s car, Jordan Davis would not be dead, and Michael Dunn would not be spending the rest of his life in prison. The gun created a totally different narrative.

via 3.5 Minutes, 10 Bullets, and 1 Racially Charged Tragedy | Mother Jones.

Hannah Levintova, interviewing filmmaker Mark Silver – “3.5 Minutes, 10 Bullets, and 1 Racially Charged Tragedy” | Mother Jones