Tuesday, May 20, 2008

link to CNN.com article

Barking At The Empire....

Get over it if you think this is a democratic versus a Republican issue. To the extent that we get lost in the Hegelian dialectic supremacy holding sway over our current political machine, we shall never free ourselves into sustainable living. Well, on second thought, forget sustainable....how about survivable? Let's talk about survivability before sustainability. Sustainable living (whatever that really means) for a growing number of people can seem luxurious in this shifting economy and society.

Sustainability in the Empire today requires not only an intellectual assent and equity in its agenda and direction, but a greased slide down a slope of compromise in the end. We're told to swallow the bitter pill of the impact of this emerging global economy; that it's only part of the destructive reconstructionism of the capitalists to forge us necessarily into the global market. We should shoulder the socio-economic casualties as we would the physical in any ongoing, (not to mention, unending), military campaign. But who benefits? Who ultimately stands to gain the most?

Not the people in the above article (linked in the title). We wade our way through these stories (if we stop long enough to absorb them) in a subtle relief of "I'm-glad-it's-them-and-not-us" in the back of our minds. And who can be blamed for that? Yet, who can be far from that peril? Are the economic policies of the ______________ (you name the administration) presidency going to do anything legitimately curative (and not mere flattery-gimmicks like an economic "stimulus" package huckstered by this current administration) as long as they remain beholden to the corporate conglomerations that bank-rolled their campaigns? This, even as they bail out failed, gargantuan investment banks like Bear Stearns and as we funnel billions overseas in the shadow of our own poor.

For the most part, even our elected, Congressional barnacles often prey on the same goodwill of the populace (and constituents), adhering outwardly to a form of care and reform, but only managing to resort to the business-as-usual mode of self-preservation while dropping crumbs to the dogs. And many seem to enter the game well-intentioned; but progression in the Empire (equitable to the acquisition of wealth, power, prestige and office) requires the submissive kiss of the ring of their would-be handlers. That is enough to weed out true reformers. True reform will not ever come through the current system; it's corruption is so thorough, so complete and so entrenched as to warrant a revolution from without. This is one not to be wrought with violence and arms; but one following the clarion call from beyond the veil of the kingdoms of this world (1 John 5:19).

Sometimes it may take life lived in a car after the "palaces" that used to stud the former landscape of the American Scream crumble along with the edifices of our false hopes. There's nothing like the perspective on one's own identity and existence that such an experience can offer.

I might have been someone who, in the past, may have only glanced at such a story in disdain.


This is now the story of another mother; one I know. This is now the story of my own mother, but without the conveniences of having the safe parking lots in which to sleep (albeit in a car) and without any form of gainful employment to be found. This is not in the over-priced and diminished housing opportunities like the West Coast cities such as Santa Barbara and others; we're talking small-city Tennessee. From a good job, condominium, car..... to nothing but a borrowed car, a dog and a cat and not much hope. And within a little over a week of having learned of her situation, this is now OUR story, as we've joyfully taken my mother into our home and our lives so that she doesn't have to worry about shelter, food or safety.

I am taking in a courageous and enormously gracious and thoughtful woman in my mother, and, I am relishing this reunion even in light of the circumstances. There is a presence of the Suffering Servant in taking my mother and her dog and cat into our home. I am finding joy in honoring her in this way. There also abides a warm and awe-inspiring sense of divine timing in how things came to be (or not, in some cases) that enabled us to be this receptive at this stage in our lives.

In all that we are doing, we are finding the Man of Sorrows show up in grocery store aisles, in conversations with people who complain about their jobs and in the plans we can make with the help of the people of God who are aligning themselves to journey with us through this. God is all over this, because, to me, this smells of the revolution and redemption of the Kingdom, even if only thinly approximated as through that veil to which we so often refer. Even then, God provides wonderfully, and in this season, I don't even know where this is going to take all of us. I know the One in Whom I've placed my trust and as my life and outlook is morphed by this experience, it is to the glory of God. And not just for me.

These must be the seeds of sustainability...