Sunday, April 1, 2012

Who? Me?

Holy Week begins with the most political action Jesus took -- the actual confrontation of the unjust Roman system which was draining Judea and its people. In a recent paper, two historians calculated the income distribution of Rome at its highest and found that Rome, with its slaves, was a more equal society that America today. How are Christians to react to that? ARE we to react to that? Bishop Tutu observed that in situations of inequity, to remain neutral is to side with the oppressor. Where are we, church? Join us for our sermon, "Who? Me?" by clicking HERE for audio or HERE for text.

Community Presbyterian Church of Bellefonte, Kentucky, was built on the casting floor of a 19th Century iron blast furnace. We use "The Casting Floor" as an image for the power of the Spirit to form us. Visit us at


  1. Stew, I am bothered when anyone tries to bring "What would Jesus do" into our present political scene -- either my evangelical friends because they believe that God must be a Republican, or my liberal friends who believe that Jesus would favor a socialistic form of government and believe that all Republicans are rich and/or uncaring. Jesus could have eliminated poverty -- it must have been one of the temptations in the wilderness, but He did not. And there is that seemingly callus remark about the woman who anointed Him with expensive oil, "The poor you have always with you." (there are several strange remarks attributed to Jesus in the Gospels.) Agreed, he had no use for the established government or the institutionalized religion ("Brood of vipers") He didn't heal all of the sick and lame. He probably could have. He didn't make the poor richer.... He made their lives richer by showing God's love to them. He healed the ones he came into contact with.

    What does that mean to those of us looking at the current political scene (aside from the fact that we have a dysfunctional government -- most especially in California) Does it mean we should favor a government which will redistribute wealth and make everyone the same?(Communism was supposed to do that) -- or that the government should support everyone? Or that the government should build up business so that everyone who would work can work for a living wage? or that...??? Each individual has to answer that question -- and I think that part of our problem is that each individual and each group has a different answer. There is no "What would Jesus do?" answer. "What would Jesus do?" is a question for an individual, not a government. Governments are not Christian. Individuals are Christian, and must make decisions about what they want their government to do.

    There is a short story in Spanish by a Hispanic author about a peasant who was working in his field and had an epiphany that he would be granted one wish by God. While he pondered seriously what his wish would be, he met a neighbor with a sick child, a widowed neighbor barely able to make it by, and others with serious problems.
    Thinking of all of this, in the middle of the night it finally occurred to him what his wish should be -- "I wish that the world would be as God means it to be" (or wants it to be, or something like that.) And he felt an overwhelming assurance that his wish was granted. In the morning he got up and went about his business and the world was the same. The sick were still sick, the poor were still poor, etc. and we are left to contemplate whether 1) There is no God and it was all a hallucination, or 2) Maybe God is in charge and the world is as He means it to be, or???

    Anyway -- a thoughtful sermon -- and, as always, thanks for listening!
    Coral (Not putting this on Facebook, because I don't know who sees it )

  2. I don't think poverty is the problem that Jesus addressed on that first Palm Sunday. In any society I can imagine, some people will do well, others will not. The problem is enforced poverty, enforced when the structures we create operate to produce an uneven playing field. If minimum wage is set as low as it is, then mother and father must each work, and sometimes two jobs. One of the English teachers here works also at a grocery store AND cuts grass to supplement his earnings. Is that just, do you think?

    What of those who have no access to health care? Those with undiagnosed and untreated diabetes? Why should something as basic as health care be rationed to the wealthy? How effective an employee would you be if you were also sick?

    If the field is kept level, we will still have wealthy and poor, but we will not have it because we have hypocritically made it impossible for those on the lower end to do better. The Wal-Mart example, I thought, is a good one. If you work hard, and keep your nose clean, you are rewarded with a paycheck 6% lower than the poverty line for a family of four. Do we think this is the way to raise Americans?

  3. But what is your solution? I think we all agree (or most of us) that all should have access to health care -- but what is the best way to provide it? I happen to think that Obmacare is flawed.... My social security and my medicare -- which I paid into -- are managed by the government and are in danger of going broke -- English teachers are a bit better paid in California -- my daughter works for a charter school and is paid a relatively low wage for teachers in CA ($48,000) -- but she chooses that because of the working conditions -- California teachers with years in the system are getting into the 80s and 90s -- The Wal-mart example is a good one -- but what is your solution?

  4. And, although California is in the mid range in the nation for teacher salaries -- and number 35 for "comfort zone" of salary, we have one of the least effective education systems in the country -- Property taxes were once supposed to pay for education, but the state decided that was not fair to the less wealthy school districts -- and then they put all prop taxes into the general fund and have over spent that fund immeasurably! I think probably a single payer health care system is the best answer -- but I don't trust the insurance companies -- and the government has proven itself irresponsible! I wish I knew an answer!

  5. 1. The playing field must be level. We cannot have one America for the rich and another for the poor when it comes to food and medical care.

    2. The playing field must be level. We cannot have a situation in which the rich have greater access to the levers of government than have the poor. We are sinners all. If the wealthy get to make the rules, the rules will favor the wealthy. It is best not to depend on a man's better nature -- he might not have one.

    3. The playing field must be level. Corporations are creatures of our own creation designed to further our own goals. Since those goals are designed by people they are sinful. Their function is to convince us that it is alright to pursue our sinful goals by substituting the goals of the corporations for the goals of Almighty God. Citizens United must be overruled.

    4. For a start