Jesus vs. Trump – On Trade

President-elect Donald Trump ran a campaign focused on scrapping current and pending trade agreements, and increasing tariffs on imported goods from countries like Mexico and China. It’s all part of an America First approach to doing business domestically and globally.

The arguments over trade are  being made on economic grounds. Free traders articulate the case that everyone is better off when people in each part of the world produce and sell what they’re best at doing. Those who would retreat from trade point to perceived and real loss of American jobs to other countries – especially in manufacturing.

But to date, few consider whether not just economic but more fundamental moral issues are at stake. Is it moral or immoral to say I will no longer buy from the country next door – or even half a world away?

And so the question is posed: What would Jesus say about being pro- or anti-trade? 

The short answer: Jesus is a free-trader. And not on primarily economic but rather on moral grounds.

Trump is wrong. So are fellow travelers Hillary and Bernie. Shutting down free trade is not just bad economics, it’s downright immoral.

Even if it could work, a beggar my neighbor world where my counterpart in China or Korea or Vietnam loses his or her job so I can (maybe) keep mine is helping is certainly not making human-kind better. But rather, more impoverished.

Jesus’ Good Neighbor World

Does Jesus have anything to say that bears on the morality of free versus restricted commerce? Very simply, it’s all to be found in the most famous story ever told by Jesus – the parable of the Good Samaritan.

If nothing else, Jesus is a story teller. In this case, the impetus for Jesus to tell the parable of the so-called Good Samaritan comes from Jesus’ interaction with a lawyer – a trained debater who wants to test the God-man by asking a basic question: “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responds not with an answer but with a question of his own: “what is written in the law?”

As a legal question, the lawyer quickly gives a rote legal answer about loving the Lord your God with all your heart … and loving your neighbor as yourself. Jesus indicates the lawyer has passed His test: “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

But rather than being shown up by an  itinerant Savior, the lawyer presses the point by asking a definitional question: “And who is my neighbor?” A bit like Bill Clinton before a grand jury parsing out “what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

Jesus is more than game. He defines “neighbor” not as Webster’s or Wikipedia might do it, but with a story. And to refresh, here are the essential points:

  • A man is robbed and left half dead.
  • The first people to come across the beaten man are a priest and a temple helper, agents of a supposedly compassionate faith. Neither stops to help but stay away as far as possible.
  • Next comes a Samaritan, a low life in the eyes of the first century Jewish elite. But the Samaritan stops, treats the wounds, takes the victim to an inn, even pays for about 24 days of lodging during which time the wounds can heal. The Samaritaan even says he’ll pay more if the tab runs higher.

Here, Jesus’ story ends – as he focuses back on the lawyer to ask a pivotal question: “(who) was the neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” The lawyer has no choice but to answer the obvious: “The one who showed him mercy.” Or as another New Testament translation puts it: “The one who helped him.”

And then comes the master’s punchline: “Go and do likewise.”

The World of Trump vs. Jesus

America’s president-elect is like the priest or the temple helper who passes as far as possible from the wounded, the “losers” of this universe. Perhaps a bit more charitably, The Donald might first go over, pull out the wounded’s ID to verify if this victim is native born – preferably one who voted for him on November 8.

For the president-elect, a woman or man is a neighbor only if bred and born in the U.S. For Jesus, the neighbor was the Samaritan – of a different ethnicity, a different religion, a different nation. For Jesus, our neighbor is as much the person in the Vietnamese footwear manufacturing shop or the Indian call center as it is the steelworker in Ohio or aircraft manufacturer in Seattle.

For Jesus, our neighbor is not only the person next door but the individual, family, nation half a world away. Our neighbor is anybody with whom we interact or affect – wittingly or otherwise.

The arbitrary restriction of trade would mean that the person or nation who can do the most for the least is cut out of the action – in favor of the person, business or nation that will do the least for more. Everyone loses. The productive soul that could do it best is displaced, impovrished, beaten. And the less productive entity gets its just reward by paying more for the same (or perhaps inferior) product, resulting in a reduced standard of living, especially for those of the most limited means.

There is a case to be made for free trade that is also fair trade – no selling below cost, no stealing someone else’s invention, no lying or cheating to make the sale. Jesus speaks favorably of those who play by the rules and work or invest for positive, predictable return.

But for those displaced by American industries no longer competitive, consider again the words of Jesus when he admonishes: “Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum (or China), do also here in Your country (state, city, rust-belt – as the case may be.)” No people, no country is entitled to rest on its laurels. Eachand every  day is a fresh new occasion to prove oneself worthy in the global marketplace of goods, services, ideas and values. 

Conclusion

There are two questions the lawyer asks. #1 – what can I do to inherit (not earn) never ending life? Jesus’ answer: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

Lawyer question #2 – who is my neighbor? Jesus’ answer: It’s anyone whose path I cross – whether intentionally or inadvertently.

In other words: I need to be prepared buy from or sell to the worker halfway around the world on similar terms as I would buy or sell from my immediate family member, co-worker, or store down the street. And to give each the same measure of respect.

The bottom line: if The Donald is to define neighborly based on America first (to the exclusion or detriment of our extended neighbor network), then he’s missed the point of what The Christ advocated. The message of Jesus is clear. Eternity belongs to the neighborly – even when it may cost to be neighborly.

In the end, squeezing our global neighbors will prove counterproductive. The road kill we pass by will inevitably include our own.

So come, listen to Jesus’ story, again and yet again. And then, act accordingly.

Rather than beggar thy neighbor; how about assist and enrich the neighbor – whether that neighbor be Mexican, Canadian, Indo-Chinese, Indian, African, Russian, Kurdish, or …

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The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37, NRSV)

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite (temple helper), when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii (paying for 24 days lodging), gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’

Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

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Let my people go …

The people of the U.S. have spoken. And the electors will soon follow:

As Moses implored the Pharaoh of Egypt repeatedly: “Let my people go…

Moses’ campaign pleas were made on behalf of Israelites who believed in their leader as well as those who though this aged murderer was leading them to disaster.

President-elect Trump has just made a mockery of the elites of the U.S. – the pollsters, the media, the high-tech gurus, the entertainers, the Wall Street tycoons, the educators and those inside the Beltway.

The president-elect may be a coarse buffoon but he knows his people. He has made promises impossible to keep, but he has given hope to those screwed over by the last decade or more. Even as the elites have come to control more of the goodies while the “deplorables” work harder and receive less – except the patronizing derision of their new techno masters.

Moses called out: ‘”Let my people go, so that they may celebrate a festival to me in the wilderness.”
The Donald cries out: “Let my people go, that they may celebrate the return of hope in the wilderness of a depleted middle America.”

Shame on the elites for dumping on those who made America great!

And the Trump cries out: “Let my people go, to work again in jobs that provide a livable income and a sense of self-worth in life.”

“Let my people go, to worship the God of their fathers and mothers, without fear of censorship or exclusion from the circles of community leadership and authority.”

“Let my people go, to rebuild families torn apart by underemployment, substance abuse, and an overweening state that parses out social welfare to keep the masses fat, satiated, and compliant.”

“Let my people go, to grab their share of capitalism’s booty and put the elites on notice that the thievery of arrogant liberalism is now cut short.”

As Jesus would say, “the first will be last, and the last will be first.” And that’s justice.

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Jesus the Boomer?

A columnist for the Washington Post, Dana Milbank, has recently posted a pre-election op-ed with the headline: “Baby boomers, you’ve done enough; it’s Generation X’s turn.”

The columnist’s invective is strong and spot on. While much of his fire is aimed at Donald Trump, much the same could be said of fellow baby boomer Hilary Clinton. As Milbank says: “Boomers, coddled in their youth, grew up selfish and unyielding. When they got power, they created polarization and gridlock from both sides. Though Vietnam War-protesting boomers got the attention, their peers on the right were just as ideological, creating the religious right.”

Beyond the harsh condemnation of the baby boom generation, Milbank offers a an insightful categorization of generational patterns that “repeat over time.” And jesustheheresy.com asks the question: could there have been a similar patterns of intra- and inter-generational conflict much earlier – for example, dating to the time of Jesus’ sojourn two millennia  back?

Generational Patterns

Consider first the four generational descriptions offered up by Milbank:

  • The Civics – most recently epitomized by those termed as the Greatest Generation, born in the first 2-3 decades of  the 1900s, serving on the front lines in World War II and building the post-war America of Leave it to Beaver.
  • The Adaptives – a much smaller cohort coming of age during the Depression and World War II, also known as the Silent Generation. 
  • The Idealists – aka today’s Baby Boomers born amid the great population explosion of 1946-64.
    Note: Donald Trump was born in 1946; Hilary Clinton in 1947.
  • The Reactives – today comprising the group known as Generation X, a much smaller cohort in numbers but now with the task to “clean up idealists’ messes.”

Milbank observes that idealists  are responsible for previous messes throughout American history. Idealistic generations led us into the U.S. Civil war, followed by a similar generation leading into the Great Depression, and with the latest incarnation of idealists giving us everything from civil disobedience in the 1960s to the financial collapse of 2008 and ensuing Great Recession.

But our columnist also offers hope via the next up-and-coming generation of Millennials. If history repeats itself, it will be today’s twenty-somethings who will take the helm as the next installment of Civics, building on the clean-up by Gen X of the now fractured American polity.

What Generation Jesus?

Can the American experience be translated back into the era of 1st century Palestine? Consider the evidence that Jesus’ generation may serve as a remarkable forerunner of today’s baby boomer set:

  • Start with The Civics – some of the greatest builders and power players the world has ever known – Caesar Augustus, Marc Antony, Cleopatra, Herod the Great – all born between about 63 and 83 BC. Just as the Civics of the last century produced leaders of great good (Roosevelt, Churchill, Eisenhower, Marshall), so this generation also produced those of great evil (as with Hitler and Stalin). Much the same could be said of the Civics that preceded Christ.
  • Then look for the Adaptives – a relatively silent generation then as well as more recently. Examples of persons born from the 50s to 20s BC include the conservative Jewish philosophical leaders Shammai (a counterpoint to the older and more liberal Hillel), Johanan ben Zakai (a primary contributor to the core text of Rabbinical Judaism after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD), and Philo (Jewish Hellenistic philosopher). Another born with this generation was the man who would become Emperor Tiberius during Jesus adulthood (and who retreated from the rigors of imperial governance for the isle of Capri after his own mid-life crisis).
  • Now we come to the Idealists – persons born from about 20 BC to the first decade of the common era – including Jesus, Jesus’ mother Mary (at the older end of the same generation), the disciples, Paul the apostle, and the birth of the Jewish zealot movement.
  • Finally, there are the Reactives – those born up to about 30 AD including King Herod Agrippa II (respected by Paul) and the Roman General and future Emperor Vespasian (who initially led the fight to suppress the Jewish insurrection against Rome starting 66-67 AD).

As is potentially the case with today’s Millennials who follow in the footsteps of America’s Greatest Generaion, so there was a new round of Civics born in the Mediterranean region in the decade of the 30s (about or just after the time of the crucifixion of Jesus). Examples are Luke (the writer of a gospel and the Acts of the Apostles), Josephus (Jewish general turned historian), and Emperor Titus (son of Vespasian, conquerer of Jerusalem and acclaimed final builder of the Roman Coliseum).

The Road Ahead

Despite strong condemnation of today’s baby boom generation, columnist Milbank concludes as bullish on prospects for a better world – as the reins of leadership and power are inevitably transferred from “narcissitic” boomers to Generation X and then the Millennials.

But just how rosy is that future? Yes, America patched up the wounds of the Civil War over the decades that followed. And, after another generation of idealists led us into the Great Depression, a world war pulled us out – establishing American preeminence that only now is beginning to fade. In both instances, the case can be made that the U.S. ended up better than before – despite the pain and suffering in-between.

But there is a darker scenario to consider – the experience of the 1st century AD. Rome fared well but first century Judea did not survive its spell of what Milbank terms as “hyper-partisanship and polarization and gridlock.” Rather than solving their own problems, the cities of Judea and Galilee were destroyed and the population dispersed – waiting nearly 1,900 years for the long awaited re-establishment  of a Jewish state in Israel. Two millennia earlier, the ultimate idealist – Jesus of Nazareth – saw it all coming in advance but stepped aside for history to take its own course.

As an American nation and as a global community, we may get lucky again – survive, heal and rebuild from the nasty divides engendered by the Clinton-Trump campaigns – not to mention all the rocky battles ahead. A positive outcome is by no means assured. The downside risk is that this American experiment fails; that democracy is proven as not sustainable. The Gen X’ers may start but not finish their clean-up of Boomer inflicted wounds on each other and the nations. Millennials will never get their chance to rebuild anew. And the world will be the worse for it.

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Locker Room Trash Talk vs. Illicit Sex

Much is made about revelations about Donald Trump’s boasting of his power to seduce women. But in the debate of October 9, the Donald takes what he advocates as the higher ground. In other words, better to talk a demeaning game than to act on the talk.

Or as he put it during the debate, “If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse – mine are words. His was action,” Trump goes on: “Bill Clinton was abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously.”

How Would Jesus Respond?

Nothing directly to the sad and sordid details of this low-life debate. But yet Jesus does yet have something to say that helps frame a Christian response to this Faustian question. As recorded by the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus offers a story – a parable – about two sons and their obedience to their father.

The question addressed by Jesus is: Is it better to walk the walk or talk the talk? Here’s what the master has to say:

“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go.  Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.” (Matthew 21:28-31)

In effect, Jesus gives more credence to the guy who doesn’t act on his trash talk than to the one who talks a good game but then acts despicably.

Applied to the saga of Donald Trump vs. Bill Clinton – Donald is on the morally higher ground if he did not act on his demeaning talk than Bill Clinton if he did engage in multiple affairs despite protestations to the contrary. And Hilary is complicit by her trash talking those women who were victimized.

All of this assumes, of course, that the Donald did not force women against their will. If it is proven that he did, then Donald’s actions are the more damnable.

 

Blessed Are the Poor … In Spirit

In his infamous Sermon on the Mount, the Gospel of Matthew records Jesus as saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This is the first beatitude … front and center.

Luke’s gospel records what Jesus said somewhat differently, as “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Luke’s version differs from that of Matthew in three distinct ways:

  • Matthew’s version of the blessing is for those who are “poor of spirit.” Luke has a totally different twist, focusing the blessing on the “poor” in material being. This different nuance pervades Luke as a social gospel – most interested in lifting the poor out of the poverty. Unlike Luke, Matthew is focused on humanity’s spiritual rather than physical condition – a perspective that pervades his entire gospel.
  • Luke’s version of what Jesus speaks is more inter-relational, focused on “you” while Matthew is interested in them and “theirs”.
  • Finally, Luke describes a “kingdom of God” while Matthew depicts a “kingdom of heaven.” For Matthew, the afterlife is about a place – called heaven. For Luke, the kingdom is about “God” and our relationship to the divine.

With the 2016 Republican convention just behind us and the Democratic just ahead, the question posed by this blog is: What does being poor (or poor in spirit) have to do with the 2016 U.S. presidential election? Plenty.

Jesus for Trump?

At first glance, there appears to be little in common between Jesus first beatitude and the behavior of Donald Trump. Mr. Trump is neither poor nor poor in spirit. He flaunts his wealth and exhibits anything but a humble spirit. By the measure of either Matthew or Luke, the Donald would appear to fall short of the kingdom.

But there may be an out. What if, unlike the rich young ruler of the first century AD, Mr. Trump was prepared to sell everything – whether literally or methaphorically – and give it all to the poor? At the GOP convention, he certainly talked a good game. Well, not so much for the truly poor. But rather for the forgotten and shrinking middle. As he declared:

“I have visited the laid-off factory workers, and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals. These are the forgotten men and women of our country. People who work hard but no longer have a voice. I am your voice.”

Is this the real Donald? Or just a part of the act? Does he really care? Or is he just looking to ride the presidency to feather his own nest? Will the forgotten middle become even more invisible if and when Mr. Trump becomes president?

Most likely, we won’t know until and unless the American people take the leap of faith with the Donald into the unknown – unknown perhaps even to him.

Jesus for Hillary?

Even though she has long talked a good game, Hillary Clinton appears to fail by the metrics of either Matthew or Luke. Starting at Wellesley college and extending beyond to roles as wife of a governor and president, then U.S. senator and secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton has lived an adulthood of privilege. She fails the material test and doesn’t do much better on when it comes to humbleness of spirit. She is quoted as saying:

“We need to raise pay, create good-paying jobs, and build an economy that works for everyone—not just those at the top. I’ll cut taxes for the middle class, raise the minimum wage, and ensure the wealthiest pay their fair share.”

Sounds good, but how real? No less than primary opponent Bernie Sanders has repeatedly taken Clinton to task for favoring big business and wealth over the everyday American. As he pithily noted earlier this year:

“I introduced legislation to [prevent banks from being predatory] when Secretary Clinton was busy giving speeches to Goldman Sachs for $225,000 a speech.”

And this is the same Clinton who has also observed that “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Hardly a helping hand to workers who’ve now been on the short end of the stick for decades.

An Aside

There’s one small additional problem we are only recently beginning to get. The Americans who get the best shake today are the wealthy elites followed by those with the lowest incomes. The wealthy represent modern protective guilds. Those with the lowest incomes are increasingly catered to by the American welfare state – with little incentive to improve their lot on their own.

Which leaves what once was called working class and middle class. Slipping further behind. While perhaps not yet fully financially impoverished, they are clearly emotionally and culturally spent. And anger expressed as a result – as represented by the extremes of Trump and Sanders.

These are the poor in spirit of the early 21st century – with no blessing in sight. 

Does Anyone Really Care?

There is an old Chicago lyric that goes something like: “Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?” The answer: “If so, I can’t imagine why.”

The pivotal economic questions of this presidential campaign are: What do we do about a growing disparity of American incomes? About leaving more working and previously middle class Americans in the dust?

What we get from the Republican and Democratic candidates is less than reassuring. Trump talks about making America great again; Hillary about raising pay. In both cases, actions speak louder than words. As Jesus would say of the teachers of law in his day:

“… be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”

With the election of 2016, it has never been more important to test the rhetoric against past performance and readily understandable proposals for the future. Then vote accordingly. Vote for the candidate demonstrating reasonable knowledge of the issue coupled with articulated solutions and the track record of past performance to match.

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Expect Conflict & Make Peace

Starting in Ferguson and most recently extending to Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Dallas, and back to Baton Rouge, America is in the grips of the seemingly surprising re-emergence of conflict between its African-American communities and the police responsible for protecting these samecommunities. Looking from the vantage point of the Brexit-divided British isles, the Economist magazine on July 16 seems perplexed, stating:

America has problems, but this picture is a caricature of a country that,
on most measures, is more prosperous,
more peaceful and less racist than ever before.

So, what gives? Why is a seemingly post-racial country that has unprecedentedly elected its first African-American president and that experiences greater prosperity than most parts of the world facing renewed racial conflict?

There are plenty of pundits seeking answers from a secular (but confined) perspective. For a few brief moments, consider the alternative divine perspective of the author of both conflict and peace.

Jesus’ Take

During his brief earthly ministry, Jesus comes across as being on both sides of the question. On the one hand, in speaking what are known as the beatitudes to a large audience overlooking the Sea of Galilee, proclaiming:

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

Sounds like the typical liberal, coddling, approach to human conflict resolution. But that’s not the full story. For on yet another occasion, Jesus forcefully articulates an opposing viewpoint as he rhetorically asks:

Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.

This Jesus not only expects conflict; he  actively seeks to create division and disunity. Sounds like the Donald.

So, what is the answer? How are we to resolve Jesus’ expectations of conflict coupled with the countervailing exhortation to making peace?

Shortly after making his this seemingly incendiary statement about conflict, Jesus does provide a way out. It’s not a direct answer but a formula. And a formula that is illustrated in legal terms as Jesus throws the resolution right back to those in the middle of seemingly intractable division –  by asking:

Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?
As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate,
try hard to be reconciled on the way,
or your adversary may drag you off to the judge,
and the judge turn you over to the officer,
and the officer throw you into prison.

I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

Jesus answer is one not of paternalistic enabling but of tough love. He expects, even creates, conflict. He then demands that we each take responsibility to work out our differences. Before getting to the courtroom, or rioting and looting, or mercilessly beating and casting aside the perceived enemy.

Jesus tells us what to do, not how. The how is left up to rational, emotional, even in-the-moment, antagonists.

And if we don’t work it out? Well, the consequences of delayed action can be even more dire than the initial conflict itself.

What do the Donald & Hillary Say?

The re-emergence of racial and class conflict represents a somewhat surprising but nonetheless pivotal litmus test for the two presumed nominees in the 2016 run-off for the U.S. presidency. The liberal candidate takes the path of the peacemaker, the enabler – to the point of glossing over the violence and destruction and illegal and anti-social behavior. The newcomer to law-and-order conservatism overplays justice and retribution at the expense of mercy. Left to their own devices, the approach of either candidate runs the risk of deepening rather than rectifying the great tear in America’s social fabric.

For the voter, expectations should rise above business as usual. Vote the candidate that  demonstrates reconciliation on the way to but before further conflagration.


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Brexit, Jesus & the American Presidency

Well, the Brits have done it. A catastrophic defeat for arrogant capitalism run amok. A victory for the mediocrity of parochial socialism on the peasants’ march through western civilization.

A time to grieve for what is being lost – and for the world ahead. So, what would Jesus say?

Jesus’ Response to Grief

Prior to his crucifixion, there are three rather instructive instances that the New Testament records of Jesus’ response to overwhelming grief:

  • At the death of his friend Lazarus when “Jesus wept” – not because his friend was no longer living but rather because family and friends could not conceive there was a stronger power at hand with the capacity to overcome catastrophe, even death.
  • Despondency over the foreseen destruction of Jerusalem – with Jesus again weeping as he laments over God’s city as a place that “kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!” Jesus longs to gather the children of the city together, “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” Jesus peers just 40 years into the future, a time when “your house is left to you desolate” – the legacy of insurrection against Rome as imperial power and of interminable squabbling within the indigenous Jewish community. 
  • In a garden where Jesus begs Father God for a path other than death by crucifixion – sweating blood even as he prays that his supreme commander would “take this cup away from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.”

A Brexit Connection?

So, what causes Jesus to grieve? Three things: lack of community vision, in-fighting that precludes thoughtful solutions, and commitment to stay the course.

Why did Brits choose to leave the EU? No more tolerance for a common good extending beyond the borders of the isle, in-attentiveness of the ruling elite to the exigencies of everyday life, and frustration strong enough to cast aside 40+ years of trying to make the marriage work.

American Application

As the apparent standard bearers of their respective parties, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton (also non-conceding Bernie Sanders) seem likewise ready to raise the drawbridge and walk from the global community. To withdraw from an America known as the “shining city on a hill” into a survivalist fortress of the fittest. From a country that would take your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” to “throw the rascals out.” From a planet where all boats rise together to “beggar thy neighbor.”

We will all be poorer, more self-centered, and broken as a result. And the sad thing is, there is no leadership left to articulate the vision of a better future yet within our grasp – but only as we prove ourselves individually and collectively willing to reach for each other.

Within the lifetime of many who traveled with Gods’ designated representative on earth. Rome razed Jerusalem to the ground. Would Father or Son lift a finger to save those who did themselves in with their own arrogance, hubris, and festering hatreds?

No way! For as Jesus would say: “Physician, heal thyself.”

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