Monday, December 30, 2019

I Woke Up Troubled This Morning

Greetings, to all my friends and neighbors out there in Internet land! And, for those family members who meet the three criteria (above the daisies, able to use a computer, and both aware and interested in my blog), I hope you don't have to go to the dentist today, unless it's for a social visit.

I woke up troubled this morning. For some reason, I was listening (just in my memory banks) to the first lines of Joan Baez singing "The Ballad of Joe Hill" at Woodstock, 50 years ago last August. I have no explanation as to why that should be so, but, to help clarify, I both listened to the song again, and did a bit of research on Joe Hill.

I already knew he was an early 20th century labor organizer, who was executed under dubious circumstances. What I didn't know was that most of his work was as a songwriter, putting revolutionary words about organizing (at the time, unions were a revolutionary concept) to the tunes of popular songs. One of his works, "The Preacher and the Slave," was set to the tune of the hymn "In The Sweet By and By." His song bewails the practice of those in authority offering poor workers starvation wages, while encouraging them to keep working hard, because they have a reward in heaven.
(Parenthetically: I have not verified this from other sources, but the single site I referenced claims that the term "pie in the sky" originated with this song. I will leave the proof of this as an exercise for the reader.)
(Also parenthetically: Without doubt, the practice of denying a worker appropriate wages is wicked in itself; to cloak greed with the promise of a heavenly reward multiplies the evil. Going beyond the employee-employer relationship,  James tells us that religious words are worthless, if we offer them to a brother or sister in place of providing for their physical needs.)
And I thought: I have food, shelter, and clothing, as well as other comforts that the rest of humanity throughout time, as well as most of the world today, could only dream about. I also have the hope of glory, which is Christ in me. So,
Why then, do I find myself praying so fervently for the things I need to make it through the day?
 I'm not sure, but I think it's because I'm troubled about our country.

There may be a lot of leaders out there, working hard to bring peace, but the noise that reaches me here in my home is that of factions fighting for power at the expense of all else. Long ago, I decided I was NOT going to try to follow political parties, or attend to ANYTHING that seemed to be divisive. Even so, the noise reaches me. I have heard that there are some saying that NOW, TODAY, is the time for active opposition, whether to a government policy, or to a civilian faction espousing some other point of view.

Admittedly, I may hear more about this than some of you, since my one remaining hobby is owning and operating (and reloading for) obsolete (also known as CHEAP!) firearms. However, apart from what seems to me to be a ludicrous battle raging over gun control, I'm also aware that there are some fairly significant issues of freedom of speech and freedom of religion that appear to be on a collision course, and I don't see that as having a good outcome.

It's not all one way, of course, and it hardly ever is. A couple of weeks ago, the editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, a magazine I have long had great respect for, and one of the tiny number of magazines I subscribe to, posted an editorial titled "Trump Should Be Removed from Office."
(insert firestorm of reaction here)
Figuratively speaking, that is. This blog post does not have the bandwidth to actually carry a  firestorm of reaction. Pretty sure you need 4K, 5G, 3D VR, and lots of other alphanumerics to convey a  firestorm of reaction.
(Also also parenthetically: This isn't the first time that Christianity Today has spoken out against a problem with the behavior of a sitting president. The editorial quotes criticisms made in 1998 regarding the seeming inability to tell the truth on the part of then-President Clinton. At the time, he was assailed by Ken Starr's Whitewater investigation, Paula Jones' sexual harassment claims, and final proof of his dalliance with a 22-year-old infatuated intern, Monica Lewinsky (who probably paid the highest price of all concerned.)) 
For me, the great issue with the Galli editorial is that he went beyond identifying problem behaviors, both in the White House, and from the seemingly unquestioning evangelical supporters of the administration, to pronouncing sentence on the president: he should be removed from office. THAT, in my opinion, is NOT within the purview of the editor-in-chief. YES, identify the issues, and tell it like it is! Absolutely! But, DON'T pronounce the sentence. As Galli correctly states, that decision rests in the hands of the Senate, with the impeachment process, and with the electorate, if he remains in office.
Perhaps I am mistaken. I am not in the Trump camp, and thus as unaware as possible about all of the fragrance surrounding, etc, etc. When I was 19, I was a Democrat; by the time I was 33, I voted Republican. I considered affiliating with the Libertarians, but they are just a little bit crazier than I wish to be considered.

Regardless of all, I woke up troubled.

Part of today's study was Psalm 12, and it helped, a bit.
1 Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be,
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
2 They speak falsehood to one another;
With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.
3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
The tongue that speaks great things;
4 Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?”
5 “Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy,
Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he longs.”
6 The words of the Lord are pure words;
As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
7 You, O Lord, will keep them;
You will preserve him from this generation forever.
8 The wicked strut about on every side
When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.
May all of good will be found in the safety for which we long. 

Peace be on your household.