Mass Shootings Are a Mammon Problem: Money and its role in our political system is a tool of sinful division

The NRA has poured millions into congressional campaigns, particularly the campaigns of Republicans in battleground states and districts. Gun advocates’ true wickedness is in how they use lofty goals of freedom and justice to mask their profit-making motives. [The NRA] engages in a fearmongering strategy to mislead responsible gun owners into believing their rights are threatened whenever the public calls for commonsense regulations on firearms. The firearms industry is awash with related symptoms of brokenness masquerading as the cause of the problem — from the faux-absence of God from civic life to mental illness and violent people. It is time for us to recognize the sin in allowing ourselves to not view money and its role in our political system as a tool of sinful division in our communities and our churches.

Source: Mass Shootings Are a Mammon Problem | Sojourners

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Neither Trump’s vitriol nor the corporate liberals and multicultural elite challenges the exploitation and oppression of immigrants and migrant workers

It is absolutely vital to denounce the brutal legacy of colonialist plunder that set the capitalist system in motion over 500 years ago. Neither Trump’s explicitly racist vitriol nor the paternalistic “pro-immigrant” discourse of corporate liberals and the multicultural elite challenges the structures allowing for the exploitation and oppression of immigrants and migrant workers. [Capitalists’] ability to earn a profit is literally dependent on an endless supply of highly racialized and deportable bodies. A structural crisis of the global capitalist system reduces human beings to the commodities they either produce, consume, or — in the case of their labor power — are forced to sell. The systematic repression of racialized surplus populations is clearly an attempt to keep a lid on growing discontent among the most socially marginalized, who come to serve as scapegoats for the system’s growing instability. Moral pleas and strident denunciations of xenophobia and hate that are not simultaneously buttressed by an anti-capitalist critique practically invite co-optation by the multicultural corporate elite.

Source: Why Corporate Democrats Do Not Support Immigrant Justice | Alternet

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I love my Babylon; Oh my Lord I’m your enemy

Oh great mammon of form and function; careless consumerist consumption; dangerous dysfunction, disguised as expensive taste. I’m a people disgraced by what I claim I need and what I want to waste. I take no account for nothing if it’s not mine. It’s a misappropriation of funds; protect my ninety percent with my guns. Whose side am I on? Well who’s winning?

My kingdom’s built with the blood of slaves, orphans, widows, and homeless graves. I sold their souls just to build my private mansion. Some people say that my time is coming: Kingdom come is the justice running down, down, down on me. I’m a poor child, I’m a lost son; I refuse to give my love to anyone, fight for the truth, or help the weaker ones, because I love my Babylon. I am a slave, I was never free. I betrayed you for blood money. Oh I bought the world, all its vanity. Oh my Lord I’m your enemy.—Josh Garrels, Zion & Babylon

 

Josh Garrels has spent more than a decade crafting music that cuts clean through. Resting in the space between accessibility and honesty, Garrels’ songs wrestle with and celebrate the mystery of faith with authenticity and heart. Cultivating a genre-blending mix of folk and hip hop, Garrels’ music explores themes of compassion, hope, longing, and liberation.

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In being against programs that benefit the poor, some Christians are almost ensuring the very poverty they’re meant to eradicate.

Personal responsibility and hard work are not bad values. However, these values tend to move charity to a subtle form of social control where the poor are offered assistance based on merit or adherence to conservative standards, rather than on the basis of generosity and a commitment to a more equitable society. Pulling oneself up by the bootstraps has become American gospel. Jesus implores people not to simply be more generous, but to overturn oppressive systems that create inequality in the first place. True community justice requires that all American Christians ― conservatives and liberals alike ― set aside political agendas and values and seek equity.

Source: Christian Charity Is Incomplete Without A Pursuit Of Justice | HuffPost

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Sunday is the most divided day in America

We hear it said that Sunday is the most divided day in America. For the past century Christians have filled mission stations with missionaries in faraway lands. We send checks and crates of supplies to the mission field and the missionaries, all the while living and worshipping in segregation. What we struggle with is sharing a pew, sharing a meal, sharing a living room on a Sunday afternoon. The inauthenticity is glaring. — Palmer Chinchen, Justice Calling: Live Love, Show Compassion, Be Changed

Palmer Chinchen is an author, speaker, pastor and an expatriate who speaks widely on issues of justice, spiritual transformation, and the need for a Christian response to affliction and poverty. Justice is a significant passion for Palmer, who regularly travels to places like Haiti, Cuba and Africa to help bring healing to a broken world.

 

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Bobby Kennedy healed, Trump exploits racial division

“Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. You can be filled with bitterness, hatred, and a desire for revenge. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand with compassion and love. What we need in the United States is not division, hatred, violence or lawlessness; but love, wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country.” — Robert F. Kennedy (April 4, 1968)

Source: Chris Matthews: Bobby Kennedy healed, Trump exploits racial division

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85% of executions happen in the Bible belt

If we work together we can create better forms of justice than killing those who kill to show that it is wrong to kill. When it comes to the death penalty – we Christians have been the champions of death. 85% of executions happen in the Bible belt. For those of you who are not Christians, we need your voice and your courageous witness too. We Christians don’t own exclusive rights to grace and mercy. We need your voice.

Source: A Letter From Shane Claiborne on the Death Penalty

Shane Claiborne is a Christian activist and author who is a leading figure in the New Monasticism movement and one of the founding members of the intentional community, the Simple Way, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Claiborne is also a social activist, advocating for nonviolence and service to the poor. He is the author of the books, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical and Executing Grace: How the Death Penalty Killed Jesus and Why It’s Killing Us.

Every year, groups working for the abolition of the death penalty gather at the steps of the Supreme Court to call for an end to capital punishment in the United States. Register for the Fast and Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty.

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I am Mennonite, and we are Racist

“Segregation is one face of racism. The Mennonite tradition perpetuates through family. It shows charity to the outsider, but does not necessarily allow the outsider to be included unless they assimilate into everything – the faith, the culture, the family traditions. Despite being a people who endlessly preach peace and justice, who claim to be fighting against the evils of prejudice, most of us aren’t even aware how complicit we are with our own racism. I need transformation. We all do.”

Source: I am Mennonite, and we are Racist | Pastors in Exile

Pastors in Exile (PiE) is an Anabaptist-rooted movement of community pastors outside of church walls. We believe that church is evolving into something beyond just a specific community in a specific place at a specific time. Everyone who seeks to join God’s loving and transforming work in the world is invited to be a pastor in exile with us.

Follow them on Twitter at: @pastorsinexile.

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US History, Structural Racism, NFL Protests, and the Kingdom of God

We have a James 2:17 responsibility to put our faith into action for voiceless persons. Their issues were ‘unarmed black people being killed by police,’ ‘systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system, and President Trump’s referral ‘to us with slurs but the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., as “very fine people.”’ We must serve as mediators and translators between two worlds.

Source: US History, Structural Racism, NFL Protests, and the Kingdom of God

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Racism, white supremacy are ‘a Christian problem’ 

“We need to be much more vocal and proactive in speaking out against racism in all its forms — individual and structural. If we can’t do that, we’re going to be irrelevant as a church.” – Floerke Scheid

Source: Christian ethicists: Racism, white supremacy are ‘a Christian problem’ | National Catholic Reporter

Anna Floerke Scheid is associate professor of theology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Her research interests are in the area of Christian social ethics.  In particular she is concerned with ethical issues surrounding human rights, conflict, and post-conflict reconciliation.  She explores Christian perspectives on war and peace-especially just war theory and just peacemaking theory-and studies how restorative justice has been enacted in truth and reconciliation commissions around the world.

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Bridging the Christian divide on social justice

“Overlooking systemic injustices prolongs the suffering of our brothers and sisters. Much of the rhetoric that has taken hold in evangelicalism has, purposefully or not, partitioned concepts of social justice from the whole of the gospel. Christians who care about social justice must at times draw ideological lines to preserve the integrity and authenticity of their faith. There are no painless or half-hearted shortcuts to reconciliation.”

Source: The Vacuum Christian Indifference Creates | Christianity Today

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Democrats need to become more religiously literate and faith-friendly

“Democrats need to become more religiously literate and faith-friendly. We religious progressives often feel ignored and abandoned by a Democratic Party that seems indifferent to our religious traditions. As an evangelical advocate for social justice, I have fought right-wing religious fundamentalism my whole life. But the secular fundamentalism of the left is not much better — and it certainly does not help garner votes at election time. The utmost respect for ‘the other’ is required now, especially with a strong commitment to defend each other’s faith and to protect others’ lives that are now under attack in the United States — partly inspired by the rhetoric of President Trump.” — Jim Wallis

Source: Bernie Sanders got Christian theology wrong | TheRecord.com

Jim Wallis is a Christian writer and political activist. He is best known as the founder and editor of Sojourners magazine and as the founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Christian community of the same name.

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A Resolution Against White Supremacy Causes Chaos at the Southern Baptist Convention – The Atlantic

“There has arisen in the United States a growing menace to political order and justice that seeks to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide our people, and foment hatred, classism, and ethnic cleansing.” — pastor Dwight McKissic of Texas

Source: A Resolution Against White Supremacy Causes Chaos at the Southern Baptist Convention – The Atlantic

See also:

Resolution for the 2017 SBC Annual Meeting – Condemning the Alt-Right & White Nationalism

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Many faith leaders join the March for Science

“We think both religion and science teach humility, and that we are part of something larger. We believe we have a moral obligation to take care of the Earth and to care for each other. And science can help service that.” — Rev. Brian Sauder

See: Faith groups backing march see an ally in science

Brian Sauder grew up in a deeply religious Anabaptist community in rural Illinois. Now a minister in Chicago, Sauder is just one of many faith leaders who are planning to join the March for Science, and see little conflict between faith and science. He is the executive director of a Chicago-based nonprofit called Faith in Place, which works with faith communities across Illinois to promote environmental justice and sustainability. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/briansauder

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Our time summons us out of Christian quietism to public advocacy

“Our time summons us out of Christian quietism to public advocacy for justice, a hopeful form of resistance to the dominant culture.” — Molly T. Marshall

Molly T. Marshall is president and professor of theology and spiritual formation at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas.

See: Living out the ‘fierce urgency’ of the prophets in U.S. culture

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Prophets shine the light of justice into the dark corners

“Prophets scrutinize those policies and practices that most of us blithely ignore, and they shine the light of justice into the dark corners.” — Molly T. Marshall

Molly T. Marshall is president and professor of theology and spiritual formation at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas.

See: Living out the ‘fierce urgency’ of the prophets in U.S. culture

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