Monday, July 9, 2012


Greetings good citizen,

Markets around the globe are bleeding from the eye-sockets again but the markets haven’t told us anything ‘useful’ for a long time…at least since the global banking system went tits up.

It’s early yet but the corporate owned media has nothing to offer as far as a reason why investors are feeling, er, panicky.

Sometimes even the so-called good news is just candy-coated bullshit in disguise.

Er, today’s offering is a question of perspective

One way to look at it is from a ‘covering the bases’ aspect and the other starts to get a little twisted considering how tens of thousands of years of ‘common ground’ has worked out.
First: there's nothing like it if you want to bond a bunch of very diverse people into a tight community of shared meaning and value. A religious congregation brings together people of all ages, backgrounds, educational levels, professional rank, and life circumstances, and melds them into an enduring tribe that's centered around a shared commitment to mutual trust and care, and (most importantly) has a clear and vivid shared vision of the future they're trying to create.

There is simply no other organizational form that encourages people to share their time, energy, and resources so quickly, completely, or enduringly; or aligns so much conviction toward the same goal. (This is why the leaders of corporations, the marketers of sports teams, and the military all study religious cultures, and try to appropriate their tribe-building techniques for their own purposes.) The resulting tribes can last for many centuries -- and acquire a resounding moral voice that can reverberate throughout their larger communities, and well beyond. If you want to change the world, this is the kind of group -- deeply bound by faith, trust, love, history, and a commitment to each other and to the world they envision that transcends life and death -- that's most likely to get it done. Religion is the best way going to get people to consecrate themselves, body and soul, to a larger cause; and to take on the kind of all-or-nothing risks that are often required to really change the world.

Second, religious narratives center people in the long arc of history, telling them where they came from, who they are, what they are capable of, and what kind of future is possible. History does this, too; but religion does it at a deeper, mythic level that gives these stories extra emotional and cognitive resonance. For most of human history, in fact, the task of imagining a different future and giving people the inspiration and courage to reach for it has been the primary role of religious prophets. (So has the job of warning the people that they're wandering into grave error or betraying their own values, and must change their ways or face disaster.) Religion is the native home of the prophetic voice -- the voice that calls people to transformative change. Throughout America's history, our most evocative political prophets -- both Roosevelts, all the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Van Jones, Barack Obama -- have invariably been people who spent a lot of time in the pews, learning to speak the kind of language that calls us to a better place.

Third, over the course of American history, liberal religious faiths have been the primary promoter of progressive values throughout the culture -- and also the leading institution when it came time to inculcate our progressive sensibilities into the next generation. Many, if not most, progressives in America are progressive specifically because they believe that this is what their faith demands of them. They're raising their kids in churches and temples because they believe, as the Bible says, that "if you train up a child in the way that he should go, when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Ironically, people these days are ‘either/or’. They are either ‘super-religious’ or they’re not…and the ‘not’ side of the fence runs the gamut between the ‘keeping up appearances’ crowd to those like me who have no truck with ‘spirit in the sky’ whatsoever.

Now, is religion the ‘easiest’ way to establish ‘common ground’ with, er, ‘like-minded individuals’?

Sadly I would opine no. People tend to ‘compartmentalize’ their faith and their ideology.

The >One Percent make a big display of being ‘devout’ while literally stepping on the needy they occasionally encounter.

Then there are the Super Religious…no irony should be lost on the fact that most conservatives fall into the Super Religious category…there is another name that better describes this phenomenon.

In the Bible they are referred to as ‘zealots’.

The ‘good thing’ about a zealot is they are either ‘on board’ or they’re against you, 100%.

There’s no ‘middle ground’ when it comes to zealotry.

Okay, let’s concede for a moment the idea that religion, like politics, both have their ‘lunatic fringe’.

What about your average, er, ‘keeping up appearances’ type?

This is probably better described as your ‘goes along to get along’ kind of fellow and he’s the primary reason we’re in the pickle we’re in today.

He doesn’t THINK. It literally makes his head hurt so he avoids anything that challenges his primary belief system.

If (those who speak for) Spirit in the sky said ‘Only those who wear pink underwear on Wednesday will find the kingdom of Heaven’ you can bet, no matter how he feels about it personally, jughead will be wearing pink skivvies come Wednesday.

This leaves us the ‘vast majority’…the people who only attend church on major ‘Holy Days’, weddings, christenings and funerals.

Here’s your ‘sweet spot’, the people who think for themselves are the same ones who understand that the church is often responsible for dividing people rather than uniting them.

Yeah, probably a ‘by-product’ of the God’s Will thing those damn zealots keep insisting they know all about.

It’s ‘God’s Will’ that you’re poor, it is also God’s Will that they (think) they are not. This is a ‘judgement call and you can’t question them on it because they can just tell!

But I digress.

Next time you’re in church (wedding, Christening, Funeral, Christmas) take a good look around the place and ask yourself if these are the people you want fighting shoulder to shoulder with you against tyranny?

Chances are you have a circle of friends who are more ‘like-minded’ that you’d be far better off teaming up with.

And in fairness, the article says nothing about who you’d want on your side to go to war with…but that’s what’s implied.

That you’d be better off teaming up with the church, a dubious idea at best…and we need look no further than the damn conservo-whackos to see how that idea is going to play itself out.

But you know journalism, throw a bunch of shit up against the wall and see what sticks!

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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