Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Everyman/Person: I will go the extra mile with thee like.


Messenger: I pray you all give your audience,

And hear this matter with reverence,

By figure a moral play-

The Summoning of Everyman called it is,

That of our lives and ending shows

How transitory we be all day.

This matter is wonderous precious,

But the intent of it is more gracious,

And sweet to bear away.

The story saith,-Man, in the beginning,

Look well, and take good heed to the ending,

Be you never so gay!

Ye think sin in the beginning full sweet,

Which in the end causeth thy soul to weep,

When the body lieth in clay.

Here shall you see how Fellowship and Jollity,

Both Strength, Pleasure, and Beauty,

Will fade from thee as flower in May.

For ye shall here, how our heavenly king

Calleth Everyman to a general reckoning:

Give audience, and here what he doth say.

Everyman is late-15th-century English morality play. Called by Death, Everyman can persuade none of his friends - Beauty, Kindred, Worldly Goods - to go with him, except Good Deeds.

God: Adonai---------------------Discretion
Good-Deeds---------------------Barak Obama
Fool---------------------------------Bill Moyers
Virgin Weeping-----------------
Marian Wright Edelman
Hypocritical Friar--------------- John Thomas
Morality Play Mummer-------Lynne Redgrave
Knight Errant--------------------
John Thomas
Goliard Abbott------------------- Kevin Phillips

[The Players assemble upon the stage. Let slip the tongues of Scorn:]

Barak Obama: "Our Morality Play begins with a dramatic monologue [truncated] by Dag:

"There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright and one that feared God and eschewed evil...."

Moyers: "The Democratic Party has found out about him, and there is now an investigation underway to determine the role Bush and the oil companies are playing in his unimaginable SUFFERING. There is clear evidence that not only is Job himself suffering but that his family might well have been MURDERED. There seems to be no horror to terrible for the Republican Party to stoop to in their lust for profit, and that matters not who suffers. Barak Obama and Bill Moyers, among others, are looking into this tragedy, and we must insist they continue, regardless of the cost to the nation. It is UNFAIR what has happened to Mr. Job, an undocumented immigrant, and it is beyond evil to see such things happening to Mr. Job without trying to DO SOMETHING about it and to bring the conspirators to JUSTICE in the here and now. What, one must ask, are Christians doing about this OUTRAGE?!

Below we see an attempt by the fascist Rightwing Crusader Zionist conspiracy to smear the GOOD WORKS of Gnostic Christians. Read it and WEEP.


By Mark D. Tooley | June 27, 2007

Two hundred fifty years ago, Congregationalist pastor Jonathan Edwards, America's premier theological mind of the 18th century, helped ignite the Great Awakening. That revival, winning thousands of converts, profoundly transformed America in the wake of the American Revolution.

Rev. Edwards' spiritual descendants founded the 1 million member United Church of Christ (UCC), though few share his faith. Today, UCC leftists are trying to kick off a new American revival, with help from Senator Barak Obama, PBS commentator Bill Moyers, Congressman Barney Frank, the Children's Defense Fund's Marian Wright Edelman, and recovering former Republican analyst Kevin Phillips.

"They say your church is dying, and lame, and limp," Moyers told the UCC's General Synod over the weekend. "But it is a small, committed community of people of conscience who can turn this country around."

Forty years ago, the UCC was nearly twice its current size. But its preference for left-wing political action over spiritual renewal has helped make it one of America's fastest imploding denominations. ...

What the UCC lacks in spiritual energy it hopes to compensate for in leftist political zest.


Obama, who belongs to a UCC congregation in Chicago, commended his denomination for its long history of political "troublemaking" across two centuries, from the Boston Tea Party to the Civil Rights Movement.

"My faith teaches me that I can sit in church and pray all I want, but I won't be fulfilling God's will unless I go out and do the Lord's work," Obama told the enthusiastic crowd of up to 10,000 at the Hartford Civic Center. The "Lord's work," of course, is the agenda of the secular, political Left.

"We should close Guantanamo Bay and stop tolerating the torture of our enemies. Because it's not who we are. It's not consistent with our traditions of justice and fairness. And it offends our conscience," Obama told applauding UCC'ers. He denounced the Iraq War as "not just a security problem [but] a moral problem." He called for an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, an increased minimum wage, and for a universal health care bill.

Obama implored: "God's work must truly be our own." He lamented that faith had been "hijacked" by religious conservatives who had "determined that [their] number one priority was tax cuts for the rich." He could not imagine what Bible they were reading, but he was insistent: "Our problems are moral problems…there's a spiritual dimension to everything we do. Our conscience cannot rest."

At least Obama was politically upbeat, at least compared to the doomsday prophet Bill Moyers, who left his native Southern Baptist church for the more politically conducive UCC. According to the UCC news service, Moyers' speech was "inflamed with passion [and] anger," with at least 36 interruptions of applause, followed by a two-minute standing ovation.

"I have come to say that America's revolutionary heritage – and America's revolutionary spirit – 'life, liberty and the pursuit of justice, through government of, by, and for the people' – is under siege," he warned. "And if churches of conscience don't take the lead in their rescue and revival, we can lose our democracy!"

Moyers regretted that the original author of "life, liberty and the pursuit of justice" was a hypocrite who had had also "stroked the breasts and caressed the thighs of a slave woman named Sally Hennings. It is no secret." Forget that Thomas Jefferson wrote of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"; Moyers believes that where Jefferson failed in moral leadership, the UCC succeeded.

"You have raised a prophetic voice against the militarism, materialism, and racism that chokes America's arteries," Moyers enthused. "It's a mystery to me. Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me'...You have to wonder how this so-called Christian nation leaves so many children to suffer."

"For 30 years," Moyers fumed, "We have witnessed a class war fought from the top down against the idea and ideal of equality. It has been a drive by a radical elite to gain ascendancy over politics and to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual and cultural frameworks that checked the excesses of private power."

For the political and economic nightmare that is America, Moyers faulted "corporate activism, intellectual propaganda, the rise of a political religion of fundamentalism deeply opposed to any civil and human right that threatens its paternalism, and a series of political decisions favoring the interests of wealthy elites who bought the political system right out from under us."

Barney Frank was almost tame compared to Moyers' searing critique of America's moral squalor. He admitted that the U.S. economy is growing. "But the average individual has gotten no benefit from it," he insisted. As usual, he pointed to a larger welfare state as the solution. "When we step in together, that's what we call government," he told the UCC'ers.

Former Republican analyst Kevin Phillips, now one of the GOP's "harshest critics," gladdened many UCC hearts with his dark theories from American Theocracy, his 2006 expose of an imaginary, sinister alliance among conservative Christians, oil interests, and neoconservative imperialists. The American empire's overreaching in the Middle East will likely doom the United States as a great power, Phillips reassured his pleased audience.

No less pleasing to the UCC'ers, Children's Defense Fund chief Marian Wright Edelman warbled mournfully about "the children," who she insisted must not become "partisan political fodder." Interrupted by applause 24 times, according to the UCC news service, she then made her usual political demands for a larger welfare state, always to benefit "the children." Edelman inveighed against America's "rampant individual greed," even as she insisted on new multibillion dollar programs.

Trying to sound prophetic, but lacking Edelman's pulpit cadence, UCC president John Thomas spoke of the "disgrace of a broken social contract," of global warming, of "foolish greed," and of the war, with "its deceit, its torture, its demoralizing death and dismemberment, its relentless march toward chaos."

In contrast to the political tirades from Thomas and others, actress Lynn Redgrave, instead of speaking about environmentalism as scheduled, told of seeking out a local UCC congregation near her Connecticut home when recovering from cancer surgery in 2003. The worship service made her "peaceful and optimistic," she recalled. Redgrave concluded her testimony with a reading from the 23rd Psalm.

Perhaps the UCC might reverse its 40-year decline by giving more of such hope and appealing to the Scriptures. Redgrave's message was received with applause and even tears. But for the UCC leadership, more focused on power than on the Spirit, the sparks and political fulminations against American greed and militarism are far more exciting than quiet appeals to a forgotten Savior who believed in rendering unto Caesar.


Good greens, you have to wonder what possesses these folks. These people are not Christians in any sense I can recognize as Christian. They are a vile version of Gnostics. If you're a Christian of some real kind rather than a Good Works Gnostic, think about sitting with us at the atrium of Vancouver Canada's Public Library on Thursday this and always from 7-9:00 p.m. for coffee and discussion. We wear blue scarves, some of us donning Israeli flags on our baseball caps. We're hard to miss. Join us.


truepeers said...

Thanks for the chuckle. Reminded me of what a United Church of Canada minister once wrote about Job:
"...God ignores all question of Job's guilt or innocence and of the justice or injustice of his own ways. We hear no more of wagers with Satan. God starts from the most obvious feature in the situation: the fact that Job does not understand it. He answers Job by recapitulating his original creation in the form of a vision which is held in front of Job in the present. Job is not allowed to look back to the a chain of causation [e.g. root causes of "Islamic militancy"] in the past, which would be a matter of relying on the wrong kind of memory. He has reached the end of his narrative in his present situation, and must now look up and down. What he sees is the good creation in its original unspoiled form: at one pole there is the intelligible harmony when the morning stars sang together; at the other is the leviathan who is king over all the children of pride (41:43). After this vision of a polarized cosmos Job can be restored to his original state because God has restored himself, so to speak, to his original state.

What is finally restored at the end of the story, however, is a society. Job may not be involved in a judgment type of trial, but his three friends are: they have been slandering God by calling him just. They are the ones to be convicted and pardoned, and Job is not restored until he prays for them (42:10). After this Job's family reappears; his friends troop back bringing money and gifts, symbols of a functioning society, and Job acquires the most beautiful women in the world for his daughters. The touch of fantasy in this last reminds us that Job's new society is held together by Job's revitalized vision, or renewed individuality, which is both its center and its circumference.
there is a creation that mystifies and a creation that reveals, and the latters is identical with the former. Except that the mysterious creation, the one infinitely far back in the past, is the one that Job has heard of but cannot directly see (42:5). When the infinitely remote creation is re-presented to him, he becomes a participant in it that is, he becomes creative himself, as heaven and earth are made new for him. He is given no new discovery, but gains a deeper apprehension of what is already there. This deeper apprehension is not simply more wisdom, but an access of power.

Myths of a paradise lost in the past or a hell threatening us after death are myths corrupted by the anxieties of time. Hell is in front of us because we have put it there. The Biblical perspective of divine initiative and human response passes into its opposite, where the initiative is human, and where a divine response, symbolized by the answer to Job, is guaranteed. The union of these perspectives would be the next step, except that where it takes place there are no next steps.

Between the end of Job's speech and the beginning of God's answer we have Elihu, perhaps a later insertion by someone who shared Elihu's characteristics, bumptious, confident, proud of his close relation to the contemporary, sure of his ability to defend God and condemn Job. His credentials are very dubious, but he has his own place in the story. When we become intolerably oppressed by the mystery of human existence and by what seems the utter impotence of God to do or even care anything about human suffering, we enter the stage of Eliot's "word in the desert," and hear all the rhetoric of ideologues, expurgating, revising, setting straight, rationalizing, proclaiming the time of renovation. After that, perhaps, the terrifying and welcome voice may begin, annihilating everything we thought we knew, and restoring everything we have never lost."

Northrop Frye, Words with Power, (1990), 311-3

Now that's what I call showing Gnostics the way out...

dag said...

I didn't love Frye till I met him in person. Then I sat back and was overwhelmed by his presence. I fear that many readers here will skim over his words and works and thoughts and not give any deeper thought to them than I did as a young man, ruing it later when I found out what I'd so stupidly dismissed as irrelevant to my own concerns.

In my case it takes time, real time in person to discuss and ponder and return to the old questions of long ago to see what I might have missed the first or tenth or many more times before. The crust of bias clings to me till I've been hammered and there is finally a hole for new ideas to enter in. I get that from our weekly meetings, something for me not to be gained by cursory readings from the Internet.

I hope that in time many will join us to sit and discuss the nature of the things that affect us all, as individuals and as the communion of souls we are supposed to be according to the nature of Humanness. It takes time, and it takes some mental effort; but the reward is the kind of insight provided above.

'Peers, that was beautiful.