Against the Ideology of Certainty Besetting US Christians (Out of Babylon 3)

God’s will with the will of the nation and resolve morality into the aims of national power, or to choose the “local tradition” of adherence to God’s priorities even when they clash with the priorities and values of empire. The latter involves first recognizing that there is a necessary and unresolvable conflict between any national will and Judeo-Christian morality. Brueggemann asks, will the Christian church be a national church or will it be governed only by God? … More Against the Ideology of Certainty Besetting US Christians (Out of Babylon 3)

The Price of Hypocrisy (Out of Babylon: Brueggemann 2) ft. Nietzsche

the second chapter of Walter Brueggemann’s book Out of Babylon, the “local tradition” of the United States, as the “shining city on a hill,” is explored in the context of prophetic calls for examination and repentance both in the Old Testament and in Walter Brueggemann’s theology. People always design narratives to explain their situation and role in the world, and Brueggemann teaches that this is not only inevitable but good–or it can be, if the story we tell is not simply delusion but pushes us to act in according to the values we say we embrace. In this case, he’s talking about Biblical Christian values and he is asking American Christians what (or who) they really stand for. I think this is a very worthy question, so this session is devoted to it. … More The Price of Hypocrisy (Out of Babylon: Brueggemann 2) ft. Nietzsche

Empire and God: Do They Mix? (Out of Babylon, Brueggemann 1)

discussing Brueggemann’s view that US Christians who hew to the “City on the Hill” ideology are committing idolatry and are aligning with Empire and not with God, the two being ultimately opposed. This is not to establish a mere negative argument (as in, this is what a Christian is not), but rather to begin to point to a positive pronouncement (this is what a Christian or other person faithful to God is) . … More Empire and God: Do They Mix? (Out of Babylon, Brueggemann 1)

I Want to Be Liam Neeson (But I Should Resist). (Keynes 5)

In this final video on the series examining the lessons of the Versailles Treaty I venture back into US politics and ask the question of personal responsibility. Should people respond in vengeance against actual wrongs? If they don’t want to, how do they resist this very (immediately) rational and biological urge? There is no doubt in my mind that we would all be better off if we did not act on the temptation for retribution, but easier said than done. The responsibility of Christians is particularly acute since their religion dictates no revenge. I challenge Christians to take their religion seriously and to imagine the strength it would take to walk away from disputes domestic and foreign. … More I Want to Be Liam Neeson (But I Should Resist). (Keynes 5)

The Option of Radical Forgiveness: Not Taken

options. They had the option to do nothing, or to do only a small action to rectify the wrong, as well as the option of attempted obliteration of their enemies.. It’s hard to argue that the world not would be better off if they had chosen to do nothing, both at the beginning of the war and at the end, when they chose a punitive peace. Out of WWI came the Great Depression and WWII. What does that say to us–is there a lesson in this that we have not yet learned? I would argue that the biggest thing and the hardest thing, but the thing that shows real power, is to do nothing. … More The Option of Radical Forgiveness: Not Taken

Interdependence is a Bitch: The WWI Lesson of Precarity Not Learned (Keynes 3)

The first part of John Maynard Keynes’ 1919 book “The Economic Consequences of the Peace” attempts to remind the victors of WWI that the economies of Europe were deeply intertwined and especially driven by the economic powerhouse that was pre-War Germany. In doing so, he makes it clear that a “Carthaginian Peace” is unwise. He … More Interdependence is a Bitch: The WWI Lesson of Precarity Not Learned (Keynes 3)

Still as Stupid as 1914: WWI and the Culture Wars

y’s culture wars have in common? Power-hungry, intransigence, scapegoating, paranoia, fear, mass-mentality, technological eclipse, and more. We haven’t progressed in over a century on our basic nature, but time is running out, as our technology continues to outstrip our ability to reason and cooperate by a lot. This is the first part of a series discussing the causes of intransigence, the consequences, and what it would take to stop that cycle so that we don’t destroy ourselves. I’m starting out with a discussion of John Maynard Keynes’ views on the Treaty of Versailles, which I will get into in more depth next week. … More Still as Stupid as 1914: WWI and the Culture Wars

The Handmaid’s Tale and WWI: Is the Carthaginian Solution Inevitable? (Keynes/Versailles Treaty)

This is an introduction/head’s up to my next video series, which will start next week and will start with some thoughts on John Maynard Keynes’ The Economic Consequences of the Peace. The central questions: why is it so hard to forgive–what would be required? How can we keep from turning into the monsters we are fighting against (very important for getting of the culture war hamster wheel)? I approach the topic through some reflections on Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, especially its TV adaptation. When June becomes a ferocious monster, we both admire her but also recognize that her transformation is not progress but regress. Such was the case with the allies’ imposition on Germany in the wake of WWI. … More The Handmaid’s Tale and WWI: Is the Carthaginian Solution Inevitable? (Keynes/Versailles Treaty)

Religion and Politics–Whoops, We Talked About Both (Jeremy Cowan Interview Part 3)

You know what they say… This is the third and final part of the interview I did with Dr Jeremy Cowan, an expert in organic and permaculture agriculture, we conclude our reflections on Distributism by breaking both taboos. In this one we deal with the role of religion and politics in changing the way we grow food, but we do more than that. We delve into questions such as why religion is often unhelpful and how it could be otherwise, why political divisions get in the way and what might solve that problem … More Religion and Politics–Whoops, We Talked About Both (Jeremy Cowan Interview Part 3)