Saturday, January 31, 2015

"Thomas Merton, like almost no one else in our time, put together the mystical depths and the political implications of the Christian message. He did it in a way that confirmed for many of us a kind of 'deep Christianity.' He wrote things that still now are showing themselves to be true and even central to spiritual truth."

-- Richard Rohr, St. Anthony Messenger, Rediscovering Contemplation

"I know one thing. I'm a black man walking down the street doing nothing and I got stopped and went to jail by a white police officer."

70 year old black man arrested in Seattle for carrying a golf club.

Friday, January 30, 2015

"I kept asking myself through tears at the end: Can a person be a hero in a fake, unjust war? Chris Kyle was his father's son and a victim of American hubris, cultural and economic expansionism, and dependence on oil. He is the military sniper with the most kills in history. But for what?"

-- Sister Rose Pacatte, American Sniper -- A Question of Heroes

"Thwart institutional cowardice." 

-- Werner Herzog

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"The west does not see itself the way others see it; indeed it often does not see others at all. Solipsistic in its suffering and narcissistic in its impulses, it promotes itself as the upholder of principles it does not keep, and a morality it does not practise. This alone would barely distinguish it from most cultures. What makes the west different is the physical and philosophical force with which it simultaneously makes its case for superiority and contradicts it. Therein lies the dysfunction whereby it keeps doing hateful things while expressing bewilderment at why some people hate it. It’s as though we are continually caught by surprise that others have not chosen to ignore their humiliation, pain, anger and sorrow just because we have.  'The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side,' wrote George Orwell in Notes on Nationalism. 'But he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them … Whether such deeds were reprehensible, or even whether they happened, was always decided according to political predilection.'”

American Sniper illustrates the west’s morality blind spots, Gary Younge, The Guardian

Monday, January 26, 2015

“Wars are scattered all over the earth with the bloody horror of camps. The whole world is wet with mutual blood. And murder–which is admitted to be a crime in the case of an individual–is called a virtue when it is committed wholesale. Impunity is claimed for the wicked deeds, not because they are guiltless, but because the cruelty is perpetrated on a grand scale.”

— St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage (died 258 AD)

“'American Sniper,' like the big-budget feature films pumped out in Germany during the Nazi era to exalt deformed values of militarism, racial self-glorification and state violence, is a piece of propaganda, a tawdry commercial for the crimes of empire. That it made a record-breaking $105.3 million over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday long weekend is a symptom of the United States’ dark malaise." 

-- Chris Hedges

Saturday, January 24, 2015

"Of course, it is true that religion on a superficial level, religion that is untrue to itself and to God, easily comes to serve as the 'opium of the people.'  And this takes place whenever religion and prayer invoke the name of God for reasons and ends that have nothing to do with him.  When religion becomes a mere artificial facade to justify a social or economic system--when religion hands over its rites and language completely to the political propagandists, and when prayer becomes the vehicle for a purely secular ideological program, then religion does tend to become an opiate.  It deadens the spirit enought to permit the substitution of a superficial fiction and mythology for this truth of life.  And this brings about the alientation of the believer, so that his religious zeal becomes political fanaticism.  His faith in God, while preserving its traditional formulas, becomes in fact faith in his own nation, class or race.  His ethic ceases to be the law of God and of love, and becomes the law that might-makes-right: established privilege justifies everything.  God is the status quo." 

-- Thomas Merton

Friday, January 23, 2015

"What if, instead of the way they view it now, evangelical Christians thought of salvation in terms of 'healing' and 'wholeness' and 'liberation'—as salvation is, in fact, primarily depicted in the Gospels? What if evangelical Christians thought of salvation as the reclaiming of original blessings, rather than as forgiveness for original sin? What if salvation was experienced as a process of growth in love, rather than as a reward for believing a particular doctrine about Jesus? Then Christians...might actually experience the extravagance of a divine grace that reaches every person, not just those who conform to their own belief systems."

-- Unfundamentalist Christians

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"Why is it not OK to kill people in the name of a religion, but it is OK to kill people in the name of a nation?" 

-- Ian Welsh (via AZSpot)