*I gave this reflection on Lazarus’ Tomb at community Vespers this evening. I’m going to tag a few people in the hopes they enjoy it, don’t mean to leave anyone out! :) Blessed Holy Week to all of you!*
We are now near the end of our Lenten journey as we prepare to enter into the holiest days of the year. The Sundays of Lent have given us many Gospel themes ripe for contemplation: Jesus in the desert, the Transfiguration, the Samaritan woman at the well; but no story more captured me or brought more fruit to my personal prayer life this Lent then the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the tomb.
Since we have moved into our new chapel, I have found myself arriving earlier for Compline than I did before. I enjoy sitting in the dark in silent prayer. Last week as I sat in the darkened silence of this room, it dawned on me that this chapel, when it is fully dark, is like Lazarus’ tomb, and that each of us are like Lazarus.
The story of Lazarus in the Gospel of John begins with his sisters telling Jesus, “Master, the one you love is ill.” How true these words ring for us! We who are ill have a Master who loves us. We are wounded by sin, and fallen by our pride and vanity; but notice most importantly that the Lord loves us through our illnesses. Jesus weeps for us in our sin, Jesus enters into our suffering and our death.
In the story of Lazarus, Jesus tells the people to remove the stone sealing the tomb. This represents that without the grace of God, and without His love; we are truly dead. We cannot escape from our own tombs except for the mercy and grace of the Lord. We cannot save ourselves, only our Savior can roll back the stone. Jesus, being victor over death itself, is the one who unseals tombs, the one who allows us to be free.
But see something interesting here. Jesus does not go into the tomb and pull Lazarus out. Rather, he calls into the tomb, “Lazarus, come out!” and the beauty of the story, to me, is that he does!
Jon Wilkerson, Director of Human Resources/Benefits of the largest county in Oklahoma (Oklahoma County) bravely proposed to the elected officials of Oklahoma County that they enter into a direct contract with Surgery Center of Oklahoma. Aware of the experiences other self-funded companies have had…
Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.
While this may be a big “duh” to a lot of U.S. citizens, a recent study which has been made open for public viewing concludes that the United States’ system of government is closer to that of a (corporate) oligarchy than it is a democracy. That is to say that power is vested within a small group of people, as opposed to the majority.
Historically speaking, oligarchies generally devolve into tyrannical states due to the concentration of power (usually based on class) with a smaller group of people who generally do not agree with the interests or preferences of the majority; these types of frictions lead to oppression by making some people more “equal” than others, as demonstrated in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, essentially giving people certain rights, but allowing those rights more freely to certain groups.
I remember in the 6th grade when we were learning about different types of governments and we got to oligarchy I said to the teacher “Oh so that’s what America is right?” and he looked at me like i was crazy and said “No Elijah, America is a democracy because the citizens also have power” and I said “what power?” and he said “We can vote” and I was kind of quite for a little bit because i thought he was gonna say something else and I was like “Is that it?” and he just went on to the next lesson
But is this actually true? It depends on what you mean by patriotism.
Young people are about 15% less likely than average to say the U.S. is the greatest country in the world (32% vs. 48%), and only half say the phrase “a patriotic person” describes them well. Millennials also more likely to criticize or question the government in wartime, and the majority thinks, “that the US is too involved in other countries’ affairs.”
While pundits like David Frum bemoan a future where Americans are “less united by patriotism,” I’m far less concerned about my generation.
You see, it’s not actually patriotism that Millennials lack. What they reject is unconditional support for whatever our government does.
And that’s where Roosevelt, Twain, and Chesterton come in. What they understood—and what commentators like Frum don’t get—is that patriotism doesn’t simply mean uncritically backing government action.
In fact, the opposite is true. Patriotism doesn’t mean compliance.
Twain put it most succinctly: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” And does most of what our government does deserve Millennials’ support? No, it doesn’t.
Note: I probably would never call myself “patriotic” anyway for theological reasons, but I still think it’s really important to distinguish between uncritical acceptance of our government’s decisions — which is what people like Frum want — and affection for the people and places we call home.
“Scarcely had Mary uttered her Fiat [“Let it be done”] when the Son of God became also the Son of Mary. O Fiat to be venerated above every other Fiat! For with a Fiat God created light, heaven, and earth; but with Mary’s Fiat God became man, like us!”—St. Thomas of Villanova (via questformary)
I think the whole “range war” situation is so important because people came together and said “no.” And, not only did they say it, but they showed their refusal to comply with something they believed was unjust.
A lot of friends have been asking how our fundraising is going so we thought we’d give an update:
For the month of April, we have almost $500 of $2800 in monthly support. According to our budget, this means we can now afford to pay for rent, water, and propane for our stove! We are just $100 away from being at 20% of our goal. As we have mentioned before, monthly support is our greatest need. This support covers our basic needs and is what will enable us to remain in Tanzania doing the work we feel called to day in and day out. Being short of this goal may still allow us to live in Tanzania, but it will certainly hinder our ability to work well.
Regarding our upfront moving costs, by the end of this month we will have a projected $6,262 of the $20,000. This is 31% of our goal! Of course this number could change drastically by that time should there be any unexpected donations, but we are getting excited to see this number increase more towards the halfway point of our goal. According to our budget we can now pay for both of us to attend language school, our work permits, and our drivers licenses, with about $962 remaining which is almost enough for one plane ticket!
All of this would not be possible without the help of our incredible friends. If we may be honest: fundraising is awkward and not particularly fun. Our bad days far outweigh the good. On such days we feel hopeless and try to convince ourselves that we can move to Tanzania and attempt to join coffee farmers and families in their struggle against injustice all by ourselves. But then we have good days: the days when we get to spend hours with the handful of friends who believe in us and the work of After Trade. These friends are a gift. In their presence, we are reminded that there is no way we would be able to do this work without them.
For more info on what we’re doing or how to get involved, visit: AFTERTRADE.ORG
In case you missed it earlier, here is an update on our move to Tanzania.
Basically the Federal Bureau of Land Management has sent armed men to surround Cliven Bundy’s ranch in a dispute over who’s land it is since Bundy lets his cattle graze on it. He claims it’s his inherently since his family has been working it since the late 1800’s and the Fed is claiming it is public land and he owes over a million in grazing fees to the federal government + they claim there is an “endangered turtle species on the land”. They have begun to confiscate his cattle (and I’ve heard some reports that they’ve killed some, though I have no idea if that is true or not.) Although it is true that they are separating mother cows from their babies, which is extremely dangerous for the calves. There has been a surge of protesters showing up near the ranch denouncing the BLM’s actions, and in response there has been reports of brutality by the agents against the Rancher’s sons and sister as well as them designating “free speech zones.” Cliven and other residents have claimed that they will be shot if they attempt to go on the land to round up his own cattle. In the past few days the story has gained more attention and there are several “militias” from all over the country supposedly driving to Nevada in order to protect the Bundy’s and the people supporting them.
Here’s a few photographs I’ve found:
You can also find various videos of standoffs between the agents and protesters with a quick search on youtube.
“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”—Cicero (via utilitymaximiser)
Dan O’Connor, editor in chief of “Outpatient Surgery” magazine has written yet another stinging article, one he has kindly allowed me to post on my blog…sorry about the disjointed format. Important definitions: ASC, ambulatory surgery center, typically physician-controlled. HOPD, Hospital…
The situation in Portland is interesting because it captures a lot of the same sides and themes as the Eich storyon a much smaller scale. Here’s some background, from The Oregonian:
Facebook and other social media sites have exploded over a soon-to-open fresh meat and vegetable store called Moreland Farmers Pantry. Neighbors and nearby business owners, once excited by the prospect of the new shop, are now backing away.
"They’re choosing to open a business in a very open-minded neighborhood," said Tom Brown, owner of Brown Properties and president of the Sellwood Moreland Business Alliance. "I think their personal views are going to hurt."
There’s something beautiful about a man unironically pointing to a community’s open-mindedness by way of explaining its commitment to shun those with different viewpoints. Another neighbor called the store’s owner naive for thinking someone who doesn’t believe in same sex marriage would be able to sell free-range eggs in such a tolerant neighborhood.
Tolerance is not enough. You. Must. Approve.
Or you will be forced into approval.
Your mind is not your own, anymore. You may not hold thoughts contrary to those they want you to have.
All the point to Mr Orwell. Thoughtcrime is a thing, y’all.
“If women were paid 77 cents on the dollar [relative to men for the same work], a profit-oriented firm could dramatically cut labor costs by replacing male employees with females. Progressives assume that businesses nickel-and-dime suppliers, customers, consultants, anyone with whom they come into contact—yet ignore a great opportunity to reduce wages costs by 23%.
Giving a talk on Dante’s Purgatorio at the parish tonight. I’m excited because I used to do talks like this all the time when I was working at the parish in San Diego, and now it’s been almost two years that I haven’t done one. Oh and I’ll get to give the talk in my habit, so that’ll be new.
You can probably find the handout I’ll be using if you search for it on my page.
"A number of Mozillians, including LGBT individuals and allies, have stepped forward to offer guidance and assistance in this. I cannot thank you enough, and I ask for your ongoing help to make Mozilla a place of equality and welcome for all. Here are my commitments, and here’s what you can expect:
Active commitment to equality in everything we do, from employment to events to community-building.
Working with LGBT communities and allies, to listen and learn what does and doesn’t make Mozilla supportive and welcoming.
My personal commitment to work on new initiatives to reach out to those who feel excluded or who have been marginalized in ways that makes their contributing to Mozilla and to open source difficult. More on this last item below”
If Mozilla guy has to resign for his views in 2008 then Obama should as well
Come back when you don’t have a grammatical error, as well when you’re not trying to be in the supportive corner of a bigoted a-hole.
Is Obama or Mozilla Guy the bigoted a-hole? They both held the same position in 2008.
Mozilla, as Obama realizes that it’s okay to be gay.
Mozilla guy thinks it’s okay to be gay too, and he also agreed with Obama in 2008 that gay marriages shouldn’t be recognized by government.
Why does that make him a bigot and Obama not a bigot? They held the same position. Do you have to donate money to something in order to be a bigot? Does Obama changing his opinion in relation to changes in public opinion polls make him not a bigot?