“When people say piously, “Thy kingdom come” out of one side of their mouth, they need also to say, “My kingdom go!” out of the other side. The kingdom of God supersedes and far surpasses all kingdoms of self and society or personal reward.”

— Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent by Richard Rohr a.co/3baQRCo

Zack Beauchamp

To figure out how to get the country past its current impasse, we need to look at reality as it is, not as we imagine it might be. And the reality is that our deep political divide is rooted, first and foremost, in profound and largely irreconcilable views of who America is for and what its social hierarchy should look like. That may be unpleasant for Brooks — and all of us — to contemplate, but reality’s ugliness doesn’t provide an excuse for ignoring it.

“If capital wishes to call labor entitled, capital must acknowledge that it is the most entitled creature in society, craving eternal growth at the cost of the true value of any given service or entity.” – Ed Zitron, The Rot Economy

In the category of just because we can do something doesn’t mean we have to.

The reality is that Fortune 100 companies will hire McKinsey instead of your pro-social firm, because McKinsey’s solutions will increase shareholder value more than your firm’s solutions will. It will always be possible to build A.I. that pursues shareholder value above all else, and most companies will prefer to use that A.I. instead of one constrained by your principles

Source: Ted Chiang, “Will A.I. Become the New McKinsey?” Via Schneier On Security

“We have millions and millions of Christians who have had no experience of God, and the Church, for the most part, prefers it that way. We can then supply beliefs and dogmas as a replacement for encountering a living God. This is part of the reason so many people cling to the Bible or their theological beliefs so firmly. Because, to them, it is the closest thing to God they have ever encountered.”–MARK VAN STEENWYCK, emphasis added

Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible by Giles, Keith,

“During times of war hatred becomes quite respectable, even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism. To even the casual observer during the last war it was obvious that the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese gave many persons in our country an apparent justification for indulging all of their anticolored feelings.”

The United States has been in a state of perpetual war, really ever since World War II. The war is not on on foreign shores about also on our own shores, such as the “War on Drugs.”

Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman

About the church in Laodicea described in Revelation 3:14-22, author Ted Grimsud writes (emphasis added):

“The danger for all the congregations is that they would become indistinguishable from their surrounding culture. In the US, the danger has been that Christianity becomes inextricably identified with the American empire. Then, it seems that the only way to oppose the empire is to reject Christian faith. What a terrible tragedy.”

To Follow the Lamb: A Peaceable Reading of the Book of Revelation by Ted Grimsrud

“It is all good news … but you have to go! Israel has always been departing empire. That is how it began back in Egypt and that is how Nebuchadnezzar became the dominant metaphor for imperial power vis-à-vis the peculiar destiny of Israel. That has been the summons of Jesus to his people since his first “follow me.” He summoned away from all old regimes into the new regime that he inaugurated. To make a large, imaginative move, I suggest that it is the task of followers of this gospel in our society—who live in the totalitarian regime of military consumerism with all of its hopes and violences and anxieties—to depart.”

Journey to the Common Good: Updated Edition by Walter Brueggemann

“It is our propensity, in society and in church, to trust the narrative of scarcity. That is what makes us greedy, and exclusive, and selfish, and coercive. Even the Eucharist can be made into an occasion of scarcity, as though there were not enough for all. Such scarcity leads to exclusion at the table, even as scarcity leads to exclusion from economic life.”

Journey to the Common Good: Updated Edition by Walter Brueggemann

Below refers to the writing of Lincoln Steffens in 1904, and very apt questions at the end of 2022. Emphasis added

“After Steffens laid out the corruption of seven cities, his conclusion pointed straight at readers in their easy chairs. The simple truth, Steffens wrote, was that politicians were expert readers of public demands, and the public had not demanded good government. Instead, for decades they had been driven by outrage, alternately between political parties, throwing out one set of bums, then the other. Steffens asked: “Do we Americans really want good government? Do we know it when we see it? Are we capable of that sustained good citizenship which alone can make democracy a success?””

The Age of Acrimony: How Americans Fought to Fix Their Democracy, 1865-1915 by Jon Grinspan

“A community so addicted to consumption that it foregoes virtually every other pleasure and responsibility needs the intercession of a power great enough to reveal and tame the addiction. “God” is the place-holding holding word for the power that interrupts the tyranny of evil in all of its forms.”

— The Wounding and Healing of Desire: Weaving Heaven and Earth by Wendy Farley

“Remember, Madison and the other authors of The Federalist Papers didn’t think amendments to their new Constitution were necessary. More than that, they thought a bill of enumerated rights could be dangerous. They worried that if they specified a few rights, some fools in the future would conclude that their list of rights were the only rights people had or should have. They worried that the federal government would grow to take power over everything but the few special carve-outs they bothered to enumerate.

Like privacy and personal autonomy.

Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution by Elie Mystal

“If we take the future as our starting point for thinking about God, creation, and humanity—then everything we know must … be realigned to an evolving universe, including our theologies, philosophies, economic and political systems, cultural matrices—in short, our planetary life.”

— Sr. Ilia Delio, as quoted in Do I Stay Christian?: A Guide for the Doubters, the Disappointed, and the Disillusioned by Brian D. McLaren

“Two thousand years after Jesus launched a subversive spiritual movement of equality, emancipation, and peace, two thousand years after women were among his inner circle and the first messengers of resurrection, two thousand years after Jesus defended Mary of Bethany’s place in the all-male circle of disciples, the Christian religion still remains subservient to patriarchy and the authoritarian control it engenders.”

Do I Stay Christian?: A Guide for the Doubters, the Disappointed, and the Disillusioned by Brian D. McLaren

“One of the paradoxes of empire in our own time is that people often assume that we are now closer to freedom than ever before.”

Christ & Empire: From Paul to Postcolonial Times by Joerg Rieger

“The Christian faith is different from what the world teaches. The Christian faith is not “seeing is believing,” but rather, “believing is seeing.” We must open our eyes and hearts and see Jesus’s presence in our lives. We need to see him in the places that we dare not to look and dare not to think about.”

Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence by Diana Butler Bass

“Hope means that things are neither steered mightily unto good by an invisible wisdom nor hollowed out at their center by some primordial catastrophe and doomed to fail. Hope means that things are just unstable, risky, nascent, natal, betokening neither an absolute plenum nor an absolute void.”

— Hoping Against Hope: Confessions of a Postmodern Pilgrim by John D. Caputo a.co/dVzzJ1W

Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb

Vogue has a great interview of Amanda from before the inaugaration.

“The only way to stave off another Trump is to recognize that it always happens. The temptation of anti-democratic cult politics is forever with us, and so is the work of fending it off.”

What We Get Wrong About America’s Crisis of Democracy  | The New Yorker

“The symbol of Christmas—what is it? It is the rainbow arched over the roof of the sky when the clouds are heavy with foreboding. It is the cry of life in the newborn babe when, forced from its mother’s nest, it claims its right to live. It is the brooding Presence of the Eternal Spirit making crooked paths straight, rough places smooth, tired hearts refreshed, dead hopes stir with newness of life. It is the promise of tomorrow at the close of every day, the movement of life in defiance of death, and the assurance that love is sturdier than hate, that right is more confident than wrong, that good is more permanent than evil.” — Howard Thurman source

“Several years ago when I was in Nicaragua, I asked a man if he had time, and he said, “I have the rest of my life,” and smiled. Who of us would possibly say that? That is what we don’t have. What we don’t have is the rest of our lives because we do not even have the now of our lives.”

“Time is exactly what we do not have. What decreases in a culture of affluence is precisely and strangely time—along with wisdom and friendship. These are the very things that the human heart was created for, that the human heart feeds on and lives for. No wonder we are producing so many depressed, unhealthy and even violent people, while also leaving a huge carbon footprint on this poor planet.”

— Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent by Richard Rohr a.co/43XJm0A

The U.S. is “going in the wrong direction” with the coronavirus surging badly enough that Dr. Anthony Fauci told senators Tuesday some regions are putting the entire country at risk — just as schools and colleges are wrestling with how to safely reopen.

Associated Press

The tweeting is really something astounding. I cannot believe we make politics this way. Can we have a real conversation? Not your tweet versus this tweet. This is what I would say. The medium has its own dangers, but it’s also being used by powerful interests in deliberate ways to make our conversation stupid, to make us respond viscerally, rather than rationally and thoughtfully.

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs

“You don’t have to wait for something “meaningful” to come into your life so that you can finally enjoy what you do. There is more meaning in joy than you will ever need.” from “A New Earth (Oprah #61): Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” by Eckhart Tolle a.co/dzBIRzn

What is REST?

REST stands for Representational State Transfer. It is a set of design principles for making network communication more scalable and flexible.