From a recent interview on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales talking about how the US government exempted British Petroleum from environmental review...
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s announcement comes on the heel of a Washington Post exposé revealing that the Minerals Management Service had approved BP’s drilling plan in the Gulf of Mexico without any environmental review. The article notes that the agency under Secretary Salazar had quote “categorically excluded” BP’s drilling as well as hundreds of other offshore drilling permits from environmental review. The agency was able to do this using a loophole in the National Environmental Policy Act created for minimally intrusive actions like building outhouses and hiking trails. ( Read more/ here )
And then earlier last week, on Thursday this story on the mysterious Wall Street melt down in the Huffington post...
At this point no one knows why. Some say it was sudden burst of worries about Greece's debt and the increasing possibility of a default that might cause a run by global investors. Others point to a "trading error." Giant high-speed computers generate millions of trades based on instructions embedded in computer programs designed to move fast enough to beat everyone else. So when there's a glitch in one of them it can immediately spread to all the other programs designed to move just as fast. Some say it was an erroneous trade entered by someone at a big Wall Street bank who mistyped an order to sell a large block of stock, and that the big drop in that stock's price (Procter & Gamble?) triggered "sell" orders across the market.
Regardless of why it happened, it's further evidence that the nation's and the world's capital markets have become a vast out-of-control casino in which fortunes can be made or lost in an instant -- which would be fine except for the fact that most of us have put our life savings there. Pension funds, mutual funds, school endowments -- the value of all of this depends on a mechanism that can lose a trillion dollars in minutes without anyone having a clear idea why. So much of the market now depends on computer programs and mathematical models that no one fully understands, so much trading is in the hands of a few people whose fat thumbs or momentary carelessness might sink the economy, so much of global wealth now depends on who can move their money quickest at the slightest provocation -- that we are toying with financial disaster every day. The luck or foolishness of a few traders, and inside knowledge and information that some possess and others don't, combined with ultra high-speed computers, put us all at the whim of a system whose risk is way out of proportion to any public benefits. ( Read more/ here )
You're probably wondering what do these events have in common? The demonstrate the reality of the empire, its exploitation of creation; it's obsession to serve the god of money and greed. The government and corporate industrial giants use " Green " the same way criminals launder dirty money. There communications specialists stick the label and lingo into everything. BP trying convince onlookers that it is investing big in " Green " all the while the Gulf continues to fill at a rate of over 200,000 gallons of crude oil per day. The plan that should such a disaster should occur has come down to nothing more than trying to put a band aid on a severed artery under water. A three week moratorium on drilling is nothing more than time for the spin doctors to weave their magic and tell us, the emperor has his finger in the dike and the empire is great.
Since the financial melt down of 2+ years ago, we've learned nothing. We have an idea what caused it, but really have no idea or understanding how it works. It is a casino where people drunk with greed continue to pull the leaver hoping for the big pay out. Sitting at the table with pockets turned inside out, penniless, while governments continue to throw money to these pigs at the trough like BP pumps oil into the Gulf. The empire is recklessly out of control and crumbling.
(image courtesy of Deviant Art )
But the spin doctors like in the story of the " Emperor's New Clothes ", the emperors seamstress continue to weave there magic...
Your Highness, you'll have to take off your clothes to try on your new ones." The two scoundrels draped the new clothes on him and then held up a mirror. The Emperor was embarrassed but since none of his bystanders were, he felt relieved.
"Yes, this is a beautiful suit and it looks very good on me," the Emperor said trying to look comfortable. "You've done a fine job."
"Your Majesty," the prime minister said, "we have a request for you. The people have found out about this extraordinary fabric and they are anxious to see you in your new suit." The Emperor was doubtful showing himself naked to the people, but then he abandoned his fears. After all, no one would know about it except the ignorant and the incompetent.
"All right," he said. "I will grant the people this privilege." He summoned his carriage and the ceremonial parade was formed. A group of dignitaries walked at the very front of the procession and anxiously scrutinized the faces of the people in the street. All the people had gathered in the main square, pushing and shoving to get a better look. An applause welcomed the regal procession. Everyone wanted to know how stupid or incompetent his or her neighbor was but, as the Emperor passed, a strange murmur rose from the crowd.
Everyone said, loud enough for the others to hear: "Look at the Emperor's new clothes. They're beautiful!"
"What a marvelous train!"
"And the colors! The colors of that beautiful fabric! I have never seen anything like it in my life!" They all tried to conceal their disappointment at not being able to see the clothes, and since nobody was willing to admit his own stupidity and incompetence, they all behaved as the two scoundrels had predicted.
A child, however, who had no important job and could only see things as his eyes showed them to him, went up to the carriage. "The Emperor is naked," he said.
Probably what saddens me the most is that supposedly radical subversive communities that are called to live in, and imagine another alternative have remained for the most part silent. They are called to be prophetic voice critiquing the empire, a voice of correction. A child can see the emperor and empire are naked, and we at best turn the other way, and at worst nod our heads. Faith communities committed to the reality of Jesus and his Kingdom, of revealing, redeeming, restoring and building the world upside down would expose and reveal the alternative of the Kingdom. We would connect the dots that lead to the redemptive imagination of Jesus. We would rally humanity to awaken that we are all children of God called build the stunning redemptive beauty of the Kingdom, the home of all humanity. Is this even on the radar of your faith communities conversations?I close with these powerful words of subversive preaching in a postmodern world, a targum based on Colossians 1:15-20 by Brian Walsh.
Whether it be the institutionalized power structures
of the state, the academy or the market
all things have been created in him and through him
he is their source, their purpose, their goal
even in their rebellion
even in their idolatry
he is the sovereign one
their power and authority is derived at best
parasitic at worse
In the face of the empire
in the face of presumptuous claims to sovereignty
in the face of the imperial and idolatrous forces in our lives
Christ is before all things
he is sovereign in life
not the pimped dreams of the global market
not the idolatrous forces of nationalism
the church is
the flesh and blood
here and now
in time and history
with joys and sorrows
embodiment of this Christ
as a body politic
around a common meal
in alternative economic practices
in radical service to the most vulnerable
in refusal to the empire
in love of this creation
the church reimagines the world
in the image of the invisible God
In the face of a disappointed world of betrayal
a world in which all fixed points have proven illusory
a world in which we are anchorless and adrift
Christ is the foundation
and the life
In the face of a culture of death
a world of killing fields
a world of the walking dead
Christ is at the head of the resurrection parade
transforming our tears of betrayal into tears of joy
giving us dancing shoes for the resurrection party
And this glittering joker
who has danced in the dragon's jaws of death
now dances with a dance that is full
of nothing less than the fullness of God
this is the dance of the new creation
this is the dance of life out of death
and in this dance all that was broken
all that was estranged
all that was alienated
all that was dislocated and disconnected
and is made whole
whatever you can imagine
visible and invisible
mountains and atoms
outer space, urban space, and cyberspace
every inch of creation
every dimension of our lives
all things are reconciled in him
And it all happens on a cross
it all happens at a state execution
where the governor did not commute the sentence
it all happens at the hands of the empire
that has captivated our imaginations
it all happens through blood
not through a power grab by the sovereign one
it all happens in embraced pain
for the sake of others
it all happens on a cross
arms outstretched in embrace
and this is the image of the invisible God
this is the body of Christ
Surely we we can imagine and see something radically more alternative and subversive to the empire that surrounds us, and speak and build it into existence. The Kingdom is about ...NOW!!!