The masses of people who followed Jesus around to hear his teaching and witness his miracles represented some of the poorest and sickest segments of society during that time and place. Jesus was aware that those who followed him and his disciples were not in a good position to provide for themselves, primarily due to the conditions of oppression and poverty that ran rampant throughout their homeland. The Bible tells us that Jesus felt, and practiced, compassion towards those disheartened individuals by feeding and healing them. His disciples asked him how they could possibly help all these people, but Jesus didn't tell them to line up to first determine eligibility before providing relief. Jesus didn't obsess over who may, or may not, have deserved help.
It's interesting that so many these days who claim to be followers of Jesus oppose the very thing Jesus did so often. Lucky for us, Jesus didn't ask God to provide him with a list of eligible recipients before coming to Earth to offer himself as a sacrifice, or else we'd all be screwed.
If you are listening to the current electronic media cacophony and the bb in your head hasn't permanently rolled off its contact, you must be confused. The 24-hour bleat tells us that what we want is for everyone to have as many guns and as much ammunition as we can obtain and we have to be free to carry around all that armament anywhere and anytime we please. And, be afraid; be very afraid.
At the same time, we believe it is unacceptable for anyone, anywhere in our country or countries where they look like us (northern, white European ancestry — yep, we're still that way) to be shot, ever. Unless we (northern, white European ancestry who have never shot anyone and most likely never could) are the ones who shoot 'em. Our "solution" for gun violence is that more of us (northern, white — you get it now, right?) need to have more guns and have them with us everywhere and be ever ready to commit violence with those guns.
Now, if we could just keep those guns out of the hands of people who want to use them to commit violent acts. That's right. Those other people: the mentally ill and those shady folks from places we can't locate on a map who have beliefs we know absolutely nothing about. Those people who have been "radicalized," whatever magical spell that means. So, Mr. President, get Tinker Bell out of your pocket and you get this problem done with — you hear?
If we truthfully believed that such a phenomenon as "mental illness" existed, we would recognize that wanting to own a gun is the primary indicator of mental instability and disconnection from reality (or, at the very least, exaggerated gross immaturity) and the most obvious and best reason for denying gun ownership.
Of course, we don't subject beliefs to a truth test. We just believe and our beliefs become our reality. Our fanciful trust in a fantasy world where all of us having an armory of weapons aimed at each other makes us safe will continue until we learn to be honest with ourselves and each other about who we are, i.e., homo sapiens, and what it means to be who we are.
On the other hand, we could continue to devote our energy to maintaining our fantasies. That'll give us a lot more time for target practice. We will also have time to become a country filled with what Tom Robbins describes as people who will sell you anything they have, which is nothing, and shoot anything they don't understand, which is everything.
If I could talk one-on-one with my Arkansas senators and representative, these are the questions I would explore:
Why do you hate your grandchildren?
Why do you oppose all efforts to avoid the global catastrophe that is climate change?
Is it worth campaign contributions to betray future generations?
Is it worth a plush future job as a lobbyist to betray future generations?
Is it worth acceptance into a clique of ideological and misinformed colleagues to betray future generations?
When I write you to plead for your vote for bills to reduce pollution, your answers are predictable.
Why do you claim economic losses and job losses without considering the vastly greater economic losses and job losses that will result from climate change?
When will the total economic and human consequences enter your equation?
When will the specter of a global migration that dwarfs today's migration enter your consciousness?
Are we doomed because Congress can only behave like petulant children?
Are we doomed because of a knee jerk reaction to oppose anything put forward by the president?
Are we doomed because of a lack of intellectual capacity to understand what our leading scientists are saying?
Are we doomed because of the fraudulent misrepresentations of a group of corporations that promote climate change denial?
Today, I am asking you:
To approve the Paris COP21 agreement. To urge further reductions in greenhouse gasses. To pledge more funds to climate mitigation and aid to affected nations. To investigate and hold accountable those corporations and institutions that were aware of climate change and promoted climate change denial to deceive the public.
From the web
In response to the item in the Dec. 17 cover story "Big Ideas" about doing away with one-way streets:
I worked downtown a couple of days last week. I had forgotten what a pain in the ass navigating that area with its crazy quilt of one-way streets can be during the morning rush hour. Good thing I gave myself plenty of time. I agree with the writer. Do away with them.