Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ed Bacon on Glenn Beck, The Prodigal Son and why "Our Destiny is a Party"

From the sermon preached March 14, 2010 @ All Saints Church, Pasadena

Albert Einstein famously said, "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it."

Fox News commentator -- Glen Beck -- famously said that if your preacher mentions the terms “social action" or “economic justice” in sermons or teaching, flee from that church or synagogue and boycott that congregation – these are really code words for communism and socialism. And then he advised you should report that congregation to the authorities ...

The authorities already know about us here at All Saints Church. The IRS knows that we preach the good news that citizens have the responsibility to transform their institutions and governmental policies when those policies dehumanize, degrade and kill those who are the least of these. The central mandate of our scriptures involves making peace and transforming economic structures that actually are manufacturing this morning poverty, hunger, sickness, homelessness and discrimination.

Watch the sermon video here ... and may God bless all who preach peace, work for justice and strive to live lives of compassion.


Just Me said...

I'm also "against" social justice in it's present day definition. Whether you like it or not, Glenn's right; most of what is preached as "social justice" is neither social nor just. We're supposed to care for each other; we're supposed to be compassionate.

Beating one person over the head so you can give his wallet to someone else isn't right... no matter what you call it.

Brad Evans said...

The IRS should tax EVERY religious institution.
This free ride has to end.

Douglas Hunter said...

As you may know Glenn Beck is a Mormon. What many liberal Mormons are pointing out is that one of our past church leaders James E. Faust did give a conference talk in which he lamented that economic justice is not coming fast enough for women. So if Glenn Beck takes his own advice and leaves the Mormon church because of Faust's reference to economic justice, I'm thinking that wouldn't be so bad.


@Just Me ... so enlighten us as to where that "definition" of social justice comes from. I'm intrigued.

@Douglas ... which is EXACTLY the point Jana Riess made in her beliefnet op-ed response to Beck a few days ago! Thanks for weighing in!

LGMarshall said...

Yeah... most churches that preach 'social justice' seem to go at it to the point of losing the main purpose of the gospel... you know, put your faith in jesus, so your sin will be further than the east is from the west.

Mainline churches that preach 'the social justice' gospel are the same ones that support abortion on demand. Hey, how about spreading some of that sweet social justice to those precious in God's eyes, The Unborn?

Never heard of a Liberal Mormon before.... what's that?

lastly...Jesus preached that Christians should support & care for each other. [but he didn't advocate that for those outside the faith. His message always was the same... join my flock, then, I will take care of you. ]

IT said...

Oh, LGM you disappoint me. You think jesus would require an ID card to care for you? The one who cared for the least sparrow, the lepers, and the children?

Why is it religious conservatives fall into the "this is mine, **** you" religion style?

MarkBrunson said...

Well, it's simply a natural outgrowth of the adolescent worldview of the conservative "christian."

Everyone is responsible for them and they are responsible for no one. We see it time and again in that these alleged christians will lie, defame, hurt others and say it isn't their will but God's. All the time these "christians" will tell you that they're doing this for the Greater Good, to protect others, yet, when finally confronted with the fact that no one is in need of protecting from "temptation," the conservative "christian" will then give a long sob story about the mistakes they made and had to battle back to Jay-zus! for which, in the end, means that the conservative "christians" are the only ones feeling "tempted." They are simply too lazy and too selfish to attempt to discipline themselves as to what is and isn't healthy under their own circumstances.

It's no wonder they embrace this bizarre libertarian view that will happily let others do without because they aren't "worthy," while they - the conservative "christians" - benefit without restraint from the same society and people they try to subvert!

They never grew up and left home. Believe me, I recognize the signs from personal experience, and am finding growing up very hard - though I do try, unlike the right-wing religionists, to avoid harming others in doing so.

(For reference: check the posts of any and all conservative (self-identifying)"christians" on this very blog!)

Rev. David Justin Lynch said...

Christianity is about "Love one another as I have loved you." It is about sharing our table with prostitutes and tax collectors. It is about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, healing the sick, and enriching the destitute. It the words of Our Lady, it is about putting down the mighty from their seat and exalting the humble and meek while filling the hungry with good things and sending the rich empty away. And oh yes, don't forget about your personal relationship with Jesus in eating His body and drinking His blood as often as possible, preferably at Solemn High Mass in clouds of Holy Smoke. Jesus is immanently among us in our hearts as our best friend and transcendent in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar where He is blessed, praised and adored!

Katie B said...

@LGMarshall- I usually don't get involved with these kind of things, but I think you are way off on your interpretation of Jesus' message. I mean, you have read the story of the Good Samaritan, right? And you do know what pious Jews in the 1st century generally thought of Samaritans, right? Just checkin'

Brad Evans said...

Those that seem most to preach seem least to do; witness the constant stream of "repentant" preachers caught with their pants down and the bizarre spectacle of the "mainline" preaching how we should celebrate our diversity while remaining as white as cream cheese.

uffda51 said...

LG, is it possible that there is more to Christianity than "I'm going to heaven and you're not?" Why is it that those who like to use the Bible as a club have clearly not read it themselves?

Just Me said...

The definition of beating someone upside the head to steal their wallet? That definition comes from actions.

In MA, firefighters took an exam to establish promotions. Since "not enough" so-called minorities didn't get the grades necessary for a promotion, the entire exam was thrown out and no one got a promotion.

Where I live, several new construction projects were approved to get people working again. My husband was not permitted to bid on the projects because our company didn't qualify; he wasn't the right color and he was male.

In the most recent version of the Pelosi/Reid health care bill, two people who aren't married, but live together will pay less taxes than two people who are married and live together.

In Tampa, SEIU members beat up a man protesting the health care bill. Even though the entire beat down was on camera, the only charges filed were for a code ordinance violation.

There was a time when social justice, in its proper definition, was about equality for all, not about special treatment for a select few. There was a time when the American dream was something people fought to have available for all people in this country; regardless of race, religion, sex or orientation. That's what people used to fight for; but now, it's all about punishing some people and elevating others.

It's crazy to me how much time is spent talking about "social justice" in this country while more and more and more people are losing their jobs, losing their homes, living in tents, being robbed and all the while trying to understand why no one seems to care.

That's where the churches (as a whole) has failed. Until we get people to actually think about, care for and have compassion for PEOPLE instead of politics, there isn't any "social justice" for anyone.

I just realized how wordy I got; my apologies and I understand if you choose not to post.


I suspect we're going to continue to disagree on this one, but here's one answer ... a quote I use from Ed Bacon all the time:

"Faith in action is called politics. Spirituality without action is fruitless and social action without spirituality is heartless. We are boldly political without being partisan. Having a partisan-free place to stand liberates the religious patriot to see clearly, speak courageously, and act daringly." The Rev. J. Edwin Bacon

... and here's another one from former Presiding Bishop John Hines:

"Justice is the corporate face of God's love."

Social justice IS about equality for all ... but that cannot be acheived without first dismantling historic frameworks of oppression like racism, sexism & heterosexism by offering what liberation theologians call a "preferential option for the marginalized."

That's what Jesus did. And it isn't tidy. And we don't always get it right. But I believe it's what we do if we're committed to living out our baptismal covenant to strive for peace and justice and to respect the dignity of every human being.

Just Me said...

Susan, I agree with most of you posted above; the problem is that (all labels aside) what we see in our modern day culture are different groups of people who seek to exclude and marginalize other groups of people~ the targets are simply a different group of people.

Seeking to destroy the middle class to subsidize the poor or seeking to stop subsidizing the poor so the middle class can thrive is still an attempt to punish one person for the sake of the other. Seeking to lawfully define marriage to protect theological beliefs is just as wrong as attempting to use courts to dictate theological beliefs.

Jesus seeks to change the hearts and minds of people. I believe that's what the churches need to start doing. People are broken, anxious, depressed; people feel hopeless and frustrated and ignored. That's not limited to this group of people or that group of people and if the Good News isn't for all groups of people, then what's so good about it? It's just another example of a faith that believes that God really only cares about some people and if you don't fit into the mold, well... sucks to be you.

Oh and Mark... I don't know who you know that's Libertarian, but if they think the way you described above, then they're lying about being a Libertarian. All of the Libertarians I know just want the government to stop trying to run everyone's personal lives. It's really all Libertarians want; they (we) don't believe the government has the right to tell people who we can and can't marry, how we have to spend their money, what kind of cars we have to drive, what kind of food we're allowed to eat, what schools we can send our children, what kind of light bulbs we use, etc, etc. Not all Libertarians are conservative and not all conservatives are Libertarian. Libertarians, plain and simple, want the Federal Government to back off and scale back... especially since over the past decade, the corruption has increased to the point that the very security of our country is in serious jeopardy.

LGMarshall said...

The acts of mercy, love, forgiveness, friendship offered by Jesus to outsiders are purposed to bring the non believer into relationship with Him. His acts were (and still are) for the unbeliever to come to saving faith. Because, acts of kindness lead to repentance, which leads to faith, which leads to Eternal Life with Him[Heaven].

Of course for those who already have Faith, then we enjoy the relationship we have with Him, we are built up & encouraged by his continuous acts.

Many experienced first hand the miracles, and healings performed by Jesus Christ. They took what they could from him. Yet still no faith.

Their loss. [there isn't always a 2nd chance].

"O unbelieving generation, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?"-- Jesus.

Just Me said...

LG, you can't possibly be serious. I'm a believer, I'm in relationship with my Lord and Savior... and let me tell you something, I'm always blown away by His mercy, kindness, compassion, love, forgiveness and friendship. It blows my mind how He blesses me and rescues me from not only my enemies, but also from myself. His grace and His love is beyond the grasp of my feeble mind. I serve Him not because of a list of rules or obligation to "do things right"; I have been (and continue to be) transformed by His mercy, kindness, compassion,, love, forgiveness and friendship.

MarkBrunson said...

I have known several Libertarians, Just Me, and, if you believe that's what Libertarians are like, that's . . . well . . . Just You.

Then again, you have to ask yourself, what do you mean by "government meddling" in your life? I like having the government meddle, over all. The great majority of human beings function barely above the level they acquired when they dropped out of the trees, and I prefer to be able to keep them from doing anything and everything they feel like doing!

Or are you complaining of taxes? Then, by all means, go live by yourself, somewhere where you'll have no one you have to take care of - or to take care of you. Build your own roads, your own schools, your own hospitals, your own infrastructure. I'll help lobby for a place where you can do all that. No one "meddling" - even when you get too sick to get yourself help, or lie in a field bleeding out, or someone else - who isn't being meddled with by the government - comes and decides to take your stuff.

Good luck with that. I guess I'm just one of those terrible communist types - like the apostolic church, Jesus, those radicals. I think we should take responsibility for one another, no matter how worthless another may be. But, then, I'm one of those Ayn Rand would say survives only because the strong are forced to look after me. Like Jesus, or Buddha, or Francis, or Rumi.

Just Me said...

Well Mark, all I can say is that we're going to have to agree to disagree on that one. =) For no other reason except the exact opposite is true; there are plenty of places in this world where the government holds absolute power. Anyone interested in living in a socialized and/or communist country can do so. I, on the other hand, believe that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
God's peace be with you.

Brad Evans said...

The church preaches poverty from inside silk robes standing inside a building taxed at lower rates than other buildings while begging for money and trying to make everyone guilty for wanting things.
The Mainline churches have basically turned into mirror images of the fundies; instead of FoxNews, they're NPR.
All the dynamic diversity and unpredictability of a broken metronome.

MarkBrunson said...

You're free to disagree. I'm not talking about absolute power, which is another reason I think Libertarianism is wrong - it's simply a knee-jerk response.

God's Blessings on you, too.

(But God wouldn't support a Libertarian platform.)

Nicole Porter said...

Mark speaks for God now? Just thought I'd ask.