Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
When I diverted a defunct nonprofit to support producing a monthly tabloid on poverty issues, "propaganda" was an issue I needed to be entirely clear about. We didn't do it. We did advocacy; we published educational material. We made no claim to be "objective" in a field in which the pretense of Objectivity serves mainly to serve the propaganda purposes of people and institutions which can well afford to hire their own propagandists -- but instead practiced what Terry Messman of AFSC's 'Street Spirit' called 'justice journalism.'
Truth is a central virtue of the Quaker movement; if (as human beings) we can't possibly avoid being somebody's fool, we need to be God's fools -- whether or not we recognize that name to mean the spiritual Power our deepest self calls us to serve. We aren't given God's omniscience; but we can avoid fooling others or letting the Powers of this world imprison our vision... as in the vast majority of cases, they have done and will continue to attempt.
Resistance to those Powers... Everyone isn't called to active resistance; and certainly we are not called to try to use their methods: secrecy, deception and violence -- in our zeal to resist. The form of resistance which even the aged, tired, and retired can practice -- is to seek out the samizdat sources of scruffy truth, examine even these critically -- but turn our time & attention away from slick sources of public manipulation.
Anne referred me to this video this morning. It can't do justice to theological truth; but as a State of the World it says things every Friend needs to know:
"Essentially different ways of being" would, so far as I and many others, have experienced our measure of these, would in turn demand the immediate abandonment of the present arrangements.
Whether we would then find new external organizational forms helpful is a matter of conjecture. With the rule-of-thumb planning Anne & I did for a food line we served at a local Lutheran church... we almost never actually ran out of food; there were simply nights when everyone got seconds (plus extra portions for their friends to share back in the bushes the next day or so) and nights when the last portions started getting smaller and people were needing more bread. And of course we had arrangements with the church to use their space and their donated food on certain nights rather than others, starting at prearranged times because that was when people knew to be there.
Bringing one sandwich by at 3:00 pm based on a leading to present it to one person who'd be showing up hungry around then... would only be workable on rare occasions, yes? Would we still need food lines if everyone were Being the way you'd have them Be? Probably we could do just fine on the occasional ad hoc manna-drop; but that for now that doesn't look to be the way God, in practice, arranges our lives.
I am entirely uninterested in playing Courtroom with you. I pointed out certain blunders which people seem universally prey to; whether you respond "Mea culpa!" or "I didn't do nuthin and you can't prove it!" -- is up to you and how you are led, yes?
Yeah, we've gotta have the back and forth, because alternatives like writing each other off just get uglier!
A better Method of doing that...? That would be desirable --
But applied without regard to the spiritual 'nudges' we get (when attentive) any such Method becomes a new source of static.
I believe we are both on the same page as to that conclusion.
For my part, I have no idea what "supporting the status quo" could possibly mean, as there is no "status quo" to support.
All is in flux these days, thanks to a list of exponential trends I could tick off. We're in the middle of some vast overhaul.
I know it's unfashionable in some inner circles to be "for" a New World Order, and I agree, I don't see how that could make much sense either.
Of course the world order will be new. Every day it's new. How does it get any newer than "right now"?
Sure, the Earth spins and travels around the Sun, that's fairly steady for the time being.
If that's the status quo people mean, OK sure, why not come out in support of that.
When it comes to human affairs, all that monkey business is like an avalanche in progress.
To support the status quo is to accept a high rate of change, whereas to be against the status quo is to accept a high rate of change.
Where's the difference?
Is it sensible to brand oneself as "for" or "against" change? Or is the game of "for and against" just making noise, either way?
I don't see any 'overhaul' going on, certainly not down where the rubber meets the no-account people it runs over.
I see the harmless people who hung out in my alley being driven off by police called in by property-owners who hope this will enable them to resell their 'investment' profitably to the next fool. I've seen a great deal of how the local political system functions, seen far too much to trust the current personnel for any change but rapidly-increasing entrophy. And these are the people the larger-scale governments recruit from.
The Clinton-Trump circus -- and the ongoing mendacity of false hope -- shows the sheer futility of trusting in secular princes: whether in the government, the plutocracy that owns it, or the public that can still be distracted by it.
Faith in indignation? Well, people who keep demanding the tolerable are bound to be often engaged in futility -- but it's the honest, minimal thing to ask.
By "overhaul" I didn't mean to imply "for the better". That remains to be seen. Could be that given smartphones and driverless cars, humans will only need very small brains in much tinier heads, and Zika is on the job. Planet of the Apes is not a pretty place. I wasn't promising any rose gardens or anything.
"We aren't doing bad for a bunch of monkeys;" but yesterday's Tomorrowland has turned out worse than yesterday; so my faith in Progress may be less than it was. I've come to appreciate that Amish practice: having a committee consider whether adopting a particular new technology is likely to turn out destructive to their way of life.
Trends and policies we hardly noticed (late 50's, early 60's) had devastating effects over ensuing decades, effects which (given hindsight) should have been obvious...
so my faith needs must be in God's continuing choreography, not human plans. (Probably God does expect us to bring ourselves in out of the rain, so far as other people and circumstances allow it.) Certainly God's hand weaves throughout the kingdoms of this world, sinking Titanics and rescuing the occasional sparrow, as way opens...
Meanwhile: Dysfunctional interactions between people's mental models of Political Heresy (whatever one's own Orthodoxy might look like.) I think we've got a marvelous opportunity to consider that; and whether Friends can follow our own sacred (irony, irony!) Process in the spirit it was meant to embody... to the extent of truly coming to see each other, really resolving the differences where that's needed.
Yeah, "for God all things are possible"; and we "can of [our] own self do nothing."
I think there are myriad ways of persuading people to attend to God, Keith's among them, helpful to some people if not all of us. Different ways are provided for different people to do this so that "all things [can] take their rightful place". (We can't and shouldn't see that as an alternative to mitigating matters, in whatever way we're so led, but such efforts are a good side effect where they happen.)
Hah hah, looks like I have too much time on my hands right?
(remembering some of our dialog)
Kirby Urner said:
Forrest: I myself merely find some exchanges more rewarding than others.
Yeah, thanks for reminding us all of that. I'm up for getting back into Russian Novel world, always a good one.
The friendship between Pierre & Prince Anrei is certainly worth a close look.
Andrei is an admirable, honorable man who thinks too much for his own good, while Pierre is a great-hearted soul, inclined to be dangerously impulsive. Andrei, following his mind and his notions of family loyalty, torments and almost destroys the woman who loves him, whom he himself loves yet hatefully rejects through his own well-reasoned doubts.
Pierre, continually befuddled by the impulses of his heart, gets entangled in a farcical marriage (despite his own awareness that he's making a horrible mistake), takes up vast noble projects for the betterment of his serfs (which Andrei implements in an unassuming, practical way on his own estates) which result, in Pierre's hands, in increasing their misery while enriching his corrupt overseers. Pierre escapes death in a duel by sheer dumbluck, while Andrei's dumbluck brings him nearly to death -- and to an encounter with Napoleon, where he sees the folly of the whole ideal of military 'honor' -- but then sends him, following his honorable duties, to a fatal wound and a long, agonized death. Pierre's impulsive heart and fantastic dumbluck put him through devastating hardships -- and eventually, a sort of epiphany and a contented married life with Andei's former love...
One believes he is ruled by his mind, and falls victim to his unheeded heart; the other suffers a great deal from thinking with his heart but comes through his ordeal with his mind adequately sorted at last...
I oversimplify here, the full book being too long to write myself... but its people are utterly human. Nuts, that is!