Hildegard von Bingen, Bronzestatue von Karl-Heinz Oswald, 1998
"I flame above the beauty of the fields; I shine in the waters; in the sun, the moon and the stars, I burn. And by means of the airy wind, I stir everything into quickness with a certain invisible life which sustains all. For the air lives in its green power and its blossoming. . . ." Hildegard of Bingen: Mystical Writings
The notion that universal health care is anti-Christian (not to mention undemocratic) is, well, kind of crazy. It is impossible for me to imagine that someone who has read and grasped the meaning of Jesus' teachings on compassion and kindness could argue against the idea that a society (especially one with policymakers and citizens who claim to be guided by Christian principles) is supposed to take care of its people - all of its people ... Cynthia Boaz, Huffington Post, 8-1-09
The Second Coming of the Liberal Jesus: Yes to Universal Health Care & Green Power
By Richard Power
Recently, Cynthia Boaz, a gifted writer, teacher and activist, wrote a powerful piece in the Huffington Post, and it compels me to not only draw your attention to it but to share some of my own perspective on the nature of Christianity.
I was born into the Irish-Catholic tradition, and I raised myself on the mean streets of Manhattan and the Bronx. So Gangs of New York and Dubliners are a lot more reflective of my early life than the Roman Catechism. I am not a Christian. After decades of journeying into the planet's mystical traditions, I ended up a hybrid of Buddha Dharma, Shamanism and Kashmiri Shaivism; nevertheless I still instinctively call on Jesus in a jam and pray to the Virgin Mary when the dark wings of doom rustle. (At the height of the war in Kosovo, I found myself in Fatima, and had a profound experience as I burnt candles there.)
The Liberal Jesus rose up in the 1960s, and stirred the holy spirit behind the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements. Unfortunately, since the Reagan era, he has been written out of the U.S. popular culture and replaced with the Aryan Jesus of the right-wing.
But Jesus was not a racist, or a misogynist, or a homophobe.
Jesus was a humanist.
From Hildegaard of Bingen's Green Gospel and Francis of Assisi's All-Species Altruism to Thomas Jefferson's Deist devotion to the moral philosophy of the historical Jesus and the heroic self-sacrifices of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Dr. Martin Luther King, the evidence of Christianity's progressive roots is compelling.
Indeed, it is time for the Second Coming of the Liberal Christ.
But Jesus was not a Revolutionary; and certainly not a Counter-Revolutionary; Jesus was an Evolutionary.
Here are some excerpts from that important piece by Cynthia Boaz. It is both timely and timeless. It calls all of us, whether atheists and mystics, to a higher octave of struggle, one in which we overcome our greatest enemy, i.e., our own ignorance and fear.
Please read these few excerpts, and then go on to the full text at Huffington Post; if you resonate with it, spread it far and wide, "from the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam."
What if the Right was Right? A Reflection on the "Christian States of America."
For years now I have been debating with friends and family on the question of whether the United States can (and should) be called a "Christian nation," and for the record, I have always argued a vehement no. But maybe I'm missing the point ... What would it look like if we considered the nation's most pressing policy questions through the lens of "Christian" principles? ...
War and Guns
"If you cannot say on the basis of the New Testament that Jesus was nonviolent, you cannot say anything about Jesus." -John L. McKenzie, Jesuit scholar
Let's start with the most controversial of the themes, and since I'm not a fan of mincing words, here it is: the advocacy of war and violence as tools of expressing grievances violates the most fundamental messages of Christianity because Jesus himself was the most renowned voice of principled nonviolence that the world has known ...
Taxes and Taxation
... [Jesus]He also commanded his followers to pay their taxes, and not to confuse the demands made by the state with those made by God. In an encounter between Jesus and and a suspicious mob who showed him a Roman coin, the Gospel of Matthew recounts the following exchange:
He saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. When they had heard these words, they marveled and left him.
Health Care and Socialism
... The notion that universal health care is anti-Christian (not to mention undemocratic) is, well, kind of crazy. It is impossible for me to imagine that someone who has read and grasped the meaning of Jesus' teachings on compassion and kindness could argue against the idea that a society (especially one with policymakers and citizens who claim to be guided by Christian principles) is supposed to take care of its people - all of its people ...
Which brings me to my final point: Jesus was a socialist. There, I said it. To read the Gospels and come away from them with a picture of Jesus as anything but an advocate of communally-shared resources requires a level of cognitive dissonance that I simply cannot fathom.
Again, for the full text at Huffington Post.
Go to Stand w/ Howard Dean for more information on how to participate in the struggle to bring meaningful healthcare reform to the USA.
If you have not already joined the Alliance for Climate Protection, Al Gore and I urge you to do so. Click here.
I also urge you to participate in some way in the International Day of Climate Action on 10-24-09. Go to 350.org for more information.
Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.
Cynthia Boaz, Hildegard of Bingen, Thomas Jefferson, Healthcare Crisis, Climate Crisis, Martin Luther King, Jr.