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Chronicles in Ordinary Time 221: Homeless Jesus

November 8, 2020

“The Problem We All Live With” is a 1964 painting by Norman Rockwell. An iconic image of the civil rights movement in the United States, it depicts Ruby Bridges, a six-year-old African-American girl, on her way into an all-white public school in New Orleans on Nov. 14, 1960, during the process of racial desegregation.
Kamala Devi Harris October 20, 1964 Oakland, California, U.S.
“…there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day. And that little girl was me.

Today, November 7, 2020, the world is celebrating. Joseph R. Biden Jr. has been elected as the 46th President of the United States of America. Today, the first woman, and the first woman of color to be elected Vice President is Kamala Devi Harris.
On January 20, 2021, the 45th President “joins history’s bitter club of one-term presidents — those who were elected, served one full term, and were rejected by the American voters they had led for four years.” Washington Post
On January 20, 2021 the Department of Justice memo from the Nixon years, the memo that presents the opinion that a sitting President cannot be indicted, will no longer be in effect for the 45th President. The 45th President has already stated that he won’t be at the Inauguration. Will he be in the United States on that day, or will he be in a non-extradition country where he owns property? My guess is the latter; my hope is that he will be punished for all his crimes waiting for indictment. And they are many.

Celebration this day is entirely appropriate. America has been under siege for the last four years by its President, and a wide following of White Supremacists, whether or not they accept that definition of their character.
To quote a letter to the White Evangelical Church, as written by John Pavlovitz:
“…They see that all you’re really interested in doing is making a God in your own ivory image and demanding that the world bow down to it. They recognize this all about white, Republican Jesus—not dark-skinned Jesus of Nazareth.
“And I know you don’t realize it, but you’re digging your own grave in these days; the grave of your very faith tradition.
“Your willingness to align yourself with cruelty is a costly marriage. Yes, you’ve gained a Supreme Court seat, a few months with the Presidency as a mouthpiece, and the cheap high of temporary power—but you’ve lost a whole lot more.
“You’ve lost an audience with millions of wise, decent, good-hearted, faithful people with eyes to see this ugliness. You’ve lost any moral high ground or spiritual authority with a generation. You’ve lost any semblance of Christlikeness. You’ve lost the plot. And most of all you’ve lost your soul
.”

Homelessness is a major issue in Portland, Oregon, my home for nearly seventy years.

Homeless Jesus

“A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.
“The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.
“Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.
“The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn’t.
“One woman from the neighborhood actually called police the first time she drove by,” says David Boraks, editor of DavidsonNews.net. “She thought it was an actual homeless person.”
“That’s right. Somebody called the cops on Jesus.
“Another neighbor, who lives a couple of doors down from the church, wrote us a letter to the editor saying it creeps him out,” Boraks added.
“Some neighbors feel that it’s an insulting depiction of the son of God, and that what appears to be a hobo curled up on a bench demeans the neighborhood.
https://www.npr.org/2014/04/13/302019921/statue-of-a-homeless-jesus-startles-a-wealthy-community

Matthew 8, Aramaic Bible in Plain English
19 One scribe came near and said to him, “Rabbi, I shall come after you, wherever you go.” 20 Yeshua said to him, “Foxes have lairs and birds of the sky have shelters, but The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Maybe it’s different in Davidson, North Carolina, but the statue seems to match Jesus’ self-description. As I’ve written in other places, somehow the White Evangelical Church believes that following Jesus means living in wealth and privilege, while much of the world starves.
As I write this, 3:00am on November 8, 2020, 9,861,898 Americans are infected with COVID-19 [CVirus]; 237,123 Americans have died. For the fourth consecutive day, a single-day record in the hundreds of thousands of new cases was set for coronavirus, with more than 134,000 reported.
Statistically, in the US, the CVirus death rate is about 2.7% of those who are found to be infected. A number like 2.7% seems pretty small, until 100,000 people per day test positive. 700,000 times 2.7% equals something like 17,500 deaths per week. As long as Americans keep behaving as we have done for the last 8 months, the death rates will continue to increase.

The same man that has been ridiculing face masks for the last 8 months continues his ridicule today; and will probably continue for the 10 weeks he remains in office. The example raised for nearly half of the voting adults in the country. The man who learned in February of this year that CVirus is deadly, and that if one is the ‘wrong person’ there is no hope for their survival. These comments are all on tape, in his own words. Perhaps he likes the power of killing people with no effort on his part. Especially when they applaud and chant about the opportunity to die in his presence.In the days of the Roman Empire, slaves who were to die in the ‘games’ are said to have saluted the Emperor with, “We who are about to die, salute you.” Maybe nothing has changed.
If only our wannabe Emperor could be forced to spend a week in an ICU unit in a hospital, when COVID patients are brought in by the hundreds each day. Where the hospital staff sends a patient home to die, because they have no room for treating the most tragic patients. Or they leave the patient in a parked ambulance, waiting for the victim to die; after which the body is packed into a refrigerator truck because the morgue is full.

This is Trump’s America.

KNOXVILLE, TENN. — The new congregation is gathered in a barn in Lenoir City, Tenn., with a roof that has a 60-foot American flag painted on it. And they are praying for a Trump landslide.
Standing in a circle, the dozen or so men and women, young and old, lay their hands on their pastor, Ken Peters, as he raises their requests to God.
He prays that “communism and socialism and transgenderism and homosexuality and abortion will not have their way in this land.”
“Yes, Lord,” someone cries.
He prays that the nation’s “Christian roots” will remain, that the church of Jesus Christ will be a “restraining power.”
“God, this nation is a miracle for you,” Peters continues. “You rescued us, and you gave us our independence for a purpose.”
After another “amen,” the service begins with everyone’s hands raised to “Here I Am to Worship,” a popular contemporary Christian song performed in many evangelical churches.
This is a Patriot Church, part of an evolving network of nondenominational start-up congregations that say they want to take the country back for God. While most White conservative Christian churches might only touch on politics around election time and otherwise choose to keep the focus during worship on God, politics and religion are inseparable here. The Tennessee congregation is one of three Patriot Churches that formed in September. The other two are near Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and in Spokane, Wash., and Peters says he is talking with several more pastors of existing churches who want to join them.
The 50 or so people in attendance may identify as born-again or just as generic “Bible-loving” Christians. Peters’s flock is not affiliated with a specific denomination, but it does have a distinct identity. The Patriot Churches belong to what religion experts describe as a loosely organized Christian nationalist movement that has flourished under President Trump. In just four years, he has helped reshape the landscape of American Christianity by elevating Christians once considered fringe, including Messianic Jews, preachers of the prosperity gospel and self-styled prophets. At times, this made for some strange bedfellows, but the common thread among them is a sense of being under siege and a belief that America has been and should remain a Christian nation.
From his lectern during the worship service, Peters rails against perceived attacks on First Amendment freedoms, decrying government mandates and calling masks “face diapers.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2020/10/26/trump-christian-nationalism-patriot-church/

This too is Trump’s America.

It would be presumptuous of me to define what I think Jesus’ America would be, because it would not be America. Jesus, the son of Mary and Joseph would not have known that the Americas even existed. Jesus the Son of Creator, knew about the Americas, but we have no evidence that the single cell implanted in the womb of the teenager named Mary, the fiancée of Joseph the carpenter, grew into a man that knew the future. Jesus said that even He did not know when the time of Judgement would be. The point at which the Earth would be made new. And yet, there are White Evangelical Church members who know that the End Times are coming soon. Apparently because the people of the Twentieth Century did all that they could do, to ruin Earth; perhaps irrevocably. However, Scripture does not say that we get out of here alive. There are interpretations of Biblical prophecy that claim we get out of here alive; these are interpretations that have been made by very fallible men.

Megachurch pastor and televangelist Paula White-Cain, who is spiritual adviser to President Donald Trump, delivered a prayer service Wednesday night in an effort to secure Trump’s reelection.
During the service, which was streamed on Facebook Live, White-Cain called on “angelic reinforcement” from the continents of Africa and South America.
“I hear a sound of victory, the Lord says it is done,” she said. “For angels have even been dispatched from Africa right now… In the name of Jesus from South America, they’re coming here.”
White-Cain also stated that “demonic confederacies…are attempting to steal the election from Trump.” As of Thursday morning, Joe Biden had 264 electoral votes and Trump 214, according to USA TODAY counts.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/11/05/paula-white-trumps-spiritual-adviser-african-south-american-angels/6173576002/

To quote the immortal Inigo Montoya [The Princess Bride], and the sound of victory:
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.


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