Saturday, December 28, 2013

It is Time to Rethink Money's Influence Today

Our maniacal obsession with money in this country is ruining us.

This obsession has corrupted and made incompetent our political system. It now works only for the rich and powerful. It is not capitalism that guides our politics; it's greed. Congress is populated not with patriots but with plutocrats, filthy rich money bags recklessly and arrogantly working for themselves and their billionaire patrons not the American people they supposedly represent. According to Stephan Richter, publisher and editor-in-chief of “The Globalist,” a daily online magazine on the global economy and politics, the average American family has a net worth of $120,000. The average American Congressman has a net worth of nearly $700,000. Two-thirds of Congress are millionaires. It is a rich man's club and the rest of the country is not welcome.

This obsession with money has corrupted and is making many of our religious institutions irrelevant and repugnant. The prosperity gospel now trumps the teachings of Jesus, which for the most part, condemn riches. Give your seed faith to a church or TV preacher and God will give back to you in miracles and cash. What heresy that is. And the unprincipled, heartless meanness and vicious attacks by these folks on women and gays and minorities is astonishing. The Daystar television network (Marcus Lamb); the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN/Pat Robertson); the Kenneth Copeland TV ministry; Bennie Hinn and his Miracle Crusades, who by the way preaches that “God will kill all homosexuals by fire”; San Antonio icon John Hagee who recently bellowed this kind word to atheists in his Sunday sermon: If you pass a manger scene and someone is singing ‘Joy to the World,’ you can take your Walkman and stuff it into your ears. Or you can call your lawyer. Or you can just exercise your right to leave the country. Planes are leaving every hour on the hour. Get on one. It's time for the majority to rule this nation.”; and many others are all rotten to their craving, grasping, grabby, gormandizing core. And their influence of making selfishness and excess and bigotry sacred has slithered into the consciousness of this country and has been affirmed. (The obvious exception to these phonies is Pope Francis, and my minister friends Charlie Johnson, John Brashier and Brian Edwards)

This obsession with money keeps us shallow as a people; ignorant of our own selfishness. It makes us vulnerable to elitism and classism. It makes honorable dishonorable conduct. It turns us into worshipers of wealth and the wealthy. It enables us to dismiss the mistreatment of the poor in an attempt to justify our urge to possess more for ourselves. It energizes the idea that greed is good. It turns politics into plutocracy, capitalism into tyranny, and religion into godlessness.

We are entering a time of new thought in this country. A time to reorder our priorities. To rethink the old traditions. To courageously question rather than mindlessly accept. To struggle against the wrong and not give in to it. To be our own person and not a cheap copy of some bogus celebrity or the wolves on Wall Street or those farces in the pulpit.

I'm with Neil Peart, musician and author, who in his wild and spiritual travel book, The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa, saw it all; the worst of humanity; the devastation of poverty; the corruption of government. And out of it he discovered insights worth keeping. He writes:

“I can worship Nature, and that fulfills my need for miracles and beauty. Art gives a spiritual depth to existence -- I can find worlds bigger and deeper than my own in music, paintings, and books. And from my friends and family I receive the highest benediction, emotional contact, and personal affirmation. I can bow before the works of Man, from buildings to babies, and that fulfills my need for wonder. I can believe in the sanctity of Life, and that becomes the Revealed Word, to live my life as I believe it should be, not as I'm told to by self-appointed guides.”

What a terrific, sensible, meaningful way to view life.

There is enough in that simple philosophy to lure us from the obsession with money that if not confronted and discarded will keep us prisoners in a life that truly is less not more.

(c) 2013 Timothy Moody

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