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    Morning over the bay

    Our American Autumn

    By Milton Zimmerman

    October 7, 2011
    • Jen Ogles

      The idea that small Christian communities can come up with a unified agenda based on something more than inherited traditions, is almost as laughable as the idea that the American left can. The difference lies only in perspective. The rest of America is glad for an antidote to the Tea Party and the religious right.

    • Michael Harris

      This article is very well written and stated and I hope many take it to heart. It puts into a nutshell what should burn in all our hearts and I hope catches on like wildfire!

    • Carolee Uits

      Right on. This is so precisely what I came to as the marches upsurged this time - another round of "My rights" found in the civil rights waves of the past. But as before, simply standing up for the rights of all is not enough. If centered on life in the Kingdom of God, then it is about God's commands as seen in Jesus' "preference for the poor" and Biblical assertions on justice. Equality, considering the other as much (or more than) ourselves - is kingdom work which begins with the believer who first seeks first the things of God. The Bible chronicals the alternative. May we all be a bit wiser in the days ahead by maintaining focus on what God commands when God says, multiply, "Love ME first and neighbor next." And as revealed in the cross, this means sacrifice.

    • alan walton

      one of the great ills of this country you failed to mention, was the great curse of abortion....over 53,000,000 babies murdered in this country alone....imagine how many have been killed worldwide....don't expect God to again bless a country that will not stop murdering it's own most helpless people....over 645,000,000 ...that's 645 million worldwide since sad, and what a great evil....

    • Dominic Delia

      I don't remember the Gospel of Jesus Christ condoning wealth, power, privelege or anything else to be "redistributed" by force of government, but I could be wrong. If I am please feel free to quote the Chapter and Verse for me.

    • Laurel North

      Very incisive commentary, but you lost me with the whole Kingdom of God part. I do agree with most of this, but it sounds as if the author is advocating socialism as a solution, though it has been proven a faulty system over and over. I don't pretend to have any solutions myself, so I wonder whether this might be our best option, but please, don't make it sound like belief in God is mandatory for successful economic restructuring.

    • steve Zomok

      "What, then, is the answer?" The answer is NOT Socialism because that is anti-freedom and takes creativity away. Not only this, there is not enough money to fund it, as history has proven over and over again. Some Socialist will actually cite Acts 2:47 and 4:32-4:44 as support for Socialism and /or government welfarism. This is a misunderstanding and possibly a pretended misunderstanding. What we see in the Book of Acts is a community of people that share out of love. This has nothing to do with cowardly politicians trying to extract or steal more money and giving it to people that did not earn it. Property right are supported by the scriptures. The answer is freedom and a representative/Republican form of Government along with Christian ultruism!!!!!

    Earlier this year we saw the Arab Spring, but now it’s happening here, too. On Wall Street and all over America, people are dissatisfied with the performance of the governing institutions and the powers-that-be.

    It’s understandable when you see how Washington has responded to the grave challenges facing us: unemployment, the loss of manufacturing jobs, the mortgage crisis, homelessness, and a widening income gap; unregulated banks and unprecedented corporate influence at all levels of government; climate change, extreme weather, and environmental degradation; the breakdown of the family; the paralysis of our two-party political system and ruinous foreign wars.

    Not everyone may agree with this laundry list of ills, but everyone feels the pinch somewhere. Aside from the details, it’s clear that many people in our country are very unhappy with the way things are, and so they are expressing their dissatisfaction with urban “occupations.”

    Sadly, these protestors lack any coherent or unified vision of what might replace our unbridled capitalist economy. They pointedly proclaim that theirs is a grass-roots phenomenon – one not led by top-down ideologies or organizations – and this certainly has its merits. But their agendas vary so widely – as widely as my laundry list above – that you wonder how any one person or government could possibly meet their demands.

    The historical trouble with revolutions is that one group of people often ends up replacing another, with very little significant change or development. To put it more baldly: to have a group of blue-collar robbers replace a group of white-collar robbers has never accomplished what the blue collar robbers wanted.

    What’s needed instead is a sea-change of motivation. Hitler used Nationalism as a gathering banner, and the Marxists claimed the interests of the working class. But in both cases, the result was dictatorship by a brutal, ruling elite.

    What about other, more enlightened revolutions, such as the socialist-styled governments of Europe since World War II? Have they achieved harmony, justice, and peace? And if so, why are those countries then experiencing their own autumn protests?

    Is the Kingdom of God possibly relevant to all this social ferment? Here’s what one pastor, C. F. Blumhardt (1842-1919), said one hundred years ago:

    In the deepest sense, the faith of the working-class striving for a new order of society is faith in the kingdom of God, as promised to us by Christ. Thus the cry and the struggle of the masses truly becomes the sign of Jesus Christ. The social struggle of millions today is not accidental; it is connected to the fight the apostles fought. The unrest of the nations, the seething turmoil of the lower classes, the cry for the right to live – a cry put into the mouth of the most wretched, which cannot be silenced – that is the sign of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    As long as the citizenry of any country allows wealth, power, and privilege to be unequally distributed, there’s going to be suffering, discord, and instability. What, then, is the answer? A society based on justice and love is the only kind that’s going to experience peace, and peace has to begin in the hearts of individual people.

    All this may sound out-of-reach, but it can happen in small communities, as starting examples, and then spread to more and more people and nations. It is already happening in small communities around the world where men, women, and children live and work together in the spirit of Jesus, and in the certainty of God’s coming Kingdom. Little pieces of the Kingdom of God are already here in such places.

    Such living communities have the obligation to get the word out: a life of justice and peace is possible, and is happening here and now. We call on everyone interested in this vision to join with us, in the urgent work for our very survival.

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