"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Eve 2013

A bit more of what-the-Pope-said to start your morning:

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.
Remember tomorrow those who must work just to keep their jobs so Wal-Mart and Target and many other stores can earn another $.  "The excluded are not the 'exploited' but the outcast, the 'leftovers.'"

I would point out, not in disagreement with the Holy Father, that those who "defend trickle-down theories" do so from one of two motives:  to fool the gullible, or because they are themselves gullible.  Some naively trust in the goodness of "those wielding economic power and in the sacralizing workings of the prevailing economic system."  The others know better, know who it is who butters their bread.

Both are wrong.

And "as though all this were someone else's responsibility and not our own"?  Am I my brother's and my sister's keeper?  If am not, is it because the "culture of prosperity" has deadened me, too?  Are the lives of others mere spectacle?

May your Thanksgiving reflect the comforts of family and home and friends and good people.  Maybe it be a sacralizing work from the heart and from the source of all blessings.  May it serve you well, and you serve it well in return.


Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

May your good wishes be yours and your family's, Robert.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Leonard Clark said...

Happy Thanksgiving (from just down the street, I think). Off for a follow-up check on my ojo this afternoon and then settling in with niece at her home for turkey (we decided not to go to my sisters big bash about three hours north). I think I am doing very welll, vamos a to you and yours and hope to get together soon, Len

2:10 PM  

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