Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Class and Culture

Happy Winter, PDX!

Seems like the winter of '69-'70 I spent in intensive Russian in Syracuse, NY while in the USAF. Snowed every day for at least two months. Total immersion in Siberia, USA. But first...

A FREEBIE!!! Don't miss Dan Merchant's superb documentary dialogue movie, "Lord Save Us From Your Followers--Why is the Gospel of Love Dividing America?" Showing is this Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 7 PM in the Vollum Auditorium on the Reed College campus. Merchant himself will be there. Brought to you FREE by Reed and Koine Community.

But now... Been reading two timely books. The first is Consuming Jesus--Byeond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church by local author and professor at Multnomah Biblical Seminary, Dr. Paul Louis Metzger. Metzger makes some good and timely points on race and class but entirely misses the third from Paul's three-legged stool in Galatians 3:28: gender. Christ has torn down all three divisions of race, class and gender, not just the first two. The Evangelical church and the Catholic church have a way to go on this one. The U.S. Armed Forces and corporations like Intel are light years ahead of the church here.

But Metzger needs to get out a little more to really see what's going on in America. Poor non-whites in Mississippi aren't the only ones taking it in the shorts. But at least Metzger's heart is in the right place. He just needs to get to Winchester, Virginia. Thereabouts...

Second book is Deer Hunting With Jesus--Dispatches From America's Class War by Joe Bageant. Bageant himself grew up in Winchester, VA, then got out for several decades. After returning to live there, he takes a long, hard look at the permanent underclass of impoverished and undereducated Americans around him. Winchester is like much of America's small towns and rural areas which are only 25% of our population but which have contributed 50% of our war dead in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Winchester, hard working folk who despise government aid can work all their lives and maybe advance to $9/hour before they retire. And if they are lucky, they may be able to afford home ownership consisting of a mobile or modular home costing over $250K in payments and made of "exterior Masonite" that only depreciates in value and doesn't outlast the payment schedule.

BTW, Bageant published in 2007 and absolutely nailed the housing market collapse and the implosion of the financial world with it. Where were Alan Greenspan and the U.S. Congress? Deer hunting in Iraq or election La-La Land? Times can't be good in Winchester. Or Central Oregon.

Why is life becoming more impossible for so many folks in this "pro-America part of America"? And why do guns hold such strong attraction for these folks, half of whom don't vote but all of whom own guns? Go deer hunting with Bageant and find out why his brother is legend, why Lynndie England ended up in Iraq and in prison. For an honest look at America's heartlands that political speeches will expropriate but never show accurately, go Deer Hunting With Jesus. And maybe take Metzger along to the deer stand, the nursing home and the local bar. Five thumbs up for this spicy read.

Thought: if trickle-down economics work, why isn't America experiencing record wealth and economic growth across the board? After all, never has so much wealth flooded the penthouse holdings of so few. Surely it's going to come flooding down the stairwells and elevator shafts to us in the cellar soon! A trickle maybe? Or not.

Pray for a cloudburst, pray for a gusher, a deluge. Soon. And love your neighbor as yourself because God loves you. God was here first. Galatians 3:28.


Pastor Roger


No comments: