abba's way

Where Does The World Divide and Which Side Are We On?

Morning Observations 16 July 2011 – New Cities, Carmageddon, Charities, Penitence, Money, Captcha, Wall Street – Associated Content from Yahoo! –

That’s the question that dogs me after putting up this post. I have always been a partisan of community and of new cities. Fifty years worth of energy has been expended writing about the dangers of continued allegiance to oil and the car. Speaking of which traffic jams are now news with the length of a jam the headline. China had one exceeding 60 miles. LA wonders if it can beat China.

Charity raises what can be a most ugly head. We have the most shabby information when it comes to understanding charity and how it relates to capitalism and how the two create a world in which the result is benign genocide. That is my thesis BTW. It wants some proving I will admit. The surface remains unscratched.

I cannot for the life of me understand how I could have written about Obama for years and never had one personal encounter with the Obama folk. That is a recurrent theme because it asks the question what side am I on. I am one of the privileged. I live in the metropole of metropoles. I have freedom of speech. I should be grateful. I should be thankful. And I should be under no illusions about which side I am on.

But I do not feel on the side that I came from. Nor do I have the gall to pose as if I do not come from that side. So I do the only thing I can do. Put words out that advocate as I believe that the goal of existence is to realize the universality that is in us all. Ultimately we are on no side. We are one.

When we fail Abba succeeds. I wonder if Abba will smile if and when we consign the entire world to economic disaster. It will not be pretty and it will not bring out the best in us. It would be vastly better to limp forward without a crisis of such proportions.

abba's way

Short Form Content Morning 16 July

The First Blasts of the Day – Debt, Whites, Narcissists and Progress – Associated Content from Yahoo! –

What is interesting to me is the  spectrum of consciousness whereby a person who might become fearful and even paranoid in one setting would be completely at ease in another. I tend to feel that the more we begin building from the ground up the society which is more face to face, more trusting and more integral, the more hope can be kindled. The matrix we are in now needs to be shaken a bit so that something new can take its place. Something greener and more environmentally savvy. Something fairer. Something more attuned to the values of Abba’s way.

abba's way

Three Wisdom Posts At Gently Moving Forward at Blogger

Gently Moving Forward at Blogger: wisdom

Unfortunately the only way that these posts see the light of day at this point are by being pointed to here. They compose a triad of what I would call “transcendent reality” posts – part of a new spirituality struggling to be born in which transcendence is not some “believed” penetration of a realm which we cannot penetrate, but rather a portion of that impenetrability within us all.

abba's way

Of Values and Presidential Persecution of Bradley Manning

Short Form Content: What is natural is insightful self-observation
Jun 28, 2011
Thus the choice of values is thus the prime element of a liberating freedom. The values of Abba’s way are tolerance, helpfulness, democracy and non-idolatry. Posted by Stephen C. Rose at 3:12 AM · Email This BlogThis! …

Short Form Content: Why Does President Obama Keep Persecuting …
Jun 16, 2011
He is turning into a scapegoat of massive dimensions. This is rank stupidity. Pardoning Bradley would say to the world that the President walks the walk when he talks about freedom and justice as universal values. …
abba's way

More Fathoming Facebook

More fathoming of Facebook. I doubt that even with the film about Facebook we are even close to understanding what might lie at the root of Facebook’s power. That rootage lies in the understanding of what creates revolutions. I do not claim to have made this link in any serious way. But my intuition is that it has to do with the role of the middle class in generating democratic revolutions and with Facebook’s ethos in that respect. It would be a supreme irony in today’s killing the middle class environment if the ultimate power in the world was, er, bourgeois power. Or should I say bourgeois conversion with a nod to Leadbelly.

Mildred Purse Wants To Be A Facebook App

March 21, 2011
She is looking into it. Someone has to arbitrate all the nonsense and help young women navigate the slough of despond and such. Mildred Purse is just the ticket.
Mildred Purse Says Scott Walker and Arianna Huffington Are The Same

March 18, 2011
Mildred gets a tiny micropayment for every view of her sage commentary. She urges you to help by Tweeting and sharing these offerings on Facebook until she becomes a star.
Writing Futurology

March 6, 2011
Facebook Short Form Writing and The Future. Eventually one can anticipate the following hierarchy – text messages – online writing – ebooks – kindle and similar readers and finally book publishing.
Retro IPO Glitz

March 4, 2011
Facebook Google and Abba’s Way. This video offers a sort of window on the theme of this post which is a consideration of Abba’s way in terms of Facebook and Google and their respective beginnings and IPOs.


politics, theology

Israel Has No Right To Act With Impunity

This is a theological post. I have every right to say what I will say and to claim that it is true. Why? Because I am a person who, though theologically educated in a “tradition”, is also a thinker whose theology has evolved through a painful process to the point of arriving close to where Nietzche found himself more than a century ago. I have evolved to the point of scoring all Abrahamic religions for the very same sin — the hubris of believing their respective religions give them the right to act with impunity.

Like the prophet Amos, I hate and despise this posturing, whether it comes from an Imam, a Rabbi or a minister. As Shoah suggests, the causes of the Holocaust were at bottom religious. So too are the underlying realities of many of the most intractable conflicts today.

I believe that there are two sins that are unforgiveable. The first is to deny a person the dignity of being able to say no, for I believe that Abba is within everyone and so too is the freedom to be who one is and who one shall be, period. The second is to claim one’s religion as a justification for acting with impunity. This is exactly what is claimed whenever any person or nation uses their power to deny life and liberty to “enemies” — most particularly civilians.

In a situation of profound conflict, it is necessary to be scrupulous in one’s judgments. Such scrupulousness has been the hallmark of Human Rights Watch.

One indication that Israel has been acting with impunity is the ferocity with which it has attacked the dispassionate conclusion of Human Rights Watch, an organization which is no less veracious than the prophet Amos was when he told the priests to take away the noise of their songs. Human Rights Watch exposes impunity with an equal brush, Arab and Israeli, US and China, etc.

Today’s climate has become demonic. And the culprit at the root is religion, or so I contend. A true understanding of who we are would strip us of our religious pretensions and acknowledge that we possess inherently a dignity that even our own sin cannot entirely eradicate.

Now I shall not attempt the herculean task of trying to undo what is being done to Human Rights Watch by its ferocious and unfair critics. I shall merely give you some references to enable you to reach your own conclusion. If you agree, you do not say I am for the Palestinians or I am for Israel. You say I am for truth. Until the participants in any conflict can step back and see more than the red heat of irrational war, there can be no peace.

Human Right Watch cited and documented an incident representing Israeli impunity in Gaza. (Downloadable PDF)

Required reading. Objective reporting.

A Google news search for Joe Stork, the Human Rights Watch expert on the Middle East, will link you to a plethora of baseless and unfair attacks on both Stork and Human Rights Watch.

Required reading. Highly prejudiced opinion.

And here are some of the reasons I have been so insistent on saying Human Rights Watch is being treated with the same impunity I would criticize across the boards.

The true face of the so called “human Rights Watch”? Short and vitriolic, accuses Stork of supporting Palestinian terrorism against Israel.

Pathological politics: HRW’s “white flags” report Long and involved. Seeks to refute the facts of the HRW White Flag Report. If you take out the statements that have nothing to do with the evidence in the HRW report, it would be much shorter. But the purpose is to undermine trust of Human Rights Watch. The fact remains that HRW is the gold standard for unbiased human rights reporting, vetting each report with legal counsel and relying for support globally on the promise that it is being objective. This is what places current attacks in the “they do protest too much” category.

How human rights groups abuse their position I was about to credit this piece with a great POV until I got to the point where it gravitates to the main attack on Stork which is the most nefarious of the lot. If there is a mother lode of negativity toward HRW, it is Maariv’s Ben-Dror Yemini and here is a summary of his recently issued and false brief on Stork. And here is the report on which Yemeni relies. The slim pickings in this report are evidenced by taking a quote or Stork out of context and representing its message to be an endorsement of Palestinian violence. All Stork suggests is that Palestinians might be motivated to violence, a statement a FBI agent might have made in a report about the Black Panthers.

But whole cloth can be made from tissues of lies by able propagandists.

Generally when such accusations are made they just get repeated over and over by one side against the other.

I once spent a good deal of time investigating and then writing what was deemed to be a fair article on the late community organizer Saul Alinsky. This controversy reminds me of the sorts of tone I encountered back then. It is clear that Stork has detractors who will not respond to any argument, no matter how true or reasonable.

Innocent Israelis and Palestinians who have perished are victims of such closed minds. If there is collective guilt there is also collective causation.

The sage person will do better to remain silent than to venture into realms of untruth that mount up and serve to besmirch organizations that are our only protection against a world of total polarization and propaganda.


Parsing 10 Theological Theses on Art

From Ben Myers at Faith and Theology comes “Ten Theological Theses on Art.” I love these lists. A chance to focus. Ben describes his list (bold below) as an attempt. So too are my italicized responses. Offered in some trepidation. SOURCE

1. Art is not a representation of the world or an expression of feeling, but a construction of form

Art’s a representation of nature and one’s feelings about the world, what Johnson saw in Shakespeare. “Construction of a form” sounds like geometry?

2. Nature is flawed; art is more perfect than nature

Nature’s a spectrum like us, like everything. At one end violence, the other bliss. We should perfect nature, address its flaws. Address Katrina. Address ugliness. Art doesn’t feed a child. Patrons feed art.

3. Art is therefore a parable of the redemption of the world

Redemption equals progress. Does art lead? Jesus spoke change and progress, justice. love Jesus also spoke of simple deeds. They called redemption’s outline blasphemy. It is these parables that need to be redeemed.

4. Art is tradition; it opens the future by renewing the past

I think art’s palpable and mute — as A.M. said. A globed fruit. I think art’s moving toward all eyes, all ears. It’s we not art who must renew the past.


When nature died museums followed suit
The eye became the artist world the art
And now the eye requires no substitute
A conscious vision does the artist’s part
Strong music likewise rises in the ear
Songs mingling with the world’s cacophony
Until once held distinctions disappear
And art is simply what we see and hear
Next travel next invention next design
Indeed we are not far from Plato’s cave
We need no ideal world no cosmic sign
We live until there’s nothing left to save
Awakening awake awake awake
To see that life is but the art we make

5. Art is the occurrence of the new; metaphysics trails in art’s wake

Metaphysics is is a hefty stretch of thought beyond, I think, the way that Jesus taught. Art hangs on walls or stands or seeks the ear. Is art the cutting edge of life today? Is metaphysics out there on the march? I was changed the day cathedrals died.

6. Art may be true or good to the extent that it seeks only the beautiful

Why to they take something beautiful and tear it apart just for being? I think that life is beautiful. I think the spark of life is beautiful. I think the overcoming act is beautiful. Nice. Fine. Impressive. Sometimes beautiful. These terms I might apply to art. Beauty’s most present when Abba is seen. And Abba lives in everyone.

7. Didacticism is therefore the enemy of art. Bad art is not harmless; it is a betrayal of the world, violence against beauty

I’m as didactic as Kansas in August. Not Mao forcing children to learn in lockstep. The betrayal of the world is not just tacky art but tacky everything. Beauty is truth, truth beauty, Keats once said. So without the knowledge of truth even our art lacks legs.

8. Beauty in art can take form as grotesqueness, fragmentation and dissonance

Insofar as art is imitating life and life shows forth its beauty through the mists.

9. The beauty of grotesqueness, fragmentation and dissonance has a special proximity to a Christian theology of the cross

The beauty we evoked re: the cross is one with our prevailing point of view. We do not trust the way that Jesus taught. We largely pass on notions of his way. We make a small world built upon our creeds. Surround ourselves with great theologies. And fail to see the universal spark. Grotesque. Fragmented. Dissonant.

10. God is beauty; the crucified Christ is the beauty of God

Yes and resentment is the Christian’s sad MO and stasis is theology’s sad stance. And G-D is not at hand instead we bow to a theology that leeches life away, closed to the very world Jesus would change.

UPDATE: There was a good deal more response on the initial Theses.