Ugich lives in India and if you haven't visited her blog Gappa you are missing a rare treat. Obviously, English is not her native tongue, but she writes far better than I do. Here is a link to her blog. http://kaimhanta.blogspot.com/
Thank you, Suranga. Enjoy her poem.
"The unknown cactus in a yard near you...." and the Saguaro with its myriad uses of blossoms, inspired this:
Green in peace,
Pink health blossoms,
"yes, we can,
yes, we can!"
.... And the Guv,
the latest law,
rolls up the window,
as her car passes
a Saguaro ,
for the good of all,
unless you blossom
you are useless in this world.....
The desert is not neutral; you either love it or hate it. I happen to love it and so I stay. Tucson is left leaning and the right wing group reside it the Phoenix area. Of course, you can find all types in both cities.
It all set me thinking and wondering for the umpteenth time how Conservative Christians can read their Bible and justify the positions they take. This morning I read an article that states my belief better than I can. The original article contains references to Bible verses that prove to me that the conservatives are flat out wrong. If you want to read the entire article including the referenced Bible verses here is the link. I will follow it with excerpts from the article.
Why Are So Many Christians Conservative? By Mike Lux
The most fundamental difference between progressives and conservatives is that question of which side you are on. Conservatives believe that the rich and powerful got that way because they deserve to be, that society owes its prosperity to the prosperous, and that government's job when they have to make choices is to side with those businesspeople who are doing well, because all good things trickle down from them. Progressives, on the other hand, believe it is the poor and those who are ill-treated who need the most help from their government, and that prosperity comes from all of us -- the worker as well as the employer, the consumer as well as the seller, the struggling entrepreneur trying to make it as well as the wealthy who already have.
Between Glenn Beck's conspiracy theories about Christian social justice (Since Communists and Nazis both used the words "social" and "justice," sometimes even together, the phrase must be bad) ------and Sarah Palin's "spiritual warfare,".------
I am always puzzled by how people who claim to be followers of the Jesus I read about in the Bible can be political conservatives.
High-profile preachers who claim to speak for Christianity but preach a brand of narrow, intolerant conservatism ------ it's important to have a sense of just how different the Bible is from how conservative Christians represent it.
Conservative Christians' primary argument regarding Jesus and politics is that all he cared about was spiritual matters and an individual's relationship with God. As a result, they say, all those references from Jesus about helping the poor relate only to private charity, not to society as a whole. Their belief is that Jesus, and the New Testament in general, is focused on one thing and one thing only: how do people get into heaven.
The Jesus of the New Testament was of course extremely concerned with spiritual matters: ---- if you actually read the Gospels, it is clear that Jesus' main concern in terms of the people whose fates he cared about was for the poor, the oppressed, and the outcast. Comment after comment and story after story in the Gospels about Jesus relates to the treatment of the poor, generosity to those in need, mercy to the outcast, and scorn for the wealthy and powerful. And his philosophy is embedded with the central importance of taking care of others, loving others, treating others as you would want to be treated. There is no virtue of selfishness here, there is no "greed is good," there is no invisible hand of the market or looking out for Number One first. There is nothing about poor people being lazy, nothing about the undeserving poor being leeches on society, nothing about how I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps so everyone else should, too. There is nothing about how in nature, "the lions eat the weak," and therefore we shouldn't help the poor because it weakens them. There is nothing about charity or welfare corrupting a person's spirit.
What there is: quote after quote about compassion for the poor. In Jesus' very first sermon of his ministry, the place where he launched his public career, he stated the reason he had come: to bring good news to the poor, liberty to the captives, to help the oppressed go free, and that he was here to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord -- which in Jewish tradition meant the year that poor debtors were forgiven their debts to bankers and the wealthy.
And he was a really serious class warrior, too -- he wasn't just into helping the poor; he didn't seem to like rich folks very much.
I have never heard a conservative Christian quote any of these verses (found in the article)-- not once, The one verse they always quote (and I mean always) is the one time in which Jesus says that "the poor will always be with us." The reason they love this quote so much is that they interpret that line to mean that in spite of everything else Jesus said about the poor, that since the poor will always be with us, we don't need to worry about trying to help them. Apparently since the poor will always be with us, we can go ahead and screw them. But Jesus making a prediction that there will always be oppressive societies doesn't mean he wanted us to join the oppressors. By clinging desperately to that one verse in the Bible, and ignoring all the others about the poor and the rich, Christian conservatives show themselves to be hypocrites, plain and simple.
The Jesus of the New Testament ---- repeatedly blessed mercy, gentleness, peacemaking, community, and taking care of each other. He lifted up the poor and oppressed, and spoke poorly of the wealthy and powerful. If anyone in modern society talked like he did, you can bet your bottom dollar that conservatives would condemn that person as a class warrior, a socialist.
Jesus is not exactly the only Bible character concerned with issues of social and economic justice. All of the first five books of the Torah (the Old Testament for Christians) talk a lot about justice for the poor; the Psalms are full of verses about the helping poor; every Old Testament prophet castigates the Jewish people (and yes, their governments) for mistreating the poor. And in the New Testament, there are some dynamite passages promoting progressive thinking aside from all of the Jesus quotations I mentioned.
Judeo-Christian scripture is a rich and complicated work of literature. Written over the course of (at least) several hundred years by dozens of different authors, there are a variety of perspectives and many times outright contradictions in the theology and the politics of the writing (if it's all inspired word for word by God, He seems to have changed his mind a lot). But one thing is extremely certain: the poor seem to be who God is most concerned about. Yes, there are a few quotations (four, if I remember right) trashing gay people, along with quite a few more about the right way to do animal sacrifice and to be careful about eating shellfish and hanging out with women who are menstruating. But mercy, kindness, and concern for the poor and the weak and the outcast seems to matter a lot more, with literally several hundred verses referencing those agenda items. If you are a progressive, that is a pretty good ratio.