A Requiem

A Requiem November 1, 2020

I write this knowing every group, every segment of any religious, cultural, socio-political part of a national body has sown the wind, in their own peculiar ways. And the same for individuals, myself included. I don’t put myself outside the natural and spiritual laws of sowing and reaping. We all have debts coming due. We have all planted; a reaping and harvest await us all. I know that. Still.

Please read Amos 5. Here is something that God communicates to the people of God—or those who claim to be God’s people. The message is not to those considered pagan or gentile. In our time, we might say non-Christian or secular. The message is to those who follow the laws, prescriptions, and teachings of God. These are people who hold to the forms, stated beliefs, the common understandings of The Law as put forth in especially Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. They read these plainly and they do them. All is good. Well…no.

These people, no doubt, thought they were following God. They thought they were being obedient. After all, they were doing what God had told them to do—especially in their worship and the outward forms of their religion.  But here is where they failed:

“There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court

and detest the one who tells the truth.

You levy a straw tax on the poor

and impose a tax on their grain.

Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,

you will not live in them;

though you have planted lush vineyards,

you will not drink their wine.

For I know how many are your offenses

and how great your sins.

There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes

and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.

Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times,

for the times are evil…”

Should we take note that, even in those times, there were people of the same sex who were attracted to each other and probably acted upon such? Should we take note that, even in those times, there were women who sought abortions? We must know both are true.

And yet, neither of those issues are addressed here. What we have, instead, is an address as to how the poor are treated. Amos is speaking to people who were following the law and aware of God’s teachings regarding life being made in God’s image. In fact, they may have had the same views as do modern fundamentalists and evangelicals in the areas just mentioned. Whether they did or not, those certainly weren’t the issue in Amos 5. Those issues certainly didn’t draw the rebuke we see in Amos.

The modern fundamentalist-evangelical world, in my opinion, have bought into the idea that stated policies, platforms (in the political realm), public theological statements, correct form, supposed “correct” theology, “The Law,” and right worship, somehow trump how one actually treats or thinks about, the poor or the “least of these.” And that means both personally and as a society.

To bring this to my point, and our moment in time, in fact, such is the only way most fundamentalists/evangelicals justify their support of Trump.

This is to put policy/party-platform, outward form, law, observance, and biblical knowledge, over character, love, actions, and how we actually treat (both personally and as a nation) the poor and the least of these. When we ignore the poor and the least of these, mistreat them, and still act as if we are worshipping God, as if we are righteous, Godly, and following the “correct” view (in the political realm or religious) here is what we are told:

“I hate, I despise your religious festivals;

your assemblies are a stench to me.

Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,

I will not accept them.

Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,

I will have no regard for them.

Away with the noise of your songs!

I will not listen to the music of your harps.

But let justice roll on like a river,

righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

Amos 5 is for us. Amos is speaking to us. God is speaking to us. Gather together for all the worship/political/events one wishes in Washington D.C. Gather for all the prayer-walks one wants.  Speak all one likes about the Good News being the path to material wealth. I truly believe Amos 5 applies to all these types of gathering and speaking/teaching.

We have Christians, no less, with political power saying things like this:

“We recognize that all of us by nature are free and equal and have certain inalienable rights among which are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing happiness and protecting safety.”

When we see actions like these on the part of the powerful, when we see the acquisition and possessing of property and protecting it with violence, believed to be integral to the Christian life, when we see creation being understood in these terms, then we should know judgment is coming.

“Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,

you will not live in them;

though you have planted lush vineyards,

you will not drink their wine.”

My opinion: The fundamentalist/evangelical world, to the extent they have supported Trump and radical, far right-wing political ideology, and to the extent they have prioritized obtaining material wealth over helping the poor, the least of these, have sown the wind.

Regardless the outcome of the election on November 3rd, whether now or in the future, they will reap the whirlwind. Perhaps we all will.

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