7 things @ 11 o’clock (11.25)

7 things @ 11 o’clock (11.25) November 25, 2013

1. “And the gates of that city were as azure, and as lapis lazuli, and Ichabod revealed that he had been friends with Benjamin Franklin, whose name was not Benjamin Franklin at all, but Nostradamus, and that he had discovered a method for turning wheat into jam, which was not as useful an alchemy as he had originally hoped but you had to admit was kind of interesting.”

2. Here ya go:

3. Oy, what are they teaching these kids at Harvard? The Harvard Ichthus, a “journal of Christian thought,” published this sentence: “The Jews, rejected God and hung Him up on a cross to die.”

I couldn’t afford Harvard, but the school I went to had heard of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire hung criminals on crosses. Crucified means killed by the Roman Empire. Jesus was crucified. Jesus was killed by the Roman Empire. Period.

The confusion (and internalized anti-Semitism) of this Harvard student parallels a similar confusion represented by that movie poster above. The book of Revelation, like the crucifixion, is bound to be confusing if you’re looking at it without seeing the empire at work.

4. Alexander Hamilton (the guy on the $10 bill) didn’t think much of legislative rules that could be twisted into something like the routine-filibuster trainwreck of the past five years.

In Federalist No. 22 (via) Hamilton explains that democracy ought to mean the majority opinion carries the day, not the opinion of an obstructionist minority:

To give a minority a negative upon the majority (which is always the case where more than a majority is requisite to a decision), is, in its tendency, to subject the sense of the greater number to that of the lesser.… The necessity of unanimity in public bodies, or of something approaching towards it, has been founded upon a supposition that it would contribute to security. But its real operation is to embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of the government, and to substitute the pleasure, caprice, or artifices of an insignificant, turbulent, or corrupt junto, to the regular deliberations and decisions of a respectable majority. In those emergencies of a nation, in which the goodness or badness, the weakness or strength of its government, is of the greatest importance, there is commonly a necessity for action. The public business must, in some way or other, go forward. If a pertinacious minority can control the opinion of a majority, respecting the best mode of conducting it, the majority, in order that something may be done, must conform to the views of the minority; and thus the sense of the smaller number will overrule that of the greater, and give a tone to the national proceedings. Hence, tedious delays; continual negotiation and intrigue; contemptible compromises of the public good. And yet, in such a system, it is even happy when such compromises can take place: for upon some occasions things will not admit of accommodation; and then the measures of government must be injuriously suspended, or fatally defeated. It is often, by the impracticability of obtaining the concurrence of the necessary number of votes, kept in a state of inaction. Its situation must always savor of weakness, sometimes border upon anarchy.

5. I wasn’t the only one who was appalled by the nasty attacks on the poor disguised as “financial advice” in the “20 Things Rich People Do Every Day” nonsense promoted by Dave Ramsey. Rod the Rogue Demon Hunter also weighs in with “20 Things the Working Poor Do Every Day.”

Rod also links back to this thoughtful post from John Slattery: “A Theological History of Private Property.” Summarizing Slattery (and St. Ambrose), Rod writes, “the history of private property rights cannot be neatly severed from the history of enslaving other persons.”

6. Michael Kimmel: “America’s angriest white men: Up close with racism, rage and Southern supremacy

So, who are they really, these hundred thousand white supremacists? They’re every white guy who believed that this land was his land, was made for you and me. They’re every down-on-his-luck guy who just wanted to live a decent life but got stepped on, every character in a Bruce Springsteen or Merle Haggard song, every cop, soldier, auto mechanic, steelworker, and construction worker in America’s small towns who can’t make ends meet and wonders why everyone else is getting a break except him. But instead of becoming Tom Joad, a left-leaning populist, they take a hard right turn, ultimately supporting the very people who have dispossessed them.

7. Okra and Ecclesiastes: In Friday’s Left Behind post, we discussed tribalistic Country songs — those odes to dirt roads, trucks, and real ‘murkans that come across as less of a celebration of country living than as an accusation against everyone and everything else. Grant Peeples takes the form of such songs and plays with it constructively in “My People Come From the Dirt,” which includes one of the best explanations I’ve heard of this phenomenon: “pride is the only card left to play when it comes to saving face.”

(That link to Peeples’ website features more of his music, including a nifty rendition of “Things Have Changed” with Ruthie Foster.)

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