Wednesday, July 08, 2009

How Funky Is Your Faith

In Canada, not funky enough.

What the hell is going on in Canada? First, people are complaining about daycare workers and waste management workers getting 18 days of sick days. The 18 sick days with bankable options when a person retires is an innovative money-saving program to curb absenteeism.

Union benefits and contracts have influenced in positive ways all of our job and benefits. When we want to be jealous and not support a Union...we are settting our own work atmospheres and benefits backwards. An example? We have weekends because of Unions.

The American concept of the weekend has its roots in labor union attempts to accommodate Jewish workers who took Saturday instead of Sunday as their Sabbath. The first five-day work week, according to a posted extract of Rybczynski's book, was instituted by a New England spinning mill for just this reason. Waiting For The Weekend at Amazon.

And next...Harper's government, are wanting to recind on tourism spending, aimed at Gay Pride in Toronto. I believe this is further evidence that Harper is barely even Canadian!

Brad Trost, a Saskatchewan Conservative MP, spoke out this week against federal support for Pride Week, arguing that the caucus and Harper's office were caught off guard by Ablonczy's announcement of support for the event.

"The pro-life and the pro-family community should know and understand that the tourism funding money that went to the gay pride parade in Toronto was not government policy, was not supported by – I think it's safe to say by a large majority – of the MPs," Trost said in an interview with, a website founded by the Campaign Life organization.
From The Toronto Star

We don't need to be making cuts to jobs, to job benefits and to Festivals like the Vancouver Jazz Festival or Gay Pride. We need MORE of these job benefits and more spending on community festivals.

We need HIGHER TAXES in Canada. Every very cool society has high taxes. Higher taxes gives us strong innovative public service workers in the unions, infrastructure maintenance and more jobs! (see "The Happiest Places Have Higher Taxes...from Market Watch)

I am terrified I am seeing treason and a backwards movement in Canada the likes of which would make Tommy Douglas spin in his grave. I am ashamed of Canada right now.


Here is some rigorous discussion about economics and justice that might inspire visitors...

BILL MOYERS: But isn't it a fantasy to think that love can tame capitalism. In fact, you talk about the religion of catastrophe.

The origins of your faith. And, yet, the prosperity gospel, the gospel that began in a lot of big American churches, saying that God wants you to be rich, is spreading like wildfire to the rest of the world. Now, there's a different take on your faith. That is not about catastrophe, but about success.

CORNEL WEST: But that's part of the escapism. If they define success by how the world conceives of prosperity, rather than greatness. In the biblical text the greatness says what? He or she is greatest among you be your servant. There's a clash here. A very important clash.

But love is not a real small thing. Love is not just the key that unlocks the door to ultimate reality. But there would be no weekend if there were not a trade union movement that loved justice enough, and loved working people enough, so that bosses wouldn't treat them like commodities to be marginalized.

There would not be racial, the racial justice that we have of Martin King and Fannie Lou Hamer and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Phil Berrigan. There wouldn't be, without the love that you all had for justice, and the love enough for black people, to say, "Quit niggerizing these people. Quit intimidating them. Quit trying to make them so scared that they won't stand up and fight." Love is a serious thing. When you love your mamma, you take a bullet for her if she's treated unjustly. That's why justice is what love looks like in public.

SERENE JONES: But this thing about the story of love that we have the capacity for includes, within it, a recognition of the harshness and the brokenness and the darkness of our lives. And love exists in that. It doesn't exist despite it.

CORNEL WEST: That's right.

BILL MOYERS: I'm not sure you haven't confused love with justice.

SERENE JONES: Justice is nothing but love with legs. Justice is what love looks like when it takes social form.

BILL MOYERS: And that's the trade union movement you talked about.

SERENE JONES: That's what love is.

CORNEL WEST: That's the woman's movement. That's the gay and lesbian movement.

SERENE JONES: You put it in policy forms.


GARY DORRIEN: Well, in fact, Rauschenbusch did speak to exactly this issue that Serene's bringing up. That's why he wanted to expand the cooperative sector. He said, "We've got to create structures in which," the way he would often put it, is, "Which bad people are forced to do good things."

That is if you set up, have structures in which cooperation is actually rewarded. Where you're met - where you have to deal with other people. Be solicitous of what they need. What they care about. And the like. That you can actually set up reward systems that make a better society. And sometimes he'd say you can even live out - you could be a Christian without having to retire from the world. And so that, I think these two things actually were tied together quite closely.

CORNEL WEST: I think in our present moment, though, it seems to me, the major challenge has to do with the sentimentalism, on one hand, which is an escape from reality, history, memory, and mortality and the flipside, which is cynicism. Which is just preoccupation with the 11th commandment, "Though shall not get caught."

And just read the business pages these days. What do we see? Gangster activity. Scandal after scandal. Stealing, stealing. Embezzlement, embezzlement. That is the back- this is the after effect of greed, indifference and fear.

Now we - as a Christian, I know there'll never be paradise in space and time. There'll never be utopia in human history. The question is: do we have the kind of conviction, commitment, courage and willingness to serve to make things better the short time that we are here to pass onto our children?

Capitalism is tamed only when those persons who are victimized, be they children or workers and others, love each other and justice enough to organize and mobilize and push capitalism into, like in the 1930s, collective bargaining rights for workers, right?

Or the 1960s. Black folk against American terrorism, Jim Crowe. They love enough. And even our elites. Our elites are not to be demonized. Elites can make choices. They're not locked into a category. That are connected to truth and justice. But it takes courage.


GARY DORRIEN: Certainly, from our experience of the course, this is an extraordinary generation. I mean, it's, they are connected. They care. They're looking for, they're always sort of obsessing about what's real. I mean, they've got radar for what's unreal.

For what is just merely abstract, or it doesn't really speak to their condition. What isn't going to make a difference. What kind of learning doesn't make any difference at all. They've got radar for that. But they're very hungry for what is going to make a difference. And how it is that they can live out their faith in this world that we're creating.

SERENE JONES: They're not afraid of hard thinking. But they also want, they want beauty. The beauty of the thought to inspire.

CORNEL WEST: This is one of the reasons why these new forms that we're talking about find black forms and afro-American forms so attractive.

SERENE JONES: Absolutely.

CORNEL WEST: Because here you got this leaven in this larger American loaf been sitting here all this time. These young white brothers and sisters, they want to get into hip hop. They want to be able to move their bodies. They want to have an orality that is smooth like Jay-Z. There is something about the black experience in America, at its best.

We know we got black gangsters like anybody else. At its best that speaks to these kinds of issues. You've got Martin as the best, in many ways, in the political sphere. You got Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin. So much of the best in the cultural sphere. Now the young folk are hungry for it. We'll see. We're in a new transition.

SERENE JONES: And what you've done so well, in this class, is remind us again and again that space of the real is not a Christianity that's nice. It's a Christianity in which there's love. But mixed into it is the harshness of this. I mean, our students want that.

CORNEL WEST: It's the funk. It's the funk. It's the funk of life.


CORNEL WEST: That's what black life is about. But, in the end, that's what human life is about. How funky is your faith.

The entire transcript of transcript of this discussion is here

Or you can watch the entire video here.

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