Monday, January 03, 2011

Happy new year!

The gospel is God's good news to the poor, and it's worth pondering that proclaiming good news to the poor is right up there in the mind of Jesus - and Isaiah - with healing the broken-hearted, proclaiming liberty to captives, and setting at liberty those that have been broken in pieces. This is all pretty miraculous stuff, which no shortage of false prophets and false Christs of every kind promise us incessantly. But their campaign promises, the lying claims of their pledges of allegiance, and the change we can believe in never really work out that way, do they?

Thing is, Christians, believing the good news of Jesus presupposes that you believe the bad news of God about the world that makes you realize that we really need good news. To believe any good news that might come along about a successful treatment for pancreatic cancer or heart disease, or even to be interested in it, you have to believe the bad news about pancreatic cancer or heart disease that the good news is about fixing.

That's why the only people that can believe God about his good news are those that are well-acquainted with what the world is all about, the kind of bad news it is for the poor of all kinds, and for anyone that doesn't hold the truth in contempt. God's good news is for the poor because the rest have their good news in full already (Luke 6:20-26). The rich already know that this world is under God and gives liberty and justice to all, so what do they need good news from God for?

You others, hear some bad news, again from Leonard Cohen, which if your ears get properly acid-washed from the good news BS of this world, might prepare those ears to receive some genuine good news:

Listen to it.

Everybody Knows

Everybody knows the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor and the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you've been faithfulk
Ah, give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows it's now or never
Everybody knows that it's me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
When you've done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old black Joe's still picking cotton
For your ribbons and your bows
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that the plague is coming
Everybody knows it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody know the scene is dead
But there's going to be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach at Malibu
Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this sacred heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Happy new year! As Jesus says, happy are you poor, happy are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, happy are you when men revile you and hate you and cast out your name as evil for the sake or justice. Not too many find that path, as Jesus said. None of us can, unless we get led there, coerced actually, by God. May we find that blessing this year, in which we know it will be coming apart.


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