Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Hunger Strikers

The Wolfe Tones on Joe McDonnell, one of the hunger strikers in Margaret Thatcher's prison at Long Kesh in 1981.

Over half the prisoners in Barack Obama's internment camp in Guantanamo are now on hunger strike, since most have been cleared for release, and yet their captors still won't let them go.  So this song is for them.

Jesus said, "The measure you measure will be measured to you again," or as the world says, "What goes around comes around."  So Americans who take Jesus at all seriously need not wonder how it will end for us, if we go along.  The song puts us on notice.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I've been doing a lot of advocacy lately.  Spring time is the time that school districts go out to battle, and their advocates and attorneys.  I have three due process filings cooking along, although two should soon settle, and a likely district filing coming up, among other things.

Still, the most satisfactory results have been learning, and my clients learning, how to stand up for the kid, not tolerate district bullying, and in all this to make it easier to work things out and develop a better relationship.

All this sheds some light on what is written in John's first letter - we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  That's an advocate's example.

First, the advocate must be righteous, that is to say, just and equitable to all.  You may have to fight, but you never have to be mean or use needless roughness.  No lying, no cheating or cheap shots, no treachery.  The opponent needs to know that if he wants to be reasonable, he won't get punished for it.

The advocate needs to be tough when the district lies, cheats, and bullies, so that the client is empowered to no longer be pushed around, and so that the district knows that that nonsense will not pay.  No real relationship is possible while anyone thinks he can behave like that.  Litigation and organizing, flyering a school, confronting a school board in public comment - all these are designed to make the district treat the family with dignity and to stop lying, cheating, and bullying.  So I can count on God to get in my face if I do these things myself.

An advocate has to encourage the family and fight so as to make it as easy emotionally and financially as possible.  I can't see how it can be a job for hire; it's a service.  To do the job at all, it has to be done right, and it means a lot of time that no way can be on the clock - in listening and giving instruction, explaining things, and plenty of unpaid motion work.

The advocate has to get on the client's case if the client is being self-defeating in any number of ways, whether through timidity, implacability, excessive trust or mistrust, addiction to rage as an antidote to fear, or other sorts of delusional thinking.  When God gets on my case for what I'm doing wrong, God is doing what an advocate does - keeping me from ruining my case, and maybe my life.

If it feels like God is a fault-finder and an adversary, maybe not.  Maybe he's just trying to make it so you win your case.  And if he's not destroying your adversary for you, could be he's reconciling him instead.