"Market totalitarianism is indeed incompatible with a Christian ethics that starts from the sacredness of the human person, "realized in community with others," because from this ethical perspective the economic institutions have to ‘serve’ human needs, and not the other way round. In the words of the famous Catholic pastoral letter Economic Justice for All, "Wherever our economic arrangements fail to conform to the demands of human dignity lived in community, they must be questioned and transformed." [National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1986, p. 15].
All Christian theology has its origin in the wonder of all wonders: that God became human. Holy theology arises from knees bent before the mystery of the divine child in the stable. Without the holy night, there is no theology. “God is revealed in flesh,” the God-human Jesus Christ — that is the holy mystery that theology came into being to protect and preserve. How we fail to understand when we think that the task of theology is to solve the mystery of God, to drag it down to the flat, ordinary wisdom of human experience and reason! Its sole office is to preserve the miracle as miracle, to comprehend, defend, and glorify God’s mystery precisely as mystery.
You know how everyone says America is behind in education, compared to all the countries? Technically, right now, we’re a little bit behind Poland and a little bit ahead of Liechtenstein, right? So that’s where we land in the list, right? So that’s actually not the truth. The truth is actually bizarrely black and white, literally, which is, if you pulled out the inner-city schools —just pull out the inner-city, low-income schools, just pull that group out of the United States, put them to the side — and just took every other public school in the United States, we lead the world in public-school education by a lot. And what’s interesting is, we always think about Finland, right? Well, Finland, obviously, is mainly white kids, right? They teach their white kids really well. But guess what, we teach our white kids even better. We beat everyone. Our white kids are getting taught the best public-school education on the planet. Those are the facts.
Turns out the apostle Paul was right about that whole being “one body” thing. The more we care for people the more we become them/us. We don’t become “like” the people we care about, we become the people care about. This also means we need to be careful who we care about, we need to care about more people, and our sense of self is redefined.
Researchers at University of Virginia have found that humans are hardwired to empathize with those close to them at a neural level. Interestingly, the ability to put yourselves in another person’s shoes depends drastically on whether the person is a stranger or someone you know.
The study titled “Familiarity Promotes the Blurring of Self and Other in the Neural Representation of Threat” appears in the August issue of the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain puts strangers in one bin and the people we know in another compartment. People in your social network literally become entwined with your sense of self at a neural level.
…Humans have evolved to have our self-identity become woven into a neural tapestry with our loved ones. James Coan said, “Our self comes to include the people we feel close to. This likely is because humans need to have friends and allies who they can side with and see as being the same as themselves. And as people spend more time together, they become more similar.”
The world is by no means averse to religion. In fact, it is devoted to it with a passion. It will buy any recipe for salvation as long as that formula leaves the responsibility for cooking up salvation firmly in human hands. The world is drowning in religion. But it is scared out of its wits by any mention of the grace that takes the world home gratis.
The Temple was not simply a convenient place to meet for worship. It was not even just the ‘single sanctuary’, the one and only place where sacrifice was to be offered in worship to the one God. It was a place above all where the twin halves of the good creation intersected. When you went up to the Temple, it is not as though you were ‘in heaven’. You were actually there. That was the point. Israel’s God did not have to leave heaven in order to come down and dwell in the wilderness tabernacle or the Jerusalem Temple. However surprising it may be for modern Westerners to hear it, within the worldview formed by the ancient scriptures heaven and earth were always made to work together, to interlock and overlap. There might be in principal many places and ways in which this could happen, but the Jewish people had believed, throughout the millennium prior to Jesus, that the Jerusalem Temple was the place in the means par excellence for this strange and powerful mystery.
N.T. Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013), 98-97.
I DECLARE that God has a great plan for my life. He is directing my steps. And even though I may not always understand how, I know my situation is not a surprise to God. He will work out every detail to my advantage. In His perfect timing, everything will turn out right. This is my declaration.
As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems…
How can the past and future be, when the past no longer is, and the future is not yet? As for the present, if it were always present and never moved on to become the past, it would not be time, but eternity.
Friends, I hear a voice. I think you do, too. It sometimes calls, sometimes corrects, sometimes commands, sometimes directs, sometimes enthralls, sometimes teaches, sometimes demands and sometimes reaches … … to touch the ear again with a loving, “Follow Me.” Listen.