Pagan Ethics and the Meditative Reflective

   The current economic crisis in the Western world (we took the Peace Dividend declared at the end of the Cold War and poured it out on desert sand) was not the result of globalization or free trade practices. The most recent breakdown was ethical. Isolationist individualism said, "Get yours and get out. Don't worry about what you leave, fret about what you take with you when you go."

   How else do you explain the redoubtable Alan Greenspan testifying before the US Congress, under oath, and saying, "I was wrong about how large financial institutions would function. I thought they would be responsible and look after their own best interests, to the betterment of all. I was wrong. They acted insanely."

   The only disagreement I have with Mr. Greenspan's commentary was the last little value judgement about insanity. The Free Market mavens played a cold, calculating (rigged) shell game. They were not insane. They brought their own content to the logic of the Free Market, which they manipulated to make less Free. 

    And they did well. For every one of the very few in jail or under scrutiny, there are, I believe, ten others who would fare no better if scrutinized closely. The system just does not allow for the kind of fixed gaze that makes the thief blink.

   The Meditative Reflective awaits the call to sacrifice. If, as the MR believes, the Biblical Ideal of masculinity is self-sacrifice (so setting the course for our religious-cultural practices) it might be said the MR is waiting for someone to step up and be a man in the better sense of masculinity. The MR is coming to see how necessary it is to call for everyone to do more than his/her share. We got to this mess because the pagan said it was permissible to risk others for one's own aggrandizement. The MR thinks this is not so, but rejects the heart warming stories of a few persons who cut back on luxuries to help weather the storm. The MR is waiting for a clarion call to meaningful sacrifice to get this world in some workable order.

   The MR should stop waiting. The Pagan will be back at the helm shortly. Never one to waste a good crisis (even one of his own making) the Pagan social reactionary will quickly steer us back to the same ethical quandary that brought us here. He can do no other. He cannot break his idols or tear down his temples. He has to control his gods because he cannot control his belly.

   There is another crisis brewing. This one will be deeper even than the last. If the Pagan wins the day it could be the last.


13 thoughts on “Pagan Ethics and the Meditative Reflective”

  1. I did a double take until I realized the use of MR in this post does not refer to me!
    Seriously, I have witnessed MR type people “try” to man up in fights. The opposition brings shoulder fired rocket launchers. The MR types had doubts about the ethics of using a sling shot.
    RD how do you address the disconnect between personal piety and effective action?

  2. I agree that the most masculine way of being is sacrificial in nature. I would have a problem with some group, like a government, deciding for me what equals sacrifice and what doesn’t. We definitely need more of a community mindset. I would love for our fellowships, both the individual people and the corporate body, to truly become more Meditatively Reflective. Alas, that doesn’t seem to be happening. Priesthood of the Believer fails when the believer refuses to even try to discern the heart of God.

  3. I don’t think the Priesthood is failing. I do think it is much smaller than most want to believe. That young upstart Billy Graham says that 70% of the church pew sitters are not saved and I think he is being generous.

  4. Okay, here’s where you get to the point I was making a week or so ago in a comment – through devotion to ideas such as increased efficiency and shareholder profit, a large percentage of our population has been rendered superflous. I saw where Lawrence Summers stated at Davos this past week that even when the current recession is over, best estimates show that 1 out of every 7 to 8 American men between 33 and 54 will still be unable to find a job. This is the result of structural changes in our economy that can only be undone through painful measures such as protectionist legislation or, heaven help us, revolution.
    What has lifted many in other nations out of abject poverty has of necessity stripped a portion of our country of their relative affluence. The government cannot print enough money to cover that fact.
    Progressives like Thomas Friedman call for new technology revolutions, while conservatives beat the same drum of allowing the marketplace to function unhindered. I fear that neither will be sufficient to deal with the number of under/unemployed which is growing toward critical mass.
    And one more thought. While we have definitely wasted our surplus in the sands of foreign wars, what will happen when these conflicts come to a close and the military is subsequently downsized? There’s a few hundred thousand young men and women who will be looking for good jobs.

  5. One of the things that made early America such a distinct entity was the people’s unwillingness to suck at the teet of government. Was it dangerous? You bet. Freedom tends to be dangerous. However, it is what made us great. Now, we enter into a time where more and more people want stuff given to them, thinking they actually deserve the handout. It used to be that people needed money, so they made their own job. Now, jobs have to be given; while at the same time condemning/punishing those same people that make the jobs possible (businesses). You can point to other countries, as if they have it right. What I see is the failure of a people to take care of themselves.

  6. Tim, much of what you say is true, but to borrow and butcher a line from a classic movie, it “pays no attention to the men behind the curtain”.
    A friend of mine used to say of many small towns in the late 80’s, “They’ve been Wal-marted”. By that he meant that the economic drivers of the communities…the mom and pop businesses…had been driven out of business by that model. For the first while it seemed okay because, after all, Wally-World sold things that were, by and large, made in America. Then after Sam Walton’s death the company made a shift to low-cost goods from overseas. In other words, industry got “Wal-Marted” (and not just by Wally-World).
    Then you add to that the corporate takeover mania that used borrowed money to purchase profitable businesses, strip the most profitable parts and sell/liquidate/lay off the rest, and you see more and more people who no longer have employment at an income level that they (indeed, most of our country) had grown to expect.
    At a very basic level you are correct. People just need to suck it up and go do something. But most likely that ‘something’ will not pay their current mortgage and other debt, nor allow them to give to their church at anything approaching the same level. Getting to that place, that new ‘normal’ could be the equivalent of an economic and political gran mal seizure.

  7. The American Revolution, and its distinctive cultural flavoring, eventuated because of over-taxation and under representation, not just  over taxation. American elites (see their names on the Declaration of Independence) could never hope to get out of debt because they were treated as a colony. A colony sends cheap raw materials to the mother country for remanufacture and buys them back at an enormous mark up, creating an imbalance.
       Early Americans were not just upset about the intrusions of government. They were fearful of the lack of intrusion of the government on their behalf. Taxation without representation is tyranny, did not fit well on a flag but it was the underlying theology of the time.
       Of course, their actions were just as imperious when they got the big stick to wield. When they became the government, these men who wanted freedom and equality for all counted slaves as three-fifths of a vote.
       It is my contention we are facing a taxation without representation crisis again. The large money interests are thoroughly pagan in this; they will spend whatever is required to keep the culture in their claws. If, as they pay for good representation, they can also bring along the masses crying, We want freedom, while paying to keep themselves free of the masses, all the better for them.

  8. The dispensational influence of our American religious past has us looking for the Antichrist as a political leader in Europe. Question:why would he want to be elected? He will want to be obeyed, he will be the ultimate CEO. The pagan mindset will be his greatest asset and the pagan have learned it is better to pull the strings than to be a puppet.
    Jesus gives the disciples an interesting command in LK 22:36. They are instructed to arm themselves. When was the last time your preached or heard a sermon on this command of our Lord.
    It is time for the MRs to also become aware of the way the pagan world uses our cultural conditioning against us. It is well past time to no longer let pagans and their pseudo-spirituality hide in the church unchallenged.

  9. Hey David, good to have your input. But if we’re going to start discussing apocalyptic themes, I think the most appropriate passage might be Revelation 18 on the fall of Babylon. As v. 11 puts it, “The merchants of the world will weep and mourn for her, for there is no one left to buy their goods.” Guess which nation best fits that bill in the modern world?

  10. I don’t see much of anything new in the problems we face today other than there is more to want and more to do and more to (have to? or get to) share it with. You can trace the systems’s history back pretty much to the time of the Garden or the immediate eviction therefrom. The only thing that has kept the world afloat is the enlightening grace of God and as long as we unite in that understanding then we can enjoy His mercy. But then, I am probably just a simpleton.
    “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose, and nothing ain’t
    nothing ‘less its free”…from ‘Me and Bobbie McGee’ Kris Kristofferson circa 1969
    Is that a pagan using our cultural conditioning against us?
    Or are we all a little beasty and feather each our own beds with the labor of our strong hand and wiley mind?

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