Monday, 16 January 2017

Hope in dark times



History

History is important when we are talking about Hope, because it gives us a perspective and a learning tool against which to apply our current experience. We don’t have to keep making the same mistakes again and again. For many people the experience of the church under Hitler is such a learning tool. Germany in the late 1920s and 30s was experiencing grave economic depression. At that time the rest of the National Socialists under Hitler promised to revive the German economy by claiming the uniqueness of the German race, the Aryian race, by mobilising the work force around the single task of regenerating the German economy, and by repressing the Jews who were believed to be an alien race and who were sucking the lifeblood out of the German economy. So many Germans supported Hitler for the be terms that of the country, although he came to peer on a third of the electorate voting for him. 

The church divided over Hitler. The Catholic Church and much of the Protestant churches supported him. The confessing church led by a group of theologians like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoller believed that Hitlers ideas his ideology was in conflict with Christian belief, especially concerning the treatment of the Jews. They even plotted to kill Hitler and many died for their opposition to Hitler.

The Old Testament  texts  eg genesis 1  deut 10v18-19 speak of a God who is a God of one people the Hebrews but who commands his people to care for widows, orphans and foreigners in their gates. Jesus takes this much further and makes it clear than anybody can be a child of God if they have faith and live by the teachings of Jesus. There can be no one pure race, not even the Jews, but we are all people of God if we do Gods will. There is no slave or free, no male of female, no circumcised or uncircumcised. 


What is a Fascist

Someone this week was imprisoned for killing Jo Cox because he was opposed to what she believed. He was part of a right wing group like other people who lived near him and followed Hitler and other fascist groups. So what is a Fascist?

Fascism is authoritarian nationalism that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. Fascism it originated in Italy during World War I and spread to other European countries. Fascism opposes liberal societies and communist ones  and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.
Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes in the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant. A "military citizenship" arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war. The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.
Fascists believe that liberal democracies are obsolete, and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties.Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society.Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation.Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.[12]
Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th century fascist movements.

Jesus didn't support any political party but was a critical outsider who critiqued the political leaders and incurred their wrath. He was not in favour of armed resistance either. He saw the world through the eyes of Old Testament theology and the famous two commandments. Loving your neighbour as yourself doesn't immediately lend itself to Fascism!

 
Post Truth

Post-truth politics is a political culture in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored. Post-truth differs from traditional contesting and falsifying of truth by rendering it of "secondary" importance. According to Oxford Dictionaries, the term post-truth was first used in a 1992 essay by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich in The Nation. Tesich, writing about the Iran–Contra scandal and the Persian Gulf War, said that "we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world."
The contemporary origin of the term is attributed to blogger David Roberts who used the term in 2010 in a column for Grist. Political commentators have identified post-truth politics as ascendant in American, Australian, British, Indian and Turkish politics, as well as in other areas of debate, driven by a combination of the 24-hour news cycle, false balance in news reporting, and the increasing use of social media.

Hope

I'm nervous of using meaningless cliches about hope but for me it is about recognising the humanness of bad times and finding hope at those times in little things, which I learnt the during a very difficult year. There are times when we can't feel hopeful, or gratitude or anything.  But in time these feelings return. Hope returns. I think that  sometimes life is very very difficult and we have to accept small things in the dark times  and do our best to be kind to ourselves. This is being real. 
Life is hard at the moment. Fact. In my opinion this is not about us getting anything wrong. It is hard.

In these dark times we can be grateful for little things like a meal, our family, our friends, our garden, our animals cats, you, the rain on my face. And then we slowly I begin to feel hopeful. 
 
Life is not linear, it changes. We can help by doing little things each day that lift us, and then bigger things. For me it's become about living in the moment too and doing things that help and being with people who help. 

And taking time to sit with ourselves in this vast universe and just listenening to it. 

Lent

Lent

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