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God's Politics


How I Celebrated ‘Patriot Day’ (by Shane Claiborne)

posted by God's Politics

A few weeks ago we looked at the calendar and saw that Sept. 11 is now officially titled “Patriot Day.” We started thinking of what would be an appropriate way to celebrate and remember this day, especially for those of us who have caught a little of the ex-patriot spirit of a new kingdom… you know, an “in the world but not of it” sort of thing. Then we heard that the film The Camden 28 was going to debut nationally on PBS, and with suspiciously brilliant timing — on Patriot Day.


My Sept. 11 was surreal, heart wrenching, and with a little mystical dazzle. We’ll get to the film in a minute.


I had originally hoped to post this yesterday morning (Sept. 11), partly to give a little shout-out about the film, yada yada, but then came the drama. As I was writing my original little ditty, “Reflections of an Ex-patriot,” from my room here in north Philly, a fight broke out among some of the kids on our block. Then their parents came out and the fight grew louder and louder, until our whole block was a chaotic brawl. It’s actually been a while since we’ve had a fight like this one. It just kept building and building, consuming our neighborhood, reminding me of the inferno a few weeks back. Ugliness. Ugliness I can hear out my window and see in Iraq.


I thought of how quickly revenge escalates from a couple of kids to a block filled with rage. I thought of Sept. 11, of Iraq. Obviously, I couldn’t just keep writing about peace while a war raged on my street. So, out I went (hence the tardiness and change of the title on this piece).


I remember hearing a definition of idolatry as “something you would sacrifice your children for.” There is nothing we fight more passionately for than flag and countries, biology, and nation. And so the fire rages on. But I am thankful for days where we pause to mourn, to honor life, and to cry together. I cried with a few neighbors yesterday about how people hurt each other, and I cried with a church last night over a world that can’t stop hitting back. Before the showing of The Camden 28, we celebrated Mass in Camden. We prayed that God would heal the brokenness of our world, our cities, and our hearts. The scripture for Mass was Romans 8, which describes all of creation as groaning as in the pains of childbirth. Today is a day for groaning. And yet we were reminded that these are the pains of birth — not death — but birth. There is still hope, even on a day marked by death, and death after death. In the end the world is pregnant with hope, the hope of a kingdom other than Rome or America. And we were reminded that we are the midwives of that kingdom. We are to help give birth to the new world.


After Mass we viewed the film. It is an award-winning documentary about a group of 28 of our friends here in Philly/Camden who entered a federal building during the Vietnam War and destroyed the draft cards. I’m going to do my best not to give away all the best moments in the film in case you didn’t get a chance to see it (if you don’t want to hear any more skip this paragraph), but there is one moment in the film that is unbelievably redemptive. One of the 28 had become an informant to the FBI, but during the course of things his son was in a tragic accident and died. Our priest here in Camden, Michael Doyle (also one of the 28), was asked to do the funeral. I thought to myself, scandalous, but what is even more scandalous is that brother Michael DID IT! He tells the story of how the funeral was filled with FBI agents and peace activists, and how the little group of activists surrounded their Judas with love and friendship. At the funeral Michael’s message was reconciliation and grace.


In the end, the informant ended up testifying on the side of the defense, offering instrumental testimony before a very attentive jury. But beyond the drama of the courtroom is the story of forgiveness and grace. That is what the world is hungry for, pregnant for — especially on Sept. 11.


The evening ended last night as the filmmaker joined us in Camden. Members of the Camden 28 presented him with the clock from the courtroom here in Camden where the trial took place. It is now permanently set for 2:30 p.m., the time where these prophets heard those beautiful two words: “not guilty.”


The only thing that could have made the day more perfect would have been another little trip to the federal building … maybe next year.

Shane Claiborne is a Red Letter Christian, author of The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical, and a founding partner of The Simple Way community, a radical faith community that lives among and serves the homeless in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Check local listings for future broadcasts of The Camden 28.



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neuro_nurse

posted September 12, 2007 at 12:44 pm


September 11th is Meskerem 1 in the Ethiopian calendar – New Year’s Day.
Happy Y2K Ethiopia!



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Don

posted September 12, 2007 at 12:51 pm


Shane, I had not heard that Sept 11 was now being called Patriot Day.
When I was growing up, we called May 1 “Patriot Day” and for a few years had parades and such to observe it. I understood that it was a response to the May Day festivities that were held in Communist countries, particularly Soviet Russia.
How times have changed! A new calendar, and a new “enemy” that wants to “overwhelm” us. (Is there an emoticon for tongue-in-cheek?)
Peace,



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Moderatelad

posted September 12, 2007 at 1:40 pm


The only thing that could have made the day more perfect would have been another little trip to the federal building … maybe next year.
So – are we advocating the continued distruction of government property? If the gov’t or any organization is promoting or doing something that we disagree with – we have permission or justification to destroy their property and by doing so, cause them hardship in their work?
Blessings -
.



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Rob D.

posted September 12, 2007 at 3:08 pm


My wife and I celebrated Patriot Day in a similar manner, we watched “Citizen King”, a great PBS documentary about MLK Jr. His struggle to overcome violence and oppression with non-violence is a struggle we can all be inspired by. I also posted a blog to share my thoughts. Read it here:
Honor the victims of 9-11



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Rob D.

posted September 12, 2007 at 3:08 pm


My wife and I celebrated Patriot Day in a similar manner, we watched “Citizen King”, a great PBS documentary about MLK Jr. His struggle to overcome violence and oppression with non-violence is a struggle we can all be inspired by. I also posted a blog to share my thoughts. Read it here:
Honor the victims of 9-11



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Mike Grello

posted September 12, 2007 at 3:20 pm


Moderated wrote:
“So – are we advocating the continued distruction of government property? If the gov’t or any organization is promoting or doing something that we disagree with – we have permission or justification to destroy their property and by doing so, cause them hardship in their work?”
Do you suppose the money changers were planning to redecorate anyway and were secretly pleased to see Jesus overthow their tables, run off their live stock and prevent any work to be done until He was done preaching that evening? (With your wide brush self!)



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Moderatelad

posted September 12, 2007 at 3:52 pm


Posted by: Mike Grello | September 12, 2007 3:20 PM
Not sure that I would equate Christ clearing out the temple with what the Camden 28 did to gov’t property. The money changers were turning the temple into a retail store. The people in the gov’t building were just doing their job in a building that was there for them to do their job.
You want to protest – I will be your biggest supporter. You want to destroy property – public or private – I am now one of many that will hold you accountable for the cost of repairs and replacement.
Blessings -
.



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Mike Grello

posted September 12, 2007 at 4:07 pm


I think you need to be more aware of what was actually going on in the temple. This was not simply a matter of a retail market in the temple court; there was literally no other way for the ordinances to be obeyed. The money had to be changed and the animals had to meet certain criteria, which would have been exceedingly burdensom if done off temple grounds. The crime was that corruption was rampant; unfair exchange rates were used and animals were sold at inflated prices, which defeated the “sliding scale” nature of the sacrifice laws. Further, the temple treasurers and many of the priests were involved in what could only be described as “loan sharking” (actually it could now be compared to many of the WTO and world bank’s policies). The businesses in the courtyard were supposed to be there; but they were expected to behave with integrity, they were not.



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neuro_nurse

posted September 12, 2007 at 5:57 pm


Patriot Day? I hadn’t heard that one before.
Frankly, I think the meaning of the word ‘patriotism’ has been confused with nationalism. The two are not synonymous.
I consider myself to be a patriot, but when I hear someone else touting their patriotism, or trying to tell me what is and isn’t patriotic, I want to run the other way.
You can celebrate September 11th any way you want to – just don’t send me a ‘Patriot Day’ greeting card.
I’ll celebrate Meskeram And with the Ethiopians.



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Alicia

posted September 12, 2007 at 6:32 pm


I wore my American flag lapel pin to work. 9/11 is my “Independence Day” — the day when I truly feel like an American.



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neuro_nurse

posted September 12, 2007 at 6:35 pm


Erratum,
This is a leap year in the Ethiopian calendar. Yesterday was Paguemen 6, 1999; today is Meskerem 1 2000.
(The Ethiopian calendar has 12 months that are each 30 days long and one month, Paguemen, that is 5 days long – 6 in the leap year, hence the slogan of the Ethiopian Tourism Commission: Thirteen months of sunshine!)
Melkam Addis Amet!



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Jim Harrold

posted September 12, 2007 at 9:26 pm


Here is an idea, Shane. Instead of calling for the predictable civil disobedience, you could actually live as a Christian and go out and feed the poor or mend some broken spirits with your own money and your own emotion. But alas, calling on the government to do those things for you is the far wider road.



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Eric

posted September 12, 2007 at 10:31 pm


What calender does Shane use? I’ve never heard Sept 11 referred to as Patriot Day. I think it should just be called the day we remember the attacks and those who died.
Jim – Shane does help the poor. That’s what he does. Learn a little about him.



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kevin s.

posted September 12, 2007 at 11:49 pm


“Do you suppose the money changers were planning to redecorate anyway and were secretly pleased to see Jesus overthow their tables, run off their live stock and prevent any work to be done until He was done preaching that evening?”
Your exegesis of this passage is curious all the way around. Jesus was againt people selling doves in the temple, not making a statement w/r/t the selling of doves in general.
“Jim – Shane does help the poor. That’s what he does. Learn a little about him.”
This is true.



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Mike Grello

posted September 13, 2007 at 1:08 am


I know the thought of free market capitalism not coming straight from Gos is frightening, but Jesus objected to the fact that the doves were over priced and the scales were dishonest, not that they were sold in the temple (though they were not sold “in” the temple. but rather in the outer court yard).



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WestPhillyPax

posted September 13, 2007 at 2:01 am


I hope the heart of Shane’s piece isn’t clouded by politics and arguments about civil disobedience. It is a call not to turn from the brokenness and pain caused by violence, whether in the streets of philly or iraq. It is a time for mourning and self-examination demanding a critical eye, which we tend to shy away from on a national/patriotic level. We should focus that such a day of rememberence is a day of birth and not death, we have a hope, that is not blind or narcissistic, but that is attuned to the pure love, peace and humility of Christ. I never knew I was a midwife before, but i like it.
I know Shane and I’ve actually been arrested with him before and I don’t think he’s necessarily advocating damaging government property, but more of a MLK style civil disobedience. That’s not necessarily the issue here.
I never heard of Patriot Day before either. Acording to some research, W and Congress passed a resolution to make it an annual thing. It was originally called the “National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks.” I’m not sure which one is better.



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kevin s.

posted September 13, 2007 at 7:08 am


“I know the thought of free market capitalism not coming straight from Gos is frightening,”
Not at all…
“but Jesus objected to the fact that the doves were over priced and the scales were dishonest, not that they were sold in the temple (though they were not sold “in” the temple. but rather in the outer court yard).”
Let’s examine the text.
John 2:14
“And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
Sounds like they were in the temple.
2:15
“And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;”
He drove them out of the temple.
2:16
“And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.”
For the reason that they were selling merchandise in the temple.
2:17
“And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”
Because he was zealous about God’s house.
Now, those who had calfs, oxen, etc… May well have been in an outer courtyard or vestibule, for practical reasons, but Christ’s meaning is unmistakable.
References in Luke, Matthew and Mark indicate that Jesus rebuked them for turning his house into a den of thieves, a reference to Jeremiah’s warnings to Baal worshippers and idolators. As such, the reference rather obviously seems to refer to the worship of a false God (money, in this case).
All of which is not to say that Christ approved of unethical business practice, but this passage hardly serves as a clarion call to end free market capitalism.



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Mike Grello

posted September 13, 2007 at 10:13 am


What did Jesus have for breakfast that morning?



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Jonathan Stegall

posted September 13, 2007 at 2:13 pm


Herbert, have you ever been a waiter/waitress?



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PSF

posted September 13, 2007 at 3:24 pm


Posted by: Eric | September 12, 2007 10:31 PM
“What calender does Shane use? I’ve never heard Sept 11 referred to as Patriot Day. I think it should just be called the day we remember the attacks and those who died.”
FYI: I use the AT-A-GLANCE brand calendar sold at any Office Depot or Office Max store; the square of Tuesday, September 11, 2007 includes the day-name “Patriot Day.”
Today, September 13, is “Rosh Hashanah.” Happy New Year to my Jewish friends.



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 13, 2007 at 3:54 pm


…but Jesus objected to the fact that the doves were over priced and the scales were dishonest, not that they were sold in the temple (though they were not sold “in” the temple. but rather in the outer court yard).
Wrong again. The items were being sold in the Court of the Gentiles, in effect depriving non-Jews of the opportunity to worship the true and living God. Yes, the merchants were ripping people off and that was bad enough, but not for nothing did Jesus say, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer for all people,’ but you have made into a den of robbers.”



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Eileen Fleming

posted September 13, 2007 at 4:10 pm


I commemorated THAT DAY by sending a FAX to the empire:
September 11, 2007
Dear Prime Minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert,
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Tsipi Livni,
Minister of Justice, Prof. Daniel Friedman,
President George W. Bush,
Today is 6 years after THAT DAY we Americans call 9/11 and upon reflecting on THAT DAY, I was inspired to write to you all. The times in the USA, have a changed and Americans are fed up with President Bush’s Doctrine of Fear and are connecting the dots from the Occupation of Iraq to the Occupation of Palestine and are waking up to the fact that the world has tipped over heavy with artillery and WMD’s.
If THAT DAY we call 9/11 taught we the people of America anything it is that our nuclear arsenal cannot provide safety or security against a few angry violent men. Iraq is teaching us that democracy cannot be had through the barrel of a gun or by occupying innocent ones.
But, my point in writing to you is to illuminate you to the fact that the ONLY way Vanunu can harm Israel is with Bad PR for ” Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” -Article 19, UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
I should not have to remind you that, “On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations.” – May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the establishment of Israel
Criticizing the American governments unjust policies is NOT unpatriotic, in fact it is most in keeping with what our Founding Fathers understood: “Soon after I had published the pamphlet “Common Sense” [on Feb. 14, 1776] in America, I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion… The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”-Tom Paine
Criticizing unjust Israeli government policy is not in the least anti-Semitic, but most in keeping with what the Hebrew prophets have always taught;
“From Moses to Jeremiah and Isaiah, the Prophets taught…that the Jewish claim on the land of Israel was totally contingent on the moral and spiritual life of the Jews who lived there, and that the land would, as the Torah tells us, ‘vomit you out’ if people did not live according to the highest moral vision of Torah. Over and over again, the Torah repeated its most frequently stated mitzvah: “When you enter your land, do not oppress the stranger; the other, the one who is an outsider of your society, the powerless one and then not only ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself’ but also ‘you shall love the other.’” [Rabbi Lerner, TIKKUN Magazine page 35, Sept/Oct, 2007]
“What does God require? He has told you o’man! Be just, be merciful, and walk humbly with your Lord.” -Micah 6:8
I reiterate that the only way Vanunu can harm Israel is with bad PR and I add that this civilian journalist is determined to persist in that task.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. … Genius will not. … Education will not. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”- President Calvin Coolidge
Being an Irish American dissident and story teller, I leave you with this:
Once upon a time, there was an old crone, who lived in a certain municipality with a particularly unjust Judge who cared nothing about people or God; only his own point of view mattered to him. But that old crone kept harping at him with her plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary!”
That old crone became such a royal PIA [pain in the ass] the unjust Judge finally muttered, “Even though I don’t care about God or give a hoot about that old crone, she has become such a royal PIA, I will give into her, just to get her to leave me alone!” [Paraphrased from a parable Jesus told in Luke 18 1-5]
As Churchill said, “Never, never, never, never ever give up.” I won’t.
And as the IDF say at the checkpoints to USA citizens: “Have a nice day.”
Eileen Fleming,
Florida, USA
Reporter and Editor WAWA:
http://www.wearewideawake.org/
Author Keep Hope Alive and Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory
Producer “30 Minutes With Vanunu” which is freely streaming and downloaded daily by we the people all over the world.
WHITE HOUSE FAX: 202-456-2461
Mr. Ehud Olmert Fax: 972-2-6513955,
Ms. Tsipi Livni, Minister of Foreign Affairs Fax: 972-2-5303704
Prof. Daniel Friedman, Minister of Justice Fax: 972-2-6287757



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Eileen Fleming

posted September 13, 2007 at 4:15 pm


I commemorated THAT DAY with a FAX to:
Dear Prime Minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert,
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Tsipi Livni,
Minister of Justice, Prof. Daniel Friedman,
President George W. Bush,
This site is ‘holding it pending approval’ which means it has been censored.
You can read it on September 12th WAWA Blog:
http://www.wearewideawake.org/
Eileen Fleming, Reporter and Editor WAWA
Author “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”
Producer “30 Minutes With Vanunu.”



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Josh

posted September 28, 2007 at 3:57 pm


“Here is an idea, Shane. Instead of calling for the predictable civil disobedience, you could actually live as a Christian and go out and feed the poor or mend some broken spirits with your own money and your own emotion. But alas, calling on the government to do those things for you is the far wider road.”
Uh…Jim? What you’re suggesting is actually exactly what Shane does. You and I are the ones sitting on our butts compared to him.



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