Saturday, February 23, 2013

Competition, Corporations, and Christianity

Jesus, our most famous Jew, encouraged cooperation; he also spoke very harshly to those who incorporated competition into their ideas of salvation. And yet, after almost two thousand years, we are still fighting. "My daddy (God) is bigger than your daddy (God)" and "My daddy (God) likes me more than he likes you." Not until we stop limiting The Sacred Spirit to the faces and motivations of humanity will we "get" it. We all have places on the tree of life, if we simply choose to grow as a small part of a huge system, not worrying about whether the blossom is better than the bark, or the leaves are more important than the seeds. In the grand scheme of nature, even death feeds new life.

In the tiny Appalachian community of Coker Creek, there is still the institutional memory for the most American of values, cooperation. In industrialized America, we have forgotten these virtues; greed has long since supplanted human need. It is a travesty of Christianity to continue to call America a Christian country while we allow corporations to create poverty for the majority of our citizenry. Poverty is, and always has been, powerlessness. Slavery, lack of access to conception control, and herding of humans into cages for the purposes of corporate convenience has created a frightened caged-animal society.

In the beginnings of American immigration law, we had people declare their abilities and prove that they had places to contribute to our society in productive manners. We also had families and friends identified who would vouch for those entering our country. Our corporations are protected from any responsibility in the dehumanizing affects of creating their human automatons, and yet our Supreme Court offers them protections as people with conscience and culpability. There is no Christianity in corporations because there is no personal accountability. Christians are, by definition, cooperative and accountable to each other.

Christian cooperation still works in parts of rural America. Those who have been around forever don't easily accept outsiders; they look for others of "good (productive) character" to vouch for the integrity of the newcomers. They are happy to teach you what they know about survival, but only answer questions that others respectfully ask. The community long survived by trading goods, information, and talents with neighbors. Much is accomplished by barter.

Unfortunately, without increasing the numbers of families willing to go back to the times when we knew and taught the difference between need and greed, our country continues to make a mockery of the bedrock values that made Judeo-Christianity (and our early small communities) great. Unfettered capitalism has replaced Judeo-Christianity, pretending that worldly material success and leadership by fear is "God" ordained.

We continue to feed the anonymous, unaccountable masses created by corporate greed, crumbs from our tables to keep them out of our orchards, where they should be picking the ten percent we leave on our vines. We don't press them to learn how to do for themselves by assisting and asking respectful questions of those who know how to "make do." We treat children and the poor like dogs that are acceptable as long as they are not visible or raising their voices.

We have allowed religions to hand out tax-payer funds as if they were donations of charity. We have created a devil's deal by allowing clergy to preside over legal contracts. The "God' that is on our money is the god of greed. The "God" in our Pledge of Allegiance is the god of war. Is it any wonder that so many of our youth are anesthetizing themselves instead of continuing to search for good examples in their own communities?  Is it any wonder that so many people are rejecting the man-made faces of "God?"

The mission of the masses is to see and connect to The Sacred Spirit in all of society. We must help each other to identify, trade, and teach our strengths fairly and respectfully. Maybe rural boot camps for all citizens would be a place to start. It was successful as The CCC during The Great Depression; it can succeed again. Coker Creek could serve as a model classroom. Mountain Mama Mamie could be our Appalachian Survival School's dean.

The Ruritan Club could serve as headquarters, and the Coker Creek Elementary School could teach Appalachian community ways. Housing and additional classroom space for teachers and students could be provided by Coker Creek Christian Camp, Coker Creek Village, and the various rental properties in the area. The Heritage group could recruit instructors and advertise programs. The properties that are being used in the traditional ways would be classrooms for practical internships.

Let's create communities instead of relying on the bubbles that corporations build and destroy at will.

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