POEM: Jumping From The Ledger

Rejoin the rat race
And all that chasten
Daring to make
A rodent in the machine
Which is all the rage
The bounty on your ahead
A golden hamster wheel
Retard after 50 years
Left dumb
Lips pursed
For so many years
Metering out your daily pillage
From shallow pools
Having waded for your due appointments
Not with standing
That grim reaper having
Sacrificed so much
For what
Spoils
As prophet in titles
Epitaphs
Ridden in stone
Forcing loved ones loanly
To visit what you once were
Suckling on memories
Dreams stoned
Starving
To full
Fill awe that is hollowed
Having
Lived once
Now never more knew
Daze passed
And by what means recaptured
How sew frayed
Of day’s passion
And once with
In is capable rejoinder
To finish this sentience
And not mirror animation
A resounding echo
No longer revere berating
In empty chambers
Wanton listless solutions
Having dropped the bawl
Bored stiff of what lame meant
Drawling on passed experience
Yakking on a bout
Scaling steep mountains
Out of mole hills
Trying
To get your goat and make you want to yacht
And in the end unmoved
Buy the blubbering of beached wails
Strewn by brown shirts and matching knows
Muted lives
Sullen everything
You can possibly think
Trading marks
And in proprietary secrets
May clinch some laconic inc.
Be rift of checks and balances
And should you withdraw
The hush of money
Prepare for it getting even
Silencer
Yet before your time
Sing
Like just
Another grammy
Inexplicably quite
Never herd again
A spoke in word
Unburden some
To pronounce
In that speakeasy of freedom
Drunk with poise in abating
From a salutary utter
After which you could hear a heart murmur
That could with stand a beating:
You can have your bigger cages
And longer chains
Be damned the shareholder value
of Cages and Chains, Inc.
I will jump from the ledger
Even if you won’t
Searching for the perfect pitch
Surpassing everlusting sirens
Till a gentler rock
Finding my voice
In a free Fall
Fallowing a summer
Fueled by that eternal spring
Hoping for more than allege
And giving know pause
To winters and losers
Sharing the good news
Freely
Never put out
To pastor

This poem is a reflection on the rat race of state-of-the-art employment, where even winning the rat race probably signifies that you are just a rat more than anything else.  Even though the productivity evangelists tout great success, the more than tripling of material wealth during my lifespan, has done little net good (mostly trapped people in nets) for workers.  With the wealth of experience and history, it doesn’t take a prophet to understand that ever-growing profits spells a cancerous existence in America.

Fortunately, since I quit my “regular” or “real” job, almost a decade ago, I’ve been able to live on less than what the average American would make with unemployment benefits (though I didn’t receive unemployment benefits because I quit).  I haven’t received food stamps or other government “welfare” assistance.  I have not been a very successful taker, with my frugal leanings and pride in autonomy.  Though Republicans have tried hard in Ohio, under Obamacare, I may not be able to keep my uninsurance, ending a decade without health insurance.

At best, it seems that this increased material wealth has little to do with increased happiness.  In fact, Americans work more hours and are no more happy.  Even having to point out that working more hours doesn’t make you happier is perhaps the best illustration that the productivity police can quite effectively rely on self-enforcement!  Our minds have been so effectively colonized that other options seem barely even thinkable.  The notion that your life can actually be profoundly better living with less is heretical in capitalistic America — if such a crazy notion were even given the time of day!

It seems that Western civilization has reached a point in its existence, where workers are functionally illiterate in life, meaning that they cannot adequately articulate and effectively navigate life outside of money/wealth as their measure of value.  Newsflash potential illiterates: money isn’t everything!  As the saying goes: you can’t buy love.  And, if you can’t tell the difference between love and a comfortable home with a trophy wife, then you might be an illiterate!  Worse yet, most workplaces are better characterized as places where we sell ourselves than places where we come together for our mutual betterment.  And if you can’t tell the difference between love and selling ourselves, then you are definitely an illiterate!

In the great exchange debate of values, circulates the notion that time is money.  Capitalists have effectively dominated this debate, demanding perpetual focus on the centrality of money.  Now, you may be able to exchange your time for money.  However, money can’t really buy time, otherwise the rich would live forever!  More to the point, money can’t buy life.  Money may be able to carve out more “leisure” time — that time when you are not selling yourself — or even buy some edge of health compared to others, and perhaps increasing your lifespan.  However, no matter how effectively we manipulate our material environment, through the proxy of money, this, at best, only offers the opportunity to live, not life itself.  Our time represents this opportunity for living.  While money has an interplay with how we experience our time, the very quality of our life, it is subordinate to time.  In youthful, or just plain oblivious, denial of our limited time, i.e., eventual death, we may convince ourselves that we have more time than money.  This perception influences our judgments about the time-money exchange rate.  I suspect that the best way to reflect on this is to ask yourself which is better: to have more money than time? or, to have more time than money?  In the end, ultimately, time will win this debate.  Nonetheless, many, if not most people waste a lot of time before realizing this, that time is more important than money.

Of course, living with a lot of money or very little money may confound this realization that time is more important than money; the rich thinking that their time is founded on money because they have it, and the poor thinking that their time is dependent on money because they have very little.  This is one aspect of the destructive reality of huge income inequalities, of greed and poverty.  This confounding of reality serves well neither the rich or the poor.  Wealth and poverty are conjoined twins, seemingly destined to believe that their life is best served by the machinations of material existence, to the deficit of a more full and complete life.  Both excess and lack, especially when conjoined, can lead to fearful and alienating lives.  The rich can become disconnected, unempathetic with lack, even paranoid of losing their excess (sic).  The poor can become discouraged and desperate, lacking in the face of plenty.

The apostle John offered the simplest, though apparently quite difficult, solution to the conjoined twin fates of excess and lack, by proclaiming: “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same” (Luke 3:11).  This would put a lot of liberal think tanks out of business.  This would put a lot of conservative think tanks out of business.  In the end, thinking about such things, particularly if you are the well-clothed one with a full belly, does little to address our lack, our common fate: poverty.  Of course, this is America, so there is more than one brand of poverty: material or spiritual.  For the particularly unfortunate, you can have both brands.  Fortunately, God has the preferential option for the poor, the central tenet of liberation theology, founded by Peruvian theologian Gustavo Gutierrez:

 “The preferential option for the poor is much more than a way of showing our concern about poverty and the establishment of justice. At its very heart, it contains a spiritual, mystical element, an experience of gratuitousness that gives it depth and fruitfulness. This is not to deny the social concern expressed in this solidarity, the rejection of injustice and oppression that it implies, but to see that in the last resort it is anchored in our faith in the God of Jesus Christ. It is therefore not surprising that this option has been adorned by the martyr’s witness of so many, as it has by the daily generous self-sacrifice of so many more who by coming close to the poor set foot on the path to holiness.”

The preferential option for the poor is a perspective God’s grace giving special favor to the poor.  The way that God has created reality actually favors the poor more than the rich.  This doesn’t glorify material poverty, but it recognizes that the experiences of poverty more directly connect us and open us up to the deep importance of mutual aid and genuine, caring relationships.  The poor’s very survival depends on it.  The rich are insulated from this palpable, ever-present reality of the poor.  The rich can “afford” to make the mistake of buying their way out of this deeper and more difficult (yet rewarding) way of being.  The rich are more easily fooled into thinking that they don’t need others.  The injustice maintained by the rich is that as conjoined twins, the rich twin foolishly acts as if they can do whatever they want without the other, even when faced with the heart-wrenching realities of material poverty wracking his world.  Such heartlessness is a failure at intimacy with other human beings and reality writ large.  Perhaps a better formulation of a universal constant of metaphysics for the betterment of humankind would be the directly inversely proportional relationship of material and spiritual poverty.  Of course, this would turn capitalism, and its reliance on endless greed and profit, upside down, or more aptly, right side up!  Skeptics might ask if it is possible for the rich to spiritually prosper.  This is an ancient question:

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’” (Matthew 19: 23-24)

I love the common interpretation of this passage as a reference to a gate into Jerusalem called “the eye of the needle” that was opened a night after the main gate was closed, and this gate was so small that the camel (the rich) would have to unload all of their baggage and crawl through on their knees.  Yep, Jesus was one of the greatest poets I ever metaphor!

May you live into the reality that spiritual wealth is more directly accessed with less rather than more material wealth.

 

 

POEM: Balms Around Every Corner

Truth lives at peace with facts
Facts war with truth
As an orderly
Gone astray
In an awe in compassing hospitality
Scurrying from one stat to the next
Drunk on 100% proof
And in all probability
Will perpetually pass attest
With no lack of patients
Ever-presently over-looking
Medicine beyond
Preyer or medication
Still interrupted
Buy balms around every corner
Wear all is qualm
Where residents may not be drug
Round after round
Caching bullet points
For the heeling of others
A pour trade for lush living
In truth
Many facts cannot pay
They’re fair
In a cosmos a-washed with excellence
As truth is tolled
One piece
Is not as good
As what fallows
Or even Quickens®
In know way pandering
Anything other
That which they see
The whole in their soul
Wonting more than a void

This poem addresses a very common theme in my poetry, the relationship of scientific certainties and metaphysical realities: facts and truth.  The relationship between our mind and our heart has a profound affect on how we order our lives and how we experience the world.  Like facts and truth, the mind and heart are not contradictory, in the same way that science and religion (physics and metaphysics) are not contradictory; e.g., “Truth lives at peace with facts.”  Nevertheless, conflicts arise dependent on our view of the whole (“The whole in their soul”).  Metaphysics, a necessary element of spirituality, is a transcendent, awe-encompassing view of Truth.  Physics, the world of facts, is also a necessary part of human reality, but a necessarily incomplete view of many truths/facts.  Physics is the foundation of everyday living, providing a highly predictable platform for a coherent life, the rationale making life feasible.  Metaphysics enlightens physics, shedding light on higher, more complete realities.  Metaphysics imbues physics with meaning, the reason to live.

The fundamental problem that I see in modern life, especially Western civilization, is an undue fixation of “certain” aspects of reality, e.g., “Drunk on 100% proof.”  This addiction to focusing only on the lesser robs us of meaning, in a barren self-fulfilling prophecy — which makes sense, it just sucks!  I think that such a partially blinded view of reality is wrapped up in fear.  Whether fear leads to such a worldview or such a worldview leads to fear is a which-came-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg type of argument.  Regardless, they are self-reinforcing.  So, why is such a worldview so popular?  I suspect because the force of certainty is a great selling point in trying to come up with a comprehensive view of reality.  If you are a certainty addict, the line you draw around reality is highly predictable, exactly parallel to that diaphanous line where our five senses stare into the nebulous abyss of metaphysics, the world of feral uncertainty and unpredictable freedom.  This place of metaphysics is messy, at least at first glance; and many find it much easier to look away.  The strangely beautiful thing is that the world of metaphysics is as highly ordered as the physical world, even more elegantly so!  The crux of the issue is a willingness to venture beyond the comfortable certainty of reductionistic science, bringing things down to familiar level, where things are easily coherent.

The train to increasing scientific understanding certainly has many hubs, branches of science, but train stops typically end at the last station before metaphysics.  And going beyond one’s station is scientific heresy.  Nonetheless, such a limit is arbitrary.  First, even in the most orthodox science, there are unprovable assumptions (see Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem or my crazy poem, Wading for Gödel).  In short, the mathematician Gödel proved (yes, proved) that any mathematical or logical system will always have truths that lie outside the ability of that system to prove them.  Second, from our assumptions, highly ordered worldviews mysteriously arise.  This is true for both reductionistic science and metaphysics.  Reductionist science makes the most fundamental mistake possible, violating its most orthodox — dare I say sacred — premise, by blindly accepting that it is assumptionless, the most blessed assumption, making scientists merry.  Science can rightly test hypotheses, but not assumptions.  Science cannot answer the question of where coherency comes from, or even whether coherency is better than coherency!  I vote for coherency being better, but I can’t prove it!  In fact, science cannot even speak to better or worse, only what is (at least at the time of the experiment), and with high probability: IF this happens, THEN that will follow.  Even with science’s well accepted foundational assumption that coherence is better than coherence, the elaborate worldview which unfolds logically and through rigorous observation cannot account for meaning!  It can catalog, categorize, compare and contrast the many ways that people behave within posited systems of meaning, but science must stand silent in declaring any one system Truth.  This is the truth of Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem.

Unfortunately, this inherent limitation in logical systems brought to light by Gödel receives little appreciation.  Plus, instead of going forward with this understanding, recognizing its implications for further advances, we continue down a proven illogical, scientifically heretical, path of some type of pseudo-logical imperialism.  We must transcend this dead-end.  There is not much surprise that the scientific revolution during the so-called enlightenment led to an atrophy of metaphysical literacy.  Any pondering of anything metaphysical, let alone “God,” appears that it necessarily must be degraded.  And we are left with an amputated worldview, reduced to science’s presumptuous and incomplete reach.  Meaning escapes our grasp.  Alienation grows.  In fact, the imperialism of objectivity cannot account for subjectivity at all!  In this bizarro world, you, as a subjective being, don’t even exist — or at least you shouldn’t exist!  Is it any wonder we have created a world unfriendly to humans?  At best you are just one more “thing” to deal with, and likely with your unpredictability, formerly known as freedom, you will find yourself less favored than inanimate things and virtual reality mimicking what we truly long for.  The ancient alchemists’ scientific dream of led to goaled has been sorely unachieved.  Without going the next step, embracing metaphysics, we are doomed, “Scurrying from one stat to the next.”  For millennia, humans have asked and earnestly tried to answer the great questions of life.  Taking on the tried and true methods of science — hypothesis generation and rigorous observation — schools of thought, competing theologies, and myriads of human experiments, have resulted in a rich body of metaphysical understanding converging on eternal truths endowing humanity with a wealth unfathomable by perhaps most post-Enlightenment worldviews that have been posited.  Still, gaining from such wealth requires an entrepreneurial spirit.

God is the greatest balm to go off in history.  God is the pinnacle of metaphysical ponderings and wanderings.  Embracing our own subjectivity and the tantalizing possibility of other subjectivies, most commonly recognized as humans, and less well recognized as God, enriches our universe beyond measure.  Exploring our inner life, our own subjectivity, with the same disciplined observation of science, yields new truths, beyond mere science.  Exploring the subjective realities of others and how they resonate or react with us, opens progressively wider and deeper possibilities.  Experiencing God can help center our subjective experiences around a unity in reality that transcends and transforms our being and functioning in the world.  Of course, speaking about God is even far less productive than speaking about food and expecting delightful tastes and bodily nourishment.  Nonetheless, human language, can be a launching point triggering hunger which presages satiation.  Experiencing God is a new birth that is best communicated by our transformed lives.  For me, trying to speak about experiences of God is the birth of poetry.  For me, writing poetry is the mind and heart making love.  Even then, the occasional offspring are less reliably joyful than the love-making.

As I like to say: life isn’t fair, it’s excellent!  May you find wholeness and hospitality in your most excellent journey.

POEM: Hungering for Answers

Hungering for Answers

We should stay the course
To turn the corner
To see the light
At the end of the tunnel
Yet long-term solutions
For the hungry
Are difficult to stomach
As for those who have
Empty hearts
Eatin’ out
Over the question
What too due
And how fast

This is another poem in honor of the 50th anniversary of the “War on hunger.”  Well-fed minds are familiar with the tensions between short-term “charity” and long-term solutions in addressing social issues.  Of course, long-term responses and procrastination across generations often go hand-in-hand among those with well-fed stomachs.  Hunger is not an issue that can be compassionately put off.  Tomorrow’s solutions still leave today’s empty belly empty.  It strikes me that the juxtaposition of great wealth and grinding poverty in our world yields a parallel juxtapositioning of empty bellies and empty hearts.  A typical excuse that well-fed minds make to their empty hearts is that continued hunger will teach those hungering how to be more responsible and avoid their hunger at some later date.  This sets up a bizarre serendipity in that children are most likely to be poor and hungry as well as thirsty sponges for learning.  So, what are these hungry children learning?  My guess is that hungry children learn more about the callousness of those with excess than the obvious lessons in securing food.  As if the excruciating experience of grinding poverty isn’t incentive enough!  Apparently not.  Of course, there are profound social factors outside of the control of hungry children and the overwhelming majority of hungry adults.  Given these realities, it is absurd to posit that individual irresponsibility is the primary cause of hunger.  Probably much worse than absurd; in fact: empty-hearted.  May we smash the barriers that keep us from sharing our abundance with those who have too little.

POEM: Chapter 58 – Isaiah

Chapter 58 – Isaiah

Isaiah was a man
A kind of a man
More generous than his wealth
Untouchable by another’s profits
With a frugality beyond any poverty
He was a gentle man
With a purposefulness typically beyond words
Speaking with a clarity too spirited for some
In jail for disturbing the peace
Though he would have said
“I am disturbing the war”
He was a headstrong man
Though less determined than unshakable
His single-mindedness
Exceeded only by a purity of heart
In that instant where mourning breaks
In the face of a rising dawn
Awaking
Following that first night
With an irrepressible smile
On his face
Realizing he is the freest person
He knows
Simply saying
“I really need to get out more”
Fast becoming hungry
Thirst things thirst
In spite of being
Like naked
For I’s guarded
Surrounded by men of this stripe
Wholly innumerable
Ever-present in the passed
His work was before him
A long line of just us
All the same, some lost
Some merely on their way
To share some food with his mates
Then off to work
For there is
No such thing as
Free room and board
From some anonymous uncle
After all the feds
Reckon the rest
As what will follow
When expecting to be herd
As well as something more

This poem is a tribute and extremely loose paraphrase or interpretation of Isaiah 58 in the Bible.  This Old Testament chapter is a classic among lovers of justice.  In this poem, the title alludes to a chapter in the biography of a man.  This modern-day take is inspired by those faithful and devoted workers for justice who commit civil disobedience in the course of their work for social justice.  The setting is a free man who finds himself in prison.  Barring all irony, he is still free!

The only truly obscure reference that I would elucidate springs from the lines: In spite being/Like naked/For I’s guarded.  It’s more easily accessible meaning is a reference to being vulnerable, particularly when at the hands of someone who, like a prison guard, literally oversees your every movement, peering into the bowels of your very being!  The obscurity is in that “Nakedness was taboo in Judaism, and shame fell less on the naked party than on the person viewing or causing the nakedness (Gen 9:20-27).”  In Matthew 5:40, Jesus says, “if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well.” The theologian and author Walter Wink explains how Jesus instructed his audience, the poor, how to fight back using creative nonviolence, taking advantage of the cultural fact that viewing nakedness is more shameful than being naked:

“…so the debtor parades his nakedness in prophetic protest against a system that has deliberately rendered him destitute.  Imagine him leaving the court, naked: his friends and neighbors, aghast, inquire what happened.  He explains.  They join his growing procession, which now resembles a victory parade.  The entire system by which debtors are oppressed has been publicly unmasked.  The creditor is revealed to be not a legitimate moneylender but a party to the reduction of an entire social class to landlessness, destitution, and abasement.  This unmasking is not simply punitive, therefore; it offers the creditor a chance to see, perhaps for the first time in his life, what his practices cause, and to repent.
     The Powers That Be literally stand on their dignity.  Nothing depotentiates them faster than deft lampooning.  By refusing to be awed by their power, the powerless are emboldened to seize the initiative, even where structural change is not immediately possible.  This message, far from being a counsel to perfection unattainable in this life, is a practical, strategic measure for empowering the oppressed, and it is being lived out all over the world today by powerless people ready to take their history into their own hands.
     Jesus provides here a hint of how to take on the entire system by unmasking its essential cruelty and burlesquing its pretensions to justice.  Here is a poor man who will no longer be treated as a sponge to be squeezed dry by the rich.  He accepts the laws as they stand, pushes them to absurdity, and reveals them for what they have become.  He strips naked, walks out before his fellows, and leaves this creditor, and the whole economic edifice which he represents, stark naked.”

I encourage you read the full article by Walter Wink, Beyond Just War and Pacifism: Jesus’ Nonviolent Way, where Dr. Wink outlines three of methods of creative nonviolent disobedience that Jesus taught, from Mathew 5:38-41 (NIV): “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.”  One of the truly magnificent revelations in this article is how it illustrates the extent to which Jesus’ teachings are commonly misunderstood; or perhaps more to the point, often understood as the exact opposite of what Jesus meant!

The spirit of Jesus is manifest in the scripture inspiring this poem, Isaiah 58 (NIV).  It is no accident that Jesus quotes Isaiah to kick off his public ministry!  The heading for this chapter is usually rendered, “True Fasting;”

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

POEM: BUCKET BRIGADE – Owed to Karen Krause

BUCKET BRIGADE

Owed to Karen Krause

While some pine
That faith
The size of a mustard seed
Can move mountains
Like magic
Perhaps with a wrinkle of their knows
Wiser women know
How mountains move
Bucket by bucket
By outstretched hands
And sturdy hearts
In awe ways
Moving
Forward
Crossing generations
And races
Not to the swiftest
But the truest
Seeking won peace
In couraging
When injustice seems beyond the pale
And hate appears justified
A brigade appears
As well
And in the shadow
Of a rising calvary
Appears victory and solace
Beyond belief
For what death cannot touch
We have firmly held
The mountaintop
In portions made human
Sizing us up
Long the weigh
Only making us stronger
Such trails and tribulations
Are now more plainly marked
And the eternal answer echoes more clearly
Be more
Karen
Be won for all
Not bewitched
By fancy
As some go before us
Surely, we must follow
And may we all be carried away
In the arms of friends
And when such days we face
The un-Karen powers that be
May we hear the call to arms
And just bucket

I wrote this poem, this ode, as a tribute to my friend and my public health mentor, Karen Krause.  Karen died Monday, October 21, 2013, at the age of 73.  [You can see her obituary and local news story for a small outline of her life.]  I shared this poem with her when she was healthy enough to take it in.  I would like to live in a world where everyone has poems written about them and for them.  This poem takes us one step closer to that world.  The idea for the poem was inspired by a conversation I had with Karen and a couple other friends.  I spoke of the commonly misunderstood scripture quote from Matthew 17:20 where Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Of course, most people mistakenly refer to this as if faith were some magical spell, cast successfully if only you believe hard enough.  Karen’s life emulated its true meaning: that spending a lifetime, even generations, moving a bucket at a time, can move mountains.  [Check out one of my other blog entries for more background on the historical context of this scripture.]  I knighted Karen as “Leader of the Bucket Brigade” and this poem soon followed.

You can download a printer-friendly PDF version of this poem here: Bucket-Brigade-Owed-to-Karen-Krause

I was deeply honored when Karen asked me to write a letter for her, her last letter, to be distributed upon her death.  Karen and I, from our years working together in public health, drafted many letters and such, spending hours editing and re-drafting.  Perhaps as a fitting culmination and closure of our relationship as friends and colleagues, Karen, defying precedent, accepted the letter with virtually no editing. Here is that letter:

Karen Krause asked me to write this letter.  Karen died peacefully on Monday October 21, 2013.  She wanted to give thanks, especially for her friendships and experiences in her final months. She was in hospice care since July.  Karen decided to forgo treatment to maintain her quality of life in her remaining time.  She and her doctor were content with this decision.  She lived and died as a nurse and a patient, without regrets.  She was tremendously thankful to be able to stay home and maintain her independence for most of her hospice experience.

Karen was deeply grateful for her friends and colleagues — and Karen had a way of making friends colleagues and colleagues friends.  Karen continued to bring people together until the very end, just as she had brought people together her whole life.  She was heartened by the outpouring of visitation, food, medical help, pastoral counseling, assistance of all kinds, and abundant words of encouragement.

Her last months were invaluable for Karen recognizing her own humility.  Her often unsung work was just her way: “that’s Karen.”  Karen’s dedication and perseverance inspired countless others, yet, she was faithfully, even doggedly, focused on higher purposes than herself.  Many friends shared what she meant to them, the positive contribution that she made to who they are.  This enabled Karen to better see and more fully appreciate how important her life has been to others.   Hopefully, such realizations helped serve as just wages for decades of work serving others.

As in her life, her dying wish was for social justice.  Among other things, Karen was the moving force for Toledo Area Jobs with Justice/Interfaith Worker Justice Coalition (JwJ/IWJ).  She knew this work needs to go on.  Toledo JwJ/IWJ is reorganizing.  Karen made clear that her preferred way to be honored is to assure that Toledo JwJ/IWJ is able to continue its vital work.  Please contact Bob Lynn, Jr. to see how you can help out jwj@jwjtoledo.org ; PO Box 13048, Toledo, OH, 43613; or 419-787-5245.

Karen succeeded in making the world a better place for all.  Her life, and death, is a call to all of us to do the same.  Karen accepted the gift of gratitude for her life, and she asked that you accept her gratitude as her final gift to you.

Please see Karen’s obituary in the Toledo Blade Obituary, Foth Dorfmeyer Funeral Home and Toledo Blade Featured Article for more about Karen’s life.

Her legacy lives on, but we will miss her…

Peace,

Dan Rutt

POEM: Author Author Original

Author Author Original

Many great authors
Veritable prose
Composed
Many glorified pages
Of legends owed
Epitomizing a theme
Depicting perfect variations
Epic anecdotes
In firmity
Contracted
By edifices
Of many stories
I prefer the novelty
Of a single sentence
Unleashing countless perspectives
Leaping tall buildings
Condemned
To freedom
Facing immanent decomposition
A tale doggedly wagging
Kneading not
A collect
The preyer of singular digits
Followed by zeroes
Offering
No cure awe
Beyond
Ne’er rating
Guttenburgers
Serving billions
In the court
Of public opinion
In loo of
Author original
Nameless

This poem is an ode to the commercialization of the art of writing.  This is less an indictment of authors trying to make a living than the nature of others trying to make a living off authors.  Also, this poem speaks to my preference for poetry versus prose.  I must confess, I had a great laugh with the epiphany of “Guttenburger,” a literate hybrid pun, unduplicated in its meatiness.  The image of a hurried run of trashy novels on the jacked up modern equivalent of the Guttenberg press, like fast food burgers on a conveyor grill, about sums up art meeting modern civilization.  As Western civilization quickly monetizes and copies right any art sufficient to the task, artists continue the eternal struggle to pay worthy homage to the original author nameless and unnamable, reproducing endless originals.

POEM: Tasting God

Tasting God

I almost tasted God
In what turned out
To be
A fine guacamole
A common mistake
Well worth repeating

I find eating guacamole a religious experience.  As family legend has it, when we lived in Haiti when I was a toddler, my Mom found me under the kitchen sink eating rotten avocados.  While in college, I food poisoned myself with a bad batch of guacamole.  This imprinted in me an aversion to avocados which lasted for months.  Fortunately, I have fully recovered — and then perhaps some!  Though I delight in avocados, I rarely buy them.  Mostly because I am cheap, and somewhat poor.  Partly, because I have so many delights in my life where I can access God, many of them sensual.  I suppose if God hid better in my life, I might have to resort to avocados more frequently.  Fortunately, my sweetheart is familiar with this highway to God, and she feeds me avocados with some regularity.  One of her many titles is “Giver of Guacamole,” though in goddess-like ineffableness she seems to resist pet names.

This poem plays with the experiencing of God as a sensual experience.  The almost tasted God suggests that it may be close to experiencing God, but perhaps not directly.  Of course, the “turned out to be” could mean that the mistake was in the almost.  Either way, the experience is well worth repeating; and if there is some mistake involved, the sheer gloriousness of a fine guacamole should amply cover any falling short.

POEM: Ad Dulled State

Ad Dulled State

Well come
To this ad dulled state
What will it take
To see the light
Tell a vision
Divining every yen
Razing the whys
Jacking up
All that meters
Taxi’ing every quarter our
Static being drug
Swallowing minute libations
To our own
Dram nation
Pros astute
Shop lifting thirsts and seconds
Feigning coy
Eat us
Interruptus
Lusting an instant
To be
A loan
Stop the word and let me get off
Yet in the end
A foreign language oui read
LITTLE PRINTS
Exposing
Astor risks
Like a John going down on the Titanic
Can that
Be conceivably kosher
Such an untold clip
That diabolic scroll
In nothing flat
Can we circumspect nothing else
So ordained
A diction
Razing
High couture
That calling
NOW
To see double
Speak easy operators
Reaching the hype
Of pop culture
Soda whatever happens
The dream of auto pilots
Every wear
Fashioning model consumers
In compassing all the rage
Insuring all lost
A luxurious cell
With the laidest technology
Everyone fast
Food again
Con fronting counter fits
With an app petite
To be ravenous nevermore
Conquering SOBs hankering
Whatever man
You fractured
To undemanding specks
Whatever you craven

The near omnipresence of advertisements in so-called advanced civilization can lead to an addled state of mind.  Capitalism cannot resist, and even lifts to a virtue, monetizing everything possible.  And where does this road lead?  To one big commercial, occasionally interrupted by life.  The need to convince people about all of the needs that they didn’t even know they had takes unrelenting programs of repetition assaulting our senses in increasingly novel and clever ways.  Our brains can find little refuge from such assaults.  Weather coy interruptions or sensory overload, the lowest common denominators of sensuality, status, and power tempt and train our baser instincts to buy products basking in their glow.  Unfortunately, the glow of big-screen televisions, neon lights, and fancy packaging rarely deliver even a fraction of their alleged benefits.  The truth evaporates like ethereal promises scrolling by as incomprehensible fine print.  We are expected to rest upon verbal promises not even worth the paper they aren’t even printed on.  Such means produce similar ends.  The consumer is consumed.  Elusive wants grow larger the closer we get.  In our dreams, we Chase Freedom™ like a fairy tail.  Our simplest needs are crushed under the weight of gadgets, accessories, and the inevitable infestation of bugs in Life v.16.2.01.   What we need is life unplugged.  A blackout might reveal what is truly electric.  Even in the darkest of ages, those who are be-wild-er-ed will find a road less travelled.  The best things in life cannot be manufactured.  The best things in life are free — that is, if you can pay the cost…

POEM: Taken In

Taken In

What powerful minds
Can wrap themselves around
Pails in comparison
To the sea of mysteries
Taken in
By an open heart
Keys to a door unlocked
Incite weighting
A mountain of presents
Countless
Un-rapt
By lesser mines
Fuels goaled
Lead buy ail chemistry
Living on bread crumbs
Sour grapes
And ancient plumbs
Which might
Make rite
Miss taking
For old prunes
Spurring nature’s calling
Turning awe
Into mere droppings
What more fertilize see
Beyond star dust
Big bangs
And clever hides
Sphering only
That wee are food again
For the gods
Flailing to clutch
Their pursed ellipse
Unquipped beyond their gears
And graveyard shifts
From wents the flowers come and go
And to the see returning
From a where
The eternal calling
With endless drops
Echoes beyond mine
Let it go
And be
Taken in
By an open heart

Not surprisingly, the title of this poem, “Taken In,” is a pun.  “Taken in” can mean being fooled or conned, indicating gullibility; or, it can mean invited in or accepted into.  An open heart is vastly larger than even an open mind.  The heart is the only organ of perception that can take in the whole of life.  Even the most powerful minds are constrained by the mind’s own faculty of dividing and analyzing; and while the mind can synthesize, it is limited by the parts available to it, unable to access the whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.  The mountains of presents that life offers stretch far beyond our minds reach.  Only by opening our hearts can we be taken in by the whole of life and take our rightful place and role.  I see the heart as naturally open, our default condition.  Nevertheless, through conditioning of hurt, fear, and uncertainty, we may learn to close our hearts.  I particularly like the image of “keys to a door unlocked.”  The fact that the door is open and unlocked must sit with the intrigue of the door having a lock and you possessing a key, not to open the door which is already open, but to lock it.  This “incites weighting,” trying to lock up parts of life for our own.  Unfortunately, however much we are able to lock up for our own, we will end up with less than if we kept the door of the heart open.  Clever minds may on occasion get the upper hand on those with open hearts, but cleverness is no substitute for wisdom.  Cleverness adeptly grasps and manipulates for its own purposes.  Wisdom lets go, and is taken in by a high power, better aligning oneself with higher purposes.  May you be taken in…

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER: A Christian Perspective on Justice

Here is a portion of a document that I drafted a couple of years ago while I was a board member of Toledo Area Ministries (TAM).  It was never adopted in any form, but I put a lot of work into, so I wanted to make this work available to others. If you are interested in a Christian perspective on justice, try this one on for size:

Speaking Truth to Power

Power, Truth, Accountability, and Politics

What is Power?

All power and glory is God’s.  Power originates in God’s sovereignty.  From God’s sovereignty, comes TAM’s core value of the Church as “the most powerful certainty on the planet.”  God will work God’s will in God’s own way:

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord.

‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

 We are called to exercise power responsibly, and not lord over one another:

“You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.  And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)

“But Gideon told them, ‘I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you.  The LORD will rule over you.’” (Judges 8:23)

Whatever power we possess is a gift from God.  However, with power comes the temptation to use it for our own purposes instead of God’s purposes.

Responsibility and accountability are proportional to the amount of power possessed:

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48b)

Power and power differentials are an inescapable fact of human life.  Power and power differentials exist within families.  Power and power differentials exist within community and governmental organizations.  Power and power differentials exist within faith communities.  Power and power differentials exist between nations.  Power and power differentials exist between all of these.  In fact, power and power differentials exist within any form of community.

The engagement of political powers transcends individual people:

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12, King James 21st Century Version)

God in Christ, shares power and authority with us through authentic community:

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

Truth and Accountability

Injustice is rooted in evading accountability to God and one another.  “What is truth?” (John 18:38)  This rhetorical question as posed by Pilate to Jesus is the classical evasion of accountability made by the “powers that be.”  Of course, this evasiveness is not restricted to powerful political leaders.  Cain, while his brother’s blood cries to God from the ground, attempts to evade God’s accountability by saying, “I don’t know…Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9-10).  Nor is evasiveness of accountability restricted to murderers.  An expert in religious law, in testing Jesus, himself confirmed that loving your neighbor as one’s self is necessary to inherit eternal life: “But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ ” (Luke 10:29). Of course, this leads to the parable of the good Samaritan, where the hated enemy is judged righteous because he took effort and risk to help one in need.

“Distracting and conquering” is the conventional first line of defense in evading accountability.  What these three Biblical accounts have in common, besides a big dose of simple denial, are questions implying doubt that the truth can ascertained.  In attempts to deflect accountability, we have all encountered many versions of, “I don’t know.  Who can really say?  It’s all so complicated.” or “This is so important that we should study it (to no end).”  The key problem this raises when dealing with power differentials, is that this takes the “powers that be” off the hook, so they can maintain their power without being called into accountability, and injustice can reign.

“Distracting and conquering” results from being trapped within a misunderstanding of Truth.  As already noted, the evasive “What is truth?” question by Pilate was used to evade accountability to the Truth incarnate right in front of him.  The assumption implied in this question is rooted in the belief that ultimate truth cannot be determined by objectively studying all the facts in the world — which is a fact, though not the truth.  Believing this state of affairs to be the ultimate truth is relativism.  Unfortunately, relativism is only half of the dualistic confusion called materialism, brought about by worshipping creation rather than the Creator.  In fact, many secularists believe that you can determine ultimate truth from the many facts of the scientific world.  This form of idolatry employs the vain hope that if we only look at all the facts, Truth will be determined.  This is the conundrum of modern science without God.  In fact, secularists inevitably must vacillate between these two facets of materialism simply because each is inadequate to answer life’s deepest and most important questions.  Not surprisingly, when this confused world view can’t bring peace, violence is employed.  Ironically, this conundrum leads to both Pilate’s “tolerance” of Jesus and the brutal Pax Romana he ruled within.

The living God offers a way out of the dualistic confusion of materialism:

“For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

and Jesus’ words eliciting Pilate’s evasion: “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.  Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:37)

“Make sure no one captures you. They will try to capture you by using false reasoning that has no meaning. Their ideas depend on human teachings. They also depend on the basic things the people of this world believe. They don’t depend on Christ.”  (Colossians 2:8, NIV Reader’s Version)

“Objectively” studying all the facts from all of the different views of the world cannot reveal the One Subject, the great “I am.”  There is more than Nature, the created world.  There is a Creator.  God reveals truth to us through the Holy Spirit, the person of Jesus Christ, Scripture, the traditions of the Church, and peoples’ experiences.  Reason confirms these means of grace, but cannot access life’s deepest truths alone.  Conventional wisdom is not enough:

“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.  Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:21-25)

The living God offers a way to out of life taking a beating with a “dead” philosophy where “the powers that be” can “manage” avoiding accountability to their unjust benefit.  The living God offers a way beyond the false neutrality of the secular world which declares God’s Lordship over all as off-limits, or irrelevant at best.

Of course, being made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), humans have an innate conscience, inescapable sense of morality, and desire to have a relationship with God.  So, distracting and conquering will eventually reach its limits.

“Dividing and conquering” is the next line of defense in politics in evading accountability. 

When the “powers that be” cannot quell or manage the moral demands made upon them, they turn to what they know best: self-interests.  Welcome to the world of “divide and conquer.”  When you can’t “distract and conquer,” pit the self-interests of individuals and groups against one another.  Again, this serves the purpose of reinforcing and maintaining the status quo and the power differentials enjoyed by the “powers that be.”

Pilate’s moral reasoning was reduced to managing self-interests [“…he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.  But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover.  Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” (John 18:38-39)].  Pacifying constituent interests to meet one’s own interests falls far short of accountability to God and one another.  Beyond Pilate’s ill-equipped moral reasoning, Cain and the expert in religious law sought to evade accountability to “my brother” or “my neighbor” by questioning the great commandments to love God and the second, like unto the first, love your neighbor as yourself, from which all the Law and the Prophets hang (Matthew 22:37-40).  Beyond obvious self-interest which short-circuits right relationships, in the end, we can no more focus on just our neighbor — to the exclusion of God — than we can focus only on God –to the exclusion of our neighbor.  Neighbor without God results in secular interest-based politics, an endless clashing of unfulfilled interests. God without neighbor results in a vain search for piety unsullied by engagement of worldly politics and transforming “the powers that be.”  

Injustice ultimately rests on violence, the end result of worldly politics, relying on simply conquering when other more “civilized” means fail.

Eventually, God’s justice must be confronted, and violence remains the only option left to maintain or force injustice upon others. This can take brazen forms such as the Roman Empire crucifying Jesus or waging war.  Though simply conquering often takes less brutish forms such as power grabs and punishing of political enemies. 

What is Politics?

Speaking truth to power deals with politics.

The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines “politics” as:

1) the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy;

2) competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership; and

3) the total complex of relations between people living in society.

The first definition is “Politics with a capital P.”  The second and third definitions are “politics with a small p.”

God, as the Lord of all, is also the Lord of politics, of all varieties.  This includes legislative and policy issues.  This includes advocacy with community groups, including churches.  Ultimately, this is about how we work out our common life together as God’s children.

Our primary concern is where power differentials exist and the potential for “Lording over” one another is greatest.

Worldly Politics versus Jesus’ Politics

The “Powers that be” and Domination

The “powers that be” has been the subject of study of Walter Wink, Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary, and author of a seminal trilogy of books addressing the issues of power.  Dr. Wink defines the “powers” as “the impersonal spiritual realities at the center of institutional life” (Wink, p. 28), “… the ‘corporate personality’ or ethos of an institution or epoch…” (Wink, p. 27), and “… the soul of systems…” (Wink, p. 29).  As such, the powers are not necessarily evil.  This “ethos” or “soul” of an institution, system, nation or epoch can move us positively or negatively.  It can motivate us to extraordinary unselfishness and service for good or it can be manipulated in the service of evil.   The powers are at the same time good, fallen, and redeemable.  In viewing an institution only as good blinds us to injustice and we reinforce an unjust status quo.  In viewing an institution only as fallen sinks us into despair or rage where we see no hope for change.  In viewing only an institution’s redeemability we end up just tinkering around the edges.  In any institution, we need awareness of its goodness, fallenness and redeemability to discern effective steps towards change.

In working for justice, we often confront the powers as one of the many “-isms,” such as racism, sexism, materialism, consumerism, militarism, nationalism, or patriotism.  As Dr. Wink puts it, “This overarching network of Powers is what we are calling the Domination System.  It is characterized by unjust economic relations, oppressive political relations, biased race relations, patriarchal gender relations, hierarchical power relations, and the use of violence to maintain them all…from the ancient Near Eastern states to the Pax Romana to feudal Europe to communist state capitalism to modern market capitalism” (Wink, p. 39).

from When the Powers Fall: Reconciliation in the Healing of Nations by Walter Wink (Fortress Press, 1998):

Wink points out that a world-wide system of domination is the problem, not just occasional expressions of it, like Rome in Jesus’ time:

“Jesus’ message has traditionally been treated as timeless, eternal, contextless teaching proclaimed in a sociopolitical vacuum, but his teaching and deeds are directed at a specific context: the Domination System.  Jesus’ message is a context-specific remedy for the evils of domination.  God is not simply attempting to rescue individuals from their sufferings at the hands of an unjust system, but to transform the system so as to make and keep human life more human.”

Wink contrasts Godly versus worldly values:

“Jesus does not condemn ambition or aspiration; he merely changes the values to which they are attached: ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’  He does not reject power, but only its use to dominate others. He does not reject greatness, but finds it in identification and solidarity with the needy at the bottom of society (Matt. 5:3-12/Luke 6:20-23).  He does not renounce heroism, but expresses it by repudiating the powers of death and confronting the entrenched might of the authorities, unarmed.”  Jesus’ words and deeds “repudiate the very premises on which domination is based: the right of some to lord it over others by means of power, wealth, shaming, or titles.”

Wink notes Jesus’ pivotal call to end economic exploitation and nonviolently overthrow evil:

“Economic inequalities are the basis of domination.  Domination hierarchies, ranking, and classism are all built on power provided by accumulated wealth.  Thus Jesus’ gospel is founded on economic justice.  Breaking with domination means ending the economic exploitation of the many by the few.  His followers were to begin living now ‘as if’ the new order had already come, seeking first God’s reign and God’s justice.  It is not described as coming from on high down to earth; it rises quietly and imperceptibly out of the land.  It is established, not by aristocrats and military might, but by ineluctable process of growth from below, among the common people…An egalitarian society presupposes nonviolence, for violence is the way some are able to deprive others of what is justly theirs. Inequality can only be maintained by violence. The root of violence, moreover, is domination. Turning the other cheek to a ‘superior’ who has backhanded an ‘inferior’ is an act of defiance, not submission; stripping naked when a creditor demands one’s outer garment brings down shame on the head of the creditor causing the poor debtor’s nakedness; carrying a soldier’s pack a second mile would put him in violation of military law (Matt. 5:39-41). These acts do not at all mean acquiescing passively to evil, but are studied and deliberate ways of seizing the initiative and overthrowing evil by the force of its own momentum.”

DOMINATION AND THE CHURCH. “The failure of churches to continue Jesus’ struggle to overcome domination is one of the most damning apostasies in its history. With some thrilling exceptions, the churches of the world have never yet decided that domination is wrong.  Even in countries where the churches have been deeply identified with revolution, there has been a tendency to focus on only one aspect of domination, such as political freedom, and to ignore economic injustices, authoritarianism, the immorality of war, domestic violence, gender inequality, hierarchicalism, patriarchy, and the physical and sexual abuse of children.  We have tried to take on evil piecemeal.”

SEEING A SINGLE FRONT. “While it is true that we cannot take on everything, we have not always located our struggles within Jesus’ total project: the overcoming of the Domination System itself. Jesus’ vision of a domination-free order enables us to see every struggle against injustice, illness, and greed as part of a single front, and gives us a perspective that links us to everyone engaged in similar struggles.”

A. “Follow the money” versus Biblical economics

Follow God or Money

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)

“All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.  With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.” (Acts 4:32-34a)

“Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality.  At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: ‘The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.’ ” (2 Corinthians 8:13-15)

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor.  Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 18-32-34)

Surely, budgets are moral documents revealing where our treasure, and our hearts, are found.

God decreed the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25) to prevent large concentrations of wealth and persons from being permanently dispossessed from their land and/or forced into servitude.

B. Servant Leadership versus Status

Not Lord over others

Hierarchy reinforced by “shaming” – false moralism, enslaving us to legalistic categories, using unjust social norms to reinforce an unjust status quo

“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” (Colossians 3:11)

C. Authority versus Control

Jesus ran no formal organization, had little money, and no great worldly titles

In the world closely related to status (which is closely related to money),

“Who is this man who speaks with such authority?  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Matthew 28:18)

“The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” (Mark 1:22)

Prophets commonly criticized kings:

In 1 and 2 Kings alone, prophets proclaimed that no less than two dozen kings “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” (1 Kings 11:6, Solomon; 15:26, Nadab; 15:34, Baasha and Jeroboam;  16:25, Omri;  22:52, Ahaziah;  2 Kings 8:18, Jehoram; 3:2, Joram; 8:27, Ahaziah and Ahaz; 13:2, Jehoahaz; 13:11, Jehoash; 14:24, Amaziah; 15:9, Zechariah;  15:18, Menahem; 15:24, Pekahiah; 15:28, Pekah; 17:2, Hoshea; 21:2, Manasseh; 21:20, Amon; 23:32, Jehoahaz; 23:37, Jehoiakim; 24:9, Jehoichin; 24:19, Zedekiah).  Also, the Bible records judgment on the entire nations of Israel and Judah (e.g., Judges 2:11, 3:7, 3:12, 4:1, 6:1, 10:6, 13:1, 2 Chronicles 29:6, Isaiah 65:12, 66:4 and 1 Kings 14:22).

D. Obeying God’s Laws versus Human Laws

“Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!  As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.’ ” (Acts 4:18-20).  And later in Acts, Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! (Acts 5:29)  The daughter of the Egyptian Pharaoh and the Hebrew midwives Shiphrah and Puah pointedly violated the Pharaoh’s edict to kill all male Hebrew children (Exodus 1:17). Even after he was ordered to be silent, Jeremiah continued to preach that Jerusalem was doomed unless its leaders repented and submitted to the Babylonians.  Jesus broke Sabbath laws (John 5:16-18) and carried out a public witness by cleansing the Jerusalem temple (Mark 11:15–19, Matthew 21:12, Luke 19:45-46, John 2:13–16) for which the authorities crucified him.

“So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)

God commanded Israel not to treat widows, orphans, and foreigners the way the Egyptians had treated them (Ex. 22:21–24).

E. Expecting persecution

Persecution is a natural consequence of challenging the “powers that be” — in fact, it is a sign of success, a blessing!

“Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult youand reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.  But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.  Woe to you who are well fed now,  for you will go hungry.  Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.  Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.” (Luke 6:22-26)

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.  You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:21-22)

 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.  If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” (John 15:18-20)

“Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute?  They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One.  And now you have betrayed and murdered him.” (Acts 7:52)

Prophets are invariably infuriating to their own people, and God often turns to outsiders to do God’s work:

“ ‘Truly I tell you,’ he continued, ‘no prophet is accepted in his hometown.  I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land.  Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.  And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.’  All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this.” (Luke 4:24-28)

 Jesus was a prophet, killed because he challenged powerful religious and political elites.  The seductive logic of the world is to save our church, our people, our nation — which means giving up Christ:

” ‘If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.’  Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, ‘You know nothing at all!  You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.’ ” (John 11:48-50)

 Our church, our people, our nation already have a Savior who has shown us the way:

 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26)

 In prophetic witness, we are in good company, a “great cloud of witnesses”:

 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Is it any wonder that complicity with the “powers that be,” which offers rewards of money and control, greater status, and ‘security,’ is such a tempting alternative to guaranteed persecution?

The Vision/God’s Dream

The God of all, including the future, holds for us blessings greater than we dare imagine.  Nonetheless, the prophet Isaiah boldly declares this vision:

“ ‘Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.  They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.  No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat.  For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.  They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them.  Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.  The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food.  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,’ says the LORD.” (Isaiah 65:20-25)

God’s vision for his children is real and powerful, calling out to be manifest in the world, to transform the world.

TAM’s Mission

To help the Church meet God’s vision, TAM’s mission encompasses three broad areas: meeting human need, creating community and working for justice.

Meeting Human Need

Primary TAM Core Value: Value the Vulnerable

The greatest commandments are hinged by connecting love of neighbor as self with loving God:

” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.” (1 John 4:20)

 Meeting basic human needs is part of loving God and neighbor:

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save them?  Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)

” ‘The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’  ‘What should we do then?’ the crowd asked.  John answered, ‘Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.’ ” (Luke 3:9-11)

 ” ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:35-36, 40)

God’s mercy to us is the model for our behavior toward others.  Relying upon ‘deserving’ is ultimately a denial of God’s basic character, unconditional love.  “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45b)  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), yet God is merciful.  We are on the short end of this fundamental power differential and God shows us mercy:

“I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’  I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’” (Hosea 2:23)

God reminds us often of where we have been and what God has already done for us, that which we could not do ourselves:

“I am the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt” (Leviticus 11:45, 19:36, 22:33, 23:43, 25:38, 25:42, 25:55, 26;13, 26:45; Numbers 15:41; Deuteronomy 4:37, 5:6, 5:15, 6:12, 6:21, 7:8, 8:14, 13:10, 20:1: Judges 2:1, 2:12, 6:9; 1 Samuel 10:18, 12:16;  1 Kings 9:9; 2 Kings 17:36; 2 Chronicles 7:22; Nehemiah 9:18; Psalm 81:10; Jeremiah 16:14; Daniel 9:15)

Humility is the opposite of self-sufficiency.  Expecting God to provide for us and forgive us undeservedly while insisting that only ‘deserving’ neighbors have their human needs met is unjust and denies our complete dependency on God for forgiveness and ‘our daily bread’:

“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13b)

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:46-48)

Creating Community

Primary TAM Core Value: Value Reconciliation

Our reconciliation with God makes us new creations, ambassadors of reconciliation to our neighbors:

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.  Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-20a)

Love leads us to live as a community of equals:

“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:11-14)

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)

We can engage in respectful conversation with those with whom we differ.  We can humbly explore the sources of our differences.  We can honor the sacred worth of all persons.  In prayerfully seeking the mind of Christ, we can work out our life together in love.

The way of Jesus is one of radical hospitality.  Radical hospitality is a sacred process of transforming a stranger into a guest, or even family.  It witnesses to the reality that God entered the “world” to reconcile us to God and neighbor.  Jesus was the incarnation of radical hospitality: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34)

Where radical hospitality is practiced God’s realm flourishes.  Examples of these include:  Abraham receiving the three strangers — angels (Genesis 18), the Midian priest taking in Moses (Exodus 2), Rahab allowing Joshua’s spies to stay with her (Joshua 2), the widow at Zarephath offering Elijah her last bit of food (1 Kings 17:8-24), and the Samaritan woman inviting Jesus the stranger to stay with her community, which he does (John 4).

Where radical hospitality is not practiced, God’s judgment waits:

“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.  Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” (Matthew 10:14-15)

Beyond Civility

The golden rule provides guidance in how to live in community with one another: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)  Nonetheless, God requires even more than human love that returns its own:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44)

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.  On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14-21)

Jesus did not avoid harsh words for those in positions of authority.  In fact, Jesus saved his harshest words for religious elites who avoided accountability to those they were to serve.  After calling the teachers of the law and Pharisees “hypocrites” (Matthew 23:23, 25, 27, 29) and “whitewashed tombs” (v. 27), Jesus says, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (v. 33) (see also Luke 11:37-54)  Jesus boldly overturned tables in the temple, declaring “but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’ ” (Matthew 21:13b) in response to an affront of the religious establishment to the Lord’s declaration that “my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56:7b)

True worship in authentic community produces justice.  God despises religious practices that do not produce justice:

 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.  Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them.  Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.  Away with the noise of your songs!  I will not listen to the music of your harps.  But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:21-24)

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?  Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.  Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.  (Isaiah 58:6-9)

Calling one another into account with God and one another, i.e., working for justice, is an essential part of creating authentic community.

Working for Justice

Primary TAM Core Values: Value leadership and creativity.

Love leading us to live as a community of equals starkly highlights the many injustices in the world.

Doing Justice

“And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

“Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 16:20)

“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” (Proverbs 29:7)

“Learn to do right; seek justice.  Defend the oppressed.  Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17)

“Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his own people work for nothing, not paying them for their labor.  He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace with spacious upper rooms.’  So he makes large windows in it, panels it with cedar and decorates it in red.  Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar?  Did not your father have food and drink?  He did what was right and just, so all went well with him.  He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well.  Is that not what it means to know me?  declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 22:13-16

“Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.” (Isaiah 10:1-2)

Advocacy, prophetic witness, social witness are all related expressions dealing with working for justice

Persistence and boldness are characteristics of leadership.

Persistence:

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  He said: In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.  And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’  For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’  And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says.  And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?  Will he keep putting them off?  I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’” (Luke 18:1-7)

“Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’  And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’  I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.” (Luke 11:5-8)

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

Boldness:

[In response to rulers conspiring against Jesus…] “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.” (Acts 4: 29)

“Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” (2 Corinthians 3:12)

“So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’  But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” (Revelations 3:16-17)

“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent” (Acts 18:9)

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” ( 2 Tim 1:7)

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15)

Leadership requires a balanced view of the “powers that be” as being at the same time good, fallen, and redeemable.  In viewing an institution only as good blinds us to injustice and we reinforce an unjust status quo.  In viewing an institution only as fallen sinks us into despair or rage where we see no hope for change.  In viewing only an institution’s redeemability we end up just tinkering around the edges.

ESTABLISHING POLICY

What are the issues?

Our Biblical values manifest themselves in the world in many ways; many of these issues are encompassed by these categories:

1.  Being stewards of the natural world that sustains life on earth.

2.  Building up families and our nurturing communities, which underlie the

potential for each to live into the fullness of their humanity.

3.  Support our social communities and human rights that affirm our equal value in God’s eyes.

4.  Upholding an economic community that benefits all people and provides our “daily bread.”

5.  Engaging the political community and government to assure a just ordering of the larger society.

6.  Recognizing the oneness of God’s world and world community and seeking our particular role in it.

Reflections on Power, Leadership, and Decision-making

The status quo is.  The Kingdom of God is at hand.

“But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” (Luke 12:31)

Where you stand depends on where you sit.

Money.  Status.  Control.  These are the ways of the world.  Falling back into these ways offers many temptations, for the world rewards these ways, and punishes those who challenge these ways.

God judges us as nations according to how we treat “the least of these.”

Areas of privilege:

God has given us all variety of gifts.

In what areas do I have advantage over others?

Servant leadership

Areas of vulnerability:

Intimacy

In what areas do I depend upon the mercy of God and others?

What am I afraid of losing?

compassion

From a spiritual perspective, we are all indigent.  We cannot be made whole by ourselves.  We depend upon God and others for our very life.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Offering all to God:

God makes us whole.  God works through our areas of giftedness and advantage and our areas of vulnerability

Taking a stand.

Prophetic voice in tension with consensus and majority rule

Cost of Discipleship

One of the costs of discipleship is enduring this persecution.

cost high but the reward much greater than the cost

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Recommended reading:

The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium, by Walter Wink, Doubleday, 4/98, ISBN: 0-385-48740-1

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Decision-making Around Issues

What factors should be considered in addressing an issue?

How important is the issue?

How significant is the impact on human need, justice, and authentic community? (importance test)

Does the issue impact meeting human need?

Will people be deprived of meeting a human need that will directly and significantly harm individuals or families (human suffering test)

Does the issue impact creating community?

Is a partner organization or local faith community involved and/or affected? (good neighbor test).

Does an issue affect our local community (the local test)

Do many Christian faith traditions have statements supporting such advocacy and/or very few, if any, faith traditions have statements that may contradict such advocacy? (tradition test).

Does dealing positively with a controversial issue offers an opportunity to model a Biblical alternative of authentic community to worldly politics (Biblical alternative test).

Are families and/or our nurturing communities undercut in a way that threatens community members in living into the fullness of their humanity (nurturing communities test).

Is “civility’ violated and/or opponents are demonized and offering a faith-based perspective could be of substantial benefit (civility test)

Is the common good threatened or diminished, where short term gain creates long term loss (seven generations test)

Does the issue impact working for justice?

Does an issue threaten the poor and vulnerable (“least of these” test)

Does an issue weaken an economic community that benefits all people and provides our “daily bread” (shared benefits test)

Does an issue threaten human rights/civil rights that affirm our equal value in God’s eyes (children of God test)

Does an issue threaten the ability of people to engage the political community and government to assure a just ordering of the larger society (fair representation test).

Does an issue threaten public safety, peace and non-violence (non-violence test)

Are power differentials so large that it precludes a fair hearing of the issues (fair hearing test)

Does an issue threaten stewardship of God’s creation (creation stewardship test)

Does an issue deny the oneness of God’s world and world community (one world test).

Is there no other local faith body addressing an issue of Biblical justice (voice in the wilderness test)

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POEM: Empty Plates With Dancing Tales

Empty Plates With Dancing Tales

A crowd gathers
A performer spins
A dozen plates on poles
Like angels dancing on pinheads
How many are possible?!
Worthy of a few coins
Fore a collection of small bills
[Unmarked except by bankers]
Gathered wear
One’s head might normally be
South versus North
An animal magnetism
Whose gravity is unequaled
And might be considered
Un-slavery to sum
A spectacle to most
Providing little food for belly
Or thought
Still
Within arms reach
Yet outside rapt attention
Against the wall
Even rarer
A woman’s plate
Holding earthly delights
From seasons passed
A cache returned
From soil and toil
Yielding
A patience
Unseen by any human hospitality
As sun and seed conspire
As clearly as mud
Untrampled from above
Clan destined
To over-look
From whither
Rations aplenty
And from the gaunt let
Turn their eyes
And just
Beyond the pale
I specked
Return dimly
To one’s own moat
For a fort night
Never leaving port or ail
A thousands channels to sea
What can’t be seen everyday
Every day
Never the less
The woman sews
Yet another see’d
Acquainted with empty plates
And those by which continents are divided
She undertakes the tectonic shift
In udder silence
As the upper crust
Takes
Up
The mantle
Picturing itself free
Ingeniously framed
Buy empty plates
With dancing tales

I have long been fascinated by the often sharp and surreal contrasts between the inane and the meaningful.  In post-modern times, it seems that inane distractions are reaching all-time highs on a daily basis.  Still, the generous forces of nature and creativity counter such head-bobbing and rubber-necking with constant access to simple and awesome pleasures to participate in as co-creators.  In this poem, growing and eating one’s own food is that tectonic shift that will change the world, though perhaps at an imperceptibly slow pace to all but those with the largest perspectives.  I am grateful that it is more than possible to surf such tectonic shifts and still be well grounded!

Also, in case you missed it, I choose a woman to represent those connected with the forces of creation.  Women do most of the work in the world, including most of the underpaid and unpaid work in the world.  We all owe a debt to them.  THANK YOU!

POEM: Unfed Just Desserts

Poets are born, die, crushed by writer’s block or a cruel world, and are reborn again and again.  The world can be a desert at times, sometimes worse.  Yet, as a child, an infant in the arms of a mysterious universe that somehow cares for us, we are fed.  We launch ships and create beauty that remains largely unseen.  But, like the macaroni art that only a mother could love, we return to our source, a home, even if a home to no other; and we take a place of honor, as a sentinel on a doorway to that place where Mom’s food is stored.

Unfed Just Desserts

When I find myself
Unfed
I play
The child
Imaginary
Tea
Set
Against
Me
Still
Un-made
Fore
Solid food
Not with standing
In a world of
Make believe
Partial to
Anew born
Who finds their nourishment
Spewed about
Much to the dismay
Of those with
More mature tongues
And ingenious mines
No amount of trains or planes
Could carry the sustenance
I re-choir
Though utterly captivated
My self
I let out a powerful wail
Enough blubber
To endow
A thousand poor SOBs
Any mother knows what I’m talking about!
And I am herd
As I
Go on
Strike
An umbilical chord
Sending me to my womb
Wear a dinner awaits
Unserved in any dining room
Just desserts

POLITICAL CARTOON: General Jesus Welcomes NATO Protesters to Chicago

Jesus Welcomes NATO Protesters to Chicago!

Jesus Cartoon: General Jesus -  Protesting NATO in Chicago

Jesus and I will be at the NATO protest this Sunday in Chicago.  The temperature is expected to be 87°.  The Chicago Centurions, i.e., the Secret Service and the FBI, will not be allowing more than 3 ounces of liquid per protester in the designated demonstration locations.  Also, the powers that be will not be allowing protesters to bring any food with them.  This is a great way to kill off protesters with heatstroke!  However, this is probably merely a cynical way to assure that food and beverage vendors make a killing.  Wow, you’ve got to love capitalism!  Fortunately, with Jesus there, the protest is likely to be very peaceful; since the protesters will have no more than 3 ounces of wine to drink!  Yes, it should be a sobering experience — hopefully a for all concerned, and those not so concerned.

So, until next Sunday, with the next edition of General Jesus, Comedian Jesus, Doctor Jesus, CEO Jesus, Country Club Jesus, etc., let me know what you think.

Occupy Wall Street Buttons

I am finally uploaded a new batch of Occupy Wall Street designs.  This batch of 125 political designs is mostly Occupy Wall Street designs, but there are also a large series of “stop socialism” designs, a large series of Fox news parodies, and a new line of designs: vegetarian.  I still have hundreds of other designs made that I still need to upload, so stay tuned.

The designs below are linked to button products, but each of these designs is available in all of Top Pun’s products such as T-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, magnets, key chains, sticker sheets, posters, and caps.

If you like what you see, you can check out all of my political designs, which also include more Occupy Wall Street related designs.

Gandhi Quote: First Ignore, Then Laugh, Fight, Win - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Gandhi Quote: First Ignore, Then Laugh, Fight, Win – POLITICAL BUTTON

Gandhi Quote: First Ignore, Then Laugh, Fight, Win – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Can EXPLAIN It To You, But I Can't UNDERSTAND It For You - POLITICAL BUTTON

I Can EXPLAIN It To You, But I Can’t UNDERSTAND It For You – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Can EXPLAIN It To You, But I Can’t UNDERSTAND It For You – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle Prisons (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle Prisons (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle Prisons (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

99 to 1 - I Can Live With That - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

99 to 1 – I Can Live With That – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

99 to 1 – I Can Live With That – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I Don't Mind You Being Rich, I Mind You Buying My Government - POLITICAL BUTTON

I Don’t Mind You Being Rich, I Mind You Buying My Government – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Don’t Mind You Being Rich, I Mind You Buying My Government – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle The CIA (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The CIA (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The CIA (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

99 to One - I Stand With The Odds - Stand Together - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

99 to One – I Stand With The Odds – Stand Together – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

99 to One – I Stand With The Odds – Stand Together – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I Thought There Would Be Cake (Marie Antoinette Protester) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I Thought There Would Be Cake (Marie Antoinette Protester) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I Thought There Would Be Cake (Marie Antoinette Protester) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle The FBI (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The FBI (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The FBI (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

A Nation of Sheep Soon Beget a Government of Wolves - Edward R. Murrow Quote - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

A Nation of Sheep Soon Beget a Government of Wolves – Edward R. Murrow Quote – POLITICAL BUTTON

A Nation of Sheep Soon Beget a Government of Wolves – Edward R. Murrow Quote – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Want A Future That Can't Be Bought (Heart Cloud) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I Want A Future That Can’t Be Bought (Heart Cloud) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Want A Future That Can’t Be Bought (Heart Cloud) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle The Fire Dept (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The Fire Dept (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The Fire Dept (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Abolish Corporate Personhood - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Abolish Corporate Personhood – POLITICAL BUTTON

Abolish Corporate Personhood – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREE SPEECH - Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREE SPEECH – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREE SPEECH – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle The Police Dept. (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The Police Dept. (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The Police Dept. (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

America is Broke BrokeN - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

America is Broke BrokeN – POLITICAL BUTTON

America is Broke BrokeN – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF RELIGION Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF RELIGION Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF RELIGION Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Border Patrols (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Border Patrols (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Border Patrols (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

American AND Liberal (Flag) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

American AND Liberal (Flag) – POLITICAL BUTTON

American AND Liberal (Flag) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF THE PRESS - Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF THE PRESS – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF THE PRESS – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Child Protective Services (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Child Protective Services (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Child Protective Services (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Anarchy is Not What You See on TV - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Anarchy is Not What You See on TV – POLITICAL BUTTON

Anarchy is Not What You See on TV – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PEACEABLE ASSEMBLY - Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PEACEABLE ASSEMBLY – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PEACEABLE ASSEMBLY – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Elections (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Elections (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Elections (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Arrest Greed - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Arrest Greed – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Arrest Greed – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PETITION FOR REDRESS GRIEVANCES - Protect the Constitution Uncle Sam - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PETITION FOR REDRESS GRIEVANCES – Protect the Constitution Uncle Sam – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PETITION FOR REDRESS GRIEVANCES – Protect the Constitution Uncle Sam – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism --End Environmental Protection (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism –End Environmental Protection (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism –End Environmental Protection (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

At Least We Are Winning The War on Camping (Tent) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

At Least We Are Winning The War on Camping (Tent) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

At Least We Are Winning The War on Camping (Tent) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY - Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Food Safety Inspections (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Food Safety Inspections (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Food Safety Inspections (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Banks Know The Price of Everything But Value Nothing - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Banks Know The Price of Everything But Value Nothing – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Banks Know The Price of Everything But Value Nothing – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If Money is Speech, Poverty is Silence - POLITICAL BUTTON

If Money is Speech, Poverty is Silence – POLITICAL BUTTON

If Money is Speech, Poverty is Silence – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Highways and Roads (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Highways and Roads (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Highways and Roads (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Bigger Cages, Longer Chains - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Bigger Cages, Longer Chains – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Bigger Cages, Longer Chains – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Aren't A Vegetarian, You Probably Don't Know Beans - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Aren’t A Vegetarian, You Probably Don’t Know Beans – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Aren’t A Vegetarian, You Probably Don’t Know Beans – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Homeland Security (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Homeland Security (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Homeland Security (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

BLAME AMERICA? It's Called Responsibility - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

BLAME AMERICA? It’s Called Responsibility – POLITICAL BUTTON

BLAME AMERICA? It’s Called Responsibility – POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can't Beat 'em, Join 'em 99% (Riot Policeman) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em 99% (Riot Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em 99% (Riot Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Medicare (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Medicare (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Medicare (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Bull Shit Meter - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Bull Shit Meter – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Bull Shit Meter – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can't Join 'em, Beat 'em 99% (Riot Policeman) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can’t Join ’em, Beat ’em 99% (Riot Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can’t Join ’em, Beat ’em 99% (Riot Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Money and Coins (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Money and Coins (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Money and Coins (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Capitalism is Not in Crisis, Capitalism is the Crisis - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Capitalism is Not in Crisis, Capitalism is the Crisis – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Capitalism is Not in Crisis, Capitalism is the Crisis – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Think The System Is Working, Ask Someone Who Isn't - POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Think The System Is Working, Ask Someone Who Isn’t – POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Think The System Is Working, Ask Someone Who Isn’t – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Postal Service (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Postal Service (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Postal Service (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Class, I Know Nothing of Class - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Class, I Know Nothing of Class – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Class, I Know Nothing of Class – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You're Not Part of the Solution, You Must Be a Republican - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You’re Not Part of the Solution, You Must Be a Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You’re Not Part of the Solution, You Must Be a Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Public Education (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Education (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Education (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Class War - I Thought We Won That When Corporations Were Declared People and That Money Is Free Speech - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Class War – I Thought We Won That When Corporations Were Declared People and That Money Is Free Speech – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Class War – I Thought We Won That When Corporations Were Declared People and That Money Is Free Speech – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I'm Not Anti-Corporation, I'm Anti-Corruption - POLITICAL BUTTON

I’m Not Anti-Corporation, I’m Anti-Corruption – POLITICAL BUTTON

I’m Not Anti-Corporation, I’m Anti-Corruption – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Public Libraries (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Libraries (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Libraries (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

CLASS WARS (Star Wars Parody) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

CLASS WARS (Star Wars Parody) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

CLASS WARS (Star Wars Parody) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

IN PROTEST WE TRUST - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

IN PROTEST WE TRUST – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

IN PROTEST WE TRUST – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Public Sewer and Water Service (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Sewer and Water Service (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Sewer and Water Service (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Clean Water is the Solution - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Clean Water is the Solution – POLITICAL BUTTON

Clean Water is the Solution – POLITICAL BUTTON

International NO Nuclear Power - POLITICAL BUTTON

International NO Nuclear Power – POLITICAL BUTTON

International NO Nuclear Power – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism End Public Utilities (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism End Public Utilities (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism End Public Utilities (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporate PAC Man Eating DEMOCRACY - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Corporate PAC Man Eating DEMOCRACY – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporate PAC Man Eating DEMOCRACY – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

It's Called the American Dream Because You Have to be Asleep to Believe It - George Carlin Quote - POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s Called the American Dream Because You Have to be Asleep to Believe It – George Carlin Quote – POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s Called the American Dream Because You Have to be Asleep to Believe It – George Carlin Quote – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Social Security (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Social Security (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Social Security (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporations Aren't People, We Are - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Corporations Aren’t People, We Are – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporations Aren’t People, We Are – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

It's NOT Spelled Demo¢ra$y (Democracy) - POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s NOT Spelled Demo¢ra$y (Democracy) – POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s NOT Spelled Demo¢ra$y (Democracy) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End State Colleges and Universities (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End State Colleges and Universities (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End State Colleges and Universities (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporations Lie - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Corporations Lie – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporations Lie – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

It's Not WEE The People (Monopoly Man) - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s Not WEE The People (Monopoly Man) – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s Not WEE The People (Monopoly Man) – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End the Court System (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End the Court System (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End the Court System (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Debt Slavery - No Chains Necessary (Sisyphus) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Debt Slavery – No Chains Necessary (Sisyphus) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Debt Slavery – No Chains Necessary (Sisyphus) – POLITICAL BUTTON

It's WE The People, Not WEE The People Founding Fathers - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s WE The People, Not WEE The People Founding Fathers – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s WE The People, Not WEE The People Founding Fathers – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The Federal Aviation Admin (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The Federal Aviation Admin (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The Federal Aviation Admin (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, AWAKE (Checkbox) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Democrat, Republican, AWAKE (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, AWAKE (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Keep Your Coins, I Want Change (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Keep Your Coins, I Want Change (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Keep Your Coins, I Want Change (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The Military (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The Military (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The Military (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, OTHER (Checkbox) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Democrat, Republican, OTHER (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, OTHER (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Killer Coke - Buying Coke Products May Be Dangerous to Others - POLITICAL BUTTON

Killer Coke – Buying Coke Products May Be Dangerous to Others – POLITICAL BUTTON

Killer Coke – Buying Coke Products May Be Dangerous to Others – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The National Institutes of Health (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The National Institutes of Health (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The National Institutes of Health (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, Pissed Off (Checkbox) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Democrat, Republican, Pissed Off (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, Pissed Off (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Left, Right, Take Your Pick (Manacles) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Left, Right, Take Your Pick (Manacles) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Left, Right, Take Your Pick (Manacles) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The National Park System (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The National Park System (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The National Park System (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrats Think The Glass Is Half Full, Republicans Think The Glass Is Theirs - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Democrats Think The Glass Is Half Full, Republicans Think The Glass Is Theirs – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrats Think The Glass Is Half Full, Republicans Think The Glass Is Theirs – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Let Them Eat Pasteurized Processed Imitation Cheese Food Product (Marie Antoinette) - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Let Them Eat Pasteurized Processed Imitation Cheese Food Product (Marie Antoinette) – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Let Them Eat Pasteurized Processed Imitation Cheese Food Product (Marie Antoinette) – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The State (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The State (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The State (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Did Someone Say Class War (Monopoly Man Parody) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Did Someone Say Class War (Monopoly Man Parody) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Did Someone Say Class War (Monopoly Man Parody) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Listen And Obey (TV) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Listen And Obey (TV) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Listen And Obey (TV) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Trash Pick up (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Trash Pick up (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Trash Pick up (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Do You Think They Herd Us (Riot Police) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Do You Think They Herd Us (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Do You Think They Herd Us (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Looks Like You've Had A Bit Too Much To Think Today (Policeman) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Looks Like You’ve Had A Bit Too Much To Think Today (Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Looks Like You’ve Had A Bit Too Much To Think Today (Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Make Crime Legal (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Make Crime Legal (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Make Crime Legal (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Dollar Statue Falling  - Occupy Wall Street - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Dollar Statue Falling – Occupy Wall Street – POLITICAL BUTTON

Dollar Statue Falling – Occupy Wall Street – POLITICAL BUTTON

Love Greater Than Money (Heart) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Love Greater Than Money (Heart) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Love Greater Than Money (Heart) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialized Risk Privatized Profit (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialized Risk Privatized Profit (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialized Risk Privatized Profit (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Don't Ask Me Why I'm A Vegetarian, Ask Yourself Why You're Not - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Don’t Ask Me Why I’m A Vegetarian, Ask Yourself Why You’re Not – POLITICAL BUTTON

Don’t Ask Me Why I’m A Vegetarian, Ask Yourself Why You’re Not – POLITICAL BUTTON

Make Every Day Earth Day - POLITICAL BUTTON

Make Every Day Earth Day – POLITICAL BUTTON

Make Every Day Earth Day – POLITICAL BUTTON

SUPERSIZE The Minimum Wage - POLITICAL BUTTON

SUPERSIZE The Minimum Wage – POLITICAL BUTTON

SUPERSIZE The Minimum Wage – POLITICAL BUTTON

Earth First - We'll Rape the Other Planets Later - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Earth First – We’ll Rape the Other Planets Later – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Earth First – We’ll Rape the Other Planets Later – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

May The Forest Be With You - POLITICAL BUTTON

May The Forest Be With You – POLITICAL BUTTON

May The Forest Be With You – POLITICAL BUTTON

Support Organized Crime - Vote Republican - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Support Organized Crime – Vote Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Support Organized Crime – Vote Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Eat Beans, Not Beings - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Eat Beans, Not Beings – POLITICAL BUTTON

Eat Beans, Not Beings – POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is Free Speech - SHUT UP! - POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is Free Speech – SHUT UP! – POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is Free Speech – SHUT UP! – POLITICAL BUTTON

That Stuff Trickling Down on You is NOT Money (Wall Street Bull Shit) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

That Stuff Trickling Down on You is NOT Money (Wall Street Bull Shit) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

That Stuff Trickling Down on You is NOT Money (Wall Street Bull Shit) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Elect Satan - Why Pick The Lesser Of Two Evils - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Elect Satan – Why Pick The Lesser Of Two Evils – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Elect Satan – Why Pick The Lesser Of Two Evils – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is the Root of All Politics - POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is the Root of All Politics – POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is the Root of All Politics – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Audacity of Dopes - Wall Street - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The Audacity of Dopes – Wall Street – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The Audacity of Dopes – Wall Street – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

End the Casino Economy (Dice) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

End the Casino Economy (Dice) – POLITICAL BUTTON

End the Casino Economy (Dice) – POLITICAL BUTTON

NO Nuclear - POLITICAL BUTTON

NO Nuclear – POLITICAL BUTTON

NO Nuclear – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Death Penalty is Dead Wrong (Skull) - POLITICAL BUTTON

The Death Penalty is Dead Wrong (Skull) – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Death Penalty is Dead Wrong (Skull) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Every Day Is Earth Day - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Every Day Is Earth Day – POLITICAL BUTTON

Every Day Is Earth Day – POLITICAL BUTTON

Nuclear Waste - Pay as You Glow - POLITICAL BUTTON

Nuclear Waste – Pay as You Glow – POLITICAL BUTTON

Nuclear Waste – Pay as You Glow – POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Amendment IS Our Permit (US Constitution) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Amendment IS Our Permit (US Constitution) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Amendment IS Our Permit (US Constitution) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Evolve (LOVE) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Evolve (LOVE) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Evolve (LOVE) – POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY EVERYTHING (Heart) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY EVERYTHING (Heart) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY EVERYTHING (Heart) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Illegal Immigrants Arrived in 1492 - POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Illegal Immigrants Arrived in 1492 – POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Illegal Immigrants Arrived in 1492 – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - AGREE for FOX SAKE (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – AGREE for FOX SAKE (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – AGREE for FOX SAKE (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Occupy Everywhere - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Occupy Everywhere – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Occupy Everywhere – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The Left is Right - POLITICAL BUTTON

The Left is Right – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Left is Right – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - BIG BROTHER'S Little Brother (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – BIG BROTHER’S Little Brother (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – BIG BROTHER’S Little Brother (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY is Cool - REALLY COOL (Hell Freezing Over Sign) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY is Cool – REALLY COOL (Hell Freezing Over Sign) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY is Cool – REALLY COOL (Hell Freezing Over Sign) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The Meek Are Getting Ready - POLITICAL BUTTON

The Meek Are Getting Ready – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Meek Are Getting Ready – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Chicken Coup Specialists (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Chicken Coup Specialists (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Chicken Coup Specialists (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY Your HEAD With Your HEART - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY Your HEAD With Your HEART – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY Your HEAD With Your HEART – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The One Percent Have People And They Are Dressed For Success (Riot Police) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The One Percent Have People And They Are Dressed For Success (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The One Percent Have People And They Are Dressed For Success (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - FAIRLY UNBALANCED (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – FAIRLY UNBALANCED (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – FAIRLY UNBALANCED (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

One Party System - Republicrats - POLITICAL BUTTON

One Party System – Republicrats – POLITICAL BUTTON

One Party System – Republicrats – POLITICAL BUTTON

The System Was Never Broken It Was BUILT That Way - POLITICAL BUTTON

The System Was Never Broken It Was BUILT That Way – POLITICAL BUTTON

The System Was Never Broken It Was BUILT That Way – POLITICAL BUTTON

FAUX NEWS - Making The World Safe For Stupidity (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

FAUX NEWS – Making The World Safe For Stupidity (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

FAUX NEWS – Making The World Safe For Stupidity (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent FED, 99 Percent FED UP - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent FED, 99 Percent FED UP – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent FED, 99 Percent FED UP – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

There Is No Planet B - POLITICAL BUTTON

There Is No Planet B – POLITICAL BUTTON

There Is No Planet B – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - NEO CON NEWS NETWORK (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – NEO CON NEWS NETWORK (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – NEO CON NEWS NETWORK (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent, Ninety Nine Percent, Cash Rich versus Cash Poor - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent, Ninety Nine Percent, Cash Rich versus Cash Poor – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent, Ninety Nine Percent, Cash Rich versus Cash Poor – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

These Are NOT The Green Jobs We Were Hoping For (CASH) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

These Are NOT The Green Jobs We Were Hoping For (CASH) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

These Are NOT The Green Jobs We Were Hoping For (CASH) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - NEWS at the Speed of Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – NEWS at the Speed of Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – NEWS at the Speed of Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Please Pardon Our Peaceful Chaos As We Reboot Our Country's Operating System - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Please Pardon Our Peaceful Chaos As We Reboot Our Country’s Operating System – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Please Pardon Our Peaceful Chaos As We Reboot Our Country’s Operating System – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

They Only Call It Class Warfare When We Fight Back - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

They Only Call It Class Warfare When We Fight Back – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

They Only Call It Class Warfare When We Fight Back – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Preferred by 5 Out of 4 Rednecks (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Preferred by 5 Out of 4 Rednecks (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Preferred by 5 Out of 4 Rednecks (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Political Prisoner In Training (Dove in Jail) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Political Prisoner In Training (Dove in Jail) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Political Prisoner In Training (Dove in Jail) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Green - POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Green – POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Green – POLITICAL BUTTON

FAUX NEWS - Rich People Paying Rich People To Tell Middle Class People To Blame Poor People (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

FAUX NEWS – Rich People Paying Rich People To Tell Middle Class People To Blame Poor People (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

FAUX NEWS – Rich People Paying Rich People To Tell Middle Class People To Blame Poor People (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Pre-OCCUPIED and STUPIFIED (TV) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Pre-OCCUPIED and STUPIFIED (TV) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Pre-OCCUPIED and STUPIFIED (TV) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Outside the Box (TV) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Outside the Box (TV) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Outside the Box (TV) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - SO RIGHT WE'RE WRONG (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – SO RIGHT WE’RE WRONG (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – SO RIGHT WE’RE WRONG (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Pro Life - Unborn, GOOD - Born,  BAD - Born Again, GOOD - POLITICAL BUTTON

Pro Life – Unborn, GOOD – Born, BAD – Born Again, GOOD – POLITICAL BUTTON

Pro Life – Unborn, GOOD – Born, BAD – Born Again, GOOD – POLITICAL BUTTON

This is the Only Bill Unanimously Passed in Congress (100 Dollar Bill) - POLITICAL BUTTON

This is the Only Bill Unanimously Passed in Congress (100 Dollar Bill) – POLITICAL BUTTON

This is the Only Bill Unanimously Passed in Congress (100 Dollar Bill) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Spreading It Everywhere (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Spreading It Everywhere (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Spreading It Everywhere (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud Member of The Reality Based Community - POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud Member of The Reality Based Community – POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud Member of The Reality Based Community – POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Pig Rolling in Cash Rolls) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Pig Rolling in Cash Rolls) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Pig Rolling in Cash Rolls) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Take a Peak at Doublespeak (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Take a Peak at Doublespeak (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Take a Peak at Doublespeak (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud To Be Everything The Right Wing Hates - POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud To Be Everything The Right Wing Hates – POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud To Be Everything The Right Wing Hates – POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Rolling Dice) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Rolling Dice) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Rolling Dice) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Trust Our Klan of Reporters (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Trust Our Klan of Reporters (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Trust Our Klan of Reporters (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Question Consumption - POLITICAL BUTTON

Question Consumption – POLITICAL BUTTON

Question Consumption – POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is What Democracy Looks Like To the One Percent (Riot Police) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is What Democracy Looks Like To the One Percent (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is What Democracy Looks Like To the One Percent (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Unencumbered by Truth (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Unencumbered by Truth (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Unencumbered by Truth (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies - POLITICAL BUTTON

Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies – POLITICAL BUTTON

Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies – POLITICAL BUTTON

Throw Out The Money Changers (Jesus) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Throw Out The Money Changers (Jesus) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Throw Out The Money Changers (Jesus) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - We Have Half a Mind to Be Right (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – We Have Half a Mind to Be Right (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – We Have Half a Mind to Be Right (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Reality Has A Well Known Liberal Bias - Stephen Colbert - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Reality Has A Well Known Liberal Bias – Stephen Colbert – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Reality Has A Well Known Liberal Bias – Stephen Colbert – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Titanic - Too Big To Fail - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Titanic – Too Big To Fail – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Titanic – Too Big To Fail – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Where News Goes to Die (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Where News Goes to Die (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Where News Goes to Die (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left - REPUBLICAN PARTY  Exit Right (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – REPUBLICAN PARTY Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – REPUBLICAN PARTY Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

UNFUCK The World, It's Un-Fucking Believable - POLITICAL BUTTON

UNFUCK The World, It’s Un-Fucking Believable – POLITICAL BUTTON

UNFUCK The World, It’s Un-Fucking Believable – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Where The Wrong is Made Right (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Where The Wrong is Made Right (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Where The Wrong is Made Right (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left - TEA PARTY Exit Right (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – TEA PARTY Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – TEA PARTY Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Urban Sprawl - Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them - POLITICAL BUTTON

Urban Sprawl – Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them – POLITICAL BUTTON

Urban Sprawl – Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Wise Guys Selling Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Wise Guys Selling Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Wise Guys Selling Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left - WALL STREET Exit Right (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – WALL STREET Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – WALL STREET Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

USS Economy (Titanic) - POLITICAL BUTTON

USS Economy (Titanic) – POLITICAL BUTTON

USS Economy (Titanic) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Flesh Colored Crayons - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Flesh Colored Crayons – POLITICAL BUTTON

Flesh Colored Crayons – POLITICAL BUTTON

REPRESENT YOURSELF - POLITICAL BUTTON

REPRESENT YOURSELF – POLITICAL BUTTON

REPRESENT YOURSELF – POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetable Time - POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetable Time – POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetable Time – POLITICAL BUTTON

Follow Your Dreams - CANCELLED - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Follow Your Dreams – CANCELLED – POLITICAL BUTTON

Follow Your Dreams – CANCELLED – POLITICAL BUTTON

rEVOLution is the Solution (LOVE) - POLITICAL BUTTON

rEVOLution is the Solution (LOVE) – POLITICAL BUTTON

rEVOLution is the Solution (LOVE) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetarian - Compassion Doesn't Leave A Bad Taste in Your Mouth - POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetarian – Compassion Doesn’t Leave A Bad Taste in Your Mouth – POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetarian – Compassion Doesn’t Leave A Bad Taste in Your Mouth – POLITICAL BUTTON

Fossil Fuels, Fossil Fools (Pollution) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Fossil Fuels, Fossil Fools (Pollution) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Fossil Fuels, Fossil Fools (Pollution) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Compassion, We're Full of Xenophobia - POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Compassion, We’re Full of Xenophobia – POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Compassion, We’re Full of Xenophobia – POLITICAL BUTTON

VEGETARIAN - Join The Evolution - POLITICAL BUTTON

VEGETARIAN – Join The Evolution – POLITICAL BUTTON

VEGETARIAN – Join The Evolution – POLITICAL BUTTON

Free Range Human Being - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Free Range Human Being – POLITICAL BUTTON

Free Range Human Being – POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Us And We Multiply - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Us And We Multiply – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Us And We Multiply – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Want Freedom From Government, Go Live in Somalia - POLITICAL BUTTON

Want Freedom From Government, Go Live in Somalia – POLITICAL BUTTON

Want Freedom From Government, Go Live in Somalia – POLITICAL BUTTON

Freedom Isn't Free - So Stop Whining and Pay Your Taxes - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Freedom Isn’t Free – So Stop Whining and Pay Your Taxes – POLITICAL BUTTON

Freedom Isn’t Free – So Stop Whining and Pay Your Taxes – POLITICAL BUTTON

Slower Minds Keep Right (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Slower Minds Keep Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Slower Minds Keep Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

WARNING: LACK of DEMOCRACY May Make Your Vision BLURRY - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

WARNING: LACK of DEMOCRACY May Make Your Vision BLURRY – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

WARNING: LACK of DEMOCRACY May Make Your Vision BLURRY – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Friends Don't Let Friends Vote Republican - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

SOCIAL CHANGE IS NOT SOCIALISM (Anarchism Symbol) - POLITICAL BUTTON

SOCIAL CHANGE IS NOT SOCIALISM (Anarchism Symbol) – POLITICAL BUTTON

SOCIAL CHANGE IS NOT SOCIALISM (Anarchism Symbol) – POLITICAL BUTTON

We Are The People We Have Been Waiting For - POLITICAL BUTTON

We Are The People We Have Been Waiting For – POLITICAL BUTTON

We Are The People We Have Been Waiting For – POLITICAL BUTTON

Fukushima, Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island - NO NUCLEAR POWER - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Fukushima, Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island – NO NUCLEAR POWER – POLITICAL BUTTON

Fukushima, Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island – NO NUCLEAR POWER – POLITICAL BUTTON

Sorry, Your OCCUPIED - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Sorry, Your OCCUPIED – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Sorry, Your OCCUPIED – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

What About A MAXIMUM Wage - POLITICAL BUTTON

What About A MAXIMUM Wage – POLITICAL BUTTON

What About A MAXIMUM Wage – POLITICAL BUTTON

Gandhi Quote: Seven Social Sins - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Gandhi Quote: Seven Social Sins – POLITICAL BUTTON

Gandhi Quote: Seven Social Sins – POLITICAL BUTTON

SOS Earth - POLITICAL BUTTON

SOS Earth – POLITICAL BUTTON

SOS Earth – POLITICAL BUTTON

What Do You Call An Unprovoked Sexual Advance With No Intention But To Take Your Money: Advertising - POLITICAL BUTTON

What Do You Call An Unprovoked Sexual Advance With No Intention But To Take Your Money: Advertising – POLITICAL BUTTON

What Do You Call An Unprovoked Sexual Advance With No Intention But To Take Your Money: Advertising – POLITICAL BUTTON

Global Warming is Not Cool (Polar Bear) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Global Warming is Not Cool (Polar Bear) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Global Warming is Not Cool (Polar Bear) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth 2 (Homeless Man Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth 2 (Homeless Man Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth 2 (Homeless Man Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

WHAT YOU DO MATTERS or Don't Do - POLITICAL BUTTON

WHAT YOU DO MATTERS or Don’t Do – POLITICAL BUTTON

WHAT YOU DO MATTERS or Don’t Do – POLITICAL BUTTON

Good Planets Are Hard To Find (Earth) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Good Planets Are Hard To Find (Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Good Planets Are Hard To Find (Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

What Your Flag Stands For Is Up To You - POLITICAL BUTTON

What Your Flag Stands For Is Up To You – POLITICAL BUTTON

What Your Flag Stands For Is Up To You – POLITICAL BUTTON

Good Questions Outrank Easy Answers - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Good Questions Outrank Easy Answers – POLITICAL BUTTON

Good Questions Outrank Easy Answers – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth that leads to change (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth that leads to change (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth that leads to change (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

When The RICH Rob The POOR It's Called BUSINESS, When The POOR Fight Back It's Called VIOLENCE - POLITICAL BUTTON

When The RICH Rob The POOR It’s Called BUSINESS, When The POOR Fight Back It’s Called VIOLENCE – POLITICAL BUTTON

When The RICH Rob The POOR It’s Called BUSINESS, When The POOR Fight Back It’s Called VIOLENCE – POLITICAL BUTTON

GOP - Greed Over People - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

GOP – Greed Over People – POLITICAL BUTTON

GOP – Greed Over People – POLITICAL BUTTON

Speak The Truth Even If Your Voice Shakes (Candle Lit) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Speak The Truth Even If Your Voice Shakes (Candle Lit) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Speak The Truth Even If Your Voice Shakes (Candle Lit) – POLITICAL BUTTON

When You're In Riot Gear Everything Looks Like a Riot - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

When You’re In Riot Gear Everything Looks Like a Riot – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

When You’re In Riot Gear Everything Looks Like a Riot – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

GOP - Greedy Old Perverts - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

GOP – Greedy Old Perverts – POLITICAL BUTTON

GOP – Greedy Old Perverts – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Beating Protesters (STOP Sign) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Beating Protesters (STOP Sign) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Beating Protesters (STOP Sign) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Wimpy: I Will Gladly Pay You Never for a Billion Dollars Today - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Wimpy: I Will Gladly Pay You Never for a Billion Dollars Today – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Wimpy: I Will Gladly Pay You Never for a Billion Dollars Today – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Got Bankstas - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Got Bankstas – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Got Bankstas – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap (Planet Earth) - POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap (Planet Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap (Planet Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

With Democrats Like These, Who Needs Republicans - POLITICAL BUTTON

With Democrats Like These, Who Needs Republicans – POLITICAL BUTTON

With Democrats Like These, Who Needs Republicans – POLITICAL BUTTON

HEY STOP Going Banksta On Our Economy - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

HEY STOP Going Banksta On Our Economy – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

HEY STOP Going Banksta On Our Economy – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap - POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap – POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap – POLITICAL BUTTON

Work Harder, Your Corporate Masters Need A Tax Break (Sisyphus) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Work Harder, Your Corporate Masters Need A Tax Break (Sisyphus) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Work Harder, Your Corporate Masters Need A Tax Break (Sisyphus) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Homeless Maybe, Streetless Never, Hit The Streets - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Homeless Maybe, Streetless Never, Hit The Streets – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Homeless Maybe, Streetless Never, Hit The Streets – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Greed (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Greed (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Greed (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Work is the New Retirement - POLITICAL BUTTON

Work is the New Retirement – POLITICAL BUTTON

Work is the New Retirement – POLITICAL BUTTON

How About Securing This Homeland (Planet Earth) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

How About Securing This Homeland (Planet Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

How About Securing This Homeland (Planet Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Welfare (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Welfare (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Welfare (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

YES I Can Eat Meat, I Choose Not To - POLITICAL BUTTON

YES I Can Eat Meat, I Choose Not To – POLITICAL BUTTON

YES I Can Eat Meat, I Choose Not To – POLITICAL BUTTON

Human Race, Asian, White, African American, Hispanic, Native American, HUMAN (Checklist) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Human Race, Asian, White, African American, Hispanic, Native American, HUMAN (Checklist) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Human Race, Asian, White, African American, Hispanic, Native American, HUMAN (Checklist) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Cutting Down Trees on My Property, signed God - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Cutting Down Trees on My Property, signed God – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Cutting Down Trees on My Property, signed God – POLITICAL BUTTON

You Are Entitled To Your Own Opinions, But Not Your Own Facts - POLITICAL BUTTON

You Are Entitled To Your Own Opinions, But Not Your Own Facts – POLITICAL BUTTON

You Are Entitled To Your Own Opinions, But Not Your Own Facts – POLITICAL BUTTON

I'm Not Weird. Everyone Else Is Just Too Normal - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

I’m Not Weird. Everyone Else Is Just Too Normal – POLITICAL BUTTON

I’m Not Weird. Everyone Else Is Just Too Normal – POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Nuclear - POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Nuclear – POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Nuclear – POLITICAL BUTTON

You Laugh at Me Because I'm Different, I Laugh at You Because You're All the Same - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

You Laugh at Me Because I’m Different, I Laugh at You Because You’re All the Same – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

You Laugh at Me Because I’m Different, I Laugh at You Because You’re All the Same – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

I am the 99 percent - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I am the 99 percent – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I am the 99 percent – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Decriminalize Drugs (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Decriminalize Drugs (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Decriminalize Drugs (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Your Occupation Will Be a Success, Lucky Number 99 (Fortune Cookie) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Your Occupation Will Be a Success, Lucky Number 99 (Fortune Cookie) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Your Occupation Will Be a Success, Lucky Number 99 (Fortune Cookie) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If you like what you see, you can check out all of my political designs.

May Day Street Theater – Corporate Zombies vs. Village People

This is the script for the street theater production that was performed tonight to kick off Occupy Toledo‘s May Day Fest week’s worth of events:

May Day Eve Celebration

Occupy Toledo

April 30, 2012

“The Corporate Zombies vs. The Village People”

Gather around, friends, and hear a story as old as humankind; or rather, hear a story as old as human unkind.  The story is of the many versus the few.  The players names may change, but the plot is the same.  The few have grabbed power for themselves, while the many suffer.  Sometimes it is the peasants versus the Lords of the land.  Other times it is simply the 99% versus the 1%.

In today’s scene, in this land called the United States of America, once again, the land is divided, and power is not shared equally.  The few, the 1%, have shielded themselves from accountability, by hiding behind non-living corporate entities, a phantom called “corporate personhood.”  The few, the 1%, have become corporate zombies themselves, disconnected from humanity, unable to act justly and with compassion.  In this pathetic state, the corporate zombies have managed to distract, divide, and simply overrun the will of the people.  The corporate zombies have even managed to infect many of the people into believing that rampant injustice, economic slavery, and environmental destruction is the best that we can do.  The corporate zombies have convinced many that corporate rule is too big to fail.  The corporate zombies have convinced many that we the people are too small to make a difference.

The corporate zombies mock economic fairness.

The corporate zombies mock democracy.

The corporate zombies mock equal justice.

The corporate zombies mock environmental stewardship.

The corporate zombies mock human rights of all kinds.

The corporate zombies mock accountability, responsibility for their own actions.

But, alas, there is always a plot twist.  Every time that the few, the 1%, grab power for themselves and bring suffering to the many, people arise to expose the absurdities of rampant injustice, to throw off the chains of economic slavery, and reclaim the earth as the home of all, not a place to be raped for the wealth of a few.  In today’s scene, a group of villagers arise (that would be us).  This group of villagers can see past the propaganda of the few, and boldly declare, “The Emperor has no clothes!”

The corporate zombies may mock economic fairness; they may mock democracy; they may mock equal justice; they may mock environmental stewardship; they may mock human rights of all kinds; they may mock accountability.  BUT, the people of this village, Toledo, Ohio; the people of this village, the United States of America; the people of this village, planet Earth, will arise and declare, at first softly, but then, louder and louder:

 

We will, we will mock you.  Mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

We will, we will mock you!

 

Let the games begin!

But first, a message from our un-corporate sponsors:

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from Corporatitis, an inflammation of corporate power in your life?  Do you, or someone you know, suffer from low wages, poor working conditions, and crappy benefits?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from lack of health insurance, access to needed health care, and an over-exposure to for-profit health care?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from trillion dollar corporate bailouts, costing trillions of dollars, destroying the economy and mortgaging your future?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from greedy money changers, taking kick-backs on every economic transaction you make, and then reducing your life to a credit score?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from greed-induced environmental destruction, having to live with poisoned air, water, land, homes and bodies?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from dependency on energy and utility companies who are the most profitable companies in human history, yet cry poverty when asked to invest in alternative and renewable energy sources?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from greed-induced wars destroying countless lives around the globe?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from an industrial agricultural food system that produces less and less nutritious foods, while destroying local farmers and our environment?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from a political system where so-called democracy is bought and sold to the highest bidder, and you are left with false choices, where true change is not an option.  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from a small cabal of media conglomerates who spoon-feed you crap, hoping to convince you, or at least scare you, that you can’t afford justice, economic fairness, or a livable planet, so you had better just get yours while you can?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Corporatitis, an inflammation of corporate power, affects tens of millions of people, and it can be debilitating.  However, most people suffer from Corporatitis Minor.  While Corporatitis Minor is a serious condition, and should never be left untreated, Corporatitis Minor is much more treatable than the dreaded Corporatitis Major.   Corporatitis in its worst form, Corporatitis Major, can consume one’s very soul, leaving only a shell of a human being, unable to accept accountability for one’s actions, or to demonstrate compassion to others.  These ghoulish creatures become known by many titles, sometimes “CEO”, “Public Relations Manager”, or “Security Trader.”

These ghoulish creatures are doomed to walk the earth in a non-living state, like zombies, walking the earth, mindlessly and heartlessly feeding on the flesh of the living, in their vain attempts to satisfy their endless need for more and more profits.  Entombed within the phantom of “corporate personhood”, their only hope is to be stripped of the mythical powers that imprison them, which are typically represented by “Logos.”  We the people will strip these corporate “logos,” these “marks of the beast,” from these corporate zombies.  By stripping these corporate logos, we will help free those suffering from Corporatitis Minor, and offer some hope, some possibility, that those suffering from Corporatitis Major can return to the land of the living, and reclaim their place in humanity.

To all those suffering from Corporatitis, there is something we can do about it.  First, we start with a week of daily occupy movements, to purge ourselves of these corporate parasites and phantom persons.  Occupy Toledo’s May Day Fest is just such a remedy.  Though, be warned: treatment for Corporatitis may result in an increase in economic fairness, blossoming democracy, a return to equal justice, a reclamation of environmental health, burgeoning human rights, and a natural inclination to take responsibility for one’s own actions.

Do not be afraid, surround these corporate zombies with the power of the people.  Without their corporate bank accounts; without their league of lawyers and lobbyists; without their private security and control over the security state, they are really quite helpless — even pathetic.

Feel free to run circles around them if you like!

And what do we say in response to the Corporate Zombies mocking justice and democracy for real persons:

We will, we will mock you.  Mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

So, let us begin by stripping these corporate zombies of their corporate logos.

Let us line up and take turns, one by one, take a logo, strip it from the corporate zombie, and place the logo in the dustbin of history.

First up, we have The Banking and Finance Industry, aka, “The Money Changers”

The Money Changers mock economic fairness.

The Money Changers insist on reaping huge profits on financial transactions while producing little of real value.

The Money Changers have created a casino economy where they are the house that doesn’t lose, taking their cut whether their gambles with other people’s money wins or loses.

The Money Changers drain off hundreds of billions of tax dollars as a reward for crashing our economy and creating the largest recession since the Great Depression.

The Money Changers then have the nerve to try to reduce the meaning of human life down to a credit score.

And what do we say in response to the Money Changers mocking economic fairness:

We will, we will mock you, mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

Strip a logo, read the corporate name, place it in the dustbin of history, and declare:

We the people will take back our economy.

Next up, we have the Military-Industrial Complex, aka “The War Profiteers”

The War Profiteers represent one of the most profitable businesses on Earth.

The War Profiteers literally make a killing, and people are dying for their business.

In our most recent wars, tens of thousands of Americans have been killed and maimed; and over one million Iraqis and Afghanis have been killed.

This corporate zombie feeds off the flesh of the dead.

The War Profiteers mock the value of human life.

And what do we say in response to The War Profiteers mocking the value of human life:

We will, we will mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

 

Strip a logo, read the corporate name, place it in the dustbin of history, and declare:

We will inspire human life, not kill it.

 

Next up, we have the Energy Industry Profiteers, a.k.a., The Billionaire Polluters

The Billionaire Polluters are addicted to petroleum, coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy sources which cannot be sustained, and are destroying the planet.

The Billionaire Polluters resist alternative and renewable energy sources, willing to sell their Mother Earth for a buck.

And what do we say in response to The Billionaire Polluters who mock Mother Earth:

We will, we will mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

Strip a logo, read the corporate name, place it in the dustbin of history, and declare:

You may have the energy, but we have the power!

 

Next up, we have the Media and Communications Moguls, aka “The Propaganda Profiteers”

The Propaganda Profiteers dominate the news industry, silencing diverse voices, and silencing dissent.

The Propaganda Profiteers sellout democracy by pandering to unlimited corporate campaign contributions.

The Propaganda Profiteers dominate our entertainment industry, distracting us with inane entertainment, and cramming advertisements down our throats any time and any place they can, gladly taking the hugely profitable role of shill for consumerism.

The Propaganda Profiteers sell a cheap imitation of the truth while justice is denied.

And what do we say in response to The Propaganda Profiteers mocking truth and justice:

We will, we will mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

 

Strip a logo, read the corporate name, place it in the dustbin of history, and declare:

We the people are the medium for change.

Next up, we have the Industrial Food Profiteers

The Industrial Food Profiteers are much more interested in producing food products that can be genetically modified, recombined, packaged, and marketed for maximum profit than they are interested in nourishing humankind.

The Industrial Food Profiteers destroy the livelihoods of small, local, and family-owned farms.

The Industrial Food Profiteers erode topsoil like crack from a crack pipe, and pollute our environment and food with toxins.

And what do we say in response to the Industrial Food Profiteers for making a mockery of one of the most basic human needs — the need for nutritious food:

We will, we will mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

 

Strip a logo, read the corporate name, place it in the dustbin of history, and declare:

We will nourish a food system that nourishes people.

Next up, we have The Health Care Profiteers

The Health Care Profiteers purport to run a health-care system.  However, we know that this so-called health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.

Each year The Health Care Profiteers kill over 20,000 Americans each year because of the lack of health insurance.

This Corporate Zombie literally feeds on the sick and injured, the most vulnerable in society.

The Health Care Profiteers mock health care as a human right, denying sick and injured people help that they need, all in the name of profit.

And what do we say in response to The Health Care Profiteers mocking health care as a human right:

We will, we will mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

 

Strip a logo, read the corporate name, place it in the dustbin of history, and declare:

We the people demand universal health care now.

 

Last but not least, we have a potpourri of purveyors of personhood of corporations over human personhood — enough corporate misrule to piss off real persons of most any variety.  This is a cabal of Sweat Shop Operators, Environment Destroyers, Labor Rights abusers.

These corporate mis-rulers mock labor rights.

These corporate mis-rulers mock making a decent, honest living.

These corporate mis-rulers mock environmental responsibility.

These corporate mis-rulers mock human values, in order to make a buck.

And what do we say in response to these Corporate Mis-Rulers mocking laborers and mocking the planet in which we all must all live:

We will, we will mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

 

Strip a logo, read the corporate name, place it in the dustbin of history, and declare:

We the people will end corporate mis-rule.

 

Now that we have stripped these corporate zombies of their “logos” and placed them in the dustbin of history, we offer these logos up as symbols of the oppression of the people.

[Take DUSTBIN OF HISTORY and place in front of wall (with flame symbols)]

During May Day Fest Week, we will add to this wall symbols representing oppression and barriers to justice and democracy.

[Phoenix egg piñata arises from behind wall.]

We the people, though beaten down, will rise from the ashes, like a phoenix.

We the people will rise above the forces of oppression and the barriers to justice and democracy.

We the people, will end corporate mis-rule!

Let us break open the Phoenix egg piñata to launch Occupy Toledo’s May Day Fest, as we join millions of people around the world in celebrating where true value comes from in our economy, that is, from the honest labors of real people, not from corporate shenanigans, accounting tricks, money changing, or raping Mother Earth.  Let the people rule!  Let May Day Fest begin!

[The Village People take turns hitting piñata until it breaks open, spilling goodies for all]

Mock Funeral – Occupy Toledo

Yesterday, April 1st, April Fool’s Day, was the one and only performance of Occupy Toledo‘s Mock Funeral — in life (and death) there are no rehearsals, this is it!  If you missed it, I truly hope that you were doing something else as fun and inspiring!  Thanks to all the players, readers, eulogizers, ushers, HOMElessLAND SECURITY, providers of food, and all who helped make Occupy Toledo’s RE-BIRTHDAY possible.  We rose like a phoenix from the ashes!!  Occupy Toledo will re-start the physical re-occupation of Toledo on May1, May Day, the day of a worldwide general strike!  Join us May 1 in Levi’s Square, downtown Toledo, St. Clair at Madison.  In the meantime you can come help plan the occupation of Toledo at our General Assembly meeting every Wednesday at 6:30 pm at Third Space.

Below is a picture of our own Rev. Ed Heilman serving as mock preacher (note the dollar sign on his bishop’s hat and the dollar sign cross on the altar)

Mock Funeral Preacher (Rev. Ed Heilman)Here is Occupy Toledo’s Obituary from the Mock Funeral:

“Occupy Toledo was born October 10, 2011, to it’s parents, the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. Born of hope, Occupy Toledo burst onto the scene in its own charmingly childish way. However, from the birth of Occupy Toledo, few people could understand what it wanted. Onlookers mumbled again and again: “What do they want?” “I don’t get it.” Occupy Toledo flailed around for about 6 months until it realized that it was too small to succeed. After scrutinizing corporate behavior, Occupy Toledo in due course discovered that the nobility of American corporations was unparalleled. The dearly departed realized that in these great United States of America, injustices are so few and far between, that it could no longer even occupy itself. Unavoidably, Occupy Toledo came to its senses, recognized its irrelevancy, and accepted that resistance to corporate rule is futile. Fortunately, in the end, Occupy Toledo had gained at least the good sense to crawl into a coroner’s office and die. Occupy Toledo died on April 1, 2012, due to apathy. Protesters were the Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2011. Gracefully, protesters like Occupy Toledo are stepping aside to make room for the inevitable Time Magazine Person of the Year for 2012: the Corporate Person, born of Citizens United, the true will of human persons across America. Occupy Toledo is survived by countless cousins around the country, many of whom have not achieved enlightenment, so they have not yet abandoned their vain struggles against corporate America, which is obviously too big too fail. The bad news is that Occupy Toledo is dead. The good news is that its condition is stable.”

Below is a picture of our own local activist doctor, Johnathon Ross, M.D., reading Occupy Toledo’s Death Certificate and pronouncing its death.

Mock Funeral Doctor (Johnathon Ross, M.D.)Here is Occupy Toledo’s Death Certificate from yesterday’s Mock Funeral:

“I hereby certify that Occupy Toledo, born October 10, 2011, has died on this day, April 1, 2012. The immediate cause of death was apathy. The underlying causes of death included: 1) an atrophied brain due to an overexposure to TV news and infotainment, talk radio, and so-called “reality” TV; 2) learned helplessness, due to an enlarged gullibility, making it susceptible to corporate propaganda and so-called political pundits; 3) a weakened constitution due to lack of exercising freedoms and widespread metastases of planetary consumption; and lastly, 4) pure exhaustion from running on the treadmills of trying to earn enough to maintain a decent household and fend off crushing debt.”

Of course, after the 1% overstepped their hand with their crass compulsions (by bidding on the Phoenix egg for their breakfast), the Phoenix’s prophecy was fulfilled:

“Hear this prophecy: The crass compulsion of the few to buy anything and everything is complete. The few dare to literally buy and consume the HOPE of the many. Because of this abomination of the few, the Phoenix’s prophecy is complete. The many, the 99%, Occupy Toledo, will be re-born one month from today in this same place. HAPPY RE-BIRTHDAY OCCUPY TOLEDO. Join us on May 1, May Day, a world-wide general strike, for the re-occupation of Toledo. Thus speaks the Phoenix, ‘You, the many, the 99%, shall arise again and be free. Join together with the peoples of this land and from around the world, and the few, the 1%, will be vanquished.’ “

Below pictured is yours truly, Dan Rutt, alias “Top Pun” (it’s just, my pun name), with the HAPPY RE-BIRTHDAY card placed over the tombstone announcing the re-occupation of Toledo.

Mock Funeral RE-BIRTHDAY CARD! (Dan Rutt as Funeral Director)

Here is some Toledo Blade coverage for the Mock Funeral.

If you’d like to read the Occupy Toledo Mock Funeral script, you can re-live the event, or get a greater taste of the drama of the day.  Here is a printer-friendly PDF version of the Mock Funeral of Occupy Toledo.

POEM: Subconscious Not What You Think

Don’t bother pondering the subconscious
It’s not what you think

This funny poem is a reminder that much of what is life is not directly accessible by us.  Most of what goes on in our bodies is outside of our consciousness and cannot be put under direct control of our will.  This is a good thing!  Otherwise, we would have to spend all of our time trying to digest our food along with a million other bodily processes that happen without the benefit of our puny consciousnesses.  Further, even the state of our mind is largely outside the realm of consciousness.  It takes a lifetime of attention and reflection to get a decent grasp on our own mind , and how it is affected by our own emotions and external conditions and situations.  Western civilization is obsessed with control.  The idea that we are not in control of all the things let alone most of the things in our life can be maddening for many people.  Reflecting on this lack of control is not an exercise in futility, but gets to the heart of wisdom, that there are larger forces at work in our lives, and even in our life force or spirit itself.  Learning to recognize those areas of our life that we don’t have any control over is just as important as recognizing those areas of our life that we do have control over.  Courage applied to beating your head against the wall is foolishness.  Not being grateful for all the good things in our life that we didn’t bring about, well, seems ungrateful.  We stand on the shoulders of others, and we are steeped in a good creation that God gave us.  Back to consciousness!  It is commonplace to reduce consciousness to intellect.  This is a mistake of the highest order.  For instance, the reality that we need to muster courage in order to deal with the things that we can totally transcends the mere concept and workings of intellect.  Wherever courage comes from, it strikes me that it is a much deeper place than just logic or mental analysis.  Much of these above sentiments are captured in the serenity prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Amen!

War Travels By Night and Bidet

War Travels By Night and Bidet-FUNNY ANTI-WAR BUTTON

War Travels By Night and Bidet-FUNNY ANTI-WAR BUTTON

War Travels By Night and Bidet-FUNNY ANTI-WAR BUTTON

This cool design is linked to a button, but other great Top Pun products like T-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, caps, key chains, magnets, posters, and sticker sheets can be accessed by scrolling down the product page.

View more Anti-War Buttons.

Truth is the first casualty of war.  To successfully wage war this truth needs to be hidden.  This design in a simple and even in a crude way exposes this.  The “traveling by night” reference alludes to fly-by-night operations or those requiring the cover of darkness.  The pun on “by day” with “bidet” steals away the natural balance of the night with day, leaving behind only a bunch of crap or other waste products, which at best are put out of sight and out of mind to protect our civilized sensibilities.  In our modern Western civilization, we typically do not ponder where all of our crap or trash goes.  Not surprisingly, in the long run we will have to deal with the fact that we are drowning in our own waste products.  War is the perfect example of denial and cost shifting.  We flush all the bad stuff out of sight and pretend that all of the shit that we send someone else’s way just works itself out somehow.  But like they say, all weapons are boomerangs, and what goes around comes around.  Some high society sophisticates try to pawn off war as some kind of noble enterprise built on courage and service.  Those who profit from war has convinced many others that violent warriors represents some ideal.  Our culture’s worship of military service and veterans is proof of this.  Though I would argue that our actual treatment of veterans is proof of our hypocrisy.  War is an enterprise built more on tearing apart human lives and shitting on creation than some courageous service.  If we are not careful, our highbrow leaders may just find sustainability only in the death brought about by drowning in our own waste products.  Of course, those of us familiar with food science, know that this is how fine wine is made: you allow bacteria to consume all that is sweet, producing a waste product called alcohol at such levels that eventually kill the bacteria themselves.  This is why wine has an alcohol level of about 12%, because that is the concentration of alcohol that kills the bacteria and stops the process.  And while downing this slurry of dead bacteria and their waste products has a certain appeal to those of finer tastes, if we end up with a slurry of dead humans and their waste products one can’t help wonder who could possibly enjoy that.  But alas, I merely want us to stop whining!  The alcohol level of Western civilization is rising and those drunk with power seem to have severely impaired judgment.  Those still sober and awake need to take action.  Otherwise, we all may well end up in the bidet (swirl slightly and wait for the aftertaste).  And who wants to waste, especially a vintage 1984 Orwellian, where drunk is the new sobriety…

NEWS: Exploding Pig Poop

Mother Jones magazine blogger Tom Philpott has reported on Exploding Pig Poop.  Well, agribusiness is moving us one step closer to that mythic day when pigs fly!   What is to be concerned about?  How about exploding barns, thousands of pigs killed, millions of dollars of damages, cesspools of waste laced with pharmaceuticals, novel antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains, industrial residues, toxic molds, and smell for miles around!  I think that at least for today, I won’t ham it up!

Hate Taxes? Avoid These 102 Tax-funded Enterprises

Tax time is around the corner, and it seems increasingly popular these days to hate taxes.  Of course, hating taxes is a simply a more palpable manifestation of hating government.  Further, I would submit that the bulk of government hating is made possible by misunderstanding and/or lack of appreciation of public goods and how we achieve them.  Any well-functioning society requires public goods, those goods that can only be acquired by the cooperation of many, and those goods that cannot be secured as an individual or small group.  Creating a well-functioning society is messy.  For Every Problem There is a Solution that is Simple Neat and Wrong-I think some of the government hating is related to simple personality factors where people are drawn to simple solutions to complex problems, especially if it seems to offer immediate advantage to their own interest.  Certainly, our culture seems blinded to long-term solutions and planning horizons longer than a few months or maybe a few years. Like H.L. Mencken stated, “For every problem there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong.”  We seem almost impervious to the sucker punches that are raining down on us and destroying effective governance.  The fawning worship of so-called inherent goodness of the free market is the right-wing hook to the face of humanity that we face every day. Thus, modern-day American politics is plagued by the tragedy of the commons.

To address this matter more practically, our way of life as we understand it would become absurd without government.  If you don’t think that is true, then simply read the list below and try to conscientiously avoid using government provided public goods.  Go ahead, try boycotting the government.  Of course, you could busily and greedily use all the government provided public goods while insisting that you should not pay for them, but that would clearly make you a taker.   View Shopping Cart - Checkout   HOME     DESIGNS     PRODUCTS     Buy in Bulk     Web Specials     Custom Designs     Personalize ItemsTop Pun Facebook page     Free For All           Free Posters           Free Wallpapers     Top Pun BLOG     Newsletter Sign-up     About Top Pun  Copyright 2020 TopPun.com  Know Writes Unreserved  Design Categories  Political  Peace Signs  Peace  Anti-War  Religious-Spiritual  Martin Luther King  Public Health  National Public Health Week 2016 is April 4-10  Gay Pride  Shop Gay Pride Rainbow Store - Make every day gay pride day  Popular Categories  ELECTION POLITICS  THIRD PARTY POLITICS  ANTI-REPUBLICAN  BLACK LIVES MATTER  FEMINIST  ENVIRONMENTAL  ANTI-GUN VIOLENCE  ANTI CITIZENS UNITED  ANTI-DRONE WARFARE  PALESTINIAN, ISRAELI  IMMIGRATION  Public Health Week  Funny  150+ Design Categories  bank on peace  View Your Shopping Cart - Checkout  Ordering-Shipping Options  View more info on secure PayPal Payment Pro, ShopSite shopping cart, and Starfield Secure SSL  Top Products  Buttons  Bumper Stickers  Stickers  T-Shirts  Coffee Mugs  Caps  Magnets  Key Chains  Posters  Top Pun is here to meet all of your Anti-Conservative, Anti-Republican, Funny, button needs! Political  Political Bumper Stickers  Political Buttons  Political Caps  Political Coffee Mugs  Political Key Chains  Political Magnets  Political Posters  Political Stickers  Political T-shirts  Political Specials  Top Pun is your best source for serious, funny, and seriously funny political buttons 	    	 I DON'T ALWAYS USE PUBLIC SERVICES, BUT WHEN I DO, I RESENT PAYING TAXES FOR THEM POLITICAL BUTTONWhile most free-market adherents try to wrap their political philosophy in civilized clothing, it would probably be more honest to have free marketers dress as pirates to more accurately reflect their creed, “Take all you can and give nothing back.” Some may not like this more crass way of saying maximizing profits, but it avoids a lot of the bull shit.

Okay freedom lovers, here is a list of “Do Nots” for you:
(This list of 102 Things NOT To Do If You Hate Taxes came from Addicting Info)
1. Do not use Medicare.
2. Do not use Social Security
3. Do not become a member of the US military, who are paid with tax dollars.
4. Do not ask the National Guard to help you after a disaster.
5. Do not call 911 when you get hurt.
6. Do not call the police to stop intruders in your home.
7. Do not summon the fire department to save your burning home.
8. Do not drive on any paved road, highway, and interstate or drive on any bridge.
9. Do not use public restrooms.
10. Do not send your kids to public schools.
11. Do not put your trash out for city garbage collectors.
12. Do not live in areas with clean air.
13. Do not drink clean water.
14. Do not visit National Parks.
15. Do not visit public museums, zoos, and monuments.
16. Do not eat or use FDA inspected food and medicines.
17. Do not bring your kids to public playgrounds.
18. Do not walk or run on sidewalks.
19. Do not use public recreational facilities such as basketball and tennis courts.
20. Do not seek shelter facilities or food in soup kitchens when you are homeless and hungry.
21. Do not apply for educational or job training assistance when you lose your job.
22. Do not apply for food stamps when you can’t feed your children.
23. Do not use the judiciary system for any reason.
24. Do not ask for an attorney when you are arrested and do not ask for one to be assigned to you by the court.
25. Do not apply for any Pell Grants.
26. Do not use cures that were discovered by labs using federal dollars.
27. Do not fly on federally regulated airplanes.
28. Do not use any product that can trace its development back to NASA.
29. Do not watch the weather provided by the National Weather Service.
30. Do not listen to severe weather warnings from the National Weather Service.
31. Do not listen to tsunami, hurricane, or earthquake alert systems.
32. Do not apply for federal housing.
33. Do not use the internet, which was developed by the military.
34. Do not swim in clean rivers.
35. Do not allow your child to eat school lunches or breakfasts.
36. Do not ask for FEMA assistance when everything you own gets wiped out by disaster.
37. Do not ask the military to defend your life and home in the event of a foreign invasion.
38. Do not use your cell phone or home telephone.
39. Do not buy firearms that wouldn’t have been developed without the support of the US Government and military. That includes most of them.
40. Do not eat USDA inspected produce and meat.
41. Do not apply for government grants to start your own business.
42. Do not apply to win a government contract.
43. Do not buy any vehicle that has been inspected by government safety agencies.
44. Do not buy any product that is protected from poisons, toxins, etc…by the Consumer Protection Agency.
45. Do not save your money in a bank that is FDIC insured.
46. Do not use Veterans benefits or military health care.
47. Do not use the G.I. Bill to go to college.
48. Do not apply for unemployment benefits.
49. Do not use any electricity from companies regulated by the Department of Energy.
50. Do not live in homes that are built to code.
51. Do not run for public office. Politicians are paid with taxpayer dollars.
52. Do not ask for help from the FBI, S.W.A.T, the bomb squad, Homeland Security, State troopers, etc…
53. Do not apply for any government job whatsoever as all state and federal employees are paid with tax dollars.
54. Do not use public libraries.
55. Do not use the US Postal Service.
56. Do not visit the National Archives.
57. Do not visit Presidential Libraries.
58. Do not use airports that are secured by the federal government.
59. Do not apply for loans from any bank that is FDIC insured.
60. Do not ask the government to help you clean up after a tornado.
61. Do not ask the Department of Agriculture to provide a subsidy to help you run your farm.
62. Do not take walks in National Forests.
63. Do not ask for taxpayer dollars for your oil company.
64. Do not ask the federal government to bail your company out during recessions.
65. Do not seek medical care from places that use federal dollars.
66. Do not use Medicaid.
67. Do not use WIC.
68. Do not use electricity generated by Hoover Dam.
69. Do not use electricity or any service provided by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
70. Do not ask the Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild levees when they break.
71. Do not let the Coast Guard save you from drowning when your boat capsizes at sea.
72. Do not ask the government to help evacuate you when all hell breaks loose in the country you are in.
73. Do not visit historic landmarks.
74. Do not visit fisheries.
75. Do not expect to see animals that are federally protected because of the Endangered Species List.
76. Do not expect plows to clear roads of snow and ice so your kids can go to school and so you can get to work.
77. Do not hunt or camp on federal land.
78. Do not work anywhere that has a safe workplace because of government regulations.
79. Do not use public transportation.
80. Do not drink water from public water fountains.
81. Do not whine when someone copies your work and sells it as their own. Government enforces copyright laws.
82. Do not expect to own your home, car, or boat. Government organizes and keeps all titles.
83. Do not expect convicted felons to remain off the streets.
84. Do not eat in restaurants that are regulated by food quality and safety standards.
85. Do not seek help from the US Embassy if you need assistance in a foreign nation.
86. Do not apply for a passport to travel outside of the United States.
87. Do not apply for a patent when you invent something.
88. Do not adopt a child through your local, state, or federal governments.
89.Do not use elevators that have been inspected by federal or state safety regulators.
90. Do not use any resource that was discovered by the USGS.
91. Do not ask for energy assistance from the government.
92. Do not move to any other developed nation, because the taxes are much higher.
93. Do not go to a beach that is kept clean by the state.
94. Do not use money printed by the US Treasury.
95. Do not complain when millions more illegal immigrants cross the border because there are no more border patrol agents.
96. Do not attend a state university.
97. Do not see any doctor that is licensed through the state.
98. Do not use any water from municipal water systems.
99. Do not complain when diseases and viruses, that were once fought around the globe by the US government and CDC, reach your house.
100. Do not work for any company that is required to pay its workers a livable wage, provide them sick days, vacation days, and benefits.
101. Do not expect to be able to vote on election days. Government provides voting booths, election day officials, and voting machines which are paid for with taxes.
102. Do not ride trains. The railroad was built with government financial assistance.

Also from Addicting Info:

“The fact is, we pay for the lifestyle we expect. Without taxes, our lifestyles would be totally different and much harder. America would be a third world country. The less we pay, the less we get in return. Americans pay less taxes today since 1958 and is ranked 32nd out of 34 of the top tax paying countries. Chile and Mexico are 33rd and 34th. The Republicans are lying when they say that we pay the highest taxes in the world and are only attacking taxes to reward corporations and the wealthy and to weaken our infrastructure and way of life. So next time you object to paying taxes or fight to abolish taxes for corporations and the wealthy, keep this quote in mind…”

“I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Have a nice day!

Feel free to browse Top Pun’s tax and anti-tax policy designs.