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Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Homily – Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 ©


The Gospel According to Mark – 2018.09.30
                        

Be Accepting of Others

The reading for today comes from a period when the church was experiencing division.

Remember this, the authors of Mark’s gospel, wrote it at least fifty years after Jesus died. Twenty years after Paul wrote his letters, and at least ten years after Jerusalem and its temple had been destroyed by the Roman’s, and the last of the disciples had died.

At this point in time the Church was in a precarious state. It was seen by most to be a minor sect of Judaism, one that was being lawfully persecuted by the traditional elders of Jewish synagogues throughout the Empire.

In reality it had spread well beyond Judaism, and the Pharisaic movement within Judaism which had nurtured it. Christian movement had spread across North Africa, into Rome, North into Gaul, and across Asia Minor.

It was just as much gentile as it was Jewish.

There were many groups who believed they had the authority to teach, even though they were not connected to the Church through the mode of Apostolic succession.

The message from the reading is not that the “heirs” of the church should run down those who they do not see as having a legitimate claim to teach in the name of Jesus, to obstruct them, but to accept common cause with them, and advance in the way.


Do not stop anyone from working a miracle in my name

John said to Jesus, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.

‘If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.

‘But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck. And if your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands and go to hell, into the fire that cannot be put out. And if your foot should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye should cause you to sin, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell where their worm does not die nor their fire go out.’


26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Emergence 3.0 - Section Six, The Empire; Part Thirty-seven, Bureaucrat; Chapter Seven, Supervisor


Emergence 3.0
A Novel – In One Page Per Day
Day 273, Sunday
September 30th, 2018

Chapter Seven: Supervisor

In time he became a chief administrator.

His tenure in the bureaucracy had spanned a length of time that seemed impossible, spending years at every position as he advanced through the circuit of offices.

He was not a young man when he was restored to life by the miracle of the Continuum.

He was an Octogenarian now, though, he appeared to be a man in the prime of his life.

Those who had been following his career, began to realize that he was extremely old compared to the average citizen.

The average citizen who followed his life story had been living with it for most of their lives, and he was still fascinating to them.

He was a paragon of virtue.

He had made a personal spiritual journey that was marked by the stations in society that he had transitted, going from rebel and outcast, from condemned prisoner, to the highest places in the Imperial administration.

This was noted as more than a curiosity by other administrators at his level, and though he was universally admired, he was also the subject of vicious jealousy

He had made a journey in the space of one lifetime (perhaps two), that the Imperial cult taught the people it would take hundreds of lives, and reincarnations to complete.  

When there was no place left for him to ascend to, the Empire ordered him to be drafted into military service, marking a second change in caste and station.

It was another miracle for the people to behold.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi #OnePagePerDay

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Is it Too Much to Ask? - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
09.29.2018

Is it Too Much to Ask?


I think the entire country was tuned into the Senate judiciary hearings last Thursday?

Dr. Ford came to tell her story, she was hectored by a career prosecutors over trivial details like who paid for the polygraph she submitted to, the answer was that her lawyers paid for it, and she in turn will pay her lawyers, making it so that she will pay for it in the end, though some of the monies may come from a fundraising website the GoFundME.

The republicans on the judiciary committee were afraid to appear on camera asking her any questions at all, that is why they used a woman, a Republican District Attorney, from the most conservative county in Arizona to do their work for her.

When Dr. Ford was finished testifying they all expressed their belief that they found her credible and honest, while insisting that the whole endeavor was an orchestrated smear campaign, engineered to discredit Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

It strains credulity to imagine how both things can be true. Dr. Ford began talking about the assault she endured at Brett Kavanaugh’s hands five – six years ago in therapy, she told her husband at that time as well, and she tried to get the information out, while remaining anonymous, to Trump’s selection committee even before he emerged as the nominee.

None of that mattered to Republicans, it is too much to ask them to handle the coordination of some very simple facts.

When it was Kavanaugh’s turn to sit in the hot seat, he opened his time with a blistering partisan attack on the process, claiming he was being railroaded for the sake of revenge, because the Democrats were outraged over having lost the 2016 presidential election, and on behalf of the Clinton’s.

He yelled at the committee, he frothed at the mouth, he cried.

He was mistreated he said, his name had been ruined, and his reputation and his life. It was too much to ask of him, to stand up to the scrutiny of a simple hearing. To answer questions about his past.

The prosecutor from Arizona opened with a simple question about some dates on his personal calendar he had presented as evidence, but rather than exculpate him, his entries seemed to implicate him in his crimes against Dr. Ford thirty-five years ago, crimes he is intent on denying, perjuring himself before the Senate, committing a felony while applying for a chair on the highest court in the land.

It is too much to ask him to be honest.

The Republicans ask the professional they had brought in to leave, after her first question.

They yelled and condemned the process, they vilified the democrats, who while being in the majority are practically powerless.

Kavanaugh yelled, and berated the democrats, and evaded their questions, and told more lies.

It was disgusting,

When it was all said in and done, the Republicans, most of them (not all) were patting themselves on the back. They were proud of their aggression, the fierce denial of the facts.

That guy, judge Kavanaugh revealed himself to be nothing more than a toady, a political hack, with no regard for the law, or for justice.

Thank God for that.  

Emergence 3.0 - Section Six, The Empire; Part Thirty-seven, Bureaucrat; Chapter Six, Quality Assurance


Emergence 3.0
A Novel – In One Page Per Day
Day 272, Saturday
September 29th, 2018

Chapter Six: Quality Assurance

His duties were to observe, report, and ensure that the work of government was carried out efficiently.

The empire provided service to a million worlds, and trillions of people.

There was food distribution, medicine, the military, the Imperial schools, and more important than any other institution, the Imperial Cult to attend to.

At no time did he ever drop his diligent attention to detail, not for a moment.

He oversaw the complex allocation of material resources designated as gifts to the gods. This was a process without end, an unceasing harvest of energy, of ore and silicates sent to the Central Planet, the home of the Gods, of the Continuum and the Collective.

He was tireless.

His life was completely bent on fulfilling every policy, to the letter.

In his former life he cared for the miners and the planet harvesters, people who lived their entire working lives in space, crushing asteroids, breaking up planets and their satellites, smelting ore and separating the elements.

They lived short lives, they were prisoners, and outcasts. They came from every station.

Now, he spent lives as easily as he would spend credits on his dinner. He let go of all his former closely held morality, that which propelled him as a revolutionary, he abandoned it in service to the Empire.

He became a living reminder to his peers regarding the necessity of protocol.  

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi #OnePagePerDay

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Friday, September 28, 2018

Emergence 3.0 - Section Six, The Empire; Part Thirty-seven, Bureaucrat; Chapter Five, Monitor


Emergence 3.0
A Novel – In One Page Per Day
Day 271, Friday
September 28th, 2018

Chapter Five: Monitor

The Empire required and relied on bureaucratic controls. Through them it governed the movement and aspirations of trillions of people. It managed every aspect of their lives, slowing some down while creating lanes of opportunity for others.

The Empire established paths of predictability for the vast majority of its citizens, and used the byzantine structures of the bureaucracy to exercise its capriciousness as it desired. 

The vast Imperium utilized monitoring at every conceivable level of the social order. It monitored the movements and behaviors of its citizens, for economic purposes, for security purposes, for historical and religious purposes.

It monitored their behaviors on levels that few people outside of the Collective suspected, because it monitored them for the benefit of the Collective and the Continuum alone.

There was no such thing as privacy in the Empire.

Every citizen was the property of the state. Their entire lives were meant to be organized as a gift, as an offering to the Gods, this is what they learned in school, and that is what was beat into them through the ritual conditioning of the Imperial cult.

The individual person was merely a link in the great chain of being.

In time Jim rose to a position in which he reported, and analyzed a wide range of human activities and behaviors, especially among those rebel groups that he had once been a member of.

He became aware of how futile his life had been.

The Empire knew everything, had always known everything about him. He had only ever been a blip on their list of concerns.

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Emergence 3.0 - Section Six, The Empire; Part Thirty-seven, Bureaucrat; Chapter Four, File Clerk


Emergence 3.0
A Novel – In One Page Per Day
Day 270, Thursday
September 27th, 2018

Chapter Four: File Clerk

Everyone serving in the bureaucracy underwent periodic reviews. Merits and demerits flowed from there, along with bonuses and penalties, raises and promotions.

Without fail, in his yearly review, he was raised up, given more responsibility, more accountability, and more freedom.

He relished it.

He had no thought of using those things for his benefit in society, he only desired the accolades, the recognition of his achievements.

He took pride in his accomplishments. He used the resources he acquired to make a difference in the lives of his neighbors. He let his advantages flow from himself to others, keeping very little for himself.

The small steps he had taken away from the street made a vast difference in his lifestyle. He had access to new foods, fresh foods, liquor.

The work he put into advancing his place in the world began to take the shape of altruism. His success mattered to himself and those who lived in closest proximity to him.

He continued to look beyond his station, toward a life of ease and comfort.

He was offered the hand of dozens of girls in marriage, girls from families he had helped, who wanted to tie their fate to his.

He had already watched the only woman he had ever loved be tortured to death, and he did not want to love any other.

He did not accept their offers, but he was often tempted to take advantage of his status, to fall into the delights of the flesh.

He exercised those proclivities with women were professionals in that trade.

He forewent the offers of romantic entanglement that came to him from the women in his work place, or his tenement, preferring to keep his eyes focused on the next opportunity for advancement.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Emergence 3.0 - Section Six, The Empire; Part Thirty-seven, Bureaucrat; Chapter Three, Pencil Pusher


Emergence 3.0
A Novel – In One Page Per Day
Day 269, Wednesday
September 26th, 2018

Chapter Three: Pencil Pusher

From doorman to receptionist, from receptionist to stenographer, his celebrity made him in demand.

Everyone wanted to be seen with him, to emulate him.

Bringing him into an office meant exposure and fame for the bosses around him.

Some of those who sought to benefit from their association with him saw their star rise on account that relationship, others were cast down, sometimes catastrophically.

There was no pattern.

He rose up the hierarchy mindfully, still carrying the lessons he learned from years in the rebellion, and years of torture in prison.

Trust no-one, suspect everything, be diligent above all else.

His thoroughness and attention to detail saved him time and time again, it revealed who in his circle was genuinely trying to help him, and who looked toward his downfall.

In his capacity as a stenographer he learned the tiniest details of government. He took memos, he recoded meetings, he was a witness to the bureaucracy on a level that sometimes left him with feelings of vertigo.

The Empire was vast, both in terms of the space it occupied and the minutia that governed it,

The macro-verse and the micro-verse, they became his domain.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi #OnePagePerDay

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Relinquish


I gave it all up
The ghost of myself, seeking
Becoming quiet

            Still, I am

Emergence 3.0 - Section Six, The Empire; Part Thirty-seven, Bureaucrat; Chapter Two, Desk Jockey


Emergence 3.0
A Novel – In One Page per Day
Day 268, Tuesday
September 25th, 2018

Chapter Two: Desk Jockey

He was celebrated by the Empire, and the Collective.  

His daily life was viewed by his adoring fans with fascination.

His comportment was flawless, he fulfilled the expectations of his station with immaculate precision, moving from the lowest order, into a position of authority.

He was beset with challenges, each one a test of his poise and wisdom.

His rise was not free from challenges. He encountered many people who saw him as a threat to their place in the order. His immediate supervisors chaffed, both at his abilities and in the favors he received from the people they reported to.

He could not be promoted without climbing over them, which meant that they could not advance while he worked under their supervision, their own careers would be stagnant.

His supervisors took one of two approaches, they either tried to swamp him with work, sabotage his efforts, or they quickly learned the trick of complicity and promoted him.

He was too aware for their efforts at sabotage to work, and he was tireless, he seemed to be able to learn any task instantly, and then excel at it.

He would not leave his desk until he had it cleared. Sometimes staying in his office for days at a time.

He thought nothing of it.

He had no life to return to, no family, everyone he had ever loved was dead. His apartment was just a place to sleep and eat. He had no connection to anything but his present state.

When he gave in to the Empire, he gave in completely, he held nothing in reserve for himself.

He was their servant.

He would do whatever was asked of him.

He found a kind of peace in that.

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Emergence 3.0 - Section Six, The Empire; Part Thirty-seven, Bureaucrat; Chapter One, Gatekeeper


Emergence 3.0
A Novel – In One Page Per Day
Day 267, Monday
September 24th, 2018

Chapter One: Gatekeeper

He became an icon of hope for the ordinary citizen.

His was an example of a life rewarded after the experience of incredible suffering.

He was a symbol of re-birth, of clemency and mercy.

His former compatriots in the rebel movements were stunned by the turnaround. They were bewildered.

Some called the whole drama a charade, and renewed their commitment to fight against the Empire, others hopefully gave up their rebellion desiring to follow their leader wherever he went.

The Continuum followed all of these narratives, passing on the drama and the excitement of the sudden shifts in alignment and circumstance to the Collective.

The rebellion would never go away. The Continuum had no desire to crush it, and therefore the Empire had to allow it to persist, despite the fact that they had the power and the technological sophistication to root it out.

Those narratives remained as riveting as ever.

New stories emerged, the stories of rebel soldiers, rebel families and rebel clans, turning piously toward the Empire and seeking forgiveness, but they were not always welcomed, not always forgiven, they suffered at the hands of their persecutors, just as their leader had done.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi #OnePagePerDay

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

A Homily – Mark 9:30-37 ©


The Gospel According to Mark – 2018.09.23
                        

Walk with Humility

In the gospel reading for today we get an unabridged view of the Way, Jesus preached it, as he lived it and taught it.

He knew that his disciples struggled, as all people do, with social order and pride of place. They were obsessed with hierarchies, and privilege.

Jesus had to constantly remind them that leadership meant service, that we are closes to God in the loving service we provide to one another.

There is no place for pride, or arrogance in office when you are walking in the Way.

There is no mystery here.

This is the simple truth.

The injunction that Jesus gives them goes beyond the acceptance of children, the command to treat them as if they were in the presence of God. Place this in the context of everything that Jesus teaches on humility and service.

He tell us over and over again, that the first must be last and the last must be first.

Women cannot be relegated to the back of the Church.

There are no outcasts in the God’s garden; the leper will be kissed and healed.

The image of God is present in the child, and the image of God is God’s fullness.

The image of God is also present in prisoner, the guilty and the innocent alike.

In the Way that Jesus lived his life, he showed us that everyone had to be treated with the same loving regard; from the lowest born child to the highest ranking officer, friend and enemy alike.


Anyone Who Welcomes One of these Little Children in My Name Welcomes Me

Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.

They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.’ He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’


25th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Emergence 3.0 - Section Six, The Empire; Part Thirty-six, Servant; Chapter Seven, Convert


Emergence 3.0
A Novel – In One Page Per Day
Day 266, Sunday
September 23rd, 2018

Chapter Seven: Convert

In that moment when he lost everything, when he was forced to watch the Imperial torturers grinding the life from the few people he held dear, he began to doubt his commitment to his ideals.

He felt a deep sense of shame for having brought so many loyal people to death and misery.

What had he been fighting for if not for them?

The quest they had been on was always destined to fail, all of his victories in battle, they were nothing more than vanities.

As they lit his flesh on fire and his body began to burn, he did not give into pain but he relented, he saw the errors of the path he had taken, and he silently begged for forgiveness.

The Continuum perceived his thoughts. It read his body language and the movement of his lips.

Continuum knew everything.

It transmitted everything that was transpiring directly into the Collective, the majority of the members were absorbed with it, his story had been the most engrossing narrative that any of them had witnessed in ages.

The Empire also broadcast the execution as a live stream throughout the million worlds.

Time itself seemed to stop as the rebel’s body burned in a splendid fountain of light and color.  

The medical examiners came in to look at the charred remains, to examine them and confirm his death, and then a miracle happened.

Continuum restored the rebel to life, it put a doppleganger in place of the dead husk, the type of body used by the observers, only modified and enhanced, it wanted him as an idol, a superstar for the ages.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi #OnePagePerDay

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Destroying the Truth - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
09.12.2018

Destroying the Truth

Twenty years ago the Republicans in the House, many of them, like South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, still serving in congress, impeached President Bill Clinton, for the crime of perjury.

They impeached him for lying under oath. They failed to convict him in the Senate, but all of the republicans in the Senate at the time voted to convict, many of them are still there now, like the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, the Senator from Iowa.

These hypocrites pretended that fidelity to the truth was so important that they would throw the duly elected President out of office, because he lied to federal investigators, under oath, in the context of a hyper partisan investigation that began by looking at some real estate deals and ended up focusing on a consensual sexual relationship between him a white house intern

The Republicans in the Senate do not care for the truth, not one jot, the truth is a thing to be parsed for political advantage, they themselves are sworn to uphold the law and to protect and preserve the Constitution of the United Sates of America, now they are willing to turn a blind while Judge Brett Kavanaugh, lies to their face, not once or twice, but repeatedly.

My opinion is not the judgment of a court of law, I do not have hold back from expressing it until I wait for evidence to be presented that convinces me beyond a reasonable doubt.

I am just a private citizen, and I have seen enough from this guy and his apologists in the Republican Party, the President and the Senate, the members of the house and all of their paid pundits, to know that this man lied in his testimony before the senate.

He lied in these hearings related to his candidacy to sit on the Supreme Court, and he lied in his testimony when he was first made a federal judge.

He lied.

He lied about his activities in the Office of Legal Council for President George W. Bush.

He lied about his receipt and use of stolen e-mails from the Democratic members of congress.

He lied about his connections to the law firm of the current President of the United States.

Now he is lying about his sexual assault of a fifteen year old girl when he was in high school.

Everyone knows he has lied about these things and is lying. The President knows, the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky knows, every member of the Judiciary Committee knows.

Everyone in the world who has paid any attention to his nomination hearings knows that he is willing to commit the crime of perjury, the crime they impeached Bill Clinton for, he is willing to commit that crime over and over again, just so that he can get a life time appointment to the Supreme Court.

He knows he is a lying liar, and he just does not care. For him, and everyone who is supporting him, the adherence to the truth is a matter of convenience.

They are like the old man in Tom Wolf’s novel, Bonfire of the Vanities, who tells his son, “If the truth won’t set you free…then lie.”

I prefer the wisdom of Merlin, who tells King Arthur when he asked what the greatest quality of knighthood is, Truth he says, it is Truth, “because when you lie, you murder a part of the world.”

Step back for a moment and have some perspective. I know we are not going to stop the lying liars from lying, and every politician lies, republicans have not cornered the market on it, and the democrats in office, even the most virtuous of them prevaricate.

This is different, there are nine members of the Supreme Court, the sit there for life, they have the power to interpret law in such as way as to make sweeping changes in our culture. They are no elected, they are nominate and then confirmed by the Senate.

This conservative Republican Party can find someone else to take the seat on the highest court. They can and they should find someone who does not have to lie to get past his hearings, who isn’t guilty of the things he is guilty of, and he is guilty of them.

He is guilty of sexually assaulting that girl when he was in high school, and he is guilty of lying about it now.

And that is where we are.

Emergence 3.0 - Section Six, The Empire; Part Thirty-six, Servant; Chapter Six, Victim


Emergence 3.0
A Novel – In One Page Per Day
Day 265, Saturday
September 22nd, 2018

Chapter Six: Victim

The Imperial powers built him up, they reveled in his celebrity. They broadcast his story in every corner of the Empire.

He was the ultimate propaganda tool.

He was the brilliant rebel, the unfailing hero.

He was the victor of a thousand engagements, the man who could endure anything.

He endured everything.

They took their time, and charted the limits of human suffering. Then took him down, crushing him absolutely.

He became a sacrifice for the Empire, a holocaust, a burnt offering.

The things he suffered went beyond physical pain.

They drove him to the brink of madness.

They put the people he loved the most into the grinder, and forced him to watch while the machinery of the torture chambers reduced them to bloody-ruin.

He would not betray them, and in turn he was betrayed by each of them.

The people loved him.

The prayers of the faithful in every temple throughout the Empire resounded with calls to free him or kill him, to bring an end to his suffering.

#Emergence #SuperShortFiction #365SciFi #OnePagePerDay

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