26Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. 28When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”— 29for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) 30Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. 31They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss. 32Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. 34When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. 35Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 36Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. 37Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
Translation: And they sailed into the region of the Gerasenes, which is over against Galilee. But when he came out upon the land, he met a certain man out of the city having demons (for) much time. He did not put on a garment, and was not living in a house but in the tombs.
But seeing Jesus, he cried out (and) fell down before him (and with) a loud voice, he said, "What to me and to you, Jesus, son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me." For Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out from the human being. For many times, it had caught him, and he was kept bound in bonds and fetters, and breaking the bands, he was driven by a demon into the wilderness.
But Jesus asked him, saying, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion," because many demons had entered into him. And they were begging him so that he might not command them to go into the abyss.
But there was there a herd of many swine feeding in the hill and they were begging him that he might allow them to enter into them, and he allowed them. And the demons came out from the human being (and) they went into the swine, and the herd ran down a steep place and into the lake and were suffocated.
But seeing what had come to pass, the ones feeding (the swine) fled and told in the city and in the country, and they went out to see what had come to pass. They came to Jesus, and they found the man from whom demons had gone out sitting, clothed and in right mind, at the feet of Jesus. And they were afraid.
And the ones seeing it told them how the one possessed by demons had been saved. And all the multitude of the region round about the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them for they were held fast to a great fear. And he entered into a boat (and) turned back.
But the man from whom the demons had gone out prayed of him to be with him, but Jesus released him, saying, "Return into your house and tell how much God has done for you." And he went through all the city proclaiming how much Jesus had done for him.
36One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 37And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. 38She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. 39Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.”40Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “Speak.” 41“A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” 43Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” 48Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
8Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, 2as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,3and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
Translation: But someone of the pharisees was asking if he might eat with him, and he went into the house of the pharisee and reclined. And behold, a woman who was in the city, a sinner, knew that he was reclining in the house of the pharisee. She brought an alabaster box of perfume, and she stood behind alongside his feet weeping. The tears began to wet his feet, and she wiped (them with) the hair of her head. And she was kissing his feet and anointing (them) with perfume.
But when the pharisee who called him saw, he spoke in himself, saying, "This one, if he were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman (this is) who is touching him, that she is a sinner."
And Jesus answered (and) said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he said, "Teacher, speak." "A certain moneylender had two debtors. The one owed 500 denarii, but the other fifty. When they had nothing to give, he was gracious to both. Which one of them will love him more?" Simon answered (and) said, "I suppose whomever he graced the most." And he said to him, "You have judged rightly."
And he turned to the woman (and) was speaking to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered into your house. You did not give me water upon my feet, but she was my feet (with) tears and wiped (them with) her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she, since the time I came, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfume. For this reason, I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been released because she loved much, but to whom little has been released, that one loves little." And he said to her, "Your sins have been released."
And the ones sitting at meat with him began to say in themselves, "Who is this who releases sins?" But he said to the woman, "Your trust has saved you. Go into peace."
And it happened afterward, and he was going throughout every city and village, proclaiming and bringing good news of the kingdom of God, and the twelve together with him. And certain woman were healed from evil spirits and weaknesses--Maria, the one called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, who were serving them out of their possessions.
Charles Pierce at Esquire turns his eye to Hillary Clinton's 2016 candidacy and reminds us that, while Hillary is riding a wave of popularity at the moment, the same people--"the vast right wing conspiracy"--who tried to destroy her husband will surely be on the prowl again and, indeed, already are.
The Clintons are not naive and take all this for granted. They are quite experienced in dealing with the fever swamps of American politics. They do not suffer from the fantasy that bipartisanship is possible under the current political arrangements. They understand that the only way to deal is to win.
Which they are quite good at, and which is why they are so detested in some quarters. They don't run from the room at the first whiff of political gunpowder. Quite the contrary, in fact. They rally to it.
Politics ain't beanbag, in other words. Some people know this and accept it. Others go chasing after what Sharon Dymond calls "Bipartisan, the delusional dog." This is one reason Clinton has cleared the field on the Democratic side. Rank and file Democrats know that the Clintons can deal with the onslaught and come out winning.
11Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. 12As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. 13When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” 15The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!” 17This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.
Translation: And it happened, in the next day, he went into a city called Nain, and many of his disciples and a large crowd were going together with him. But just as he approached the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a large crowd of the city was with her, and when the Lord saw her, he was moved with compassion for her, and he said to her, "Don't cry." And he came (and) he touched the bier, and the ones bearing (it) stood. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, be raised." And the dead man sat up and he began to speak, and (Jesus) gave him to his mother. But fear took hold of all, and they were glorifying God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen in us" and "God has looked upon his people." And this word concerning him went out in all Judea and all the surrounding region.
Maureen Dowd has assistants who outline her columns for her, then she goes in and adds the snark. In today's case, she didn't even really do that. She "relies heavily"--let's say--on the opinions of Jonathan Alter. Alter has just finished a book on the Obama administration. (I much enjoyed his biography of Franklin Roosevelt.)
Alter is worked up over the Obama administration's relationship with the press, but Dowd spins that to include the Washington establishment as well. Obama is acting snooty to both of them. "Obama is not a needy person, but he needs to think of himself as purer than this town." (One wonders: How could she possibly know this?)
They said the same thing about Bill Clinton. "He trashed the place and it's not his place," as David Broder famously said. He was from Arkansas, land of hillbillies. What's he doing among us?
The President is aloof from the Washington establishment, says the Washington establishment. He doesn't schmo-o-o-ze enough. Oh, if only he would reach out to us! If only he would "reach across the aisle", we could break the legislative logjam and something could finally get done!
One wonders what planet these people are living on. The President has reached out time and time again, and, each time, has met absolute intransigient resistance. Alter and Dowd think this is a problem of etiquette?--or, more to the point, Obama's etiquette?
In my view, Obama has done too much of this, not too little. It's not his job to make the people on the other side feel valued and appreciated. It's his job to make the people who elected him glad they did.
David Plouffe told Alter that Obama was “better suited to politics in Scandinavia than here,” meaning, Alter writes, “that he was a logical and unemotional person in an illogical and emotional capital.”
So the situation would be better if Obama were less "logical and unemotional" and more "illogical and emotional" like everyone else? The problem is Obama's sanity and reality contact?
On the 96th anniversary of the birth of John F. Kennedy, Michele Bachmann announces she won't run for Congress again. Whatever her stated reason, the only real reason politicians don't run again is because they know they're going to get beat.
That would have been the case with Bachmann. She almost got beat last time. Without her on the ticket, the GOP will probably save the seat.
After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. 3When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. 4When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy of having you do this for him, 5for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.” 6And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; 7therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. 8For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” 9When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
Translation: After he fulfilled all his words in the hearing of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion's slave, who was precious to him, was sick. He was about to die. And when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Judeans to him asking him to come that he might bring his slave safely through. And when they came to Jesus, they were calling him alongside, saying, "Worthy is the one (for) whom you will do this, for he loves our people and he built the synagogue for us." And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying, "Lord, do not be troubled, for I am not worthy that you might enter under my roof. Therefore, (I am) not myself worthy to come to you, but say a word and let my child be healed. For I am a human being appointed under authority, having soldiers under me and I say to this one, 'Go', and he goes, and to another, 'Come' and he comes, and to my slave "Do this" and he does." When Jesus heard this, he marveled at him. And turning to the ones following him, he said to the crowd, "I say to you, not even in Israel have I found so great a faith." When the ones who were sent returned into the house, they found the slave healthy.
Rabbi friends of mine tell me that it's possible to convert to Judaism, but they remind such potential converts that they're really better off staying what they are. Jews are supposed to abide by the whole Torah, after all, while gentiles are only subject to seven general laws which cover everyone else.
According to these rabbis, you don't get anything special from God for being a Jew. God doesn't love you more than others, and you don't get any special benefits. What you get are increased responsibilities!
Pope Francis took it from another angle on Vatican Radio on Wednesday. The Pope not only asserted that atheists can do good things as well as Catholics can, but they must do these things, he said.
“All of us have this commandment at heart: Do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not (a) Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must.”
What struck people was not that Francis was calling on atheists to do good, but that he said atheists were capable of doing good. It seems a small step--most people have been at this point for quite awhile--but this kind of generosity toward "the other", from the Vatican, is nonetheless refreshing.
That, however, was not really Francis' point. Sure, atheists can do good, and what's more, we all better get crackin'. As he elaborated:
“This commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: We need that so much. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
He is looking toward a "culture of encounter". Back in the 1950's, this is what Paul Tillich called the "method of correlation." He took it to mean the "encounter" between the religious and the secular world, each one open to the other, interacting with each other.
Francis' "encounter" centers on ethics--doing good. The religious and the non-religious share life on this planet. We can all make the place better. As the United Methodists say, "Doctrine divides. Service unites." May this "method of correlation" and "culture of encounter" bear more fruit.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Translation: "I have yet many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear (them) now. When that one, the Spirit of truth might come, he will lead you in the way of all truth, for he will not speak from himself, but as he hears, he will speak, and he will report back to you the things that are coming. That one will glorify me because he will take what is mine and report back to you. All things that the Father has are mine. Because of this, I said that he will take what is mine and he will report back to you."
Conservatives are falling all over themselves to claim they've been harrassed by the IRS. Some outfit named Aleteia claims that a Catholic professor critical of the Obama administration was mysteriously audited.
Franklin Graham, the apple who fell far from the tree, likewise claims the IRS has been persecuting him. (His organization is a 501(c)3, which has stricter requirements than a (501(c)4. Plus, he used organization funds to campaign against marriage equality in North Carolina, so there's more to his story than he's letting on. Just sayin')
This is fall-out from the Citizens United decision. Citizens United led directly to the rise of "super-political action committees, a.k.a. "super-pacs."
When Karl Rove began his super PAC American Crossroads, at first his fundraising was pretty anemic. He then set up Crossroads GPS, under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, which is for “social welfare” organizations, which are supposed to further the general welfare (the provision talks about “civic betterment”). Donations to (c)(4)’s are not tax deductible. The main benefit is that contributors’ names are not public.
The 501(c)4 status is an artful dodge to get around disclosing donors. Donors to these organizations care more about protecting their identity than they do about getting a tax deduction.
Also one wonders: Do the tea party groups know that their promoters are passing themselves off as a "social welfare" organization to the IRS? Are they aware that they're now committed to promoting the "general welfare" leading to "civic betterment"?
Incidentally, poor people who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) are five times more likely to be audited than other people, mostly because conservative Congressmen keep asserting there's "fraud" somewhere in the program, which is what they always say this about programs that don't benefit them.
Prediction: This will not get much play in the American press:
In his first major speech on the subject, Francis demanded Thursday that financial and political leaders reform the global financial system to make it more ethical and concerned for the common good. He said: "Money has to serve, not to rule!"
8Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.
12Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
15”If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you...
25 ‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
Translation: Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "I am with you a lengthy time and you do not know me, Philip?" The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not trust that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak from myself, but the Father abiding in me does his works. Trust me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. But if not, trust the works themselves.
"Truly, Truly, I say to you, the one trusting into me, the works which I am doing, that one will do also, and that one will do greater than these, for I am going to the Father. And whatever you might ask in my name, that I will do so that the Father might be glorified in the Son. Whatever you might ask in my name, I will do.
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give to you another One-Called-Alongside that may be with you into the eternal, the Spirit of Truth, which the universe is not able to receive because it does not see him nor knows him. You know him for he abides alongside you and he will be in you...
These things I have spoken to you abiding alongside you, but the One-Called-Alongside, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things, and will remind you of all I have said to you.
Peace I leave to you. My peace I give to you, not as the universe gives, I myself give to you. Let not let your heart be troubled, and let it not be timid.