Category Archives: Economical affairs

What 2022 brought to us and looking forward to 2023

Liberation

Lots of people thought 2022 would be the year of liberating us from that terrible virus which got the world in its grip. Though not a liberation became several people on their part, an even more senseless killing ‘disease’ came unto Europe.

The leader of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, who would love to find a renewed Soviet Union, said at the beginning of the year he would bring liberation to the Ukrainians. Instead, his “bloodstained” tyranny plunged Europe into the war on a scale not seen since 1945 as Russian troops advanced on Kyiv on Thursday night, February 24th.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is shocking and disgraceful. It is the latest terrible aggression by the Putin regime and the latest damaging conflict in our world, with so many people being killed or injured, losing loved ones and seeing their homes destroyed.

2022 has been a tough year to navigate, with a series of political and economic crises that continue to shape our world.

One powerful man

Who could have ever imagined that one man, from up north, would single-handedly turn the world upside down? However, he has succeeded very well in not only bringing black snow over several people, and literally turning the landscape blood-red, he has severely disrupted economic life in several countries.

Following two long pandemic years – with many still experiencing the effects – we’ve witnessed the outbreak of war in Ukraine and could feel in our purse how it affects us also in our region. We cannot ignore this war that has affected many citizens. At our new WordPress Site “Some View on the World” we have given a voice to those suffering in the conflict as well as reporting the situation on the ground and providing the expertise needed to understand geopolitics.

Picturing what is happening in the world

As best we can, we try to give a picture of what is happening in the world on the continuation of “Our World“. 2022 was another year of figuring out how we would be able to keep up with bringing political and religious news alongside our other spiritual websites. We hope to find that balance further in 2023.

By nature, I am not an easy person and have dared to clash several times by speaking my mind outright. Even in the articles, I publish here and on my other websites, my thinking is based on my personal opinion. One can agree or disagree with that view. I, therefore, appreciate that people also dare to express their opinions. But in general, there is a little reaction in that area. Still, I hope the articles brought, can make people think. For instance, I was happy to find that my op-eds on Christmas in the Daily Telegraph were able to bring a debate after all.

Hoping to expose wrongdoings

With the news we place at Some View on the World we do hope we also could be able to expose the mistreatment and deaths of migrant workers in Qatar for almost a decade as well as other wrong attitudes towards people as well as animals and plants. At my personal site and this site as well, in particular on “Some View on the World” we continue to bear witness to the climate crisis as it destroys lives, uproots whole communities and changes the course of our shared future. We hope for 2023 to be able to bring regular news about our environment.

The fallout from the January 6 hearings and Donald Trump’s presidency could get our attention, and we hold our hearts for the intentions of Mr Trump, wanting to come back as president of the U.S.A..

Independence of my websites

For all the reporting we do here, and on my other websites, I would like to remind you, readers, that there is no financial support from companies anywhere and that all reporting is based on personal and independent reporting, where I keep searching for this site among texts that appear on the net what could possibly be fascinating for you to read as well, and thus to reblog them here.

2022 could bring lots of blogs on the net of which we presented some selections over here too. At Firefox several could find their way into ‘Pocket’, like: Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid, How to Want Less, A Neurologist’s Tips to Protect Your Memory, Why You Should Really Stop Charging Your Phone Overnight, A Guide to Getting Rid of Almost Everything, a.o. most read.

Uncovering and unravelling

Whether on social, political or religious issues, we are eager to seek the truth and expose false reports. Exposing wariness is not always appreciated, but is very important in our view. To do that, we can count on several investigative journalists and some newspapers to join in the pursuit of that muddle, so that together we can make certain things known to the world while others would rather see them covered up.

At Some View on the World we have maintained round-the-clock coverage from several places, not always bringing nice news, like mass graves of Bucha, Izium and many war crimes.

The war accelerated a global economic slump, sending costs soaring, throttling energy supplies and raising the spectre of blackouts, malnutrition and a winter of discontent across dozens of countries. As global food supplies fluctuated, we reported on the hunger gripping the Horn of Africa and Afghanistan. In 2022, it became impossible to ignore those victims in poorer countries. But sadly, we had to observe how little the public cared about those people living far from their homes. And closer, many did not wish to have refugees, so we could speak of a refugee crisis again this year.

Here in Belgium, the influx of refugees seems completely uncontrollable and many, even with small children, shamefully had to sleep outside several nights through rain and wind. This while in Great Britain, the reception was also not going smoothly and people started looking for a housing solution in Rwanda, and proceeded to deportations.

Condition of mother earth

A lot of people do not want to realise that things are very bad for Mother Earth. To this, in 2022, several scientists again tried to make it clear to the world that we need to think seriously about this and take action. We were confronted with UK’s hottest summer, a very early and long great Summer in Belgium, drought in Europe, and the accompanying fires.

Heating the houses became for many difficult to keep in the household budget. It looked like mother nature felt the pressure on the energy market, as well. Everywhere in Europe, we had extremely high temperatures for the time of year. In Belgium 2022 became the warmest year since measurements.

The climate emergency ran as a constant thread through much of our Some View on the World journalism in 2022.

While many European countries were suffering from a shortage of water, they had it in other countries, like Pakistan, too much. Devastating floods in Pakistan, encountering one of its worst natural catastrophes, Sydney’s wettest year on record, ferocious heatwaves in the US southwest and the costliest Atlantic hurricane for years, could catch our attention.

At Cop27 in Egypt, the Guardian asked the tough questions. Though, we did not give so much attention to the changing tactics of activists, now more likely to throw soup at a painting as they are to glue themselves to a public highway.

Uprising

In my view, many other protests could get our attention earlier, as they were carried out in a more correct way. Coming from a not expected corner, sparked by the death in custody of a young woman, Mahsa Amini.

Once again, we were able to conclude in Afghanistan and Iran that there is no improvement in human rights yet. The Iranian authorities tightly control reporting inside the country, so we counted on the teams of the Guardian to redouble efforts to reach protagonists to tell their stories. Social media remained also important for this, so it was satisfying to see the Guardian Instagram video on why Iranians are risking everything for change reach more than 2 million viewers.

It is impossible for me to have news sources everywhere, which is why we must also call on professional companies, for which we must also pay. Financial aid is therefore very welcome to cover these expenses. Nevertheless, we try to be as aware as possible of the general events, for which we also make further use of the known news channels and reliable TV channels and newspapers.

United States debacle

In terms of exposure, it was imperative to look at the Trumpists who still claim high and low that the US elections were forged.

The country which was formed on the idea that it could be a free world where everybody could express himself freely and would not be bounded by limitations through a government, in 2022 came to see deep political divisions, caused by a man who as 45th president of the U.S.A. did mutiny on that state and brought democracy in danger. His party made the ongoing climate crisis and racial, economic and health inequalities worsened. It was impossible to ignore the fallout from the January 6 hearings and Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as his willingness to come back as president.

The repeal of Roe v Wade provided a divisive backdrop to the November midterm elections. The conservative, or better said, the extremist Christians in the U.S., made it possible that women lost even the right to their own bodies. They also did not want to give an eye for mother nature nor for all those poor Americans who have no house or anywhere to live except on the streets, where many in the last weeks of the year found their dead by Winter storm Elliott. Buffalo got the worst hit by that bomb cyclone.

Political storms

In 2022 there were more significant elections in America which caught our attention. In Brazil, there were an anxious few weeks as Jair Bolsonaro wanted to do like his friend Trump, saying the votes were falsified. Finally, he suffered a chastening defeat by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who completed a comeback from prison to the presidential palace.

To our annoyance, we in northern Europe had to observe an inverse movement towards South America. The far right in Sweden, Italy and Israel, could get most seats in parliament. Despite her political prowess, the 45-year-old from Rome, whose strong will and determination has drawn comparisons to Margaret Thatcher, Giorgia Meloni has spent three decades fighting her way to the top of Italian politics. She is clear evidence that go-getters win. In October last year, after Brothers of Italy managed to draw votes away from the Northern League in its northern strongholds in local elections, a secret recording revealed Matteo Salvini hitting out at Meloni, calling her a “pain in the ass”.

In Belgium, too, the newspapers disguised several polls, clearly showing that the right is making a strong rise and where voices can already be heard that NVA will have to make the choice to form a majority coalition with Vlaams Belang.

As for British politics, prime ministers came and went with alarming regularity and the nation buried the pound, Queen Elizabeth and its global standing in quick succession. For 10 days in September, the future of the monarchy dominated the newsroom. The crazy game of the English conservatives who wanted their leader to put his capsones under the benches and to ask the people to stay at home because of Corona and not to have parties seemed to think it normal that their leader could do that and lie about it too. The whole world could laugh at the blunders of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, while the British citizen seemed not to mind. In any case, they did not demand new elections and left it to the Tory members to elect the new prime minister.

In Australia Labour could note a historic federal election victory.

Economical storms

The struggle between Russia and Ukraine is also a struggle between the Putin regime and Western Europe.

The war accelerated a global economic slump, sending costs soaring, throttling energy supplies and raising the spectre of blackouts, malnutrition and a winter of discontent across dozens of countries. But we also noticed that certain companies were abusing the war in Ukraine to raise their prices.

Cereals and gas were not released enough by blockades from the Russians, which caused major food problems, especially in Africa. In Western Europe we felt our energy prices skyrocket due to the pressure on the export and import markets. In Belgium, it took forever for the government to take measures to mitigate the costs of its citizens. After several months of calls by the Labour Party PvdA/PtB to reduce VAT to 6% and by their appeals to the public to put pressure on the government, things finally came to a head.

Health matters

2022 received big leaps forward for Alzheimer’s treatments, bowel cancer prevention and understanding depression.

In several countries there was joy that people could come together again to party and that the elderly should no longer be separated from their children and grandchildren. The lockdown had made it very clear how important personal contact is. It was striking how in 2022 teenagers and twens still had many psychological difficulties, which were not resolved. Bad enough, many could not be admitted in time, causing unnecessarily too many young people to die, while this could have been avoided.

Post-pandemic in Europe in danger

For months Europe tried to combat Covid-19. We started the annual overview with the relaxation of the Corona measures. But at the end of December, they now appear to be endangered because Europe does not want to take strict measures for the Chinese who are now allowed by their government to travel outside China again, which will allow them to spread the increased disease further outside China. With the coming Chinese New Year, they could start a new pandemic as in Belgium, it started in Antwerp.

For much of the world, a sort of post-pandemic normality has resumed – with one striking exception: the country where it all began. Chinese leaders faced a rapid spread of public anger caused by their draconian Covid lockdown policy. Only after some activists could ignite a revolt against the lockdown and more people joined them on the streets, even coming to shout to get rid of the Chinese leader and communist party, the government got seriously afraid and eased the lockdown measures. After they had done that another hell broke down, the virus rapidly spreading and killing so many people the mortuaries could not handle it anymore.

While the Chinese seem to be in the first Corona wave, as it were, the rest of the world has gotten out over time and everyone is now looking forward to a shock-free 2023.

We too look forward to an ending of the war in Ukraine and to a peaceful solution between Kosovo and Serbia.

At Some View of the World and at my other personal Space, we shall try to bring you up-to-date news of the happenings in the world, and here on this website, we hope we shall still be able to offer you and share with you, some worthwhile articles to read in this coming New Year.

 

*

A sincere thank you to our readers and supporters – wherever you are in the world,
we wish you a wonderful end to 2022 and an optimistic 2023.

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In case you like our work,
do not forget that we always can use your support.

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With mention: support websites

For which we thank you wholeheartedly

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Additional reading

  1. G7 agreed to ban or phase out Russian oil and gas imports
  2. 2022 the year of fearing some wars

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Nine ways to keep warm at home… without turning up your heating

Temperatures are dropping, but energy bills are rising – here’s how stay toasty without relying on the thermostat.

1. Have a hot lunch… and leave the oven door open

2. Bubble wrap your windows

3. Rearrange your furniture

4. Close the curtains at 3pm

5. Move yourself warm

6. Focus on your fingers

7. Turn your heating down

8. Make a DIY draught excluder

9. Heat your seat

Read more about it in: Nine ways to keep warm at home… without turning up your heating

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To nurture your relationships

A former mental health professional writes

nurture your relationships.

and advices

It is important to take stock of your emotional bank accounts. Boundaries are important in your financial and emotional life. Marriages need to be nurtured as the effects can affect more than the husband and wife.
Self-care is not just a yuppie or selfish term. Take care of yourself and you can take care of everything else.

I am a better wife, mother, and friend when I get in the gym for an hour. I am more patient. My husband calls the gym my therapist and temple. I missed a few workouts during my daughter’s visit. I found myself a bit short with my husband and our kids. My oldest daughter laughed and said mom hasn’t been in the gym. I used to shop when I was stressed out. {Monday’s Money Moments:}

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Climate justice & Rich people who do not want to share

2022 came to show once again what a huge gap there is between people who have next to nothing and people swimming in money. The latter have seen their wealth grow exceptionally this year as their energy shares soared.

This year, we could see how warfare brought a lot of damage to people and nature. Our earth also had a lot to endure because man did not do much to stop global warming.

Climate justice is about creating a better future for all of us. It’s about giving everyone the ability to live a life of dignity, joy and safety. This better world is possible, but only if we all fight for it.

We have to recognise that there is a very small percentage of extremely rich people whose interests side with and profit from our collective destruction. The fossil fuel execs, the billionaires, the Rishi Sunaks only make up an absolutely tiny percentage of the population. We cannot let them dictate whether we live or die. We cannot let them force millions of us in the UK and billions of us all over the world into struggle, multiple crises and instability just so they can continue to be outrageously rich as a result of the work being done by the many. We outnumber them.

We have to fight back and demand more. We have to support unions striking for better conditions for all of us.
The fight against the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis has to be connected. We have a whole world to win if we come together rather than letting those who don’t have our interests at heart divide us.


Enough is Enough is a campaign to fight the cost of living crisis.

We were founded by trade unions and community organisations determined to push back against the misery forced on millions by rising bills, low wages, food poverty, shoddy housing – and a society run only for a wealthy elite.

We can’t rely on the establishment to solve our problems. It’s up to us in every workplace and every community.

 

Green duotone photograph of General Secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) Mick Lynch. With the text: Mick Lynch says Enough is Enough! It's no good just being pissed off. You've got to say, I'm going to turn that into an organisation with a set of demands and a way to fight for them.

You can join the Enough Is Enough campaign here

You can find mutual aid groups to support here

A guide to finding a climate group here

A guide on why we need unions is here 

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Culture War Christianity in American history

In this article, you might find our comments on our previously published articles about Culture War Christians

What Are The Culture Wars?

A History Of The Culture Wars

A Theology of Culture War Christianity

Beyond the Culture Wars


 

What are the Culture Wars?

Think of “culture” as a way of life. It is the sum total of all values, beliefs, and practices making up a communal existence. When God commissions newly formed humanity in Genesis 1 to “fill the earth and subdue it”, he sets men and women into the world with a cultural mandate. His plan was for a human society, united under his rule in the world, ruling with him over the Cosmos as his vice-regents. {What Are The Culture Wars?}

Karl Marx saw how main religion tried to lure people in the ban of the church by false doctrines. It is because the majority of people did not take the time to read the Bible that so many religious groups were able to get people following their false doctrines.

Regularly, people were so prayed for by those doctrines of those churches that they no longer faced the real thing because they preferred to float on those ideas of those churches. It had become so bad that Marx also realised that for many, religion was like an ‘opium for the people’. In lots of Christian and Islamic denominations, their church leaders managed to have their followers, following and worshipping a wrong god and not following the real Christ. since his time still not much has been changed, and there are still lots of false teachers and false prophets around. Marx was disturbed by the knowledge that he saw so many people around him falling for those false human teachings and giving their money away to those churches when there were so many people around them suffering. Marx also noted few dared to question, let alone challenge, church doctrines.

It also bothered several thinkers in the 19th century that the church made no attempt to defend the majority of their churchgoers or parishioners, and did not stand up against the exploitation of parishioners. For far too many centuries, the Roman Catholic Church itself had done everything possible to trot out money from the poorer population.

The German revolutionary, sociologist, historian, and economist, Karl Marx and his closest collaborator, the German socialist philosopher Friedrich Engels’ answer to the ills of society was according to some, just the opposite of the utopian dreamers’ answers. Mainly this, because the ideas of utopists (like Mr. Ampe) seem for many too far-fetched and unreachable. Though Marx and Engels found enough people who, like them, believed that one could change the way people lived and could come to a better world with less inequality. They, too, went for a better world.

Since World War I the world has evolved incredibly on all levels. Politically it was a time of trying out several political systems, getting more than once in a lot of problems and crises. The Western world clinched at the industrialisation and experienced mixed economies floating between all kinds of political thoughts. Even as the western world became less religious and the church got less of a grip on its citizens, the rich continued to control everything and did everything they could to maintain their power.

For

For him it is clear that Christ should be at the centre of Christianity. But he also expects something for those who call themselves Christian. He

When Jesus prayed,

“on earth as it is on heaven”

he was indicating his expectation and desire that the culture of Heaven becomes the culture of Earth by way of his Church. But does Culture War Christianity, the sort launched in the ’70s, contradict the nature of Jesus’ Kingdom?

So many people had looked forward to the 20th century, hoping that because of all the new inventions, brought forward by the Industrial Revolution, they would be able to create a world where everything would be much easier and giving them more time to relax. The century opened with great hope but also with some apprehension, for the new century marked the final approach to a new millennium. For many, humankind was entering upon an unprecedented era. The English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian H.G. Wells’s utopian studies, the aptly titled Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought (1901) and A Modern Utopia (1905), both captured and qualified this optimistic mood and gave expression to a common conviction that science and technology would transform the world in the century ahead.

Already before the seventies of the previous century there was something going wrong in the industrialised world. Even though many countries were allowed to offer independence back to their colonies, they continued to exploit people in their own countries. Even when churches wanted to present God in different ways over the years, people should know That God never changes. He will always be the same and keep to the same Plan He had already from the beginning of times.

The American pastor and current PhD candidate in Theological Ethics at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, Jared Stacy 
wants to call our attention to this basic theological ethic:

The work of God’s rule spreading throughout the world in individual lives and communities will never contradict who God is.

We would have loved that, but reality shows something totally different. For centuries, the main Christian churches have chosen another path than the disciples of Christ. The majority of people preferred to keep to their heathen traditions and festivals and the Catholic and several Protestant churches followed them and made Jesus Christ (the Messiah) their god. As such, we must say there is a lot of contradiction in what people say God is. For many, He is not the God of Christ, Who is the God of Israel, but is a god who is part of a three-headed godship, the Trinity.

It is not just that difference of who God is and who Christ is that has brought division in the world of believers. The diversity of religious groups has also brought both confusion and discord. Coming closer to the 21st-century tension or strife resulting from a lack of agreement came to bring even more separation between the true followers of the Nazarene Jewish masterteacher Jeshua  ben Joseph (Jesus Christ) and the name-Christians who worship Jesus as their god and do not shy away from also worshipping all kinds of people they call saints, this while the One True God desires full recognition and worship.

We have the impression that the blog writer who also writes for platforms like NPR, the BBC, Current, and For the Church, does not see (or does not know) the multiple camps in Christendom. He only mentions two of them. He writes

To speak generally, mischaracterizations come from two camps. Let’s call one group “conscientious objectors” and the other, “vocal advocates”.

Some accuse conscientious objectors to the Culture Wars of believing that Christianity should have no influence in the public square. They slander these conscientious objectors as faithless & godless, or misrepresent them as conspiratorially hypocritical, secretly harboring a progressive political agenda.

On the other end of the spectrum, some conscientious objectors accuse vocal advocates of conflating Christianity with cultural power. This often leads them to slander vocal advocates as compromising sell-outs, or mischaracterize their advocacy & well-connected influence as grounded in an inherently complicit conservative agenda. No doubt, I believe there are instances of legitimate criticisms from boths sides in Christian spaces. But polarity abounds.

For him the polarizing gap between vocal advocates and conscientious objectors reveals a vast “no man’s land” in American evangelicalism. This is why he believes his series has pastoral and personal implications for all of us.

Because either you or someone you know is wandering the no man’s land as a refugee from the Culture Wars.

Many American evangelicals are proud that they (so-called) keep to The 10 Commandments, though all of them already sin against the first commandment, not keeping to The Only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah of hosts, the God above all gods.

David Hansen correctly says

“The majority of Americans will tell any pollster that they believe in the Ten Commandments. But only a small percentage of those people could even recite the Ten Commandment; and even a smaller percentage have any genuine interest in following them.” {The 10 Commandments in American Culture}

Lots of North Americans should seriously think about their religion and their faith. About that faith Stacy says there is a danger.

On a day of hope, we need a fresh reminder of the danger inherent in an embrace of Christian faith. {The Danger of Faith}

He points out the trap many Americans have fallen into.

It is American consumer Christianity that invites us to “make Jesus Lord of our lives”. This pitch makes Christ a commodity, leaving us—the consumer—with control. The resurrection and ascension is a coronation that happens apart from our consumer choice & control. {The Danger of Faith}

1909 painting The Worship of Mammon, the god of material wealth, by Evelyn De Morgan

The great part of the US population, as well as in other developed countries, is that believers have deviated from Biblical truth as well as become wedded to matter and thus actually honour the god Mammon. Several denominations in the United States make clever use of asking people for money all the time, pretending that they will then have a better life. It has also become so ingrained in people that one can only be successful if one has acquired a lot of money. Consequently, many do everything possible to be as rich as possible (on the material plane) while completely neglecting spiritual wealth. Many have forgotten that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.

Stacy writes

It is hard to deny today that for many, the supposed downfall of America is synonymous with the collapse of Christianity. Jesus confronts this idolatry with his Kingdom. {The Danger of Faith}

Lots of Americans are even not aware of how they participate in idolatry, which they prove by continually clinging to pagan festivals such as Candlemas, Easter, Halloween and Christmas, to name only the main ones, and to cling to money and material gain.

He reigns over a Kingdom that cannot be shaken through the rising and falling empires of this world. {The Danger of Faith}

And throughout history, many kingships or kingdoms and principalities as well as republics have risen and fallen. Never before has man succeeded in creating a nation or empire in which everyone was comfortable and where justice was done to everyone. Several Christians, in imitation of Christ, have tried to make people understand how best to live in unity with fellow human beings, plants and animals.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial) - NARA - 542010.tif

The 1963 March on Washington participants and leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, as mass protest movement against racial segregation and discrimination in the southern United States that came to national prominence during the mid-1950s.

When we look at the German culture struggle of the 1870’s (kulturkampf) it’s clear that the American Civil Rights movement was a “Culture War” too. King’s commitment to non-violence laid a distinct Christian foundation for the Civil Rights movement. But white evangelicals of the time either distanced themselves from King, or denounced the Civil Rights movement entirely, with calls to “just preach the gospel.”  {A History Of The Culture Wars}

writes Stacy.

But not many white Americans were really willing to go to preach what was really written in the gospel. They prefer just to take some phrases out of context to repeat them so that people come to believe them.

The forty odd years from this origin point until today witnessed the end of the Cold War and an insurrection at the US Capitol. Between these bookends, Culture War Christianity made itself known & felt in American society through movements. (See, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Jesus and John Wayne; Stan Gall, Borderlines: Reflections on Sex, War, and the Church; Frances Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals; Tim Gloege, Guaranteed Pure; historical treatments on these movements) {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Stacy reminds his readers:

The arguments and relationships in the antebellum South were transported via Lost Cause theology 100 years into the future, seen in white evangelical responses to the Civil Rights Movement. But these leaders could not ignore the impact of King’s kulturkampf. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

He assures his readers that

Culture War Christianity started after the Civil Rights Movement, not before. It borrows the playbook of the CRM. Ironically, it thrives on a sort of “persecuted minority” mindset, borrowed from the Civil Rights movement, but not actually indicative of the communal experience in its main constituents: white evangelicals. A minority mindset is a prominent characteristic of God’s people in the Scriptures. However, this mindset is not characteristic of evangelical experience in the United States. Race relations and evangelical’s historic participation in the moral establishment offer two historical keys that present a necessary critique of modern Culture War Christianity. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

He believes it is impossible to understand the history behind Culture War Christianity apart from race relations in the United States. So, we begin where we left off, with this statement:

The Culture Wars began when white American evangelicals took the activist playbook from the very Civil Rights leaders they opposed, to advance a moral agenda they could support.

Some were overtly political, like the Moral Majority or Christian Coalition. Others would serve the notion of family values, yet retain political influence, like Focus on the Family or Promise Keepers. Local churches and expansive media (books, radio, television) formed the local grassroots communities made these movements possible.

While this all may seem quite familiar, especially if you inhabited spaces within white American Christianity during the last 40 years, a history of the Culture Wars would be best served by going back 2 centuries to look at the phrase “Culture War” itself. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

In his blog he then goes back to the 19th century, across the Atlantic Ocean where the Germans provide us with a glimpse into a framework upstream to both the Civil Rights Movement and “Culture War Christianity” at a time when a new world order was being born. In that era, he recognises the central position of the Catholic Church, facing new threats to its grasp on power.

From the political power of the nation- state to the intellectual frameworks of liberalism and Darwinism, the winds were shifting. In response, the Church produced a flurry of theological statements and denouncements meant to stem the tide of ideas that threatened its hold on the Old World Order. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

File:Portrait pius ix.jpg

Portrait of Pope Pius IX circa 1864

The Holy See under Pope Pius IX on 8 December 1864, brought an appendix to the Quanta cura encyclical, with a syllabus where the church wanted to have the people see that it was with the times and recognised 80 of the

“principal errors of our times.”

As the errors listed had already been condemned in allocutions, encyclicals, and other apostolic letters, the Syllabus said nothing new and so could not be contested. Its importance lay in the fact that it published to the world what had previously been preached in the main only to the bishops, and that it made general what had been previously specific denunciations concerned with particular events. Perhaps the most famous article, the 80th, stigmatising as an error the view that

“the Roman Pontiff can and should reconcile himself to and agree with progress, liberalism, and modern civilisation,”

sought its authority in the pope’s refusal, in Jamdudum Cernimus, to have any dealings with the new Italian kingdom. On both scores, the Syllabus undermined the liberal Catholics’ position, for it destroyed their following among intellectuals and placed their program out of court.

The Church denounced religious liberty, the nation-state, and other consequences stemming from the “threat of liberalism.” {A History Of The Culture Wars}

For some time there had been bumbling or difficulty in having a good relationship with the Catholic Church. More thinkers also came to speak out about the huge profits the Church was making on the backs of the faithful. Increasingly, there was also the idea of going back to the basics of Christ’s teachings where simplicity was preached and people were taught how to stand up for and care for each other. In the gospel, Jesus set a good example of how not only Christians should live, but actually every human being.

In the 1870’s, the German people, specifically within the Kingdom of Prussia, found themselves in conflict with the Catholic Church over their own Reformation roots and a rapidly secularizing order. This conflict had ramifications for both the Church and the separated German states. As a result of this conflict swirling around the German peoples, individual German States united along highly Protestant lines under Otto Von Bismark of Prussia. (See, Helmut Walser Smith, editor, The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History) This period of conflict and change was given a name: Kulturkampf, or “Culture Struggle”. This German kulturkampf shows us how struggles between competing visions for human existence are sparked by complex reactions between religion, politics, and power. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

It is the clash between people of the common people, as well as philosophers and political thinkers, with the church, that caused very animated conversations in several places in the German Empire about faith, church, and the way we as human beings should choose to arrive at a better world.

After World War II several American religious groups tried to have the power over the American people. They tried to convince them that they were the sole church which preached the truth. Some even went so far to tell the people they were chosen by God and that their church is the only one that can bring them in heaven. For those churches, it is certain that one can only be accepted by God if one follows their rules. Of course, such a saying is absurd, but a large majority of Americans follow that false statement. In the life of faith, it is also certain that no particular church by Jesus was ever designated as the only one to follow.

By studying German kulturkampf, we can begin to see the American Culture War’s false claim to exclusivity and authority by claiming itself to be the sole representative and defender of orthodox Christianity. When we realize this — that American Culture War Christianity is not the single defender of the faith —  it trains us to adopt a healthy critical filter every time a Christian leader describes the “very survival of Christianity at stake” as a smoke screen for unChristian agreements with power. On the other hand, conscientious objectors to Culture War Christianity would do well to consider how “culture struggle” might be a positive expression of Christian faith. There is space to consider positive “culture struggle”. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

King’s kulturkampf was rooted in Christian principles, and sought to dismantle the injustices of racial segregation, subjugation and discrimination within America. With the upcoming of the more conservative Christians, and/or conservative evangelicals, the position between coloured people worsened again and nationalism and (far) right-wing ideas came to the forefront in the States, the same way they did in the 1930s in Europe. Thus, from Europe, we could see the very dangerous development of right-wing rule and the glorification of such despots as Donald Trump, who is a danger to the world.

What would come to define and shape Culture War Christianity in 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s in the US is not at all what King and several serious preachers had in mind. The growing conservatism by the Americans brought forward people who are against equality and who find the white man is the pure race. Even Billy Graham came to criticise segregation but also denounced the non-violent demonstrations as contributing to further violence.

Others denounced calls for desegregation entirely. Back in 1960, Bob Jones Sr. took harder lines at Christians supporting an end to segregation by referring to them as “religious infidels”. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Several pastors of mega-churches, especially in white neighbourhoods, succeeded in shifting all the faults of the system onto the backs of the blacks and refugees who just’ came and invaded America’, without the government doing enough to stop them. One would think the religious leaders would have their moral reasoning to flow from a theological calculus, but it (for sure) did not come from Biblical teaching.

Stacy writes

Charles Ivory’s masterful Proslavery Christianity examines the white evangelical relationship with black evangelicals before the Civil War. He looks at how these interactions between white and black Christians, slave and free, actually came to shape the white evangelical theological defense of slavery. If we want to understand the Culture War Christianity of Falwell, and other white evangelicals, we need to examine their response to the Civil Rights Movement. I believe their response has its source in the theological calculus of white evangelicals in the antebellum South. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Ivory writes it was not uncommon for white and black evangelicals to worship within the same church. Indeed, the revival of the late 18th century did not discriminate on the basis of cultural background. But the theological conflict in evangelical churches pre-Civil War centered around conversion. Namely, does Christian conversion necessitate manumission? Today, Christians would argue chattel slavery is indefensible regardless of a slave’s conversion to Christianity. Humanity is not property. However, the historical context of the time made the question of conversion and manumission the frontline theological conflict regarding chattel slavery within evangelical churches. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

In West Europe the people had gone already through that process, knowing that slavery was something one could not accept in a civilised society. On this, several speakers came to draw attention to a system to bring more equality among all people. The road to socialism and communism was thus promoted by several enthusiasts.

Culture War Christianity has long since ossified into the de facto expression of faith for many white American evangelicals.

But those white American Christians have come to love themselves more than someone else and consider themselves as the only ones worthy to govern America. They do not have an eye at all for the indigenous people, because they consider themselves as the rightful founders and owners of America.

For 200 years, white evangelicalism has been an insider. No where has the minority mindset been more pervasive in our modern conception of Culture War Christianity than rhetoric. Phrases like “drain the swamp”, “make America great again”, and “take back America for God” in evangelical politics go right next to “that’s too political” and “just preach the gospel” in evangelical churches. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

We can wonder from who those evangelicals have to take back ‘their country’! Those evangelicals seem not to have any idea what the ‘founders’ of America had in mind and why they wanted religion and government separated.

While separation of church and state was federally enshrined in the Constitution, it did not play out in those strict terms in state and local governments. This changed in the early 20th century, when the Scopes trial, New Deal politics, and internal theological warring between fundamentalists and modernists left a vacuum in American society that evangelicalism used to fill in common culture. Neo-evangelicals like Billy Graham emerged in this vacuum. But for the long of American history, Christians have not only been influential, but privileged.

How can a privileged majority come to see itself as a minority? Culture War Christianity accomplishes this in part by dressing itself in the Biblical and theological concept of a remnant. A faithful few of God’s people who remain loyal to God and his ways in a foreign, godless land. But this theological adaptation does not line up with the historical participation of white evangelicals in the moral establishment of the United States. Yet, the drums of Culture War for white American Christians implied a greater enemy beyond its borders. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Though the big problem of those Tea Party and conservative or fundamentalist evangelicals is that they are not at all remaining “loyal to God and his ways in a foreign, godless land” they even have betrayed God and His son on several levels. They have created some three-headed god (or three-une being) and political leaders such as Trump as their gods, and consider their American flag as their religious symbol even a Christian symbol. For sure they can not belong to the faithful few of God’s people, because they do not believe in the Only One True God and because they do not act like People of God. They themselves are part of that ‘dark world’ the Bible is talking about. And now in those times that darkness and of gloominess can be seen everywhere, they also do everything to create division and spread hate, instead of spreading the love of Christ and his great message of a world full of peace. Those evangelicals with other name Christians have made it a sport to make fun of, blacken and curse true Christians. They do everything possible to get people away from those true worshippers of God. They also have some sort of paranoia and consider all people from abroad as dangerous suspects. They fear those coming from outside America would destroy their freedom.

Stacy remarks

the drums of Culture War for white American Christians implied a greater enemy beyond its borders. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

and also see what happened under the influence of certain political figures.

The Culture Wars of white American evangelicalism was not the reaction of the minority against the majority, but the majority against a imagined majority. It is hard to avoid this conclusion given overwhelming support for President Trump. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Stacy continues writing

In the place of Jesus’ active reign today, we find American Christians given to other reigning power structures: nationalism, racism, misogyny, and bigotry. They are discipled by political—not resurrection—power. This is partly the reason why Culture War Christians took greater issue with Kaepernick’s supposed desecration of the flag than they might with his concerns over police brutality against image bearers. They operate in a power structure other than the Kingdom of Jesus. {A Theology of Culture War Christianity}

Stacys wonders

What if Culture War Christianity long ago bowed the knee to a nationalist, secular conservatism? One with its law & order politics, reticence on issues of race, and idolatry of country? {Beyond the Culture Wars}

Ans says that he has argued this in his series.

Long before white evangelicals told MLK to “just preach the gospel”, there has always been a Christianity domesticated by, and deployed in defense of, the status quo in this country. Frederick Douglass called it before any of us. And in this sort of Christianity, “make disciples” has too often been code for “make people like us” not “make us like Jesus”. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

There lies one of the biggest problems in American Christendom. The majority of Americans does not take time enough to seriously study the Scriptures. For most of them the Bible also only means the New Testament. Lots of those evangelicals also do not understand what that sacrificial offering of Jesus, letting himself be nailed at the stake, means. For them it is very difficult to grasp how a man of flesh and blood could give himself as a lamb for whitewashing the sins of many.

Some of those white evangelicals living in the United States of America are convinced they are the only ones who can  Make America Great Again and build up the most correct state. They forget how so many people before them have tried already to construct an ideal state. They should know it shall only happen under Jesus Christ that we shall be able to live in a perfect world.

Let us also not forget Niebuhr’s saying,

“any good worth doing takes more than one lifetime.”

According to Jared Stacy

This should give us pause before we entertain pragmatism to bring about change in our lifetime. It was Jesus who said,

“what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul?”

This should give us pause as we count the cost of pragmatism to reveal the Kingdom of God. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

He ends his article series by saying

After all, the cross is not a symbol of cultural superiority for white America, but of surrender and sacrifice in the Kingdom of God. We must measure our motivations by the Cross, and our methods. Take it from me. A millennial. The generation who was born in and shaped by the ‘Jesus & John Wayne evangelicalism” in its prime. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

And recognises the problem

Culture War Christianity allows you to have a Christian worldview and reject the Cross.   {Beyond the Culture Wars}

By which he hopefully means: rejecting the ransom offering of that Jewish Nazarene master teacher, Jeshua ben Josef, or Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

It substitutes other, more pragmatic means to really get things done. But in the Kingdom of Jesus the only strategy available for implementing a Christian worldview is the Cross.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

We have to do away with the false teaching in Christendom and have to go back to the Biblical teachings and keep to them, adhering to Biblical Truth and not human doctrine.

We should recognise the danger of that growing conservative evangelism.

For all it’s posturing about the morality of America, Culture War Christianity has stopped its ear to calls for ethnic & economic justice. Has tied its hands in response to sexual scandal and abuse in its ranks. Yet expresses incredulity when the world fails to take its sexual ethic seriously. Culture War Christianity can only provide more entrenchment, more combat, and more pragmatism. But crucified Christianity is growing the world over, and—as it has always done— turning the world upside down.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

Writing from Scotland, the author of the mentioned articles, wants to suggest a simple but humble invitation to venture into the wilderness as an act of faithfulness. For him,

the wilderness meant stepping out of the American pastorate, and out of America. This was my move made in faith. An attempt to combat the rise of cynicism in my own spirit, channeling it into meaningful, faithful action.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

From Moses, to Elijah, to Christ. Perhaps the wilderness is the place for those disenchanted and disillusioned, those disowned and disinherited from Culture War Christianity, to begin to see the Cross not as a symbol storming the US Capitol, but again as a place where our power grabs go to die. And where there is death to our ability to bring about change, God brings resurrection that changes everything.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

The Austrian philosopher and Roman Catholic priest known for his radical polemics arguing that the benefits of many modern technologies and social arrangements were illusory and that, still further, such developments undermined humans’ self-sufficiency, freedom, and dignity, Ivan Illich illumines what it is to be in the world, but not of it — just like Jesus.

Jared Stacy offers his words as a simple reflection in the conclusion to his series:

It is astonishing what the devil says: I have all power, it has been given to me, and I am the one to hand it on — submit, and it is yours. Jesus of course does not submit…Not for a moment, however, does Jesus contradict the devil. He does not question that the devil holds all power, nor that this power has been given to him, nor that he, the devil, gives it to whom he pleases. This is a point which is easily overlooked. By his silence Jesus recognizes power that is established as “devil” and defines Himself as The Powerless. He who cannot accept this view on power cannot look at establishments through the spectacle of the Gospel. This is what clergy and churches often have difficulty doing. They are so strongly motivated by the image of church as a “helping institution” that they are constantly motivated to hold power, share in it or, at least, influence it.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

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Please also do find to read

  1. Utopism has not ended
  2. Looking at an Utopism which has not ended
  3. My faith and hope
  4. Utopian dreams
  5. Are Christianity and Capitalism Compatible?
  6. The Upbringing of Ideas and the Extrapolation of Capitalism
  7. A famous individual by the name of Jesus of Nazareth
  8. 19th and 20th Century Shifts in bourgeoisie
  9. All that is solid still melts into air.
  10. Intellectual servility a curse of mankind
  11. The New Imperialist Structure
  12. Is Christianity a Greedy Religion?
  13. Should church members question preachers about the doctrine that is not in the Holy Bible?
  14. A History Of The Culture Wars
  15. Unhappy people in empty churches
  16. Gradual decline by American Christians
  17. Christians are increasingly mixing and matching their faith in unexpected ways
  18. Being Christian in Western Europe at the beginning of the 21st century #1
  19. The decline of religion in the US continues unabated
  20. Liberation, salvation and the Latin American voice entering the Vatican
  21. Eyes on pages and messages on social media
  22. Troubles testing your faith and giving you patience and good prospects
  23. The Most Appropriate teacher and Scoffers in our contemporary age
  24. Social media for Trumpists and changing nature of warfare
  25. Blinded crying blue murder having being made afraid by a bugaboo
  26. False teachers and false prophets still around
  27. The Field is the World #4 Many who leave the church
  28. Unhappy people in empty churches (Our World)
  29. Hardships for choosing to follow the real Christ
  30. Church indeed critical in faith development
  31. Crises of Real, Imaginary, and Symbolic Money
  32. International Proletariat
  33. The killing of capitalism
  34. The Principles of Communism – Friedrich Engels
  35. Ability
  36. Ability (part 2)
  37. Ability (part 3) Thoughts around Ability
  38. Ability (part 4) Thought about the ability to have ability
  39. Ability (part 5) Thought about the abilities to be under God’s Spirit
  40. To whom do we want to be enslaved
  41. Compromise and accomodation
  42. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  43. Not saying Jeshua is God
  44. The 17th annual White Privilege Conference a militantly Christophobic conference held in Philadelphia
  45. Faith, storms and actions to be taken
  46. Christ’s ethical teaching
  47. Obeying God rather than man & A Time to Act
  48. Entering 2022 still Aiming for a society without exploitation or oppression
  49. News that’s fit to print
  50. Beyond the Culture Wars
  51. January 6: A Failed Apocalypse
  52. Hope For, But Not In, Evangelicalism
  53. Presbyterians and Reformed Christians, membership and active involvement is part of a congregation’s DNA
  54. The Guardian’s view on the world 1st week of June

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Related

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  2. The Pharaoh and The Worker | From Ancient Egypt to The Communist Manifesto
  3. (Sunday Homily) Christianity Is Communism! Jesus Was a Communist!
  4. Bernie Reminds Us that Christianity Is Communism & Jesus Was a Communist!
  5. 7th Century Madina Economics
  6. Religion and the Rise of Capitalism
  7. Karl Marx
  8. Marx, Labor Rights and Reform in Capitalism
  9. Das Kapital (Karl Marx)
  10. Cultural Marxism versus Marx
  11. Karl Marx – the prophet of goons – Part 3
  12. All that is solid still melts into air.
  13. Wage Differentials or Discrimination: Islamic Perspective
  14. Marxists Changed How We Understand History
  15. Finding the Ideal, Perfect Community
  16. Alternative Earth
  17. Utopia! 
  18. Utopia – Thomas More ****
  19. Anarchy, State and Utopia
  20. Postalgia / Prostalgia – Is this as Good as it Gets?
  21. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
  22. Cultural Amnesia
  23. The Future of Governance
  24. False American Dream
  25. Thinking Critically about Marxism, Socialism and Communism (All in fewer than 1000 words!)
  26. The Missing Faith Dimension of the Capitalism vs. Socialism Debate
  27. A Broken system
  28. Psychological Warfare
  29. Humanities Retribution
  30. Walk The Path
  31. Reform or Revolution? A Debate (I)
  32. Reform or Revolution? A Debate (II)
  33. Editorial: what is humane socialism?
  34. The virtues of good, enlightened, accountable elitism
  35. The Radical Left Needs to Call into Question Existing Social Institutions at Every Opportunity, Part Four
  36. End of capitalism as we know it
  37. The Future is History
  38. The true believer
  39. Research Resources: Communism in America
  40. “A Spectre is Haunting Europe…”
  41. Finding the Ideal, Perfect Community
  42. So You Think Capitalism Is Evil
  43. Capitalism: The Ultimate Empowerment
  44. Capitalism: Misunderstood
  45. On the Current Conjuncture
  46. The discipled political church
  47. Veneration (Gilbert and Gilbert)
  48. Christianity and Idealism (Van Til)
  49. Brief Insights on Mastering Bible Doctrine (Heiser)
  50. A Field Guide on False Teaching
  51. Andrew McWilliams-Doty looks at evangelicals
  52. Evangelical: Leave It or Love It?
  53. How the term Evangelical has grown to blur theology and ideology
  54. Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics – An Interview
  55. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  56. Is it Time to Abandon “Evangelical?”
  57. Warped Christianity
  58. The 10 Commandments in American Culture
  59. Communist Infiltration, What Did Bella Dodd REALLY Know – YouTube
  60. German priest contradicts pope and backs pornography as sexual ‘relief’ for celibates | Catholic News Agency
  61. Sports Star to Be Jailed 10 Months for ‘Transphobic’ Message
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  67. America/Brazl – After 50 years, the mission of Cimi is still “to defend with courage and prophecy the cause of the indigenous peoples” – Agenzia Fides
  68. The Christian Father -Conferences of the Men’s Group – YouTube

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Economical affairs, History, Lifestyle, Political affairs, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Welfare matters, World affairs

Cutting costs by discounted produce

As inflation in Great Britain reached 11.1pc in October, with food prices soaring even further – fuelled in particular by a significant rise in the cost of dairy products such as cheese and milk, as well as pasta, eggs and oils supermarket Tesco found it appropriate to have their customers looking at their reduced prices goods in a different way.

The third-largest retailer in the world measured by gross revenues and the ninth-largest in the world measured by revenues, the British multinational Tesco, headquartered in Welwyn Garden City, England, renamed the “Reduced to Clear” section of their supermarkets to make it more appealing to customers, as a growing number of shoppers look to discounted produce to cut costs.

Tesco

The new permanent signage will be installed in 100 stores by Christmas Credit: Tesco/PA

The look of the chain’s “Reduced to Clear” areas were found to have put buyers off the same as we can find it here in Belgium when chains mark their goods with “Reduced in price due to out of range” or “Nearly out of date”.

When the supermarket indicates that a product has expired, hardly anyone wants such a product. But if a product is close to its expiry date, this does not mean that the product (with its shelf life) is bad then or even in the first few days after. The bottom line is that we should be much more careful with our food and not just throw it away when the so-called safety date has passed.

As we have seen the prices of gas, electricity, petrol, petroleum and food skyrocket in our parts in recent months, consumers have resolved to get their supplies as cheaply as possible.

Of those who tend to look out for marked down products when out grocery shopping, a lot of customers look for reduced prices. In Britain 71pc said it’s a cheaper option when they want to eat the food straight away, whereas 51pc seek out discounted foodstuffs to stock up the freezer.

Tesco’s rebranded “Reduced in Price” section aims to accommodate customers by offering cheaper alternatives. It will

“offer reassurance that these products are just as nice”

as the non-discounted ones, the retailer has said.

Tesco offers fresh produce such as salads, meat, bread and sweet treats which are close to their expiry date at a discount to get them off the shelves – which the company says also helps to reduce food waste.

Shoppers can also pick up marked-down end-of-season produce or discontinued grocery items.

Meat products were the most popular items in the “Reduced to Clear” section, followed by ready meals, vegetables and then desserts.

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Filed under Ecological affairs, Economical affairs, Food, Headlines - News, Lifestyle, Welfare matters, World affairs

Teen transforms chip bags into blankets

By taking discarded chip bags and turning them into blankets, a 12-year-old girl in Wales is helping both people in need and the environment. Alyssa started her project in August 2021, and in the last year has collected almost 10,000 chip bags to make 200 blankets. She works on them after school, and said it takes about an hour to finish a blanket.

“Each packet has to be opened out so it’s flat and then washed in the sink,”

Alyssa told BBC News.

“Then you take four of them, put them under a piece of baking paper, and iron them so that the heat fuses them together. Finally, you sandwich the … packets between two thin sheets of clear plastic, and you use the iron again to seal that in place.”

Chip bags aren’t easy to recycle, Alyssa said, and she’s happy to have found another use for the packaging while helping others. Alyssa and her mother give the blankets — along with gloves, socks, toothpaste, and other essentials — to local organizations in Wales that can distribute the items to people who are homeless.

“You wouldn’t think you could turn a crisp packet into something so helpful,”

Alyssa told BBC News, but people “like the blankets because they’re really lightweight and waterproof.” [BBC News]

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Filed under Ecological affairs, Economical affairs, Headlines - News, Lifestyle, Positive thoughts, Welfare matters

Invitation to the news platform that brings a view of the world

Dear Reader,

There is so much news — and too many voices — competing for your attention today.

Do you know that we provide a site where we present news from all over the world and do not mind going deeper into certain facets of facts everyone should know or should receive attention (according to us) .

Some view on the World”  does just that what the title of the website is called. It wishes to bring a view of world affairs. It wants to be a Journal for you and provides unbiased news and perspective to keep you well-informed and entertained.

In addition to general press reviews, you will be able to find articles that deal with environmental issues and take a closer look at how we, as human beings, must take responsibility, not only ethically and politically, but how we must behave towards other living beings and respect nature. Towards respecting other beings, racial discrimination comes to the fore, but also how we in the West sometimes look strangely at other cultures. We believe that getting to know other cultures and religions better can help to better understand and accept “that otherness of those people”. In today’s society, people do not like to talk about religion, but on “Some View on the World” we certainly do not shy away from that subject, and we even think it is important to talk about God and commandments.

As on this overview site, we believe it is important to let diverse voices have their say. Therefore, at that view of the world, you can find reports from several newspapers and writers from all kinds of directions or different political movements.

Today, we would like to invite you to feast your eyes on that website too, pay it a visit and (who knows) also subscribe to it to receive free daily news in your mailbox.

A warm welcome!

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Filed under Announcement, Cultural affairs, Ecological affairs, Economical affairs, Educational affairs, Headlines - News, History, Lifestyle, Nature, Political affairs, Questions asked, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Welfare matters, World affairs

People everywhere should send a clear message to the fossil fuel industry and their financiers



Quote of the week

“I urge people everywhere to send a clear message to the fossil fuel industry and their financiers: this grotesque greed is punishing the poorest and most vulnerable people, while destroying our only home.”

United Nations Secretary-General  Antonio Guterres sharply criticized oil and gas companies for making record profits from the energy crisis which has left some of the world’s poorest people on the brink of survival

 

 

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Filed under Economical affairs, Lifestyle, Quotations or Citations, Welfare matters

As Expected

Pressing Pause

Dana Milbank of The Washington Post is a hero. He tried Trump’s Twitter knock-off, Truth Social, so we don’t have to. His conclusion:

“Seems Trump’s social media venture is headed the way of Trump University, Trump’s Atlantic City casinos, Trump’s charities, Trump mattresses, Trump steaks, Trump clothing, Trump perfume, Trump lighting, Trump floor coverings, Trump eyewear, the Trump presidency and American democracy.”

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Filed under Economical affairs, Headlines - News, World affairs

J.B Mackinnon’s The Day the World Stops Shopping: Book Review

A very good question is to wonder if we have to buy things or to exchange things, and what would happen if we come to a society where nobody shall have to shop.
For sure in this capitalist world there is too much individualism and greed for having personal things, no matter what it might cost to others or to nature, to have those things in personal possession.

Sabbaths or Sundays used to be days when everybody took time for themselves and/or for God, not being bounded to work or material goods. Many, in the past, considered that one day of the week as a ‘holy’ day, in which there was no place for material gain, but all the more for spiritual gain. There was that one day in the week that people stopped, relaxed, and recharged for the week ahead, and stopped consuming for the day.

But in the capitalist world, such time for oneself is considered damaging the economic world and our society, which has continued to thrive on the expenditure of money. Money has become the modern god. Most people have come to worship Mammon, the god of money, and feel bad if they become limited or restricted in their game of gaining more and more personal stuff.

People should come to understand that the way of consumerism like it has gone with a bullet train since the 1980ies has to be stopped. Demarketing, the concept of using marketing to dissuade people from consuming, or encouraging them to consume less, offers a solution that marketing could provide to the problem of climate change and overconsumption.

 

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Preceding

P5 The Empire we’re in: Individualism & Consumerism

Summer holiday time to knock and ask, and time to share

Watch out

What climate activists can learn from Sunday School leaders

Less… is still enough

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Additional reading

  1. A look at materialism
  2. Capitalism and economic policy and Christian survey (Our World) = Capitalism and economic policy and Christian survey (Some View on the World)
  3. Gang Fascism: How Capital Weaponizes the Social Ills It Creates
  4. Daily thought for July the 8th and the Summer months
  5. Today’s thought “Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (March 23)
  6. A way to prepare for the Kingdom
  7. Utopism has not ended
  8. Entering 2022 still Aiming for a society without exploitation or oppression

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Related

  1. When Will Enough Be Enough? Our Society Has a Serious Obsession with Growth.
  2. Overconsumption
  3. Overconsumption is what happens when an ecosystem can no longer sustain the use of its resources
  4. Overconsumption: uncovering the dark side of economic growth
  5. On overconsumption and Christmas shopping
  6. A Reality Check and A Challenge 
  7. The Unedited Truth About Why Americans Are So Unhappy In Life
  8. “I Don’t Want to Know”
  9. Column: Overconsumption has no place in the holidays
  10. overconsumption and the dulling of the senses
  11. The Occupiers Claim: Working for A Living is Slavery
  12. The case against consumerism: Part 1 – The real cost of our everyday purchases
  13. P5 The Empire we’re in: Individualism & Consumerism
  14. Consumerism’s Effect on Creating an Addictive Society – Pt. 3
  15. Buying more stuff won’t make you happy
  16. 11.11 sales are a symptom of the greater disease of mindless consumerism
  17. Green Consumerism: Who Cares About The Environment?
  18. “…Drop your weapons of greed and gluttony …for when you do, peace will return to society….”
  19. Sustainable Fashion: Less is More
  20. Explaining Fast Fashion
  21. The Curse of Fast Fashion
  22. Supply line panic
  23. There is no green growth
  24. Hunger Cycle
  25. From Sustainable Development to Developing Sustainability
  26. Overcoming Overconsumption
  27. Choosing a time to listen to God

Working Zillennial

What if the world stopped shopping? J. B. Mackinnon shines a light on the damaging effects of overconsumption on the planet and our health, wellbeing and happiness.


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P5 The Empire we’re in: Individualism & Consumerism

In the previous weeks, the government had made sure that the anti-vaxxers had no reason to demonstrate and/or smash things up.

12-storey floor of retail area inside of Berjaya Times Square shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Mainstream churches have also opened their doors to the general public, but as before, the Corona Crisis, the huge shopping centra are and remain the main ‘worship temples’. There, in those shopping malls, people feel most at ease and satisfied that they can buy anything they want to own again.
For them, the big shopping mall is a sacred place to pay homage to their god (Mammon), money.

Consumerism has gone so far that lots of people when they buy something are even not interested in what the ecological footprint might be of what they buy.

Even though most people have become slaves to money, and therefore slaves to their employers, it is up to the Church to make those people realise how they have gone off the rails with their way of life and money-making.

It is up to the believer in the One True God to show people that there are much better ways than the worship of money, by which people are chained.

After the war in the Middle East seemed to have come to an end there was again a new war, the Russians invading Ukraine, we can see that Gog stood up and tries to go south to enlarge its world to get back a Great Russia or USSR. Others wonder who or what that “One World Government” seeking world domination might be.

Many do not want to know about God and His commandments and laugh at the idea of one world government or theocracy. The idea of living in the last days seems for many ridiculous whilst others think we can clearly see the signs indicating we are close to the times of the return of Christ, of experiencing the end of the world, there was something dramatic, inspiring, exciting about it all.

 

+

Preceding

Material gain to honour God

Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world

Looking for the consummation of presents

The Proper Place of Excess

Earth’s pandemic and T-shirts for young people

The meaning of life – Finding purpose

++

Additional reading

  1. Looking at an era of international “youth culture”
  2. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  3. Not everything has to be reciprocated with money
  4. An other trait for faith in Jesus and his God
  5. Good to make sure that you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy
  6. Hamas the modern Philistines
  7. The post-Christian world
  8. Today’s Thought “Flee these things” (May 24)
  9. Today’s Thought “Keep your life free from … ” (June 06)
  10. Today’s thought “Flee these things. Pursue …” (November 23)
  11. Mark 10 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Mark 10:23-31 – The Difficulty of Money
  12. Not created to be on our own (Our world) = Not created to be on our own (Some View on the World)
  13. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  14. True riches
  15. Count your blessings
  16. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #1 The Son of man revealing
  17. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
  18. Last days and destruction of the flesh
  19. Hope For, But Not In, Evangelicalism

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Related

  1. P1 This might not be the End, but it sure feels like it / A.J. Hendry
  2. What Does Larry Cohen’s THE STUFF Say About How Easily We Are Manipulated and Our Weaknesses Exploited?
  3. America’s Shopping Addiction
  4. The case against consumerism: Part 1 – The real cost of our everyday purchases
  5. Extreme individualism is on the rise
  6. Individualism and Individuation
  7. Individualism in the Age of Social Media
  8. Covid Evidence: Supply Vs Demand Shock
  9. Community or Consumption: Social Ecology in Greater Manchester
  10. Consumerism’s Effect on Creating an Addictive Society – Pt. 3
  11. Time for a radical farewell to overconsumption
  12. Is sustainable consumption fundamentally an issue of inequality?
  13. The Money Problem
  14. The control of money is where the true power lies – but only because of the way we think
  15. On conspiracies, apocalyptic Christian nationalism, and how bad eschatology is ruining the world / Michael Frost
  16. Tightened Covid curbs spark protests, riots across Europe
  17. Be prepared – last-days spiritual warfare is intense
  18. Is this how the End of the World begins?
  19. What Shall Be The Sign Of Thy Coming? And Of The End Of The World?
  20. Food For Thought
  21. A Gate out of hell
  22. In the Miso Soup
  23. Quote of the day (20-Apr-2022)
  24. Make more pies
  25. Which attitude is better for our society?
  26. The importance of the individual and the individual vs the group
  27. Relationships help with resilience, not individualism
  28. 4/1/22 – Individually Individual
  29. Buying Stuff for Stuff
  30. Dang, I shopped.
  31. The Free Gift!!
  32. Green Consumerism: Who Cares About The Environment?
  33. faith in Christ for each other
  34. A Saviour for the world, the Samaritans, and our individualistic selves (Growing Deeper with John 4:27-42)
  35. Saved from what? (And For what?) [Sermon]
  36. Breaking free
  37. How to Buy Less and Buy Better with the Less But Better Method
  38. J.B Mackinnon’s The Day the World Stops Shopping: Book Review

When Lambs Are Silent

This is part 5 in a series where we will be exploring and imagining how faith communities, and our community in general, may need to evolve in order to adapt to our changing times. You can find part 1 herepart 2 here, and part 3 here.

In our last piece we discussed how our society, though regarded as secular, is very much shaped by its own God’s that demand allegiance and require our worship and sacrifice. We named these as Individualism, Consumerism and White Supremacy. In our last piece we dealt with the latter, in this article we will be talking about the former two.

Throughout the lockdown there has been calls to open various shopping centres, lament’s that we have not been free to shop, to browse and buy. And in Auckland last week, as Covid restrictions began to ease, the great Temples of this age…

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EU to snatch Kremlin’s oil and gas profits to rebuild Ukraine

Event 6 April

The European Union is planning to seize a share of Russian energy revenues from gas and oil imports to Europe to pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine. Under the plan a chunk of revenues, which have totalled €19 billion since Russia invaded Ukraine, will be diverted from Russian energy companies to an “escrow” bank account before being used for aid to Kyiv. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, signalled the escalation in sanctions when EU ambassadors met to discuss a ban on Russian coal imports and a possible timetable for an oil embargo.

“These sanctions will not be our last sanctions. Yes, we have now banned coal. Now we have to look into oil and the revenues that Russia gets from these fossil fuels,”

she told the European parliament.

“We really have to make an effort, for example to take a share to an escrow account, so that we will really limit the source of revenues of Russia from fossil fuels. This has to end, and this is the next step we will have to take together.”

Comment

Russia relies on selling gas to pay its bills. Russia will earn nearly $321 billion from energy exports this year, an increase of more than a third from 2021. However this calculation changes completely in case of an embargo on energy sales. The invasion of Ukraine has shocked Germany and its European Union allies into a radical shift in energy policy, and the bloc is rushing to cut its dependence on Russia. The war in Ukraine is therefore driving a wedge between the East (Russia) and the West (EU). This division is what we expect to happen.

Revelation 16 makes clear that the dragon (Russia) and the beast (the EU) are separate entities when Armageddon happens. There is no mention of the dragon in Revelation 17 only the beast. This is because the dragon does not exist (is not part of the beast) when it makes war against Christ /saints.

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast [not Russia]. These shall make war with the Lamb, (Revelation 17:12)

Andy Walton

> Find the Weekly World Watch to download.

 

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As Europe Sends $300 Million per day to Russia for Oil and NatGas, TotalEnergies Looks After Customers in Tricky Decision

After the serious and unfounded accusations of “complicity in war crimes” leveled against TotalEnergies, the Company shares with its stakeholders its principles of conduct regarding its Russian related businesses in order to allow them understand how our Company is acting in a responsible manner. Considering the worsening conflict, TotalEnergies is also taking new steps.

TotalEnergies is a minority shareholder in a number of non-state-owned Russian companies: Novatek (19.4%), Yamal LNG (20%), Arctic LNG 2 (10%) and TerNefteGaz (49%). These companies are managed by their own staff with a limited number of secondees from TotalEnergies. TotalEnergies is also a 20% partner in the Kharyaga joint venture operated by Zarubezhneft. The Company did indeed contribute to the construction phase of these companies’ projects but has no activity or operational responsibility on those sites.

CarrZee Carbon

On Social Media.

This is a fascinating post from the Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne and some biting comments about how big business should / shouldn’t react to war. TotalEnergies isn’t abandoning Russia like other companies because that would hurt its customers.

Comments range from:

Sorry,Patrick Pouyanné. Time and again, you pick profits over morals as your primary responsibility to your shareholders. Shame on you for failing to rejectevil.

to

Very well stated Patrick. Thanks for your leadership especially in the face of this complex and dynamic situation……..energy just as water will always remain [a] potential weapon. Sanctions are easy to announce but often implementation comes with unintended consequences.

Here is a snip of Pouyanne’s Post

Patrick Pouyanné• Chairman and CEO at TotalEnergies — 1d • Edited •1 day ago

Responsibility requires us to seek answers to complex, sometimes dramatic,situations.

We are all deeply affected by the conflict in

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Thought For the Day: The Way To Crush the Bourgeoisie Is To Grind Them Between the Millstones of Taxation and Inflation

ALOHA PROMISES FOREVER

“The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.” – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924)

Make no mistake, this is what some of the Democrats including the Biden Administration are trying to do to the United States of America.

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Sanctions are crippling the economy of ‘Fortress Russia’

March 4, 2022

A shuttered stock market, close to default, business boycotts and a rush to the cash machines: the Russia economy is on its knees just eight days into the invasion. The scale of the looming economic collapse has clearly alarmed Russia’s business elite following a tidal wave of Western sanctions with oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin breaking cover to criticise the invasion. JPMorgan warned on Friday that the country is facing a hit as great as Russia’s 1998 financial crisis, predicting an 11pc peak-to-trough GDP plunge. The Centre for Economics and Business Research expects a 14pc hit in lost output in Russia over two years.
Oil and gas is still flowing from Russia to Europe, keeping a vital revenue source for its economy and the Kremlin intact.  But shoppers and industries, including banking, shipping, aviation and retail, are already feeling the heat as the West severs economic ties and turn Russia into a pariah state.

In just over a week Russia has suffered an economic meltdown. And worse is too come. The Economist said this week that the sanctions introduced by the US / UK / EU on the 26th February are causing “financial mayhem” in Russia causing Putin to increase Russia’s nuclear alert level. With incredible foresight, Brother John Thomas wrote these words in 1848,

“Let the Russian treasury be as empty as it is said to be, and its expenditure exceed its revenue by double the alleged deficit, it will only operate as a pressure from within, causing her autocrat [Gog], to enter into countries, and to overflow and pass over, and to enrich himself with the spoil of those he is destined to subdue.”

Ezekiel wrote

And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords (Ezekiel 38:4)

The hook in the jaws is the lure of spoil in Israel (gas/oil) required by Gog to replace lost revenues in Europe…

Andy Walton

Find the Weekly World Watch: Download Weekly World Watch

+

Preceding

Looking at a “Man from the North” endangering the world

++

Additional reading

  1. 2022 Political hotchpotch
  2. Ukraine Crisis Reading List
  3. Nuclear-War Risk Minimized in Rare Statement by Weapon States
  4. Putin puts Russia’s nuclear force on high alert
  5. US insight from the Independent for the first week of March 2022

+++

Related

  1. What is really at stake?
  2. Is A Third World War Likely?
  3. The end is here
  4. Is this how the End of the World begins?
  5. Kooks with nukes
  6. Nuclear War and unaskable questions
  7. When did national leadership become synonymous with global destruction?
  8. Prominent Russian Journalist Quits, Says She Fears ‘We’re On The Brink Of A Nuclear War’
  9. Should using nuclear weapons be a war crime?
  10. The World Failed To Take Adolf Hitler Seriously And Paid The Price, We Would Do Well To Take Putin Seriously And Get Prepared For Nuclear War
  11. War and prejudice
  12. NATO is dead as is our leadership
  13. Dallas Professor: American Concern About Ukraine ‘Inexorably Intertwined With Nuclear Weapons’
  14. “Close the sky!”
  15. The Letters of Last Resort
  16. I do not believe that nuclear war will take place: Russian Foreign Minister informed
  17. Rescuing the Future | Me and (I hope) you vs The Apocalypse
  18. Why we don’t want a nuclear conflict
  19. Is Russia Intentionally Losing Soldiers So That Putin Can Convince His Generals To Unleash The Nukes?
  20. What if the nuclear missiles were to hit in 20 minutes?
  21. Frida Berrigan: Worried about nuclear war? You can actually do something to prevent it
  22. Stop chattering about nuclear war!

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Many may feel there is little reason to give thanks this Thanksgiving Holiday

For more than two years, our world is facing a period of distress, where many of us are also challenged by difficulties to do our work and to have contact with others.

Several church groups probably will have the same questions as we receive and have to give reasons for their members to continue in the faith. In many church communities, these days are normally of good cheer, lovely family time and time to thank God.

Several people now wonder if they can rejoice in God no matter their circumstances. For many, it is clear that they are not enjoying a glorious or nice time. Some have lost their job and income, and once more they are facing a new lockdown.

We may not forget it was not always a delightful time for people of God. Can you imagine it must have been when they were used as slaves in Egypt and on top of that they had to cope with several plagues. They, too, lived in a time when not so many wanted to worship the One True God.

Ramses II, like all the pharaohs, claimed to be divine. Because he did not want to let Israel go, Jehovah set the stage for a long struggle between this distrustful ruler with an outsize ego and a prophet with a new understanding of Jehovah and His Power.

The flow of the White Nile is fairly even throughout the year because of consistent equatorial rains. The Blue Nile, on the other hand, originating in the headwaters of the Ethiopian highlands at the time Moses was bargaining with Ramses, got very high and wild by excessively heavy summer rains in Ethiopia. That flow washed powdery, carmine-red soil from the slopes of the hills. Around the Lake Tana region the blood-red torrent picked up bright red algae (known as flagellates) and their bacteria. Since there were no dams at that time, the Nile flowed blood-red all the way to the Mediterranean. It probably reached the delta region in August. Thus, this rare natural event, it is held, set in motion a series of conditions that continued until the following March. Nature seemed to have lost its course, and people got bullied by plagues of the frogs, gnats and mosquitoes.

Further, there were times men of God, like Moses, David, Elijah, and Isaiah had no easy time. With ups and downs in their life, they tried to keep their faith and trusted God, praying to Him for His Help and comfort. Some, like David felt miserable at a certain time, but knew it was better to fall in the hands of God than in the hands of those who think they own the world.

“David said to Gad,

“I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”” (1Ch 21:13 NIV)

Yes it is even known that we as human beings can come in a time of inevitable distress.

“Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:7 NIV)

“”Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1 NIV)

We should know that our life will not always as easy as we would love it to be. Even those who seem to be so strong shall have to face moments of weakness and of difficulties.

“All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.” (Ec 2:23 NIV)

“If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!” (Pr 24:10 NIV)

“You have shown your people desperate times; you have given us wine that makes us stagger.” (Ps 60:3 NIV)

“The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.” (Ps 116:3 NIV)

Today there are lots of people who came to blame God for what is happening to this world today. Job saw likewise but refused to blame God.

“In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (Job 1:22 NIV)

When looking at our present situations, we should think of all those people who are living under the open air, in hot but also very cold conditions, not having enough food, having babies crying of hunger and pain. How many in our world of plentiful think of those in the poor countries and of those who have to live in places where wars are already such a long time part of their life.
When they would think more about them, they would see how blessed they really are. What if we would consider this Corona plague as once again testing from God?

“2 “If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! 3 It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—no wonder my words have been impetuous.” (Job 6:2-3 NIV)

“For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.” (Ps 66:10 NIV)

“All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.” (Ps 73:14 NIV)

Russian icon of the prophet Habakkuk

An 18th-century Russian icon of the prophet Habakkuk, member of the tribe of Levi, (Iconostasis of Transfiguration Church, Kizhi monastery, Karelia, Russia)

Those men of God complained also at certain moments, but they also found time to thank God for all the good He also had done for them. In ancient times, the professional prophet of the Temple from the 7th century bce (probably between 605–597 bce) Habakkuk at a time when there did not come the necessary blossoms on the trees, no fruit on the vines and the produce of the olive failed, he and the people were in distress because the fields yielded no food.

“17 Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, (Hab 3:17 NIV)

Even when the flock was cut off from the fold, and there was no herd in the stalls, he knew from Who all the good things came forward. Overlooking what was going on, he recognised it all was not so bad as to what others had to endure. Therefore, he was willing to rejoice in the Most High and was willing to exult in the God of his salvation.

18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. (Hab 3:18 NIV)

Also in this period of a pandemia we should look up to the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, the Most Powerful God, Who is our strength and can make our feet light and swift  like the feet of a deer, so that we can tread upon the heights.

Habakuk sang and played cheerful music to the leader with stringed instruments.

19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.” (Hab 3:19 NIV)

Habakkuk had wrestled with his God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, and struggled with the realisation that this Unique and Only One God was going to use the godless Chaldeans to judge his people Judah for their rebellion. Habakkuk’s struggle was ultimately one of wrestling with God.

Today some people also have that feeling, but they should know it has no use to battle with God. One is better to battle with the world, and go in against all that keep claiming one has not to be vaccinated or one has not to protect oneself against the Coronavirus.

What we need more than anything in life today is renewed vision of God and to see things from God’s eye’s point of view. We should accept that He has given man the possibilities to battle this virus, so we should trust those scientists and be thankful that they can be instruments in the hands of God. Likewise, we should be thankful that all the medic staff can be an instrument in the hands of God. Out of respect to them and to the Divine Creator, we should protect ourselves and others, avoiding getting infected.

In the past, more than one man, prophet, king or judge, appointed by God trembled. More than once, those men of God knew for Whom to look and Whom to trust. Even when it took longer than they had hoped, they were willing to wait and to be patient. They found the power to wait on the Highest.

The prophet Isaiah knew what God had already done for His people and what He was still going to do. He also did not have it always easy, but he relied on God.

This Thanksgiving Day let us pray to our God and express our thankfulness for being with us in these difficult times.

“You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall” (Isa 25:4 NIV)

Giving thanks to God helps us do just that.

 

+

Preceding

Facing our existence every day

Many opportunities given by God

Time to be strengthened, thankful and to be prepared

Are you doing Thanksgiving

Altitude begins with an attitude of gratitude

The Gift of Giving

++

Additional reading

  1. What is life? (Our World) = What is life? (Some View on the World)
  2. The time of year we remember our many blessings
  3. 2016 Thanksgiving and politics (Our world) = 2016 Thanksgiving and politics (Some View on the World)
  4. Give your worries to God (Our World) = Give your worries to God (Some View on the World)
  5. Life in gratitude opens glory of God (Our world)Life in gratitude opens glory of God (Some View on the World)
  6. Beginning of a festival of lights
  7. Hanukkahgiving or Thanksgivvukah
  8. Thanksgivukkah and Advent
  9. Coming to Thanksgiving day 2020
  10. Good time to sort out your friends and contacts
  11. Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light
  12. Making sure to be ready and to belong to the escaped ones
  13. Fragments from the Book of Job #2: chapters 12-20
  14. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  15. Ability (part 6) Thought about the ability of God’s Provision Bringing Glory (Our World) =
  16. Ability (part 6) Thought about the ability of God’s Provision Bringing Glory
  17. The chosen ones to fear or not to fear (Our World) = The chosen ones to fear or not to fear (Some View on the world)
  18. Signs of the Last Days
  19. In Coronatime thinking about death
  20. Today’s thought “When in need of encouragement” (May 18)
  21. Today’s Thought “Leaving you an example” (June 12)
  22. Today’s thought “Rooted and built up in him” (November 14)
  23. Today’s thought “The grace of God … training us” (November 27)
  24. Today’s thought “Crying to God” (August 04)
  25. If your difficulties are longstanding, try kneeling (Our World)If your difficulties are longstanding, try kneeling (Some View on the World)
  26. God my fence, my hope for the future (Our World)God my fence, my hope for the future (Some View on the World)
  27. Prayers for Rulers
  28. Thanks for our fathers
  29. Let them thank the Lord for …
  30. Thanking God by thinking of people (Our World) = Thanking God by thinking of people
  31. Give thanks to יהוה! For He is good, For His kindness is everlasting
  32. Bring praise to the Creator
  33. Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
  34. Always rejoicing Praying constantly Giving thanks for everything
  35. Praise Jehovah, ​You people

+++

Related

  1. When does physical stress become toxic? – Eustress & Distress –
  2. What is Distress? A 11-step guide to what distress is and how it can help you manage it.
  3. Confused about which way to go?
  4. A little less… stress.
  5. If God is Real, Why Does He Allow Bad Things to Happen?
  6. The Changing Seasons and The Unchangeable God
  7. Every day
  8. King of the Valley
  9. “Have Mercy On Me, O Lord, For I Am Weak” #2368
  10. God Is Our Safe Haven, A Place to rest our hearts
  11. My Father!
  12. Nov 8 May the Truth set us free
  13.  November 18 – Fully Sufficient
  14. Thanksgiving Boulevard
  15. God, Grace, and Gratitude

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State capitalism and climate emergency

A continued look at {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

Continuation of

Capitalism and relevance to climate change

Capitalism and The environmental record of the communist world

In his article “Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it” Gezwin Stanley confirms that the climate emergency couldn’t have happened without fossil fuel driven industrialisation. But there is more:

human technology plus the very human inclination towards short termism tends to result in environmental degradation. It isn’t just capitalism that caused the climate crisis. But it is clear that capitalism, or rather the different varieties of capitalism, meaning any system where the few both control and benefit from the engines of wealth creation, the very same productive forces that can damage the environment, while also being best able to use their position to shield themselves against any environmental side effects, did and will dramatically exacerbate environmental damage. And, comparing state capitalism with private capitalism, it isn’t markets or consumerism that appeared to make the difference: the West had those in abundance, but the Communist world did not, and the outcomes were similar: critical environmental crises. The implication is that mass-scale industrial technology, combined with the control of that economy by a few who are compelled to strive for growth at all costs and to disregard, even deliberately hide, all externalities, is sufficient to cause environmental collapse, even if consumerism and insufficiently democratically regulated markets really don’t help. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

We must remember that important pressures contributing to current and future ecological collapse include habitat loss, habitat degradation, and habitat fragmentation, monocultures, overgrazing, overexploitation of ecosystems by humans, human industrial growth and overpopulation. The Soviet Union sinned against the respectful use of the earth by the practice of growing the same crop each year on a given acreage. The Soviet government found out, to its shame, that their large-scale plan of mass production or to produce huge quantities of cereals, vegetables and fruit, impoverished the country and did not produce good harvests. This because nonlegume crops usually exhaust the nitrogen in the soil, with a resulting reduction in yields. When they wanted to make the fertility level of the soil higher, they introduced fertilisers that poisoned the soil. The idea of greater flexibility in planning the system to meet year to year changes in the need for various crops, failed dramatically with food shortages and starvation as a result.

That environmental damage will be even more extreme if the masters of the economy, under private or state capitalism, are actively competing with each other whether for profit or to hit targets mandated by some dictator’s latest five year plan. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

writes Gezwin Stanley, admitting that

 the vital experiment, of a technologically advanced society that combines political and economic democracy, hasn’t as yet really been tried, perhaps because it is so offensive to the powerful and power-hungry.

Would such a society be able to better balance environmental and economic concerns? It certainly seems likely in theory, but in practice all we have to go on are smaller scale examples, often embattled and created despite huge challenges, such as the Zapatistas in Mexico or Rojava in Kurdistan. While environmentalism is a core thread of the ideology of both these movements (see for example: “What the Zapatistas can teach us about the climate crisis” or “Rojava is trying to build a green society”), how that would play out in the long term, in more stable conditions and at scale, has still to be determined. Though social democracy may be precarious, because the super-rich often buy politicians, parties and media influence, the historically more thorough-going social democracies may offer a clue as to what would be possible environmentally if economic control was more democratic, with (again according to the World Bank figures here: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC) per capita carbon dioxide emissions in 2018 for Denmark being 5.8 tonnes, for Norway 7.0 tonnes and for Sweden 3.5 tonnes, compared to the USA at 15.2 tonnes, though the Nordic countries are at a similar level of technological advancement and average prosperity and overall have a colder climate. The same figure for the Russian Federation is 11.2 tonnes per capita and for considerably poorer China 7.4 tonnes. It may also be worth contrasting how Scandinavia confronted the problem of acid rain from the 1970s with how the former Soviet Union attempted to “bury” its multiple environmental crises. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

For him, it is no wonder that the state-capitalist communist countries of the past or the present were the cause of environmental calamities.

There have been more human generated greenhouse gas emissions since 1990 than in the rest of history (see this excerpt from “The Uninhabitable Earth”, published in 2019). Nor should we ever forget the whole corporate funded global disinformation campaign of climate change denial , and now “greenwashing”. For example, Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, but it funded climate change denial for 27 more years. None of this is surprising as the richest have an incentive to care least about climate change, because they can most easily escape its effects, from basing themselves in less affected countries, through being able to afford air conditioning, coastal defences and other protections to participating in the growing market for elite bunkers and safe havens (see “‘Billionaire bunkers’ that could shelter the superrich during an apocalypse”).

COP15 Logo.svgIf the economies of at least the most technologically advanced and richest nations had been run along lines of distributed economic power, of economic democracy as described here: https://gezwinstanley.wordpress.com/what-is-economic-justice-and-how-can-we-create-it/ , then there would most likely still have been a climate crisis. We are not angels. But without hugely powerful billionaires willing to conspire to deny climate change, and able to rig the political debate in many countries such as the USA, we would have acted a decade or two, possibly three, sooner. For example, the climate change deniers’ “Climategate” conspiracy in 2009 sabotaged the Copenhagen COP15 Conference and alone may have set back progress a decade, while none of the conspirators or those enlisted to help with the subsequent public relations have ever been brought to book. All that lost time could prove to have been crucial.

To resolve this conflict of interest we need to place everyone in control of the things they need to live and make a living. Then no one can disproportionately reap the economic benefits while disproportionately avoiding the environmental costs. That ensures everyone has an incentive to co-operate to create environmental regulations, pricing, taxes and subsidies, that avoid collective catastrophe, because no one can rig the deadly serious economic “game” of balancing economic output against environmental costs by largely reaping the economic benefits while passing most of the environmental impact onto someone else. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

 

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Filed under Ecological affairs, Economical affairs, History

Capitalism and The environmental record of the communist world

Continuation of Capitalism and relevance to climate change

When looking at the pollution in communist countries questions can be posed if those communist regimes were somehow unable to regulate the use of their common resources.

Nice to notice that Gezwin Stanley finds it more reasonable to posit that the communist failures were also failures of capitalism, specifically “state capitalism”, the economic system in which the state undertakes business and commercial (i.e. for-profit) economic activity and where the means of production are nationalized as state-owned enterprises (including the processes of capital accumulation, centralised management and wage labour). He writes:

The environmental record of the communist world, once it finally started to be revealed with the fall of the Warsaw Pact and the at least partial “opening up” of China to Western business interests, was, at times, disastrous. The proposition is essentially that ownership makes owners take more care of the environment, and that the communist record is one huge tragedy of the commons (for example, see: “Marxism and the Failure of Environmental Protection in Eastern Europe and the U.S.S.R.”). {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

Though in the idea of communism is included the ownership of everybody of everything. Everything is namely part of that what we are allowed to use or to be confronted with. We do not own the world, but we may use the world, as having it in loan. As such in communism is expected that everybody shows respect for the goods of others and for the nature where we are allowed to live in.

We agree that in the communist system we have seen it evolve in the wrong way, in the Soviet Union going to dictatorships as Stalinism and Leninism, which have not much to do with real communism, as well with the hypercapitalism we can see now in the Republic of China.

The communist world’s track record on the environment really is rather catastrophic. The most infamous examples include the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, the shrinking of the Aral Sea and the irradiation of northern Kazakstan by the Semipalatinsk (present-day Semey) nuclear testing site. The Soviet record in terms of air and water pollution is also very poor. Shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, in the early 1990s, Russia’s Hydrometeorological Service, which monitors air quality, reported that 231 out of 292 cities exceeded maximum permissible concentrations (MPCs) for particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, or carbon monoxide, with eighty-six cities exceeding MPCs by a factor of ten. At around the same time 75 percent of Russia’s surface water was polluted, 50 percent of all water was not potable according to quality standards established in 1992, and an estimated 30 percent of groundwater available for use was highly polluted (http://countrystudies.us/russia/25.htm). {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

Gezwin Stanley looks at (a) communism where there is an economic system where the things that people need to live and make a living are controlled by the few. For him it doesn’t have to mean “free” markets as many capitalists aim for and sometimes achieve oligopoly or monopoly.

Also, though “control” normally means “legal ownership” that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case: there are situations where very effective control of the things that people need to live and make a living is possible without formal legal ownership, from a company where directors are able to laud it over shareholders to the situation we are about to explore: state capitalism in the Soviet Union.

One very clear reason why we should take the concept of “state capitalism” in Marxist-Leninist regimes seriously is that it is not an invented phrase imposed on such regimes after the fact. It was, in fact, a phrase use by Lenin himself in 1918, not to describe a state of affairs that should be avoided, but as a stage in a plan to modernise Russia as part of its road towards socialism. Basically the idea was that, to transition to a system where the workers would take over the means of production, large-scale, centralised industries had to be created first, under state control, but using the techniques and expertise of capitalists.

The main aim of “state capitalism” was therefore to build, in relatively backward and agrarian Russia, the very capitalist enterprises that the workers could later control as part of socialism. From the very inception of Soviet “state capitalism” though there was a secondary aim: to modernise the economy of Russia so that it could better defend itself militarily against foreign hostility. In 1918 Russia had just lost a war to a much more industrially advanced Germany. This was a further driver influencing the nature of state capitalism in the Soviet Bloc that would persist for the duration of the Soviet Union. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

Here was how, in 1918, Lenin who claimed that World War I had transformed laissez-faire capitalism into the monopolist state capitalism, described his plan for state capitalism:

“What is state capitalism under Soviet power? To achieve state capitalism at the present time means putting into effect the accounting and control that the capitalist classes carried out. We see a sample of state capitalism in Germany. We know that Germany has proved superior to us. But if you reflect even slightly on what it would mean if the foundations of such state capitalism were established in Russia, Soviet Russia, everyone who is not out of his senses and has not stuffed his head with fragments of book learning, would have to say that state capitalism would be our salvation.

I said that state capitalism would be our salvation; if we had it in Russia, the transition to full socialism would be easy, would be within our grasp, because state capitalism is something centralised, calculated, controlled and socialised, and that is exactly what we lack: we are threatened by the element of petty-bourgeois slovenliness, which more than anything else has been developed by the whole history of Russia and her economy, and which prevents us from taking the very step on which the success of socialism depends.” (Session of the All-Russia C.E.C. April 29 1918: https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/apr/29.htm)

The greatest problem is man’s love for power and control and often when people come to power they start enjoying their status and often want more. Often those who got in power want to stay in power and do not want to share their power with others.  The article writer notices this also and writes

once a state capitalist system under the control of Communist Party apparatchiks was created, any transition to actual socialism was stalled indefinitely.

Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin, secretary-general of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–53) and premier of the Soviet state (1941–53), misusing his power eliminating everybody whowas in his way or did not agree with his ruling (and dictatorship).

“State capitalism” had severe effects on how the Soviet system would deal with environmental concerns. As with western style capitalism this was partly because those in control had much more to gain by, say, maximising production, than they had to lose through environmental degradation. It was those at the top, higher up the party structure, who by driving up their production figures, could gain promotion or at least, at times, and especially during Stalin’s rule, avoid being purged. Also, as ever, it was those at the bottom who were generally least able to escape the effects of environmental degradation, as in the “exemplar” Soviet steel producing city of Magnitogorsk, where party officials enjoyed a comparatively luxurious life in the wooded “American town” that was originally built for specialists from the United States in 1930, while many workers lived in barracks where filthy conditions and a lack of clean water contributed to the spread of deadly disease ( see “The secret history of Magnitogorsk, Russia’s steel city”). {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

Magnitogorsk: monument

Magnitogorsk: Monument depicting a steelworker giving a sword to a Soviet soldier, Magnitogorsk, Russia. – Photo © ekb/Fotolia

The whole command and control system of the Soviet Union felt compelled to drive for economic growth at almost any cost, and did not mind losing lives for it. It became so bad that there was an obsession with economic growth and with high status on all levels, but in particular in sports and arts, like ballet. Any opposition to the ideas of those in power had to be killed by the root, as that could endanger targets.

The “Plan” and the careers, or at times lives, of individual apparatchiks. Similar to how in the West the climate crisis was first concealed with well-funded and orchestrated denial and then greenwash, in the Soviet Union the true state of the environment was kept hidden by deeming environmental statistics to be state secrets. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

Next: State capitalism and climate emergency

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