Nineveh will be changed - what a promise. We really need to be changed from the inside where all our prejudices are locked up, held in place by the distance we put between our inner and the outer parts, effectively by our objectification of the world as separate from us. But we could feed the hungry and cease from kleptocracy, and bring the self-centred violence of our palms to heel - couldn't we?The violence that is in their palms - Even the cattle are complicit in the violence. The cattle in the country to the south is the political system that is locked over competing self-interest. Their violence ascends to heaven in God's face. Their evil, their evil has come up in my face, says Yahweh to Jonah.
Jonah was an outsider - we should not excuse the prophetic place from which he comes. The mortals of the first chapter learn something from him. I begin to wonder if we can learn anything from below, south that is, until it crumbles and our own complicity comes home to roost, for we too are ruled by a bullying mentality, a privilege taken for granted. Do we really need such oversight? Can those in power not see what they are doing?
The inside is as corrupt as the outside and vice versa. The Philistines are offered by David as food in this week's lesson: I will give the carcass of the army of the Philistines this very day to the fowl of the heavens and those who live in the earth. Who wants that carcass? Is this an anti-Eucharist? Or does the fore-skinned National Rifle Association need to see its sin.
No one uses the word sin any more. Secularism has no place for it. Religion controls that word, and does nothing about it either. Look at what Psalm 78 says about the sin of the religious, even the Elect, (and its not the only one that says this) -
But they added still sin against him to provoke the Most High in the arid places. And they tempted God in their heart by asking food for themselves. They spoke against God. They said, Is God able to arrange a table in the wilderness? Hey! he struck a rock and out gushed water and the torrents overflowed. Is he even able to give bread or will he prepare meat for his people?None of this Philistine host has even the stomach for prayer, to call out to God forcefully, resolutely...
Fasting and prayer - that's just another religious act. But the Ninevites changed their minds about violence. Do you think that is possible for us who depend on the stock market and the gun lobby? What if the Dow was half its value and we began to care for each other instead of sitting at a distance and wringing our hands?
The latest presidential candidate refuses a warning from his Pope. Religion should stay out of politics, says this Catholic. He is scarcely equivalent to a burning Bush. Yes, religion can stay out of politics, but the corporate error will not be without consequences. The Prophet must speak. Such is not religion, it is truth. As John Stewart notes in a video no longer available, the country to my south will not deal with its internal psychological contradictions. (It's not that it cannot).
Trillions spent on killing others to protect self,but self is not protecting self from its own demoniac character. Neither its internal psyche with its love of protection, money, and predatory desire, nor its body, individual or corporate, and not even its own home planet is safe from the consequences.
Yet 40 days and Nineveh will be destroyed.
What is mental illness? What is indoctrination? Perhaps a closed society can learn but somehow I doubt it. It seems to take too many generations to have justice. The country to the south is not an open society, and our own society, under the current leadership's attitude, is also too fearful and too much worshiping Mammon under the name of 'the economy' to know any better.