Making Conservatives Cringe Since 1977

I'm not Liberal, I'm paying attention.

06 January 2006

 

קהלת

Because man’s existence is perforated with puzzles, the pieces of which he can never assemble, his only recourse is to attain a posture of faith toward his life under the sun and to live it to the hilt knowing that someday the puzzle will be assembled by the One who created it and who will judge every deed. - Howard Baker, “Theology of Ecclesiastes”
In the ebbing days of MMV I received an assignment from A Mom in America to read Ecclesiastes. Seeing as this kind of jives with a post I’ve been meaning to write for quite some time now, I decided to take on the task. The context in which she asked me to take on this assignment involved a series of posts on her site, as well as one on mine, revolving around the elections that had just taken place in Iraq. At that time she left this comment on one of my posts:
Hey Fred, Not for nothing, but I saw something good happen today and I think you had something to do with it. Thank you and God bless! A Mom in America
I usually go out of the way to be respectful and non-confrontational with "Mom," because I appreciate her dedication to the Men and Women of the armed forces. This day, however, I couldn’t let it go unsaid that however brave and noble our troops performance in Iraq, the Administrations exploitation of America’s principled dedication to freedom and liberty was just that, an exploitation of what a patriotic citizen holds most dear. If you’ve ever dealt with a drug addict, a compulsive liar, or kleptomaniac in your personal life, you’d recognize the same signs coming from the Bush Administration with its shifting rationales for why we are in Iraq, the current one being “a free Democratic, more stable Iraq contributes to the security of America.” (kissing cousins with “we fight the terrorists over there so we don’t have to fight them here”).

The response I received had something to do with my worshiping, "The Media Culture," which apparently “John Lennon was and still is [the] face of.” It left me stunned, but not surprised. I had encountered this kind of response from her before. Instead of making a compelling statement as to the viability of Democracy in Iraq, the bulk of her response revolved around John Lennon, Jesus, and the Media Culture. It reminded me of when I had asked her for some kind of solid proof backing up her notion that Cindy Sheehan had forced the Marines to make doctrinal changes in regards to Boot Camp. Still haven’t seen anything on that.

Her choice of Ecclesiastes had the obvious pretense of making this heathen see the light of day when it came to matters of a higher power. Specifically Ecclesiastes speaks to the vanity of Man and his never ending quest for knowledge and an explanation for the world outside of any that does not include God. Wow, shades of Prometheus, huh? Those crazy Greeks, proto-sitcom writers they were. Once they found a formula the audience liked...

"The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone."

...And if you don’t I’ll chain you to a rock, let an Eagle tear out your liver every day for eternity. Wait, that was the earlier version. Modern scholars have abandoned the idea that King Solomon even wrote Ecclesiastes and posit that it,

. . . was written around 250 BCE by a non-Hellenized intellectual in the milieu of the Temple in Jerusalem. The latest possible date for it is set by the fact that Ben Sirach (written cca 180 BCE) repeatedly quotes or paraphrases it, as from a canonic rather than a contemporary writing.

Even though the wisdom contained in Ecclesiastes can no longer be directly attributed to Solomon, it does not diminish the bits of wisdom I did find contained in the book, Wisdom today’s Christians should take care to heed. The highlights are as follows:

The Vanity of Life

"He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity."

-jeez, where's Max Weber when ya need him! The Injustice of Life "I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work." -That's what I took away from it A Mom in America. My assignment to you, Mom, is to read Romans
---
Oh, and let's not forget the Irony of Pete Seger using Ecclesiastes in his music... that damn peacenik.
It goes back much further than Lennon. It's always been there, the desire for peace.

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