Gospel, hurricanes, monsoons, and North Korea

“9Let your love be perfectly sincere. Regard with horror what is evil; cling to what is right. 10As for brotherly love, be affectionate to one another; in matters of worldly honour, yield to one another. 11Do not be indolent when zeal is required. Be thoroughly warm-hearted, the Lord’s own servants, 12full of joyful hope, patient under persecution, earnest and persistent in prayer. 13Relieve the necessities of God’s people; always practise hospitality.

14Invoke blessings on your persecutors—blessings, not curses. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16Have full sympathy with one another. Do not give your mind to high things, but let humble ways content you. Do not be wise in your own conceits. 17Pay back to no man evil for evil. Take thought for what is right and seemly in every one’s esteem. 18If you can, so far as it depends on you, live at peace with all the world. 19Do not be revengeful, my dear friends, but give way before anger; for it is written, “‘Revenge belongs to Me: I will pay back,’ says the Lord.” 20On the contrary, therefore, if your enemy is hungry, give him food; if he is thirsty, quench his thirst. For by doing this you will be heaping burning coals upon his head. 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome the evil with goodness.”

The above is from a Weymouth translation of the Book of Romans, authored by Paul. Although sensitive to Judeo-Christian differences, I consider all authors of the “New Testament” to be originally Jewish, so the evolution (or devolution) of their thought is understood in that context.  So, I went to a Methodist church this morning. I felt the need to come to some understanding of recent events, and for me it felt necessary to hear someone else’s thoughts about G_d. Max Weber stated that there are 3 religions that can explain the incongruence between merit and destiny. I don’t the Judeo-Christian tradition was mentioned as one of them. So, the sermon was on the fact that “Life’s not Fair”. We have millions of people right now in Houston who have elephant needs and attachments to their possessions which were lost in the hurricane. Next to this, you have millions of Indians walking to school through waist-high water whose attachment to things was much less, and although 950 lives were lost, the property and infrastructure is relatively less in India. So, Houston will have to be rebuilt, and if there is anything positive to come out of this, it may be that there will not be enough money to rebuild Houston and fight wars, build walls, etc. The money rebuilding Houston and the jobs and more efficient and better infrastructure that will result from this has the potential for good.

What a time (ironically?) for problems with North Korea. So, here I don’t think that G_d is militant. If North Korea has tested a very dangerous weapon, the question remains how to handle this. There are many countries with nuclear weapons, and it is almost insanity to believe that we will get along with all of the countries forever and ever. So, the two problems that I see that could be resolved nonviolently between the US and North Korea are:
1) meeting the needs of the North Koreans for survival and well being in a context of a world that has enough resources to meet these needs. Show concern for the country.
2) North Korea does not accept that the US dictates how it should be – armed, disarmed, starving, with a different government, etc. It very likely sees the US as a threat with nuclear arms the same way that the US sees it. It would be horrible to think that these weapons are safer in a country that has the appetite that the US has, than in North Korea which is possibly defending against national survival.

Do I think morality is on either side of a war? In terms of G_d and the survival of the world, a country with less consumption is probably ultimately better for the world. I don’t think that legislating this is a solution, but I also don’t see maximum consumption legislating others on the verge of survival as being a good way forward for the world.

So, why not accept that N. Korea will become nuclear, allow them to have a life-style which is comfortable for them, and be at peace with the world.

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