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St Mark's Day


H O M I L Y   G R I T S
 Saint Mark the Evangelist
 April 25, 2007        
¶ Book of Common Prayer Lectionary
Isaiah 52: 7-10 
All the end of the earth shall see the liberation of our God
Psalm 2 Quare fremuereunt gentes? Why are the nations in an uproar?
or 2:7-10 Decretum enarraturus sum Let me announce the decree of the
Ephesians 4:7-8, 11-16 Speaking the truth in love we must grow up in
every way.
Mark 1:1-15 Confessing National Apostasy
or Mark 16:15-20 By using my name they will cast out demons

At Casa Ave Maria in Managua, the mural of he Visitation, in the patio,
depicts the visit of Maria, mother of Jesus, to Isabel, the mother of
Juan Bautista, in a humble bamboo house in the hill country of
Nicaragua.  Yes, Nicaragua.  For we and they live here in a
Judea, a little vassal state on the edge of Empire.  Not the Roman,
the current world-dominating empire that we are all now embarrassed to
subjects of, since the disappearance of the Old Republic, as Gore Vidal
calls it, of which we were all once citizens, and long ago pleased to
ourselves republicans.   Now we may fuss about the
high-handedness of the
triumvirate that runs the store, while we enjoy the economic privileges
of our world domination.  In the 80's the U.S. did not permit
to choose its own government, but installed its own,  after a
terrorist war waged by the hireling Contra army in Honduras, another
puppet.  A few uears agp. when the Sandinistas were once again far
ahead in the
polls,  the empire's Proconsul, Oliver Garza, warned Nicaraguans
that a
Sandinista government would not be acceptable to his masters, and the
U.S. paid Noel Vidaurre, one of the two right-wing candidates, to drop
out of the race, so as not to split the reactionary vote. Although the
Sandinistas got more votes than they had ever got before,  the
enabled  world market 'Liberales"  profited from the
intervention, and
won the election. They were not so lucky this time, for Daniel Ortega won
presidency after years of a vacation from it,  and his wife Rosario
Murillo, won
the Evita Peron job of Primera Dama, the First Lady of the land. 
She will prove to
be more radical than her Daniel, and 'though innocent as a dove, she is
wise as a serpent,
as Jesus expects us all to be. 

Washington has arranged for U.S.-educated Pashtun leader Hamid Karzai,
 to be the Leader of Afghanistan.  He is in effect the U.S.
puppet.  Karzai frequently meets with U.S. diplomats, has also
worked as a consultant for UNOCAL an oil company, about building a
pipeline in  Afghanistan.  He keeps the RAND corporation
informed on Afghanistan and hasfour brothers and a sister in the United
States, and  regularly goes to visit them.  Afghanistan, having
exhausted the British and Russian empires, is now wearing ou trhe Land of
Hope and Glory, as well as America the Beautiful.   

Now get a copy of the New Testament to read the story in Luke's gospel. 
In our mural,  Maria and Isabel are surrounded by the Twelve
apostles--nine Nicaraguan women, three north American women,
the generations of solidarity in women's struggle for liberation, for
gospel of peace, in Nicaragua,  from Blanca Arauz, the
compañera  of
Agosto Cesár Sandino,  to Dorothy Granada, an Anglican
"Chicana" from
California, who as a nurse ministers in the hill country of Nicaragua 
the poorest.   In a lower corner of the mural,  a portrait
of the last
Somoza, Anastasio, lies burning in a Managua street.  He was trained
West Point to be the empire's C.E.O. here,  but God has put down
mighty from their seat, and his fugitive family fled to Miami and are
U.S. citizens, under the protection of the Empire.  But the churches
still teach that the Magnificat's revolutionary promises have to do with
a reversal of fortunes in the Sweet By and By and have nothing to do with
this world. Our exegesis is that the reversals will
come in our time and in our hemisphere. We may have to hire an artist 
paint some new faces on the wall.

One of the most common perversions of Easter and the hope of
is the idea of the everlasting survival of the individual personality
after death,  with extended opportunities for us to continue to
whatever might be available in the solar system's free market until it
fizzles out and we are moved to condominiums in developing 
settlements. (Hinduism rightly sees that as Hell.)  There seems to
be little concern about a rescued life for most of the people of
Afghanistan or Iraq before the Empire has finished
striking them back. Such a 'Christianity' deserves to be eclipsed by 
gospel. Hinduism has more gospel in it than that!

It has been noticed that if the world were to shrink to a village of 
persons with existing ratios there would be 30 white people and 70
nonwhite.  Likewise, 30 would be christian, and 70 non-christian.
Fifty per cent of the wealth would be in the hands of six people, and
six would be U.S. citizens.
Fifty would suffer from malnutrition and 80 would live in substandard
housing.  Only one would have a college education.   It's
also known that
six per cent of the world's people use up half the world's resources,
that six per cent is us--the U.S.    But Jesus said he
came that everyone
might have a more abundant life. That's not the purpose of the
At the birth of capitalism the Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of
England rushed to tell its foundational lie, that "the riches and
of Christians are not common, as certain Anabaptists do falsely
As well as certain writers of the Acts of the Apostles, we might add,
most of the Church's mothers and fathers.   
The Book of Acts was thus moved to the soft porn list, where
was held in common, and the apostles bore witness with great power to
resurrection."  Preaching and Praxis were united then.

The gospel revolution began the day that Isabel's husband Zechariah was
struck dumb--the old religion, with its accomodation to Empire, its
institutional management of God, was told to 'shut up, sit down, and
watch.'  God talk was now enfleshed in women while the patriarchy's
was muted.   Resurrection began before the burning babes were
born, for
the two women conspire, and a babe leaps and dances in a womb and women
sing, because a new world is on the way.  

The adolescent church is what we see in the Book of Acts, read to us in
Eastertide, to tell us how the Church went from talk to action, from
prayer to praxis, from rapping to risking, from retreat to
When church conventions meet in the U.S. they spend a lot of time on
Resolution, but none on Revolution.  They appeal for others to
the City Council or the Congress, or the President. But the Church does
not now see itself as the subject of her own history--we hear of the
"mind of the house"  and we hear the "mouth of the
house" in pastoral
letters.  If we were to rewrite the New Testament out of our
as a denomination,  we would have to replace the Book of Acts with a
of Resolutions, a Book of Talks, a Book of Good
Intentions.    The kind
of religious freedom that we have is freedom to Talk About Religion, or
to sing about it, or even--in some places--to Shout about it.  
But we do
not have the freedom to act upon it.  ("Is it lawful to pay
taxes to
Empire, or no?"' is now a question to be avoided.  "Is it
lawful to bear
arms for Caesar?" is another.  Stanley Hauerwas wrote a book
called "In
Good Company: the Church as Polis." That's  Greek for
political entity.' The Latin is civitas, the church as an organized
state,  a basileo in the language of the New Testament, meaning a
kingdom, and empire, or a people's republic.  Mao Tse Tung noticed
the way that "a revolution is not a dinner party" and the
church was seen to have "turned the world upside
down."   The world needs
to be turned upside down and it cannot be done by consumerist
denominational religion, which exists to enforce the law of the
marketplace---shop, shop, shop, till you drop, drop, drop.  
Can we begin
to think of the Church as our Republic,  our Commonwealth and our
as our passport anywhere in the oikoumene?   In his book,
Hauerwas quotes
Episcopalian George Will as holding that since Jefferson the central
purpose of Ámerica's political arrangement is the subordination of
religion to the political order of capitalist democracy.  To this
religion is to be perfectly free so long as it is perfectly private
belief) and it must bend to the political order as regards conduct.  
Tell that to Maria and Isabel.  Tell that to Juan Bautista. 
Tell it to
Jesús de Nazaret!  Tell it to Nelson Mandela, to Desmond

John Donne in his sermon on Stephen's martyrdom, preached at Whitehall
February 29, 1627,
preached that God, considered primarily in Godself is Actus Purus,
pure action, all action all Doing.  He says, "In the Creation
there is
Dixit in God's mouth--God says something, but evermore the Dixit is
accompanied by a Fiat--something was to be done as well as said. 
apostles are apostles in that capacity as they were sent to
preach--that's preaching.  But when we come to see their proceeding,
is in Praxi --in the Acts of the Apostles."    This
is a 17th century
Anglican liberation theologian! 

When John Keble preached the his famous "Assize Sermon" in 1883
began the Catholic Movement in the Anglican Communion)  he called it
National Apostasy" because the government of Great Britain had
the right to reduce the number of bishops in the Church of Ireland. 
that a greater national apostasy than the war that the U.S. and Britain
have declared on Islam?  Islam will win this fight,  'though it
may take
Keble called the Church to renew its spiritual connections and shed its
establishment. Everywhere now  the Anglican churches are in turmoil
-- struggling over the
same underlying issue:  Is this Church a puppet state of the
government and the
dominant imperial culture?    We will haven't resigned our
role as the handmaid of power.   sit. A Quaker friend said to
me yesterday he could never be an Anglican so long as the Church of
England as so closely connected to the Royal Family.   I
reposted that the
Quakers had a connection with President Richard Nixon, too,  who
one.  The establishment bothered my Quaker friend,  and
apparently it
bothered Margaret Thatcher when Archbishop Runcie refused to take sides
in the Empire's war on the Malvinas, to wrest them back from Argentina.
The Archbishop is after all a civil servant of the British
as U.S. clergy see themselves as privileged religious

The Word was made flesh and lives among us, and is murdered among us, 
the Jesuits slaughtered in El Salvador, by U.S. sponsored terrorists, 
and the young Seattle engineer, a Jewish boy named Ben Linder, was
murdered at El Cua in Nicaragua by U.S. sponsored Contra .  In
them,sermons got up and walked around and were murdered.  As in Dan
Phil Berrigan,  sermons got up and walked around and were
jailed.   The
homily is made human, tortured and raped, by soldiers of  the School
the Assassins, in Georgia, paid for by your tax
dollars.     Catecheis is
dangerous to the status quo,
and thrown from a U.S. helicopter, as was Padre Guadaloupe
Carney.   It's
the way the U.S. disestablishes Liberation religion.

In the time of Jesus the son of Joseph the carpenter  and John the
son of
the priest Zechariah, the Jerusalem Temple was controlled by a few 
families--wealthy, educated, aristocratric Sadducees.  Conservative
religion, more liberal in manners of living, they were of course
politically subservient to Empire.  Analogies to U.S. church life
into consciousness.  Into this wilderness strides John the Immerser, 
dressed as Elijah the Prophet, and proclaiming a baptism of repentance
for the forgiveness of sins.   The 'baptism in Jordan' 
was actually a
ritual exit and re-entry of the Holy Land as a cleansed and forgiven
people,  so enacting a new Exodus and Re-entry,  reclaim the
land without
corruption and collusion with the Empire, to shed these sins.  
sins  They are not listed, but may be seen in Matthew's account of
preaching, where he is recorded as  denouncing the Pharisees and
for daring to come to join the masses being immersed by John. 
warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"  A good question to
the crowds
of U.S. evangelicals, led by Billy Graham.    Their motive
for Baptism
was that one that we have inherited,  to use it as a fire escape
when the
house burns down. But for John and Jesus, it was to be the inauguration
of a new people in a renewed promised land.  John warned them,
"Do not
begin to say to yourselves, 'we have the apostolic succession from
Abraham' and don't need a new inauguration,  for I tell you God is
to raise up children to Abraham from these paving stones.  Luke
(3:10) that they asked him then what should they do, and his reply was
"Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none, and
has food must do likewise."  To the tax collectors he said,
extortion, threats, lies, or bribes, and be content with a union
This was what John thought was 'good news to the people'. And it would
good news to us even now. 

Apartado RP-10
Managua, Nicaragua C.A.
Tel. 011-505-2662165

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