"I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another." Isaiah 42:8
The great end of God in Christ was the manifestation of his own glorious attributes—a simple truth, but big with comfort, for should the sinner who has been an atrocious offender against laws human and divine conceive himself to be an improper subject for the grace of God, I would take him by the hand, and lest despair drive him to further sin, I would put this truth clearly before him. Where is mercy most glorified? Is it not in passing by the greatest offenses? Thou hast great offenses; there is room in thee for mercy to be greatly displaced. Where is grace glorified? Is it not in conquering the most violent passions? Thou hast such; grace may therefore be glorified in thee.
Why, great sinner, instead of not being a fit subject for grace, I will venture to say that thou art in all respects one of the most suitable. There is elbow-room in thee for grace to work. There is room in thine emptiness for God’s fullness. There is a clear stage in thy sinfulness for God’s superabounding grace. But you have been a ringleader in the devil’s army. Yes, and how can God strike a more telling blow against the hosts of darkness than by capturing you?
But you tell me that you are an enormous sinner. How will the Lord of love encourage other sinners to come better than by calling you? For it will be rumoured about among your fellow-sinners:-“Have you heard that such an one is saved?” I know they will jeer, but still, in their secret hearts, they will think it over, and they will say, “How is this?” and they will be led to enquire into the ways of God’s grace.
If the Lord saved men because of their merits, there would be no hope for great sinners, nor indeed for any one; but if he saves us for his own glory, that he may magnify his grace and his mercy among the sons of men, then none need despair.
Up to the very gates of hell would I preach the gospel, and between the jaws of death would I proclaim it. God to glorify his grace sets free the captives, then why should not the most hell-deserving sinner, whose heart is like hardened steel, yet become a monument of Christ’s power to save? I remember one who used to say that if God would but have mercy on him he should never hear the last of it, and it may well be the resolve of all of us, that earth and heaven shall never hear the last of our praises if grace shall but save us.
From Victor Emmanuel, Emancipator, a sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon on Isaiah 42 in 1871 in Newington, England
There are songs from the past that just never age. “I Only Have Eyes for You” is one of those songs for me. It was originally recorded in 1934, but found like again in 50’s and 60’s through covers from Peggy Lee and later The Flamingos (the most popular version). In the late 90’s it was featured in one of my personal favorite episodes of Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and now it’s being featured in Doug Aitken “Song 1” art installation for the Hirshhorn Museum in which he’s asked 6 artists to contribute covers of the song. Beck, being the most notable of those artists (others inclube No Age, Devendra Banhart, and High Places), also turns in the most traditional, and in turn, gorgeous, cover. Give it a spin (or head over to Pitchfork to hear all six) and get lost in the haunting, gorgeous, doo wop, pop gem that still feels fresh, but also lost in time. Highest recommendation.
Only 58 percent of Boomers have more than $25,000 put aside for retirement, so the rest will either starve or the government will have to pay for them. But the government’s future ability to pay is decreasing rapidly precisely because the Boomers splurged so heavily during the Bush and Clinton years. Public debt per person in the United States currently stands at $33,777. George W. Bush inherited a public-debt-to-GDP ratio of 32.5 percent and brought it up to 54.1 percent during a period of economic growth. (The money borrowed from the future paid for massive tax cuts, with no serious reductions in domestic spending, two expensive wars, and a prescription-drug benefit added to Medicare.) Under Obama, the debt-to-GDP ratio has risen to 67.7 percent and is projected to rise to 74.2 percent this year.
This is no conspiracy; no nefarious backroom deal by political and corporate overlords. The impasse of the moment is, tragically, the result of the best aspects of the Boomers’ spirit. The native optimism that emerged out of the explosively creative postwar world led them to believe that growth would go on forever; that peace and prosperity were the natural state of things. Their good intentions seem like willful naivete today, but the intentions were genuine. Clinton actually believed that globalization would export the First World rather than bring the Third World home; it did both. The prescription-drug benefit was the “compassion” in compassionate conservatism. All those tax cuts were intended to liberate opportunities, not destroy them.
Cynicism rises to fill the emptied space of exaggerated and failed hope. It’s all simple math. If you follow the money rather than the blather, it’s clear that the American system is a bipartisan fusion of economic models broken down along generational lines: unaffordable Greek-style socialism for the old, virulently purified capitalism for the young. Both political parties have agreed to this arrangement: The Boomers and older will be taken care of. Everybody younger will be on their own. The German philosopher Hermann Lotze wrote in the 1870s: “One of the most remarkable characteristics of human nature is, alongside so much selfishness in specific instances, the freedom from envy which the present displays toward the future.” It is exactly that envy toward the future that is new in our own time.
And we will not talk about any of it. We will keep mum. We will hold our tongues lest we seem ageist, lest we seem bitter, lest we seem out of touch, lest we seem pessimistic, lest we seem divisive.
Let’s say you just graduated from high school.
College, right? You have to go to college. That’s not just what your career counselor told you. That’s in the numbers. If you go to college, you’re significantly less likely to lose your job. The pay of college graduates has risen over the past twenty-five years and everybody else’s pay has declined. Which curve do you want to be on?
And yet, at the exact moment when an education has never been more necessary, education is increasingly out of reach. From 1980 on, the price of attending a four-year college has risen by 128 percent. While the price has spiked, the quality has tanked. Students at college in 2003 did two-thirds the homework that students in 1961 did. In a survey published in 2011, 45 percent of students showed no improvement in “critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing” after two years of college. You did not read that incorrectly: That’s no improvement. None. And how could the results be any different? Three decades ago, 43 percent of professors were adjuncts. Now, with colleges bloated by older, tenured professors who take up huge slices of academic budgets while teaching crumbs of courses, the vast majority of classes are taught by adjuncts. On college campuses, the supposed hotbeds of liberalism, the young are instructed primarily in the mechanics of crony capitalism.
Once you’re out of college, you’ll have to intern. Again, no choice. The practice of not paying young people for their labor has become so ingrained in the everyday practice of American business that we’ve forgotten how bizarre and recent the development is. In the early 1980s, 3 percent of college grads had had an internship. By 2006, 84 percent had done at least one. Multiple internships are common. According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, more than 75 percent of employers prefer students who have interned or had a similar working experience.
Employers have feasted on despair — and these aren’t internships for struggling small presses or rarefied design companies. Subsidiaries of General Electric, a company worth $200 billion, employ them regularly as an “important recruiting tool.” Disney uses eight thousand of them in dismal working conditions. Jennifer Lopez Enterprises uses them. So does The Daily Show. So does the pope. And because internship programs are sheltered from the violation of labor laws by the complicity of universities that give students “credit” for them — as long as the students pay thousands of dollars for those credits — American companies can operate these programs for the most part hidden from scrutiny. The best study of intern life in America found that companies save annually around $2 billion from pseudo-employment.
But maybe you’re an overachiever — instead of interning, you want to get a master’s or a professional degree. With entry to the professions comes another opportunity to be taken advantage of, and it’s not just the inherently ridiculous price of a creative-writing M.F.A. or journalism school, where on some level, everybody understands the students are being played for suckers. The cost of medical school has spiked over the past three decades. In 1981, average medical-school debt was less than $20,000. Today it is $158,000. Law-school tuition rose 317 percent between 1989 and 2009 while American laws schools wildly increased the number of lawyers they graduate. Naturally, a glut of lawyers decreases their value. So kids pay more for a worse education that leads to lesser prospects in order for the schools to prosper temporarily. Even for doctors and lawyers, an accrual of property or any rise in net worth happens much later in life than it did twenty years ago. The standard debt-repayment plan for physicians is ten years, but twenty-five is a commonly accepted option. For the new professional class today, life begins at forty. That’s not just an expression.
And if you didn’t take your high school advisor’s advice to go to college? Well, you should have listened. What goes for the white-collar young person applies even more ferociously to the blue-collar world, or what’s left of it. The nature of the generational setback for unionized labor can be summed up in a single devastating phrase: New workers will earn a “globally competitive wage.” Manufacturing jobs, having been exported to the Third World, are now returning to America at Third World rates. Newer workers at unions across the country earn ten to fifteen dollars an hour less than established workers, and the unspoken but widely reported understanding with the AFL-CIO is that the wage of these workers will not increase. In other words, Boomer workers make almost double what their young counterparts do, and will continue to do so regardless of how long a young worker stays in the same job. As one older worker in one of these bifurcated factories told The New York Times, by the time the young reach their maximum earning, their elders “won’t be here any longer to remind them of what they are missing.”
Government, academia, the professions, corporations, unions, and both political parties — all continue to mine the vulnerability of youth in service of the needs of their aging power base. Separately, each of these cases would amount to a minor scandal, but taken together they point to a broader and more significant alteration to the way of the world. From every corner of the institutional spectrum, the whole of American society has been rearranged so that the limits of vision coincide exactly with the death of the Boomers.
Nobody wants this. The Boomers did not set out to screw over their kids. The wind just seemed to blow them that way. But no matter what their motivations, a painful truth grows truer with every passing year: Through its refusal to act, the generation in power is willing to do what other generations before them would not — sell their children’s birthright for a mess of their own pottage.
The War Against Youth Part One: The recession didn't gut the prospects of American young people. The Baby Boomers took care of that.
Great article from Esquire; read all of it HERE. I’ll post Part Two shortly.
Twenty-five years ago young Americans had a chance.
In 1984, American breadwinners who were sixty-five and over made ten times as much as those under thirty-five. The year Obama took office, older Americans made almost forty-seven times as much as the younger generation.
This bleeding up of the national wealth is no accounting glitch, no anomalous negative bounce from the recent unemployment and mortgage crises, but rather the predictable outcome of thirty years of economic and social policy that has been rigged to serve the comfort and largesse of the old at the expense of the young.
Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, human potential has been consistently growing, generating greater material wealth, more education, wider opportunities — a vast and glorious liberation of human potential. In all that time, everyone, even followers of the most corrupt or most evil of ideologies, believed they were working for a better tomorrow. Not now. The angel of progress has suddenly vanished from the scene. Or rather, the angel of progress has been sent away.
Nobody ever talks about generational conflict. Who wants to bring up that the old are eating the young at the dinner table? How are you going to mention that to your boss? If you’re a politician, how are you going to tell your donors? Even the Occupy Wall Street crowd, while rejecting the modes and rhetoric and institutional support of Boomer progressives, shied away from articulating the fundamental distinction that fills their spaces with crowds: young against old.
The gerontocracy begins at the top. The 111th Congress was the oldest since the end of the Second World War, and the average age of its members has been rising steadily since 1981. The graying of Congress has obvious political ramifications, although generalizations can be deceiving. The Republican representatives tend to be younger than the Democrats, but that doesn’t mean they represent the interests of the young. The youngest senators are Tea Party members, Mike Lee from Utah and Marco Rubio from Florida (both forty). Here’s Rubio: “Americans chose a free-enterprise system designed to provide a quality of opportunity, not compel a quality of results. And that is why this is the only place in the world where you can open up a business in the spare bedroom of your home.” He is speaking to people who own homes that have empty spare bedrooms. He will not or cannot understand that the spare bedrooms of America are filling up with returning adult children, like the estimated 85 percent of college graduates who returned to their childhood beds in 2010, toting along $25,250 of debt.
David Frum, former George W. Bush speechwriter, had the guts to acknowledge that the Tea Party’s combination of expensive entitlement programs and tax cuts is something entirely different from a traditional political program: “This isn’t conservatism: It’s a going-out-of-business sale for the Baby Boom generation.” The economic motive is growing ever more naked, and has nothing to do with any principle that could be articulated by Goldwater or Reagan, or indeed with any principle at all. The political imperative is to preserve the economic cloak of unreality that the Boomers have wrapped themselves in.
Democrats may not be actively hostile to the interests of young voters, but they are too scared and weak to speak up for them. So when the Boomers and swing voters scream for fiscal discipline and the hard decisions have to be made, youth is collateral damage. Medicare and Social Security were mostly untouched in Obama’s 2012 budget. But to show he was really serious about belt tightening, relatively cheap programs that help young people like the Adolescent Family Life Program and the Career Pathways Innovation Fund were killed.
His intentions may be good — he may want to increase support for AmeriCorps — but the program shrunk last year. Three quarters of the applicants were turned away. He resisted Republican efforts to slash Pell grants by $845 per student, but then made other changes to the program that will save the government — or cost students, depending on your perspective — a projected $100 billion over ten years.
The youth vote still supports Obama, but in a chastened, conditional way. In hindsight, Obama’s 2008 campaign looks like an indulgent fantasy in which the major conflicts in life simply don’t exist. There may be no white America and no black America, no blue-state America and no red-state America, but one thing is clear: There is a young America and there is an old America, and they don’t form a community of interest. One takes from the other. The federal government spends $480 billion on Medicare and $68 billion on education. Prescription drugs: $62 billion. Head Start: $8 billion. Across the board, the money flows not to helping the young grow up, but helping the old die comfortably. According to a 2009 Brookings Institution study, “The United States spends 2.4 times as much on the elderly as on children, measured on a per capita basis, with the ratio rising to 7 to 1 if looking just at the federal budget.”
The biggest boondoggle of all is Social Security. The management of entitlement programs, already weighted heavily in favor of the older population, has a very specific terminal point that coincides neatly with the Boomers’ deaths. The 2011 report by the Social Security trustees estimates that, under its current administration, the fund will run out in 2036, so there’s just enough to get the oldest Boomers to age ninety.
For millions of Americans, this weekend is a time to celebrate redemption at God’s hand. Tonight, Jews will gather for a second Seder, where they will retell the story of the Exodus. And tomorrow, my family will join Christians around the world as we thank God for the all-important gift of grace through the resurrection of His son, and experience the wonder of Easter morning.
These holidays have their roots in miracles that took place thousands of years ago. They connect us to our past and give us strength as we face the future. And they remind us of the common thread of humanity that connects us all.
For me, and for countless other Christians, Easter weekend is a time to reflect and rejoice. Yesterday, many of us took a few quiet moments to try and fathom the tremendous sacrifice Jesus made for all of us.
Tomorrow, we will celebrate the resurrection of a savior who died so that we might live.
And throughout these sacred days, we recommit ourselves to following His example. We rededicate our time on Earth to selflessness, and to loving our neighbors. We remind ourselves that no matter who we are, or how much we achieve, we each stand humbled before an almighty God.
Christ’s triumph over death holds special meaning for Christians. But all of us, no matter how or whether we believe, can identify with elements of His story. The triumph of hope over despair. Of faith over doubt. The notion that there is something out there that is bigger than ourselves.
These beliefs help unite Americans of all faiths and backgrounds. They shape our values and guide our work. They put our lives in perspective.
So to all Christians celebrating the Resurrection with us, Michelle and I want to wish you a blessed and Happy Easter. And to all Americans, I hope you have a weekend filled with joy and reflection, focused on the things that matter most. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.
”—President Barack Obama Easter Address, April 6, 2012
HERE are two things about Easter that hop: the bunny and the date.
Unlike the fixed star of Christmas, Easter moves with the planets. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after March 21, the vernal equinox.
It was Dionysius Exiguus, a sixth-century monk who worked out the formula for the date. In so doing, he accomplished two things: he doused the flames of a controversy that had burned since the second century, and he created the B.C. - A.D. system for numbering years.
Arguments over when to celebrate Christianity’s most important feast day raged early, fiercely and often. In the first and second centuries after the death of Christ, Christianity was a highly diverse landscape of regional practices and beliefs. In Asia Minor, Christians, following the Gospel of St. John, celebrated Easter on Passover, the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan. They came to be known as Quartodecimans, from the Latin for “14 days.”
The Roman practice, also followed in Egypt and North Africa, was based on the Julian calendar and on the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, which present the Last Supper as the Passover meal. It placed Easter on a Sunday, the day of the Resurrection.
Eventually, with the rising power of the Roman church, Roman practice prevailed, and at the Council of Nicaea in 325, Quartodecimanism was specifically condemned and its practitioners denounced as “Judaizers.” But it lingered on in Asia Minor and far-flung outposts for centuries.
"This may seem like a tempest in a teapot, but calendars are an important issue, regardless of the faith," said Arthur Droge, a professor of early Christianity at the University of Chicago. "If you don’t have the calendar right, that means something has gone terribly wrong."
So true. The Easter problem did not end with the Council of Nicaea, because even those churches that followed the Roman practice had different systems for reconciling the Julian calendar (based on the solar year) and the date of Passover (derived from a lunar calendar). To predict the date of Easter in years to come, Rome used an 84-year cycle. In Alexandria, whose astronomers were renowned for their skill in performing calculations, a 19-year cycle was developed.
By the fourth century, Easter was being celebrated on different Sundays all over Christendom, with the Roman and Alexandrian cycles vying for the lead. Despite a bravura effort by Victorius of Aquitaine, who came up with a 532-year cycle in the fifth century, disorder reigned.
For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake. (Philippians 1:29 )
…God will crucify without pity those whom He desires to raise without measure!…
God wants to crucify us from head to foot-making our own powers ridiculous and useless—in the desire to raise us without measure for His glory and for our eternal good….
Willingness to suffer for Jesus’ sake—this is what we have lost from the Christian church. We want our Easter to come without the necessity of a Good Friday. We forget that before the Redeemer could rise and sing among His brethren He must first bow His head and suffer among His brethren!
We forget so easily that in the spiritual life there must be the darkness of the night before there can be the radiance of the dawn. Before the life of resurrection can be known, there must be the death that ends the dominion of self. It is a serious but a blessed decision, this willingness to say, “I will follow Him no matter what the cost. I will take the cross no matter how it comes!”
Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter. Christians remember it as the day of the Last Supper, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and established the ceremony known as the Eucharist.
The night of Maundy Thursday is the night on which Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The word maundy comes from the command (mandate) given by Christ at the Last Supper, that we should love one another.
In Roman Catholic churches the anthem Mandatum novum do vobis (a new commandment I give to you) would be sung on Maundy Thursday.
In many other countries this day is known as Holy Thursday.
Maundy Thursday ceremonies
In Britain, the sovereign takes part in the Ceremony of the Royal Maundy.
This ceremony, held at a great cathedral, involves the distribution of Maundy money to deserving senior citizens (one man and one woman for each year of the sovereign’s age), usually chosen for having done service to their community.
They receive ceremonial red and white purses which contain coins made especially for the occasion. The white purse contains one coin for each year of the monarch’s reign.
The red purse contains money in place of other gifts that used to be given to the poor.
In the 17th century, and earlier, the King or Queen would wash the feet of the selected poor people as a gesture of humility, and in remembrance of Jesus’ washing the feet of the disciples. The last monarch to do this was James 2. The ceremony of the monarch giving money to the poor on this day dates back to Edward 1.
Pedilavium: the washing of the feet
Roman Catholic church services feature a ceremony in which the priest washes the feet of 12 people to commemorate Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples.
It was common in monasteries throughout history for the Abbot to wash the feet of the monks in a similar gesture.
Some other churches nowadays also have foot-washing ceremonies as part of their Maundy Thursday services.
The consecration of holy oil
In Roman Catholic churches, Maundy Thursday is usually the day on which the supply of anointing oil to be used in ceremonies during the year is consecrated.
And as they led Him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus” (Luke 23:26).
We see in Simon’s carrying the cross a picture of the work of the Church throughout all generations; she is the cross-bearer after Jesus. Mark then, Christian, Jesus does not suffer so as to exclude your suffering. He bears a cross, not that you may escape it, but that you may endure it. Christ exempts you from sin, but not from sorrow. Remember that, and expect to suffer.
But let us comfort ourselves with this thought, that in our case, as in Simon’s, it is not our cross, but Christ’s cross which we carry. When you are molested for your piety; when your religion brings the trial of cruel mockings upon you, then remember it is not your cross, it is Christ’s cross; and how delightful is it to carry the cross of our Lord Jesus! You carry the cross after Him. You have blessed company; your path is marked with the footprints of your Lord. The mark of His blood-red shoulder is upon that heavy burden. It is His cross, and He goes before you as a shepherd goes before his sheep.
Take up your cross daily, and follow Him. Do not forget, also, that you bear this cross in partnership. It is the opinion of some that Simon only carried one end of the cross, and not the whole of it. That is very possible; Christ may have carried the heavier part, against the transverse beam, and Simon may have borne the lighter end. Certainly it is so with you; you do but carry the light end of the cross, Christ bore the heavier end.
And remember, though Simon had to bear the cross for a very little while, it gave him lasting honor. Even so the cross we carry is only for a little while at most, and then we shall receive the crown, the glory. Surely we should love the cross, and, instead of shrinking from it, count it very dear, when it works out for us “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”