Thursday, October 24, 2013

John 6, Chronology, and the Lord's Supper

         One sometimes hears that in his gospel John is not concerned with time or with timing.  That is simply false.  I often hear this assertion when I argue that the so-called “bread of life discourse” in John 6 is not about the Passover, the Last Supper, the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, which are many chapters and much time away. Consider the following items:

Day one:  1:19-28
         “on the morrow”:  1: 29-34
         “on the morrow”:  1: 35-42
         “on the morrow”:  1: 43-50
Day three:                       2: 1-11
         “after this:              2: 12
         “abode not many days”
The Passover at hand:  2: 13-22
During Passover             2: 23-3: 21
During activity of John the Baptist 4: 1ff
         “after two days”:   4: 43
         “after these things”: 5: 1-47
         “after these things”: 6: 1-21
Passover at hand:  6: 4
         “on the morrow”:    6: 22-59
         “after these things”: 7:1-13
Feast of the tabernacles:  7: 2
         “the midst of the feast” 7: 14
Feast of dedication:  10: 22-39
Passover at hand:  11: 54-57
         “six days before the Passover”:  12: 1-11
         “on the morrow”:  12: 12-36a
Before the Feast of the Passover (13:1)
         “sixth hour”: 19:14
         “preparation”: 19: 31
         first day: 20: 1-18
                  evening: 20: 19-25
         eighth day: 20: 26-29
“After these things”: 21: 1-23

*from Merrill C. Tenney,  John:  The Gospel of Belief, pp. 40, 41

Thursday, October 17, 2013

McCain, McConnell, and Graham: Why Republicans Lose

You might recall that soon after the Republicans nominated John McCain, and he nominated Sarah Palin, he held a four-point lead over Obama.  Then, as the economy grew worse, he decided to suspend his campaign and return to Washington until the financial crisis was solved.  He never again regained his lead.

By doing what he did, McCain ignored two important facts:  (1) Nominating Palin motivated the Republican base, a base that knows that the solution to our problems is not found in Washington.  That’s where you find their origin.  (2) If McCain had said that he would maintain his campaign aggressively and stay out on the hustings with the American people -- the only place where these issues can be well-resolved -- then he might have held on to win.  The base whose support put him ahead might have kept him ahead.  But just like his Democratic opponents, when things got bad, McCain turned to government and returned to Washington.  He could never convince the American voters that Washington is the problem because he didn’t believe it himself.  He believed Washington is the solution.  He still does.  So does the Republican leadership in the Senate and the RNC.  Do not expect him or them to beat the Democrats.  They share the Democrats’ ideology and solutions.  The difference between them and the Democrats is one of degree, not of kind.   Such Republicans cannot be trusted to lead conservative Republicans to victory.  Rather, they attack and marginalize the conservatives as unsophisticated.  They act as if they themselves never noticed that there can be no victory without conservative Republicans, who did in 2010 what they themselves failed to do in 2008 and 2012.  They never yet noticed that they don’t own the past or the future.  They are losers.  They have alienated their only means to victory by failing to fight for their conservative base and its ideas.  They fight against them and do to them what the Democrats themselves would love to do:  marginalize the Tea Party.  They spend more time and public political capital fighting the Tea Party than they do marginalizing the far left from its middle-left counterparts.  Why?  Because they are closer to the middle-left than to their own conservative base.

The McCain, McConnell, Graham cult will never win any significant battle in Washington because they are ideologically and tactically incapable of winning and because they do not want Tea Party ideas to prevail.  When those ideas emerge, those ideas are attacked -- by that cult -- a cult that thinks that merely by posing and primping as adults, they will win.  It doesn’t happen.  Pretending to be adults is what kids do.  They are Washington’s latest crop of kids, not its latest platoon of Conservative warriors.  They think that it is statesmanlike to feign adulthood and to denounce the warriors.

You can tell that about them because their actions and their words say so.  Then, when the warriors lose because they were undermined by their own leadership, the leadership says, “See, we told you it wouldn’t work.”

Do recall one more thing about McCain’s campaign for the White House:  He said he didn’t understand economics.  He’s right.  He doesn’t.  It’s not the only thing on which he and his ilk are a bit dull.