Tag Archives: economic

2016 trump clinton election banner

Trump Politics of Hate Vs the Table of Love

This election cycle has been filled with hatred. Donald Trump plays on people’s fears about the still-struggling economy in so many parts of the country. He blames people’s struggles to find work, any work, on immigrants and Muslims. He makes light of comments like rounding up all the Muslims to register them, and killing all the family members of terrorists. Us versus them. And he found an audience eating up all this hate speech.

I understand fear and joblessness. I have walked that terrible path. But I never blamed my Muslim and immigrant neighbors and friends. People’s struggles to find work and housing have so much more to do with bad decisions and wars under the Bush administration. Also, advancing technology independent of any administration is simply taking over jobs. We are united in our struggles, not divided.

Trump says the invisible enemy is our neighbor and friend of a different color, different culture, different religion. Plenty of people believe him. Tragically.

We have heard this same rhetoric before. Taken to its end, the hate speech leads to death. The Holocaust. The Rwandan genocide. The Bosnian genocide. Blaming the “other” for a bad economy or a country’s racial and nationalist/political divides. It’s terrifying.

Amazingly, Trump calls himself a Christian. Even more amazingly, many American Christians follow him. Endorse him. Cheer for him. Call Trump, “God’s man.” Excuse his horrible comments toward women as “boys will be boys” or “locker room talk.” As if every man treats women as objects. Evangelicals cheer, while satan laughs.

Have these people ever opened their Bible? Do they know Jesus at all? Do they even know about Jesus? When did Jesus ever scapegoat and hate entire groups of people? When did Jesus disrespect women? Instead, Jesus lifted up the Samaritan woman at the well. The Samaritan was born of hated foreigner group in Israel, she was a “sinner” according to Jewish culture because of her multiple marriages, and she was a woman. But Jesus lifted her up and shared with her the mystical secret of living water, something he never shared with the big important male religious leaders.

Trump wants to build a wall to exclude everyone who is the “other.” Jesus turns that wall into a table. He invites everyone, the rejects of the world, the poor, the homeless, the broken, the sick, the immigrant, the follower-of-another-religion who seeks the truth. Jesus feasts with everyone who seeks the truth of love, healing, and understanding. The table of the feast is the table of love.

There is no room at this table for people who hate others. The popular people of the world, the ego-driven people, the hateful people, are stuck behind a wall. They create their own walls of self-righteousness, and they reject the invitation to the feast of heaven.

Here’s news for you, Trump and all your followers, everyone who excuses and condones all your hatred. The people you reject and hate are the people who populate heaven. I’ve always wondered about those Christians who want to carpet-bomb Muslim nations, brutally maim and destroy innocent children and families and violently tear families apart through deportations, and detention centers. What would think if they found one of these precious Muslim or immigrant children in heaven, crying in the arms of Jesus?

The invitation to heaven’s wedding feast is going forward around the earth. Jesus has built his table, and he sends his sons and daughters to find the guests. These Jesus followers are often poor and hungry, thirsty, in prison, in war refugee camps, in the world’s lowliest places, looking for human love and kindness. The guests at the table are invited after they show their love by housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, visiting the prison, working in the legal system to set the innocent captives free.

After the results of the election last night, I cry over this nation and its values. They are certainly not the values of the table of Jesus, the gospel of love.

Matthew 22

Matthew 25:31-46

salvation when all seems lost

Salvation When All Seems Lost

Frequently salvation comes precisely when it appears as though all is lost.
Leo Tolstoy

I am staring at the face of fear once more. I fell and injured my ankle, and I am having a hard time healing. The pain interferes with my job, but I need to work. It is tempting to fall into the fear that all my hard work since moving to Minnesota seems lost.

The fear is a growling bear, hungry, wanting power over his cave. The fear is a prowling tiger, cunning, plotting evil against those she sees as weak. I feel the fear, but I know that the bear’s cave and the tiger’s lair will be overcome. Light always vanquishes darkness, good always overcomes evil. It is written in all our fairy tales, the Book of Life, our deep human psyche.

Fear is uncomfortable, but fear will never win. Salvation when all seems lost.

When it rains, it pours

Things were finally going smoothly in our life. I found a stable job with stable hours that paid our bills. We were treading water, even seeing dry land, overcoming our drowning unemployment over the last few years.

Then, three weeks ago, I fell and hurt my ankle. I have written more about my accident and my running shoes and ankle pain. On top of this, our apartment just unexpectedly raised the rent beginning in November. When it rains, it pours.

My boss is letting me work on crutches, which is a big relief. Still, she cut back some on my hours, and November will be a short hour month to begin with. Fear of low hours means the fear of homelessness and hunger rears its ugly head once more in our life. I am praying to Jesus and waiting for salvation when all seems lost.

In the Rain, There Is Healing

The holidays seem to be a hard time for us every year. I’m sure it is the same for all my brothers and sisters struggling in poverty. I think it is a spiritual transaction, the power and lies of Thanksgiving and oppression, the celebration of white middle class retail culture at Christmas. The holidays are merriment for the rich, hardship for the poor. This influences my view on Santa Claus.

The holidays are also a time of rain and snow, a change in seasons from the colors of fall to the repose of winter. There is healing in the change, in the rest, in the rain. The older trees understand this, and I am sure they patiently explain the winter season to the fearful young trees, salvation when all seems lost.

The healing comes in the midst of hardship. god used a flood to cleanse the world of wickedness, and he can use rain in our life to cleanse our souls, wash out the wounds left by fear and doubt, and grow us in beautiful Holy Spirit wisdom.

Salvation When All Seems Lost

Tolstoy was wise when he said that salvation comes when all seems lost. God always provides. Sometimes he waits to see if people will help before he intervenes supernaturally. Sometimes the salvation gets caught up in heavenly battles, like in the Book of Daniel. But the salvation always comes.

Father God,

I trust you in this time of fear. I trust you to heal my ankle and guide my doctors in caring for me. I trust that I will get the hours I need at work, and I trust that we will have all our basic needs met.

I pray your promises over our life, promises for a future of hope and riches of wisdom. I know you are guiding me, preparing me for greatness and redemption of my hardships and story.

Jesus, I patiently and boldly await your salvation when all seems lost.

Amen

Eric Duncan uninsured

Eric Duncan Uninsured Ebola Patient

Thomas Eric Duncan went to the hospital seeking care for a deadly, and highly contagious, disease. The hospital staff saw his race and his lack of insurance and sent him home. Eric Duncan uninsured Ebola patient, died. Now Ebola virus is spreading in the United States.

Eric Duncan Uninsured and Black with Ebola

Thomas Eric Duncan, whom friends called Eric, was a Liberian immigrant to the United States. After a recent visit to his Ebola-stricken home country, Eric came back home to America and fell sick. He must have been relieved to be covered by the world’s greatest medical system. But, tragically, unlike the other white, wealthy, insured Ebola patients who recovered in America, Eric Duncan was uninsured, so he faced closed medical doors and ultimately death in America.

This NBC-5 Dallas Fort Worth article outlines the timeline of Eric’s treatment.

It is tragic to me that Duncan is the only patient who has died of Ebola in the United States, and he is the only black patient. All the white patients received a higher standard of care. They were all hospitalized and isolated at first sign of Ebola. They all received medication, including cutting edge, experimental drugs, early in the disease process. They received blood transfusions. They all had treatments delayed or denied to Eric Duncan.

All the white patients recovered. Eric died. Racism? Not overtly, but probably a subliminal devaluing of black life versus white life. Beyond racism, though, I think there is a much clearer explanation why Duncan was not treated in a timely manner.

Thomas Eric Duncan was uninsured in America.

I have written about my personal experience of breaking my ankle while uninsured. It was horrible, but nothing compared to the hell Duncan went through. Because of his suffering, he is now a martyr at Gods’s throne, crying out for holy justice in the United States.

Standard of Care Different for the Uninsured

According to this Forbes Magazine Article, one quarter of all Texans are uninsured. These patients face closed doors and grim medical outcomes. Texas, like too many other states, has refused to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

When Eric Duncan showed up at the Dallas hospital, the first thing nurses would have done is ask for proof of insurance. That would determine the standard of care. Imagine the scene. The nurse looks at Eric’s chart before she steps in the room.

“Uninsured.” Big strike one.

She knows he must be poor. Strike two.

She opens the door and sees Eric. Black. Strike three.

Course of action: Stabilize and release. Quickly. Efficiently. Cheaply.

She takes his temperature. Fever: high 101. She asks about his pain. Pain: high 8/10

She writes that in the chart. He says he recently came from West Africa, but she may think that is irrelevant. Stories are still conflicted whether that was written in the chart.

The doctor comes in. He knows the patient is uninsured, therefore he knows to stabilize and release. Quickly. Efficiently. Cheaply. He declares sinusitis and sends Eric home with an antibiotic.

I’m not making assumptions about the character of the doctors and nurses. Perhaps they were kind or concerned. Almost certainly they were white and from a background of privilege that would influence how they view a poor black immigrant. Even if they were not personally racist, I’m sure they assumed that he could not afford the medical bill. Whatever their personal view on insurance, they followed hospital and Texas state protocol on treating the uninsured. Stabilize and release quickly and cheaply as possible.

Uninsured Ebola Patient Dies and Disease Spreads

Two days later, Eric goes back in an ambulance with a high fever, vomiting, diarrhea. Deathly ill. Highly contagious.

He languishes in the hospital while there are delays in testing his blood, delays in treatment. There is a supposed shortage in experimental drugs. Who knows if this is true. Uninsured patients are not profitable for pharmaceutical companies and expensive drugs.

Three excruciating days later, Eric Duncan dies. His soul flies to the heavenly dimension. There is no requirement for insurance in heaven, and he is attended by the highest healing touch of the angels. His family mourns on earth and joins him in pleading with God for justice.

Holy justice.

Now we see the dread disease spreading in Dallas. One nurse, Nina Phan, is already in isolation with Ebola. She is insured and receiving the highest standard of treatment. The state is even taking care of her dog, for fear the dog might be an Ebola carrier.

The dog is being treated at a higher standard of care than Eric Duncan was. Only in America is a dog’s life valued more than an uninsured man, a black man.

Today there was news that another nurse has tested positive for Ebola, and she recently took a plane flight between Dallas and Cleveland. Every passenger on that plane was exposed, possibly spreading the disease all over the United States.

This is tragic, frightening, and just. This is holy justice. Because America has refused to offer medical care to the uninsured as a human right, the country is reaping the consequences of its heartlessness. A contagious disease is a natural consequence of refusing to treat people. Eric Duncan is a martyr, but hopefully his blood is not in vain. There is still time to repent and change our ways. We can stop this disease if we throw open the hospital doors to anyone needing treatment. Love and compassion will conquer pain and disease.

I pray our nation wakes up. Rest in peace, Eric Duncan. You are no longer uninsured and facing the heartlessness of a system set up against the poor. Enjoy heaven.

hobby lobby birth control debate, Hobby Lobby building

Hobby Lobby Birth Control

Hobby Lobby Birth Control: The Fear Bring to Life into America

There has been so much talk lately about Hobby Lobby birth control and the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act birth control mandate. There are many ramifications on religious and social freedom and women’s rights. One example is this NBC News article:

Supreme Court On Birth Control: What Hobby Lobby Ruling Means

While these are valid concerns, I think we need to have a frank discussion about how this issue highlights women’s fears as well as women’s rights. Life is one of the greatest fears in the United States.

Too many women fear to bring new life into this dark society.

Hobby Lobby Birth Control and Desperate Poor

Women decide to take birth control for many reasons, and they should have the right to make their own medical decisions. But also, we cannot forget how many women are taking birth control out of fear and desperation. They long for a baby to love and add to their family. But low wages, lack of maternity and child care, and unfriendly government policies toward the poor make child bearing a fearful prospect for working families.

Hobby Lobby birth control decisions affect the struggling working class employees of this “Christian” employer. Is this what Jesus would do? Or would Jesus show compassion and love to these poor women and families?

I think Jesus would negate the need for birth control taken out of fear by providing for the poor working class. Perhaps Hobby Lobby should show this same compassion if they want to be “Christian.”

No Compassion for Working Families

My husband and I would love to have a second child. My heart aches for the possibility of unrealized life. Sadly, we battle a bad economy created by the endless war spending of the neoconservatives combined with housing bubble created the greed of Wall Street, harming almost all Americans.

The struggle of the national economy is personally compounded for us by our tragedy and rejection from our religious community and total support network. All this destruction has made me the primary bread winner of our family. No matter how hard he tries, my husband cannot find work. And if he did find a job, all of his income would be swallowed by child care. Without a second income, we struggle to leave the ranks of the working poor.

Working families in the United States face a lack of protection and compassion. Maternity protection is all but nonexistent. Federal law mandates twelve weeks leave for new mothers, but this is unpaid and only applies to large employers (over fifty employees). I work for a small business, so I could lose my job if I took time off to give birth. My boss is nice enough to probably not do that to me, but even so, I would only be able to take a week off unpaid before we could not pay our bills.

One week for a newborn baby. This is barbaric.

This is far less protection than most other countries offer, developed and developing alike. Check out this Huffington Post article and infograph. Lesotho, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland are the only countries other than the United States that do not guarantee paid maternity leave.

Think about that for a second. Even failed countries, floundering countries, dictatorships, and occupied countries guarantee maternity pay and support for new families. Somalia, Burma, North Korea, and Iran all have maternity laws.

The problem is compounded by lack of affordable child care in America. Child care  for one preschooler averages $1000 per month here in Minnesota. Toddler and infant care is even higher. No wonder Hobby Lobby birth control coverage worries their employees. Care for just one child could easily take most, if not all, of their pay check.

Clearly, the United States does not value life. At least the life of the poor.

The Christian Right Does Not Truly Value Life

The Christian right proclaims day after day how much they love the unborn, but once that little life takes its first breath, their care and concern ends. This is especially true if the child is born into poverty or a family that practices a non-Christian belief system or lifestyle. The Christian right has tremendous political power in America, but instead of passing legislation to help families with maternity leave and child care, they consistently pass legislation slashing safety nets and harming the poor.

The Christian Right loudly proclaims that only the “responsible” couples with good jobs should have children. Then they picket in support of Hobby Lobby birth control legislation. It makes no sense.

Unless you consider the Christian adoption industry.

It is tragic how so many scared women, even teenagers, still children themselves, knock at the doors of crisis pregnancy centers, only to be condemned for their “moral failings” and pressured into adopting their babies to “good” and wealthy Christian families. They are condemned, and offered no support, financial or moral, if they want to keep and nurture the little life hidden inside, perhaps their only hope in a world of pain. Ironic how this happens so much more often to poor and minority women.

No wonder women are afraid to bring life into the world and need birth control coverage at their jobs. Life is the great American fear. We are truly a nation far from God, who is the author of all life.

victim of oppression, feet in bondage

Victim of Oppression

The Victim of Oppression Has Few Choices

Here’s a popular quote, attributed to an unknown source, that comes across my Facebook far too often:

Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You and ONLY you are responsible for every decision and choice you make. Period.

There is a popular idea in the Christian and the New Age communities that there are no victims, only “bad choices” or challenges on one’s “life path.”In this magical thinking, there is no inequality or oppressive systems of hierarchy.

The Christian right occasionally talks about helping the poor, but they qualify it with a bunch of statements about how the “true” poor only live in developing nations. Somehow, in their twisted mind, there are no true poor in America because “all Americans have big screen televisions and cell phones” or some other nonsense.

I am not trying to downplay the poverty and horrors people face in other places, especially war-torn countries, but there are so many people suffering so greatly within American borders, too. There are many victims of oppression in America. Victims of racial barriers to employment and justice. Victims of generational or situational poverty created by oppression. Victims of the housing crisis, a bad economy and other faces of an American system oppressive to the poor.

Both the New Age and the Christian right are guilty of throwing around the loaded word, “choices,” saying there are no victims of oppression, only people who make bad choices. Or the worst, Christians proclaiming that people are lazy and have a “victim mentality.” Somehow I do not find this anywhere in the Bible. This is blasphemy, and I never use that term lightly.

Look again at the quote. “You and only you are responsible… ” As if we all live in an individual bubble of equality. Think about the meaning of “choices.” Consider the “victim mentality” insinuated in this quote. It is an ignorant statement spoken from a position of power and privilege.

If you are fortunate in this society, if you have Money, the right connections, the right skin color, a nice upbringing, good health, and other privileges, then you have many choices, a plethora of decisions big and small. But if you find yourself at the bottom of society’s hierarchy, through birth or through tragedy, your choices become ever more narrow.

The Choices of Power versus the Choices of Oppression

Consider these sort of choices:

Choice of privilege: Should I take this meaningful, enjoyable job, or the other offer that pays better? Or do I have enough savings to start my own business?

Victim of oppression: Can I find any work to keep my electricity on for another month?

Choice of privilege: Can I get a good rate on a mortgage in the suburbs, or should I keep paying rent on my luxury apartment in the city?

Victim of oppression: Should I go home to my abusive husband or should I spend another night in the homeless shelter?

Choice of privilege: Should I enroll my child in this desirable school district or would private school help more in college admissions?

Victim of oppression: Should I send my child to school today? Will she get bullied or shot? Will his teacher even believe in him, try to prepare him for college?

Choice of privilege: The budget is tight. Should I give up cable or consider a more limited cell phone plan?

Victim of oppression: The budget is tight. Should I give up this week’s groceries or should I risk being late on the rent? Again?

In the heartbreaking choices above, I see people who are victims. I see people who have been victimized by a bad job market, by abusive spouses or parents, by a terribly unequal housing and school system, by a lack of living wages, and by many other situations. Per the quote above, yes even the weather can create victims when hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, and fires destroy people’s homes and jobs.

Jesus Loved the Victim of Oppression

Jesus never once spoke of a “victim mentality” or “choices” leading to poverty and oppression. But he had much to say about helping the poor and the weak, about the Father looking on these victims as precious sons and daughters in his kingdom.

Jesus opened his Sermon on the Mount by saying, “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) People argue that poor in spirit doesn’t mean physically poor, but the Greek here can be translated “reduced to a beggar” (Biblical Hermaneutics). Jesus hung out with “sinners” and prostitutes, the victims of oppression in his society. He loved them and never blamed them for “choices.”

As a society, we must wake up and show compassion to all the victims. Stop oppressing and blaming and making foolish statements about choices.

Start loving. This is the cross of Jesus. This is the way of holy justice.

empty room, child looking in melancholy

The Empty Room

I just quit my day job at the preschool where I have worked for the last year. The situation became very suffocating, and I have better opportunities ahead of me. Here are my feelings about the empty room I leave behind, the empty space in my heart.

The Empty Room

I look upon the empty room,
A room exhaling silence
             memories
             of child voices

The room sees
Eyes pour over lesson plans.
All the educational demands.
A told B and B told C
about the spontaneous ecstasy,
the momentary lessons be
of childhood wonder.

The room measures
Tick-tock hours measured by
laughs and tears and fears and smiles.
Days that measure, dress themselves
in colors of artwork upon the shelves
in water play in yellow sun
in raking red-gold leaves that run
with tiny footprints in the white.

The room sighs
Teachers silenced by harsh demands.
Take the pain upon their hands.
Fix the room, scream the theme
do the project, the curriculum means
but don’t you dare stay on the scene
just a minute late.

The room cries
Children sob the rules they dread.
Don’t make a mess, stay on your bed,
don’t put that bucket on your head,
too much noise behind the door,
be always ready for the Tour.

The room hurts
Teachers broken under stress
contradicting rules, duress.
Mental wounds leak out their bodies
while trying, trying, trying hardly
able to do it all and not get hurt
again.

The room suffocates
I. Can’t. Breathe.

The walls of the room come closing in,
exhaling sickness, a volcano explosion.
Struggling to inhale the stale air,
the room echoes the silent terror.

The room dies
I. Quit.

Two words fill the empty room
I turn my back, I leave alone.
I must hide all the memories saved
to bury them in my mind’s grave.
I leave the room to the hands of God.
And breathe a prayer for my beloved
children.

I think upon the empty preschool room,
A room exhaling silence
             memories
             of voices of pain
             spiritual death

empty room, box of childrens chalk
Image credit: [Freeimages] iprole Licensed under Royalty free.

caskets and mattresses, money casket

Caskets and Mattresses: Price of Death

Caskets and Mattresses and the Price of Death

I am taking a class in death and dying. It is fascinating to learn all the different cultural and religious beliefs around this subject. We are studying funeral traditions, and I read that caskets come in varying price ranges. One of the price determinants is the quality of the mattress on which the deceased is laid to rest. Cheaper caskets get straw mattresses; expensive caskets get spring coil mattresses and luxurious fabrics. Caskets and mattresses show your wealth and social prestige even in death.

This really bothers me. A dead person “sleeps” on a mattress made for royalty while many living people sleep on dirt or concrete. Does this bother anyone else?

Death and Social Status

I think it is quite shameful to make such a show of social status even when one  dies. I know this is an ancient practice. The Mayans and Egyptians went to elaborate measures to bury their royalty and others of high social standing.The Mayans buried their dead with clay statues and other symbols of their wealth. The Egyptians perfected the practices of embalming to the point of mummification.

Egyptian high status mummies were laid to rest in the most expensive caskets- coffins made of gold. Millions of Egyptian slaves labored to build tombs for the golden coffins of the kings, tombs so elaborate that they became a wonder of the world, the Egyptian pyramids. Ironically, many of these poor slaves died while building a death chamber for the rich. How many people today are poor and dying because the more fortunate want to build their corporate pyramids of globalism, their “pyramid schemes?”

But even with all the money in the world, and the finest caskets and mattresses, these CEOs still must die and meet their Maker.

The Money Game of the Casket and Cradle

It is a very expensive proposition to die in this society. Ironically, it is also a very expensive proposition to be  born in this society.

You are born in a flurry of money and you die in a flurry of money. The richer your family, the nicer your cradle and your casket. Some of the poor are born in mangers and are buried in common graves. The ruling elite have fixed the game so that even spiritual transitions are taxed.

If you aren’t good at the game, or if you decide that you do not want to play, you end up sleeping on the dirt- in life and in death. Some places still dig common graves for the paupers. Morgues in the United States are filled with unclaimed bodies because the families cannot afford caskets and mattresses, or afford cremation, or afford a funeral at all. It is tragic. (Unclaimed dead stack up in Wayne County morgue.)

Yet there is room for hope. The money game ends at death, and a spiritual accounting takes place. All the money in the world will never buy your soul. You may not be resting so comfortably on that spring mattress when you have to meet your Maker. Remember, Jesus said  that in the next world, the first shall be last and the last shall be first, and blessed are the meek and humble in spirit for they shall see God.

What will your casket and mattress say about your relationship with Jesus?

caskets and mattresses, graveyard
Image credit: [Freeimages] klsmith77 Licensed under Royalty free.
the rich man has no name

The Rich Man Has No Name

As I consider the story of Lazarus and the rich man, I am struck by one thing. Yeshua never called the rich man by name. The poor man is named Lazarus. The rich man has no name.

The Rich Man and the Skeleton Houses

I was riding the bus today through Lake Oswego, an opulent, wealthy suburb of Portland. I saw all the “castles” which people build for themselves and I thought, “What is it really all for? I’m sure not impressed.”

In the midst of my thoughts, I passed by a house under new construction. It was gigantic, sprawling, imposing, and… a skeleton. Just a mere skeleton of wood and concrete. Wooden beams stretching to the sky, wooden beams dividing rooms, wooden beams shaping a staircase and a floor. It was not at all impressive. I suppose people will ooh and ahh once the carpet goes in, the windows are filled with glass, the walls are painted a trendy color, and the outside is decorated with expensive stonework.

This house made me think. Who owns the trees which were killed and cut down to make beams for this skeleton? Did anyone ask the trees if they wanted to give their life to become a house? And if so, did they want to become mere property of another rich person? And how did that person come to own that piece of land? Didn’t YHWH intend the land to be shared by all of his creation? Did YHWH ever say one person should get a castle while another person sleeps on a concrete slab under a bridge?

A Bible Story About the Rich Man

Luke 16:19-24 (NIV)

There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

As I consider the story of Lazarus and the rich man, I am struck by one thing.

Nowhere did Yeshua ever gave the rich man a name.

The poor man has a name, Lazarus. But the rich man has no name. Was this accidental? Perhaps Yeshua just drew a blank at that moment. I doubt it. I think Yeshua was making a point. In this world, the rich reduce the poor to a mere number, a nameless face in the “rabble” on the street, a piece of refuse they pass by on the sidewalk which messes up their day for awhile.

The rich man buys all the land, leaving nowhere for the poor man to build his house. The rich man builds a castle and takes all the wood for himself, emptying the forests so the poor man has nothing left to build his house. The rich man heats that castle, taking all the energy for himself and driving utility costs so high that the poor man is forced to shiver in the cold.

The Poor Man Has a Name in Heaven

YHWH sees all this. It happens every minute of every day on earth. YHWH knows that poor man. The poor man cries out day and night for justice. YHWH comforts that poor man, adopts him as a son, invites him to His home in heaven, and gives him a name.

YHWH does not know the rich man. The rich man never has time or need to call out to YHWH. The rich man is proud, and he runs the worldly justice system for his own gain. YHWH judges the rich man in the heavenly justice system, and finding him wanting throws him into hell. The rich man is no adopted son of YHWH, and the rich man has no name.