My Beautiful Wickedness


My only commentary on the health care reform debate
August 16, 2009, 5:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Well, actually, this is John Winthrop’s take on it — you know, in “Model of Christian Charity” (wherein we learn that he considered the essential qualities of Christian community to be care-taking, mercy, and love towards one’s fellow humans…you know, preserving the commonwealth…):

“Question: What rule must we observe and walk by in cause of community of peril?

Answer: The same as before, but with more enlargement towards others and less respect towards ourselves and our own right. Hence it was that in the primitive Church they sold all, had all things in common, neither did any man say that which he possessed was his own. Likewise in their return out of the captivity, because the work was great for the restoring of the church and the danger of enemies was common to all, Nehemiah directs the Jews to liberality and readiness in remitting their debts to their brethren, and disposing liberally to such as wanted, and stand not upon their own dues which they might have demanded of them. Thus did some of our forefathers in times of persecution in England, and so did many of the faithful of other churches, whereof we keep an honorable remembrance of them; and it is to be observed that both in Scriptures and latter stories of the churches that such as have been most bountiful to the poor saints, especially in those extraordinary times and occasions, God hath left them highly commended to posterity, as Zaccheus, Cornelius, Dorcas, Bishop Hooper, the Cutler of Brussels and divers others. Observe again that the Scripture gives no caution to restrain any from being over liberal this way; but all men to the liberal and cheerful practice hereof by the sweeter promises; as to instance one for many (Isaiah 58:6-9) “Is not this the fast I have chosen to loose the bonds of wickedness, to take off the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke … to deal thy bread to the hungry and to bring the poor that wander into thy house, when thou seest the naked to cover them … and then shall thy light brake forth as the morning and thy health shall grow speedily, thy righteousness shall go before God, and the glory of the Lord shalt embrace thee; then thou shall call and the Lord shall answer thee,” etc. And from Ch. 2:10 (??) “If thou pour out thy soul to the hungry, then shall thy light spring out in darkness, and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in draught, and make fat thy bones, thou shalt be like a watered garden, and they shalt be of thee that shall build the old waste places,” etc. On the contrary most heavy curses are laid upon such as are straightened towards the Lord and his people (Judg. 5:23), “Curse ye Meroshe … because they came not to help the Lord.” He who shutteth his ears from hearing the cry of the poor, he shall cry and shall not be heard.” (Matt. 25) “Go ye cursed into everlasting fire,” etc. “I was hungry and ye fed me not.” (2 Cor. 9:6) “He that soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly.”

Having already set forth the practice of mercy according to the rule of God’s law, it will be useful to lay open the grounds of it also, being the other part of the Commandment and that is the affection from which this exercise of mercy must arise, the Apostle tells us that this love is the fulfilling of the law, not that it is enough to love our brother and so no further; but in regard of the excellency of his parts giving any motion to the other as the soul to the body and the power it hath to set all the faculties at work in the outward exercise of this duty; as when we bid one make the clock strike, he doth not lay hand on the hammer, which is the immediate instrument of the sound, but sets on work the first mover or main wheel; knowing that will certainly produce the sound which he intends. So the way to draw men to the works of mercy, is not by force of Argument from the goodness or necessity of the work; for though this cause may enforce, a rational mind to some present act of mercy, as is frequent in experience, yet it cannot work such a habit in a soul, as shall make it prompt upon all occasions to produce the same effect, but by framing these affections of love in the heart which will as naturally bring forth the other, as any cause doth produce the effect.

The definition which the Scripture gives us of love is this: Love is the bond of perfection. First it is a bond or ligament. Secondly, it makes the work perfect. There is no body but consists of parts and that which knits these parts together, gives the body its perfection, because it makes each part so contiguous to others as thereby they do mutually participate with each other, both in strength and infirmity, in pleasure and pain. To instance in the most perfect of all bodies: Christ and his Church make one body. The several parts of this body considered a part before they were united, were as disproportionate and as much disordering as so many contrary qualities or elements, but when Christ comes, and by his spirit and love knits all these parts to himself and each to other, it is become the most perfect and best proportioned body in the world (Eph. 4:15-16). Christ, by whom all the body being knit together by every joint for the furniture thereof, according to the effectual power which is in the measure of every perfection of parts, a glorious body without spot or wrinkle; the ligaments hereof being Christ, or his love, for Christ is love (1 John 4:8). So this definition is right. Love is the bond of perfection.

From hence we may frame these conclusions:

First of all, true Christians are of one body in Christ (1 Cor. 12). Ye are the body of Christ and members of their part. All the parts of this body being thus united are made so contiguous in a special relation as they must needs partake of each other’s strength and infirmity; joy and sorrow, weal and woe. If one member suffers, all suffer with it, if one be in honor, all rejoice with it.

Secondly, the ligaments of this body which knit together are love.

Thirdly, no body can be perfect which wants its proper ligament.

Fourthly, All the parts of this body being thus united are made so contiguous in a special relation as they must needs partake of each other’s strength and infirmity, joy and sorrow, weal and woe. (1 Cor. 12:26) If one member suffers, all suffer with it; if one be in honor, all rejoice with it.

Fifthly, this sensitivity and sympathy of each other’s conditions will necessarily infuse into each part a native desire and endeavor, to strengthen, defend, preserve and comfort the other. To insist a little on this conclusion being the product of all the former, the truth hereof will appear both by precept and pattern. 1 John 3:16, “We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Gal. 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burden’s and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Conservatives are very quick to embrace Mr. City on the Hill when he is talking about American leadership and exceptionalism, but very slow to walk his walk about what actually was required of the just society — bearing one another’s burdens as a society, because inequality of condition is an ongoing social fact. They should read the whole document, not just the first and last paragraphs.

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4 Comments so far
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bridgett:

The whole healthcare thing looks to be going down in flames at this point, because of the fear, distrust and selfishness of so many of those folks who like to call themselves “Christians” and wave the JESUS flag, but have no intention of following any of his admnonitions re: faith, hope and charity.

Comment by democommie

You know…I wouldn’t be so sure about the imminent defeat. Granted, I haven’t been paying all that much attention to the “orchestrated for tv” crap or the bloggity blab. It will come down to who has the votes and the guts to use them and I’m betting on blue. Actually, I’m betting on Rahm Emmanuel to bust heads and balls. The bill that comes forward won’t be all of what anyone wants and considerably less than we need (and maybe won’t be worth the ink on the paper), but whatever comes to the floor, I predict will pass.

Comment by bridgett

bridget:

I think you’re correct about the bill passing, but I think it will wind up looking more like the Medicare prescription bill or the WS bailout than it should. The news today was that the WH is ready to drop the “public option”. For me, leaving insurance in the hands of the people who have fucked so many of us for so long solves nothing. There is talk of subsidizing the lower income people to help them buy policies. I think those policies will be similar to the sort that humanitarian organizations like Wal-Mart offer their full time employees.

It just looks to me like the dems backed away from what should have been their moment. Now there is likely to be a pretty horrid piece of legislation, for which the dems will pay at the ballot box, whether it works or fails.

Comment by democommie

What about Dean’s idea, that a bill with Public Opt will pass the House/a crazed non-reform, bill with removal of denial for pre ex condition and cap on out of pocket costs (where the private co’s can no longer rate by claims experience, but have no limits on premiums for communities raised at will to bypass the new rules… passes the Senate, and then reconciliation is the final step where the public option goes back in.I’m hoping for that.

Comment by imfunny2




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