Posts Tagged ‘Prosperity Gospel’

Uncanny Prophet

December 1, 2019

uncanny |ˌənˈkanē| adjective: strange or mysterious, especially in an unsettling way

prophet |ˈpräfət| noun: a person who advocates or speaks in a visionary way about a new belief, cause, or theory

“The illusion of America as the earthly paradise, in which everyone recovers original goodness: which becomes in fact a curious idea that prosperity itself justifies everything, is a sign of goodness, is a carte blanche to continue to be prosperous in any way feasible … we are entitled to defend ourselves by any means whatever, without any limitation, and all the more so because what we are defending is our illusion of innocence.” (Thomas Merton, in a letter to Leslie Dewart, September 1962)

Where’s Waldo?

May 24, 2019

Announcements of the past week included that the population of the City of Columbus is greater than that of San Francisco (but where’s your heart?). And that Newark is ostensibly in a class of only 4% of American cities – with a population over 50K. That means that about 24,000 people in Newark reside in non-owner occupant housing (give or take a few, but who’s counting?). And what of those with no house? “Community-based group aims to reduce chronic homelessness in Licking County” the online Newark Advocate reported (Michaela Sumner, 5-23-19). “In April, the ad hock community-based group, comprised of representatives from Newark Development Partners, United Way of Licking County, the Licking County Coalition for Housing, and others, joined in a series of stakeholder meetings to determine what they’re asking a consultant to do.” Who’s the consultant? The next line answers that. “Those meetings resulted in a proposed request for proposals, or RFP, defining the group’s priorities for a consultant to address in their study of homelessness in Licking County, according to Aaron Domini, who works for the Columbus community planning firm OHM Advisors.” Their website heralds “We are more than an architecture, engineering and planning firm. We are the community advancement firm.” Part of their Google representation gives “Newark, Ohio’s downtown square, designed by OHM Advisors, centers around the courthouse.” Indeed, that’s who did the “community advancement” that…. Well, you can only guess when it comes to those without housing. Analysis won’t say “ironic” but after the observations made in the previous post (Location, Location, Location 5-19-19), the consultation is misdirected, in the least. A bit farther in the Advocate report Sumner writes “Many groups suggested adding a representative from faith-based groups, education, and grass-roots organizations to what’s being called a tactical group, which will review the proposed RFP and select a consultant. Others had questions about who would be overseeing the consultant and getting regular updates, and concerns the consultant would also need to address pockets of homeless people in Heath and Buckeye Lake.” Consulting with an architecture and engineering firm to address concerns regarding the unseen, living in even more unseen residences, borders on obscene. Adding to this faith based belief that the “problem” can be addressed antiseptically by the same design logistics that provided roundabouts and gobble de gook downtown parking restrictions (park it elsewhere but don’t overstay or you’ll pay) is more faith based groups. Indeed, when it comes to more, then houses of worship are up there in the 4% category. Unfortunately, Analysis was unable to locate a data base numbering the “faith-based groups” in the 50K city but guesses it is quite extensive. Why do those unable to find housing go unseen within such a panoply of houses of worship? The Islamic mandate of Hajj requires “stoning the devil” as part of the ritual. The devil meets even less sympathy amongst the other Judeo-Christian originations. One curious and revealing variant is the “Prosperity Gospel.” Wiki gives insight with “Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity. The doctrine emphasizes the importance of personal empowerment, proposing that it is God’s will for his people to be blessed. It is based on interpretations of the Bible that are mainstream in Judaism (with respect to the Hebrew Bible), though less so in Christianity. The atonement (reconciliation with God) is interpreted to include the alleviation of sickness and poverty, which are viewed as curses to be broken by faith.” Analysis finds being sick and/or poor to be functionally one step removed from being the devil incarnate. Who wants a curse in the proximity of their wonderfully designed and engineered downtown square? What kind of an antiseptic engineering solution do you think the courthouse square design team will come up with? It is not only the mayor who wants those unable to afford non-owner occupant housing to relocate out of the design, but the entire city government prefers to throw stones at the devil rather than reconcile with humanity. Collecting money on “sin taxes” is a wonderful thing, but when it comes to zoning the location of “curses,” we find ordinances keeping such entities well away from residences, schools, and churches. Left to houses of worship and architectural designers, where will the unseen, living in unseen residences, be located?