Amos was the earliest prophet whose words are preserved in the form of a book. He prophesied in the Northern Kingdom of Israel somewhere between the years 760-750 B.C. Amos’ preaching took place during the mid-eighth century B. C., a few years before the prophet Hosea began his ministry.
The eighth century was a period during which a privileged few in Israel were enjoying unprecedented prosperity while most Israelites were facing dire poverty. Although Amos lived in Tekoa, a small village bordering the wilderness of Judah, his preaching to Israel provided a powerful prophetic witness for all ages because of his condemnation of the spiritual blindness of the Judean upper-class and their unjust exploitation of the poor.
Amos forged an explicit and unbreakable link between justice toward the neighbor and righteousness before God, a link that went back to the covenant at Sinai and to the ancient prophetic traditions of Israel. Amos’ ministry provides an eternal witness of God’s opposition to economic, political, and social injustice.
The words of Amos were adapted by Martin Luther King, Jr., whose famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C. in August 1963 brought a new meaning to the words of Amos: “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24).
Amos spoke to an oppressed society and his concern for the poor and the oppressed made him a prophet for all times. Amos is also a prophet for the twenty-first century, a time when the gap between rich and poor has never been greater.
The sources of oppression and injustice may look different today, but people’s concern for material prosperity reflects the days in which Amos lived. Amos’ message of God’s opposition to injustice, his criticism of the people’s worship of material things, and his witness of God’s special concern for the poor and oppressed, affirm that the worship of God in any age is worthless if social oppression and injustice are ignored.
Since justice and righteousness are the focus of Amos’ message, it is important to look at how the words justice and righteousness are used by the prophet. The words justice and righteousness are used together three times in two chapters of the book of Amos (Amos 5:7; 5:24; 6:12). The word justice is used once by itself (Amos 5:15).
“O you who turn justice to wormwood and cast down righteousness to the earth” (Amos 5:7 RSV).
“Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph” (Amos 5:15 RSV).
“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24 RSV).
“Do horses run upon rocks? Does one plow the sea with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood” (Amos 6:12 RSV).
Wormwood was an extremely bitter plant. The word was used several times in Jeremiah and in Lamentations to describe the bitterness of the calamities that befell Judah at the time of their exile to Babylon (Jeremiah 9: 15; 23:15; Lamentation 3: 15, 19). The justice that Israel’s courts dispensed to the poor was nothing but bitterness.
The oppression and injustice Amos found in the Northern Kingdom was evidence that righteousness had been thrown to the ground as something worthless by those who were in power. Righteousness no longer had any meaning for the powerful people of Israel as a requirement of the worship of God.
To Amos, “hating evil and loving good” was a simple yet powerful statement of how to establish justice “in the gate.” In a very simple language, the prophet placed principles of true justice before a group of people who could argue about legal technicalities while tolerating bribery, corruption, and greed.
The gate of the city was fortified in order to protect the city from enemies and to serve as the place where the elders of the city would gather as a legal assembly to decide cases needing adjudication. The gate was the place where the local judiciary met to determine right and wrong in legal disputes, and therefore, to decide who was innocent or guilty.
Deuteronomy 25: 1 describes this process: “Suppose two persons have a dispute and enter into litigation, and the judges decide between them, declaring one to be in the right and the other to be in the wrong.” If the judges successfully declared where the right was, then justice had been
The decision of the court had a redemptive aspect for the parties involved in the litigation. The decision of the court was intended to vindicate the just party in a legal dispute. The decision was also intended to protect the social order by determining right and wrong and correcting the wrong. Thus, the decision of the court was particularly important in cases where the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the alien, people without power and influence, could not find redress in the community apart from the decision of the court.
When the words “justice” and “righteousness” are used in Amos, justice is the primary word since it appears first in the parallelism of the two words. Justice is the result of seeking or loving good, as in Amos 5:15. Justice is also the fruit or the result of righteousness as in Amos 6:12. Thus, according to Amos, righteousness is essential to the well-being of the community. Righteousness is essentially a relational rather than an absolute ethical idea. Righteousness has to do with the relationship between a person and God, and a relationship between members of the community. Righteousness is a relational concept; its meaning is determined by the particular social context in which it is used. Righteousness is a quality of life which is displayed by people who live up to the demands of the covenant. The righteous person does what is right to other persons involved in the relationship.
Amos proclaimed that Israel had violated the ancient traditions of Israel. The poor and oppressed were individuals who deserved the protection of the court and fair treatment by those in a position of dispensing legal decisions. The only way for this to become a reality in Israelite society was for justice to roll down like waters, and for righteousness to run like an ever-flowing stream (Amos 5:24).
Since its inception, the United States of America has struggled with developing a just criteria for immigrants seeking citizenship, particularly as it relates to people of color. The roots of this struggle lie in America’s arduous history as it relates to slavery. In 1776 as the American colonies were preparing to separate from Great Britain, Thomas Jefferson wrote what has become almost a sacred document for not only Americans but for oppressed people across the globe who seek freedom, justice and an opportunity to have a better life.
When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence he penned the prophetic words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and the fathers of America signed it, they had no idea that they would be motivating marginalized people across the world, generation after generation to seek life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness because even though the Declaration of Independence professed that all men were created equal in reality only white men were considered to be full citizens when America was born.
When America was born slaves had no rights and free people of color and women had few if any rights. Even after slavery ended people of African descent continued to experience discrimination and were denied full citizenship rights as a result of Jim Crow laws that were pervasive across the land. My former Gunnery Sergeant, Mike Phillips use to put it this way, because of the laws of the land and the hearts of the people, “If you were yellow you were mellow, if you were brown you might be able to stick around but if you were black you had to get back!”
Nevertheless, God is a God who loves the oppressed and He is the King of Justice. So the Holy Spirit empowered people like Rosa Parks, Medgar Evans, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. who initiated, formed and led the civil rights movement, which dismantled legalized segregation in the 1960’s. Finally, descendants of African slaves had full citizenship rights in America. Police Accountability, AB953 law “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24).
This entry was posted in social justice and tagged #Ideas, christianity, economics, environment, facts, faith, humanity, life, military, politics, quotes, religion, science, Society, Truth, violence, work.
“We care (about prison education), very simply, because (prisoners) get out. Almost everyone who is locked up now is going to be set free one day. If we treat prisoners like animals the whole time they are locked up, that’s what we’ll get when they’re back on the streets: wild, dangerous animals.” ― Christopher Zoukis, College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons
Parole in the United States originated in the Elmira Reformatory in New York State in 1867 as an option for the early release of individuals for good behavior and a means to reduce institutional overcrowding. In the early twentieth century, it came to be viewed as a tool for intermediate sentencing in furtherance of the goal of rehabilitation. However, during the 1970s concerns regarding the integrity of indeterminate sentencing arose due to increasing crime rates, a lack of empirical knowledge regarding effective correctional interventions, insufficient allocation of resources for rehabilitative interventions, and the so-called war on drugs.
In addition, concerns were raised about inconsistent decision-making by paroling authorities that resulted in apparent unfairness and inequity in release decisions deemed arbitrary, capricious, racially biased, and resulted in unjustifiably disparate sentences. Also, studies in the 1970s (conducted by Martinson and Brody) found a paucity of convincing evidence that rehabilitation reduces recidivism.
During the 1980s incarceration came to be conceptualized as punishment (i.e., just deserts), and by the late 1980s and 1990s as a means of incapacitation and deterrence with far less concern for equity and proportionality in sentencing. Mandatory minimum sentences, three-strikes, truth-in-sentencing, and mandatory sex offender registration laws were enacted.
Rehabilitation was discarded, often coupled with the reduction or elimination of discretionary parole release. This gets tough on crime stance resulted in an explosive growth in prison populations, rates of incarceration, and costs of construction and operation of prisons.Ironically, as sentencing models focused more and more on punishment and incapacitation, research was providing evidence of effective interventions for reducing recidivism along with the ineffectiveness of incarceration.
Along with the shift from rehabilitation to punishment, the mission of parole to support reintegration shifted to reflect the get tough on crime stance resulting in fewer releases prior to the expiration of sentences, holding individuals who were released for greater portions of their maximum sentences, and increasing rates of parole revocation and re-incarceration.
By the 1990s the United States incarcerated more persons per capita than any other country with over two million adults behind bars, amounting to an incarceration rate of about one in one hundred. At the onset of the twenty-first century, the criminal justice system faced a rising prison population serving longer terms along with significantly diminished resources for prison-based programming, increased parole and probation caseloads, and scarce resources for returning citizens. Corrections costs (nearly ninety percent of which are allocated to prisons) soared creating serious budgetary pressures and accounting for significant amounts of states’ general fund discretionary dollars. Growing numbers of returning citizens and serious fiscal crises facing many states gave rise to a burgeoning interest in reentry.
During the 1980s and 1990s, parole release and supervision focused primarily on enforcement and surveillance, using monitoring to stress compliance with conditions of release. Increasing rates of incarceration and release have resulted in increasing numbers of persons under community supervision posing significant challenges to parole/probation agencies as resources have not kept pace with these increases. By the turn of the century, parole revocation practices came under increasing scrutiny and efforts designed to reduce the rate of parole revocations, especially for technical violations, and promote the more effective reintegration of returning citizens have become a major focus. Studies show that individuals released on parole at the discretion of a releasing authority are more likely to successfully complete their parole term without re-incarceration than individuals released through a mandatory system.
The majority of returning citizens have not experienced successful community reentry.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), two-thirds (67.5%) of individuals released from prison are rearrested within three years more than half of whom are reincarcerated. Studies have shown that returning citizens are at highest risk for recidivism during the first six months after release when almost one-third (29.9%) are rearrested. Despite public perception that people on parole are more likely to commit crimes, the vast majority do not return to prison for a new offense. Seventy percent are re-incarcerated4 due to technical parole violations (e.g., missing appointments and not maintaining employment) rather than for the commission of new crimes.
Returning citizens are faced with significant challenges to successful reentry including reuniting with family and significant others, finding jobs and housing, and remaining substance-free while avoiding high-risk situations that can trigger relapse and recidivism. More individuals are released from longer terms of incarceration and are more are likely to have health or substance abuse problems which exacerbate these challenges. In addition, limited availability of jobs, housing, and social services in a community can adversely impact successful reintegration.
Fifty-five percent of adults involved in the criminal justice system have minor children and parents who are incarcerated can owe an average of more than $20,000.00 in child support debt at the time of release. There is now a substantive and growing research base of effective correctional practices that
promote successful reentry. Strategies that can significantly reduce recidivism have been identified, including prison and community-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), substance abuse treatment, relationship enhancement skills (e.g., motivational interviewing), vocational and educational programming, and community supervision that includes a case management focus along with rewards and sanctions and linkages with appropriate treatment and service
and support providers.
In sum, the large numbers of returning citizens, a significant proportion of whom are reincarcerated, concerns regarding community safety, state fiscal crises, and increasing correctional costs, as well as research on evidence-based correctional interventions, are now driving contemporary correctional practice. These have led to a shift in focus in correctional institutions from custody and control to preparing individuals for their release starting from admission and continuing throughout community supervision and beyond. Parole’s traditional emphasis on surveillance and enforcement of conditions (i.e., identifying violations and quickly revoking parole for noncompliance) is being replaced by a focus on transition and successful reintegration.
“Some of us aren’t meant to belong. Some of us have to turn the world upside down and shake the hell out of it until we make our own place in it.” ― Elizabeth Lowell, Remember Summer
God destroys the barriers that divide us. In Him, there are no insiders or outsiders.
God promised Abraham that his descendants would be His very own people! What a calling, what a privilege! They would represent the Lord before the world. Curiously, the mark of their uniqueness was circumcision. Every Jewish boy, on the 8th day following his birth, would be circumcised, physical mark on his body for life, signifying that he was part of the privileged people of God.
But, He did not set out to create an exclusive club. What did He say? That the descendants of Abraham were to be a blessing to the whole world, showing the world the one true God and his ways.
Human nature being what it is, the ancient children of Abraham closed their society and regarded the rest of the world contemptuously as the “uncircumcised.” They (not all, but most) assumed Gentiles were excluded from the promises of God.
TEXT- “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”
(Ephesians 2:11-16, NIV)
The Jewish/Gentile controversy was the HOT BUTTON issue of the Church when Paul was writing. Many of the Jews who accepted Jesus Christ as Messiah, still thought of themselves as insiders because of their religious heritage. Many teachers insisted that Gentile Christians HAD to observe Jewish law – including circumcision, Sabbath observance, and kosher diet. Some of the early churches met together but did not take communion together, dividing between Jewish converts and Gentile converts, even for the holy meal.
Paul calls on them to see what Christ has done.
TEXT- “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.” Eph 2:22
It is possible you’re listening to me go on about this and wondering, “What does this have to do with me? That controversy is a non-issue here.” Ah, you’re right and you’re wrong. Discrimination, even in the church, is alive and well in 2017.
There are people who are ‘churched’ or who have absorbed a cultural worldview that they believe is Biblical, who are not at all shy to say that they are insiders with God. Because they are “good” they believe that God looks with favor on them and they perhaps jealously guard their church club.
Divorced? Not welcome.
Identifying yourself as a homosexual? Not welcome.
Struggling with pornography? Not welcome.
Have a promiscuous past? Not welcome.
Trying to reconcile your education that marginalized God with the authority of the Scripture? Not welcome.
Don’t understand the rituals or words used in church? Not welcome.
Other barriers are raised – too rich? Too poor? Too young, too old? Too many tattoos, hair too long, don’t like the right kind of music? Don’t have the ‘right’ theology?
Ill.- This week I met with some local pastors who minister in churches that are not evangelical.
Somehow our conversation drifted into a discussion of their interaction with some pastors from churches who are more conservative. It was both sad and funny to hear the stories of ignorance and bigotry that were visited on these pastors by those who did not consider them to be ‘real Christians.’
I am sad to say that I get this text from the position of the “circumcision” as an insider.
I grew up with the rituals, absorbed the values, learned the words, lived a life that was morally respectable. For the first 3 decades of my life, I was horribly certain about who was in the family of God and who was not. It’s a habit that dies hard. From time to time, I still find myself spiritually prideful, though much less these days than I once did. I repent, for I realize that my credentials gain me no favor with God. Only Christ does!
Perhaps you’re on the other side of the issue feeling very much the outsider. You may be convinced that because of something you’ve done, or something done to you, that because of who you are … God would never accept you.
TEXT “Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals and so made us equals. Through Him, we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:17-18, The Message)
So, what does any of this mean for our lives?
Three illustrations are used to show what is true who are ‘in Christ’ through faith.
TEXT “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him, you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
(Ephesians 2:19-22, NIV)
1. Those who are ‘in Christ’ (by faith) are invited to become – citizens of the kingdom of heaven!
Americans, for the most part, spend their entire life within the borders of one nation. American culture is dominant in the world so understanding of blessings may elude us.
I was privileged, many years ago, to spend a few weeks in India. I was among people whose languages I did not know, whose customs I did not understand, whose food was very different. It was a curious thing to be surrounded by people who communicated without me having the least clue of what they were saying. For all I knew, they could have been discussing ME. Physically, I stood 6″ taller than most of the people and my skin was darker by several shades.
When I arrived back in the US, I was glad to be able to communicate. When the customs agent spoke to me, I understood him. When he saw my passport, he waved me through. I was a citizen, with rights and privileges, not an alien who was here as a guest.
Sin made us aliens to God as our text has made plain. The divide could not be bridged by anything we did. God showed mercy! And, more wonderful, secured our citizenship at His expense, by giving His Son as the sacrifice.
When we accept Him, by faith, He grants us entry into the kingdom of God.
2. Those who are ‘in Christ’ (by faith) are invited to become – members of God’s family.
I love visitors in our home. But, common courtesy says that if you visit, you don’t go into the refrigerator and start to prepare something to eat without an invitation. If your stay is extended, you don’t just assume that a bedroom is ready for you.
But, when my kids come home, they can walk through the door without knocking, they can sit up to the dinner table without an invitation. They have household privileges!
In Christ, God is your Father and you have run of the house. In fact, you have rights of inheritance!
Eternal life is yours. Heaven is yours. The Father’s wealth is yours!
3. Those who are ‘in Christ’ (by faith) are invited to become – an integral part of God’s holy temple.
Paul says we are ‘temple,’ each of us a building block, all of us resting on the Cornerstone, Jesus.
When we come to Christ, we are invited to become part of His Church. We are no longer alone. We are given the privilege of working alongside others to accomplish things we could not even dream about on our own! We are, to change the metaphor, brought onto God’s team, equipped with spiritual gifts, given a place to belong, to serve, to find purpose.
True teamwork is something awesome to see. The recent World Series was dominated, not by a couple of superstar players, but by the Houston Astros, who were a stellar team! Unlike Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers pitcher, Houston Astros pitcher, Brad Peacock, was good, but not a star yet. We saw a team effort and a team win.
And, what is the purpose of this temple? To be a place for ‘insiders’ to form a holy club, to be a fortress to shut out the wider world? To be a place of privilege for a few?
TEXT – “Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22, NLT)
God brings us together in His Church so that we will make Him, invisible, a visible Presence here on Earth!
Do you feel like God is far away because of your past or your messed-up present?
Too something – dysfunctional, broken, sin-scarred to be useful?
Or are you feeling self-satisfied because you think of yourself as one the good guys?
The fact – “all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” the Words says.
We are all separate from God unless we humble ourselves to enter through the common door of access, through Jesus Christ. And when we are ‘in Christ’ we are invited to
Closing, He Lives: Who is He Preacher, Jesus, My King
Paul Tournier was a brilliant thinker and writer, and an influential Christian therapist during his time. Doctors from around the world traveled to his home in Switzerland to learn from him. He wrote, “It is a little embarrassing for students to come over and study my ‘techniques.’ They always go away disappointed, because all I do is accept people.”
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10)
A gospel song refers to a hill called Mount Calvary, but the Gospels never say, “Mount Calvary.” Some Bible versions translate the place where Jesus was crucified to be the Aramaic word Golgotha, meaning the Place of the Skull. Others translate it as the Latin word Calvary. Luke 23:33 says, “And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left” (NKJV).
Jesus was crucified on Mount Calvary. According to John 19:20, it was near Jerusalem. Hebrews 13:11-13 (based on Leviticus 16:27) explained that, while the animal’s blood was sprinkled in the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, most of the animal was burned outside the camp. Jesus likewise was crucified outside the city in a maelstrom of activities over a six-hour period, with everything focused on Him.
O How I love Jesus, Why? Because:
The Heavens declare the glory of God
And the firmament showeth His handiwork
No means of measure can define His limitless love
No far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supply
No barriers can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing
He’s enduringly strong
He’s entirely sincere
He’s eternally steadfast
He’s immortally graceful
He’s imperially powerful
He’s impartially merciful
Jesus was crucified on Mount Calvary, where a minimum of twenty-five events occurred between 9 AM and 3 PM. Among them were the public execution itself; the soldiers offering him vinegar laced with gall; two thieves being crucified either side of Jesus; darkness falling over the land for three hours; the temple veil being torn in two from top to bottom; an earthquake shaking the earth; soldiers piercing Christ’s side when they found him already dead; Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus burying the corpse with seventy-five pounds of spices; women standing at a distance watching Him die, and in close proximity in the garden as the rich men buried Him.
What do you say he is Preacher:
He’s God’s Son
He’s the sinners’ Saviour
He’s the centerpiece of civilization
He stands alone in Himself
He’s the loftiest idea in literature
He’s the highest personality in philosophy
He’s the supreme problem in higher criticism
He’s the fundamental doctrine in true theology
He’s the cardinal necessity of spiritual religion
Christ was crucified on Mount Calvary, where a minimum of ten decisions were made. Among them: Jesus refused the vinegar-wine; the soldiers divided His clothes; Pilate asked for the centurion’s guarantee that Christ had died; the women left the cross for home, where they prepared spices and observed the Sabbath.
Who is He Preacher:
He’s the miracle of the age
He’s the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him
He’s the only one able to supply all of our needs simultaneously
He supplies strength for the weak
He’s available for the tempted and the tried
He sympathizes and He saves
He guards and He guides
He heals the sick
He cleansed the lepers
He forgives sinners
Christ was crucified on Mount Calvary, where a minimum of sixteen statements were made. Among them: Christ’s seven words; Pilate’s sign called him King of the Jews; the leaders and others mocked him for destroying the temple, but not saving himself; the thieves and soldiers abused him for what they perceived failures; the man who lifted a wine-soaked hyssop plant to Christ’s parched lips wanted to see if Elijah would come and remove him; the centurion called Jesus a son of the gods.
What does he do Preacher;
He discharges debtors
He delivers the captives
He defends the feeble
He blesses the young
He serves the unfortunate
He regards the aged
He rewards the diligent
And He beautifies the meek
Christ was crucified on Mount Calvary, where many conversations were held. The two recorded were the stirring dialogue between Jesus and the penitent thief and the rancorous dialogue between the priests and Pilate over the wording in Pilate’s sign nailed above Christ’s head.
Do you Know Him preacher?
My King is the key of knowledge
He’s the wellspring of wisdom
He’s the doorway of deliverance
He’s the pathway of peace
He’s the roadway of righteousness
He’s the highway of holiness
He’s the gateway of glory
He’s the master of the mighty
He’s the captain of the conquerors
He’s the head of the heroes
He’s the leader of the legislators
He’s the overseer of the overcomers
He’s the governor of governors
He’s the prince of princes
He’s the King of Kings
And He’s the Lord of Lords
That’s my King
Christ was crucified on Mount Calvary, where at least five requests were made. Among them: the leaders asked Jesus to prove Himself by coming off the cross; Jesus asked John to provide sanctuary for Mary; the priests asked Pilate to remove the bodies before sunset.
His office is manifold
His promise is sure
His life is matchless
His goodness is limitless
His mercy is everlasting
His love never changes
His word is enough
His grace is sufficient
His reign is righteous
His yoke is easy
and His burden is light
Christ was crucified on Mount Calvary wherein a sacrifice only He could make, He secured a victory only He could win.
I wish I could describe Him to you
I’m trying to tell you
The heaven of heavens cannot contain Him
Let alone a man explain Him
You can’t get Him out of your mind
You can’t get Him off of your hands
You can’t outlive Him
And you can’t live without Him
The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him
but they found out they couldn’t stop Him
Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him
The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree
And Herod couldn’t kill Him
Death couldn’t handle Him
And the grave couldn’t hold Him
That’s my King!
Become a child of the heavenly father.
Become a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.
Be joined to the great church of God.
He always has been
And He always will be
I’m talking about
He had no predecessor
and He’ll have no successor
There was nobody before Him
and there’ll be nobody after Him
You can’t impeach Him
and He’s not going to resign
That’s my King!
This entry was posted in social justice, Spiritual, spirituality and tagged #Ideas, christianity, economics, facts, family, Focus, friends, humanity, life, neighbors, prayer, quotes, religion, Society, thoughts, Truth, violence.
Clarence Glover has a surveillance camera in the chapel of his funeral home. Joseph Garr sometimes carries a revolver in his hearse. Carl Swann Jr. is contemplating leaving the business.
The three directors of black funeral parlors here have been assaulted at services and each has had gunshots fired during burials. Concealed-weapons, pre-funeral intelligence briefings, cameras, panic buttons and armed security guards are becoming as much a part of services as the eulogy.
“I’ve been in this business 42 years and I’m jittery now,” Mr. Glover says.
Across the country, black morticians are changing the way they operate. The reason: a spike in African-American murders — and the violence that sometimes follows victims to the grave. In an echo of more volatile parts of the world, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, African-American morticians report seeing an increase in violent behavior, and occasional killings, at funerals.
The violation of the once-sacrosanct funeral is one byproduct of a little-noticed upswing in the murder rate of African-Americans. The number of blacks killed in America, mostly by other blacks, has been edging up at a time when the rate for other groups has been flat or falling.
As a result, the black murder-victim toll exceeds that of the far larger white population. According to the most recent statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the number of whites murdered dropped slightly, to 6,956 from 7,005 between 2004 and 2006. The number of blacks killed rose 11%, to 7,421 from 6,680.
African-Americans, who make up 13% of the population, have long had a higher homicide rate than other groups. And the total number of black murders is still significantly lower than in the early 1990s, when the U.S. was hit by a wave of drug-related killings. At that time, though, “funeral homes used to be the most respected places you could walk into beside the church,” says Jeff Gardner, a co-owner of A.D. Porter & Sons in Louisville, Ky., and a third-generation undertaker. “Nobody respects life and the young folks nowadays don’t mind dying.”
What worries law enforcement, criminologists and sociologists is that there’s no unifying theme to explain today’s increase. Some killings are drug related. Researchers trace others to a glut of ex-felons re-entering society. I personally attribute some of this to the new slavery”Jim Crow” tactics in place that don’t allow re-education or fair employment for a race or species “Felons” that are disenfranchised and left to repeat their past to survive. Others correlate the rise in murders to the lack of a proper education.
Black funeral homes, long a fixture of African-American communities, offer a stark perspective from which to view the trend. There are no comprehensive statistics on assaults or other crimes at funerals. And the violence has not touched all black communities. Still, the topic has become a hot one in the industry.
Rising Incidence of Violence
Last year, the National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association — a black trade group — held a panel discussion at its Philadelphia convention about the rising incidence of violence on funeral premises. Among some strategies recommended: increasing security and not publicizing funerals.
Since 2006, police in Boston, Goldsboro, N.C., Louisville, Los Angeles and St. Louis have investigated black murders that occurred at or immediately after funeral services. Of five cases reviewed for this article, four were at the funerals of other murder victims. Two were gang related. One was a revenge killing. Two remain unexplained.
Sitting in the office of his funeral parlor on Reading Road in Cincinnati, funeral director Mr. Glover, 58 years old, can see images from three cameras at once. They allow him to view all the public areas inside the House of Glover Funeral Service as well as the back door. He’s had the system up and running for three months.
On at least two occasions, he says, gunfire at grave sites forced him to dive into the dirt. “Bullets don’t have names,” he says.
If a funeral has the possibility of “drama,” as he puts it, Mr. Glover hires security at $25 to $50 an hour per guard. He also assembles his staff two hours prior to a wake for a briefing. “We have a meeting so you know who is who, what to look for and watch out for each other,” he says.
Cincinnati is a microcosm of the national picture. Here, black morticians meet regularly. In past months the primary discussion has been about safety. Recently, funeral directors went on local radio talk shows in three one-hour sessions. The subject: escalating violence at funerals.
According to the National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association, the average cost of an African-American funeral is about $4,500. In many cases, the specter of violence is driving costs up. In Cincinnati, security firms make regular appearances at services, adding as much as $500 to the bill. Surveillance systems can cost $2,000 or more just to install.
“We’ve had to alternate funeral procession routes because we have been tipped off,” says Duane Weems, president of Elite Protective Services, a local security firm. “Attendees to the church service will tell us that this gang is waiting down there.”
Youth violence touches many communities. But its impact on funeral directors is often overlooked. It’s inevitavble that the profession will sometimes hit close to home. Black funeral professionals share emotional stories of their service to those who died too soon.
The black church has come to understand its critical space in the rituals
of the dead. Funerals have been its everyday business, and the black
church brought ceremony and extended ritual to this experience. Its
passion has been, from my perspective, the ways and means of catharsis;
and is responsible in great measure for the sustained resilience
and strength of these vulnerable communities.
African-American burial and embalming rituals, funeral services and undertaking industry are all examined in Passed on: African American Mourning Stories — A Memorial a cultural analysis of death and dying among 20th-century black Americans. Duke University English professor Karla F.C. Holloway combines historical research with interviews of present-day undertakers and others as she chronicles the discrimination and violent threats faced by black funeral parlor owners; the development of rituals like open-casket services and processions; and the influence of disproportionately violent black deaths on mourning practices. Punctuated with Holloway’s personal stories (including that of her son’s death), the book is an elegantly written survey for general readers and cultural historians alike.
After the violent death of her son, Duke University professor and author Karla FC Holloway found herself dealing with loss, grief and the finality of death. Like many authors, Holloway found that researching and writing about the rituals of death became the catharsis for her own pain.
In Passed on: African American Mourning Stories — A Memorial, Holloway creates a “portrait of death and dying in twentieth-century African-America.” Holloway’s endeavor feels random, and at times, vacillating among historical accounts of the emergence of African-American funeral home businesses, to a short study of violence in the African-American community, to the various “rituals of death” that have developed over the century.
Holloway suggests that the violence that has historically plagued African Americans has played a significant role in the perception of death in African-American culture. She writes, “The generational circumstance may change, but the violence done to black bodies has had a consistent history . . . paired with the cultural expectations of an open casket, presented a particular challenge to the black mortician’s skills.”
Historical factoids, such as the origins of funeral wreaths and observations of such traditions as the “homecoming”– the great trek South when a family member living in the region passes — are interesting, yet when offered alongside pictures, and very real accounts of brutality and violence, her observations seem more like random trivia than seamless information.
The documentation of African Americans and their death passages, as they were, are intriguing. However, Holloway’s transgression from the cultural and historical origins to stories focusing on the deaths of famous African Americans somehow lessens the scope of what seemed to be the true intention of her work, to present a thorough look at death through the cultural eye of African Americans.
Does Music Influence Youth To Commit Violence?
“And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. ” —Exodus 32:17-19
YES, YES, YES, absolutely, yes, of course, music DOES have a profound impact on youth! You can influence anyone through media, whether it be music or video. But in particular, children and teens have extremely impressionable minds.
1st Samuel 16:23 evidences the incredible power of music. When the lad David played on his musical harp, the Bible says that king Saul’s evil spirit departed from him. My friend (and don’t miss this truth please), if music can be used to make an evil spirit depart from a person, then music can also be used to invite an evil spirit to come and stay!!!
What a shame that our society isn’t filled with beautiful music as it once was. In the early days on TV, amateur family groups were featured playing musical instruments. There were few big shots back then. Nowadays it’s all commercialized music, and you have to sell your soul to the Devil (literally) to become famous. Music has lost it’s purity, like everything else. America was so much better off during the days of the Little League neighborhood baseball teams. Back then you could sell lemonade without a license.
Society never learns… the riots of the 1960’s, Charles Manson, rampant sexual immorality in America, the abortion industry, Columbine, indifference everywhere, tolerated wickedness and corruption… it’s all a consequence of the DESENSITIZATION by Godless television and worldly music! Each succeeding generation of youth in America are becoming more selfish, more wicked, more arrogantly proud, more woefully naive and more distant from the God of the Bible. Entertainment, pleasures and sports have assaulted our youth spiritually—leading them astray from God’s Word, hindering them from coming to the gospel of Jesus Christ to be saved and making them indifferent toward everything good, Christian, decent, moral, upright and holy. We are now surviving as Christians in a sewer society of moral toxicity and rotten decay. Hardly anyone cares anymore!
Moses had gone up upon the mount to get God’s Commandments. When Moses hadn’t returned for a couple weeks, some of the Jews demanded from Aaron (Moses brother) that he provide for them a god. So Aaron reluctantly had them give of all their jewelry, housewares and anything made of gold, melting it into a GOLDEN CALF. The people began dancing, got drunk, took their clothes off and worshipped the golden calf. When Joshua and Moses were coming down from the mountainside, they heard “A NOISE OF WAR IN THE CAMP,” which the Bible says was “THE NOISE OF THEM THAT SING”!
It was David’s beautiful harp playing that caused king Saul’s evil spirit to leave. 1st Samuel 16:23, “And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” Likewise, as we just learned from the idolatrous Israelites dancing around the golden calf, it was music (the “noise of them that sing” the Bible calls it) that accompanied an evil spirit of REBELLION!!! Rock music is synonymous with rebellion, sexual immorality and substance abuse (drugs and alcohol). Increasingly we are also seeing body piercings, self-mutilation and tattoos from head-to-toe associated with darker forms of worldly music.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged A Black Holocaust in America, Abraham Lincoln, African American, African-American communities, America, black funeral parlor, black funeral parlors, Black Morticians, Black on Black Violence, changed lives, Clarence Glover, compromise practices, courage, Culture, deliverance, Graves, humanity, life verses death, social issues, social justice, Society, Struggles, suffering, violence.
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
In my attempt to keep “Fresh Oil” positive and attractive I want to apologize if this post and it’s content becomes offensive in any way. The visual aids and artist selected to divulge my message is by no means a pivotal swing from what “Fresh Oil” represents.
Blessings of talent without maturity is shameful in and of itself. exploiting those of a lesser caste status due to your success is ignorance to me.
All peoples are struggling to blast a way through the industrial monopoly of races and nations, but the Negro as a whole has failed to grasp its true significance and seems to delight in filling only that place created for him by the white man.
Even if Negroes do successfully imitate the whites, nothing new has thereby been accomplished. You simply have a larger number of persons doing what others have been doing. The unusual gifts of the race have not thereby been developed, and an unwilling world, therefore continues to wonder that the Negro is good for.
Carter G. Woodson
Here we find that the Negro has failed to recover from his slavish habit of berating his own and worshipping others as perfect beings.
Carter G. Woodson
How dare anyone tell us that Africa cannot be redeemed, when we have 400,000,000 men and women with warm blood coursing through their veins? The power that holds Africa is not Divine.
I was black growing up in an all-white neighborhood so I felt like I just didn’t fit in. Like I wasn’t as good as everybody else or as smart, or whatever.
I’ve always maintained that black people and women suffer from a presumption of incompetence. The burdens of proof are different. It just gets so tiresome.
Carol Moseley Braun
If the white man wants to hold on to it, let him do so; but the Negro, so far as he is able, should develop and carry out a program of his own.
Carter G. Woodson
In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us…. I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! … And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! … Your interference is doing him positive injury.
Frederick Douglass, The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro
It startled the nation to hear a Negro advocating such a programme after many decades of bitter complaint; it startled and won the applause of the South, it interested and won the admiration of the North; and after a confused murmur of protest, it silenced if it did not convert the Negroes themselves.
W. E. B. Dubois, The Souls of Black Folk, on Booker T. Washington
Let us in shaping our own Destiny set before us the qualities of human JUSTICE, LOVE, CHARITY, MERCY AND EQUITY. Upon such foundation let us build a race, and I feel that the God who is Divine, the Almighty Creator of the world, shall forever bless this race of ours, and who to tell that we shall not teach men the way to life, liberty and true human happiness?
Negroes, as they enter our culture, are going to inherit the problems we have, but with a difference. They are outsiders and they are going to know that they have these problems. They are going to be self-conscious; they are going to be gifted with a double vision, for, being Negroes, they are going to be both inside and outside of our culture at the same time. Every emotional and cultural convulsion that ever shook the heart and soul of Western man will shake them. Negroes will develop unique and specially defined psychological types. They will become psychological men, like the Jews . . . They will not only be Americans or Negroes; they will be centers of knowing, so to speak . . . The political, social, and psychological consequences of this will be enormous.
Richard Wright, The Outsider
One day I realized I was living in a country where I was afraid to be black. It was only a country for white people. Not black. So I left. I had been suffocating in the United States… A lot of us left, not because we wanted to leave, but because we couldn’t stand it anymore… I felt liberated in Paris.
The differentness of races, moreover, is no evidence of superiority or of inferiority. This merely indicates that each race has certain gifts which the others do not possess. It is by the development of these gifts that every race must justify its right to exist.
Carter G. Woodson
The first point was we wanted power to determine our own destiny in our own black community. And what we had done is, we wanted to write a program that was straightforward to the people. We didn’t want to give a long dissertation.
Bobby Seale, Bobby Seale Interview
The depression brought everybody down a peg or two. And the Negro had but few pegs to fall.
The first point was we wanted power to determine our own destiny in our own black community. And what we had done is, we wanted to write a program that was straightforward to the people. We didn’t want to give a long dissertation.
Bobby Seale, Bobby Seale Interview
The needs of society determine its ethics, and in the Black American ghettos the hero is the one who is offered only crumbs from his country’s table but by ingenuity and courage is able to take for himself a Lucullan feast. Hence, the janitor who lives in one room but sports a robin’s-egg-blue Cadillac is not laughed at but admired, and the domestic of buys forty- dollar shoes is not criticized but appreciated.
Maya Angelou, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
The white kids were going to have a chance to become Galileos and Madame Curries and Edisons and Gauguins, and our boys (the girls weren’t even in on it) were going to try to be Jesse Owenses and Joe Lewises.
Maya Angelou, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
There can be no black-white unity until there is first some black unity…. We cannot think of uniting with others, until after we have first united among ourselves. We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.
There is always a turning point in the destiny of every race, every nation, of all peoples, and we have come now to the turning point of Negro, where we have changed from the old cringing weakling, and transformed into full-grown men, demanding our portion as MEN.
Marcus Garvey, The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey
We black men have a hard enough time in our own struggle for justice, and already have enough enemies as it is, to make the drastic mistake of attacking each other and adding more weight to an already unbearable load.
We who have been born and nurtured on this soil, we, whose habits, manners, and customs are the same in common with other Americans, can never consent to – be the bearers of the redress offered by that Society to that much afflicted country.
We’ve always been proactive in having mentoring programs, having internships, trying to work with the unions so they can encourage more people of color getting into them.
We’ve gone through the names-Negro, African American, African, Black. For me that’s an indication of a people still trying to find their identity. Who determines what is black?
The Negro has loved even under severest punishment. In slavery the Negro loved his master, he safe-guarded his home even when he further planned to enslave him. We are not a race of Haters, but Lovers of humanity’s Cause.
“Number one is that there is absolutely an abundance of African-American men in prison,” Kenneth Foy, a marriage and relationship therapist, told New Orleans news station WDSU. “Another is the drugs and alcohol … [and] the high numbers of Black-on-Black crime.”
With fewer Black men to date, some Black women consider dating outside their race. But social taboos prevent a lot of them from looking at other ethnicities as viable mates. Outside of that, some women simply want a guy that’s going to look like their family has always looked.
“Before my father was deceased, [my parents] were married for 43 years,” one single Black woman, Krystal Williams, told WDSU. “For me, I’ve always envisioned my family looking like them.”
And that’s the problem with this sort of thing: On the one hand, telling people to abandon their “type” in order to be pragmatic seems condescending. But the fact of the matter is that ignoring suitors of other races because of social stigmas is silly, and it won’t help the world progress.
Love truly is blind, and if your values and goals align with someone whose race is different from yours, who cares what anyone else has to say? Black women have empowered themselves so much by pursuing higher education and great careers. Now why not take the next step and get empowered in their love lives as well?
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Abraham Lincoln, alcohol, America, black on blck crime, broner, carol moseley braun, changed lives, courage, disenfranchisement, drugs, education, entertainment, fatherless families, fights, Fresh Oil, God being taken out of society, Healing, humanity, ignorance, Jesus, love, May Weather, Mental Health, Motivation, Oneness, poverty, religion, single black women, social issues, spirituality, suffering, suppression, theology, transformation, Trust, victims of self, violence, visual aids, warm blood, white neighborhood, winston churchill.
We have two American flags always: one for the rich and one for the poor. When the rich fly it means that things are under control; when the poor fly it means danger, revolution, anarchy.
What in the world is happening to America? The things that you are about to see in the videos posted in this article are so disturbing and so violent that it is hard to believe that it is actually Americans that are doing this to one another. Once upon a time, Americans generally conducted themselves with humility, grace, civility, honor and with a tremendous amount of respect for others. Sadly, those days are now long gone. Now, large numbers of people in this country are just going wild. Unfortunately, the videos you are about to watch are not isolated incidents. Stuff like this is going on all over the country. So what is going to happen when the economy collapses and shortages begin? What kind of violence and rioting should we expect to see at that point? Just recall what we witnessed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Sadly, if the videos below are any indication, the thin facade of civilization that we all take for granted every day could completely disintegrate in the event of a major economic catastrophe.
Today, society actually teaches our young people to be disrespectful and rude. Arrogance and violent behavior are glorified in our movies, on television and in our music. Our culture is literally degenerating right in front of our eyes. The whole country seems to become more selfish, more self-centered and more greedy every single day. In such an environment, is it any wonder that our young people are exhibiting such extreme behaviors?
The violence that you are about to see is very disturbing because it is real. If you spend most of your time isolated in your own little world, these scenes of brawling and violence will probably come as a great shock to you. But this is what is really happening in the United States of America today.
If people are willing to go so wild while times are still relatively good, what in the world is going to happen if a major disaster strikes or the economy collapses and they have been without food for two or three days?
This is something that we all really need to consider. In the United States today, there are millions of people with no jobs, no hope and no future. The mainstream media keeps promising that an “economic recovery” is right around the corner and most Americans are desperately hoping that 2013 will be better, but you can almost feel the frustration of the American people rising.
We live in a country today that is very frustrated and very angry. Some of that anger and frustration is rational, but a whole lot of it is irrational. Most Americans have been brought up to believe that they are entitled to “a good life”, and when that doesn’t happen they start behaving like spoiled little brats.
If some major emergency comes along that pushes the U.S. economy over the edge, it could cause massive societal upheaval. There wouldn’t be close to enough law enforcement personnel in the entire country to be able to handle the rioting and looting that we could potentially see.
Back during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the American people were able to pull through because our citizens still possessed a great deal of character. But today many Americans are incredibly spoiled. Many Americans believe that they are entitled to everything and that life is all about them. They are in love with themselves, they are in love with money and wealth, they are arrogant and boastful, they don’t respect their parents, they are addicted to entertainment, they have very little self-control and they have very little love for others.
Fortunately, there are also many Americans that still have good hearts, that are willing to fight for the truth and that are willing to live for something greater than themselves.
This is one of the most extraordinary times in all of human history to be alive, and as I noted in a previous article, it is those that are willing to live life unselfishly that will be pleased with the legacy that they have left behind….
When I was young, someone told me the following: “Life is like a coin – you can spend it any way that you want, but you can only spend it once.” So how are you spending your life? Are you just “killing time” and watching world events go by or are you actively trying to make a difference? When your life is over, will you be proud of the legacy that you have left, or will you be ashamed of what you have done with the time that you were given? None of us can go back now and change what we have done in the past, but the future stands unwritten before us. The remaining chapters of your life can be a beautiful thing – but only if you are courageous enough to seize the day.
We are going to need leaders that are going to be able to keep it together when times get tough in the years ahead. When most people realize that the “good times” are gone forever, they are absolutely going to lose it. Many people are going to totally freak out.
But if you are willing to embrace the challenges ahead instead of letting them swamp you with anger and desperation, then the coming years could become a great time of victory and adventure for you.
So what do you think about the crazy videos that you just viewed above? Do you think that Americans are emotionally prepared for an economic collapse? Why do you think people are suddenly acting so crazy?
In the America that most of us grew up in, most Americans considered themselves to be part of the “upper middle class”, the “middle class” or “the lower middle class”. Yes, there have always been poor people and homeless people, but they were thought to be a very small sliver of the population. Well, today all of that is dramatically changing. America’s emerging “poverty class” is exploding in size at the same time that America’s middle class is rapidly disappearing. You won’t hear it on the mainstream news, but the truth is that the United States has lost ten percent of its middle class jobs over the past decade. Only the top 5 percent of income earners in the U.S. has had their incomes increase enough to keep up with the rising cost of living over the past 40 years. The truth is that today there are a whole lot of people aggressively jostling for the small number of good jobs that are actually available and each year millions more Americans are being squeezed out of the middle class. The number of Americans that are financially dependent on the U.S. government continues to set new records month after month. The number of Americans that are participating in the labor force continues to go down. The sad reality is that the “American Dream” that so many Americans used to take for granted is being ripped away from us. If you still believe that the United States is guaranteed to always have a very large, very prosperous middle class then you really need to read the statistics listed below.
If you told most Americans ten years ago that in 2013 over 43 million Americans would be on food stamps hardly anyone would have believed you.
But yet here we are.
The U.S. economy simply is not producing enough good jobs anymore. Most of those that are able to acquire one of these jobs have been able to cling to middle class status, but for millions upon millions of others economic desperation has become “the new normal”.
In fact, more Americans than ever seem to have just given up. The number of working age Americans that are not even looking for work anymore is at a record high. The number of Americans that endlessly receive government “anti-poverty” benefits continues to go up and up.
Once upon a time America was a nation packed with hopelessly optimistic “go-getters” that were brimming with entrepreneurial spirit. But now we have tens of millions of docile sheep that seemingly have no hope, no future and that apparently have no problem with permanently being dependent on the government.
But of course it must be noted that thanks to “globalism” and thanks to the greed of the gigantic predator corporations that now dominate our economy that it has become extremely difficult to “make it” in today’s economy.
It really is incredible to see what has happened to America. Once upon a time we were the greatest economic machine in the history of the world, but now we are literally being dismantled piece by piece. The poverty that we are witnessing today is only going to become even worse as the U.S. economy continues to decline.
The following are 27 signs that America’s poverty class is rapidly becoming larger than America’s middle class….
#1 Only 47 percent of working-age Americans have a full-time job at this point.
#2 One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.
#3 In America today, 8.9 million people are working part-time jobs for “economic reasons”.
#4 During the last school year, almost half of all school children in the state of Illinois came from families that were considered to be “low-income”.
#5 In 2010, more Americans than ever before were living below the official federal poverty line.
#6 The number of net jobs gained by the U.S. economy during this past decade was smaller than during any other decade since World War 2.
#7 The Bureau of Labor Statistics originally predicted that the U.S. economy would create approximately 22 million jobs during the decade of the 2000s, but it turns out that the U.S. economy only produced about 7 million jobs during that time period.
#8 108.6 million Americans are either unemployed, underemployed or considered to be “not in the labor force”.
#9 The United States now has 10 percent fewer “middle class jobs” than it did just ten years ago.
#10 The number of Americans that have become so discouraged that they have given up searching for work completely now stands at an all-time high.
#11 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.
#12 According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, visits to soup kitchens are up 24 percent over the past year.
#13 Approximately 5 million U.S. homeowners are now at least two months behind on their mortgage payments.
#14 The number of Americans filing for bankruptcy rose another 9 percent in 2010.
#15 In 2009, total wages, median wages, and average wages all declined in the United States.
#16 According to a survey released very close to the end of 2010, 55 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck.
#17 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.
#18 The number of Americans on food stamps set a new all-time record every single month during 2010, and now well over 43 million Americans are enrolled in the program.
#19 Even in our nation’s capital stunningly large numbers of Americans are suffering in desperate poverty. Today, 21.5 percent of the population of Washington D.C. is on food stamps.
#20 It now takes the average unemployed American over 33 weeks to find a job.
#21 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.
#22 The number of American families that were booted out of their homes and into the streets set a new all-time record in 2010.
#23 Some formerly great industrial cities are rapidly turning into ghost towns. For example, in Dayton, Ohio today 18.9 percent of all houses are now standing empty.
#24 Ten years ago, the “employment rate” in the United States was about 64%. Since then it has been constantly declining and now the “employment rate” in the United States is only about 58%. So where did all of those jobs go?
#25 A recent study by a law professor from the University of Michigan found that Americans that are 55 years of age or older now account for 20 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States. Back in 2001, they only accounted for 12 percent of all bankruptcies. It is getting really, really hard to live on a fixed income in the United States.
#26 In the United States today, there are over 6 million Americans that have been unemployed for half a year or longer.
#27 One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government.
In 2011, even more Americans are going to fall out of the middle class and into the poverty class.
The dynamics of the game have changed. Once upon a time if you got a college education and you worked really hard you were virtually guaranteed a ticket to the middle class.
Well, no matter what you may have been promised, those days are now long gone. Now those in the U.S. middle class are trapped inside a really twisted, really bizarre game of musical chairs. If you still have your seat you should be very thankful, because chairs are being pulled out of the game constantly as the middle class rapidly shrinks.
Sadly, the economic decline of America is only going to accelerate as government debt continues to mount and as our jobs and our industries are shipped overseas as part of the new “global economy”.
Our politicians are doing nothing to stop all of the long-term trends that are ripping the middle class to shreds so the poverty class is going to continue to explode in size in the months and years to come.
So if you are still part of the middle class, enjoy it while you can, because the party is ending and they are starting to turn out the lights.