Flobots – Stand Up

I have been listening to this album for a couple of years now, and I enjoy our music discussion – but have not heard much discussion about this genre.  The flobots (a six man group from Denver) are what I would call “social justice hip hop.”  They abandon the typical subject matter found in the hip hop culture for a more poignant (sometimes visceral) cultural critique.  It seems like a prophetic voice is rising out of our metropolitan areas.

Here are the lyrics to the song that I have found myself listening to over and over again over the last several days.

Stand up
We shall not be moved
Except By a child with no socks and shoes
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Stand up We shall not be moved
Except by a woman dying from a loss of food
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

We still don’t understand thunder and lightning
Flash back to when we didn’t fund the dam
Didn’t fund the dam levee? No wonder man
Now our whole damn city’s torn asunder man
Under water but we still don’t understand
We see hurricane spills overrun the land
Through gaps you couldn’t fill with a 100 tons of sand
No we still don’t understand
We’ve seen planes in the windows of buildings crumbled in
We’ve seen flames send the chills through London
And we’ve sent planes to kill them and some of them were children
But still we crumbling the building
Underfunded but we still don’t understand
Under God but we kill like the son of Sam
But if you feel like I feel like about the son of man
We will overcome

So Stand up
We shall not be moved
Except By a child with no socks and shoes
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Stand up We shall not be moved
Except by a woman dying from a loss of food
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

I said Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

We shall not be moved
Except By a child with no socks and shoes
Except by a woman dying from a loss of food
Except by a freedom fighter bleeding on a cross for you
We shall not be moved
Except by a system thats rotten through
Neglecting the victims and ordering the cops to shoot
High treason now we need to prosecute

So Stand up
We shall not be moved
And we won’t fight a war for fossil fuel
Its times like this that you want to plot a coup
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
So Stand up
We shall not be moved
Unless were taking a route we have not pursued
So if you’ve got a dream and a lot to do
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

I said Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
if you’ve got a dream and a lot to do
Put your hands up

Now shake, shake
A Polaroid dream
nightmare negatives develop on the screen
We sit back and wait for the government team
Criticize they but who the fuck are we
The people want peace but the leaders want war
Our neighbors don’t speak, peek through the front door
House representatives preach “stay the course”
Time for a leap of faith
Once More

Put your hands up high if you haven’t abandoned
Hope that the pen strokes stronger than the cannon
Balls to the wall, Nose to the grindstone
My interrogation techniques leave your mind blown
So Place your bets lets speak to the enemy
Don’t let em pretend that we seek blood
And who’s we anyways Kemo Sabe?
Mighty warlord wanna-be street thug
a threat for a threat leaves the whole world terrified
blow for blow never settles the score
word for word is time need clarify
We the people did not want war

So Stand up
We shall not be moved
Except By a child with no socks and shoes
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Unless were taking a route we have not pursued
So if you’ve got a dream and a lot to do
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

I said Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
if you’ve got a dream and a lot to do
Put your hands up

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Glenn Beck, Jim Wallis, and Social Justice

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I was listening to the radio this morning.  I was happy, I was sipping my coffee, and I was looking forward to a leisurely day.  Then Jim Wallis came on the radio to discuss the latest antics of our national “village idiot,” Glenn Beck.  apparently, Glenn Beck has taken it upon himself to out all of those heretical Christians that are perverting the Gospel with messages of social justice.  In what has apparently become a personal vendetta against Jim Wallis and ministries like Sojourners,

“Glenn Beck recently told his listeners to leave any church that teaches social justice, and to report its pastor to church authorities.”

Clearly what the church needs is more of Beck’s feel good, watered down, Christmas sweater wearing, capitalism in a “Christian wrapper” spirituality.  My morning is shot.  I spat my coffee at the radio in disgust, leisure as been replaced with indignation at Beck’s blatant and rampant misuse of the Evangelical right, and I am now irritated at how obnoxiously misdirected Beck really is (for the record, he may have overshot his religious base on this one – I know quite a few conservative Evangelicals that hold Wallis in high esteem).

Here is how Wallis suggests we respond to Beck.  He wants you to go to his site and mail a personal message to Beck outing yourself.  It reads:

Dear Mr. Beck,

I’m a Christian who believes in the biblical call to social justice.

I stand in the tradition of the Hebrew prophets and the teachings of Jesus that demonstrate God’s will for justice in every aspect of our individual, social, and economic lives.

I hereby “report” myself to you, and promise to report myself to the appropriate church authorities. I hope you’ll be hearing from them as well.

I usually don’t get fired up about pundits, especially not provocateurs like Beck.  Nonetheless, the man is a disease infiltrating the Christian “right.”  I have signed the petition, and so should you.  Sign It, Sign It Now! (please)  :0)

Take action against Glenn  Beck

Episcopal Drama Part II: A Message from the Dean of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John, ABQ

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This is an article written by Dean Mark Goodman of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John in Albuquerque, NM (Diocese of the Rio Grande), which is the Episcopal church where attend.  His intended audience is his congregation and this was originally published in the weekly “Cathedral News.”  It has been reposted here with the Dean’s permission.  The Dean also has a blog of his own: fromthedean.wordpress.com.

I believe this article speaks to both elements of the “Episcopal Drama” to which I alluded in my first post with far more clarity, grace and eloquence than I could muster. I have edited it only in that I have left out items which are of interest mainly to the Cathedral congregation and do not address the topics at hand.  I have also taken the liberty of placing in bold a few comments that were especially meaningful to me. Please enjoy.

-James Stambaugh

I write this while still attending the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, meeting in Anaheim, California.  If you have been following the work of the General Convention, you will know that it has been extensive and varied. Not only are there legislative sessions, there is also a daily Eucharist, including a grand Sunday liturgy, as well as committee meetings and hearings, gatherings to share collective ministry, and social times to deepen relationships. It will also not have escaped your attention that there is a certain level of tension that exists at General Convention. That is, one level, inescapable when you get so many people together in one place. On another level, it is a result of good and faithful people diligently trying to discern God’s will in the actions and decisions of this council. People disagree, and that’s a good thing. However, when disagreements touch deeply held convictions and challenge them, that can become very uncomfortable, even painful. As at many General Conventions, it is that sort of disagreement that has been experienced this past week.

I don’t enjoy being in that sort of atmosphere. I go to General Convention to see colleagues in ministry, share ideas with them, and meet new people from around the Episcopal Church and the Communion. I go to share in the councils of the Church and add my voice to our collective work to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit. I don’t go to observe wrangling over issues, and when it happens (which, as I said, it almost always does), the very real temptation is to become discouraged and disheartened. I felt that temptation most keenly last week, on Tuesday, after the deeply serious discussions that took place earlier in the week. It was a temptation that was given a keener edge by the acrimony that began to be displayed by various groups around the Communion in response to important decisions that had been made. “What am I doing here?” I thought. “Why don’t people just trust God to lead us and focus on ministry?” “Why must we fight with one another?” was what I felt in my heart.

It was on that same day that I attended a gathering of some of the international guests of the President of the House of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson, for an interview. These individuals included Dr. Jenny Te Paa, the Principal of St. John’s Theological College in New Zealand; Dr. Victor Atta-Baffoe, Dean of St. Nicholas’ Seminary in Ghana; Dean Rowan Smith, Dean of St. George’s Cathedral in Capetown, South Africa; among others. In answering my questions, and those of the other interviewers, these leaders spoke of lived ministry in challenging local settings. There was discussion of issues of poverty, HIV-AIDS, indigenous peoples being included in the life of the Church, raising the awareness of the status of women in areas where they are no more than property, the difficulties of funding and communications. The divisive issues of General Convention were not center stage. I was thankful for that and realized that it is this focus on mission and ministry that keeps us rooted in God:  hopeful and energized, not fearful and discouraged. I came away from that interview renewed in my understanding of why I am here.

I also came away from that interview renewed in my determination that the hot-button issues of the Church cannot distract us from the work of mission and ministry that God has set before us. This has been my intention in every church I have led, and it will be my intention here, at the Cathedral of St. John. The Church has struggled with thorny questions in every age, and God has always shown the way through them; he will do so in this instance, too. I don’t have the answers to some of these questions of our life together, nor is it up to me to state with certainly the mind of God. Our calling as Christians, I believe, is to live in faith, which means we don’t always see where we’re going. This calling is given beautiful expression in the ethos of Anglicanism, an expression of Christian discipleship that enables us to live in the midst of creative tension, wherein we go about the work we have been given to do while believing, patiently and faithfully, that God, through his Holy Spirit, will lead us where we need to go. I don’t always like living this way, but I believe it, with all my being, to be our calling.