eyes to see but cannot see

It has really not been until this election that I understood Jesus' use of parables and his justification for them. The parables weed out those with confirmation bias. Let me explain. Jesus, and the prophets he quotes, likes to say about their critics they have eyes to see but cannot see and ears to hear but cannot hear. This clicked with me when I read the same idea expressed by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter in a science fiction novel, "The Long Cosmos." They write this in the context of a extraterrestrial message "Come Join Us."
Some believed it must be what it most obviously looked like, some kind of SETI message from the sky...Others believed it couldn't be that precisely because that was the most obvious explanation." (p. 8)
In the same way, a significant minority of the American voting public refused to apply Occam's razor of reasoning, the simplest explanation is the best one, and chose conspiratorial explanations over and over again. Benghazi acquittals - didn't matter, guilty. Bragging of sexual assault - didn't matter, just jokes. Private email server acquittals - didn't matter, guilty. Assertions to reinstitute torture - didn't matter, hyperbole. Family foundation accusations documented untrue - didn't matter, guilty. Family foundation admitted violations and fines and self-serving or undelivered donations - didn't matter. all oversights.

This year's advent readings in the Old Testament mostly come from Isaiah. Yesterday's reading is from Isaiah 43:8-13. Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears! Let all the nations gather together, and let the peoples assemble. Who among them declared this, and foretold to us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to justify them, and let them hear and say, “It is true.” You are my witnesses.

The American voting public were warned over and over again about voting in a kleptocrat with ties to the oligarch nation of Russia. Yet despite his associations with Russian political apologists, his own dissembling about his real estate dealings and personal relations with Russia's oligarchs, his voters chose not to see. But they were warned.

Today's Isaiah reading is from Isaiah 10. Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be your spoil, and that you may make the orphans your prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, in the calamity that will come from far away? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth, so as not to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain? For all this his anger has not turned away; his hand is stretched out still.

Disenfranchisement of minority voters happened in many red states. This is documented and being adjudicated. In some states a school to prison pipeline is a reality for minority students. In some states, instead of raising taxes on the wealthy, they let the infrastructure of poor communities fall into disrepair so that their water is poisonousPrivate charter schools are enriched at the expense of public schools in poor districts. One Georgia lawmaker claimed a free lunch for hungry children deprives these kids of their dignity even though he gets plenty of free lunches from taxpayers.

Today's Advent reading in the Psalms comes from the 50th. Verses 16-21 But to the wicked God says:  "Why do you recite my statutes, and take my covenant upon your lips; 17 Since you refuse discipline,  and toss my words behind your back? 18 When you see a thief, you make him your friend,  and you cast in your lot with adulterers. 19 You have loosed your lips for evil,  and harnessed your tongue to a lie. 20 You are always speaking evil of your brother  and slandering your own mother's son. 21 These things you have done, and I kept still,  and you thought that I am like you."

When a president of a Christian college allies himself with a candidate who defrauded students in a fake university, that is befriending a thief. When church leaders excuse the serial adultery of their candidate, they have cast their lot with him. When a christian evangelist labels progressives, whether Christian or not as godless, that is speaking evil of his brothers and sisters.

This is a willful blindness from people who claim to know God and his book.When one of their own tries to point out the duplicity, his group is threatened with withdrawal of financial support. Perhaps if they did their advent readings everyday they might repent. In the meantime, I will try to love these folks into an eye opening experience as someone like William Barber is doing with the Moral Mondays movement..


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