Ellen Davis is full of surprises. Some are delightful, others raise questions for further study, and still others throw up stumbling blocks.
This month, the Federal Communications Commission voted to open debate on new rules regarding net neutrality, the idea that Internet service providers (Verizon, Comcast, etc.) should treat all data equally, regardless of its source or destination. Net neutrality advocates argue that the Internet is best when it operates on a simple first-come, first-served basis. The FCC's proposal, however, includes provisions for ISPs to allow "paid prioritization," otherwise known as an Internet "fast lane," when such service meets a threshold of "commercial reasonableness." This means that ISPs can negotiate massive payments from large-scale purveyors of online bandwidth.
"Not God bless America, God damn America!" bellowed Jeremiah Wright from his former pulpit. "That’s in the Bible for killing innocent people." This sermon quote--actually, usually just the "God damn America" part, stripped of any context whatsoever--created a media frenzy, earned death threats for Wright and jeopardized a then-parishioner's presidential campaign. "I don't think God will continue to bless America," said Rick Santorum the other day, "if we continue to kill 1.2 million children every year." Unlike Wright, Santorum is himself a candidate for president. Yet two days later Google offers mostly crickets.
The thing about serving as a prophet is that you are forever stuck between what God wants and what the people want.
As the second Sunday in advent approaches, I find the prophets of the season compelling. To my ears, their message sounds pretty consistent: "Change the ways of this world."
The passage from Micah raises some important theological questions related to God's revelation. Micah is clear that focusing solely on our well-being and declaring war on the poor will lead to a cessation of revelation and vision.