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Marching Backward
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Talkin' Compensation

Star Thrower

 

Loren Eiseley tells a story that helps me feel the power of recognizing and embracing life's contradictions.  The great naturalist once spent time in a seaside town called Costebel.  Plagued by his lifelong insomnia, Eiseley spent the early morning hours walking the beach.  And every day at sunrise, he found townspeople combing the sand for starfish that had washed ashore during the night to kill them for commercial purposes.  For Eiseley, it was a sign, however small, of all the ways the world says no to life.

One morning, Eiseley went out unusually early and discovered a solitary figure on the beach.  This man, too, was gathering starfish, but each time he found one alive, he would pick it up and throw it as far as he could out beyond the breaking surf, back to the ocean from which it came.  Eiseley found this man on his mission of mercy every morning, day after day, no matter the weather.

Eiseley named the man "the star thrower."  In a moving meditation, he writes of how this man and his predawn work contradicted everything Eiseley had been taught about evolution and the survival of the fittest.  Here on the beach in Costebel, the strong reached down to save, not crush the weak.  And Eiseley wonders, is there a star thrower at work in the universe, a God who contradicts death, whose nature (to quote the words of Thomas Merton) is "mercy within mercy within mercy"? 

"Quoted from The Promise of Paradox by Parker J. Palmer. pages 40-41"

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Job's God is True

 

This song was played and sung by pastors Tom and Judy Rich at a pentecostal church we attended 30 years ago (see Musings for the song, Marching Backward) in Sioux City, Ia. My tribal arrangement is much different than theirs, which was more country, but I kind of like it both ways.  Knowing that He sees me "through the lattice" is pretty important when I have gotten myself in a jam and feel distant. 

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'34

 

I purchased a copy of The Family by Jeff Scarlet to gain an understanding of "The Family" who preach a gospel of "biblical capitalism," military might, and American Empire.  Among other things this fascinating book contains is the account of the strike of Harry Bridges' longshoremen (pages 101 - 108) and the ensuing violence between virtually all of the institutional powers at that time and the strikers.  After the funeral and burial of two union members killed outside the union hall, public opinion was on the side of the strikers.   

After reading Scarlet's account I read as much as I could find about the 1934 labor movement in San Francisco.  An internet search yields much on the subject.  The story was breathtaking to me.  I wanted to write a song about it.  I hope I did OK.

Biblical capitalism? Oh my!  How do we make the jump from Acts 4:32 to capitalism? A free market can be a good thing, but let's not make a religion out of it.

"What ordinary people owe the likes of Harry Bridges and the Brothers of '34 is probably not measureable."

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