A Prescription for Grief

In my reading this morning, I noticed a striking contrast between the beginning of the tenth chapter of Isaiah and the first few verses of the eleventh.

“Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!” (Is. 10:1-2).

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots . . . But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth” (Is. 11:1,4).

The contrast is between those who prescribe grievousness, robbing the poor, and the one who will judge the poor in righteousness.

Of course, the first thing I thought of was the endless stream of regulations and laws pouring out of Washington, all done in the name of prescribing solutions for the disadvantaged among us. But each written regulation is nothing but a prescription of grief.

In contrast, the Messiah will not be like this. He will judge on behalf of the poor, lift them out of their troubles, and will rejoice that they have been delivered — He will not chide them for now being “middle class.”

One of the dumbest things that conservatives have done (and, I think, one of the most culpable) is that they have allowed leftists to preen themselves as though they were champions of the poor. But they loathe the poor, they despise them. Of course, you can’t stop liberals from preening themselves — their worldview consists entirely of self-congratulation — but they ought not to have been able to do it unchallenged. Every prescription of grief ought to be read aloud, and carefully explained, and this should be done by free market economists who care about the widow. Nobody else apparently cares.

Theology That Bites Back



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  • Dan

    Good post Doug.  I couldn’t agree more about the preening and the self-congratulation by so many on the left.  An analogy I use is the giving of money to charity.  No one would want to hear another brag and pat themselves on the back for giving money to a charity; yet they like to brag and pat themselves on the back for being so progressive and preening about how “inclusive” they are, and how much they care about minorities, the poor, and the disenfranchised.  Then many of them return to their gated white communities where they feel safe, and where many have protection and bodyguards and can also demagogue about gun control.  To assuage their white, liberal guilt, they engage in racial and identity politics, which is the opposite of what a citizenry should do, and which is the opposite of what Martin Luther King had advocated.  But the left is able to get away with this preening and self-congratulation, since much of the culture (and the mainstream media), actually celebrates and fosters it.  Good old-fashioned values and common sense should have taught us long ago that bragging on oneself, about anything, is unbecoming and should be avoided.  But instead we live in a day and age where self-promotion and self-congratulation is encouraged and praised.  Thus, the more one preens about how caring and “diverse” they are, the harder it is in today’s society to challenge them.  There’s no stigma attached to the preening, unfortunately.  

  • Vishwanath

    That is absolutely right.  These things have to be explained in order to be comprehensible to small children. 
    Now I have read some arguments by the advocates of the “free market” – the libertarians.  And they all miss an important point: the poor are also powerless – which is why they are poor.  Forced to fend for themselves in a “free” market, they will be exploited by those who possess better street-smarts and connections. 
    The ballot box is a way that the poor can recover some modicum of power: since every man has exactly one vote.  However, even this system can be gamed: most perniciously with regulatory systems that exclude from the market any entity unable to hire a battery of lawyers: thus the poor.
    It is therefore really hard to argue against making provision for every man, woman and child to have an assurance of adequate food, medicine and training in language and arithmetic.   How this can be achieved without a powerful central body is a good question.

  • DanielBlowes

    But what if we are now the heartless rich? Rich in grace, mercy, light and salvation.. And Obama and his ilk are the poor in grace, mercy, light and salvation.. Their words and deeds betray their poverty? Time to start spending.

  • http://andrewlohr.wordpress.com Andrew Lohr

      Liberals’  “worldview consists entirely of self-congratulation”:  in a word, PRIDE.  
    / / / / /     And in practice, this almost always (always??) amounts to rich people taking choices away from poor people.   The housing inspector comes in from his suburb, pronounces some poor dwelling “condemned,” and goes home to his suburb.  
    / / / / /     Update the gleaning laws?  Any business must leave 2% of its income for poor people who will work hard to earn it?  (Pick up cigarette butts in the parking lot for $2/hour, or whatever.) 

  • http://andrewlohr.wordpress.com Andrew Lohr

    This link includes “Why all Christians, Democrats, Republicans, Reds, and Greens should vote libertarian,” which includes concerns for the poor.  (Bad news:  lotta scrolling.)