Amos and Us.

Liturgical congregations will hear from the prophet Amos over the next several Sundays.  He’s always been my favorite of the ethical prophets.  More than others, he enumerated the sins not only of Israel, but also of the surrounding nations.  They are worthy of our attention because they are the sins of our modern world as well.  Moreover, they imply the characteristics of a political agenda that might find favor in God’s sight, and they offer some simple words of guidance for those of us who profess faith in God.  I’ll leave it to you to read Amos for yourself to see what you think, but here  is what I think such an agenda might look like.
  1. Even for enemies do not use the food of the people as a weapon.
  2. Refrain from ethnic cleansing.
  3. Maintain integrity in international negotiations and relations.
  4. Foster civil harmony.
  5. Provide for security of persons and possessions.
  6. Show respect for legitimate civil authority.
  7. Establish economic policies and practices that are fair to all, with an emphasis on the poor, oppressed, and marginalized.
  8. Be fair and honest in all areas of trade, commerce, and personal relations.
  9. Prohibit confiscatory interest rates on loans.
  10. In fairness and with honesty, show no partiality in any application of justice.
  11. Establish policies and practices that remove barriers to success in life, especially barriers that have been erected against the poor, oppressed, and marginalized.
  12. Establish policies and practices that encourage constructive work for all and respect for all work.
  13. Establish policies and practices that encourage fair taxation, and discourage inequitable patterns of income and wealth.
  14. Refrain from arrogant, undue pride of nation or family.
  15. Establish policies and practices that show generosity and compassion for the suffering, needy, oppressed, and marginalized.
  1. Show awed respect for God’s holy places (including nature).
  2. Have holy respect for all acts of intimacy, especially sexual intimacy.
  3. Engage life in sobriety.
  4. Allow God’s servants to speak freely as God inspires them.
  5. Worship God honestly, intentionally, in heart, soul, and mind.
  6. Refrain from the presumption of God’s grace for one’s self while oppressing others.

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