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“The Wonderful Umbrella” Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 24th 2009 at Bethlehem in Oakland, CA

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Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 24th 2009

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 Psalm One  1 John 5: 9—15 John 17:613

The Wonderful Umbrella

Today is the seventh Sunday of Easter. Seven Sundays means that we have had a week of Sundays and seven times seven days gives us 49, which makes next Sunday the fiftieth day or Pentecost in Greek. Last Thursday was Ascension Day, where the risen Lord stopped appearing regularly to the disciples and was lifted up into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, almighty in love. I’ve translated a German Ascension song that goes like this:

1. The Lord Christ Jesus reigns from heaven

To him all power and glory are given.

The whole world is his footstool (repeat).

2. Let all tongues on earth confess him.

He comes to us with crowns of blessing.

His dominion he shall rule (repeat).

Our Gospel lesson shows Jesus getting his disciples ready for his leaving. It is called his High Priestly Prayer. (A priest intercedes for others before God and God listens to him or her. In Jesus’ prayer we overhear the Son speaking to the Father and taking us all up, lifting us all up to be inside the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, into their communion that fellowship divine. Jesus has gathered us together and now we belong to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, because Jesus says to the Father, “They are yours and you gave them to me.” And Jesus is bringing us back to God. Now Jesus is praying about us. He taught us God’s name, the great “I am” and we have received God’s Word and believe that God sent Jesus Christ to save us from our sins.

The wonderful thing is that Jesus is not only praying for the disciples around him in that day, but also for us, we who have come to believe because of their witness, the witness of Peter and Paul, James, Justus, and Matthias; of Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Salome, Lydia, Priscilla, Dorcas and all the other faithful women mentioned in the book of Acts. But Jesus did not only pray for them, but also for each one of us today, for you and me here in Bethlehem.

Remember how I said Monica prayed for her son Augustine for seventeen years? Well, someone far greater is praying for us and for a greater number of years. The Great High Priest himself, the Right hand of God, who is moving in this land, it is He that is praying for us. How could the Father not hear him and respond in our behalf, when his beloved Son asks the Father to protect us, protect us from the evil one, to rescue us when we are lost, and to save us?

My sister Hanna has Lou Gehrig’s disease, (ALS). First she could no longer speak, now she cannot swallow. She needs a neck brace, and I think she needs oxygen at night. Her fingers are also starting to give her trouble. I’m so glad we pray for her here. I also pray for her everyday, but what’s more, Jesus is praying for her, and that gives her a joyful spirit and a cheerful heart, because of her unshakeable trust in God.

Ah, what joy to know, what a strengthening to know that Jesus prays for us! Not only for Hanna, not only for the long list of those we name each Sunday in our Prayer of the Church, but for all of us, for Bethlehem, our communion, our fellowship divine that is in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And I know that Jesus is also praying for Bishop Mark Holmerud and the upcoming Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly, and for Bishop Mark Hanson and the coming Church-wide Assembly thereafter. Jesus is praying his heart out for us, routing for us in the work of salvation.

Do you know the song, “My Mother Prayed for me”?

Let’s sing it together:

My Mother Prayed for me, had me on her mind,

She took some time to pray for me.

I’m so glad she prayed

I’m so glad she prayed

I’m so glad she prayed for me.

The preacher prayed for me, had me on his mind,

He took some time to pray for me.

I’m so glad he prayed

I’m so glad he prayed

I’m so glad he prayed for me.

But this is better!

My Lord Jesus prayed for me, had me on his mind,

He took some time to pray for me.

I’m so glad he prayed

I’m so glad he prayed

I’m so glad he prayed for me. [1]

Not only did Jesus pray for us, after that prayer, he shed his blood for us, so we are not only a prayed-for-people, but we have been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus and that makes us far more valuable than fine gold, diamonds, platinum, rubies, emeralds, and pearls! No jewels and no amount of money are as valuable as one drop of the precious blood of Jesus. That’s how precious we now are.

So just like Psalm One says, we are blessed. We are happy. Happy are we who do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly; who meditate on God’s law day and night. That is where we really get our life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Without Jesus, what good is the Preamble of our Constitution (that we remember our soldiers are fighting for)? Jesus prays for us. We are the joyful and happy people, who live under the umbrella of the fervent prayers of Jesus Christ himself.

His prayers make us like a tree planted by the rivers of waters, with leaves that do not wither, and who bear our fruit in due season. His prayers make us efficacious! We are not worthless chaff which the winds drives away, but full and hardy kernels of wheat that fall to the ground, then get ground into flour, get baked into bread, so that we become the bread of life, Bread for the World.

The other night, Ron Moore and I saw a Spanish film called “Rudo e Cursi.” He’s retired and he always wants to go to the movies. Well, the film was about two soccer players. It was so sad, because the people in the film were rootless and lacked all inner meaning in their lives.

The mother of the soccer players marries another mobster, who builds her a house on the beach, the way the sons couldn’t. There is so much corruption! At the end the two brothers face off together. When the one brother shoots the ball, the other, who was supposed to miss the ball and lose the game, blocks it by mistake. He had come to the point of betraying his whole team to save his own life. So now winning the game is the worst thing that ever could have happened to him. On his way home, hit men stop his taxi and shoot him. Luckily they did not kill him, they only blew one of his legs off.

Now these are the celebrities that everyone envies and wants to be. They have both feet in this world. All they see is fame and dollar signs in their eyes. These two fellows were into soccer. But they could have been basket ball players or baseball stars, wanting to be celebrities, movie stars in the fast lane, going in high gear and so many of us want to imitate them in first or second gear. What do these celebrities, whose lives are so messed up, know about the stars that are made in heaven? What do they know about the people of God, whom the prayers of Jesus anchor down in an unshakeable trust in God, whose joy is made complete, because they are under the umbrella of the prayers of Jesus Christ?

Won’t you invite some of the people who do not have that mooring in life out of the rain and under the umbrella of the prayers of Jesus? Why leave them out in the rain and the cold?

Ah, all the evil fruit they bear with their cold hearts, their jealousy and revenge, their addictions to alcohol, drugs, success, money, power, and worldly fame. We see the crimes that these evil desires foster among us. We read them in the newspapers, see and hear them in the news. It would fill my sermon with cold blood to report on them here. But under the umbrella of Jesus’ prayers for us, we get a warm heart, beating, throbbing with love and affection. We receive this internal bond of faithfulness. And we can tell a love that is not genuine, which is in love with only the self, who merely milk others for their kindness but share none in return. They are the takers only in it for themselves.

Jesus does not pray to take us out of the world, but sends us into this sorry world to invite the people caught up in this worldly rat-race to come under Christ’s wonderful umbrella. Even though Jesus sends us like sheep among the wolves, he prays that God protect us from the evil one.

The prayers of Jesus give us the strength to witness in this world to the one new world that Jesus tenderly and lovingly rules over. We can’t live out of the present violent, dog-eat-dog, success-driven world, where some are made winners and some losers, some have all the capital and others belong to the debtor class, debtors, way under water, drowning in debt. That’s why we pray: forgive us our debts as we forgive those indebted to us!

The commentator on Psalm One said, when success is the sole motive of action or a calculated belief in reward, or feeling of entitlement, we will be betrayed. True meaning and value in life is not to be found in success as such, but in the joyous and unshakeable trust in God, which cannot be broken, [2] because God remains completely faithful to us.

Ah, when we are moored and anchored in unshakeable trust in God, the One in us is greater than the one in the world and the violent and godless inhuman conditions we live in are overcome in the new selves born out of God’s love. and in these new selves we enter new realities which Jesus won for us in this world through a love that conquers death and gives us a peace that passes understanding.

Verse:

My Lord Jesus prayed for me, had me on his mind,

He took some time to pray for me.

I’m so glad he prayed

I’m so glad he prayed

I’m so glad he prayed for me.

Hey, and Jesus prayed for you, had you on his mind,

He took some time to pray for you.

I’m so glad he prayed

I’m so glad he prayed

I’m so glad he prayed for you.

And Jesus prayed for us, had us on his mind,

He took some time to pray for us.

I’m so glad he prayed

I’m so glad he prayed

I’m so glad he prayed for us.

We are a prayed for people and Jesus precious blood was shed for us! We are all under Jesus’ wonderful umbrella!

Amen.

_______________________________________________

1. “Somebody Prayed for Me” by Dorothy Norwood.

2. Artur Weiser, The Psalms: The Old Testament Library, (Philadelphia: Westminister Press, 1962), pages 102-108, especially p. 104, 106, and 107.

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Written by peterkrey

May 24, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Posted in 1, Selected Sermons

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dear Readers,

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Written by peterkrey

May 15, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Posted in 1

“My Mother Tongue,” by Klaus Groth, a Poem Translated from Low German (dithmarscher Mundart)

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My Mother Tongue

by Klaus Groth

My mother tongue, so sweet the sound,

How dear you are to me!

Were my heart made of stone or steel,

To speak it proud I’d be.

You bend my stiff neck so gently

Like Mother with her arm.

You caress my lips and face

And I’m completely calm.

Again I feel like a little child:

The whole world disappears.

You breathe health into my sick breast

Like spring winds of yester-years.

My grandpa folds my hands again

And says to me: “Now pray!”

An “Our Father” I then begin

Like in my childhood’s day.

My heart speaks and everything pours out,

Feeling deeply understood,

As heaven’s peace descends round about

And things again are good.

My mother tongue so simple and fair

Has a reverent air!

If someone merely said “my father,”

It sounded like a prayer.

For me no music or chorus is quite as glorious

Not even the nightingale’s grace.

In the twinkling of an eye, I just sigh,

As tears stream down my face.

By Klaus Groth (1819-1899)

Born in Heide, Holstein, he became a professor of the German language and literature at Kiel and wrote in the dialect of Dithmarsch.

Translated into High German:

Meine Mutter Sprache, wie klingst du schön

Wie bist du mir vertraut.

Wenn auch mein Herz aus Stahl und Stein,

du treibst den Stolz heraus.

Du biegst mein steifes Genick so leicht,

wie Mutter mit ihrem Arm.

Du streichelst mich ums Angesicht

Und still ist alles Larm.

Ich fühl mich wie ein kleines Kind;

Die ganze Welt ist weg.

Du pust mich wie ein Frühlingswind

Die kranke Brust zurecht.

Mein Opa faltet mir noch die Hände,

und sagt zu mir, „Nun bete!“

Und „Vater unser“ fang ich an,

wie ich wohl früher getan.

Und fühle so tief, das ich’s verstand

Und so spricht das Herz sich aus

Und Ruhe vom Himmel weht mich an

Und alles ist wieder gut.

Meine Mutter Sprache, so schlicht und recht

Du alt frommes Reden.

Wenn blos ein Mund „mein Vater“ sagt,

so klingst mir wie Beten.

So herrlich klingt mir keine Musik,

und singt keine Nachtigall.

Mir läuft jetzt gleich im Augenblick,

die hellen Tränen hernieder.

Nun in dithmarscher Mundart:

Min Modersprak.

  1. Min Modersprak, wa klingst du schön!

Wa büst du mir vertrut!

Weer ok min Hart as Stahl und Steen,

Du drevst den Stolt herut.

2. Du bögst min stiwe Nack so licht,

As Moder mit ern Arm,

Du fichelst mi umt Angesicht,

Un still is alle Larm.

3. Ick föhl mi as en luttjet Kind,

De ganze Welt is weg.

Du pust mi as en Voerjahrswind

De kranke Boss torecht.

4. Min Obbe folt mi noch de Hann’

Und seggt to mi: Nu bee!

Un „Vader Unser“ sag ick an

As ick wohl früher dee.

5. Un föhl so deep: dat ward verstan,

So sprickt dat Hart sick ut,

Un Rau vunn Himmel weiht mi an

Un all’ns is wedder gut!

6. Min Modersprak, so slicht un recht

Du ole frame Red!

Wenn blot en Mund „mi Vader“ seggt,

So klingt mi’t as en Bed.

7. So herrli klingt mi keen Musik

Un singt keen Nachtigall;

Mi lopt je glik in Ogenblick

De hellen Tran hendal.[1]


[1] From Otto Hattstädt, Professor am Concordia Gymnasium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Handbuch der deutschen Nationalliteratur von ihrem ersten Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1906), page 495.

Written by peterkrey

May 13, 2009 at 6:37 am

Posted in My Poems, Translation

“I am the Vine, You are the Branches” Fifth Sunday of Easter at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Oakland

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Easter V – May 10th 2009 Mother’s Day

Acts 8:26-40 Psalm 22:24-30 1 John 4: 7-21 John 15:1-8

I am the Vine, You are the Branches

The picture language that Jesus uses to communicate with us is very powerful. Jesus says, “I am!” “I am the grapevine, you are the branches.” When you are secure in me and I am in you, you will bear much fruit. And apart from Jesus we can do nothing.

What kind of a grapevine is Bethlehem Lutheran Church? What kind of a grapevine is this congregation? Do we find a whole lot of lush green leaves and can we move a leaf slightly aside and see a huge cluster of purple grapes hanging there, sweet and juicy, of which some can be used to make red, red wine that becomes the blood of Jesus shed for us?

Now looking at our congregation this way can be a harrowing experience, especially if we become critical. It’s like the pastors themselves of our congregation had to be cut away and our little grapevine has trouble growing. When we feel that kind of judgment bear down on us, it can cut our hearts to the quick, so for comfort we have to hear what else Jesus says to us: His Father is the Vine-Keeper, the Gardener, and we know the garden that the Father grows. It is quite better than any of our inner-city, community gardens, more luscious than even the gardens in a flower show. The Father grew the Garden of Eden, Paradise, where the leaves of the trees heal our diseases and where the wonderful river of God flows. Hey, what a green thumb God has! And that Father is tending and caring for this grapevine called Bethlehem Lutheran, and what’s more, the grapevine itself is Jesus, the great “I am” and we are his precious branches getting our life-blood from his precious veins.

What can we say? Who can separate us from this vine, from Jesus Christ? Pastors can’t do it. They are up against a gardener that knows how to grow us and get us to the point where we can bear fruit. The juice flowing through us and making us come alive and bear fruit is the life-blood of Christ, the life that Jesus laid down for us, and the great love, by which Jesus pours love into our hearts, because he called us his friends and laid down his life for us so that we could receive abundant life and love each other in the same way.

In the first lesson we heard about how Philip preached the good news to the Ethiopian and he went a way rejoicing. “Yes, the Ethiopian went rejoicing, because he heard the good news.” That is a song we used to sing. In this way the Coptic Church came into being, an important vineyard of the Lord.

When we had our Vacation Church School and Day Camp in Coney Island, Cherry Pelzer brought her friend Diane York to our church and she introduced the song to us from the second lesson: let’s just sing it. It comes word for word from the beginning, just the words are the King James Version:

Beloved, let us love one another. Because love is from God and everyone who loveth, is born of God and knoweth God; s/he who loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love, God is love. so beloved, let us love one another. First John four: verse seven and eight.

Now this love makes us remain in the congregation, makes us endure, as the Father tends and cares for us, and in this grapevine, the branches are part of the vine like the vine is also made up of the branches and the whole grapevine is just the wonderful love of the Father embodied in this congregation. Of course, just as an aside, many times God is spoken of in the Bible as a mother. For example, that God like a mother hen gathers up her chicks under her wings. God is beyond sex.

We have to remain in Christ and let Christ dwell in our hearts, just like the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father. That can’t happen without the Holy Spirit in us. But just like the Holy Persons of the Blessed Trinity, mutually we place each other in our hearts, so when someone’s mother dies, we all feel it. When a marriage is on the rocks, it makes us all cry. When some of us are unemployed or lose their houses stop! You’ll hear it through this grapevine! Losing your house does not take away your home. We have a home in Jesus and we might be unemployed, but God provides for us in a wonderful way!

Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches and my Father is the Vine-Keeper.” In Greek, word for “vine-keeper” or “gardener” is georgos. And we know that word in the name “George.” So let George do it! That phrase can now have a whole new meaning! Let George do it! Let God take care of us: till our soil, put in nutrients, that is, fertilizer, put in new plantings, cut out branches that don’t bear fruit: ouch! And then prune those that do, (that hurts too) so they bear more fruit. Yes, hold still and let George do it! That expression used to mean, sit back and let the pastor do it, or let some active member do it. Now God is getting you to the point where you bear fruit.

Monica, the mother of St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.) prayed for him for seventeen years so that he might convert. She prayed for him seventeen long years and that’s a long time! They lived up in northern Africa and Augustine had turned Manichean; he had gotten into a heresy away from a true faith in Christ. He also had a mistress and a child by her. Augustine prayed to God, “Make me chaste, but please God, not yet!” Mother Monica kept praying and praying and suddenly Augustine was sitting distraught on a stoop and a child was saying, “Tolle, lege!” “Take and read, take and read!” Augustine picked up his Bible and opened it and read the verse:

Let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy” (Romans 13:13) but put on the Lord Jesus Christ!

That was the place that Augustine inadvertently opened to and it spoke to him. He broke down and cried an ocean of tears. “Oh Lord, how long?” he cried, “How long before you clean me? Why wait for tomorrow? You can make me clean today. How long Oh, Lord? Why not now?”

Mother Monica’s prayers were answered and Augustine became the leading light for Christians for more than a thousand years. He wrote his Confessions and The City of God, among many other books. Martin Luther became an Augustinian monk over a thousand years later and experienced the same kind of grace that Augustine did.

St. Augustine had to cut out a lot of what he was doing in his life and tend the vineyard of the Church. He became the Bishop of Hippo in Africa through the difficult time of the Fall of Rome, when those White barbarians were tearing a whole civilization down.

Through her prayers, mother Monica, nurtured the vineyard and the grapevines of this church for a good thousand years. That is why Jesus said,

If you abide in me and my words abide in you, then ask for whatever you wish and it will be done for you – and the Father in Heaven is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples (John 15:7-8).

What a prayer-warrior Monica was! Bearing a child and being a natural mother was not enough. She prayed for her child to be reborn as a child of God. Mother Monica prayed that her child might receive Christ, believe in his name, so that he would be given the power to become a child of God, born not of the blood or the will of the flesh or the will of man, but of God! (John 1:12-13)

Monica was not only a natural mother, but she herself had become a child of God and with her persistent prayers that God answered, she became the spiritual mother of her son.

Ah, we have to pray and pray, so the dear Father, who tends this grapevine, called Bethlehem will make our branches bear fruit, by the blood we shed, meaning the sacrificial love we have for each other in this congregation. Each of us needs a new birth to become the fruit of the Father’s love, because we are all widows and orphans, we are all barren women until God makes us the happy mother of a house-full of children! We can be a barren congregation until God fills the first three pews of this church with children!

Our families are like wonderful grapevines and persons are sweet and nutritious, like great big purple seedless grapes that burst in your mouth when you eat them!

I just read in the Book of Numbers, when the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they sent spies to go ahead of them into Canaan, into the Promised Land, into the land flowing with milk and honey. And they came back with a cluster of grapes so large that two men had to carry it. They held a pole on their shoulders and the cluster was so large it almost reached to the ground!

Now isn’t that enough incentive to be the true branches inside the vine of Christ, the vine that is tended by George, that is, the Father, the great Gardener, making us bear fruit and bear it abundantly so we become Christ’s disciples?

Let me end with three important questions from the commentary, because the Word of God prunes and cleans all of us. Branches that don’t bear fruit, and take away the sun from those that do, are cut away, so that the strength of the vine does not go into wild growth, but right into the fruit, which is our love and our rebirth out of God’s love and the Beloved Community our congregation becomes.

Jesus says that his words clean us. As it says in Hebrews,

Indeed, the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow, and it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (4:12).

Question one: what has been pruned out of your life in the last five years and what new fruit has Jesus produced in your life during this time? When you have some time for reflection, ask yourself that question.

Question two: What needs pruning out in your life? What do you have to cut out? What keeps Jesus from producing new fruit in your life today? Do you have to cut out partying like Augustine, or cut out an hour of sleep to use for prayer or allowing the Word of God to dwell in you richly? I’m getting so much out of the book-of-the-month-club, that is, reading one book of the Bible a month! Rejoice, if you can think of some things, because then the sharp-edged Word of God is working in you, pruning, purifying, killing and making alive.[1]

Question three: Bethlehem, how are we being pruned and growing in our fruit bearing here in this month of May in this community? We ought to meet and ask ourselves this question.

When we are branches in the true vine of Jesus Christ and the word of God dwells in us richly, then we will know and every cut that the pruning shears gives us, even when it hurts so much, will make us bear more fruit. We are God’s first-fruits when we are born out of God’s love and then share that abundant love with each other.

Amen.


[1] These three questions and this particular sentence comes from Brian Stoffregan’s online Commentary in Crossmarks.

Written by peterkrey

May 11, 2009 at 5:19 am

Posted in Selected Sermons

Steve Liesman versus Rick Santelli and Independent Markets

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Just now I watched how Rick Santellli and Steve Liesman get into it on the CNBC Business Channel and I wonder if there is a way to analyze their strong disagreement to determine the fundamental issues involved.

I believe that the toxic assets produced by the unregulated financial securitization instruments, i.e., the derivatives of the sub-prime mortgages and loans (a $65 trillion market) insured by credit default swaps (introduced by J.P. Morgan in 1997 and by mid-2007 ballooned to $45 trillion market), pretty much brought down the main brokerage houses that were leveraging at $30 to one: Lehman Brothers took the real hit going bankrupt. But Merrill Lynch was a forced purchase by Bank of America and Bear Stearns, forced to sell at $2 a share to A.I.G. by Hank Paulson, who then injected $173 Billion into this obscure deal. Now Paulson had been the CEO of Goldman Sachs before George W. Bush made him the Secretary of the Treasury. (I wonder about what would have happened if he had been the CEO of Lehman Brothers!)

The great investment banks all collapsed into the banks that were, by and large, too large to fail: Goldman Sachs into Citigroup and Morgan Stanley…. The Federal Reserve allowed Morgan Stanley to change from an investment bank into a Bank Holding Company, while 21% of it was purchased for $9 Billion by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the largest bank of Japan.

That spelled the collapse of four of the great brokerage houses in the wake of the housing bubble and Wall Street’s novel financial instruments that had been so lucrative. Far from their reducing risk, they placed and still place the whole financial system as well as the whole economy at risk.

Now Rick Santelli is asking for the good old days of leveraging and big chunks of GDP for the United States produced by the financial community lost with the loss of the great brokerage houses. (I wonder what kind of a reality these chunks of GDP had and what justified that kind of leveraging for our financial gain?) He seems to blame the government intervention for the financial collapse. (My point in a previous “blogging my thoughts” was that the government is priming the pump to get the markets up and going again.)

Steve Liesman is saying that the government had to step in because of the collapse of the markets. This was not merely a business cycle, but a bubble that burst, destructive enough to bring a total collapse of the market. This is what Steve Liesman’s language about “the end of the world” stands for.

Rick Santelli and Steve Liesman clashed over Bank of America, CEO, Ken Lewis’ decision to comply with Hank Paulson over not disclosing the shape of Merrill Lynch (the trillions in magnitude of the toxic assets in question is the skeleton in the closet, I believe.) Thus for the sake of saving the whole financial system, the independence of the market, was taken away by Hank Paulson, who acted like a CEO of the government in his treasury position.

Now Rick Santelli took a very ethical position: just because Paulson tells you to cover up the liabilities that Merrill Lynch brought to Bank of America was no reason to do so. Be an independent CEO. This is business and the government has no right to interfere and ask for an illegal cover up. That is why he mentioned David Frost and Nixon. Steve Liesman had argued that Paulson felt non-disclosure of Merrill’s situation at that moment could save both Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, and with it the collapse of the financial system. Rick Santelli argued that a crisis situation is not an excuse to break a rule or a law. Now the government is embedded in the financial system and he wishes it were not.

But the collapse of the whole system could spell a great depression that would take a decade or more to get out of. I wonder why Rick Santelli would ask who Steve Liesman voted for? That sounded like a Republican trying to scapegoat a Democrat in a Republican business ethos. If Steve’s position was “dumb,” then Rick’s was completely unrealistic. (Rick sometimes hits below the belt!) How could the issues between Ken Lewis and Hank Paulson have been taken to the Supreme Court?  Although Rick Santelli seemed to take the ethical stance, he seems to think that the market operates in a world of its own and is an autonomous realm independent of government and society. The jury is still out about whether or not government intervention will get the markets up and running again, but I submit that the markets are always running to the government for contracts, hand-outs, and bailouts, meanwhile giving lip-service to free markets. The government representatives are also taking whopping amounts from Wall Street lobbyists to bring huge profits at the expense of the health of the markets and the society. Perhaps there is a difference between healthy free markets and those gone wild in a frenzy for fast capital that does not help real production and meet the needs of the society, for which the economy, as supported by the financial system, is responsible.

Perhaps the real issue involves irrational distortions of the markets that got out of hand, because real risk is involved with production for fulfilling the needs of society and false instruments are sold to insure the purchasers that they will be immune from any risk in the market. But the management of risk should not include the stand that allows the whole system to collapse because of instruments that promised all risk had been overcome.

Markets are filled by those whose values are trust-worthy and those who trust them. It is faith that fills the financial world as well as its investments in the economy with profitability as the needs of society are met. (This is the economic version of justification by faith.) The distortion of the market took place as some really used the market to avoid the risk that the market constitutes. That is why it came to no risk at all versus risking the whole financial system.

I hope Steve Liesman and Rick Santelli keep fighting. But the latter will not get those great chunks of GDP into the US again by leveraging and using the phony derivatives and credit default swap markets. I guess the question remains, do the irrational financial markets spread healthy global markets or end up destroying them and failing the societies for which they should provide?

See the CNBC video, the “Bernanke Re-Cap”: http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1114536023&play=1

for viewing their argument on this Business Channel.

Written by peterkrey

May 5, 2009 at 8:19 pm