Richard Rohr: Law and Grace: Grace Must Win

a match in which grace must win. When it doesn’t, religion becomes moralistic, which is merely the ego’s need for order and control. I am sorry to say, but this is most garden-variety religion. We must recover grace-oriented spirituality if we are to rebuild Christianity from the bottom up.

In Romans and Galatians, Paul gives us sophisticated studies of the meaning, purpose, and limitations of law. He says its function is just to get us started, but legalism too often takes over.

.. Why did they fail? Because they relied on being privately good instead of trusting in God for their goodness!

.. Law is a necessary stage, but if we stay there, Paul believes, it actually becomes a major obstacle to transformation into love and mercy. Law often frustrates the process of transformation by becoming an end in itself. It inoculates us from the real thing, which is always relationship. Paul says that God gave us the law to show us that we can’t obey the law! (See Romans 7:7-13 if you don’t believe me.)

.. We’ve treated Paul as if he were a moralist instead of the first-rate mystic and teacher that he is.

.. Ironically, until people have had some level of inner God experience, there is no point in asking them to follow Jesus’ ethical ideals. It is largely a waste of time. Indeed, they will not be able to even understand the law’s meaning and purpose.

.. Humans quite simply don’t have the power to obey any spiritual law, especially issues like forgiveness of enemies, nonviolence, self-emptying, humble use of power, true justice toward the outsider, and so on, except in and through union with God.

How Mormon Polygamy In The 19th Century Fueled Women’s Activism

Many states still followed the common law Doctrine of Coverture, which declared a woman civilly dead once she married. It’s not just…

GROSS: So she had no legal rights over her money, her property. She had no ownership over them.

ULRICH: Her money, her – her money, her property – she couldn’t sue or take a case to court except under a father or a husband – so dependency. The right to divorce – although divorce laws were greatly liberalized in the 19th century in most parts of the country, it was definitely – you had to prove either adultery – it took a while for physical abuse to be grounds for divorce.

.. Utah had no fault divorce from the beginning. It was very, very open and pretty common. And particularly, I think that made plural marriage workable. If you didn’t like it, you could leave.

.. It’s a very different world than we imagine. And so instead of comparing plural marriage in the 19th century to our notions of women’s rights today, we need to compare plural marriage, monogamy and then other institutions that really distressed people in the 19th century, like prostitution for example, different kinds of bigamous relationships.

So Mormons would argue, many American men have multiple sexual partners. They’re just not responsible. They don’t acknowledge them. They don’t give them dignity. They don’t legitimate their children. So polygamy is a solution to the horrendous licentiousness of other Americans.

 

.. So one of the things you’re famous for is a phrase that you originated in – I think it was like an academic paper in the 1970s – and the phrase has since shown up on like T-shirts and bumper stickers. I know you’re asked about this all the time, but the phrase is well-behaved women seldom make history.

Now, knowing your work, knowing that you write about, quote, “ordinary women” who kept journals, and you’re trying to understand what the lives of, like, ordinary women were in their time, I interpret that quote as meaning if you’re just looking at history, you won’t understand the lives of ordinary women because ordinary women seldom make history. But I suspect that that has been – that quote has been interpreted as ordinary women seldom make history so women don’t be ordinary, do something special so you can make history. Don’t be ordinary.

.. Yes. It’s been turned upside-down. On the other hand, you know, I was an ordinary girl from Idaho who got involved in the feminist movement and I’ve been on a collective bargaining team, and my former university, you know – I’ve done a lot of not very well-behaved things. And so I guess I embrace both sides. I embrace the contradiction of that crazy accidental slogan.

How Noncompete Clauses Keep Workers Locked In

Restrictions once limited to executives are now spreading across the labor landscape — making it tougher for Americans to get a raise.

.. Employment lawyers say their use has exploded.
.. part of a “rigged” labor market in which employers “act to prevent the forces of competition.”
.. By giving companies huge power to dictate where and for whom their employees can work next, noncompetes take a person’s greatest professional assets — years of hard work and earned skills — and turn them into a liability.
.. “It’s one thing to have a bump in the road and be in between jobs for a little while; it’s another thing to be prevented from doing the only thing you know how to do,”
.. Noncompetes are but one factor atop a great mountain of challenges making it harder for employees to get ahead.
  • Globalization and automation have put American workers in competition with overseas labor and machines.
  • The rise of contract employment has made it harder to find a steady job. 
  • The decline of unions has made it tougher to negotiate.

But the move to tie workers down with noncompete agreements falls in line with the decades-long trend in which their mobility and bargaining power has steadily declined, and with it their share of company earnings.

.. Mr. Gonzalez started at a little over $10 an hour in a job he described as “pretty much shoveling dirt.” Nevertheless, he signed an employment contract that included a noncompete clause, enforceable for three years within 350 miles of Singley’s base in Columbia, Miss.

.. “It’s ridiculous — it’s slavery in the modern-day form.”

.. employers typically presented workers with noncompete contracts when the employees lacked negotiating leverage, on their first day at work, for instance.

.. Put it all together, and suddenly some of the main avenues for finding a better-paying job — taking a promotion with a competitor, being recruited by an old colleague — are cut off.

.. since few companies want to lose good workers or give out huge raises, these agreements are making their way down the economic ladder to people like hairstylists and sandwich makers, far removed from what is thought of as the knowledge economy.
..  Wagesemployment and entrepreneurship are all diminished when workers have little leverage to bargain with their employer or leave a job for a better opportunity.
.. California law prohibits noncompete clauses, contributing to the inveterate poaching with which the state’s technology industry was founded.
.. “It’s not just that it allows employees to leave their company for another job,” said Mark A. Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School. “It allows them to leave to start new companies.”
.. “If an employer can fire anybody for any reason,” he said, “employees also need to have the right to walk.”
.. Judge Murphy said, “Enforcement of the noncompete provision in the manner articulated” by TSG would effectively bar Mr. Bollinger “from seeking employment anywhere in North America in the only profession he has practiced since graduating high school.”

Radio Lab: Null and Void

Today, a hidden power that is either the cornerstone of our democracy or a trapdoor to anarchy.
Should a juror be able to ignore the law? From a Quaker prayer meeting in the streets of London, to riots in the streets of LA, we trace the history of a quiet act of rebellion and struggle with how much power “we the people” should really have.
43 min: You hear arguments that sound like “Burn it down”.