Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Borders of A Country From My Perspective

When I was in South Korea I experienced something very poignant to what I'm experiencing as an American citizen; I met a ninety-plus year old man and his wife. I was honored to meet them as I felt great awe that I was talking to humans who'd survived both WW2, and the Korean War. They'd also endured the Japanese colonization.  If I were meeting he and his wife on the street I would have been honored to merely meet their persons. But it was a HUGE DEAL to me, double the honor, that I was in their home!  I quickly learned, however, that this was considered HIS home, not "theirs."

I had brought them dinner. It was literally my ticket in the door, which I gladly paid as I was greatly desirous to meet them. But this gave me no rights in his home. His fifty year old daughter instructed me where to sit, but he had me move to a different seat. (It wasn't clear why.) He  corrected his adult-daughter from having me address him by his easier to pronounce first name, to the more proper (but very difficult to pronounce) family name. I held no rights over the dinner that I had brought into the house. He thoroughly enjoyed it, and I sat passively until he signaled permission for us to partake. 

The truth is, I completely enjoyed myself. I didn't mind one inconvenience I experienced there. (Only "inconvenient" in that it was different than my habitual culture.) I cleaned the table after eating and washed the dishes. I was in awe of his survival and experiences. I was honored to be in his home, I quickly acquiesced to whatever I was told, and further still, I looked for ways to serve.

But, it did take me a bit off-guard when this man who was lord and high-king of his apartment-castle expressed his lordship over the borders of MY country! How could this man who so firmly believes in the borders and walls of his home not "get" the borders and walls of a country? How could this man who'd endured the terrorism of the Japanese invading their borders and way of life not "get" that the United States of America must protect its own borders and way of life? He certainly "gets it" when he thinks about Japan & North Korea.

I'm going to guess that he didn't put two and two together because he's inundated with left-wing news media who is blind in one eye and can't see out of the other. I'm betting he only gets information from sources who has no more wisdom than to believe that open borders is "kindness," when in fact, we're welcoming wolves in refugees clothing. I do NOT believe all refugees are wolves. But I do believe that in the same way I'm going to be careful about who I let in my house (the place where I protect and comfort my children) our goverenmemt should be just as diligent about protecting our American way of life. Let those who need help come labor with us. Let those who will (as I did in his house) sit where we say, speak as we say, and respect the rules of "this house," these great Untied States, come on in!

The wall and the vetting is resonable. I appreciate those who are speaking on behalf of refugees and immigrants. But wisdom says, "Lets have a conversation before I let you in my house." The Bible tells us to be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. We are in danger of annihilation if we're only harmless as doves. I'll leave the topic of arms to someone with more guts than I. But I'm not afraid to say that we should be wise as serpents in our goodwill efforts to welcome and host strangers. The Bible also

tells us that we should host strangers, for they may be angels! I believe "angels" is both a symbolic word, and a reality. But, regardless, we need to know if they are with us, or against us before we give them equal reign in our "home." For the safety of our children, for the security of our way of life, for the peace of our nation, we must know!

The southern border wall is a no-brainer to me. The wall is the equivalent of a visible home. It's an honor to enter someone's home. Those who want that honor should approach the front door, not sneak into the back window.

Let the church minister to the needs of pilgrims and strangers, and let the government protect.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Another Look At Jubilee

For those of us who like facts & figures in ink, Leviticus 25 is hard to swallow. We have an entire YEAR of "Sabbath," culminating every fifty years to a "Jubilee."

Perhaps I should say that it's hard to actually live out in practice. It's actually quite nice to read;

"But you might ask, ‘What will we eat during the seventh year, since we are not allowed to plant or harvest crops that year?’ Be assured that I will send my blessing for you in the sixth year, so the land will produce a crop large enough for three years. When you plant your fields in the eighth year, you will still be eating from the large crop of the sixth year. In fact, you will still be eating from that large crop when the new crop is harvested in the ninth year."

‭‭Leviticus‬ ‭25:20-22‬ ‭NLT‬‬

But, I confess that upon reading this chapter the FIRST thing that came to my mind was, "But, what are we gonna DO for a YEAR?!" (Yes. My brain said, "we." I really get into what I read.) Then I started actually planning what I'd do that year of Sabbath: I'd read more., I'd write more, I'd travel more, and I'd have parties.

But then the chapter brings us to a completely different kind of "rest;" The Year of Jubilee. (I encourage you to read the chapter for yourself.)

My fellow planners can imagine how this "Jubilee" celebration is not exactly the party it seems on the surface. At least, not to us.

If you'd gotten accustomed to certain smiling faces of foreign places greeting you, THE FAMILAR SMILE WAS GONE.

If you had gotten used to waking at 5am, being in the barn loading your sacks with seed by 6am, and rigging yourself behind a plow by 7am, YOU LOST THAT COMFORT ROUTINE.

If you had gotten used to certain recipes concocted by fellow laborers, THAT NICETY WAS CUT.

If bringing in a crop with the chatter of many people around you was invigorating, YOU LOST THOSE PEOPLE.

So many little things that gave life meaning were GONE when the year of Jubilee came. Oftentimes we imagine the workers who were released during the year of Jubilee to have been treated as the early Americans treated their slaves in the years leading up to the Civil War; that's not the case. The same God & law that proclaimed the Year of Jubilee was adamant that workers be treated well. We imagine brown faces running back to their homeland at the stroke of midnight on the year of Jubilee; that's not the correct scenario. Perhaps if you'd only been in this system of indebtedness for a short time, you would be biting at the bits to get back home. But, understand, this system is akin to our modern day employee/employer situation. We gather a small income, while the boss reaps the full benefit of profit. There's no beating. There's no ill-treatment. You provide your own housing. You are responsible to show up for work, or you lose that source of income; simple as that. People created families in homes lovingly cared for.

The Year of Jubilee only came about once every fifty years. Most of these people had created a comfortable, peaceful, contented life during that fifty year timespan. Even if they'd only been there for ten years, that's more than enough time to create a comfortable way of life, content in the comfort of routine. If I lived in ancient Israel, and if I made the equivalent of my current income, I'd likely be one of those tending someone else's field to supplement my income.

I am a rare-bird in my home state of Florida; I was born here, and I still live here. The majority of the population of Florida moved here in their adult life, but, this is all I've known! My experience gets even rarer still; I only lived in three homes from my birth, until I married at the age of 21. I still live in the house I moved into upon marriage. I wanted to move when we suffered divorce, but the house was on family property, so I was obliged to remain. Now I'm glad I stayed, but it took a solid five years to be peaceful in my home again. Consequently, I've lived in this one house for more years than I lived in all three of my childhood homes! I've traveled the world over, I rent a home in another city in Florida. But THIS house is my HOME. I COULDN'T IMAGINE LEAVING! Not, "for good," anyway. 

The Year of Jubilee did what the majority of the people wouldn't choose of their own accord; IT KICKED THEM OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONE.

People had to go back to their homeland and reacquaint with family they didn't know. They may, or may not have had to part with possessions they'd garnered much comfort from. Traditions and cultures they'd enjoyed were left behind. They didn't live in our modern world where the same fruits and veggies are available all across the country, regardless of the season. When they left their fields of labor, they lost foods they loved. 

I'm painting the grim side of this picture on purpose. "Jubilee" is not comfortable for everybody. Some people are very put off by "Jubilee." The older of an age you are reading this, the more in sync with me you are. We want life to remain predictable. We want to be in total control of our hours. We like our bedtime, and our same recipes, thank you very much! But God, our Creator, knows what's best for us. From our mind's plasticity, to our soul's need for newness, God set an example and precedent in the law that we step out of our comfort zone. Usually, we won't do this on purpose of our own accord. Therefore, He PUSHES!

"Jubilee" means, "Blast of a horn."

I am a gentle, solitude seeker. I like for my ambiance to be slow and calm. I do NOT like for a "blast of a horn," to interrupt my life! I plan to be caught up when the Lord comes, but I'm certain the startling affect of that trumpet is going to help the process! It's interesting that the ancients started with a rams' horn, then developed the sound with the production of silver trumpets. To my way of thinking, they were going to great lengths to make the startling, interrupting BLAST of the horn as pleasant as possible! 

In our present lives we must accept that God's gift of "newness of life" is uncomfortable, because it requires new habits. God's daily morning gift of "new mercy" is uncomfortable because it requires we rise to the occasion to attempt to live worthy of that mercy. Jubilee is not easy, but it IS freeing! Sometimes we choose a Jubilee, but sometimes a Jubilee chooses us.

When it's our time to be free of what was, whether we like it, or not, we MUST go free. It's an act of faith, it's proof that we are relying on God. After all, we are supposed to walk by faith, and not by sight.

If your life has recently been startled by a BLAST of Jubilee, trust me when I say, "YOU CAN DO THIS!"

Our God is a good, good Father. He knows the newness will be both invigorating and troubling, but the outcome will make your life one of purpose. Not only will you be better off, but you will in turn make others' lives better off! This Jubilee is good for you, good for your family, and good for your community.

Sure! Jubilee is disrupting & shocking... but it's also the door to your healing and completion.