Posts Tagged ‘kinship

30
Sep
21

Whose Team Are You On?

Tom* really knew how to get my goat.

Even though – as his pastor – I did my level best to keep my political opinions and leanings tightly under cover, Tom thought he had me pretty well pegged. He would use every available opportunity to wave his political flag loudly and proudly.

The Thursday morning Men’s Bible Study was the venue where Tom really cut loose. He and I and 8-10 other guys gathered at 6:30 there in the public dining area of a nearby supermarket to eat, pray, study scripture, and yak.

But mostly to yak.

The yakking started the minute any of us arrived and kept going, non-stop, until the morning’s designated leader cleared his throat, tapped a spoon against a coffee cup, and reined us in. 

Tom’s greeting almost always consisted of some version of the question, “So did you hear what your boy said yesterday?” The phrase “your boy,” of course, was meant to refer to any political leader who stood on the opposite side of the debate from where Tom pitched his tent. 

I usually played my part and dutifully replied, “I don’t know… who are you referring to as ‘my boy,’ Tom?”

And so it began. The thing is, Tom was exactly right. He and I did stand on diametrically opposite sides of the political fence. And his zings and jabs almost always landed… though I tried my best not to let my exasperation show.

In most other settings, people like Tom and I would have sized each other up, written one another off, turned around, and gone back to hanging out with “our kind” of people… you know, people who voted the right way, thought the right thoughts, and listened to the right newscasts. 

Fortunately, Tom and I had another identity… an identity that drew us together. An identity that forged a bond strong enough to stand up to the fickle winds of the ever-changing political weather.

You see, Tom and I were also brothers in Christ. We each jealously claimed the identity conferred on us at our baptism… people created in God’s holy image, set aside, blessed, loved, and forgiven by the Creator of All That Is. 

We also knew that this deeper, DNA-level identity conveyed a deeper, much more important truth about each other than whether we were red-staters or blue-staters. We knew that this identity is the lifeboat that would carry us through even the most treacherous storms of life. 

It was the sacred link that allowed us to exchange a hearty man-hug and say, “Love you, man,” as we wrapped up and went our separate ways every Thursday.

Thinking back on those Thursday mornings years ago made me wonder… as I look out and watch people draw lines, throw rocks, hurl insults, and disparage ancestries… when will we wake up? When will we finally see one another as the brothers and sisters God created us to be? Why are we so intent on choosing sides, vying for supremacy, and being the one who comes out on top?

As Bob Dylan said, “Where have all the flowers gone… long time passing. Where have all the flowers gone… long time ago.”

Or as the Apostle Paul said, even more fittingly, “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” (Romans 12:9-13, NRSV).

Abundant blessings;

* Not his real name

22
Jan
20

What a Wonderful World Wide Web

graphic internetI am not sure anything else even comes close.

The World Wide Web should be considered – hands down – the most important innovation of the last fifty years.

Without it, how could I instantly know the current temperature of Kansas City, Missouri (34 degrees), Fort Myers, Florida (57 degrees), Ketchikan, Alaska (41 degrees) and Buenos Aires, Argentina (83 degrees)?

How could I (or anyone) come up with the correct answer to the question: “Who was the Referee for the first Super Bowl ever played?” (Answer: Norm Schachter).

I’m sure we would have eventually been able to come up with that answer, but not without spending hours in the library.

And of course, how could we possibly entertain ourselves for hours and hours looking at videos of delightful cat antics, hilarious “Bad Lip Reading” videos, or photographs of the food on our friends’ dinner plates?

Huh? I ask you, HOW?

But all kidding aside, can you think of a single invention that has had a greater, more widespread, more profound impact on humanity than the World Wide Web?

And what is it, exactly?

Someone explained it to me once as a kind of electronic “backbone” with jillions of nerves that branch out and connect with each other, all over the world, all at the same time.

I kid, but I honestly believe the overall quality of human life on this planet has been enhanced by the invention of the World Wide Web. Thanks to the Internet, doctors can now “visit” patients hundreds of miles away and provide life-saving diagnoses. Communication and coordination between a crisis location and aid workers is now brisk and efficient. Long lost friends and relatives can be reconnected again.

Yes, Al Gore, we owe you a tremendous debt of thanks for this miraculous invention of yours.

Except for that small, “inconvenient truth” that the World Wide Web has actually existed since the very beginning of time.

Maybe not in the electronic form… But that recent innovation is merely a “tweak” on the fundamental hardware God wired into Human Being 1.0.

You see, interconnectedness was the Big Idea from day one. Genesis 1:27 gives us a peek onto the primeval factory floor when it declares: “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”(Genesis 1:27, NRSV).

The book of Acts also reminds us of that essential fact; “From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth.” (Acts 17:26, NRSV).

It was really God’s idea – sorry, Al Gore – that human beings from across the earth, from different times and different cultures, with varying levels of education and income, with different genders and orientations, human beings with brown skin, black skin, yellow skin, white skin, and red skin, all be able to see themselves as intricately woven together…

… as if they were all part of some kind of amazing, far-flung, world-wide WEB.

I believe God further hoped that once we each grasped that essential fact of life, we would begin to act accordingly. No longer would one of us be able to look with pity on another one and say, “Sorry, mate… it looks as if YOUR end of the boat is sinking.”

Sometimes it can seem as if we each live in a World of One, with no connection to or responsibility for anyone except ourselves. Sometimes we hear messages telling us that “… looking out for Number One…” is all we really need to do.

But that’s not the world God designed.

And besides… who would we share our vacation pix with if it were?




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