i think this post might get me put on some sort of government list. but hey, what can you do? we still have some sort of first amendment right?
so there is this new show on the air called "homeland security." i haven't actually watched it, but from a few blogs i perused about it apparently it is all about agents tracking terrorists and narcotics and illegal immigrants etc. what struck me about this show was something in the preview--a soldier or agent or something said the phrase, "we are going to protect our own." which begs the question, who again is "our own"?
"He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." Matt. 12:48-50
there's a bumper sticker out there that i like. i'm not usually a fan--they tend to be snappy and not very clever and usually a little tacky. though i must admit i really wanted to put one of those white circle stickers on my car with a "CH" in the middle. i like those because you usually don't know what they mean, or it is just cool when you do. most people wouldn't know that "CH" is actually the abbreviation for switzerland (Confoederatio Helvetica, they use latin so as not to choose one of the 4 national languages over the others)--you learn something new everyday right? if you want to learn about something else interesting, how about a language you've probably never heard of--i did say 4. but i digress.
so this bumper sticker, it says "God bless the people of every nation." i won't get into how warped i think our ideas of what God's "blessings" really look like. the point of the sticker is that the phrase "God bless the USA" is ridiculous. why? because it is a "christian" nation? even if that were the case does that entitle us to some special favoritism from God? like as a christian i have God in my corner so i get the blessings the arab or african doesn't? how about God bless kenya? or tibet? or a country that really needs it. maybe the last thing we need is "blessing."
"And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth." Heb. 11:13
of course none of this is all that revelatory. what is perhaps a bit more is to take it to the next level. or rather the smaller scale. maybe you don't buy into all those national and cultural boundaries. maybe you realize that lines on a map do not determine the nature of a person's heart. but what sort of lines do you draw? they are all the more subtle, but take a hard look.
this is one of my favorite nouwen passages, and it has stuck with me for years. i can't say it any better or more full:
It is important for me to realize how limited, imperfect, and weak my understanding of love has been. Not my theoretical understanding but my understanding as it reveals itself in my emotional responses to concrete situations. My idea of love proves to be exclusive: "You only love me truly if you love others less"; possessive: "If you really love me, I want you to pay special attention to me"; and manipulative: "When you love me, you will do extra things for me." Well, this idea of love easily leads to vanity: "You must see something very special in me"; to jealousy: "Why are you now suddenly so interested in someone else and not in me?" and to anger: "I am going to let you know that you have let me down and rejected me."
didn't Jesus have something to say about who we try to define as our "neighbor"? and wasn't there something about loving that neighbor too? or we can keep drawing the lines. forget that--we don't even need to draw them; they are already there. just following them is as bad. i feel unless you are actively working against them and doing what you can to erase them then you are doing less than the greatest commandment we have been given, and you're not really loving.
what are your lines?