Tag Archives: Malachi 3:5

What About The Wall?

Children play at a newly built section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall at Sunland Park, U.S. opposite the Mexican border city of Ciudad JuarezWe seem divided about The Wall that the President proposes (pun intended). I’m sure my opinion will be taken into consideration in Washington when it comes to build or not to build, as are all my opinions. It’s just a matter of time to receive my routine call from the White House.

I admit that neither construction nor political science is my forte, but what I do know something about is the Bible. And when I heard someone argue for The Wall on the basis that “they had walls in Bible times, therefore walls are good,” I couldn’t help but chime in.

“Jerusalem has a wall,” they say, “a pretty big one by ancient standards, built, no doubt, by the ancients to keep their enemies out. So what’s the problem with us having our own wall? It’s in the Bible, isn’t it? There’s even an entire Bible book (Nehemiah) devoted to rebuilding Jerusalem’s wall.” Continue reading

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Widows? Which Widows?

 

Afghan War WidowsWe Christians are people-helpers. It’s in the Spirit-loaded software at new birth. Problem is, we often insist on preserving the right to be selective about the recipients of our aid, as though there’s some substantive difference between one kind of human and another. The earliest Christians discovered this tendency in themselves and made the necessary adjustments. Seems like we could benefit from a reminder to do the same.

During this time, as the disciples were increasing in numbers by leaps and bounds, hard feelings developed among the Greek-speaking believers—“Hellenists”—toward the Hebrew-speaking believers because their widows were being discriminated against in the daily food lines. So the Twelve called a meeting of the disciples. They said, “It wouldn’t be right for us to abandon our responsibilities for preaching and teaching the Word of God to help with the care of the poor. So, friends, choose seven men from among you whom everyone trusts, men full of the Holy Spirit and good sense, and we’ll assign them this task. Meanwhile, we’ll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God’s Word.”

The congregation thought this was a great idea. They went ahead and chose—

Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, Nicolas, a convert from Antioch.

Then they presented them to the apostles. Praying, the apostles laid on hands and commissioned them for their task.

The Word of God prospered. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased dramatically. Not least, a great many priests submitted themselves to the faith. Acts 6:1-7 (The Message)

There’s wasn’t simply an administrative problem that was fixed with a more efficient distribution of food for widows. There was a cultural prejudice at play. The first Christians, most of whom were Jews, wrestled with whether or not to accept the non-Jews into the Church as equals. Though outnumbered by their Roman oppressors, in the Church, Jews held the status of the majority culture. Continue reading

On being neighborly (Who do I have to love and how much?) Part 4 of 5ish

love your neighbor“Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful. They can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?” Eli Wiesel

Neighborly: Characteristic of a good neighbor, especially helpful, friendly, kind, obliging, helpful, hospitable, civil, generous…

In his speech yesterday, President Obama said: “Are we a nation that kicks out a striving, hopeful immigrant like Astrid (a young woman to whom from Mexico to whom he refers in his speech) – or are we a nation that finds a way to welcome her in? . . . Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too.”

Believe it or not, I began writing this multi-part essay on neighborliness a couple of months before I even knew the President was going to make a speech about immigration reform and sign an executive action delaying deportations of millions of undocumented immigrants. I’ve held the views that I’ve posited in these last several posts for a decade or two, but have just now finally put a few of my convictions into words. Continue reading

Don’t come to my house!

poverty(A fictional account of … Well, you decide what it accounts for.)

After a hundred lifetimes of daily beatings, neglect, and hunger; Carlos and Maria, six and ten years old respectively, decided to flee for something better. Their mother had died giving birth to Carlos Jr. and the children were left to the inept care of their abusive alcoholic father. They had both just been belt-whipped again for something that kids do. Maria gave her brother a small bag and told him to pack as many clothes as he could and be ready to bolt when she woke him after Carlos Sr. passed out in front of the TV in the living room.

“Where are we going?” Jr. asked his sister.

“I don’t know yet, but wherever it is, it’s gotta be better than where we are,” she answered. “Just get ready, and when it’s time I’ll let you know what to do.” Continue reading