Blessed are the Poor…part 2
Joel Thomas, owner of “Analysis Analyzed” posted a comment to my copy of Alana’s post, and when I began replying to it, it appeared obvious to me that I needed to just make a post out of the reply. So here it is…
Joel says, “Definitely a great post by Alana. Was it the fact that it reminded you of Indy that struck home with you?”
And my reply…
Yeah, that’s mainly it, although it hit something much deeper in me as well. Our year away has been a blessing in so many ways, even in that sometimes “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Despite its obvious problems and blemishes, West Indy is also an outpost of people who are a part of that remnant of Ancient Christianity and a shining beacon of light in a dark place. This, more than anything else, is what Alana’s post reminded me of; that often times it is easy for me to forget that I/we as Christians and Believers in the Most High God are called to be a Light in dark places. Shoot, my own name means precisely that, (although sometimes I’d rather it not.) Rich Mullins always said that “Christianity is not about building a perfect little niche in the world, with your perfect little house, and your perfect little kids, where there are no poor people, gays, or minorities anywhere around you.” Unfortunately, the Lie that “it” matters permeates even the heart of the Church and it is so easy to get caught up in the “stuff” of this world…buying it, having it, possesing all that we can. And for what? To prove to ourselves or to others that we are just as good? Just as wealthy? Just as successful? Just as influential and powerful? As if it matters to the God of Heaven and Earth where I buy my jeans, or what kind of car I drive, or what subdivision I live in. Even the “Christian Counterculture” with all of its marketing materials, bracelets, bibles, and “Praise Craze” is nothing more than another facet of the Lie and buying into it. (So as not to beat a dead horse, I won’t say any more about that.) Alana said in a beautiful way so much of what I needed to be reminded of, and perhaps what we all need to be reminded of at times; that “it” doesn’t matter…that my “comfort” is not what is most important.
Our Camp theme this year so perfectly fits this discussion, and is a good reminder about what matters. We are taking it from Matthew 5:16 â€œLet your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.â€ Of course, the precursor to this verse is the Beatitudes themselves, and as a sub-theme and application verses, we are using James 1:22-27,
â€œDo not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. 23 If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are. 24 They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like. 25 But if you look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practiceâ€”you will be blessed by God in what you do. 26 Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself. 27 What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.â€
Perhaps if I spent as much time helping widows and orphans as I expend trying to “fit” and feel comfortable around those that may look down on me, I wouldn’t forget so easily what I truly “look like” and what truly matters. Indeed, as Alana said so well, “Here is where it fits for me not to fit.” May the Lord have mercy on me and help me to remember.
“…to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.Ã‚Â”
Lord have mercy.
Good post. You really seem to have something to offer in the area of learning what it means to “put on Christ” in calling oneself a Christian. Thank you for your reflections, and for your answer to my question. 🙂
Btw, all the phone numbers I have for you have been disconnected or don’t work at all. Would you email me and let me know what your new phone numbers are? Thanks good buddy.
That’ cause I knew you were stalking me…:-o
Glad you liked my post! I like your reflections, as well. Often I see a ghost of an Orthodox Church here in the neighborhood someday. Sockmonk and I wonder out loud sometimes…
Thank you, and thanks again for your post. I do hope that St. Athanasius will be able to build in your neighborhood. What a thing it would be! Blessings to you and Sockmonk.