Wednesday, November 7, 2012

With God There is No Lack

This has been my mantra lately. On the surface, it appears to be just another religious maxim in the same sickly sweet category as "Just believe, and Jesus will fix all your problems".

But this is actually a political protest. It strikes at the root of all fear driven political selling points. Not enough! This is the cry of every candidate. Not enough jobs, not enough money, not enough security. (And this trickles down to family life. Don't waste your food! Not enough hours in a day. Not enough sleep. Too many bills! Not enough energy!)  I tell you, this is a managed scarcity! Look at any neglected roadside ditch. Any unmown field. Life is bursting forth, converting solar energy, which is free and abundant, into biomass, sequestering carbon just by being left alone. Indeed, we mete out fossil fuels, which is simply sequestered solar energy from long ago, as if they were the only thing keeping the world going. Wars are fought over them, economies driven by them, the planet slowly destroyed by them, so that first world consumers can gripe over pump prices.

Carbon is part of a cycle that all life depends on. It can be well managed, or poorly managed, and either enhance life or destroy it. We have been releasing it at dangerous rates. We have placed it in the category of a commodity that must be marketed as a scarce resource. Profits are made, not from abundance, but from managed scarcities. And scarcities lead to addictions. We become dependent upon those "hard to come by" things that offer a quick fix. But consider the weeds of the field. They neither toil nor spin, yet Solomon in all his glory cannot compare to how God clothes them. And they just grow there, sequestering carbon from the atmosphere into biomass. Why do we think we are worth less to God that we must rely on human economic and political structures to mete out sunshine?

There is a story in the Gospels of a woman who was a Foreigner. Foreigners were not part of God's special people of Israel. They were morally corrupt and idolators. They were not born into Abraham's family. But this woman loved her daughter and begged Jesus to heal her. And Jesus asked her a hard question. Why should the children's bread be tossed to the dogs?

 Every single person on this planet is like this woman. As Paul pointed out in Romans, Jew and Gentile (Foreigner) alike are all under sin. We are all under the fear of death, which is the fear of scarcity. It drives us to anxiety, and then acts of sin against our neighbors. It drives us to seek after idols that promise security from scarcity. We are not the Chosen. We are the Outsiders. All of us. We should read each and every scripture from this perspective. We are not Jacob, but Esau, whom God hated, we are the Canaanites, we are the eunuchs of 2nd Isaiah, we are Hosea's harlot wife. We are those predestined for destruction that God bore with patience so that mercy be shown to all. Because God will have mercy on anyone whom God so chooses. This was written to those who thought it their duty to restrict and regulate God's mercy, as if God's mercy was scarce. It was not written to establish a doctrine about who goes to heaven and who goes to hell in the afterlife. That changes the message dramatically when this is considered.

The Foreign woman knows about scarcity. Yet she also has faith that with God, there is no such thing. So she says, "Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table."

At face value, it would seem that she is merely accepting her un-Chosen status. And that Jesus praises her for this humility and heals her daughter. Really?

But crumbs, with God, are not subject to scarcity. Remember, five thousand of Abraham's children were fed from just five loaves and two fishes. And after everyone had stuffed themselves, the crumbs were gathered and they filled twelve baskets! So with God, the leftovers make a hundredfold increase from the original meal. The crumbs from the table outdo the original spread, just as the wine changed from water outdid the best wine served at the wedding.

At Pentecost, Moses' wish came true, that all the people could govern themselves by the Spirit dispensed to all of them. The ultimate power was made available to all through the flood broken loose that day. Political power is no less common than is sunshine. Manna just needs to be gathered. And children still dream dreams and prophesy.

He Is RIsen from The Work Of The People on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Bill said...

This is a great, powerful post and I'm very glad to have discovered it.

This was written to those who thought it their duty to restrict and regulate God's mercy, as if God's mercy was scarce. It was not written to establish a doctrine about who goes to heaven and who goes to hell in the afterlife.

I love that way of thinking about it. It seems to me to plenty of folks are still behaving as if it is there duty to restrict and regulate God's mercy, and doing so can place them in positions of apparent power and control.

I enjoyed the video too. Mark says that his son Jonas comes by anarchism naturally. I wonder if all of us do.