Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Sodom’

YouAreHereInTheGalaxyAccording to scripture, Lot was Abraham’s nephew and although he traveled with his Uncle Abraham from Haran to Egypt and then on to the Negev. At some point, both men grew in wealth and decided to part ways. Abraham gave Lot the choice of land, and Lot choice the plain of Jordan to the East, well-watered, and dotted with large cities (among them Sodom and Gomorrah).

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.” . . . He [the angel] said to him [Lot], “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town [Zoar] you speak of. But flee there quickly, . . .  Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave.  [Genesis 19:15, 21-22, 30]

Freed by the angels of God, generally negotiated by Uncle Abraham, Lot and his family are given the opportunity to start over. But Lot was a bit of a selfish man and appears to look for the easier way. He chooses the better land when he and his uncle part ways, he chooses to live in the city, he chooses to flee to a closer place than the mountains, and in the end, he even looks the other way when his daughters are impregnated by his drunken self. Moab and Bel-Ammi, are the children born by this incest and they become the ancestors of the Moabites and the Ammonites whose story is intertwined with Abraham’s line through Israel and Judah, but generally it’s a bitter relationship dotted with bloodshed.

This, because of Lot’s choices or passivity. This, because Lot took the way that seemed right to him alone.

From one story after another, whether fairy tale or movie or book, we are reminded that any one of our choices can set huge events in motion. In chaos theory, it is called the Butterfly Effect. But it’s not that hard to look at our own individual lives, so many left and right turns, families made and lost, love seeded and buried, by a single choice, a single conversation, a single word (yes or no).

I wonder if this hasn’t bred the meteoric rise of interest in genealogy. Why, we even have reality television traveling back into the lives of celebrities, church denominations building ancient libraries of such histories, and websites dedicated to helping people go back in time.

How did I get here? We want to know.

I supposed that’s all find and good. But I can’t help but wonder if we shouldn’t be putting more energy into the now. For whatever happened before we are living it. We cannot go back, only forward.

It is for us to respond, to act, to embrace. Whether it was our choices or the choices of our parents or grandparents or great-greats, this is where we have landed. This is where I am, with this family, with these gifts, with this personality, with this day.

And God is here with me. And anything can happen next.

Read Full Post »

Artwork by Nathan Johnson

Artwork by Nathan Johnson

This question, “where were you?” changes its meaning by the emphasis put on each word. “WHERE were you?” versus “where WERE you?” versus “where were YOU?” And what emphasis did God use when he first spoke to Job?

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?Tell me, if you understand. . . . “ [Job 38:4, NIV]

Is it about place or time or person?

I’m pretty sure it’s about person, that neither Job or you or I were present in the time of creation energy. We can describe and count and observe and hypothesize, but we’ll never really “know” or understand Godwork.

Partially, the problem is that we continue to anthropomorphize God. We keep making very big and very wrong assumptions about God as though a jealous God is like a jealous man or woman. Or that fearing God is like fearing cockroaches or stink bugs. Or that listening to God is like listening to U2 or Taylor Swift. These words are human words used to describe human feelings and activities. It’s simply not the same with God.

I used to believe that Abraham had the God thing down. After all, didn’t he negotiate the salvation of his cousin Lot from the clutches of Sodom (or was it Gomorrah)? Really? Did Abraham actually bring up something that God had not considered? Was Abraham bargaining with God or was he really bargaining with himself, the value of human life against virtue and right living.

And so, here we come to Job who finally hears God, a God who asks Job question after question after question in order to lock in a simple truth: God is God and human is not God. Creator envisions creation; human lives in it, molding what is given. We do the same with our lives. We have much freedom in the managing of our persons. But the spark of life came from God alone.

For my scant few years, maybe they will be as many as 100 or maybe only 85 or even less, I cannot know. But for this time, I am given the opportunity to partner with God in gratitude, sharing in the work of creativity and love and joy and relationships. Or not.

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” [Deuteronomy 30:19, NLT]

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: