THE PLOUGHMAN COMETH
Before I forget- the chapters for this week are Galatians 5 and Luke 9- if I get a chance I might hit on them at the end.
Ok- this week has been a big news week.
As I watched our secretary of state- John Kerry- do ‘shuttle diplomacy’ between the Palestinians and Israel- I thought we must be living in a dream world.
For many years now- the big issue- that some felt was the lynch pin to peace in the Arab world- was this issue.
But over the last few years- it is not seen in the same way any more.
Since the so called Arab Spring- the Palestinian issue has really been a background issue.
Now- I’m not saying we should forget it- but it’s not on the top burner any more.
The big burning issues are the 100 thousand people killed in the Syrian conflict.
The 2nd over throw of an Egyptian leader [for good or ill].
The major unrest in many of these Arab nations- these are the big issues.
And the U.S. was treating the Palestinain issue as a sort of emergency thing- Kerry was doing late night meetings- for some elusive break thru that has been ‘eluding’ US secretaries of state for 30 years now.
It just seemed sad- I mean I am not an Obama hater- by no means- but it’s almost to the point of incompetence.
I listened to the radio news- one day the President made a statement that we were behind Morsi [Egyptian president] 100 %.
The very next day- the statement from the administration was ‘we are not taking sides’.
This is so bad- we have lost all credibility in the world.
The Snowden aftermath.
This week we also saw the NSA leaker release more info about US spying- this time on our allies.
Now- Obama tried to defend the operation- by saying all of our allies do this.
Is this so?
He was spinning [lying?] the story.
Our European allies said ‘look- we all do targeted spying- true- but not the massive trolling for data that you guys are doing’.
The reality is our allies do not do what we do- this type of ‘throw the net out’ type of collecting of data.
Our allies were shocked that we were doing it to this degree- on them!
Obama said we needed to do this because it also provided a benefit to these allies [who we are spying on] because of terrorism.
They replied ‘how many terrorists are you finding by bugging our diplomatic offices’.
They are mad- France wants to postpone our upcoming economic talks over this- it is bad.
Last but no least- Obama delayed- for one year- one of the main parts of Obama care.
He simply said they were doing this because of business concerns.
The part he put off was the requirement for employers to insure their people- or pay a fine.
Now- when Obama Care was being touted- many critics said that these types of forced mandates on private business would hurt the economy.
But the proponents instead said no- but it will actually help it.
The main reason it was delayed- was because the implementing of it right now was going to be a disaster- like the critics said.
Next year we have the mid term elections- and the political insiders all knew that the Repubs were going to use the unpopularity of the plan- and try and repeat another mid term blow out [like the last one].
So- most think he put it off for purely political reasons.
But- if the plan was all that it was cracked up to be- why put it off?
Much of what the critics said was right- there are already reports [Bloomberg] that rates are going to skyrocket for many under the plan- and that there are still going to be millions of people with out insurance.
So- in all honesty- the critics were indeed right- and the fact that the president arbitrarily delayed it for one year proves it.
I mean it is questionable if he can even do it [delay it].
It is the law of the land.
Say if a Repub gets in next- can he do the same thing?
Of course not- they would be accusing him of breaking the law.
Okay- as you can see- there are ripples of trouble on the horizon.
I want to end with Luke 9.
A few key points;
Jesus tells his men that they are going to go out- preach the kingdom and go light.
‘Don’t take a wallet- or extra clothing- stay at whoever’s house they offer- etc.’
He talks about giving your life away ‘whoever tries to save his life will lose it- but he that loses it will find it’.
I like the last verse ‘he that puts his hand to the plough and looks back is not fit for the kingdom’.
Over the years I have tried to put our modern American preaching in context.
It’s been tough- because there are a lot of well meaning folk- who focus in on actual bible verses- and teach a sort of Christianity based on the increase of wealth mindset.
Now- along with this teaching you also see a basic self help course mentality- only Christianized.
Yet at the same time we read in the gospels a type of radical calling of Jesus.
Explicitly telling people that this mission is not about us- not about getting stuff- but giving your life away.
It’s the overall context of all that Jesus said and did that goes contrary to the American message.
But it takes time to see this- we have a tendency to gravitate towards a message of financial abundance- or a message that seems to provide security for us and our kids.
It’s in mans nature to see things this way- that’s why Jesus made statements like ‘you can not serve God and money’.
I mean he does not say stuff like this just once or twice- but this is an underlying theme of his entire life.
The other day I taught a little from the book of Samuel chapter 12.
Nathan the prophet confronted King David- and gave a story about a rich man who had lots of sheep- and a poor man who had one.
In the story the rich man gets rebuked- the poor man praised.
Jesus does the same thing in his parables.
The rich are seen in a negative light- the poor in a positive one.
Now- this is actually a sign of a prophet- one who defends the poor and rebukes the affluent.
The prophet Amos- in the Old Testament bares this calling.
Jesus is challenging us- all of us- to take up the Cross and to follow him.
And a big part of that is living- not for self gain- not for self security- but giving our lives away.
One of the guys I have run into these last 6 months is a man by the name of Jude.
He’s around 70 year’s old- and always on the go.
His motto is ‘it’s hard to hit a moving target’.
And he does indeed live by this motto.
I met him thru the work I was doing at the halfway house.
He’s a big shot with AA- and is known all over the country as someone who has brought many to sobriety thru AA.
He even has his own following in AA- they call them ‘disciples of Jude’ or something like that [a take off from the tribe of Judah in the bible- Judaism or something- I don’t remember the exact phrase].
I was with my buddy David one day- he keeps in touch with Jude every day by phone.
I asked him 'hey- where’s Jude’?
He tells me he moved to Chicago.
He went back and is living on his friend’s couch- doing some business deal- and working for AA.
Then- the other day I find out he moved to the Mexico/Texas border and is renting a house in Mexico because it's cheap.
I mean the guy is really a moving target.
So as I’m sitting with my buddy David- the phone rings- its Jude.
David told him I might have stopped by and stayed with him for a week or so in Chicago.
I was thinking of doing it.
But first I’m going to get a little settled in N.J. /NY area.
Jude says ‘sounds like me- a moving target’.
In Luke 9- Jesus is telling his men to be moving targets.
He’s saying ‘go light- when you go to an area to work for the kingdom- just stay wherever you can- eat what they serve- and then move on’.
In the mindset of the world- you strive to be secure- you seek that thru the ownership of stuff- the false security that people find in wealth.
Now- don’t get me wrong- we are to be responsible- and I have worked- retired- made money- the whole 9 yards.
But I have tired to give stuff away too- to live the ideal that Jesus clearly speaks about in the gospels.
In a way- I feel like my hand is now steady on the plough- I’m afraid to look back.
NOTE- In the last post I mentioned how president Obama was rebuked by the president of Senegal because he was openly challenging these African nations on their stance on homosexuality.
He later went to Kenya and did the same thing- sort of was publicly speaking about the recent decision by the Supreme Court and how he hailed it as a great stride for civil rights.
Now- the Deputy President of Kenya took him aside and rebuked him- and told Obama that they do not appreciate him demeaning their values in such an open way- and using his pulpit to say so.
The Kenyan official quoted scripture ‘vain is the man who puts his trust in man and not God’
The Kenyan official said he –and Kenya- were not going to remain silent as Obama spoke against their value system- and they feared God more than an American president.
It was surprising to see so many world leaders openly denouncing the president like this- I am not jumping for joy over this- I’m showing you that we have lost alot of credibility in the world- even among leaders that would normally not say anything.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook] - I have posted lots.