Friday, August 5, 2022

A Hostile World

Truthfully, it doesn't make any sense for us to live at odds with the world the way that we do. When we go in like we don't live here and try to deal with our world the way that Israel dealt with most of her foes, we end up just destroying ourselves.

Because we're at home, if we take any plunder from this world at all, it becomes established in the place where we already live. It becomes an addition to our home, not an offering we make on our journey there. 

This is how so many of us have gotten ourselves in trouble. We have built our houses and set them up for the kind of faith that we want to live, then we have dwelt in a plunderous relationship with the world and ended up "finding space" in our settled homes for all of these other things that we've wanted to take from the world. Things that have no place on our shelves. 

Things like...politics. And language. And striving for success. And the world's definitions of "good" and "wealthy" and "well." And whatever else we want to put here. And all of a sudden, we find ourselves sabotaging our own existence because we took so much from the world, and it has crowded out our home. We no longer have the space for living in faith because we've pushed it around and moved it aside and tucked it away to make room for all of the things that we've brought in from the world. 

We don't have to do this. This is why when you're already at home, already settled, you don't just start bringing in plunder.

Worse yet, too many Christians seem intent on just burning the world down around them. They have taken such an antagonistic stance toward the places where we already live that they spend their whole life of "faith" trying to tear it all down. 

But when you burn down the place where you live, you burn down the place where you live! (Yes, it really is that simple.) When you burn down the city square, you burn down the courthouse that offers you justice in this place. When you burn down the marketplace, where do you think you're going to get your groceries? When you burn down the schools, where is community education supposed to come from?

We burn down the structures of the places where we live, and then we complain that where we live is a barren and desolate place that doesn't offer us a meaningful chance at life. Well, duh! We burned that down because it was "sinful" or whatever Christian-ese we want to use about it. It doesn't make any sense, and it's not the way God wants us to live with the world. 

We are Jews in Persia, sojourners in a land far from home, but God has settled us here for now. And He has given us the story of Esther to tell us how, then, we should live. The only option for Christians is the Purim option - it's living here and taking only our lives. It's leaving everything else alone.  

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