Jesus Came to Bring Division?

You once said You came

Not to bring peace but

division–

That brother might

Be against father

And daughter against mother.

Today feels like

One of those days:

Our houses are divided

Our country is divided

Our lives are divided.

How easy it is to look back at yesterday

Flipping through the photo album of our mind

Yearning for what once was.

Remind us today

That yesterday was not as bright as we might remember,

That crossroads can be a place of creativity,

That real and lasting peace

Real and lasting progress

Real and lasting life

Begin in small ways,

With small steps,

That defy

The rhetoric of this world

And lead toward

Your wisdom.

You Have to Be Carefully Taught

If you’ve been following the lectionary, you might have noticed we’ve had three weeks of learning.  It’s Jesus’ “last lecture” to the disciples.  His last chance to impart wisdom.  Give his ‘”two cents.”  Remind them who they are and whose they are.  He even uses words we, 21st century post-moderns, shy away from.  Words like commandments, sacrifice, and sanctify.  Sancti-what?  Needless to say, Jesus uses some 50 cent words that for today’s society come with baggage.  Baggage you’d probably have to pay extra money for if you were catching a flight.

Although these words are interesting, I frankly am tired of unpacking them.  It only seems to give more weight to folks who use them as “clobber” words.  It only seems to spend time talking about what I don’t think is important.  Matters I don’t hear God calling us to explore.  So, I’m not going there.

Instead, what strikes me about the last lecture is its emphasis on community.  We abide in the vine.  We are to love one another.  We are given what is Jesus’.  This may seem trite.  Like a “so what” or no kidding.  Except when you take into consideration how we live.  I mean really live.

Last week on NPR I listened to a story about politics and voters.  Specifically, young adult voters–18-34, and what political party they support.  This may not come as a shocker.  But do you know their number one party–the Libertarian Party.  In many senses, this is not a shocker–they support same-sex unions and rights, would prefer to make marijuana legal, desire bringing the troops back home, and seek a fiscally conservative government.  Less is more if you will.  And when asked if they believe they will have access to social security, the three young people interviewed laughed.  I think that would be a no.

What really struck me as I listened is how the generation commonly called the “me” generation seems to also define themselves that way.  Libertarianism is a philosophy of freedom and independence.  It is a lone-wolf, pull your self up by the boot straps kind of a thing.  Not so much about abiding in the vine and being in community.

Now, I’m not saying that deep down there isn’t that desire or hope among them.  What I’m saying is, when you teach someone, there’s the content you’re sending, and the message they receive.  This story lets us know the message a generation has received.  They have been carefully taught.  So, if we don’t like the reception, perhaps we need to examine how we practice what we preach.