Thanks to the readers who actually take the time to sort through my thoughts. You are a sexy lot.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I was all bent out of shape not too long ago about censorship and concealing information on my blog. Then I realized nobody really reads my blog. Those who do are the grooviest people around, and they certainly judge me not by any sort of offensive, cooky, or whatever that I write. So, life goes on. Some things that I do want people to read will likely be published here and on Tumblr, but life will likely continue on the way it used to.
Recently, I've been reading through some of the old testament books in hope to reconnect with some of the old and "Seriously? I've never heard of that" stories. I skipped past the book of Moses (though I know there are scads of stories and tidbits I don't know about) and took off with Joshua, finishing up through Ruth most recently.
Ruth, a book I had previously struggled with to find lasting value, grabbed hold of my mind this time through. Ruth's devotion to her mother-in-law, Naomi, slid by as a point of truth I've heard too many times to interest me. However, between the two I came to another gem.
After losing her sons, Naomi is heading back to her homeland. Ruth, the wife of one her Naomi's sons, is ready to travel with her away from everything she knows. Here we find the most famous passage from the book--"Your people will be my people, your God my God." This comes after naomi suggests that Ruth stay with her people, to return to her former way of life. "Your reason for associating with me is gone, so why don't you return to what you know," is the kind of idea I've been playing with for a while. I believe that Naomi suggested Ruth stay in Moab (her home country) for noble and kind reasons, but I this idea of changing between different ways of life has stuck with me.
Why do people join churches? Reasons abound, but what interests me is how they are treated when they come. Do "God's people" ever suggest returning to an older way of life. I hope not, but I'd bet my toenails that it happens all the time in the nonverbals, indirect comments. Had Ruth listened to Naomi, she would not have gone down in history as David's great-grandmother, she would likely have not stayed familiar with the God of Israel, she would have gone back to a Moabite's way of life (Moab was often in conflict with Israel), and her soul may have been lost. Tragically, not everybody, I'd say most, who come through the church doors are looking for stability, to lose something in their life as well as gain something. This transplanting of lives takes time and leaves people mighty fragile as they search, question, wonder, and crave. A line from Wislawa Szymborska's poem "A Contribution to Statisics:"
"Out of a hundred people...
-thirty-five, which is a lot,
worthy of compassion