A Sojourner with Dominion?

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There is an interesting phenomenon that exists in our world. It is that we begin with the presupposition that it is “our world.” I grew up in the church and in many ways this view was reinforced, afterall Adam was given dominion over all the Creation.

There are so many ways we express this belief of ‘dominion’ whether it be in our insatiable appetite for resources or our feelings of entitlement to space or time. Maybe this is why Sabbath has become nearly impossible amonst us. To participate in Sabbath is to give up control and therefore dominion (we must concede to participate).

It is an intriguing thing when we look at ancient Israel. Their posture towards creation was much different than our own. We never read of them building a bridge, rather they cross through the water. Other than when G_d calls them ‘up’ they found themselves walking around the mountains. The landscape was not theirs to conquer but to partner withh. They had a posture of sojourner, wandering in a land not their own.

Then enters Rome with their famous roads that forced the landscape to submit to their whims – bridges over water and stairways up the sides of mountains. The first highways…progress…dominion! They did not view themselves as sojourners in a land not theirs, rather they were the lords of these lands. The land was theirs to do with as they pleased. Rome did not only enslave peoples they also enslaved nature.

Today we have carried on the tradition(s) and mindset(s) of the Romans. Constantly striving to find ways to make the world a slave to our desires and wants. We forget that the LORD made a covenant with all creatures and all of nature (Gen. 8) – not just man. We live as though the earth ‘owes’ us whatever we desire. We hollow out the earth so we can drive over it. We cut off the top of mountains so we can enjoy our four-wheel drive SUVs. We treat animals barbarically (though barbarians were probably more civil to their animals) in order that we can have meat on the cheap and with every single meal.

Though I understand that this stream of thought is slanted heavily towards an environmental bent…that is not really my point (at least not my main point). My main point is what does the way you live your life say about what you believe? What is our part in the covenants of Genesis 8? Do you live as though you are a guest in the home of the LORD or do you treat the earth and all that inhabits it as endentured servants?

What questions are we not asking when it comes to living a life that reflects what we believe?

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Dog Bones, Dysfunctional Families, and Foundations

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It seems to me that every day there is a new battle over old doctrine! Like a dog with a bone, no regard is paid to whether there is any value to that which we cling so tightly – just that someone tossed it to us! I am certain that much of what I believe and am learning is not complete – and very well may even be wrong – but I hold to the notion that it is better to be wrong and learning than to be right and have never learned. Is this wrongheaded? I am not sure. I believe the Text supports this notion as the great men and women of our faith are captured for all of history in the pages of our most Sacred Text with their proverbial (and often literal) pants around their ankles.

A battle rages on within the church for certainty – ironically we call this sought after certainty “Faith.” I’m not sure how we marry these mindsets, but much like the detached and uninterested family center in our culture we feel at home with the dysfunction of faith and certainty as our illegitimate parents. Parents raising a child lost in shuffle of appeasing one without upsetting the other: this is the church.

When fighting to return the family of G_d to a more healthy relationship we are often faced with the opposition of those not wanting to give up the dysfunction – the dysfunction that has become home and comfortable…anything that challenges what is known – even if it is a call for more and better – becomes the enemy. A home wrecker!

We forget the importance of checking the foundation – peeling back different layers and top soil to ensure that it is good and stable. When we find that some of the foundation is cracked or bad, we shouldn’t assume that the entirety needs replaced in the same way that we can’t be sure that the entire foundation is safe by only looking at one or two things. Pulling away the soil is difficult work and sometimes it is done just to see that everything is fine! Isn’t it better to check than to hope that all is well with that which we are building upon?

To tell someone that they should consider ongoing preventative maintenance on their goods does not get as great of a result as the immediacy of response when said thing becomes broken or destroyed…then the pieces seem too many and the hope of rebuilding seems too great. If we’d only be a people that didn’t like to drink the cocktail of certainty and faith…rather we’d recognize it as the Molotov that it is…explosive and dangerous, destructive and violent, arrogant and belligerent.

We need to be a people that embraces uncertainty and align that with our Faith…investigate our foundations – celebrating when they are good and strong, swiftly moving when discovered to be shaky and deteriorating. We need those who are willing to pull back the soil and reveal our foundations…to question their strength…to encourage their maintenance…to help where needed.

Today’s Blessing (4.08)

Blessed are You, O’LORD our G_d, King of the universe, Creator of all things that You would take notice of me.

Blessed are You, O’LORD our G_d, King of the universe, Creator of all things that You would take notice of me.

Blessed are You, O’LORD our G_d, King of the universe, Creator of all things that You would take notice of me.

I had the privilege of meeting with a couple of dear friends this morning for some coffee and conversations about and around the topic of G_d and blessing. The mindset of most American believers is that we are the ones that are blessed by G_d not that G_d would (or could) be blessed by us.

So how would I – how could I – how should I…think that G_d is blessed by the notion that He has noticed me? How does that express a blessedness of G_d? Is it about Him noticing me or is it more about His character that He would notice me?