Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Return of the FatKid

So, i am back to blogger. Sorry it's been so long. Life is good, but that is not the reason I am posting. I found something worthy of passing on to my friends.

I didn't write this. Kevin from Worship Generation done did. But, that is ok because it is worth a read. Besides, I would actually have to write something if I didn't just steal it. Ok, read and comment. Then, you can go to his page and subscribe to his blog so I don't have to do this anymore. (click the title)

In His Grace



A Lot To Think About…

-Kevin MacDougall

The title of this blog is a cheesy joke. A pun. You'll see how and why as you continue to read. I apologize for this awful, awful joke.

I've been thinking about Lot - Abraham's nephew. Lot is famous for being rescued from Sodom and having a wife made of salt in the process… quite a legacy. His story is found in the middle of Genesis; he pops up in chapter 13 and then in chapter 19.

Generally, it's assumed that his association with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah stemmed from his own desire to live as a corrupted man of faith. We're told he lacked integrity and was loose morally – that he was "carnal," to use the churchy word. We hear things like, "Lot believed in God… but he didn't want to live his life for God." We also hear that his story is a cautionary tale, meant to illustrate the danger of "pitching tents" close to Sodom. Some would even say that Lot illustrates for us the danger of having friends who are not like we are.

But as I consider those things, they just seem off, especially in light of Jesus and the way He approached life. I realize that there are probably some assumptions being made about Lot, which turn into judgments. If it's possible we're missing the man, it's possible we're missing the message – in which case, our application of the text is off.

First things first - no matter how uncomfortable it makes some Christians, Jesus was a FRIEND of sinners. They had no problem with Him, and they enjoyed His company. He was an example of love and acceptance and did not play Morality Police until they couldn't stand him anymore. It's tough to reconcile that with a typical 'Christian' attitude we often see around us, where people who say they're following Jesus are always trying to avoid the world, and anyone in it whom they deem "sinners". It's a bomb-shelter existence they're aiming for… only the bomb isn't coming. They're just missing out on helping people to "taste and see that the Lord is good". They were made to be a POSITIVE influence ON the world, but they spend life incapacitated by the thought of the NEGATIVE influence OF the world.

"Bad company corrupts good character," they say… and yet THAT verse – in context – refers to people IN the church who sow dissent and bring disunity and un-love. "Do not love the world," they say, quoting 1 John… and yet the word "world" refers to the value systems of pride and selfishness that break this world in the first place, and are not limited to those outside of the church (or John's instruction would be frivolous). The original Greek for "world" is perfectly clear: it does not mean the "people" of the world, nor does it mean the "culture" of the world. In spite of this, many well-meaning (perhaps) Christians and even pastors will read a verse like this and, without any mention of its context or literal meaning, begin to warn against being amongst people who don't consider themselves Christians, or they'll begin to denounce "secular" film, music, etc… things which didn't even EXIST at the time of John's writing.

It's all very shallow, but I don't want to spend too much time getting into this aspect of the subject matter. Instead, let's just re-examine what we know of Lot.

The very first thing I remember is that the Bible says Lot was a RIGHTEOUS man. Righteous. And in the Bible, being righteous does not mean someone who prayed a "sinner's prayer" and then lived exactly the same as they had before. If Lot was the type of person that it's generally assumed he was, why would he get this distinction? The title "righteous" is given to one who believes in and trusts God and is then moved and transformed by the ongoing experience of that relationship. Peter tells us that Lot was a righteous man. He also tells us that Lot was troubled and pained by the lawlessness he saw around him. Where another assumption takes place is in deciding that his pain was the result of his own sin as a result of the influence around him. See, we could just as easily deduce that his pain came from being amidst so much brokenness and seeing so many lives hurting. It COULD be a pain of simple compassion.

Most of us know the story. God was judging Sodom and Gomorrah, because God knows hearts (unlike us), and God knew the people there would continue in their ways no matter what. Their ways were harmful to others. The cry that rose up because of them was great. They were murderous and completely given to their every whim and desire.

But Lot was saved from that judgment. He was ushered out in time. He wasn't hurt at all. His family was, but we don't fully know if they shared Lot's faith. And Lot was reluctant to go (about as reluctant as one could be), and yet he was saved from the destruction. I wonder, if his very choice to BE there with those people was so dangerous and such a warning to us… why did Lot emerge unharmed? His safety was never in question. His security was never in doubt. Where was the danger? To his wife or sons-in-law? We have no indication they were people of faith anyway.

If Lot was a righteous man, he was a man whose relationships were characterized by rightness.

Could it be that Lot was never meant to present to us the weak, gutless person of faith? Could it be that the point was never supposed to be that Lot didn't have any business in Sodom? I'm more convinced of this second question. Regardless of what happened to Lot there, I don't think anyone can make a strong case for him having no business in that place. And maybe, just maybe, Lot went there specifically to be an influence? Maybe he represents to us the person who just will not give up on people, even to the point of offering his daughters in place of the Lord's messengers (a very cultural-historical thing for him to do), and maybe he illustrates for us that our involvement with the most broken of society will never remove our security or remove us from the protection of God in His judgment. Maybe the tragedy of Lot's story is not that he lived in Sodom, but that in spite of the presence of a righteous man, no one was touched by his love or service to them?

Just maybe.

Think about it

1 comment:

Shelynn said...

lol~*~ it doesn't matter what blog you post this on...:-P it's still awesome!