Thursday, September 3, 2015

Let Your Heart Be Troubled

My Facebook page has been a story of irony and contradiction these last days. Daily adjurations to keep Christ in Christmas are posted alongside derisive rants about migrants and “those people” who need to "go home".  Incessant  proud boastings of “God’s blessings” in the form of new jobs, vacations, large homes or luxury vehicles are right there along with “THEY aren’t going to take MY jobs”, or calls to build more fences and drop more bombs.

I am a Christian. Whether or not somebody says Happy Holidays versus Merry Christmas does not offend me in any way, shape or form. I believe I am no less a Christian if I choose to be inclusive in my greetings.  I am, however, highly offended that the very teachings of Christ are being twisted and manipulated in order to excuse less than Christian behaviours. I question the Christian-ness of turning our backs on our fellow human beings.

Maybe I am naive. Maybe I want to believe in world peace and love and caring for others. Throw in a verse or three of Kum Ba Yah and I am on my way. Add a candle or two and I am hooked.  I would rather be accused of treacherous naivety and heinous kindness than to be lumped in with those who seem to live by the “I got mine, you get yours” philosophy of life.

My daughter recently travelled back to the United States to begin her new life; a new beginning. She rode in down-comforted first class with its champagne and surf and turf excesses. In stark contrast, many, many women are risking their lives and the lives of their children to board flimsy, leaking rafts in the hope of starting a new life: a new beginning.  My daughter was simply going to start a new school and begin a new major. These other women are fleeing bombs, and war, and rape, and torture, and hunger.

My daughter, a non-taxpaying student there simply by birthright was welcomed with open arms. The others, mothers desperate for their children, not given refuge.

Did I miss a few chapters of the good book? Did I skim too fast to read the ending? Did I misunderstand that we are to feed and clothe and shelter those who are in need? I realise the Bible was penned in Greek originally and translated many times after, but did I miss the whole point of Matthew 25:35-40?

  35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

 Did I misinterpret Matthew 7:12?

 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

I do speak southern. Maybe that is it. Is there special version that says God blesses the fortunate as evidenced by cars and the latest "it" bag and Disney vacations, but somehow doesn’t bless the poor, the hungry, the desperate; the least of these?

I am not so naive that I believe there are quick easy solutions to the human crisis we all want to sum up in fifty words or less using such demeaning and dehumanising labels as migrants, or immigrants. It is as if these folks asked to have their lives torn apart by war, and their homes obliterated in order to come and take YOUR job and keep you from enjoying that entire behemoth slice of cake at the local Cheesecake Factory without sharing.  I do agree with British Prime Minister David Cameron’s statements that we need to find a way to broker peace and to keep these crises from happening in the first place. But, Mr. Cameron, sir, if you don’t mind me pointing out, your pat platitudes don’t put food in the mouths of children and shelter over the heads of the mothers and fathers and sons and daughters right now.  Good on you for looking toward the future. Their futures look pretty bleak right now.

And to my fellow Americans, aren't we blessed  the Natives Americans didn't have fences up when our ancestors arrived with no jobs, hungry, cold and sick  to give us a chance at a better life. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"  must  just be a nice poem with an outdated message. It is apparently no longer applicable. We got ours. You get yours. Just not here.

Hit me. I am waiting for the “you are just a socialist; not a real Christian; blame it on Obama, blah blah”. Label me. If that helps you sleep at night, fine. If that helps justify living in excess while your fellow human beings are terrified, cold and hungry, go ahead.  If flinging out your pseudo-Christian pap makes you feel safe because it allows you to believe this could never happen to you but only to THEM or THOSE PEOPLE, then I only have one thing left to say.

Happy Holidays.

1 comment:

Lisa Murphy said...

Have I told you lately that I love you?