Tuesday, November 19, 2013

All is Not Right

Two children were observing an enclosed field at their local zoo. Zebras, giraffes, and a few varieties of antelope grazed throughout the field. So too, you could spot a flamingo and a few other rare African birds making their way around the enclosure.

"Something's not right," said nine year old, Joshua, to his sister, Julie, age 14.

"What do you mean, Josh?"

"Well, I feel like this whole zoo thing is just one big fake."

"Huh? What are you talking about?"

"Julie, seriously, have you ever seen Africa on TV?"

"Yeah, so what?"

"Well, on those shows, the giraffe, zebra, antelope and other animals are always being chased and attacked by the lions. This isn't real. Those animals out there look more like fancy fenced in cows than anything else."

Julie, raised her eyebrows in older sister fashion, "Yes, Joshua, this isn't real. It's a zoo. The lions have their own cages. Those other animals would be sitting ducks if the lions were let in here."

"True, but at least they'd go out with a fight. A world without real danger is a fake world."

"Ok, Joshua...the next thing you're going to tell me is that it's good for animals to slaughter each other."

"I'm not talking about slaughter; I'm talking about life. Is it worth spending your whole life in a cage, when you are giving up everything it really means to be an animal?"

"Alright, Dr. Doolittle, what does it mean to be an animal?"

"Julie, you just don't get it, do you? All is not right because these zookeepers are creating a false world for the amusement of us. We think we're seeing wild giraffes and zebras. What we're actually seeing is a pathetic form of the real thing.  All that is real, wild, and vibrant died the moment the barriers were put up."

"Joshua, it's a zoo; what did you expect?"

"What did I expect? Good question. I guess I'm seeing the unexpected."

"Huh?"

"I wanted to see and understand the wide and wild world. But I see now that once man-made cages are put up, the wide and wild world is lost. These man-made systems to keep us safe, happy, and content from the wild animals, end up creating a charade."

"A charade huh; you're nine, do you even know what you are talking about?"

"Yes, Julie, I do. Part of being an animal is living in light of fear. Mice fear cats. Antelope fear lions. And if you can bear it, humans are to fear God. Having an appropriate understanding of what is proper to fear, gives us the impetus to live wisely. Once the fears are caged up, we cease to live as we were meant to live."

"I don't think that zebra is complaining that the lions are on the other side of steal bars. He seems to like the free grass and warm sunshine."

"That's the whole problem, Julie. Humans and animals that are satisfied by their stomachs all because the fears are caged up, are just eating their way through a meaningless existence. What's the purpose of eating if all that you are living for is to eat tomorrow? What's the purpose of eating if all you get to look forward to are more cages tomorrow?"

"What if they like the cages?"

"That's what I fear the most, Julie. And unfortunately, we too have taken the cages far too often. We're afraid to leave the cage and live under appropriate fears. We've chosen the "safe" at the cost of what is real. Heck, many animals in captivity die months and years before the average life of animals in the wild. Once the animal loses the will to survive and a proper Fear to fear, it's only time when their soul will die."

"Are you talking about animals or humans?"

"Julie, I'm talking about both. Proper fear is the beginning of knowledge, life, and purpose. The charade of the cage will only last so long. Eventually, we all find out the truth in the end. There are things more Wild, Fearsome, and Powerful than our steal cages can ever keep out."

"A cage is better than death," Julie retorted.

"Death comes cage or no cage. But I'm talking about life. And life only happens when we break out of the cage and subject ourselves to those wild fears worth fearing."

Monday, November 04, 2013

A Forgotten Conversation (fiction)

"Levi, why do you sit here each night, waiting and waiting?"

"This might be Joshua's day, and I don't want to miss it. Besides, Abraham, wouldn't you do the same if Asher was not at home?"

"Levi! It's not like Joshua went to Jerusalem for festival or to Antioch for market. He's gone, who knows where, doing who knows what. What makes you so sure he'll be back?"

"I know he'll be back because he will run out of money soon enough. He didn't have money sense before he left, and with his sinful intentions, I know he isn't going to come to wisdom. My only prayer is he comes home before he dies."

"You know the whole town laughs at you behind your back. They think you should have stoned your son before the court for such flagrant disobedience. How could you give him his inheritance when you did? He basically said he'd rather have you dead and have his inheritance than to see you breathe."

"Yes, Abraham, his folly and selfishness broke my heart. But I was not mad at him; I was mad that the Accuser has such influence over the hearts of those unwilling to heed the voice of the LORD."

"Levi, come to your senses. Joshua is gone; he's not coming back. He wished you dead. Let your dreams die with his disobedience."

"Yes, Abraham, that is it. That is how I will pray--that Joshua will come to his senses. I pray he'd see that the love of his Father is more precious than the arms of a harlot. I pray he'd see the cup of blessing I desire for him is better than a cup of spirits. I pray he'd see that serving me offers greater joy than serving his own selfish ends."

"Levi, seriously, take pride in your other son, David. David works hard, stays out of trouble, and is marked by ambition."

"Yes, David has certainly gone a different route than Joshua. Sometimes though, I feel he is just as eager for the inheritance as his younger brother. There is a coldness and self-righteousness present when he speaks of Joshua. I'm afraid he may work his way to death, whereas his brother will play himself to death."

"Ah, but work is to be commended, Levi."

"Work and play are both gifts that can become deadly when not received with humility. Both are great servants but harmful masters. I pray they both are found by the Master so they are not mastered unto death."


If you are wondering how this story plays out, read Luke 15:11-32

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Halloween 2013

Here are a few pics for those who have requested them.  So much fun!

Charity started the day as a lion (OK, so maybe that was just after her bath...)

Then she hung out in the black cat sleeper until...

Trick-or-treating!!

He informed us he was scary because he scares crows.

Elias as Tigger, complete with a glow stick sword. Don't ask.

Lady bug!!

And a fierce pirate to round out the bunch.