Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blood in the Water...and Plasma too!

Oh yeah. My first tendency is to be conflict averse. I'm getting over that. I've got good medicine.

It's called the Gospel.

I've been watching information and misinformation about the current health care reform debate. And I've watched the pithy status lines and polls on facebook, sound bites that sometimes wound. It would pain me less to see actual honest debate without spin. My first tendency is to not wade into these waters.

But I'm reminded that at the Pool, the way to be healed was to wade least until Jesus showed up! But it's not just a superstition that we deal with by the water's edge. Jesus asks, "Do you want to be healed?"

Do we want to be healed?

I think we'd rather fear. Because fear is easier. It isolates us. It means we maintain control, or at least the illusion of control. It means we don't have to untidy our lives or entangle them with the lives of others. It means we can continue to feel more worthy.

It also means that we can go on fearing death in secret, though we proclaim that we are living even now our eternal life.

This caveat--I deeply desire to read information from each side of the debate. I also deeply desire to NOT read anything that can be said in 30 seconds or less. This reform is far too complex for 30 seconds or less. It's far too complex for single anecdotal evidence. I don't feel I yet know enough about this to comment specifically on what plan would be best for us to adopt. I am predisposed to have a desire that all people might have access to health care because I believe that the Gospel mandates that we care for each other, including the sojourner and the stranger. I don't know the optimal way to do it.

But I do know that this debate is currently more about our fear than it is our faith. And when we spend more time wounding each other than praying and discussing what it means to be people of faith in the midst of a time when we could influence the care of millions of people, it makes me wonder what is at the root of our fear. The wounds have left blood in the water and those who feed on our fears have sensed that we are much easier to manipulate.

I want to be healed. I desire healing for all. The vision of Isaiah 65 stands in my mind: "No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed." We cannot abandon the wealthy. We cannot abandon the poor. We cannot abandon children. We cannot abandon the elderly.

I know this may mean I have to sacrifice more. I may end up with less so that others might have enough.

I also believe that is the kingdom. I am ashamed that I might have to be "forced" into that. Maybe the time to start is now.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Watching our Youth

I have been acting as our youth director for the past 7 months, and I confess that sometimes it's the most stressful thing I've got going. But I've discovered lately that one of the reasons I've been stressed is that I've been underestimating our youth.

The youth at St. Mark don't just want to be entertained. They want a way to connect all their lives with the life of the Holy. They want to look in the Bible and see themselves, including their passions and failings.

On Sunday, I took what I thought was an "easy way out". I decided to have them work on retelling a Bible story--their choice. They had loved the dramatic retelling of David and Goliath that we had used in worship early this summer, and so I thought they might get a little creative with another story. Plus, they love it when we bring out the video camera with the thought of getting to be "on film".

The first thing out of one of their mouths was "how about the story where the guy raises an army of the dead?" I explained about Ezekiel and about the prophets and some of the context and we read the scripture and talked some more about it.

And then their brains and the Holy Spirit started to kick in. They started wondering what it might be like for the "Master of the Universe" to drop "Z-Man" onto the St. Mark playground. What bones, literal and figurative might be there? How would God bring them to life? And what's more, how could we film it and present it to the congregation?

I loved watching them pouring over the Bible to get ideas for the script...and cutting out bones and picturing what the bones of the church might look like. They didn't need me to entertain them with a game. They just needed to be let loose into the places where God has working...and will work always. And then know that those places were here. Now. With them.

Love it.