Lady: Do you drink beer?
Lady: How many per day?
Lady: How much do you pay per beer?
Man: Five dollars.
Lady: How long have you been drinking?
Man: Oh, about twenty years.
Lady: Three beers a day is $450 dollars a month or $5400 per year. In twenty years that’s $108,000.
Man: Sounds right.
Lady: Do you know that if you had put that money in an account with interest, you would have enough money to buy a plane?
Man: Do you drink beer?
Man: Where’s your plane?
That silly joke was making the rounds on social media recently. I apologize if I have forced it on you again…
Isn’t it interesting how skilled the lady is at deciding how the man should act while not producing evidence of value in her own life? It was easy to measure his shortcomings without much insight for her own.
Jesus said it right when he observed that we are able to see the sawdust in someone else’s eye while ignoring the log in our own. This truth has become crystal clear during the first half of 2020 with people taking sides and pointing fingers even as there is desperate trouble all around us.
excuse my log…
I’ve heard christians wondering out loud if Jesus is about to return, what with coronavirus, civil unrest, and general badness. Well sure, Jesus will return at some point because he said he would. But self-designated prophets have been seeing the same signs for two thousand years so let’s not get uptight about predictions.
Instead of hoping for escape, we need to take the log out of our eye and see the need around us. As someone said, “Things aren’t getting worse, they’re getting uncovered”.
I have also heard, “Rioting only makes things worse”. Yes, every normal, breathing person agrees that rioting is not the answer, and every normal, breathing person agrees that most riots are caused by radical extremists. But there can also be moments when it is a legitimate, raw reaction against injustice. It is an example of white bias that we see the the splinters in the eyes of the underprivileged through the logs in our own.
We might see overt racism but I am learning that we can’t see covert racism because that’s how logs work. We have never experienced government officials passing laws to keep us ‘in our place’. We have no history of mapping or ‘redlining’ housing districts to keep us in less desirable areas of our city. These types of activities restricted blacks from owning property for generations and banks refused credit and mortgages to people in those areas. Most of us make a good portion of our money through home ownership but the effects of redlining are still suppressing people to this day.
I have never experienced suspicion, avoidance, or crude comments because of skin colour. Blacks have significantly less access to quality education, healthcare, and jobs, and not too many white people have been lynched during the last three centuries. How can I understand racism with all those logs in my eyes?
Those darn logs are likely to block out implicit bias too. It is another level of racist opinion like ‘Asians are good at math’ or ‘white men can’t dance’ (come to think of it, I can’t dance OR do math). These unspoken biases mean people are more suspicious of blacks, opportunities are less for advancement, and generations are slotted in manual or low paying jobs. For every one hundred dollars of wealth white people have, blacks have about five dollars.
yokes, not yolks
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”, says Paul in Galatians. Biblical freedom is one of the main roots of democracy but assault weapons, pandemic deaths, race riots, budget deficits, and wide income disparity remind us that freedom is an easy concept that is complicated by real life.
Yet followers of Jesus are intended to be free and that’s why the author brings up the topic of a yoke. All over the world people’s survival depends on carrying heavy burdens hung on each end of a pole that is balanced across their shoulders. That weight-bearing pole is called a yoke.”Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (5:1, NIV).
When we look at the context of the Galatians verse, it is a spiritual lesson drawn from the reality of human slavery. Paul is making the case that there are those who are born slaves and there are those who become slaves through their choices. Some are enslaved by laws, some enslave themselves with their laws.
Yokes are like logs: we burden somebody else, but mostly we burden ourselves.
We watched the live television feed with disbelief; we weren’t prepared for the theatre that would play out before our eyes.
Fiction and reality mingled in a haze of absurdity as police expelled the clergy at an historic church and occupied it without permission. Then the President, protected by a phalanx of stormtroopers, walked down the street to have his picture taken in front of the same church while awkwardly raising a Bible for all to see.
The message couldn’t have been more clear for the evangelicals who continue to support him: ‘Remember me on Election Day – I’m the guy who does the dirty work you want me to do.’ Most religious leaders condemned the ridiculous show and even old Pat Roberston condemned it.
However the usual flock of evangelicals, logs firmly entrenched, enabled him again the next day with their support. I can’t help but wonder if he knows he is being used? What kind of dark hearts manipulate an unsmiling, unwell, unhinged man to do their bidding with so little regard for his soul?
But do you know something else? His supporters are unsmiling and unwell. Their words, actions, even their faces betray invisible yokes. They too are enslaved. They too need our prayers.
What they don’t consider is that the Bible the President held aloft speaks against restrictive laws and militaristic empires. It shouts at those who enslave, who worship nationalism, and who subjugate the powerless. We are not the oppressed biblical people of Israel, we are Babylon and Rome. That is a heavy, self-imposed yoke.
We just watched the first of a series of memorial services for George Floyd. It ended with joyful singing and praise to God. Near the White House, demonstrators sang songs of peace in unison.
Meanwhile, the National Guard was adding 1400 new soldiers to protect the White House, in addition to the thousands already there as well as mobile armour, helicopters, and the Army on standby down the road. A second fence was being erected around the White House; an ironic ‘wall’ of protection from the outside world.
Which of the two is more enslaved and shouldering the heavier yoke? The contrast is hard to un-see.