Ghandi vs. Jesus

Brandon Rhodes at Jesus Manifesto wrote a great article about Ghandi’s famous quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

His point is that Ghandi’s quote is best reworded to say, “Be the change God will eventually make in the world.”  Right now we’re stuck in a time where the Age to Come and the Present Evil Age are overlapping, but as followers of Christ, we’re supposed to be living as if we’re in the Age to Come.

This provides a massive, and massively underused, narrative apologetic for Christian nonviolence.  We are to be nonviolent because the truly human being, Jesus our King, was — yes, true enough. And we are to be nonviolent because it doesn’t get the world much of anywhere — sure.  Oh, and yes, we should be nonviolent because God loves his enemies — Jesus used that one! But all of these can and should snap nicely into place within this bigger framework of the passing darkness of the evil age, and the inbreaking light of the Age to Come given us by Jesus.  We are peaceful because the age of shalom is here.  The dread weapon of the old age, Death, is beat.  Why live on its terms any longer?  The day is here.  “Come, O House of Israel, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

Check out his article, its good stuff.

It makes me think of this lyric from Derek Webb’s “A Love thats Stronger than our Fear”

there is a day that’s been inaugurated but has not yet come
that we can proclaim by showing that there’s a better way

let me die in my footsteps…

On my way to Winnipeg on Wednesday to pick up my beautiful wife, I was listening to the Bob Dylan Bootleg Series Disc One and found this really great song.  Apparently it was written based on another song that was written about the whole nuclear fallout shelter craze that happened in the 50’s.  Everyone was afraid that a war was coming, so out of that fear, they were learning how to die, as opposed to living.

I’m sure that this song was relevant in the 60’s when Dylan recorded it, with the Vietnam war and all.  But I think its pretty relevant today as well.  We have all of these people telling us that we have to fight.  That we’ve got to hunt our enemy down until there are no threats.

They want us to walk in fear.  I don’t really know who “they” is, but its pretty clear that someone wants us to constantly fear for our lives, so much that we take other lives out in the process.  Well, i’m not buying it.

There is a youtube video with this song at the bottom… I have no clue how the train relates…

I will not go down under the ground
“Cause somebody tells me that death’s comin’ ’round
An’ I will not carry myself down to die
When I go to my grave my head will be high,
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

There’s been rumors of war and wars that have been
The meaning of the life has been lost in the wind
And some people thinkin’ that the end is close by
“Stead of learnin’ to live they are learning to die.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

I don’t know if I’m smart but I think I can see
When someone is pullin’ the wool over me
And if this war comes and death’s all around
Let me die on this land ‘fore I die underground.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

There’s always been people that have to cause fear
They’ve been talking of the war now for many long years
I have read all their statements and I’ve not said a word
But now Lawd God, let my poor voice be heard.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

If I had rubies and riches and crowns
I’d buy the whole world and change things around
I’d throw all the guns and the tanks in the sea
For they are mistakes of a past history.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

Let me drink from the waters where the mountain streams flood
Let me smell of wildflowers flow free through my blood
Let me sleep in your meadows with the green grassy leaves
Let me walk down the highway with my brother in peace.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

Go out in your country where the land meets the sun
See the craters and the canyons where the waterfalls run
Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho
Let every state in this union seep in your souls.
And you’ll die in your footsteps
Before you go down under the ground.

wolverines…

So aparently people don’t see wolverines very often.  In fact, some people spend their entire lives in the Canadian and Alaskan wilderness and never see one.

I saw two the other night.  Standing in the middle of the road, looking at me.  I almost ran over one of them.  I think they granted me special powers with which to fight for justice… and for mutant rights…

brick walls, toyotas and trampolines…

I once owned a Toyota pickup.  First I had an 86 with a 4 cylinder engine.  Then I sold it and bought my father-in-law’s 89 with a V6.  It had a much nicer interior, and in all honesty, it ran a little better.  The only problem was the gas mileage.  I got about 15 miles to the gallon on a good day.  I sold it before I moved to Canada, though.

I’ve been reading Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell.  I haven’t gotten very far, but I can already see all of the controversy that this guy has caused.  He suggests that there are two ways of looking at God/Christianity.  (I’m sure that he would agree that these aren’t the only two ways, but these are the two ways that he gives.)  One way is a brick wall.  Each brick represents a specific doctrine and if any one of those doctrines is removed, it compromises the entirety of the wall.  He cites the example of a Creation apologist who said that to deny the literal 6-day creation is to deny the Resurrection.  Thats a pretty big jump, and while denying the literal 6-day creation will certainly lead to implications in other areas of theology, it wouldn’t necessarily lead to faithlessness.  I know very Godly people who are theistic evolutionists.  I disagree with them, but it doesn’t affect the whole of their theology.

The other thing Bell suggests is a trampoline.  The actual jumping surface represents God and our relationship with him while the springs represent specific doctrines.  The doctrines hold the rest in place, but, like springs, they are flexible.  And if one breaks or is removed, it doesn’t compromise things that much.  Its when you start taking them all and throwing them out that things get tricky.

Now I understand his point and agree that the brick wall view just doesn’t work.  And I realize that this is just an analogy and isn’t meant to be perfect or explain everything.  And the trampoline idea fits his point better than what I’m about to say.

But I think that in view of Christianity and the way it relates to different doctrines or theological views a much better analogy to use is one of a car, or, specifically, an 80’s-early 90’s Toyota pickup.

In Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina, these trucks are all over the roads.  Aside from my own, they get better gas mileage than big trucks, are more maneuverable than big trucks, are relatively inexpensive, are easy to work on, and last forever (its not unusual to for trucks that are in good condition at 250-300 thousand miles.)

I think of theology this way.  We all have Toyota pickups.  Our relationship with Christ is the engine.  Our doctrines and theologies are the parts.  Some of our parts need replacing.  Some of them just need to be cleaned up.  Some of them don’t need replacing but we replace them with something a little different anyway, and our truck doesn’t run quite as well as it did before.  Some of us refuse to change any parts, even the spark plugs, so our truck is almost dead, and is unlikely to take anyone anywhere.  Some of us still use a carburator even though it would run much cleaner if we’d just modify and install EFI.  Some of us have modified ours to run on deisel, some bio-deisel.

Some of the parts it doesn’t really matter whether we use a third party or a certified toyota part.  For some of the parts it matters quite a bit that we use the exact part.  Some of us have the old body style, some of us have the new body style.  Some of us even have Fourunners.  They look different, have a different wheel base, but its the same truck.  Some of us have 2-wheel drive and can’t go all the same places as someone with 4 wheel drive can.  Some of us have 4-wheel drive, but its broken.  Some of us try to replace the engine with a camry or celica engine and lower the body and wind up not having a truck at all, but a car that looks like a truck.

The point is, until we completely gut the thing and just end up with a shell and then try to make it into something its not, we still have the same truck.  Some of them run well, some not very well.  Some run great while one that has vastly different parts runs just as well.  The point is, they’re all the same truck, and while its good to make sure that everyone’s truck is running well, the really important thing is that it runs.  One day, we’ll all know which parts are wrong and well get all the right parts and our trucks will run perfectly.  But for now, we need to do the best we can to make sure our truck runs and that our neighbor’s truck runs.  And we can continue to work on them for the rest of our lives.

Thats just something I thought of.  I’m sure it has a few kinks.  Tell me what you think.

the day I saw the moose

My brother-in-law was getting married.  So that meant that Leah and I would have to make the long drive to North Carolina once more.  On the way down, we made great time: we pulled out of Thompson on Sunday at 2pm Central and reached Yonder Mountain on Tuesday Morning at 2am Eastern.  Thats 35 hours.  Pretty good when you consider that last time it took 41.

Well, Leah is staying in NC to spend some time with her family.   So I made the drive back alone.  I left Monday at 5pm.  I stopped at the Bass Pro Shop in Sevierville, TN.  I stopped in Indiana somewhere and tried to sleep for 3 hours, but only got about 1 hour.  Oh, we made a bed in the back of our Prius, which is surprisingly comfortable.  I got up and drove some more.

For some reason that I can’t remember, I ended up driving through downtown Indianapolis.  I stopped in Lafayette to get my oil changed and ended up being there for about three hours.  Then came Chicago and traffic.  It took me 14 hours to go what should have been a 7 hour drive.  Granted I stopped at both Cabela’s in chicago and a couple of Gander Mountains as well.

Then I stopped to sleep.  I pulled over at 6 pm and woke up at 4 am completely disoriented.  But I pulled myself together and kept on driving.

Then I got an idea.  Instead of going through Emerson North Dakota, I decided to drive north of Minneapolis and cross the border at International Falls.  It was a really nice drive most of the way.  It reminded of the wilderness of Northern Canada, except the trees were fatter, but not as tall.  And there were plenty of gas stations.

I almost hit a big wild pig.  It ran right out in front of me.  Then I kept hearing on the radio that there was a storm in some county.  Minnesota doesn’t do like the rest of the states and post signs at the county lines so that you’ll know where you are, they just let you guess.  So I didn’t know where this storm was.  There were clear, blue skies where I was.  Until I got about 15 miles from Canada.  The sky in front of me was dark, but it was clearly moving eastward, that is, until I got right next to it, then it started moving westward.

I passed a little store and thought about stopping, but I did not.  But when I saw a tornado form just a few hundred yards from me, I decided to turn around.  I drove through the most awful rain I’ve ever driven through.  Then I stopped at the little store and waited it out.

Then I made it to the border.  I went into the Canadian Tire in the Canadian part of International falls, which is called either Francis Falls or Francis Fort, I think.  Though I explain Canadian Tire as the product of a romantic fling between Walmart and Advance Auto to my American friends, this Canadian Tire would have Advance Auto wondering if Walmart had been fooling around with Lowe’s.

The road through Ontario was pretty and it was curvy, but as soon as I got into Manitoba, I entered whitetail country.  Underneath the “prancing deer” signs, they had signs that read “night danger.”  And it was true.  Deer were all over the road.  Standing in the middle of the road.  Looking at me.  No bucks.  Just does.  I guess the bucks realize the risk of being seen by people.  There is a pretty high mortality rate for bucks that are bad hiders.  So driving slowly to let the deer pass set me back quite a bit.

I pulled over at Ashern and slept for an hour.  Then I drove on a little.  I saw the biggest black bear I’ve ever seen.  I thought it was a grizzly, or maybe two black bears in a giant black bear costume.  It was big.  It got into the woods before I could take a picture.

At this point, one must know that I really like seeing wildlife, and the one thing that I’ve wanted to see the entire time I’ve been here is a moose.  So when I looked in that opening and saw that moose playing in the water, I turned on a dime and parked to look at it.  The thing just sat there looking at me, then continued playing in the water.

Big moose

Yeah, so this isn't it. I saw this at Cabela's. Hopefully I'll see one of these this fall, while I have a gun in my hand.

This was it.

This was it.

Here she is looking at me.

Here she is looking at me.

And a close up.

And a close up.

And this one is for andrew. Pritchett.

And this one is for andrew. Pritchett.