Friday, April 26, 2013

We Are Without Excuse

//Guest post by Elisha Hurlocker //

“If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day." 

Yeshua, the One whom Yahweh entrusted as the Judge of Humanity does not judge, but saves. He saved the prostitute who was on the verge of being stoned to death. He saved the leper, the blind man, and the paraplegic. He is our Savior. But, we will still be judged. The very words of Yeshua that are intended to bring Life can also bring great judgement. Let me use an example from one of my friends,

" A friend of mine asked why I don't eat chocolate or drink coffee unless its fairly traded. I explained to him the plethora of injustices of the cocoa and coffee industry, including underpaid coffee planters, and African children forced to work in cocoa plantations for little or no pay while enduring horrific abuse. Yet he insisted that he liked his chocolate, and that those folks who slaved to provide it for him were not worth giving it up for."

Before, he had acted out of ignorance. He didn't know of the injustices of the chocolate and coffee industry. But now, the very words that were spoken to bring life, freedom, and justice are bringing about judgement. Now, he is acting out of selfishness and a lack of compassion. Maybe this is what Yeshua meant when He said, "The very words I have spoken will condemn them..." 

Before, we did not know we were lost in sin. We were ignorant of our evil, just as the Centurions who killed Yeshua were ignorant of what they did, which is why He prayed, " Forgive them, for they know not what they do." But, now we do know. We know the way to Life. We have been shown the Kingdom of Love, and we are without excuse.

- Elisha Hurlocker  
  (Elisha writes the blog The Beautiful Adventure, in which he challenges the status quo with his thoughtful and witty stories and ideas. He is a poet, a musician, a photographer, and a fearless leader in his community. He lives wherever the wind blows, and Loves wherever there are broken and hurting people.)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day!

Here's a little poem I wrote while sitting in a little grove, admiring the Beauty of nature this week. The poem is happily accompanied by a few of my favorite nature shots of the Thai-Burma Border. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Parable of the Fisherman

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them. 
"Not very long," answered the Mexican. 
"But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American. The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family. 
The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?" 
"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs ... I have a full life." 

The American interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you!  You should start by fishing longer every day.  You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. 
"And after that?" asked the Mexican. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers.  Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City!  From there you can direct your huge new enterprise." 
"How long would that take?" asked the Mexican. 
"Twenty, perhaps 25 years," replied the American. 

"And after that?" the Mexican asked. 
"Afterwards? That's when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing.  "When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!" 
"Millions?  Really?  And after that?" 

"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Getting Tired of Jesus

I can remember having and overhearing countless conversations about whether the death, or the resurrection of Jesus were more important. Phrases such as "Everything comes back to what He did at the cross!" or "If there is no resurrection, we are to be pitied above all men!" come to mind. Emotional ultimatums which conjure up images of a protestant Jesus with some sort of epic and incomprehensible powers which, through those two events, reversed several millenia worth of humanity's dirty deeds. Surely this man-god Jesus came to the earth just to hang out for thirty-three years and psyche himself up for those glorious three days.

Hanging around American Christian circles, one hears the name of Jesus thrown around quite a bit. He died. he rose again. He founded the Christian religion. He even founded the US of A! Now He comes to live in our hearts, if we'll only accept Him as our Lord and Savior! How do we know this? Because it's Christian doctrine.

Sometimes i get tired of Jesus though.

I get tired of reading Paul's words, and the modern interpretations which link Jesus to Western Christian traditions. Sometimes i look for someone a bit more badass than Jesus. Someone who didn't just come hang out silently for thirty-three years until it was time to die. Sometimes i think that Jesus who dressed like the pope and perpetually stares at people from his eternal position on stained-glass cathedrals is kinda boring. Boring because he didn't do anything except for die and rise again. Which is of course super awesome. But a lot of people die. And a few people even rise again. But i like people like Martin Luther King Jr., who spread revolutionary messages of Love before he died. And i like people like Gandhi who, before being killed for his beliefs, dramatically changed the landscape of a nation and indirectly, the world. I'm a fan of Henry David Thoreau, who ignored and even countered the superfluous and destructive practices of a society that enslaves unwitting participants. Jesus is kinda cool, but i want to follow people who spent their entire lives waving a banner of subversive Love and Beauty.

And all i ever learned about Jesus was how he died.

. . . 

But i've discovered this interesting fellow named Yeshua. He was born in a barn, grew up as a nomadic refugee, and became one of history's greatest dissidents. He was an anarchist, a vagabond, and a prophet. A great teacher, a revolutionary, and a social activist. A simple fisherman, a humble servant, and peaceful dissident. Oh, and he was the son of GOD. Once his message had stirred up enough fear and hatred in the hearts of the rich and powerful for long enough, they killed him. He didn't fight back, he willingly gave his life for that which he believed in. As the story goes, after his death, GOD resurrected him to show that the empires of this world have no power over the mystical ideologies which this great man taught.

They don't talk about this Yeshua in church very often. He proclaimed such disruptive teachings as "the Kingdom of GOD is within you", and "Blessed are the poor, but woe to you who are rich." He taught of a Beautiful Kingdom that is breaking forth through the cracks in this ugly civilization we've created. His message was universal - it applied to all people in all cultures. But it doesn't very well support those who'd like to build a tight doctrine around it and keep it for themselves.

. . .

I expect that one day my life will come to an abrupt end. Hopefully i'll be gunned down while spreading a message of Love, or willingly put my life in place of someone else's in some epic way. Whether or not that happens though, one day i will die. And when that day comes, i hope people will come together to remember me. But hopefully, they won't draw pictures and tell stories of my death too much. Hopefully when people think of me, they'll remember the way i Loved. I would be honored if they didn't remember me so much as they were remembered the Beauty that i lived for. If i die in a cool way, that would be a good grand finale, but i sure hope that's not the only thing they remember. If everything i write on this blog, the words that i speak throughout my day, and the actions that i take every day are forgotten, but people forever remember how i died, i'll probably be a pretty frustrated dead person.

Let us not do the same to Yeshua. Let us remember first and foremost the words that he spoke. The choices he made. The light that shone from his eyes. The message of the Kingdom that resonates with all humble people throughout all cultures. Once we remember his life, and look at his death and his resurrection in context, they become even more epic additions to the story. The grand finale. The proof that the Kingdom of GOD is here and now. The proof that the powers and authorities of these empires have no final say.

May the life of Yeshua teach us that the Kingdom of GOD is here and now.

May the death of Yeshua show us that he actually believed the message he taught.

May the resurrection of Yeshua show us that GOD also believes in the message he taught.

another world is not only possible,
she is on her way.
on a quiet day,
i can hear her breathing.
- arundhati roy