Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hoarding Containers

         
In the midst of social and political turmoil our attention has been diverted from an issue critical to many Americans; I refer of course to the proliferation of empty Cool Whip and butter tub containers found in the cupboards of many households. The congressional select committee on alternative food storage policy has not met for a number of months and the present administration is seeking to pull its funding. You may recall that the Obama administration fought to retain funding in its final budget in spite of lobbying to dissolve the committee by Tupperware and Rubber Maid.

Industry lobbyists have resubmitted draft legislation that would require $5.00 deposits on Cool Whip containers and all butter tubs. Their hope is that people will stop using these containers for storage and be coerced into purchasing products specifically made for storage. The Center for Disease Control has weighed in on the side of the lobbyists due to the high number of emergency room visits attributed to people eating unidentified leftovers stored in butter tubs and the like. Ironically, the National Institute for Health has opposed the legislation because, they argue, new molds and mutant organisms are routinely found in spoiled refrigerator food and their hope is that eventually this will lead to a medical breakthrough.

The American Institute for Counseling is supporting the legislation in the hope that it will reduce marital stress when it comes to identifying just what is in the refrigerator, who put it there, and how long it has been there. They receive weekly reports of spouses throwing containers at one another while arguing whether the contents are pasta, chicken, or liver.

The Humane Society also supports the legislation because it argues that pets are eating the leftovers that fall on the floor as a result of spouses throwing containers at each other – the spoiled food is making pets sick.

The National Mental Health Counsel supports the legislation due to people entering therapy because they have meltdowns when unable to correctly match a plastic lid to the container in question. Recently a woman in Colorado was found by her husband on the kitchen floor with 278 plastic lids surrounding her, speaking incoherently, picking up the lids and pounding them onto a hapless Cool Whip container. When her husband pointed out that all of the lids appeared to be butter tub lids she attacked him with the dog’s water bowl which was beside her on the floor.

Please write your congressperson about this – tell him or her, “No deposits on Cool Whip or butter tub containers!”


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Charlottesville


Amidst the polarization and the fear, whether encouraged by media or by so-called leaders across the cultural spectrum, this is what I know:

The Church of Jesus Christ must stand apart from the world if we are to live in the world and speak into the world; otherwise we will be indistinguishable from the world and we will have nothing to say.

This means that we must have our citizenship in heaven with no competing allegiances. This idea of no competing allegiances applies to all segments of the fragmented church.

Our voice must be one that speaks peace and reconciliation alongside repentance and confession of sin. (I kept asking myself last weekend, “Where is Doctor King?”)

We must look at our collective history honestly without glossing over sin. Since the members of the Church live in the broader culture, and since members of the Church have participated (and do participate) in the sins of the culture, then the Church should have the courage to call sin sin and not to call it other names; such as “mistake”, or “patriotism”, or “they didn’t know better”, or “heritage”, or “they needed to do this for the economy”.  

We must adamantly reject the idea that criticism of our nation is not patriotic; Chesterton pointed out to the effect that if one’s patriotism depends on one’s interpretation of history then that is a pretty poor patriot. As Christians we should know the deep power of sin, not only in our own lives but in the lives of a collective people. The power of sin is perhaps nowhere more evident than in its power to deceive us; individual self-deception is bad enough, collective self-deception is frightening.

An honest appraisal of United States history (as is true with other national histories) shows that we (yes “we”) have exploited and used others to meet our own needs – we have had an insatiable appetite for economic and geographic growth – we devour and devour; we devour others and we devour our own people. This should be no surprise, our nation is not the Kingdom of God. What is the record of the professing church challenging our national appetite for more and more? What is the record of the professing church in speaking out for justice and equity?

If I am a white Christian I must ask God to help me understand the perspectives of my African – American brothers, my Latino brothers, my Asian brothers, and my Native American brothers. I must listen to them. I must stop looking for excuses not to listen, I must stop using justifications not to listen. And I must be willing to put their well-being ahead of my own; I must trust them whether I fully understand their deep feelings and perspectives – for how can I ever truly fully understand their experience?

Do I love my black brothers enough to trust them? Do I love them enough to allow them to “see” for me? Do I love them enough to allow them to take me by the hand and help lead me? Has it occurred to me that perhaps the people who were once enslaved may be the ones to lead me out of slavery?

On August 5, a week before Charlottesville, I wrote the following:

They say states-rights is why they fought
It was such a noble cause
The right to keep black humanity enslaved
Must have been an after thought

Old Jim Crow where did you go?
Where are you hiding today?

Where is the voice of the Church? If it is not a distinct voice of peace, reconciliation, confession of sin, and repentance – then it is nothing.

Maybe God had a point when He commanded that we should have no graven images.




Monday, August 14, 2017

Heritage?



I hope that my descendants will learn from my mistakes and flee from my sin. If they are to celebrate anything in my life let it be the grace, mercy, and forgiveness of God.