Between the Worlds

RELEVANT (rel’uh-vant) Bearing upon or connected with the matter in hand; to the purpose; pertinent…

What is really relevant to me and the matter at hand? I’ve watched more TV lately than I care to admit and have discovered that much of what I see doesn’t pass the relevance test. I don’t take any of the toxic medicines they advertise, I’m not in the market for a new car—we’d buy a good used one anyway. Don’t need a new mattress, and don’t care what the rich and famous are doing.

I’m non-partisan. Neither major party reflects my point of view. Republicans eat at the trough of the free market, believing that kindness and generosity are bred into the corporate soul. Democrats worship at the altar of civil government, thinking that public service and pure motives are corollaries. Then, there are special interest parties who see the world through green glasses or through the lens of theocracy.

Nope. I’m opting out. Non-partisan. During presidential election years I’ll endorse Abraham Lincoln. Yes, I know he’s dead, but he’s reliable. Anyway, my support of ‘Honest Abe’ is my way of saying, “not my circus, not my monkeys.”

I just want to be a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. I don’t want Jesus as a mistress—to tryst with him at church, but go home to what what I’m married to. I don’t want the new millennium Christ that is a mere shadow of who Jesus is as the son of God; I want the first century Jesus who is the cornerstone of real faith, not just the inspiration for pretenders to it. Here is the challenge: discover what is relevant to a mere sojourner here. Jesus sketched the challenge in the terms of being “in the world” while not being “of the world.”

Who am I? Better put, where am I? I am between two worlds: in one, but not of it; bound for another, but for the time being, bound TO the one I’m in. If that is true; if I and others on the “Jesus Way” are “between two worlds,” then the question of relevance is vital. What really matters? Where do we fit in this world—or do we fit at all?

I read a book The Reformers and Their Stepchildren. by Leonard Verduin. I highlighted this paragraph:

It is implied in the New Testament vision that Christianity is not a culture-creating thing but rather a culture-influencing one. Wherever the Gospel is preached human society becomes composite; hence, since the culture is the name given to the total spiritual heritage of an entire people, there can never be such a thing as a Christian culture; there can only be cultures in which the influence of Christianity is more or less apparent.

The challenge is to pick through the purple pills and new cars; the fast food and loose facts, and lay hold of the things that are important to an eternal God and valuable to an eternal people. I’m not here to throw stones, build walls, or tear down the establishment. I’m here to live like a sojourner and love like a follower of Jesus. I want to find others who want to do the same, and create a community of restless Christians who yearn for adventure.

Remembering

Dan -leaves
 
 
 
 
 
 
Remembering is when thoughts drift together into,
Who?
What?
When?
Where?
And most important of all…How?
How did it happen?
 

I’ve searched the net to find out where this little poem came from. I know it’s not original with me. It came, if I recall, from a long-play recording of poetry by Carl Sandburg, although I don’t believe it is his. I think, rather, it was attributed to his mother — still, I wouldn’t bet on it. I wouldn’t bet on the accuracy of my recollection of it, either. So, call it a paraphrase of a poem that I once heard and committed to imperfect memory.

I think of it now because my sister’s life is evaporating before our eyes like a puddle in the sun.

We  keep a sober vigil, waiting for Maxeen’s inevitable transport from this world to the next. And in the waiting, I sit with my sister and remember the ‘who,’ the ‘what,’ the ‘where’ and ‘when’ of her life and mine. We remember the all important ‘how’ it happened.

Passing the time with photographs of people and places that we both remember, I realize that it is not just one person that is dying, it is a community. Those people and places known to no one but she and I will soon be known only by me. They will be treasured in only one heart, and eventually, the remembering will cease. Who? What? When? Where? How? Will swirl away like fallen leaves.

In Kewanee, our home town, on the street  where I spent my first seven years and Maxeen her first 17, autumn was a mystical time. I remember it as a kind of festival. The men would rake leaves that drifted from the brooding maples that lined McKinley Avenue.  The children would push them into long ridges — imaginary walls of make-believe houses in which unfolded pretend lives — until a grown-up, with his rake, would pull the leaves over the curb into the street and set them afire. The smoke would rise silently and touch the branches where the leaves had grown and lived, and then, like a fragrant memory, drift skyward and be gone.

~~~

[Photo taken from http://edweathers.blogspot.com]