Subversion of the Day- Judge Not

 

It sure has been a bit.  Hopefully the next one will be more timely.

The Subversion for today simply is to “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”  I don’t know why, but there is something fun about reading that in King James Version.  Maybe it is because it is so simple to manipulate for our own power.  This is one of the most poorly used, out-of-context spouted verses in the whole of the accepted Christian Scriptures.  Most often, it is framed as- You can’t tell me what to do.  Don’t judge..  or something similar.  Maybe a modern paraphrase can help shed some light on this- “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.”

Ain’t that the truth?

I used to think that I was doing the world a service when I would point out all of the ideas, interests, perspectives, beliefs, and preferences on anything that I thought was stupid.  I cared about them, and I didn’t want them to poison their lives with meaningless, unimportant drivel, from tearing down musical preferences to religious ideology.  And yet, it was I who was the one being poisoned all along with that unnecessary, overly critical thinking.  It repulsed people, made me ugly.  I tried to clean their face while I had a gaping wound to my forehead.  That is ridiculous.

And yet, we all do that.

Everyone is a product of their own chosen, assigned, or inherited systems, and there are many: family, friends, work, education (or lack of), social or economic status, political affiliation, ethnicity, skin tone/race, sexual orientation, gender, taste, and religious belief (or lack of).  And the truth is, none of these are better than an other.  Nicki Minaj is not better than Bob Dylan, or vice a versa.  And Christianity is not better than Hinduism, and vice a versa.  Even further, one branch of Christianity is not better than another.  There is truth in all things that we can learn from, because all truth is God’s truth.  He has a monopoly on it.  With that said, I must say the thing that may frustrate and trouble you- Jesus claimed to be the Way, the Life, and the Truth.

Jesus is the Truth.

All truth stems from His existence as Truth.  And His life was one of loving and uplifting those who feel cast out and are different.  But, he was critical when necessary.  He was very critical of death and those things that associated with death or lead to it.  Therefore, we must focus all of our energy on criticizing those things that lead to death and destruction- like poverty, hunger, homelessness, drug abuse. depression, loneliness, violence of any kind, and destroying others with even our words.  The way of the cross is one of releasing power, not coercion.  Let someone know that you affirm them, even if you disagree with them.  Subvert the powers today. 

“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.(A) For with the judgment you use,[a] you will be judged, and with the measure you use,[b] it will be measured to you.(B) Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye?(C) Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs,(D) or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.   –Matthew 7:1-6

Song- As Soon as You Were Finished

This is a song I wrote back in ’07 that deals with the vanity of things that promise us relief in life, and really don’t do a thing.  Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

As Soon As You Were Finished

Whiskey bottle, fancy seeing you around
If I thought that you could help me
I’d tip you up and drink you all the way down
Cause you smell and taste so warm
And your curves give me such a thrill
But as soon as you were finished
I’d be alone here still

Hello cigarettes, I see that all of you are here
Your telling me that I have nothing to fear
Cause I could burn all of you down
And fill the world with smoke
But as soon as you were finished
You’d burn my lips and make me choke

Hey there woman, you’re telling me it’s alright
You think I should lay back and say whats on my mind
Well you want to work your magic
Cause you say you see I’m blue
But as soon as you were finished
I would feel the same way that I do

Everything is vanity, everything destroys
I want to leave behind the scandals, and all of their loud noise
Cause nothing here can save my soul
It all washes out just like sand
So as soon as I am finished
I want to know where I stand

Subversion of the Day- Help Heal Someone’s Wounds

https://i2.wp.com/2.bp.blogspot.com/-qNH9uwrxx3g/T7J2_4NmayI/AAAAAAAABKg/kj5q1Q3e830/s1600/selfharm.jpg

It’s been a long week.  Between getting settled in to this school semester, spending time with friends, trying to coordinate a big community event in Richmond, KY, and preparing for a sermon that I preached yesterday, I have been swamped.  But, today is Labor Day- and I am going to celebrate it by blogging!

Using my weekly meeting with my friend at Purdy’s (http://www.purdyscoffee.com) as a spring board, yet again, I want to talk about how you can subvert the powers of the world by healing someone, specifically those whose wounds are self-inflicted.  This is a very difficult subject, and many people don’t know the first place to go to deal with it.  I read a statistic that said 4 percent of the population self harms.  4 percent.  That may seem miniscule, but in a city of 40,000, that is 2,000 people.  And the vast majority of those are teenagers- kids.  Kids I work with.  It is a trend that has gained steam in the last few years, but one that has been around for a long time.  And usually, it is associated with depression- it is a sign that things aren’t right in someone’s life.

There are some great resources out there (which I will suggest later) to aid you in trying to help those who compulsively hurt themselves.  But first, let’s look at an old one.
People have been harming themselves for thousands of years, and in most cases, it is a gesture to connect with the deity they believe in.  But it is one that God forbade His people to do, because he knew that it harmed them physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but that also back then it could have led to further harm through infections.  There is also a biblical example of self harm being connected to demonic influence.  Jesus encountered a man with an unclean spirit.  He lived among the tombs, could not be subdued (even by chains), cried out day and night and cut himself with stones.

This must have been a teenager.

That last comment was not really meant to be a joke.  I see kids all the time that suffer under the same darkness- they go in and out of the tombs, either literally by spending time in a cemetery, or figuratively by thinking about and idolizing death on a regular basis.  They are trapped in a culture of death.  Many teenagers cannot be held down or made to think a certain way- if any shackled are placed on them they typically refuse them and shake them off.  And many, many adolescents cry out night and day from the pain they feel, and do not know any other way to deal with it, so they cut themselves.

But what can we do?

To begin subverting this dark power, we have to care enough to step into the pain of others.  Not tell them to suck it up.  Not say they are just wanting attention.  And definitely not just ignoring them.  Learn about what they are dealing with.  You can get some knowledge about this from To Write Love On Her Arms (www.twloha.com) But, beyond these things, it is important that people who self-harm know that they do not have to hurt themselves to deal with their pain- someone else has felt their pain, and He has stepped in front of the blade for them.  Subvert the powers today.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.
He was like someone people turned away from;
He was despised, and we didn’t value Him.

Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses,
and He carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded Him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.

But He was pierced because of our transgressions,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him,
and we are healed by His wounds.

Isaiah 53: 3-5