Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Let’s Be Religious: Biblical Perspectives On…V

Jesus vs The MinusCar Project

Last December in her Speaking of Faith interview with Krista Tippett, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai described how spiritual stories have very real physical manifestations. She described her mother’s instruction to not touch the fig tree when out gathering firewood. The fig tree is God’s special tree. God will grow it and God will knock it down.

The physical realities of the fig trees are: they stabilized the landscape and their long roots brought water closer to the surface. As the fig trees were consumed the African landscape changed.

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Again, I’m no rocket theologian (more of a pocket one, perhaps) but I think Jesus has something to say about the production/consumption cycle, as well as specific things to say about food.

Fasting: Jesus practiced fasting. Jesus assumed his followers would fast. “Man does not live by bread alone.” Fasting is the abstention from food. What would happen if a whole bunch of people abstained from food? Frequently.

Special note: Matt Lockett and Bound 4 Life taught me a lesson in forgiveness. If I can’t look beyond what I think are his sins, I can’t learn his better lesson of fasting. But I progress.

Sabbath: the day of rest. It began with God resting on the seventh day and continued through to followers of the law being furious that Jesus redefined Sabbath. Jesus said “it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Sabbath is generally thought of as occurring once a week and might require a good hard look at defining “good.” Jesus healed. I buy lattes, which requires the service of at least one and possibly up to thousands. What would happen if a whole bunch of people did nothing but heal on the Sabbath?

Employment: Jesus encountered SimonPeter and Andrew working their fishing nets. Jesus invited them to join him; they dropped their nets and followed. Jesus encountered James and John. They too were fishing. Jesus invited them to come, and they left their work (and their father) and followed. Jesus encountered Matthew at work and invited him to follow. Matthew left his job and followed. If a lot of people did this I think it would have serious production ramifications.

Life: In essay #14 Noel helpfully points out what he thinks “minus is the new plus” means. Jesus said, “He who loses his life will gain it.”

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What if Wangari Maathai is right? What if there are actual physical manifestations that occur when these spiritual stories are applied in people’s lives? A brazillian people around the globe claim to follow Jesus.

I find this comforting.

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I am very grateful for the place I have here with these wicked people of Nineveh. I am one. I read Oil Is For Sissy’s about an atheist anarchist guy who switched career trajectories and became a bike shop owner. Hooptedoodle just finished an 8 day fast. BlueGreenie tried to buy nothing in January. It is here that I met essay #15 author WooDog, the single gay dad somewhere in Kentucky. It is here that my local friend Snakebite, a guy who uses bad language, swears alot, says naughty words, sometimes all at once; still gives me permission to use him as an example however I like; saw something that caused him to look at some things differently.

I find this comforting too.

These people, the ones on my blog roll, the authors of the MinusCar essays (and the others that read but don’t write) are the people who have the questions that I need to move ahead with my life.

And my real life community (many of them are bloggers too) who, while they don’t always ask the questions I need (yep, believe it or not Global Warming concern isn’t a requirement for friendship), have listened, nodded and uh-huh’d in all they right places for two years now. Ever so slightly they change me and change themselves when we talk. It’s been a good two years.

This is my community. I like to think of them as church.

Tomorrow: the final. A little bit more about Jonah.

3 comments:

bikingbrady said...

Reading your posts over the last year or so (since the dreaded "Bicyclist should stay on the sidewalk" fiasco) has been very refreshing. We share so many of the same thoughts and concerns, but you are considerably braver than I to bring them to the world. I avoid conflict....way more than I should probably. Keep on keeping on MC..

Vertigo said...

I've gotta say that I have been enjoying this little homily on Jonah recently...keep it up!

Snakebite said...

sonofabitch! ;-)