Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The "we" message of the "i" people

My Dear Friends,

My most sincere apologies to you for my not having written anything on this site for a long time. You who know us---and keep in touch with what we are doing--- have been so faithful and supportive, expressing interest in our lives and our work through all these years. Before I share some of my thoughts, I wanted to share my feelings; feelings of gratitude to "all y'all," (as we say here in Nashville) and heartfelt wishes for the fullness of all the blessing our God has for you.

In regard to the long duration between "blogs", I must tell you that recent circumstances have affected me more than I could have imagined they would.

Sending our one and only daughter off to college, having to put our dog Maggie to sleep, mourning the untimely death of our good friend and long-time producer, Tom Howard---not to mention the problems I've had with my eyesight---have all conspired to put me a bit "on hold" this last little season. Once again. I'm sorry---and I so appreciate your patience, prayers and understanding.

Anyway, here we go.

After that build-up, I hope you won't mind the brevity---and randomness---of these musings of mine.

So, Jennifer and I were chatting after our morning prayer time. We were wondering aloud about "this new generation"---(how's that for old fogey speak?)---and talking about how many young folks have embraced "social justice" thinking and a "one world-progressive" mentality. (And this was all on our first cup of coffee!)

As we spoke, I resisted the temptation to cluck my tongue and grouse about how the world was going to hell in a hand basket and how much better things were when we were young and how our generation...blah, blah, blah...

It then occurred to me how our generation---(aging baby-boomers to be specific)---spawned so much of what we observe---and often bemoan---in these perplexing days.

It seems just a moment ago that we were ushering in "the age of aquarius"---peace, love and all that jazz! That era morphed into a time characterized by the "me" generation, which indulged all the "freedoms" unleashed years before in the tumultuous 60's. Fast forward through disco, punk, grunge-- eight tracks, cassette tapes and cd's---(to keep things in a music vein)---and we find ourself in a--virtually-- new world.

Like an agrarian society yielding to the industrial revolution, our civilization has been technologically transformed. It happened gradually--almost imperceptibly--but it's advent has seemed sudden and overwhelming to those of us who were unaware and unprepared.

I find myself--- (though I hate to admit it)---feeling often like a stranger in a strange land, scrambling to learn new languages and unfamiliar ways, trying desperately just to keep up! I'm making very SLOW progress!!

Back to our morning conversation. As my daughter Misha sat on the couch, recuperating from "wisdom tooth" surgery and my wife began planning her day, I reflected on the fact that we would all, later that day, be using sleek, efficient machines, adorned with an interesting logo; an apple with a bite taken out of it. (Where else have we heard of a piece of fruit having been bitten into?) Hmmm?!

Jenny expressed the opinion that this current generation appears to be quite self-centered. I opined that we were, as well; but we didn't think so because we were concerned about "the war" and other social concerns.

In addition, we have passed through many different permutations of the faith we embraced in the 70's---a belief in Jesus---Yeshua---as Messiah and Lord.

Some of those forms were less---or more---than the gospel of the kingdom. Many of them encouraged a self-oriented, "I can have everything I want 'cause I'm a king's kid" kind of thinking.

I do believe Jesus' words; that "it's (the) Father's good pleasure to give (us) the kingdom". (Luke12;32) However, much of our preaching and teaching seemed to emphasize personal aggrandizement while neglecting "weightier matters" such as loving your neighbor, caring for the poor, rejoicing in suffering and expecting trouble in this life "as sparks fly upward". (Job 5:7)

The deficiencies in our worldview are not lost on today's young people, it seems.

At the risk of generalizing or dealing with issues with which I am not fully conversant, permit me to say that I find myself often shaking my head in amazement as to where our world is heading; and that includes the faith community in which we find ourselves.

A current commercial on TV is an iconic representation of where things are these days. Down a busy city street walk two separate individuals, gazing down at their "hand-held devices", completely engrossed in their screen-sized world, ignoring everything around them, never looking up, even for a second. (One only has to walk through any modern airport to see how true to form this image is!)

Everyone---or so it seems---is on their i-pod, i-phone or i-pad. The observation is not original with me, I'm sure: we are in the midst of the "i" generation. It's all about "I", isn't it? OY!!

Yet, the message of the young is a "we" one; the current mindset being one of equality for all, social justice, concern for the poor---all noble aspirations, to be sure. Because of the "collective" and "community" oriented nature of this ethic, it seems to be envisioning a "better" society: wealth redistributed, boundaries broken down, history redefined, everyone equal, everything environmentally friendly; a truly "smart" and "green" world.

Consequently, the aforementioned "I" obsession is obscured---but it's there---big time! and it's not new!! It's as old as the proverbial bite out of the fruit. As a matter of fact, that's where it all started, isn't it?

I can relate. Through my most recent trials, I have become aware that I don't simply have an eye problem; I have an "I" problem! Yes, indeed!! I can sit in judgment of no one, no how!!!

Still---I know there are things happening today that demand our attention and require our response. During our morning time, Misha had us read a prophetic word delivered by a powerful woman of God; a word that exhorted everyone to---WAKE UP! She exhorted us to see current crises as wake-up calls, urging all with "ears to hear" to fast, pray, vote wisely in upcoming elections and---most essentially---to not turn away from Israel!! Amen and amen!!!

I write this on the heels of a return from New York City. I love it there; walking the streets and looking up, seeing sights unseen in any other place. I've included a photo from a recent stroll there.

In the midst of all these things about which I've mused, it serves as a reminder to me---and to anyone who might be simpatico with anything I've shared---to think about what was said many years ago by someone we love, whose words are supremely relevant to us today:

"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up,
and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh."
(Yeshua in Luke 21:28)

Another TV commercial---(please forgive all the media references)--says, "Take the scary out of life." A good way to do that? Remember the axiom: "things are looking up!"

That's what I'll be doing.

Even so, come Lord Yeshua.

Thanks for looking us up!

Love and shalom,
Marty and his family