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17th of January

Animal Farm And Why We All Need To Know Our Weakness


In the context of trying to discover what a church believes about Scripture, I shared something I had heard from more than one. The man and woman looked at me quizzically.

“That never happened here. We’re sure of it.”

Perhaps I had misunderstood, I said.

“Perhaps it was another church,” they replied.

No, I was quite certain which church had been named. I apologized for believing false information for more than a year without checking it out. I learned an important lesson.

Sometimes people share false information unknowingly. Still, it’s false. Don’t we have a responsibility to check out what we hear and read so we’re not believing falsehoods, let alone spreading them around?

In this sound-bite, fast news, social media, dog-eat-dog world running at a dizzying pace, we can swallow what we’re fed before chewing carefully, tasting for rotten. It’s easier to bite and hop on a bandwagon of biters. It’s easier to spout off on social media and “share” the madness.

Is this healthy? Is this godly?

Last night, I saw an outstanding performance of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. One tyrannical ruler was replaced by better, so they thought—by animals who believed all animals were equal, who vowed they’d never be evil.

At least in the beginning.

Then the insidious lure of power infected the pigs. Soon, they had moved into the former ruler’s house. Soon, the depravity of one became their own. All the while, some of the animals believed everything they read and everything they heard. They praised new leadership. Until they experienced, first hand, the diabolical in one of their own.

Are we humans not smarter than animals? Are we not wiser? Will we keep repeating the same mistakes? When will we learn?

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23

Whether we call ourselves Christians or atheists, Republicans or Democrats, Progressives or Conservatives, male or female, African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Caucasian or any other designation, we’re all humans. We all sin.

And since we all sin, ought we to humble ourselves, seek God might and discover what He would have us do or say, in what way, before we pick up our stones, or open our mouths, or click our keys to “retweet” or “share”?

Ought we not to care?  To take care?  To even wonder if we’re being led by something or someone other than God, by something or someone that/who might look like God, at least on the surface?

Think Animal Farm.

How many of us read and listen to and hear only our those who parrot our own perspectives?  How many of us read and listen to differing perspectives?  How many of us are consumed in “group think”?  How many of us use the brains God has given us humans to analyze critically, to synthesize properly and then to act responsibly?

With so many narratives blaring these days, how now shall we live?

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8 

To act justly. To love mercy. To walk humbly with your God.

But what is justice?  What is mercy?  What is humility?

Must we do all three?  With all?

Does God grant exceptions?

I’m asking some questions, as I walk around this animal farm.

What if I first seek to walk humbly with God? To commune with Him in His word? To listen more than I speak? To ask Him to show me my own planks? To remove my planks before I start picking at others?

Then, what if I seek to understand God’s mercy?  To realize God’s mercy on me and all of humanity through Jesus Christ crucified?

With humility and mercy in mind and in heart, then might I understand better how to act justly? To love my neighbor as well as myself?

We are mortals. We get riled up. We think what we want is what God wants.

I know. I can be blind, begging God for this or that, thinking this or that is “good” or “bad”. I need constant reminding.

God is God and I am not. God is omnipotent and I am not. God is omniscient and I am not. God is omnipresent and I am not.

I’m seeing how intelligence is not wisdom; how people with intellectual disabilities can see simple truths that those with high IQs can’t seem to grasp; how God’s upside-down kingdom on earth uses the simple and even the “deplorable” to work His will; how the need is not always God’s call; how this one thing is the main thing . . .

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind . . . Love your neighbor as yourself.  Matthew 22:37-38

I need to remember that I cannot seek God fully without a humble heart, a humble soul, and a humble mind.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.  Proverbs 3:5-7

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.  Psalm 25:9 

As for me, I don’t want to abdicate my Christian responsibility to act justly and mercifully in this world. But I feel the need to bend my knees on the ground before I step on a platform.

These days, asking questions seems better than presuming answers, at least to me. Seeking God slowly and quietly in the whole counsel of His word and prayer seems better than scrolling through public opinion about people and policy.

As for me, I really, truly want God to run the farm.

 

May I suggest reading the Director’s note below from last night’s performance. So full of grace and truth, I think.

 

 

 

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