Tag Archives: Block

Hangin’ with the Homeys

“But now, our God, what can we say after this? For we have forsaken the commands you gave through your servants the prophets when you said: ‘The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other. Therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them at any time, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it to your children as an everlasting inheritance.’”
Ezra 9:10-12 (NIV)

I grew up in a great neighborhood on the northwest side of Des Moines. The neighborhood was packed full of young families, not only on our block but on the surrounding streets. There were a lot of kids running around the area, but you tended to hang with your homeys on the street you lived. You’d stick close to the kids on your own block. They were the nearest to you, you knew them well, and more importantly your parents knew their parents.

On occasion, kids from another street would migrate over to play and hang out. I can remember the rare occasion when my mom would tell me that certain kids were “bad news” and she didn’t want me hanging out with them. In fact, I was to steer clear of that kid altogether. Looking back, I know exactly why mom gave me the order and it was a wise thing to do. Some of those kids were, in fact, bad news.

In the melting pot of modern America, reading a chapter like today’s regarding the strict commands the Hebrews had not to intermarry with neighboring peoples can feel strange and prejudiced. “Pureblood” wasn’t an idea J.K. Rowling dreamed up for the Harry Potter series. The truth of the matter is that history is full of examples of peoples and socio-economic groups desperately trying to remain homogeneous; Sometimes rabidly so.

Ancient Egyptian royalty, who believed themselves divine, would sometimes only marry their own immediate family members to keep the bloodline pure. European royalty, who would only marry their children to other royals, became so intertwined that to this day the royal families of Europe are all related to one another. Living in a small Iowa town settled by a handful of Dutch families, I experience the same thing at any community social event as people constantly play a game we call “Dutch Bingo” discovering how community members are related to one another (and, they usually are).

I found it interesting, however, that as I read today’s chapter Ezra pointed to the motivation God had for telling them not to intermarry. Just like my mother back in the ‘hood, Father God knew that some of these other tribes were bad news. In many cases, the area religions were glorified excuses for sexual indulgence and got into some really nasty stuff including child sacrifice. The command not to intermarry was not some elitist attempt to keep bloodlines pure but about cultural and spiritual self-protection.

This morning I am once again reminded that reading ancient sections of the Great Story is often difficult in light of the immense changes of culture and civilization over time. As an adult, my parents would never tell me who I can and can’t hang out with, but as a child they knew that hanging with the homeys from our block was a wise thing and that I needed help in discerning that some kids were bad news. So it is that I believe God’s relationship with humanity changes as civilization matures and as the relationship itself has changed between God and humanity through the person and work of Jesus.

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featured photo: adwriter via Flickr

I’d Prefer NOT to see “God’s Liquid Vaginal Omnipresence” on Zemanta Each Morning

If you’ve ever wondered where I come up with the images I place into my posts each day, there is a great little free service from Zemanta that comes with any WordPress blog. Zemanta is a little plug in that analyzes what you write and suggests pictures, related posts and tag words. It saves a ton of time scouring the web looking for content related to the post you are writing.

Zemanta screencapBut, Zemanta does have some maddening quirks to it. For a long time I would write my post each morning and the same pictures of Camilla Parker Bowles would pop up in the window of suggested images. Strange. I have nothing against Ms. Bowles but I got a little tired of her face staring at me every morning as I typed my post. Lately, the rogue picture that appears each morning is both humorous and a little disturbing. It’s some lady face down on a stage lifting her back side towards me. Ugh. If I make the mistake of scrolling over the caption I get to read: “God’s Vaginal Liquid Omnipresence baptized us with Her Eternal Divinity tonight.”

Hey, I’m a big boy. I love free speech and Ms. Liquid Vaginal Backside has every right to lift her butt in whatever odd metaphorical way she wants. I’m not offended as much as I am annoyed at having to look at it over my first cup of coffee each morning. I’d just like to be free to block images on Zemanta that I’d prefer they never suggest to me again.

Zemanta? Are you listening?