Sunday, September 5, 2010

Starvation Homestead

We spent last Saturday at the Badlands. It is beautiful, stark and severe. One of the marquees explained the history of homesteading in the area: quarter sections were in such demand that you could see shanties dotting the entire area from the bluffs above. The arid scrubland is hardly suitable for farming, however and these poor places of dwelling became known as "Starvation Homesteads." Peering at the pictures of homesteaders who had left everything behind, gone forward with their hopes and dreams to a place with little promise of delivery tapped in to my own sense of frustration with organizations, schools, jobs, churches and governments who have done the same thing. All of them promising something to those who have will and strength and hopes in order to serve unstated purposes, be that getting land settled, mortgages paid, accreditation's acquired, pews filled, legislation passed.

I think, more and more, that this life is really a Starvation Homestead. As much as we try to dress it up and make it beautiful, this world, this life, will never deliver. Trails and tribulations test us and we either grow more beautiful in their midst or become pinched and shriveled, spewing poison.

The reading I've done this week: Pagan Christianity, Mockingjoy and The Silver Chair all address the Starvation Homestead from different pov's. Pagan Christianity points out the false promises of the modern day church (despite my disagreements with author's scholarship and understanding history and the scriptures); with promises of victory when, by it's very manifestation, it induces passivity. I personally know so many people who have left the church (though not the faith) and aren't looking back. This due to people not doing hard things- being in relationship, asking forgiveness, being politically active financially conservative or just simply caring. The church is in a crisis because, while I don't think Viola and Barna have all of the questions, or answers, right, they are tapping in to the dissatisfaction of so many of us and are at least probing the issue. I for one, want to live in the wake of the Jesus who creates worlds out of nothing, breathes life into death, and brings of Kingdom that will never end. Church sounds the battle cry, perhaps, but then people go about their middle class lives, and it's business as usual.

Mockingjay's theme is government gone so awry that it will sacrifice its future. Child sacrifices at the alter of grim "stability." And yet, many of us in this country are concerned with government over reaches and wonder where it will all end. Disregard for protocol and respect for everyone (with the exception of PC elected special ones) doesn't really quell my own, and many other's, sense of foreboding, especially given the "rights" of those who would silence the voices of our countries legacy (our unborn) and our wisdom (the elderly).

The Silver Chair is the most comforting of them all. There is a scene in the last chapter that describes well how I believe it will be when we encounter the King of Kings,
"There was something in his face and air which no one could mistake. That look is in the face of all true kings of Narnia, who rule by the will of Aslan and sit at Cair Paravel on the throne of Peter the High King. Instantly every head was bared and every knee was bent: a moment later, such cheering and shouting , such jumps and reels of joy, such hand-shaking s and kissing and embracing of everybody by everybody else broke out that tears came into Jill's' eyes. Their quest had been worth all the pains it cost."
Home, with it's comfort and warmth and love. No more Starvation Homesteading. Just pure joy and the comfort of being with the High King, who sets all things right.

My burning question for the year has been this: how do we live in a way that distinguishes us from those who are not following Christ? How do we live lives of spiritual plenty, despite the Starvation Homestead we may be on?

What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

Tina said...

My thoughts are...I wish we lived closer to one another. I think we could talk all night (knowing we'd never have time during the day).

My musings always head to one conclusion: I honestly cannot expect the world to offer anything save starvation and only hope to be in, but not of this wretched place. I either know those who know little of earthly suffering or those who wallow in it, forgetting the victory they have already attained in Christ.

I suspect I am guilty of both at one time or another, so I press on, waiting for the resounding trumpet; all the while, just loving as many people as I can. I hope to get better at that daily. This world offers me no hope --- and although every appetite could be satiated, indeed, starvation is rampant.

Boy, what you and I could discuss over something hot on a cold night and front porch :)