I’m getting quite close to having a completed novel. I’m not set, but I believe the title is going to be “Giving Up.” I thought, as a devotional today, that I would post an excerpt from the book. Obviously, you don’t know the characters or context, but this dialog about the teachings of Christ should be interesting to you either way:
As the sun rose over the horizon and shined into the large windows in their living room, Carter opened the little book, ‘The Teachings of Christ.’ It was a new day and a new journey. Both Carter and Julie’s heart beat with excitement as they prepared themselves to follow the teachings of this great philosopher of old, regardless of how counter-cultural it may be.
The first words of Jesus’ teachings was his introduction, the reading of a poem of old:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
If there was one thing Carter had to acknowledge from the beginning, it was that the teachings where not necessarily directed to him. It wasn’t that the teachings of Christ weren’t for Julie and him, rather they were in a unique audience, not necessarily the primary audience. It didn’t take that much reflection to realize they were not poor, prisoners, blind, or oppressed. And, as Carter and Julie kept reading they realized the unique position they where in:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.
For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.
“Well, that’s not a very encouraging way to start.” Said Carter, “I don’t consider us rich, or I hadn’t until it’s put in this contrast. We definitely aren’t poor or hungry so clearly he’s saying that we’ve got to watch out because we are rich and well fed. He’s just lucky I’m a committed person, because otherwise I’d drop this quick and before he even got to saying anything.”
“But Carter, I think his intention is just to be real and cast a new vision, different then the one you’ve been chasing. He’s got a whole speech after this, and it’s directed to everyone, regardless of if your being blessed or ‘woed.’ He’s giving us a clear warning, which I think is good. I mean, if a tornado was going to hit our house, you’d want someone to tell you right? If we’ve been living our lives chasing after false things, like riches our whole lives, it’s good we finally found someone who is going to tell it like it is.”
“Your right that it’s a new vision. I mean this is completely backwards to everything in our society, let alone all of history. Poor people rule the kingdom? And I’m the one that has to be careful cause I have too much stuff? This is a big paradigm shift.
I’ve got an idea.
This is way different then I’m used to normally thinking. You know, if I have a big wig coming to the office, I do a lot more to prepare for him then I would for say, the janitor in the building. Yet, if this is true, the ones we should be treating as royalty are the poor, not the rich. I was thinking, if we made a list of ‘important’ people, maybe we could better keep this in our minds through out the day.” And with that, Carter and Julie made a list of the poor and oppressed of their society:
“You know,” Julie said, “what’s interesting, is that Jesus doesn’t make any qualifications on what type of poor people the kingdom belongs to. My tendency would be to say, ‘poor people who didn’t become that way by their own poor decision making.’ Like take the kids with us right now. They are poor, but then again, they are just kids, and I’ve already seen how few chances they’ve had. What I’ve also realized through spending time with them, is that minorities, both kids and adults, face a lot of obstacles I’d never realized or considered before. I know, you might not believe me when I say this, but just thinking about these kids lives, the stories they tell, and the little history I know about our country, it’s become so obvious to me how much our favoritism has oppressed minorities.”