I was riding with a guy from the Straight and Starchy Church. He was irritating me, so I decided to go carnal and return the favor.
We were in a rough neighborhood, and I spotted a woman who most likely was a hooker. I commented to him that she was beautiful.
He rose like a trout and romped on me for lusting after her. I calmly pushed back and said I was actually worshipping, celebrating the fact that my God, the Master Artist, had created a remarkable face.
He was in no way prepared to see any traces of God in a hooker. I staunchly defended the fact that God was there first. I insisted that her misusing her treasures didn’t change the fact that she had been exquisitely designed by God in eternity past, and I had no hesitation at worshipping God in the midst of the ‘hood.
The poor guy is probably still in counseling after that encounter with me. Someday I should probably repent for messing with him, but I am still enjoying my carnality today, years later, so repentance will have to wait a bit longer.
Prostitution is wrong. And so is lust. But beauty is still beauty regardless of how it is used. We tend, however, to not be able to see beauty when it has been misused.
Take Monica Lewinsky for example. Can anyone even see her face? Her story stands so strongly in front of her that it is hard to see her. I did a little reading about her on the web, just to see if I could “see” her.
It was fascinating to ponder her grandfather’s escape from Germany as a Jew, fleeing to Central America. Another ancestor was a Jew from Russia. And another from Lithuania. One Jewish ancestor was born in Tianjin, China.
Her father was an oncologist who became wealthy. She was raised in privilege in Bel Air and Beverly Hills. She endured the acrid emotional climate of her parent’s divorce.
Does that make her famous misbehavior any different for knowing that? No. Sin is sin. But it makes HER different in my eyes by seeing a little bit of humanity around her.
I wonder how I would respond to life’s temptations if I had been raised in a life of immense privilege and entitlement.
I wonder how I would respond to life if I had witnessed my parents’ abject lack of capacity to resolve life’s issues.
So I still think she is wrong in what she did and didn’t do, but I can see her a little bit now. If I lived next door to her now, would I consider her a good neighbor who has learned much from the hard lessons of life?
If I had gone to school with her, would I consider her a beautiful person or a brat?
If I had worked with her, what kind of beauty would I know about, that can’t be seen from a distance?
I raise this issue because of the Giver gift of the Jewish people. I am appalled at the thread of anti-Semitism that runs in our tribe. Whether it is in e-mails or casual conversation, a person’s negative behavior is described and then the casual statement, “He is a Jew, you know.”
So being Jewish, one could only expect negative behavior from him?
Put it in terms of American racism. Suppose a liquor store on the rough side of town is held up at gun point. There is a ruckus and the suspect is caught. The press reports it.
If the gunman is Black, the press will be sure and mention it. In passing. But they will mention it.
If he even appears to be Islamic in faith, they will be sure to mention it. Prominently.
If he is White, there is no mention of that at all.
The message: Black genes cause crime. White genes don’t. When a White guy commits a crime, it is because his parents did a lousy job with him. Has nothing to do with race.
And this same slanderous assumption is applied whenever someone says “He is a Jew, you know.”
So, like Monica, their past hides their beauty.
Even in our tribe.
So what is their beauty?
-They are God’s chosen people. No one else was ever offered the history they have with God. Not even close. The one and only.
-They gave the world Davidic worship. Up until then, there was essentially no music with the worship of God. David introduced the entire concept and it has been with us ever since.
-They gave the world the written Word.
-They gave the world the Living Word.
-They gave the world redemption.
-They gave the world more wisdom and excellence than any other tribe as evidenced by the percentage of Nobel Prizes they have generated.
-They have created value-added businesses that have employed hundreds of millions of people over the millennia of human history.
-They have graced the halls of education, medicine and politics with extraordinary wisdom, hundreds of thousands of times.
While all of that is impressive and any one of those knocks most people groups out of the game altogether, the thing I admire immensely about them is their ability to survive. They can assimilate into every culture without losing their heritage. We have Russians Jews, Japanese Jews, Brazilian Jews and American Jews. But 2,000 years after the Diaspora, they are still Jews.
By contrast the Jebusites, Amorites, Hivites and a whole lot of other ‘ites have long since been assimilated since their political structures were shattered.
And that is amazing that the Jews are still Jews, with a Diaspora that is staggeringly wide and long.
I have junk in my life story. Some people still only see the junk. Some see the beauty in spite of the junk.
We can’t control everything about how the Giver tribe is seen. Some people are deeply immersed in a culture of celebrating the junk, not the beauty. But we can tip the scales somewhat, by warring to cleanse the beauty.
I invite you to join me.
Copyright June 2016 by Arthur Burk
From the Hub