I have big plans to get over my Writer’s Slump and start blogging again. Maybe even this week. (don’t hold your breath)
If you know me at all, you might have thought to yourself while reading this week’s homework, “Oooh, I bet Marla’s loving these chapters what with all the talk of India and loving the poor and God’s here-and-now kingdom.”
You were so right.
I loved the chapter about Laxmi the Widow. So much of it reminded me of Cambodia (man, my heart has been aching for that place lately). When she talked about the kiddos with HIV being denied an education, it reminded me of a sweet 10-year-old boy we got to know at the Boys’ Center who is HIV-positive. The kids at school would all beat him up, so he quit going. And now he scrounges around for recycling to support his grandma (the only family member he has).
And the family that provided job training and respectable positions for the widows? LOVE. So many people are doing that in Cambodia and other developing countries, but the need is so, so great.
I loved how the chapter ended–with this amazing paragraph: In India, I was introduced to the kingdom of heaven–not as it exists in some future state but as it exists in the here and now, where the hungry are fed with both physical and spiritual bread, where the sick are saved from both their diseases and their sins, where an illiterate widow taught me more about faith than any theologian ever could, and where children from the slums sing with God. In India, I learned that the gospel is still special. Jesus still matters and can make a difference in people’s lives. (144)
And I’d love to get your thoughts on some of these quotes from Chapter 13. I know some of you will have some thoughts.
Quote #1: “When my friend hails her low interest rate or her airfare or her concert tickets as a God thing, it’s nearly impossible to get away with asking if she really needs a new house or a vacation or yet another Dave Matthews experience without seeming to rain on God’s parade. Every good Christian knows that the best way to insulate yourself from criticism or input is to say that God wants whatever you want.” (148)
What do you make of that?
Quote #2: “Perhaps most disconcerting for those of us who enjoy relatively affluent lifestyles, Jesus said that his kingdom is more accessible to the poor than to the rich.” (151)
Quote #3: “Everything else is just extra, and extra can be a distraction. Extra lulls us into complacency and tricks us into believing that we need more than we need. Extra makes it harder to distinguish between ‘God things’ and just things.” (153)
Quote #4: The more committed we are to certain theological absolutes, the more likely we are to discount the work of the Spirit when it doesn’t conform to our presuppositions. When we cling to our beliefs as children cling to their favorite toys, it is hard for Jesus to take us by the hand and lead us somewhere new.” (155)
What do you think?
Feel free to respond to any of these quotes or say your own stuff. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say, and I’ll close with this:
“In India, I learned that among Hindus, the goal of reincarnation is to be reborn into nobler circumstances. And in India, I learned that in the kingdom of God, the goal is to be born into humbler ones.” (156)
Next week’s homework: Chapters 15-17