Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 332: Micah 3; Psalm 145-176; Matthew 25

Pirates
A Romantic Image
In popular culture, pirates offer a mixed bag in the reactions they inspire in us. In some cases, pirates are depicted as dashing free-booters who seek adventure on the high seas. They take what they want, when they want and from whom they want...and we envy the way they express a sense of abandon to a pursuit of sensational excess. They are rule-breakers, and thus offer a provocative tease to the rule-keepers in this life. In those depictions, however, something is left out of the mix. Pirates have victims. That is an essential part of the life of a pirates. For someone who takes without asking, there will be someone from whom much is taken. From someone who is keeping the rules, rule-breakers bring fear, loss and ruin at best.


Piracy Today
Pirates have because others have-not. Simple equation...what makes pirates in name and practice a bit more "legit" is that they are who they are. A Jolly Roger flag sporting the skull and crossed bones/swords warns us to beware. Frankly, though, in this broken world (and if we are to be utterly and completely honest), there is a bit of the pirate in all of us. Almost all of us benefit from the disadvantage of others. Extractive economic structures in one part of the world mean lower cost items in ours. Depressed wages and living conditions elsewhere enable luxuries we too often take for granted.

If we are going to be honest, and it is probably best to be honest before the seat of God's judgment, there is a little bit the pirate (conscious or unconscious) in all of us. We can be the most well-meaning of people, but miss reading one label, buy one off-brand at a discount and you may---just may---be flying the skull and cross-bones without knowing it.



Invisible Piracy
Micah, Matthew and the Psalmist are actively reminding us today that our job as people who express faith in God is to be mindful that in a broken world struggling and teaming with injustice, we are never above or apart from the fray. We can be engaged, actively, in the pursuit of justice. We can repent of the major and minor acts of piracy that make the economic gears of the world turn....or we can ignore it....or we can turn those structure on their ear, as Jesus does time and again, and value those underfoot as the favored of God and work for their consolation and comfort.

It means a willing fine-tuning of our collective filters, and an intentional effort to make our economic discernments in the context of our faith and hope in a kingdom God has made us partners in since the beginning of time.

When is a pirate not a pirate? When they turn from taking without thought to cost and turn instead from causing loss to forging hope for the lost.

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