Tuesday, August 27, 2013

She is Someone's Daughter

  Social media is buzzing about Miley Cyrus and her latest performance. Oddly enough, even in our over sexualized society  the majority of people seemed disturbed. While I agree with the concerns for the children watching and the continued harm about how women are portrayed, I still have to ask; isn’t this what MTV has been doing for years? What makes this unique? Brant Hansen offers some insight. “The problem, this time, is that our society feels like it knows her, knows her backstory, knows she's someone's daughter, and isn't able to forget it. Other women, like the ones on stage with Miley, the ones no one is complaining about? Well, we can sexualize them, reduce them to toys lacking a story, but this girl? We know her dad!”
Joseph Stalin is credited with saying, “A Single Death is a Tragedy; a Million Deaths is a Statistic.” It’s true. How do we view the death of a single person? Well, as a person. They have a name, a face, and a story. The rest are the nameless and faceless multitudes. We forget that each has been created in the image and likeness of their Creator.  Each has desires, dreams and hopes for the future. Each has a God given desire to know others and to be known.
            Miley is a tragedy because we view her as a person. We hurt for her family. We know her God given potential. Other young women are the nameless and often faceless girls. We view them as less than human. They are not our sisters, mothers, or dear friends. They are objects for our pleasure. Something’s wrong and it isn’t just Miley’s dance moves. We are losing the value of personhood. The Bible tells us how to view one another. “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”-1 Timothy 5:1-2 As God's people let's view each other as God would want us.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Where Does My Help Come From?

Psalms 121:1-2  I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
            As my friend Bill would say, I am noodling about something. I have assumed that the Psalmist is saying that in times of trouble he looks to the hills of Mt Zion, Jerusalem, or someplace that metaphorically stands for God’s presence. But Dr Eugene Peterson reminds us that at this particular time in Palestine a Hebrew would look up to the hills and would see brokenness and idolatry.  Jeremiah 2:20 and Ezekiel 6:13 affirm this thought.  The hills were overrun with Pagan worship.“Sacred” prostitutes filled the shrines that were setup along the hillsides. The “worshiper” was offered pleasure, protection and promises of fertile land. What else can one ask for?
            Is it any different now? We seek pleasure. We want protection from harm. We want our business to succeed. We need good crops. But the hills have nothing to offer but more brokenness and empty promises. The supply of sex slaves did and still does exist because the demand exists. Cut off the demand and you free the supply. What pleasures do we seek that keeps people enslaved? Is it illicit sex, pornography, illegal drugs, power, or is just cheap goods and services? We turn to these things because we think they will deliver us from our pain, loneliness and dissatisfaction. The hills lie. Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills and mountains is a deception; surely in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel. (Jeremiah 3:23)
            The Psalmist looks to these hills and asks, “where does my help come from?” It certainly doesn’t come from these hills. These hills bring only death.  The Psalmist moves his fixation away from the created and onto the creator and declares. “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” God is our provider, protector and our source of pleasure. “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalms 16:11 )
In Isaiah 17:7-8 we are told, “In that day men will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands, and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles and the incense altars their fingers have made.”
Where does your help come from?