Wednesday, February 01, 2006

feed the poor and love your enemies

I was out in the field with biologists and water planners on a really cool wetlands water filtration project at Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area on Monday. Check out the photo of the before and after water. The water on the left is what it looks like coming out of the Trinity River, which comes downstream from the Dallas/Ft Worth area. The water on the right is after going through several wetland cells and several days in the wetland. Pretty cool aye?

I have been thinking really hard about how I can make my life and career to serve God and to follow Jesus' example. I always think that I strive to always help others as much as I can, and to do work - both paid and unpaid - that helps the environment which I know ultimately benefits humankind and honors Creation and the Creator. I strive for this with my writing and nonprofit work and just in my personal interactions with friends and colleagues. But I still wondered, just what is it that God commands us? I don't think it is the 10 commandments because those are the shall nots, not the shalls. I don't mean to imply we should neglect to obey them, I mean that Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God, and all the commandments are summed up in that one - if Jesus was about anything in addition to forgiveness it was to show how wrong it is to be legalistic about religious rules! They are for our benefit and must obey from love and a genuine desire. And at the same time we're all forgiven... Anyway, so the other command after Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus also tells us to feed the poor, and to love our enemies. So as I was driving, and last night in my contemplative bath, I was wracking my brain to ponder, how can I do these things? Does my writing or teaching help the poor? Not really. How can I change this? Does Jesus' command include the "poor in spirit" as he mentions in the Beatitudes? I do feel I try to reach out to teach spiritual truths that I feel I have learned and that may help others that may be "poor in spirit." I can teach some things I've learned and can learn some things I need to learn from others.

But really I need to figure out how I can help the poor. I have a grand idea that I just need a benefactor for. I think that we should eliminate poverty in the third world nations by developing a well-thought out plan to eradicate feral hogs and package the meat and send it to those countries in need. This is not everything. Man can not live on feral hog alone. But it would be a way to tackle on environmental problem and a social one simultaneously. I don't believe people who say we can't get rid of them- they're too invasive, too omnipresent. If we could get rid of passenger pigeons that numbered in the gajillions, we can get rid of feral hogs IF there is a driving, concerted, well-planned out effort concentrated over a particular duration and not stopping until it's done. We used this strategy to do much evil in the world - now it's time to use it to do good. Feral hogs cause an incredible amount of environmental damage and cost a lot of money to taxpayers through the efforts state agencies must take to keep them from causing worse damage. We should channel that money toward eliminating poverty. But I would not know where to start with this plan. Any ideas?

The other thing is how to love and pray for my enemies. Who are my enemies? I don't think I have any real personal enemies (I hope!). But... there are environmental enemies. How do we love environmental enemies? Who are they? I think of corporate America. Not the businesses in themselves but the greed that can take over corporate decisions when even the individuals are good people. When a company puts the bottom line before people and that includes above the environment which we all absolutely need for survival and quality of life. How do I love the companies that make stupid decisions and just look for profit? Through education I suppose - it's the only way to teach people that they are ultimately harming themselves and their children's children. Inspiration and teaching appreciation for the beauty, grace, and joy that exists in a tree, a bird, a flower, a laughing child playing in the mud or catching butterflies... this is one way.


Forgetfulone said...

How do we feed the poor? One person at a time. And I do believe Jesus also meant the poor in spirit. I was also taught that charity begins at home, which to me means, in my neighborhood or the surrounding vicinity. One person at a time.

Love your enemies? Oh, isn't that difficult? I suppose we are loving our enemies when we do the things you've already mentioned, and also when we ignore gossip and choose to stay neutral (at least verbally) when we'd really rather trash the enemy! (no pun intended) I think we love our enemies by accepting them for who or what they are and by praying for them. More thoughts?

Lisa Sullivan said...

This is a deep one, Bohemian, made even deeper by Forgetfulone.

I've often contemplated is my gift of teaching my only means in which to make a difference? I've often replied to that contemplation as a no, it's not. Yet, I too often wonder what else I can do for the benefit of human kind. Poor or poor in spirit. Loving thy enemies. Supporting the commandments of Christ. All of these are insighful to say the least. So, what do I do?

For the poor, sad to say but I only give when the need is more accentuated - holidays, school fund raisers, church requests, etc. and sadly, right now that's about all the time I give. For the poor in spirit, oh my prayers are vast and hopefully my example shines through!

Loving my enemies...personally, I don't think I have any but loving the enemies of our country, now that's a toughy. I have to constantly pray for them too and for those that defend it.

Loving thy neighbor as thyself, oh, I try to do that daily and again, I hope my example shines through.

What I need to do is make it a point to make more time in my week to devote to all of these causes. Prayer is a start. Getting out there and doing it, well, that's a whole other matter. Where do we find the time? An on-going struggle for every human but one that's solveable. I truly believe that.

Thanks for the insights, guys!