Life is an endless series of negotiations. Children and parents negotiate their relationships and boundaries, business partners negotiate contracts, social organizations negotiate bylaws, and nations negotiate treaties. It’s really a matter of reaching agreement about what each party contributes and what each will receive. We know by experience the problems that arise when one or both parties fail to live up to their obligations, but what happens if one of those parties is our Creator?
Numbers 16:1-18:32; 1 Samuel 11:14-12:22; Jeremiah 7:21-25; John 6:67-69; Hebrews 11:23-29
Everyone is a statistic. It would be best if we were all “good” statistics, meaning law-abiding, God-fearing citizens contributing to their families and communities in positive ways. However, we all fall into the category of “bad” statistics at some point in our lives, and some people never leave that category. Why is that?
In this concluding segment of our visit with Kennedy Rios and Susie Boyle, we probe into that question. Kennedy is working hard to achieve the dreams she has found for her life, but that’s not always the case for people who have come through the challenges she and her siblings have faced. What has made the difference? Kennedy offers some observations from her experience that shed light on that question.
The music of Jimmie Black and Rut Banks powerfully illustrates the life lessons we hear from Kennedy, and from Barry Phillips and David Jones. They examine the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives in a midrash they call “Let the Wind Blow Gideon.”
It’s easy – too easy – to write people off as lost causes when it seems that God is judging them. If it is judgment, then it may be such people are simply suffering the natural consequences of poor choices. But what if the people suffering the most are not the ones who made those choices? And what if those natural consequences doom them to make those same choices and perpetuate the cycle? Do we let them perish, or do we break into their suffering somehow, at least to ease their pain, even if they never find the path to redemption?