Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What Then?

Matthew 22:15-22
How easy it is to let something you enjoy get left behind when life gets busy. It seems blog-writing is one of those things, along with the all-time 'left-behind' activity - working out at the gym. As important as these things are to me, I get focussed on what is right in front of me and nothing else. It's tunnel vision in tight little compartments that blocks out parts of my life, even parts I like.
Compartmentalizing is both necessary and dangerous. How easily we divide our civil life from religious life. Like Luther's two-kingdoms, we separate church and state, school friends from church friends, street language from "polite-company" language and on it goes. There are so many ways in which we divide and wall off one part of life from another.  These coping mechanisms (as they might be called) are just what allows reasonable people to do unreasonable things. 
Dexter, (Showtime series) is a great brother, a conscientious employee of the police department, he is great with his girlfriend's kids, and he soon will be a father. He is good at compartmentalizing, he says, for in his weaker moments, he's a serial killer. He kills according to his code which supplies justification for this compartment of life.   It's fiction, but the news in December 2002 told of  a "kid-next-door" who used torture and humiliation as a military officer when the compartment with priority was labeled 'terrorism abatement'.  
Jesus said to return to the emperor what is the emperor's and give to God what is God's. So which of those mental compartments are God's, which are ours, which belong to the government, which belong to someone else? Can we continue to separate parts of our lives to such an extent that we can justify behavior in one compartment that would be horrible in another? I don't think tax money is the only thing to which Jesus referred. Is it not obvious that all of life belongs to God? And yet if God-time is merely one compartment of our life, perhaps "that which belongs to God" is a but a small portion of the whole. Who are we kidding? When life is done and breath is gone, compartments will vanish and there will only be God. What then?

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