Jesonian … June 30th, 2018

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He had done an excellent job explaining his “View.” He was plugging a new book.

Over the years I had enjoyed his commentary and appearances on television, as he invites a bit of grace and “courtly” into the American thoroughfare of thought.

The segment was winding down when he was asked a question about a recent retaliation a Congresswoman had proffered toward one of her enemies. I saw his countenance change. Suddenly, he appeared beleaguered. Perhaps merely pursuing kindness had left him in despair, causing him to look for more aggressive weapons to address all the surrounding demons.

He replied, “I know we’re supposed to turn the other cheek. That’s what Jesus said. But there’s a reason there’s only one Jesus.”

I stalled. There was a grumbling of approval from the audience, but I did sense that many of them, like me, were hoping that the words “turn the other cheek” had great validity–considering the fact that the alternative offers nothing but disaster.

When has retaliation afforded any lasting effect? Certainly all despots and murderous dictators have to eventually be ousted from power, but it does not keep them from coming back.

We need a more permanent solution.

We need to know that in the midst of making progress, we are actually progressing.

It would be absolutely divine to sense that God is with us. Can we take a moment to take a look at “turn the other cheek?”

The law of that day (and also our day) was “an eye for an eye.” So “turn the other cheek” was a clever way of explaining the process of losing your eye.

It begins with a hit to your face. No one is going to extract your eye without striking you. It is unlikely that the first blow will dislodge your peeper. So it offers the quandary:

Shall I fight back and lose an eye, or maybe die, or end up doing the kill against my will?

At this moment, the reasonable nature of a survivor needs to kick in to provide the possibility for sustaining life. Without this, something will be lost.

Every time two people fight, there are casualties on both sides. No one has been able to come up with a “clean war”–or even an argument free of damage.

And the question is, how many times can we be damaged before we’re beyond repair? And long before we’re beyond repair, are we not without faith?

Turning the other cheek is not a noble concept, lived out by an itinerant Nazarene minister two thousand years ago. It is the clever, intelligent, intuitive and revelatory approach to avoid losing your eye or being forced into extracting life from another.

Whether we like it or not, once we kill, we are murderers. Once we damage, we are destroyers.

The thing my brother failed to realize is that even though turning the other cheek demands that I use much more of my intellect than I would tapping my baboon instincts, those jungle antics always leave some creature dead.

A slap on the cheek is the beginning of an attempt to squash your eye.

You can either retaliate and hope that you are stronger, or, as you bleed out on the ground from your head, wonder if it might not have been better to interrupt the process by turning the other cheek–to buy time for more reasonable negotiations to be considered.

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G-Poppers … June 29th, 2018

When G-Pop was growing up, the mayor of his small town had a young daughter named Jeannie.

Jeannie was smart.

Nobody liked Jeannie. The reason the students did not like Jeannie was that their parents did not like the mayor. So over supper conversation, it was made clear to the children that Jeannie was a problem.

Not much could be done by us young’uns during school session, but at recess, everyone got together and ridiculed, attacked, criticized and ostracized Jeannie. Matter of fact, one day it got so bad that our whole class had her cornered, trying to push her off the playground.

We didn’t plan on hurting her. We just wanted to make it clear that because of her father and the politics that made our parents angry, we were going to get her out of there. Three teachers came running up, and when they understood what was being attempted, the whole class was punished and we were not allowed to have recess for two weeks.

Jeannie was permitted to go home and be comforted by her parents. They were so shocked they put her in a private school and we never saw her again.

This came to G-Pop’s mind when the Little Red Hen–just as in the old tale–became fussy again. People took a thirty-five-year-old woman who was on “recess,” simply trying to enjoy dinner, and asked her to leave a restaurant simply because they did not agree with her politics, and did not appreciate her being the press secretary for President Donald Trump.

Unfortunately, the end result of this tale, unlike the story of Jeannie, is that Sarah Sanders was punished, and the “students” were made to believe they were merely exercising their First Amendment rights by getting rid of something unpleasant.

G-Pop has a question: If it’s wrong on the playground, why isn’t it wrong in the restaurant?

If we expect our children to be tolerant enough to share a space of land and get into their games, why is it ridiculous to think that grown people can’t sit at the table and enjoy a meal with someone in the room who doesn’t meet their favor?

Kicking Sarah out was not a symbol of the resistance.

It’s not a stand against tyranny.

It is an attack on a young woman who’s trying to do her job. What G-Pop thinks about her job can be penned in an editorial to the newspaper–not with a snarling contempt, demanding she be removed because her presence is intolerable.

She left.

She did not stand and fight. And when she left, all the liberals got together and decided it was a good thing to remove her from the restaurant. Matter of fact, one black Congresswoman suggested it should be done more.

Because G-Pop loves his country, he is choosing to believe this was a temporary lapse of judgment.

Just as the kids in his small town had no right to push Jeannie off the playground, no one has the authority to ask Sarah to leave the restaurant.

G-Pop will not return to an America where signs are posted everywhere that say: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”

We all knew what that meant. We all knew who was not going to get served.

Let us not return to such insanity.

 

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