Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Genesis 11:3-4

"Come, let us make bricks ..." 
[So] they had brick for stone ...
Then they said,
"Come, let us build ourselves a city,
and a tower with its top in the heavens,
and let us make a name for ourselves ..."
Genesis 11:3-4
A friend recently asked me to listen to a "news program." On it was an old Jewish rabbi, talking about the Tower of Babel.
Most of us look at the second "come, let us ..." And that is indeed a powerful tale. Thinking we can reach the heavens is a repeat of the first sin that the serpent presented to Eve, "when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God." Wanting to "be like God" is something we all do all the time -- usually unconsciously. But think about it ... whenever we say, "I want," "I think," "I choose," or "my way," we're in danger of placing our own self on the throne. 
That's a powerful, paramount story in Genesis 11. But that's not the story the Rabbi told. He talked about a forgotten phrase with an equal beginning and, therefore, equal weight -- the seemingly innocuous, "come, let us make bricks."
Whenever God commanded humans to build an altar, it was out of stones. Why stones? Because God creates the stones ... while humans make bricks. Stones are unique. Bricks are unique-less. They are identical, interchangeable.
The Rabbi went on to compare this to philosophies in our world. A Genesis 11, God-ordained worldview, he said, sees humans as unique and irreplaceable. Dangerous, deceitful human philosophies see humans as invaluable, interchangeable, and replaceable. Hitler saw the Jews as a commodity that should be replaced by a better race. Stalin killed ten times as many, viewing objectors as expendable for the sake of the whole. I've wept with many parents who've endured the loss of their baby through the heartache of a miscarriage, yet others view a fetus as an invaluable and non-viable mass of tissue. Others are beginning to view the elderly as expensive and expendable -- a drain on limited resources.
When I was a kid, we used to take things to the repair shop and fix them. Now it's more expensive to repair (a hundred dollars an hour plus travel time) than to throw things away and replace them. We're building bricks. We're subtly adopting a Babel-ling mentality. Let's vow never to buy into any philosophy that even subtly extends that to humans.
In Christ's Love,
(occasionly rough, hard, and oddly shaped,
but uniquely made by God!)  
I am a brick. Bricks are also not worth as much as stones. There is nothing special about them.  We also tell the kids that if they break a toy, it will get thrown away. What do you do with a broken person? (also asked in a recent blog ... still have no answer.)

But Tower of Babel is interesting.  The tower was built in a time when there was one language. Everyone could understand everyone else. When God destroyed it he scattered the people and gave them different languages.  Now we have the internet.  It can translate anything we say to any other language. Are we on the track to trouble again as a human race?

Labels: ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

go back to 12/31 and come forward.

Jan 4, 2011, 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are what we perceive ourselves to be. You choose to see yourself as a brick. I'll choose to see you as a stone that got stuck for a while and has a little mud covering you(but still that one of a kind beautiful stone God made), just waiting for a good cleansing rain to come along. Believe in you. STOP! Don't even let your mind form that negative comment. I could hear you without being in the room.

Jan 4, 2011, 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Chris K said...

Why go back to 12/31 and come forward?

I am a brick. An easily replaceable brick.

Jan 4, 2011, 8:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only sent you back to 12/31 because of responses to posts.

Ok, so we'll completely leave the wording of the devotion. No bricks, no stones. The truth is that no parent, child or spouse is replaceable. You are all three and therefore irreplaceable. I know this is very commercial and mushy, but it is popular for a reason - and that is "It's a Wonderful Life". Life isn't perfect, but the concept that you could be replaced or removed has a ripple affect beyond our understanding.

Jan 5, 2011, 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Chris K said...

That movie is one of my least favorites.

Jan 5, 2011, 4:39:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home