Well, we just went over to Ca Phé Phįn our friendly neighborhood coffee house for our weekly meeting, but I guess they’ve decided to take the day off, and GOOD FOR THEM! Here in the states I think we put too much emphasis on “hours of operation” in local businesses that we don’t find in other countries, so for today, the 4th of December 2011 we’re meeting at the corner of Saturn and Hercules in the Clear Lake Music Lessons building, they won’t mind AND I’ve already made coffee, come on by!
I’ve spent the better part of the past two weeks nearly crippled with a persistent and tenacious attack by my old nemesis, gout. True, it’s given me a lot of time to lay around in bed and read, play mindless games on my iDevice, fart around on the interwebs, and have a reason to limp around with a pimp cane- plus I’m always grateful for some excuse or other to be anti-social but I’m really beginning to get a little fed up with the whole experience and am really frantically awaiting the day when I can once again easily walk up and down the stairs. Yeah, the pain and swelling are pretty bad, but for me the worst part is having to explain my condition to those well meaning individuals I seem to keep coming into contact with on my few hobbling escapades outside of my apartment. Nobody outside of a handful of Rheumatologists actually understand the causes of gout, and I’m beginning to suspect that they don’t really have much of a handle on it either. The medieval explanation of “perhaps a toad or small dwarf has taken up residence in your innards” sounds entirely plausible sometimes, and is certainly easier to explain than the more complex truth as it appears that most people already have it in their heads that I’ve obviously been eating too many rich foods and if I simply cut back on the Brie and Chateaux De Chatterley a bit I wouldn’t have to undergo my current trials. That’s the real trial for me, not judging people (myself included) for their personal misconceptions about the causes and nature of my rather debilitating disease, it’s so easy for me to fall into anger and respond sarcastically when I should be taking this unique opportunity to educate and explain. I am also in a wonderful position to show people a man who revels in the chance to share in sufferings of Christ, and be joyful despite my circumstances. Paul Miki, a martyr of Japan, said, “My religion teaches me to pardon my enemies and all who have offended me. I do gladly pardon the emperor and all who have sought my death. I beg them to seek baptism and be Christians themselves.” At First Self Righteous Church of the Hypocrite’s meeting tomorrow at 6 pm Monday October 24th at the Starbucks in League City (2800 Marina Bay Dr. League City, TX 775732957) we will wrestle with these concepts together, and perhaps enjoy a caramel macchiato together. Can’t hurt (or can it!?!?!)
Saint Anthony once said that “Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.” and that got me thinking about the nature of justice as a concept and our part in it. What exactly is justice? Is it really just the quality of being fair and reasonable or is justice a more active virtue? I think about my own interactions with people who are regularly denied justice, the poor, orphans, the lonely, victims of various things and wonder at what I can do to bring a sense of justice to them, or is it my duty as a companion of Christ to merely love and try and minister to their needs individually? Supposedly, politically established law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice, but when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. Where is the justice of political power if it executes the murderer and jails the plunderer, and then itself marches upon neighboring lands, killing thousands and pillaging the very hills? We’ll discuss these things this week on Sunday October 2nd when we meet at Ca Phe Phin at 1:00, and spend some time in prayer that we can become more aware of how we may be conduits for justice through love as we sojourn through the world!
What would it look like to live in a country where Jesus was the king? Would it be a land of peace, a jeweled kingdom overflowing with milk and honey and a healing balm to her neighbors? Would her armies march out victorious, putting the heathen and the villain to the sword, divine judgement protecting the weak and poor? First Self Righteous is meeting tomorrow at 1:00 at Ca Phê Phín to talk about this and other matters of social and political consequence, see ya there hypocrites!