June 24, 2014: Is it Obama or America’s addiction to drugs?

Posted on : Jun 24th, 2014 | By | Category: Still Speaking

Hearts are breaking, some are blaming, and many are asking, “How can we suddenly have thousands and thousands of children and teenagers seeking safety and asylum flooding into the United States along our southern border?”

As I hear the stories of what these kids have risked and experienced to get to our border, I find myself unable to comprehend such desperation. These kids are running from violence and social anarchy in their own native countries. Members of drug cartels have become anarchists and militant terrorists, raping, pillaging, killing, torturing and dismembering anyone who refuses to join their gang. No wonder these kids are fleeing in waves.

The other day I heard a member of Congress railing at President Obama for “causing” this problem. Reality check: Is this problem really cause by President Obama or is it caused by American’s addiction to drugs? We Americans, it appears, have an insatiable appetite for drugs. If we stopped buying their drugs, this industry would die out in a matter of days.

Poverty and the drug trafficking industry go hand in hand. In America, the core drug distribution industry is centered in communities of poverty – that includes the urban poor and the rural poor. This situation is not new; in fact it is as old as the first century. As Ron Buford reminds us in this week’s God Is Still Speaking meditation, “The road to migrant work in Tiberius, a new playground city for the rich under construction in Jesus’ day, was near Nazareth. Though dangerous, it was the road to survival for migrant workers. Muggings, like the one that downed a man in the story of the Good Samaritan, were commonplace due to widespread poverty.   Could that ‘man downed’ in the Good Samaritan story have been Jesus’ father, Joseph? Or one of Jesus’ brothers?   Or even Jesus himself?”

When people like Jesus lie helpless on the side of the road is it my problem? Read on…

Blessings,

Dan

 

stillspeaking

DAILY DEVOTIONAL

 

Just Another Man or Woman Down
Ron Buford‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ – Matthew 25:40

Recent archeological evidence suggests that Jesus was poor . . . dirt poor. Nazareth, 70 miles outside of Jerusalem, may have had as few as 400 mostly illiterate residents and certainly not more than 2000. There were no public buildings, no paved streets and no art or luxury good. Its people were agricultural and migrant workers, a few skilled like Joseph and Jesus, carpenters who went to nearby new towns like Tiberius to find work. Their houses were made of mud and straw with dirt floors and few windows and they mostly died by age 40—only 7 years later than Jesus himself.

Luke’s gospel confirms that Mary and Joseph were poor because instead of bringing the required lamb sacrifice for Jesus’ ritual Redemption of the Son (Luke 2:24) they brought two turtle doves the alternative for the poor.

The road to migrant work in Tiberius, a new playground city for the rich under construction in Jesus’ day, was near Nazareth. Though dangerous, it was the road to survival for these migrant workers. Muggings, like the one that downed a man in the Good Samaritan story, were commonplace due to widespread poverty.

Could that “man downed” in the Good Samaritan story have been Joseph, Jesus’ brothers, friends . . . or even Jesus himself?

Was that Jesus downed that I passed on the road while driving my nice car? Or while walking to the subway or riding in the taxi to church, work, or to the polls to vote for more tax cuts so that I can hold onto more of “my money?”  While people like Jesus and his family lay helpless on the side of the road? Not my problem?

Hello . . . Call from Nazareth, Jesus begs to differ.

Prayer
Oh Lord, Did I just pass Jesus? Does the fact that it matters whether or not it was Jesus tell me what’s upside down in my life? How am I to know what to do? But I hear that You are still speaking. Will you please speak to me and help me understand how I can be a better expression of Your Presence by the choices I make and what I do . . . today? Thank you. Amen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ron Buford is the former coordinator of the UCC’s God is still speaking campaign and appears in the DVD-based progressive theology series, Living the Questions 2.0.

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