The Christ I Came To Know
Pulling Out of Poverty and the Parallels with Unlearning Religion" was a sub-title that came to me over time as I listened to the stories of my 96-year-old WWII veteran dad.
Written during a moment of historical political divisiveness, uncanny parallels seemed to emerge relative to our family's religious journey and our pathway out of financial poverty. Yes, an impoverished understanding of God can, like financial poverty require generations to unlearn.
The last 45 years of my life have been tempered by an annual read through scripture, a religious challenge laid out for me by a ninety some year-old mountain lady, whom I met at the age of twenty-eight. Her presence could be felt at some distance even in crowd. When asked about why I might feel such presence, she was at a loss except for her disciplined annual read through scripture since age nine. I began my journey that day!
During this season of writing and in my annual read-through, Leviticus 5:11 stood out for me one morning. Here the writer discusses God’s accommodation of the poor, “if he cannot afford two doves or young pigeons...” I began to see a different side of the Old Testament Father, one more Christ-like in compassion. You might better understand the artwork on my cover at this point. I would need to unlearn much of the theology offered in my childhood.
In light of our growing wealth gap and recent right-left factions (Evangelical vs Nominal, the term used in my day) both having exacerbated the growing political and spiritual divide in our country, I began to look closer at Biblical justice. Perhaps in part, the sense of urgency with which I write. My thoughts were reinforced as well, by Leviticus 25, which discusses the necessity of the Year of Jubilee, a repositioning of those who have lost lands, fallen into poverty, etc. I could see parallels with the "why" of Pentecost, the 50th Day after those seven sevens (49 years). Perhaps 50 years is about as long as we broken humans can “dysfunction” without creating an irredeemable challenge of inequities, requiring some spiritually driven reparations, if we as humans are to co-exist?
You might now better sense the passion and felt urgency with which I have sat, as the book wrote me!