Here Comes the Plow to Save Us!

Snow plough on the A68
Snow plough on the A68 (Photo credit: freefotouk)

You might have heard about it on the news.  Or maybe if you’re a local, you experienced it.  We had this whole blizzard-thing happen last week end.  We had two feet of snow.  Hurricane-force winds.  Cold, cold, and cold.  In the middle of the night the lower half of a window was literally blown out of a pane.  For a couple hours, it got so frigid until I figured out what was going on.  By the time I made it into the laundy room, the clean clothes hanging up, and the dirty ones on the floor, they were all flocked so beautifully…


This came right before what was maybe the hardest day of my life.  I knew that hard day was coming.  And I dreaded it.  I was beginning to feel like I was going to crawl out of my skin with the anticipation of it all. 

When they declared a driving ban– punishable with jail time and a tremendous fine– I got so claustrophobic.  I had to just get out.

I am so blessed that there are people who live nearby who love me.  It wasn’t snowing much, by this time.  But there was still the roads, knee deep with snow.  And the driving ban.

Because it felt like my only alternative was to engage in self-destruction, I walked to my friends’ house.

It was wierd, out in the snow.

It was like a zombie apocolypse.  With out the zombies.

A few plows.  And me.  And a few other crazies braving the weather.

In order to make the point I want to make, you have to understand something. 

I make this show of being left wing and provacotive and hip and modern.  But inside, I’m kind of annoyingly milque toast.   I have this thing about rooting for the good guys.  And respecting authority figures.  If you want to know the truth, I kind of hate it when people call them “cops” because I think that’s not respectful enough.

Ordinarily, I get a little cheered by the appearance of police cars.  It reminds me that I live in a world of order.

I know that there are bad police officers out there.  I don’t judge others for basing their reactions to the police on bad experiences.   But those aren’t my experiences.

I lived close to Los Angeles during the Watts riots that came after the verdict in the Rodney King Trial.  I remember just getting this sick knot in my stomach, this child-like failure to understand, when the rioters started going after fire engines that entered the neighborhoods to put out the fires that the rioters had started.

But as I walked to my friends, I realized that I didn’t really long to see police cars, on that day.  The vehicles that brought this embarassing sort-of cheer that I usually reserved for first responders were the plows.  Two feet of snow and twelve hours had reversed everything for me. 

I didn’t mind police officers.  But I almost longed for the plows.  They were the liberators.

I guess that’s the thing I’m thinking about, the point I want to make.

It doesn’t matter who people tell you your supposed to greet as your liberators.  It matters who is working, right now, to set you free.  It matters who can stand up to whatever dangers you are facing. 

During that blizzard, it was the snow that stood against me.  And those who would save me from it, my fickle heart elevated them with out thinking twice about it.

I think there is a message in all this for we Christians. 

We can tell the people in the world that we are here to save them.  But if they are living in fear of some other danger, if they don’t see what we are liberating them from… How can they see as anything but an annoyance?




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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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