Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

Parshat Noah from

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My lesson last week in EFM was "Noah and the Flood in Genesis." I had worked on my very nicely prepared learning objectives, including expounding on how Noah was a "righteous" man, and even talked a little about how the Hebrew word for "righteous" as it refers to Noah, tsadiq, "one who adheres to the whole of the law." Best as I can tell, it is derived from the Hebrew letter tsade; in the ancient pictograph style of Hebrew, the letter looks a bit like a trail, which makes sense, as another way of interpreting the word tsadiq is "one who walks the correct path."

All my totally "righteous" thoughts about Noah went out the window when I watched this video that was shown during class. Suddenly I went, "Hey...come to think of it, if Noah was so righteous, how come he didn't convince his friends and neighbors to build their OWN ark? Or, at the very least, stuff a few of his friends in there? He followed the law and letter of what God asked him, but maybe he should have gone one step beyond the law and the letter. How righteous is a guy who let his friends drown, when he had first=hand knowledge of what was going to happen?"

Suddenly my perfectly crafted "righteous" Noah didn't seem so terribly righteous. In fact, a part of me kind of saw him as a pious schmuck. He was so concerned with the law, but he didn't bother to go one inch beyond it. He didn't bother to look behind it, either. The story in Genesis tells us that God had told him to do these things because the world was becoming more evil. But did Noah do a thing to try to make it "less evil?"

So it is with good and evil, saints and sinners. Sometimes the motives that eventually lead to "good" were rooted because of an evil act. In the core of "evil" is often "misguided good." Sometimes we discover the "saints" in our lives have pockets of their psyche entrapped in the dark. Those we cometimes see as "sinners," in the right circumstance, are capable of incredible good, and provide healing moments to others. Nothing in this world is "pure."

When I postulate things like my own salvation, there is no doubt "my sins are ever before me." I realize some of the things I've done to other people, both inadvertently or on purpose, I realize to those people I am an incredible sinner, maybe even an agent of evil. Yet to others, I'm a saint because I did that one right thing for them at the time they most needed it. Those who wrong me or hurt me deeply, can become targets of my anger and disgust.

It's just too simplistic for me to dump it all in the "all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God" trashcan. It doesn't comfort me a bit for my sins to be diluted out into the trash bag of corporate imperfection. It doesn't make the pain others have caused me any less painful. I can't always put those things behind me. Yet I have come to realize that, to become a more "righteous" person, I have to at least attempt seeking a balance in those things in which I must do more than take carpentry discussions on arks and assume animal husbandry duties; for my salvation, I must look "behind the rules" and figure out what additionally has to be done to live a life "behind the rules," not "smack dab in the middle of every dotted "I" and every crossed "T".

My blogfriend Elizabeth tells a story of a man who looked behind the rules in order to show God's love to another in a situation when the rules don't tell the whole story. Yet his life was cut down prematurely by someone, who, at the time, probably felt in his own mind, this good man wasn't so good.

Good. Evil. Saints. Sinners. They are all one and the same.



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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