Sunday, April 22, 2007

Rascally rabbits

I'm finally on the ground for a few days after several wild weeks of traveling & teaching. I've met hundreds of new people, heard dozens of stories, read a couple of books worth of articles, listened to some good lectures. So much to think about. The most hopeful, most interesting thing I've run across is a piece in this month's National Geographic (ok, I'm a nerd) about WALLS...the wall that is growing across the U.S.-Mexican border, specifically. Wall building is a pretty good way to describe what has happened and is happening across our culture these days...including within Christianity. The author argues that it is a little foolish to think you can ever build a wall that people won't find a way to break down or dig under or go around. In fact, building a wall may be useful in the short term. But mostly they just piss people off. The author used this story to illustrate it: "In 1859 a rancher named Thomas Austin released 24 rabbits into Australia because, he noted, 'the introduction of a few rabbits could do little harm and might provide a touch of home, in addition to a spot of hunting.' By that simple act, he launched one of the most extensive barriers ever erected by human beings: the rabbit fences of Australia, which eventually reached 2,023 miles. Within 35 years, the rabbits had overrun the continent, a place lacking sufficient and dedicated rabbit predators. For a century and a half, the Australian government has tried various solutions: imported fleas, poisons, trappers. Nothing has dented the new immigrants. The fences themselves failed almost instantly - rabbits expaned faster than the barriers could be built, careless people left the gates open, holes appeared, and, of course, the rabbits simply dug under them." Rascally rabbits.

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The Bottom Line

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love becomes slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." - Galatians 5:13-14