21 April 2006

Oh ... Brother!

My youngest brother is visiting. Sort of. He's staying with us at night and involved in a business project during the day. He's not sure how long he'll stay here, but it may be the better part of two weeks. We had about 22 hours notice that he'd be coming. That was actually a long notice from him. I'm enjoying this. I get to see him in the morning and in the evening and catch up in little pieces on his life.

He and his wife own a tent rental and party goods business in western Massachusetts. For a long time he and his wife have struggled to maintain good employees because their employment needs are fairly seasonal. Last summer they hired some laborers from Guatemala. He loved those men! They arrived at work on time and worked all day. His worst fear with them was running out of tasks for them. He tried to give them a weekend off and take them to our family house on the lake in Vermont for some relaxation and respite. A small reward for for such excellent service, but someone in their community had a house that needed to be painted. So they worked instead. But when they went back to Guatemala my brother and his wife sent them back with suitcases full of things for their families: toys, gifts for their wives, things for their homes, clothes.

My brother and his wife are rehiring the men plus two more this summer. He was on the phone with them in my kitchen the other morning. It was amusing to hear his pidgin Spanish and imagine the pidgin English on the other end of the phone. I fed him some Spanish words to help and by the end of his conversations he was doing better.

Here's the thing ... for my whole time in the evangelical church I was told that people who are not "saved", who do have "the love of Christ," cannot do loving things. That we can only love because He first loved us. But I look around me all the time and see evidence which refutes this. My very parents give lie to that statement. Ben hires his men from Guatemala, in part because they do a good job, but also because they send a portion of their salaries back home to their families. He does it because it's one small way he can help a few people in a developing country.

I wonder sometimes how the evangelicals can continue to believe these narrow definitions. That God is only speaking to and through them. Because clearly there are others out there who hear His call to care for their neighbors, even while they might not define it in quite that manner. And I wonder how each will be treated in the hereafter ... those who have kept perfect theology, but walled themselves off from those less fortunate and those who have not "asked Jesus into their hearts" but who care for the "least of the these" yet follow God with an intuition that is uncanny.

5 Comments:

Blogger Ryan said...

How refreshing. I think people such as your brother might be free from all the trappings and negative motivations that so many in the evangelical world have concerning being/doing good. He can do good for goodness sake, and not have to do so out of feeling guilty (after all GOD said so), or to gain favor, or to climb a ladder. It's almost as if he (or those like him) is doing what seems normal and natural to him. Oops, I said nautral which reminds me of St.Paul, Augustine, Hobbes, Locke, etc... men who wrestled with this nature of man question deeply. Anyway, enjoy the time you get with this good man.

4/22/2006 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/22/2006 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

As to the religious aspect of your post...Words of one religion's supremacy or legitimacy over other religions is very evil in my mind and I won't go further on that topic.

As to your brother's business and visit... that's very nice what he did for his workers. I don't need if he needs to be more careful with regards to the status of his workers now that the government seems to be cracking down on illegal immigrants. If they are illegal and not under work visas he may want to reconsider. Of course if everything's on the "up and up" (whatever that means) then no worry.

Hope his visit is a pleasant one. Too bad the weather is full of showers. But if you do have a shower today, I hope it's a nice one! ;-)

(sorry...had to delete it once for a typo. silly i guess, just to add one stinking letter. lol)

4/22/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

"I don't need if he needs to be..."

eh, I meant "I don't KNOW if he needs to.."

jeeesh...brain not engaged fully this morning. I'd better go make some real coffee instead of this instant stuff. sorry.

4/22/2006 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger A Sower said...

You said "And I wonder how each will be treated in the hereafter ... those who have kept perfect theology, but walled themselves off from those less fortunate and those who have not "asked Jesus into their hearts" but who care for the "least of the these" yet follow God with an intuition that is uncanny."

The answer I like best for this is what C.S. Lewis wrote in "The Last Battle." I can't do justice to it, so if you haven't done it yet, read the book. I don't know if the videos have the full content, since I haven't seen them. But it's obvious Lewis has also wrestled with this question, and we know that God is just.

4/30/2006 04:18:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home