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I have a beautiful wife, an infant son & a schnauzer. viva la tex-mex. Words that describe or excite: Missional, Glocal, Lead, Innovate, Initiate, Create, Risk, Community

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Call Karma, Call Karma Earl. Maybe Karma will Save Us!

Randy: I’m sorry Earl. It’s my fault. I was bad and so something bad happened to me. Karma, it’s like you’re always telling me.

Earl: it just doesn’t make sense though. Why is karma punishing me. You were the one doing bad things with Ralph. I’ve been good.

Randy: yeah you have been good. Hey, maybe if you call karma it might come and save us. Call it.

Earl: Randy. It doesn’t work like that. It’s Karma, not Lassie.

Randy: come on, you just try it.

Earl: Randy I’m not gonna call...

Randy: come on Earl. We’re about to lose everything and its all my fault, can’t you just try it.

Earl: fine. Kar-ma. (listens for a reply) see it doesn’t work.

Randy: (whispers) try it louder

Earl: Karma!

This is a tad bit of the dialogue for the NBC sitcom My Name is Earl (Episode #5: Teacher Earl) and when I watched it for the first time it struck me as hilarious. I was eventually crying I was laughing so hard. And thanks to our DVR (Digital Video Recorder) on our Dish I watched it repeatedly that first night.

At the same time that it struck me as so funny it also just struck me but the humor was so great at the time I just tucked the other thought away in my head for later. Well now is later. The thought of someone calling karma to come to the rescue much like Lassie did in her prime is hysterical. We can all see the humor in this right?

Yet in a very real sense this speaks to a much deeper, and probably less humorous issue. Think about a couple of things. Millions of people, more likely billions, of people expect karma or something like it to get them through life. If you do more good than bad you are gonna be ok. If you try to do good things then good things will come to you. Sounds good right. We see people that are generally 'good' poeple and their lives seem decent. And we see people on the news everynight that commit crimes and yet there they are on the news getting what they deserve. So this idea must be valid in some form right?

Well wait a minute. What about all the 'good' people that aren't getting good in return? What about the people on the other end of those 6 o'clock news stories, the victims? Are not many of them 'good, decent' people on the tragic side of the story? And when we look at them and hear there stories don't we want justice? Doesn't something inside of us cry out for justice?

It is so laughable to think of someone standing in a room calling for Karma to come and save them. Karma, Earl points out to Randy (bless his heart) that Karma isn't like Lassie. And how right he is. Karma is an inanimate object, an impersonal force. Lassie is more alive and real than Karma. Yet people really believe in Karma and similar philosophical and religious ideas.

Yet there is only one belief system that answers this cry in our heart for someone to come and save us. The same person that comes to answer the cry of our hearts that longs for justice in this world, the cry to see wrongs righted, injustices corrected. There is only one personal savior that meets these demands of our heart. Jesus, there I said it. Only Jesus is personal. Only Jesus is real and came in flesh and blood and walked into the room and cut off the ductape that bound us (sin and death). Jesus entered into the room to right the wrongs in our heart. He came to be our personal saviour and answer the call. Christ came and he elevated the poor and weary, and marginalized among us to a place of honor. He lowered the self-righteous off their pedestals and stood against injustice. He spoke for the poor, the mistreated, the neglected and rejected.

The problem we have with that though is that it didn't end up the way we wanted. We would have no problem in this world embracing Jesus if the story stopped there. But, indeed, it did not. Come and save us (and make it easy too why dontcha), Karma, Jesus, Buddha, Lassie.
Unfortunately, it was costly to Him and it will be for us too. Jesus did immeasurably more good than anyone in human history and His reward: false accusations, false imprisonment, mock trials and mockery, beatings, beatings, and turture, and then Crucifixion, excruciating humilation and agonizing pain leading to death.

Salvation for us, but with a price. The price was His life for our life. His will for our will. His righteousness for our unrighteousness. He suffered so we must experience His suffering too if we want to be indentified with Him. Jesus did come into the room to save us and we rejected Him because we still think we can do it on our own strength. We still believe we can be good enough and good things will happen.

But this way never works and it never satisfies those deeper questions of why 'good, decent' people on the news are the victims of the 'bad' and why in the end we still cry out for justice, and not Karma. We still cry out for a savior, wondering how bad can happen even when we have been so good.

ultimately we can never outweigh the bad with the good and yet we don't have to. in grace we have been given the opportunity to call out for someone to save us and He will. Not after we have done more good than bad either. Simply call out and salvation is free. It is not cheap nor is it easy but it is there.


frostburgpreacher said...

How true my friend! Glad you like the work of a Frostburg State Graduate. Yes, that little dumpy school a block and a half from my house produced the creater of "My Name is Earl" and "Yes, Dear!" In fact the doppy dude on the latter show often wears Frostburg State University gear. I guess that is as close as I get to fame. But who needs fame when I have so much more from the One who has truly saved me.

freefollowing said...

good words, my brother. i've known the free (but, not cheap) grace of Jesus for years and years and yet every time i hear the gospel preached like that it sounds just as new and fresh as it did the first time. keep the faith...it's helping me.