Thursday, September 06, 2007

border gates; flash flood watch



In blog time this is about a week's worth late.

On the same day in the middle of last week here in Paradise, near-torrential rains caused too much H2O on the road, leading to the locally famous "turn around; don't drown" caution, and due to a protest by Mexican teachers in Baja California, the San Ysidro Port of Entry [and, of course, Port of Exit as well] border gates were closed so you couldn't drive across, though walking from one side to the other still was possible. San Ysidro is the busiest land border in the world, so imagine the confusion, changes of plans and maybe anger, too! However, all lanes were open in the slower border cities of Tecate and Otay Mesa. Both the highly visible action by the Tijuana teachers and interviews with folks who cross the international border every day for school or work or shopping made useful material for the local media and for reflection, too. I've written dozens of times about borders, containers, boundaries, hospitality, inclusion and exclusion, about sacraments—last Sunday's gospel [Luke 14:1, 7-14] gave me more to think about, and I've always found Luke's parables way easier than Matthew's, so that blog will be forthcoming soon. Or possibly not so soon after all, since hospitality has become the hot topic of my existence. Last week's major shutdown of such a major border got me thinking again about how people depend upon being able to go through gates and doors, to permeate boundaries between cities, families and, in this case, between cultures (ways of being and living with meaning) nations (political jurisdictions) and countries (geography), and what chaos and disorder potentially happens when both easy entry and easy exit in both directions become prevented, interfered with or otherwise changed.

"Turn around; don't drown"...turn around, because when the gates of the city are closed or barricaded physically or by decree (both ways, in this case) neither the Mexican nor the American border authorities will let you in, and if you violate their orders, you may find yourself in the slammer. As Christians, do we want to turn around and not drown? Isn't God's constant call to us and our preferred manner of life one of constant awareness of our baptism, in daily awareness and reaffirmation of [communal and individual] our death by drowning, which, after all, forms the fountain of our rebirth? But if we're required to go it alone, we might as well turn around and not cross the border, not dare stay suspended even for a split second in the liminal place and state that's neither here, nor there. Last Sunday senior pastor said, "beyond what we consider to be the boundaries..." I've been there, done that: death and rebirth by drowning, into life unbounded by human decree.

Please come along with me; walk with me!

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