Monday, June 18, 2007

The Book of Ruth 2.1

I will be commenting on the Book of Ruth chapter 3 soon. In the meantime, consider this: Of the 85 (English text) verses in Ruth, 50 are devoted to dialogue.

Stories are about people and the conversations that people have. God advances his grand Story through ordinary people talking redemptively with one another. Boaz is "Exhibit A" as a redemptive conversationist. Yes, there are events---the famine, the trip to and return from Moab, the multiple deaths, the wheat and barley harvests, a night rendezvous at the threshing floor, a meeting of the town elders---but these are made meaningful by human beings in daily, ordinary conversation under the arch of God's voice speaking from the written Word (Leviticus 19 and Deuteronomy 24).

I think a lesson from Ruth would modify Nike's slogan from "Just Do It!" to "Just Converse It!" Redemption proceeds from the inside out. Events do effect us, but they don't get inside us. Words do. Speech connects our souls. Redemption isn't about modifying behavior; it's about transforming human lives at the core, the heart.

As a hurried people conditioned to act, we perform and speak mostly from shallow interior places, not from deep inside ourselves. So, we end up lamenting or cursing, "Why did I do that?!" "Why did I say that?!"

The Book of Ruth, an intriguing short story permeated with conversation, invites us to speak and to act not from our egos, not from minds, not from social pressures, not from our all-to-evident flaws, not from our "Mr. (or Mrs.) Fix-It" tendencies, and not from some TV sit-com script, but from caring hearts yielded to the eternal Voice outside ourselves and from hearts that deeply respect and express hope for one another.

Stories create reality.



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