“Lot” Part II

20180728_145905 So… II Peter 2:7 declares that Lot was a righteous man in spite of his soul being tormented every day by what he saw and heard as he lived just outside of Sodom, and as he was involved with that predator city full of predator people. What drew Lot to live in such an area? Was it the money?

I’ve pondered so many times why his wife was turned into a pillar of salt, of all things? I thought salt was a good thing, symbolically speaking. Are we not called to be the salt of the earth? And so when his wife looks back at Sodom being judged, which she was strictly told not to do, why did she turn into a pillar of salt? Why not pig dung, or catch fire or something? What is the Bible trying to tell us?

“But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Gen. 19:26)

I welcome any theories on this, but the best I’ve come up with is that salt was also a form of money in those days. It had value. In desert areas where you sweat a lot, it could be used to pay for other things. Also where the phrase, “Are you worth your salt?” came from.

So she just can’t help herself. In spite of the warning, she looks back at everything she is losing. All her earthly stuff. And whamo! She turned into a statue depicting a form of money. Jesus warns us also; when speaking of the last days, judgement, and possibly rapture, he tells us to “Remember Lot’s wife!” (Luke 17:32)

As an American, how hard is it going to be for me not to look back at my earthly goods with some kind of longing? I think that was the real problem with her looking back. She was too attached to her material things. Are my affections set on things above?

In the account of Lot’s rescue by the two angels, which is in detail in Genesis 19, the word angel is used 7 times! That’s kind of a lot. Angels were heavily involved in the rescue of Lot, his wife, and two daughters. Those angels were likely there because of the interceding of Lot’s Uncle Abraham. I want to look closer at angel involvement in the last days in Part 3, but for this article, I want to consider something else. I want to examine where the angels told Lot and his family to flee. They told them to escape to the mountains! But Lot said that was too hard. They would die there. And he begged for another place.

Gen. 19:17> “When they were safely out of the city, one of the angels ordered, ‘Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

(VRS 18) “Oh my Lord!”

Lot begins begging to be allowed to go to a small town called Zoar. He cries that they will die in the mountains, and the angel grants his request. But what does the mountains represent? A separation to our Lord, the high places, spirit life, the eagle, all the good things of God, the very life we are supposed to desire as the born-again, but Lot dreaded the thought of it! And the angels suffered his pleading. They allowed him to settle. But what ended up happening? We find out in verse 30.

After everything that happened, something began happening in Lot. Another fear began to invade him. After seeing such destruction and judgement, then it says he began to fear the people in Zoar! And he ends up going to the mountains after all! And some bad things happened there too, but… a new fear overcame Lot’s fear of the mountains. He was terrified of them before. He begged not to go there. But ended up going of his own free will, because of the evil he now saw in other people. Hhmmm.

We should not fear the high places of living in Christ, separating ourself to the love of God. We have nothing to fear in those high places, and everything to be gained.

“Afterward Lot left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there, and he went to live in a cave in the mountains with his two daughters.”

Obviously Lot had some issues after what he had been through, but it was his own selfish heart that caused him to take the bountiful looking land while he left his uncle with the desert. Then he decides to mingle with Sodom, and for what? Money? Was it worth it? I think not. But how careful are we not to be doing the same thing? Could we end up with a destroyed family and so full of fear we run to a cave? Don’t be too quick to say that will never happen to me.

Why should we learn from Lot? I suspect we each have our own Sodom we’re contending with? Are we living too close? If so, why? What is the motivation? Are we calling on the angels God has made available to us? More on that in Part 3, but for now, we would do well to take heed of the words of our Lord. A very simple 3 word recommendation, or is it a command? “Remember Lot’s wife.” 3 simple words.

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After Part 3 of “Lot”, the story of “Yinney the Sloth who needed to Poo” will continue.

 

“Yinney” – Chapter 25

 

“Are you a spiritual teacher?” Bubba suddenly asked.

“I hear you are, too,” Yinney answered.

Bubba sat back on the limb and his demeanor became one of great interest. “Have you come to ask questions about Buddhism?”

“I have come seeking a table of fellowship,” Yinney answered. “I would like to have conversations concerning Buddhism and Christianity ‘IF’ …we can do so in an atmosphere of ‘fellowship’. In my faith ‘fellowship’ determines everything. If we can talk and share, while maintaining an atmosphere of peace and love, a true desire of knowing each other, and respect, then our conversations could bear great fruit. But if we cannot do so in such respect, if fellowship is not possible and it becomes a battle of pride, then I will take my leave, for I do not seek such things. I offer mutual respect and conversation about our favorite subjects, and to seek understanding.”

“Bubba was silent for a while, obviously in deep thought about this sloth, before asking, “And what is your faith?”

“I am a follower of Jesus the Christ and the Hebrew scriptures,” he answered.

By this time several monkeys were hanging around. The verbal drama playing out before them was the most interesting thing going on.

“I have also studied Hebrew scriptures,” Bubba said, “and we believe the Prophet Jesus was a great teacher. He is highly respected by one and all. But does not your scriptures ask, what fellowship can light have with darkness?

“Indeed it does,” Yinney confirmed, “and if we descend into darkness I will take my leave, as I have said, but ‘fellowship and mutual respect’ is not darkness, it is light. It is sought by my faith. Some religious people push a temple, not a table. They constantly press you to come to their Church building, but I say we have Church right here. I say every action we take should be a form of Church.”

“Hhmmm,” Bubba said as he rubbed his chin. “You are different. Perhaps we could test this thing you say. I too, have no desire for battle. I am peace loving even as the Buddha taught. My ways are simple, and I do enjoy good conversation about eternal things. Perhaps we should do this?”

“We already are,” Yinney revealed with a smile. Bubba’s eyes lit up, and slowly it began, that deep laughter rolling upward out of his soul! And then all the other monkeys began leaping about and cheering! Something new, something of great interest had come to their grove of rubber trees! This would provide much entertainment for one and all, the “Conversations of Bubba and Yinney”! There would be much to think about. Boredom was broken this day, as something new had come!

“So…how does this work?” Bubba asked. “Can this nice fat limb be our table?”

“It most certainly can,” Yinney answered.

“It is done then. We shall have spiritual conversation in an atmosphere of mutual respect! Are you thirsty, my very slow friend?”

“Yes, a drink would be nice,” Yinney answered.

Bubba motioned to another monkey, asked if he would be so kind to bring some drinks, the monkey hurried off and soon returned with a pitcher of juice, two cups, and some green leaves. He set them on the limb between them, and then leaped away to hang by his tail and listen.

“Oh this is very nice. Thank you,” Yinney said. “I have been on a six day journey seeking community in the neighborhood. I only recently chose my 7th Day Tree and became a part of this area.”

“I am aware of your need to be at the same tree every seven days,” Bubba said. “It sure presents a great danger for your kind.”

“Yes, it does. Our greatest danger. But also a great honor to bless the tree in such a way.”

Bubba watched the sloth slowly reaching for the cup of juice. He wondered how many drinks he could take before Yinney even took one? So far he was up to three, but who was counting?

“So how much time do you have before you must leave?”

The cup had finally reached the sloth’s lips. Yinney was parched and the juice was so good as he savored it. And he did savor it.

Bubba patiently waited, somewhat amused and amazed. The other Howler monkeys whispered in each other’s ears, and one began timing the sloth on his watch! The crowd around Bubba’s rubber tree had grown tremendously as word spread through the trees of the jungle like wild fire.

“Ahhhh,” Yinney finally said, “That juice is so good! I have the remainder of this day I can spend with you. Tomorrow morning I must leave, but if we have good fellowship, I will return as God allows. And you must visit me, too. My 7th Day Tree stands at this end of the lagoon.”

“very good,” Bubba said. “Everyone knows the lagoon you speak of, much like this grove of rubber trees is known. How did you learn of us?”

“Do you know a spider monkey named, Kujo?”

“Haaaa!” Bubba laughed! “I certainly do! So he has not been swallowed by an anaconda yet? Haaa! I love it when he tells me I’m just an accident. He is such a sad monkey. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him laugh.”

“That is sad,” Yinney agreed, “not to laugh.”

And so it was that Yinney became known in a grove of rubber trees as he sought fellowship with Bubba and whoever so desired. Communion was the heart of our Lord. He always had kind words for the lost and the hurting. He sat at tables with sinners and shared food, but he spoke very hard to the religious! And when he spoke in their big temples, his words so infuriated them, they would run him out!

This was the beginning of a friendship of respect between Bubba and Yinney, and many deep conversations.

“So what does your holy Word say about ‘karma’?” Bubba asked.

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“Yinney” – Chapter 22

images (7) It was time to make himself known to the neighborhood and begin building community, as the vision had spoken. As a spiritual teacher, Yinney was all about promoting peace, and promoting peace was all about true “fellowship”. And you can’t have fellowship with someone who wants to eat you. This was an important part of the message he carried in his heart as he went out.

His 7th Day Tree lie a day behind. He was in the early hours of his second day of travel. He could only go three days out before having to begin his journey back to his tree, because when Yinney had to poo, it had to be there. It was the sacred way of his people, and why have a sacred tree if you’re not going to live in a sacred way?

So far there had been no special contacts with anyone, but he still remained hopeful and prayerful. There was no reason to rush. No reason to allow the small Fellowship that had started with Lu-Lu to be overcome by fast growing weeds. Weeds flourished in speed. Slowly he moved through the green canopy of trees like a slow flowing river, at peace with himself, his God, and the world.

Sloths are masters of moderation. Their very survival depends on it. A diet of leaves does not provide a lot of calories, so they do not have the fast metabolism for speed. They must be conservative in stretching the fuel they have and waste no energy. They had learned to pace themself in the flow of slow, thereby maximizing a day’s progress. This usually meant moving through trees at a speed of 13 feet per minute. This of course was interrupted by regular rest breaks.

Yinney was now well into his second day of moving in just this way. The morning hours had long passed when he first heard the sound. But what was it? The sound of someone crying? He was not sure, but turned in that direction. Another twenty minutes later he arrived at the source. His sloth ninja movements had kept him unnoticed by the one he spotted below, someone obviously in distress. It was a capybara.

Yinney decided to make contact, after all, the capybara were peace-loving as himself. Perhaps they could have fellowship? He would tell the capybara of his 7th Day Tree next to the lagoon, a place of fellowship for all. But first he must inquire of the source of the large rodent’s sadness, for it was very clear the capybara was indeed weeping.

Yinney was now directly above the grieving beast, but still unseen. He decided it was best to simply make himself known and offer his help. “Hello, friend. Are you in pain?”

The capybara was so lost in grief it was not even startled by a voice suddenly coming from above. For one thing, predators did not come with kind words, but with slashing claws and sharp teeth!

“Oh! Your a sloth! No wonder I did not see or hear you,” the large Amazon rodent said while making a great effort to contain his weeping and regain composure, but the effort was only somewhat successful, when Yinney asked his next question.

“What is the source of you grief, friend?”

capybara

My friend…my friend…my friend…” and he cried some more before finally adding, “he was murdered by that predator, Jag! Jag ripped him to shreds and feasted on his body! He left his carcass for others. He bragged of slaughtering my friend, and what a delight he was to feast upon. My friend is dead, and I miss him. There is no justice. His life was snuffed out by a thoughtless killer. All he wanted to do was graze in peace.”

Yinney managed to find a lower limb and moved closer to the grieving capybara who had lost a special friend. “There is nothing that can take away the pain you feel. Your friend is honored in your grief. You show yourself a true friend.”

Yinney said little after that. He stayed close and let the capybara talk as much, or as little as he felt, until finally a peace began to fall over him.

“My name is Capy,” he finally shared, his voice weak from so much emotion.

“Hi, Capy. I’m Yenny. I’m so sorry for your loss.”

A gentle conversation began between them as Capy maintained some control. He knew of the reputation of sloths being great spiritual teachers, and began asking more about faith and an afterlife.

“Is my friend still alive somewhere? Will I see him again, someday?”

“From the moment of conception we never cease to exist,” Yinney answered. “Soul is eternal. This is why we focus on the soul, not the flesh. These are things we teach. Jesus taught us to lay up treasures in heaven, not upon this earth, where sooner or later we must say good-bye. Did your friend have knowledge of ‘The Great Way’?”

“I cannot say for sure, but he spoke of an eagle who once taught him things very similar to what you say. I think I would like to learn more of this way you speak of, and the Fellowship. What is the name again?”

“Fellowship of the 7th Day”, Yinney answered, and further explained, “We are not confined to any time or place to have Church. We are having it right now. Jesus had Church all the time, and everywhere he went. My 7th Day Tree is simply where I live and can be found most of the time, but as you see, I also love house calls. I just can’t get there very fast, being a sloth and all.”

They both chuckled about that. Then Yinney dropped on down to the ground and spent some time explaining to Capy about the All-Creator, his Son, the Holy Spirit, and how God came to man through the Hebrew people, and the Book they wrote of the experience.

Capy could not get enough, he was so hungry to know more. He was at such a point in his life, with the sudden loss of his friend. He made sure he understood where the 7th Day Tree was before Yinney finally climbed back into the trees and slowly ascended out of sight into the canopy of green. Yinney was happy. Fellowship had connected. Community could grow, and maybe something could also be done to alert the peaceful when predators are around.

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“Yinney” – Chapter 11

download (2) With all the rich color of her blue feathers, and the bright yellow around the eyes and beak, Lu-Lu had suddenly landed upon a limb of Yinney’s 7th Day Tree.

“So this is it!” she declared. “This is where my favorite sloth will center his life.”

“Yup,” he affirmed. “This is it. And look! I have a lagoon!”

“I see that. What an awesome place you have found. This truly is a wonderful spot.”

“Thank you. I am very happy indeed. Go ahead and take a look around. I have not been to the top yet. I might do that today.”

Yinney knew Lu-Lu could check out his tree on her own and save him the energy. She quickly jumped from this limb to that, as he watched with amusement. Could she really appreciate every fine detail of this special tree, as she moved so quickly, he wondered? He watched her turning her head when she studied the lagoon below.

“Hhmmm, very interesting!” she declared, and then flew to the uttermost top branch of his tree, to look about. After a hard look, she returned.

“Well, what did you see up there?”

“I saw the smoke has not reached this area yet. Even from your highest branch, it still cannot be seen.”

“What do you mean?” he asked, “What smoke? Is there a fire?”

“Oh, there is a fire alright, but not the kind we think of. A fire burning in the belly of man. Since we last talked I flew towards the east and checked on the road man is attempting to build through the Amazon.”

“What?” Yinney asked, and then slowly blinked three times before saying, “A road!”

“Yes, can you believe it? A road in the Amazon jungle? But don’t laugh, they are doing it. Its been a major challenge, and progress is fraught with set-backs, but man intends to tame this jungle for his purposes. Their machines belch smoke, are loud, and stink. I was looking to see if you could see it from here, but your safe, for now. In other places many animals are running deeper into the jungle.”

When Lu-Lu mentioned animals on the run, Yinney realized it was part of the vision he was given at the bottom of the lagoon.

“Lu-Lu, you’re not going to believe this, but the All-Creator gave me a vision of this, while meditating at the bottom of this lagoon.”

“What?” It seemed Lu-Lu’s yellow around the eyes got bigger and brighter as she reacted to Yinney’s statement. “Wait a minute. Let me see if I understand what you’re saying. “Did you just say you meditated underwater? And you had a vision?”

“Yes.”

“You’re a strange one, Yinney, but I like you. It’s a wonder you didn’t drown! Are you crazy?”

“It’s one of the beauties of slow. I can hold my breath for a very long time. I always wanted to do this, so I did not waste any time. The very next day after finding my tree, I went into the lagoon. I found a tree settled on the bottom, and latched hold of it. I was resting down there for a while, when suddenly a voice began speaking, and I knew it was the All-Creator!”

“Wow…” Lu-Lu was still trying to imagine doing such a thing. No wonder sloths are sought after as spiritual teachers in the animal kingdom. Who else would do such things? “So what did the voice say?” she finally asked.

“Well… it’s sort of a ‘big picture’ vision. Not a lot of details were given as far as the ‘how to’ is concerned. The vision said bad things were headed this way, but this tree and lagoon would be a protected place, and animals on the run would come here. I am supposed to set this tree as a refuge and develop a special place of community and communion. It said I had three years to prepare.”

“Oh my,” the blue macaw said with worry in her eyes. She was silent for a time before finally saying, “That would seem to make sense. Three years. Yes, I can see that. With the way the jungle is fighting back against the progress of man, it could easily be that long before it affects you. So even without me telling you of these things, you would already be preparing even though you knew not what was coming?”

“Yes, the Spirit prepares us for many things, even though we don’t always have the details before it actually happens,” Yinney explained. “And there is one more thing…”

Lu-Lu waited in anticipation of what the “one more thing was”. She could tell it was something important from the way he was acting. This sloth who lived such a simple, peaceful, and slow life, centered around a particular tree and his need to poo, actually was better prepared for the future than she was, even though she flew all about with much flapping, constantly keeping an eye. What was Yinney about to reveal to her now?

“There will be a man.”

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“Staying Warm”

20190130_142026 Yes it is verrry cold in Indianapolis Indiana! It’s windchill of minus 14 and on way to windchill of minus 30-40! Yikes! But the wife and I are snuggled up and enjoying the great indoors.

For some odd reason she surprised me with a stuffed animal of a sloth! Now she has always liked turtles, and I gave her the nick name of Turtle Faith Lady. So when I sat down the other night and found a sloth staring at me, I got her stuffed animal and put her right where she belongs, in my arms! Especially with as cold as it is.

Okay, she likes the story of Yinney the Sloth so far, and wanted to surprise me. I do really like it, because I am so enjoying this unfolding story of Yinney and his 7th Day Tree. I usually never have a well developed plot. I like a very general and flexible idea, because I never know where the character and their story are going to take me. I like to let a story lead me where it wants to go, so most of the time I get a lot of surprises along the way too. I like it that way.

We are 10 chapters into the story now, and Yinney has his sacred tree and a dire warning about Predator Cities. (Terminology I picked up in a movie, but it fits so well.) He also had a vision of a man coming from another land whom he will speak to. How can this be? And what does he have to say to such a man? And what danger are these cities to Yinney, who lives so far away, deep in the jungles of the Amazon?

All these are good questions I’m looking forward to learning the answers to. So… hope you all are staying warm wherever you may be. We had a couple thousand power outages around here. Our place was spared. Most of those people are back up and running, thank goodness, but we still have one more night of this, so all you people in those warm southern states, please keep us all in your prayers, and we will be back up to a nice toasty 16 degrees before you know it! Ya!

If you have not read the developing story of Yinney, I hope you check it out. Many more chapters coming soon. Have you had your Yinney today? 

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“Yinney” – Chapter 8

images (3) Yinney had slept long and deep through the night, but as the sun rose, so did his “Sacred Sloth Morning Song”.

Rising morning sun, I greet you. Singing morning birds, I thank you. Gentle cooling breeze, I welcome you. Great and mighty tree, I hang from you.

Predators may lurk jungle below…

And so his morning worship could be heard for the first time in this area of jungle, and beside this lagoon. Yinney was preparing for a special meditation this day. It had been a thing in his mind for a long time. Sloths are prone to meditate. It is part of their God-given nature. But he understood that worship and prayer were not the same as meditation.

Sometimes prayer can be very meditative, but prayer and worship are still directed towards the Great Creator, the All-Father, whereas meditation is not necessarily so. Sloths are very deep thinkers. To go within oneself and pursue a thought, and perhaps many before finishing, as one thought may lead to another. This was his way, and Lu-Lu had given him much to think about.

Had Yinney been a person instead of a sloth, people would have told him, “Yinney, you think too much. Don’t take life so seriously. Just have fun! Party till you’re done!”

But Yinney did take life seriously, very seriously. Life was a great and precious treasure, not to be wasted, or aborted. People would have said he was born with an old soul, and perhaps so, he had been this way from very young. But in the animal kingdom, it was expected for a sloth to be of an old soul nature.

In the animal kingdom there were a few other creatures that Yinney considered to be spiritual teachers. The slow moving turtle, who traveled light as he carried his home on his back, and lived very simple. The eagle, who lived in high places and understood the ways of the wind, to soar more and flap less. The spider who with great patience wove an invisible web of faith and waited for the wind to carry to her everything she needed. The deer, who could leap with such a grace, and disappear, become invisible. The owl who who who who could see in the dark and fly with such silence. These five, and of the ocean creatures he did not know.

All morning he had been motionless in his sacred tree as he watched animals coming and going to the lagoon. This was a watering hole. He saw no fear from the animals towards the water itself. No sign of piranhas, large snakes, things of that nature which might be living in the water.

A sloth has a max speed of 15 feet per minute in a tree, and 9 feet on ground, but in water they can travel 44 feet per minute! They are strong swimmers with those long front arms. But even more impressive, they can slow their body metabolism to one-third of normal and hold their breath underwater for as long as forty minutes! If a sloth can be motionless in a tree, they can be just as much so sitting on the bottom of a lake. Yenny wanted to meditate while sitting motionless at the bottom of this lagoon. It had been a thing in his mind for a long time, almost as if the water called to him. Might this be a special body of water next to his sacred 7th Day Tree? Might it be magical?

Yinney had made up his mind. It was a risk he had to take. Several hours had passed as he prayed and studied the water. He would do this thing. The best limb to enter he had already picked out. It took an hour of slow sloth ninja moving, but he finally had himself hanging just above the reflecting pool. He saw himself hanging there. His moving had been so slow, perhaps not another critter around had even noticed this fur-ball making his way towards the water.

His eyes stared deep into the lagoon, the water so clear he could easily see into it. Little fish swam about, but he saw nothing of danger… and in he slid.

He needed to go deeper. The Amazon was very hot and the cool water refreshing. His long arms beginning their steady slow stroke. He loved the water and now he lived right next to it. How had he been so blessed?

On his first trip he did not want to go any farther than necessary. He would need something to cling to at the bottom. Spotting a large tree sunk to the lagoon floor, he decided this would be the place. It was time to focus. It was time to float, catch his breath, slow his heart rate, take a deep breath, and then… Yinney went under.

<This continuing story of “Yinney the Sloth” is the property of Don Allen, alias: Grandpa White Feather.)