The Beginning

by Feitian Ma

Genesis Chapter 1: The Creation of the World

20170624_203301

The God we know is a God of abundance. If you enter into the space of oral traditions and read Genesis 1 in its story form, it is amazing to hear God creating a world that was not just good but meant to last. Enter into Chapter 3 and this beautiful place of abundance is ended by the desire to be self-sufficient. God gave the first creations made in His image great abundance as well as the choice to be dependent on Him. As I studied Genesis with my group, we began to recognize the overwhelming desire for self-sufficiency that has been built into us and into our world. I have always given Eve and Adam a ton of crap about “you had one job!” but I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve purposely chosen to or sought out self-sufficiency over God in just the past month. Although God is merciful and does not let Eve and Adam die immediately like they were warned, the world of abundance that God created is nonetheless broken.

Oftentimes when we become “self-sufficient,” it comes at the cost of others, communities, or our environment.

Self-sufficiency is a huge aspect of our country, and even in our different cultures it appears in different ways. When I look at my parents’ culture that has greatly influenced me, among many first gen immigrant-Americans (specifically immigrants seeking higher degrees) there is a very well outlined ladder that can easily structure their entire lives and the lives of their children. Even just looking at my parents’ housing situation throughout their 20+ years of residing in the states: a college dorm in Chicago, an apartment on the edge of Baltimore city, a town house in a majority white population county, to a single home in a diverse county with top school zones, and comfortably large populations of fellow immigrant parents birthing American children, all holding on to a similar ladder – there is a clear drive in their actions that reflects what they hold as important.

In our different communities we seek to be self-sufficient in our in different ways. In my parents’ community of like-minded first gen immigrants who have entered an upper-middle/affluent status, the achievements of the ladder are uplifted, the poor are criminalized, even decades of not being promoted like your white co-workers is embraced – all for reaching higher steps on the ladder, usually labeled as “for my kids.” You mold and buy into a published myth about “model minorities” that often comes with many different costs: a cost on your own life, a cost on your children’s mental health as supposedly nonexistent, or on poor POC populations of different skin tones who have not left generational poverty that “your people” managed to escape one generation prior who you judge in front of your children.

Oftentimes when we become “self-sufficient,” it comes at the cost of others, communities, or our environment.

When the first act of self-sufficiency occurs, broken results also occur. The first death of God’s own creation is done to clothe Eve and Adam, and their relationship to the earth and their relationship to each other is broken from God’s original plan.

We are all broken – yet it’s so hard for people to realize this. Sometimes we are just too occupied seeking and ensuring our own safety and comfort.

On my second day here, me and some other friends attended a NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meeting. People at the meeting were at various stages of recovery from addiction, but there was such a strong connection between these friends and strangers. There was an undeniable understanding among everyone that their struggles and problems was something that could not be conquered easily or conquered alone. People who shared emphasized how much they needed the community of NA and others, and for some individuals, the presence of God as well to overcome or continue overcoming their addictions. I was amazed by how these people were infinitely more humble and aware of their needs and the brokenness that comes with relying on self-sufficiency. The main speaker didn’t care about how far up he was on any earthly ladder – the fact that NA and God had done so much already by saving him from being addicted was what he considered the most important part of his story. The people at this meeting are no more broken and in need of God than my family or I am – but these people are far more aware of this and willing to admit than we are.

I heard a quote earlier this week – “God is calling us to respond in different ways…”

The last time I heard this quote, it was used to explain/defend apathy within the Asian American (Christian) community towards the violent crimes occurring in our country against Black and Brown individuals and communities. The person was verbally saying that not everyone is called to serve or help these matters, or even to “feel bad.” It is heart breaking to hear such a broken response towards God’s people, especially when we are so unaware of our own brokenness that we carry.

 

John 10:11-13 the hired hand vs. the shepherd

When we attended Gallery Church in SoWeBo this last Sunday, I was challenged to continue addressing giving access to evil for the sake of comfort. Pastor George Hopkins talked about how we pray, “your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven” – but what does that actually mean? What does it look like to bring His will down to earth? (Hint: it doesn’t mean making it all about us). What does it mean to be filled with the fullness of Christ? Does it leave out mercy? Justice? Love?

I admit, I have been taught to run away at the first cry of “wolf.” It often looks like stepping away in silence at discomfort and saying “not my problem.” But what would it look like to run towards it instead? As I prepare to work with refugees in East Baltimore and continue getting to know the neighborhood I am blessed to reside in for the summer, I hope I can stay focused on God’s will and His intentions for His city and His people.

I know I didn’t really write this blog in a conventional style (its also not really finished but I have passed the deadline) and I haven’t talked about all the kind people and children I have met in the neighborhood, all the “what are you mixed with”/”are you an indian” questions, the amount of anger and fear i’ve experienced when thinking about going back, the awesome time helping out at a local church’s vbs, the comforting sense of “this feels like home,” the joy i had attending pride with a few bup & gallery friends, darius being annoying, confusions about the future, etc., but sometimes it’s too hard to write down everything i am learning in blog form

20170619_150947

by Feitian Ma

Advertisements

One thought on “The Beginning

  1. Thanks for your thoughts FeiFei! God can work so powerfully through us…and our own self-sufficiency only gets in the way sometimes. We live in a world that shows us our ladder…how to stay safe…how to stay secure. It’s all motivated by fear. But God’s perfect love casts out fear. Praise for that!! Praying for you! Love you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s