October 6, 2010

Tried in the Fire

As I was watching the nightly news on this week, I was frustrated to see a story about a small community in Tennessee. It was hours away from there area where I was born and raised, but yet it was in my home state. So I became a bit invested in the story before I even understood the extent to which the contents of the news story would frustrate me.

Home Burns, Firefighters Refuse to Respond

What immediately came to my mind was the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40).  It saddens me to see what has become of our treatment of each other in this country. Everything boils down to the almighty dollar.  Being a capitalist country has almost completely alleviated the heart of so many Americans. 

This may sound like a harsh observation, but ask yourself this, 'how in the world could those trained and equipped to fight fires be so callus as to stand by knowing that a family's home is burning down and not do anything about it over $75 worth of fire protection?  I do understand the dynamics of the county budget and such, but this seems almost mafia in spirit.  With any law there is the spirit of the law and the letter of the law. And I would dare guess that this fee was set in place as a way to finance the service, but it has now become the same service that was denied to someone in need.

In this small town, I cant image what makes others in the community able to watch a friend and a neighbor's home burn to the ground based on some principle that is not grounded in Christian love. What happened to the days when we helped our neighbors build and maintain? There is this image in my mind of the neighbors coming with buckets and passing them to each other to reach the flames in a joint effort to put out the fire. There was a time when this seemed like just the right thing to do.  There is no mention of the people in the neighborhood standing up to the challenge to help put out the fire, even though the local firefighters wouldnt fight the fire.  So in my mind, the neighbors are just as much of a concern as the issue with the firefighters. Even if the firefighters refused to work to put out the fire over the $75 fee, why weren't the neighbors willing to pitch in form a plan of action and work to save the home?  Who wants neighbors that will stand by and let your home burn down without at least making some neighborly effort?

As a Christian nation, are we not disturbed to know that we treat each other this way? This family not only lost their home, but they lost family heirlooms and family history.  When do we begin to re-evaluate what it is that we say that we believe? When do we stand up for what is right?