So the last couple of months I have been out of it. I missed most of December and January and I am trying to get my grove back similar to Stella.
Sorry Ladies, no Taye Diggs, just me.
I recently started researching the Empire State Building for a meditation I am giving and I came across something interesting. The Empire State Building is 1,250 ft tall. For a while it was the largest man-made structure in the world. On January 4th 2010, in Dubai the largest man-made structure was opened.
It is called the Burj Khalifa and stands at a whopping 2,717 ft.
It is bigger than TWO Empire Buildings stacked on top of each other. That is insane.
Here is a cool chart from Wikipedia showing all these massive structures to scale.
And when I read more about this and saw that picture it looked like looked something I that I couldn't put my finger on... After much thought it came to me!
The Tower of Babel:
Since the Tower of Babel story in Genesis is only 9 verses I figure I could put it here for people to read:
The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words. While men were migrating in the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, "Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire." They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth." LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men had built. Then the LORD said: "If now, while they are one people, all speaking the same language, they have started to do this, nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do. Let us then go down and there confuse their language, so that one will not understand what another says." Thus the LORD scattered them from there all over the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the speech of all the world. It was from that place that he scattered them all over the earth. - Genesis 11:1-9
Many times we see these stories and try to figure out what they are about. Why is this in the Bible? How does this effect me?
Since Scripture is very much alive, it very applicable to our life today. Here is one way to interpret this story on one level.
Money has become not only what the world values the most but in a sense it is also a language. "Money talks." A person could be traveling not know a language at all but if you have money you will definitely get by. There are many people who can speak three or four languages and have trouble finding a job in our economy depending on the field. Coming out of the recent economic boom we just had and now going into this global recession many people made plans expecting it not to end. Dubai is one of those places. They began construction in January 2004 when their economy was doing very well. Many celebrities from around the would vacation there and people were buying property to build luxury housing. Six years and $1.5 billion dollars later most of the tower is completed and it opened. But the problem is there is an economic recession. They are not doing so well as this New York Times article points out. Since many people are trying to downsize and not overspend they are having trouble selling real estate.
"Few offers have been made for space in buildings under strata title[this means multiple landlords, in the building, own different space in this building], which is estimated to cover about two-thirds of the new buildings opening this year and 70 percent of those opening in 2011. Without government action, office vacancy rates could rise as high as 40 percent, according to real estate analysts." - From the NY Times article linked above.
The Developers called it a "vertical city."
Why do I mention this?
"Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves..." - Genesis 11:4
Now our "language" of money has been confused with this recession and people have no idea what to do. Many people have trusted in the Almighty dollar or the stock market or whatever and did not trust in God.
It is always come down to the same question: Do I trust God? How many of our Dioceses are on the verge of bankruptcy because of trusting in the stock market. Because they made a "bad investment." I don't think those investments should have been made because they show a lack of trust in God. The situation that Our Church is in now is not one of placing blame but of rebuilding. Not to dwell on, "well, who let this happen?" But on, "OK, how does God want us to proceed?"
We trust that the Almighty dollar will save us; we believe we can trust it. I mean we even call it the standard, as if everything else can change and is judged by this dollar. We think money solves all our problems (If only I had more money... Money is the problem... if only people gave more then we could...). But because we trusted money and the stock market it was like bringing all our money to a slot machine and saying, "God will provide for us through these slot machines." And then when our family has to suffer because we thought that God was our good luck charm and wouldn't let us down because Papa needed a new pair of shoes.
Jesus says in Matthews Gospel:
"No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon[Mammon is Hebrew for Money]. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? ... But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -Matthew 6:24-34
Here is a different interpretation of the Tower of Babel story in Genesis.
As you may have noticed I start all of my blogs (and pages of my note books too) with: +AMDG+
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
For the Great Glory of God
This is an old Latin expression that St. Ignatius of Loyola saw as how he should live his life and guide all his actions.
The Tower of Babel was all about pride. It was all about human achievement. It had nothing to do with God. It showed that man could be just like God in creating something great by his own. It was built so that the people "could make a name for themselves."
How many actions do I do for my own personal glory? How many actions do I do so that people will notice me? Do I live for my own glory or the Glory of God? What is my motto or my standard in which I live by? Is it "For the Greater Glory of God" or is it:
Ad Majorem Homonis Gloriam
For the Greater Glory of Man
We might feel that the more I am recognized then the more I am loved. Because then if more people notice me and compliment me then I am obviously loved. In struggling with the reality of a God who is invisible, yet who made Himself present to us, we might want to experience his love the way we would with another human being. God's Love is much better though because you will always be loved no matter what. People have fights, or people can hurt each other, betray one another, and sometimes love is lost as quickly as it was gained. That is not love. You cannot earn love or lose love you just are loved, which is a HUGE relief; yet because of pride some of us want more as if love isn't good enough. And we might think that money will help us get something better than love and the cycle continues....
So the question becomes how will you live your life or will you serve God or Mammon?
"For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains. But you, man of God, avoid all this. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness."- 1st Timothy 6:10-11