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Eric’s Sunday Sermon; And the Least of These

Updated on June 29, 2019

This side of the border

Rich folk
Rich folk | Source

Bordelines

Let us just jump in and start off with stories involving children. Why not? Let us hide some names except mine and move along. Children are the largest part of my life. Back off! I am a child.

Elias is a savvy street kid. He lives in an apartment but prefers to be out on the street. Today he brought his 3 friends with him. His language skills are beyond his station in life at 8 years old. He proclaims that he spends 5 hours on the internet each day. He got to ride our bike. Liability off the charts for me. So be it. They messed around on the skate board in our driveway. More liability for us. So be it.

I asked them why they were frowning at first. “because that is in our apartments if they see you happy they think you have something”. Come on, it is not that bad. “Yes it is”. I think it may just be like that. After a bit they turn around and go back home. They came down 7 houses and it appears just to see us. My son Gabe and I like to mess around out front of our house. Hopefully they will come down again.

Now they are not allowed in our house or backyard. And here is why. Elias is just savvy enough to be a runner for a gang. And no matter what he will relate back to the older kids in his apartment building what he was doing down here. The older kids are not sweet and kind. They are gangsters or wantabe gangsters. Burglarizing our home would certainly not be below them.

There is a line in our hood. It is the street in front of the apartments. Most of the people in the apartments know this line. It is an economic line. Poor people on that side and lower middle to upper middle class on our side. The line is for protection on both sides. Race has no relevance at all. Age has no relevance at all. Certainly gender has no relevance. The line is as much of a demarcation as is our national border a mere five miles away.

If you venture into Tijuana you cross that economic line. If you cross into the U.S.A. you cross that line. The other line here is what I call the “school line”. Next door going away from the apartments your children get to go to a really topnotch school. Our house and they go to the school on their side, not so good. I caught onto this and petitioned for our son to go to the “good” school. Basically if you understand and petition you are in. Kind of like asylum.

Fun in this Context

He Drew a Border

We must make our own borders.
We must make our own borders. | Source

Nationality?

I got to counting national borders I have crossed in my life time and lost count. The two most interesting I think were West to East Berlin before the wall came down. That wall kept people in and not out. It was economic. East was a slum. And the other was Hong Kong (before reversion to China) to mainland. And again that line was economic.

Some lines are created by accident of birth. Those same lines get into education. As I noted above, good school and bad school. On the one hand that is some sick stuff on the other, it is the natural order of things. In a herd the weak are left to the rear. This is the place to get picked off by predators. Thinning the herd in such a way means the strong survive and that means a stronger herd. Again that is some sick stuff, but natural.

The houses toward the apartments are about 15% less in appraised value. Again I am close to that line but in this case it is 3 doors down towards the apartments. This is not a city. It is a “community” inside the county. But the fair market value of a one bedroom apartment is 1300$ per month. Fully impossible for a family of four who are impoverished. So it is subsidized housing. And not crime but that economic line is what causes the drop in homes too close to that situation.

Borders are economic. One way of life needs to be protected and the other avoided. Here is a strange one. Within 7 homes on either side of us there are no college aged peoples. I still do not know what to make of that except the historic. We had a bad economic collapse people lost homes, those that lost homes were mainly middle class in the middle years. No college age kids is a matter of economics again.

All that makes you want to go all communist. However the ability to have a job and to go to school at all is capitalism. You cannot get a job from a poor man.

A Different Nation

Nature knows natural borders.
Nature knows natural borders. | Source

Cross the Line?

Never Forget

I just love getting to this part of sermons. It is like I can breathe easier. We do not need conclusions. We need questions. Sermons are like psychotherapy. The “correct” questions to ask are the crux of introspection and whatever connections you have.

Our mind is such an amazing tool of love. But not so much when we “conclude” instead of keeping our minds wide open. I am sorry that the above referenced borders cannot be the same. But they cannot be wide open. The little guy Elias is not allowed to “case” my joint. Personally I think that is economics.

But there is another economics. That of our love. We can spend our love without borders. We can love the least of us. We as people do not need to cull the herd. We can reach our hand out and help the weak. They do not need to follow behind the herd. We can cross that line though others cannot cross it. It is our love responsibility to help cross that line. Our time, our riches and our security must be closely guarded when we are on the borderline. But our hearts and our love must be free to cross over.

Today my boy and I will go and find Elias with a soccer ball. Not shiny and new for it would be taken from him. We must respect his station. And we will wear our worst clothing. And we will approach from a back alley. This is to protect Elias from the predators. This is a loving way.

My boy will discuss why our loving God made it this way. We could simply ignore Elias. We can all ignore the other side of the line. He cannot afford a soccer ball. We have three. But until I fully know and trust him he may not come into my home. How sad is that but I must protect my family first.

My son is half Asian. Meaning his mom is Asian. She is an immigrant. She crossed the border. We must cross the border in order to love all. We do not get to sit on our side of the border as though the other side is not worthy of our love. But we must do it with discernment and proper evaluation.

Someone once said to me that life is hard and then you die. How sad is that. Love is easy and then it lives on. Love also cannot be stored up. It must be given freely without a border. You simply cannot get more love unless you spend it. People maybe cannot cross borders but love can.

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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lori we are blessed to be able to set up boundaries. I always joke about cyber security. Let them have my account. Poor bastards will owe more than they stole.

      I have lived and done business in Monterrey, Puebla, Rosarito and Mexico DF. I get called for my opinion on our border issues.

      The answer is always - give, give and give more. The problem is economic the cure is economic. Marketing is education and education is marketing. Those who show they cross the barriers will be cutting edge and so others will follow.

      On the personal side. All my children have really liked boundaries. Somehow it gives a sense of familiar structure and security. I do not quite get what God is up to but His plan is better than mine and you can take that to the bank.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      11 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Borders and boundaries serve a positive purpose in some aspects of life (not all) and are usually set for various types of legitimate protection. I'm not delving into the crisis at the souther border, I am talking about other life boundaries. I have had to set boudaries with a couple of friends because of their toxic behavior and my generous love made no difference. Unfortunately, we are no longer friends or minimally. There remains love and forgiveness on my part but not trust.

      But love, as you say, should be without borders, if it is true, healthy love. Great sermon. I always love seeing your son. What a special boy you have there.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Larry, this ariticle https://owlcation.com/humanities/Dieter-Dengler-A-... Moved me twice. First the hero and then your writing style.

      Writers who can inspire are special.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora we are still trying to reconcile borders and our Biblical teachings of even loving enemies. I just love that about Jesus. "Here are the rules, now you figure out how to apply it". For me a "next heaven" would be filled with such.

    • Larry Slawson profile image

      Larry Slawson 

      11 months ago from North Carolina

      Great article, as always my friend.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      11 months ago from The Caribbean

      Borders and boundaries are necessities, "But our hearts and our love must be free to cross over." You demonstrated that very well in your dealing with Elias. Valuable lesson from a wise and loving heart.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John that is a bummer of a scenario. Great example of them stepping over that boundary. Instead of sucker I like the term doormat. It sits at the threshold/entry into our home.

      That notion of judging others is not clear cut and black and white.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      11 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Great sermon Eric, I love the way you have chosen to deal with/reach out to young Elias without putting your home or family at risk. When discussing a house we were renting to a couple of fellow church members who were always months behind on the rent and would not pay unless we chased it up, the wife of a pastor Of the church said, “The world Christian is not spelt SUCKER...don’t feel guilty about asking them to pay on time, or asking them to leave.”

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Tim, we are having a Dickens of a time getting a jingle out of our heads. Perhaps you know it. Give Me Oil In My Lamp. Oh well. It is about outside in front time. What adventure awaits us. A little football catch can't hurt. Perhaps a family that loves together stays together.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda, what a beautifully written comment. These borders of the heart are strictly forbidden by our Lord. I am thinking around Matthew 22:34 and the two great commandments. And the walls of Jericho and judge not lest the be judged. A powerful list of messages that do not escape us yet discernment is required.

      Love you

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      11 months ago from U.S.A.

      Hi, Eric, great sermon. I was thinking about the old saying: "Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself as opposed to giving him a fish to keep him from starving. The cycle of poverty is learned and perpetuated just like the cycle of success. Love is that way. If Christ hadn't given us solid directions on how to reach each other with love, then we could have never found the wealth of love in Him and pass those lessons on. You are teaching others to feed themselves and bring a feast to others. That soccer ball and riding a bike may be the happiest memories that pushes that young man to do the same for others. Great sermon and filled with kind wisdom. My soul has been fed, brother. Respectfully, Tim

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      11 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, this one brought tears to my eyes, thinking of the borders and boundaries that we erect in our hearts, shutting out those who are "different" from us. There's a man on a local talk radio station who boasts that he came from a poor home but he's now a success and that those who don't succeed, those who are at or below the poverty line or are homeless have troubles of their own making. I hear no compassion in his words yet he claims to be a Christian. In my mind, he is the one who is poor. You and your family are rich beyond measure. Thank you again for reminding us to love.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill, crazy Elias came by if he could use the bike. "Helmet on boy" and off he went. Met with Alice yesterday. 91 years young. German 2nd gen. Yelled to Robert that his music was too loud last night and we laughed. 3rd gen Mex - his grandpa and I are friends. My Fillipino buddy brought over grapefruit. And it goes on and on. But I think maybe I am the only one to cross the borderline.

      God said to love your neighbor. Easy enough, someone tell me when I meet an enemy.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      11 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      "My son Gabe and I like to mess around out front of our house. Hopefully they will come down again." That simple statement made me think. In my neighborhood, very rarely do you see people out and about. They stay way too much to themselves, and it's truly sad. When I was growing up, I knew everyone on our street. Not so today as people hide out much too much. Let's bring it back to the front yards!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Elijah I was not meddling in politic. Perhaps one who does could answer you. My borders are ill defined and I would like to keep it so. I have cherished every POTUS and will continue to do so. How brave they are. If I could not do it, who am I to criticize it? Funny but Carter and Ford are a couple of my favs. Go figure.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      11 months ago from Washington DC

      Eric, Have you figured out how together "Freedom in and without a border is the sign of love" over you your nation's leader yet or is he too far gone to comprehend that?

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Pamela my son and wife are off to their orthodox church. Elias was poking around. The bike and helmet provided as I pulled a stool with coffee. The rest may come hard but love comes easy.

      I think by this week we will open up. It takes courage for him to cross that borderline.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      11 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Your son is learning so many valuable lessons, and he is growing fast in other ways as well. Certainly you must protect your family first, yet you have love for this possibly lost boy that may have difficulty suceeding in life. Love conquers all. You and your son seem to have plenty of love for even the lost. Wonderful article, Eric!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Elijah my boy and I were doing some shuffle dancing. I stink at if but it is like Zumba good for you. We made a jingle that he got from some bible verse

      Ha ha ha ha ha we don't need to judge. Freedom in and without a border is the sign of love. The light to others.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Sean I just looked around the corner and found more stuff to learn and love. I do hope that God never lets me rest. God gave each of us a different heaven. I am just blessed to see it like in you.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      11 months ago from Washington DC

      Very well said, Eric. Once my mother and her children moved to Texas, in 1953 at age 8, I saw many of those lines. Two quadrants south of our house was one line, east had the railroad tracts and west Main Street was the it, but I never knew how far north the line was between African- and European-Americans. A quadrant north of my street north to the railroad tracks, east to where I-35 West was bing built and I don't know how far west bordered some Hispanic-Americans and was off-limits by order of my mom. Alone I sometimes cheated though.

      At almost anytime anyone other than European-American children crossed those lines there were conflicts while Europeans-American's cross any non-European lines and, usually in automobiles, throw eggs and other stuff at any group of children they saw playing. So I can identify with being careful now that it's protection rather than just fights.

      By eleventh grade I went to work for Sears Roebuck & Co. as a porter in the garden shop and worked with a student from TCU, we became friends and went beyond the borders lines together. So to speak, we had to stand back-to-back everywhere we went, he protected me in the European communities while I protected him in the African communities but we were showing how erroneous the teachings of segregation is.

      In '81, while transitioning to NatureBoy in NYC, I had a homeless girl friend then a Swiss girl vacationing met me wanting to spend time with me. One day my homeless friend and I was laying on my bedroll in Washing Square Park where the Swiss girl found us and asked me to make my friend leave because of her smell. I refused and said, she would only be here for a short time but my friend would be here when she was gone so she chose to join us. What a trio of friends became, an affluent Swiss girl, a homeless girl and me becoming the NatureBoy. lol

      Yes, we must learn to love the people although not their conditions. When we love social status nor conditions CAN be a factor, each individual life must be loved and allow our association bring its change.

      Thanks for sharing it.

    • Sean Dragon profile image

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      11 months ago from Greece, Almyros

      Thank you for one more "psychotherapy of Love", my dear brother! Your sermons are always a new "window"! Gratitude!

      Love over borders!

      Sean

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill Gabe is at his mother's nose already with larger feet and hands. What I cannot believe is how he can grow so fast and stay coordinated. I sure couldn't. I am tired of getting whooped already.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Your boy is growing before our eyes...getting pretty tall. Going to be able to put some whoop-ass on his old man pretty soon, but it will be whoop-ass filled with love...that best kind!

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