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Sodom on the Merrimack

I've often decried the vile, despicable, corrupt, run-down, gang-infested, crime-riddled, drug-awash city of Lawrence, Massachusetts. It really is, in microcosm, a wonderful case study of what's wrong with American cities.

But it's not all bad. I am reminded of this every time I think of a couple of friends of mine. They're a young, married couple. Very decent folks, hard working, honest, devout, even attending Missionary school, and nice, too.

And they live in Lawrence.

Lawrence, where for sport punks will take a BB gun and shoot out the windows of a bus filled with developmentally disabled children.

The female half of the couple (they're a traditional married couple, unlike some other types around Massachusetts) asked me a while ago how I reconciled my feelings towards their city and them. I thought about it minute, and was reminded of a passage in the BIble. Naturally, as an agnostic,I only recalled a few vague details, but she filled them in for me.

It's Genesis, Chapter 18, when God goes to Abraham and his wife, telling them to get out of the decadent cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, because He's planning on destroying them.

Abraham doesn't defend his neighbors, but starts bargaining with God. If Abraham can find 50 righteous men, will God spare the city? God says yes. Then Abraham starts dickering. How about 45. Yeah, sure, says God. Abraham finally gets God down to ten righteous men.

It's to no avail, of course. The only righteous man found is Lot, and he escapes.

That's kind of how I think of my friends. They're Lot and his family.

Were I a man of faith, I'd be more worried about them. But since I'm not, it's just a metaphor.

I find myself hoping, though, that it might mean a bit more to them, and they get out of Lawrence before too long. After all, there are other ways someone can be destroyed besides a rain of fire and brimstone.


Comments (7)

You're an agnostic, and tha... (Below threshold)
Sparky:

You're an agnostic, and that's what came to mind? I'm impressed. Very apt.

"Were I a man of faith, I'd be more worried about them."

Trust me, after following the news for as long as you have, if you haven't put a .45 through your brain by now, you are a man of faith. But faith in what?

Well, in the story, Lot's w... (Below threshold)

Well, in the story, Lot's wife is turned into a pillar of salt, so the metaphor only goes so far.

It's important to not skip ... (Below threshold)
-S-:

It's important to not skip the full message of Lot and his wife and children, and of the "city of Soddom and Gomorrah."

In comments to what SilverBubble wrote (first but last in the story itself), Lot's wife was "turned to salt" because she defied what she was told to do inorder to preserve herself...she was told to not look back, both by the Angels who led them away from destruction, and by Lot himself.

Instead, she ignored ("defied" I think it might be said) the clear directives and turned around to look behind her as she fled and was somehow mortally affected by whatever it was, technically, God used to destroy Soddom and Gomorrah. And by that, she was "turned into a pillar of salt" where she stood, it's written as to her result.

And to what Jay Tea writes, the story goes that God says He would withhold destruction if and even if only out of compassion and love for the animals there in the city, even moreso His love for any righteous man/men living there (the point being that God described to Lot that His love was so profound for the living that He would even withhold destruction out of caring for even the animals there, finding them without fault, without responsibility), but that God found no righteousness in the entire place and the offenses so grave in the city that He'd destroy the place.

BUT, He sent two embassaries ("angels" it is said, divine messengers on God's behalf) to reason with Lot and to command Lot to depart, and to take the family and beasts along with him. God even WAITED for Lot to get to safety, such that the two angels sat for supper in Lot's house, patiently.

So, the message is about God's destruction but it is more about God's profound love for the righteous, and for all life -- profoundly written as to His caring for life that is without responsibility as is Man, in the realm of choice, morality.

Lot's wife would have been safe as could be, had she just done what was asked. Instead, she seems to have been the last unrighteous act involved in the destruction of Soddom and Gomorrah, refusing to heed God's instructions as she fled.

I've often felt the same about many urban areas as Jay Tea writes here but it's important to stop and focus on where unrighteousness originates and in whom and why...can occur anywhere, but it does seem that urbanity offers a gravitational pull for a higher concentration of depravity. Might have something to do with the focus redirected with social encouragement to many awful things and not enough inspiration to counter the focus -- there's that important aspect to nature as being a statement of God's beautiful hand and I do believe there's a lot to that.

Urban areas are not called "the mean streets" for no reason. I think urbanity predominantly encourages and then emphasizes vanity in humans and it's said that, afterall, vanity is the seat of the downfall of mankind.

-S-, I think that's the mos... (Below threshold)

-S-, I think that's the most accurate deeper look at the story of Sodom and Gomorrah I've ever heard. Good job.

We got our own sodum and ga... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

We got our own sodum and gamorra in calfornia OAKLAND and SAN FRANCISCO two very wicked cities ran by very wicked persons

The sad truth is that Lawre... (Below threshold)
plum:

The sad truth is that Lawrence is probably one of two towns (the other being Lynn) in Essex county where you can buy a home for under 300K. And the parts over by the Andover line aren't so bad.

Thanks, there, SilverBubble... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Thanks, there, SilverBubble.

Appreciate it.




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