Scripture: Living and Active

Scripture: Living and Active
Our most significant scriptures are marked with post it notes.

Continuing the work of Jesus, simply, peacefully, JOYFULLY, together.

We gather for worship at 9:30 am on Sunday.
Children go to Sunday school following their special time in worship, about 10:15 am.
Potluck is the first Sunday of the month.

17975 Centreville-Constantine Road, Constantine, MI 49042

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Parable of Kinshasa, D R Congo: A Foolish Woman, Breadcrumbs, Big Bills and Two Thieves

Suzanne Lind passed on this parabolic story from Kinshasa, Congo.

I went to town about 8:30, hoping to get to shops to look for those baby shirts before things got busy. No luck, stores were either not open or had only fancy frilly extremely expensive dumb stuff. Then I remembered I still have two little gowns that Maria sent back with me -- things she never used for Kaylah. I’ve given most away, but still have these two pretty 0-3 month gowns.

A crowd of adolescent boys had surrounded me when I parked near City Market and the bakery. So just before coming home I bought some rolls to give to them as I got into the car. I put my other bags in the car and took out the two bags of rolls, about 10 altogether. By this time there were about 20 guys, mostly big guys, pushing and shoving and sticking their hands in my face; they all began to fight over the rolls right away, pushing me up against the car in the fracas.

As I tried to get the back door shut and the front door open, I felt a hand go into my bag -- I’m now carrying a plastic macramé bag that doesn’t close at the top. I knew I had a plastic bag with about $300 in there that I had not pushed far enough to the bottom. I quickly looked around in the bag and then started to shout, who took my money?

By this time several guards from the buildings were around, a policeman, and about 100 other people pushing and shoving to see the drama. I yelled and yelled, and the guards started to grab the boys and search them. I even patted down a couple myself. I kept shouting, I give you bread and you take my money?! (I am so embarrassed).

Now the crowd was even bigger, there was tremendous shoving and pushing and shouting. I was sure it was gone, but to my amazement the policeman stuck his hand right down the front of one guys’ (I had given one of the bags of bread to him, I think) pants and pulled out my bag of money. He wadded it up and kept it tight in his hand.

Then the guards and the policeman started to beat up the boy, kicking and pushing him to the ground. I yelled no, don’t hurt him and jumped into the fray to protect him. I’m not sure, but I think I just put my arms around him and hit out at the hands that were holding him. I kept shouting, don’t hurt him, all I want is the money, over and over.

Finally I grabbed the policeman’s hand and shouted in his face, give me my money and let the boy go. Then everyone screamed, no, he is a thief! And I screamed, but he gave the money back so he can go! They started to shove him into a car and I grabbed him and pulled him out again and began to pry open the policeman’s hand. No, he said, I got this money back, so it’s mine now. I started screaming, you are the thief, not him!! Give me my money.

It was horrible. Hundreds of people shoving and laughing and shouting. I put my face right up to the policeman’s and yelled, I will pay you, just give me my money back. I finally had to pull on his fingers till he finally let go and I gave him $10. The boy who took it stood right there, looking at me pitifully, and asking me for some of the money from my bag. They could see I had big bills in there. (I am so stupid.)

Actually it’s all kind of blur, though my getting physically involved and shouting in a very loud voice is very clear. Maybe it was all a scam. There is no way to know what really happened. It all happened so fast. I finally got into the car and was shaking so hard I didn’t lock the doors properly and someone began to open them. Fortunately a nice man shut them and I got them locked and one boy with bread crumbs all over his mouth “ushered” me out of the parking space.

I came home, changed my clothes, washed my arms and hands for about five minutes. After a while I sorted out my purse and I don’t think I lost any money, which I still can’t believe. It was clear from the way everyone acted that no one perceived this as a time when someone “saved” a street kid from being beat up by the police.

I think the thing they will remember is that I had to pay the police to get my money back and that I am a stupid woman who carries a lot of money around and is careless and naïve and they should all watch for another chance to have a similar drama thanks to me. Really, it was the drama that mattered most. Principles of right and wrong had nothing to do with it.

I hope the boy didn’t get beat up for not running away and then sharing out the loot, which was probably the plan; the policeman will be mad that he didn’t get more by getting his payment from the kid. I have bruises on my arms and am full of reflections about the absurdities and complexities of life.

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