Thursday, February 10, 2005

Why am I a Bohemian?

Names and titles define the person. Simon earned "Petros", the rock, well after Jesus gave him the name. Jacob became Israel after contending with God all night. It's not lightly then that I call myself a Bohemian. Yet, what is a bohemian?

The term was originally French, to describe Gypsies who roamed the countryside (some appearantly carried papers of safe passage from the King of Bohemia). The French then reused the term to describe the post-World War 1 artistic class that migrated into Paris drawn by the bohemian lifestyle already practiced there. The Beatnics of the 50s were next to be described as bohemian.

I like to go back to the Parisian definition of the free spirits mixed a bit with the Roma that inspired the term. While the libertine lifestyle of some Bohemians shouldn't be emulated, there are some characteristics that match the desired Christian lifestyle.

The church (like Israel before it) is called to be seperate from the world. "And [the children of Israel] admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.... Instead, they were longing for a better country - a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." [Hebrews 11:13b-14,16]* Also, Peter tells us: "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul." [1 Peter 2:11]

We are also going to be hated by the world at large. Jesus himself tells us, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." [John 15:18-19].

We must be ready to leave here at a moment's notice. "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. [Matthew 24:42-44]"

Finally, we are not to accumulate large amounts of wealth. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." To quote my son, why would we put so much effort in this life to collect building materials?

The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone.... The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass. [Revelation 21:18-21]

I don't mind trying to be a Bohemian.

All scripture references are from the New International Version.

1 comment:

Carl Missionary-evangelist said...

I knew a Bohemian Evangelist,... He was a church planter in the mid-west,..planting house-churches in Missiouri, Kansas, Oaklahoma, and Wyoming. He worked doing odd jobs, carpentry, managing Hotels and Apartments (a free house and access to many people, as he used to say),. In 1983, he earned $3000.00 the most he had ever earned in a single year. The same year I earned 38,000 and could barely pay my bills. He lived a thrifty and frugal life and he and his family made do with very little. His witness and life led me to the Lord and now years later to the mission field in Asia. He was a humble but powerful man of God. He refused to go with the cultural flow, TV, one old car, work a little here and there, and picking wild fruit, or fresh produce at a discount price and hunting for meat,..he ate a lot of wild rabbits and of course deer in season, etc,.. He was the most godly man I ever knew! May God rest his soul and raise up thousands more like him in our country.