Monday, February 4, 2008

Not Worthy?

I was very sorry we didn’t catch the beginning of “The Curious Tribe” (on the Discovery Civilization Channel) last night , but we saw enough of it to fall in love with the delightful tribe members who went with their chief to visit England. They had never stepped outside the life they lived in the jungles of Papua New Guinea as members of the Insect Tribe. Their culture was still in ancient civilization mode, not far removed from Cannibalism !
I don’t know how they had learned English but they spoke it very well with a delightful mix of metaphors directly translated from their own language.
What was soo endearing in them was how they related to total culture shock in England—and how they tried to understand it within the context of their own world.

Their travel guide and host Donal MacIntyre convinced them to risk the long ride up a huge ferris-type wheel to the top to over look the city . At first they all refused saying it was much tooo high and they were afraid. But then Donal appealed to the bravery of their Chief and once he agreed to do his best , the others were obligated to follow their Chief’s lead.
They were quite amazed at the view from the top how all the house touched like a huge tree !!
They expressed interest in where the Spirit House was and when Donal pointed it out to them … the chief was rather puzzled. He said hesitantly, “But your Spirit House is smaller than that building over there , or that one. In our village no one builds a house bigger than the Spirit House.”
Donal MacKintyre was left trying to explain that yes, in his culture too .. in the past.. the Spirit House had been the most important building.
Later, when their wish to go inside the Spirit House was granted … they looked about in amazement… admiring the the old cathedral proclaiming it to be beautiful ! The one woman among the chief and three other tribesmen, said “This was made when the god formed the earth .. no man could build this”. The others all agreed !
And in their eagerness to relate it somehow to what they knew they kept saying it was like one of their trees whose branches created a canopy over them . In childlike delight they ran their hands over the statures proclaiming how they looked ‘alive’.

Donal took them inside a huge super store and they wandered around in awe but didn’t seem to be too impressed with the ‘pig’ Donal showed them that was packaged in the meat aisle. He tried to impress them that he didn't have to go hunting .. this is where he 'hunted'. They insisted they had lots of wild pig… they didn’t need the boxed up stuff.
But they found a jacket made of a material that they really liked. The chief rubbed it in his hands saying it was good material and warm, exclaiming that they could not get that in their village.
It was impossible to entice them to ‘greed’ – even the woman when a necklace was hung around her neck , she smilingly took it off and put it back on the shelf. Their mind set was too strong --- if they didn’t NEED it , why would they want it ?

One clip really endeared them to me . Walking in a park they came upon their first ‘wild life’, a squirrel ! With childlike delight they watched the squirrel and asked. “Can I catch it ? I want to catch the animal !! “ and with a huge smile one of them declared “ I like it sooo much !!” and then explained what he would like to do with it ! “I put it on my head.. for the dance … when we have the dance in the village I will put it the feathers of the animal on my head -- I want to catch it !”
Their hunter instincts kicked in and they tried to sneak up on the squirrel but of course the squirrel just ran up a tree and looked down on them . They had been given digital cameras and it was so cute to see them sneaking up on the squirrel their cameras held up and then laughing with delight to see the picture on the camera screen.
They were more animated and delighted with the squirrel than anything else they saw in the big city !

The other thing they requested to see was the Chief’s house. They were taken to Buckingham palace and they stood for a long time staring at it . Then they asked to go inside to meet the chief. Donal tried to explain to them that he had asked if the Chief would see them but she was very busy with other things and did not have time. The Chief could not understand such blatant rudeness and tried to explain in childlike simplicity of heart that he himself was a chief and he wanted to see this chief… he could not understand that a chief would actually refuse to see another chief! He explained that he would be going back to his village and he would get old and die and would never again come to this place. Why could he not see the Chief, it was the only chance he would ever have.
He listened to Donal’s embarrassed explanation but he wasn’t pleased and said so …”I am not happy !”

It was so interesting to watch their childlike reaction to a world as totally foreign to theirs as the advances of civilization could make it … and yet in the end I wondered who was the more primitive of the two.

I saw in them the simplicity that we in our culture only glimpse at in small children and I saw what Jesus meant when He said “Except ye become as little children ye shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. “

I saw what God wants us to be like in His kingdom… filled with childlike simplicity – in awe of what we see but accepting with absolute trusting faith what we see.
Taking delight in the wonders of His ways but not being spoiled by them......
Never losing the joy of the simple things …..
To know the difference between need and want...
To be brave enough to follow our Chief any where He leads....
Recognizing that though He is a great God we can come with the ‘mindless humilty’ of a child… coming into His presence with the confidence that since we are His child of course He will receive us !

What will remain a pain in my heart is that the Queen did not consider them worthy of her audience. I doubt anyone ever came more worthily !!
And though I was angered by the realization that an earthly monarch might consider someone beneath her attention….I was so gratified to think that The King and God of all monarchs does not consider the very least among us to be unworthy of His granting their request for an audience with him !

It made me want to go to their tribe and tell them about the great Chief in the Sky who would love to receive them in to His Kingdom, into His Spirit House .
I pray that God send someone to these dear people with the gospel -- they didn’t find it in civilized England!

5 comments:

Vicki said...

Good post, Julie. What really caught my attention was the mindset of these people - if they didn't need it, why would they want it? I just wrote this morning about my efforts to downsize my life (the fact that we're moving into a smaller home is forcing me to do this). I'm trying to think about the real need for what I'm hanging onto...or can I give it away?

Since I'll be dealing with all of this purging during Lent, I decided that I would try to make my choices more "green," especially regarding the purchases I'll be making during this time. Unless it's necessary to life (nutrition, health, and the basic needs), I will not make that purchase during Lent.

This sounds a bit rambling, but I think you can figure out what I'm trying to do. Maybe I can make this a lifestyle change and learn to live without all the "extras." (Well, except for my computer...and the Internet...blogging has become somewhat of a necessity!)

Lovella said...

Julie, thank you for this post about what you saw on TV. You did a beautiful job relating the tribe and their view of our culture.

I too hope that these dear folks have opportunity to know the chief that loves them so.

Demara said...

Oh Julie, that was an excellent story! It reminded me of Bruchko, my fav. book.

Now I'm off to work, ttyl. How's the weather where you're at? Hope it's good! *smile*

Sara said...

Oh I wish I had seen this show! What a wonderful post, Julie.

truth said...

Oh this was a good read. Very interesting and thought provoking.