None of the Above

None of the Above

Text:  Mark 12:18-27

This Sunday we will have two themes:  Veterans Day and the art of thinking outside the box.  On the 11th day of the 11th month we traditionally honor all of those living veterans who have served our country in war or peace and thank them for their sacrifices.  But as we gather to honor veterans, our thoughts differ according to when we were born.  How old we are determines which wars and which veterans we most keenly remember.

My generation is forever linked with Viet Nam.  Within months of my high school graduation, eight of my classmates were killed there.  Others of my friends returned home to a mixed reception.  From lukewarm treatment from veteran’s organizations to outright hostility from the public.

It wasn’t until I entered seminary that I discovered a little known Viet Nam battle.  Soon after arriving in Princeton, my wife and I were hired by a wealthy couple to serve as their maid and butler.  My first day on the job, I walked into the impressive library of my employer and saw an autographed picture with the inscription, “To Abbott Lowe Moffat: With fondest regards—Ho Chi Min.”

I was shocked.  This was the chief bad guy in Vietnam.  “Where did you get this?” I asked.  Mr. Moffat explained that Min had been our ally in WWII against the Japanese and that as the State Department’s chargé d’affaires for Southeast Asia, he had frequent contact with him.  One day, Min stopped him and said, “You are rebuilding Europe with the Marshall Plan.  Why don’t you do the same thing for Indochina?”  When the request was passed on to the State Department, a fight ensued between bureaucrats who wanted to back Min and those who wanted to back the French, who were saying, “We want our colony back.”  The rest is tragic history.

And so the questions continue.  “Do you support our troops?”  “Do you support our police?” “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”  Yes or No?  When Jesus was presented with such a question, he basically said, “None of the above.” 

Join with this Sunday for a lesson on challenging simplistic questions!