Siblings…Divine Humor?

In light of my brother’s upcoming birthday…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that in a family with more than one progeny, those siblings must be opposites. And, in most sibling cases, I mean opposite in the truest sense of the word. Not just somewhat different. I mean opposite as in the opposite of Night is Day, not later that night. The opposite of In is Out, not Undecided. That role is fulfilled by the cat.

In the case of my own brother, it’s as if a committee drew up a battle plan consisting of preferences, personality quirks and every known topic under the sun (and a few unknown ones too) and assigned sides.

My brother will drive miles out of his way for White Castle burgers. “Light” reading consists of twenty-five-pound theology texts written by ancient Church mystics. He listens to Sufiyan Stevens. And he believes the newest version of The Hobbit should be shunned.

My response to each of the above is mystified horror.

With exception to The Hobbit. I enjoyed it—Dr. Watson makes an excellent Bilbo and the voice of Sherlock himself creates a terrifying Smaug. And Billy Connolly has finally found his true calling in life—that of dwarf warlord. True, it has been a long time since I last read The Hobbit and I’ve forgotten all but the main points.

But I digress.

I’ve been reading through the book of Genesis and behold, this issue of sibling oppositry—is that a word?—is biblical:

  • Abel raised livestock, Cain raised fruit and vegetables. Abel gave his best to God, Cain gave his surplus. (Genesis 4:3-5)
  • Ishmael was “a wild donkey of a man”, whereas Isaac, by all accounts, was parent-honoring and God-fearing.
  • Esau was ruddy faced and hairy, an outdoorsman who had little self-control and was insensitive to his parents, though he did seem a straight-forward chap. Jacob had a paler complexion and very little body hair, he was a homebody and apparently a good cook; he was self-disciplined and cared about his parents’ wishes. But, Jacob and the truth were rarely close company. He’d have had a great career in politics today. (Genesis 25-28)
  • Joseph was humbled by his experiences in slavery and in prison and never wavered in serving God and giving Him the glory. And then there were his brothers…all eleven of them. (Genesis 37-50)

Even in the New Testament we read of siblings Martha and Mary: Martha was busy being a good hostess to Jesus and His disciples while Mary sat at Jesus feet, listening. (Luke 10:38-42). Martha was a do-er, a nurturer. Mary was—by my estimation—lazy. But, that is the opinion of a “Martha.” Mary was praised by Jesus because she made time with Him a priority. A fact that humbles this Martha deeply.

Olivia, what IS your point?

When God made each of these people, He knew each personality and disposition better than they knew themselves. He saw both the beauty and the repugnance housed within each heart and knew that each one was worth redeeming—if only they would choose to seek God. Abel chose to give his best to God. Isaac honored God by choosing to honor his parents. Jacob, though a rebellious wretch by nature, chose to follow God’s leading. Joseph chose to see that, though his brothers had wronged him terribly, God “intended it for good.” Mary, rather than get sidetracked by busyness, chose to spend time with her Savior. Each one CHOSE God in the midst of their crises. They CHOSE Him in the middle of their every-day lives.

And while my brother and I disagree over politics and economics and literature and music and education and the weather and, and, and, we can agree on Christ, who has redeemed our sinful selves from the pit and loves us equally. No matter what my brother says.

We can also agree that the Jar Jar Binks days of Star Wars should be smitten from cinematic history. Forever. Never to be remembered.

And there you have it. Star Wars: Bringing siblings together, in a galaxy far, far away.


Circa 2006


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