Richard Craver

Thoughts, Musings And The Occasional Rant

Why Do They Live In The Desert?

Written By: richardwcraver - Apr• 27•14

I recently heard of a comedy routine by the late comedian Sam Kinison, and went in search of it on the internet. The name wasn’t familiar, but once I saw his picture I remembered him. There was a time in the late 80’s and 90’s when the Comedy Channel had a whole host of stand-up comedians. I remember Standup Spotlight where Rosie ODonnell, Paula Poundstone, Jeff Dunham and many others got their start. Sam wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, he was very loud and very foul. The story I had heard of was of one of the bits in his 1985 HBO Special where he addresses the issue of world hunger. Below is a redacted quotation I found over at Wikiquote:

Sam Kinison - 1953-1992

“You want to help world hunger? Stop sending them food. Don’t send them another bite, send them U-Hauls. Send them a guy that says, “You know, we’ve been coming here giving you food for about 35 years now and we were driving through the desert, and we realized there wouldn’t BE world hunger if you people would live where the FOOD IS! YOU LIVE IN A DESERT!! UNDERSTAND THAT? YOU LIVE IN A ******* DESERT!! NOTHING GROWS HERE! NOTHING’S GONNA GROW HERE! Come here, you see this? This is sand. You know what? It’s gonna be 100 years from now! IT’S GONNA BE SAND!! YOU LIVE IN A ******* DESERT! We have deserts in America, we just don’t live in them, ********!”

Now I generally have an appreciation for the ‘politically incorrect’ point of view; as most ‘political correctness’ is actually about silencing the norms of a generally healthy society and replacing it with something less healthy, and often abhorrent through ridicule and intimidation.  On the surface what Sam Kinison said made good sense, although not very caring and sensitive, but yet a very accurate observation; a hundred years from now the desert WILL still be a desert. It will be hot, dry and a place of death.

My mind went spiralling as it often does, you see I am a K.O.O.K., a Keeper Of Odd Knowledge. I was thinking of a statement one of my former co-workers made regarding why most Yankees don’t seem to ever leave the north. For a little background before you think I’m bashing our northern neighbours, his family is from Philadelphia, or Filthydelphia as he likes to call it, he calls them Yankees and they call him a Redneck; it’s all good. Outside of the historic area it is a filthy, dirty city he tells me. His comment was that the reason his extended family doesn’t leave Philly is because “They don’t know any better” or “They can’t imagine that things are better elsewhere”. And so it is with the poor, hungry and starving of the desert world of Sam Kinison’s story. They don’t know anything other than living and dying in the desert. Bear with me, I’m getting to the point of this ramble.

Consider 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”[a]

20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks[b] foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. – NIV

In verse 18 the Apostle Paul, is quoting a prophecy by the Prophet Isaiah centuries before in Isaiah 29:14. He is speaking of the Gospel and it’s power to save the soul from destruction. Those that have accepted God’s gift of salvation know it to be the working of the Power Of God. Those that are wise in the world’s way scoff at the Gospel. Compare for a moment, to those who live in desert places where there is little food. The suggestion of moving away seems absurd, because this is all that they have ever known. It seems wise to scavenge for food, it seems a way of life to see their community decimated by famine. They don’t know beyond what they can see. Those of who believe God see by faith, they hear by the Holy Spirit speaking to their spirit. Unless they would believe the witness of the hunger relief worker and choose to go to a better place, it would seem foolishness for the perishing to leave their land, their home and go to some place that they do not know of.

Therein is the work of the Missionary, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher and yes, the individual Christian believer.  Some believe our message, are saved and fed with Spiritual food.  Others reject our message, maybe they see us as thinking we are better than them. The truth is we have all sinned, everyone, the believer and non-believer alike. We see this in Romans 3:21-26

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 2and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Some think that believers are passing judgement on them when they tell them what is wrong with the way they are living. But the truth more likely is that out of their own fear and reverence for God, they feel that they MUST warn others of the judgement and wrath to come. Being a Christian witness is not easy. Believers have the same fear of rejection and ridicule that the rest of the world fears. We feel the sting of the mocking and sneers of those we reach out to; like the relief workers taking food to a starving people that hungrily eat the food given to them, but refused to be truly helped.

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One Comment

  1. Jeff says:

    blog on, brother…there’s some good meat here. i wonder how many times Christ would have returned to the desert to “feed the hungry” (to carry on with your metaphor) if they did not received the message & move to more fertile land after His first visit? Is there a political lesson here for the USA? Is there a spiritual lesson here for Christians? Does Matthew 10:14 apply? All these questions just add to the complexity of witnessing & being a good steward of our time & other resources. I guess, in the end, I’d rather be guilty of too much genorosity than not enough. God judges the heart. Let love be our motivation.

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