I have been living in Tasmania for thirteen days now, and I have noticed that I am indeed in a strange land. The first thing would strike anyone coming from Canada would be the way Australians never seem to care to discover how I am doing, but, rather, would like to know very much how I am going. Of course, the oddity dissolves away when one sits down and thinks on both phrases.
"Hi there, how ya goin'?"
"Hi there, how ya doin'?"
For all intents and purposes it seems as though the strange phrase belongs to us here in North America. The question we would all like to be answered is how the person in question's day is going for them. It would make sense if we asked "What are you doing", "How are you doing it?", but "How are you doing?" is nothing short of nonsensical.
Other bizarre phrases include: tape line (measuring tape), rotary hoe (tiller), and twitch (quack grass), toilet (restroom), lift (elevator), no worries.
I had the strangest experience in a long time last week. One of the brothers here asked me if I would like to drive into town. After several deep breaths, I hopped into the driver's seat and closed the door with my right hand, shifted into drive with my left and begin to drive on the left side of the road. For the most part of the trip, driving went very smooth once I got used to the fact that left-hand turns are more desirable than right-hand ones. Since I was able to concentrate on what I was doing for most of the time, there were no worries. A thought did strike me, however, when the brother in the back seat said "Sorry, Joey, you'll want to turn left here up ahead, quick!". Since I was in the middle lane and had only a fraction of a second to move over into the left lane, I had to act fast and quickly signal and move over.
As the wipers when on as I moved left, I realized I had shown my red and white colours to all who were witness to the event. For those of you who might not be aware of it yet, in Australia, signalling is accomplished with right hand, and the windshield wipers are activated with the left.
Analyzing afterwards, I realized that while all was calm and I was able to concentrate on what I was doing, I succeeded in acting the way everybody does in this country, but when an event occured that required an instinctive response, I responded in the way that was most natural to me. This relates very nicely to a discourse Jesus once gave.
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall e in danger of hell fire."
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart"
"I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall mary her that is divorced committeth adulery."
"But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on they right cheek, turn to thim the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that which despitefully use you and persecute you."
I need not continue, nor comment heavily save this one thought to ponder: citizens of the Kingdom of God respond to situations in a way that coincides with what Jesus is talking about. It is rather simple to follow these rules when everybody is watching, but what about those times when an instinctive response is required. As humans we are able to "fabricate" our responses with fair warning, but when a situation comes upon us that comes out of nowhere, we are only able to respond with Kingdom mindedness if we are actual citizens.
One more quick story on this point:
One summer day, as Andrea and I were making one final trip to our apartment with the intention to clean up for the next tenants, I went outside to throw out some garbage, when I met this shirtless, drunk native fellow who asked me for some money. I didn't have any, and when I told him this, he asked me for my shirt. I thought this was a rather odd request, and upon seeing my confusion and hesitation, he began to tell me all the reasons why I should give him my shirt. This went on for not less than five minutes, and then appeared a sober white man who was wearing a shirt, who appeared to be this first man's friend. I thought this was going to be the end of this very strange meeting, because I assumed this second man would make the first man see reason. As it turned out, this second man laughed when he heard the story and told me, "He won't stop. You better give him your shirt." I finally consented and gave the man my shirt, and I walked home topless.
Some people would think I performed an incredibly selfless act, but in reality, I was in total opposition to what Jesus had taught. If I were being a mindful citizen of the Kingdom, I would not have hesitated to give him my shirt. But I did hesitate. I had no time to prepare, and needed to respond instinctively. And I thought what an obviously bizarre request. I need not give him my shirt, I said as I signalled with my left hand.