I’ve often decried the vile, despicable, corrupt, run-down, gang-infested, crime-riddled, drug-awash city of Lawrence, Massachusetts. It really is, in microcosm, a wonderful case study of what’s wrong with American cities.
But it’s not all bad. I am reminded of this every time I think of a couple of friends of mine. They’re a young, married couple. Very decent folks, hard working, honest, devout, even attending Missionary school, and nice, too.
And they live in Lawrence.
Lawrence, where for sport punks will take a BB gun and shoot out the windows of a bus filled with developmentally disabled children.
The female half of the couple (they’re a traditional married couple, unlike some other types around Massachusetts) asked me a while ago how I reconciled my feelings towards their city and them. I thought about it minute, and was reminded of a passage in the BIble. Naturally, as an agnostic,I only recalled a few vague details, but she filled them in for me.
It’s Genesis, Chapter 18, when God goes to Abraham and his wife, telling them to get out of the decadent cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, because He’s planning on destroying them.
Abraham doesn’t defend his neighbors, but starts bargaining with God. If Abraham can find 50 righteous men, will God spare the city? God says yes. Then Abraham starts dickering. How about 45. Yeah, sure, says God. Abraham finally gets God down to ten righteous men.
It’s to no avail, of course. The only righteous man found is Lot, and he escapes.
That’s kind of how I think of my friends. They’re Lot and his family.
Were I a man of faith, I’d be more worried about them. But since I’m not, it’s just a metaphor.
I find myself hoping, though, that it might mean a bit more to them, and they get out of Lawrence before too long. After all, there are other ways someone can be destroyed besides a rain of fire and brimstone.