What a contrast in Kingdoms I witnessed over the last couple weeks, I went on a Mission trip to Jamaica with Teen Challenge 2 weeks ago, then took my family to Disney world the following week and to quote my ex-Biker friend Ricky Corn, “I’ve seen some things” , I have also heard some things.
You may have heard me speak of the stages of the masculine journey before as John Eldredge outlines them, that a man after his boyhood, cowboy ranger, warrior, lover then becomes a King and a good King is easily spotted by what it’s like to live in his Kingdom. David in the Bible is a great example of a good King. With that in mind let me contrast Walt Disney with the King of England or Queen as the case may be in Jamaica, the fruit of which is easily seen and heard.
First how do they care for special needs children at Disney World; they go to the front of every line and are celebrated by Aladdin or Jasmin or Mikey and Minne, in Jamaica they throw them in the gutter, literally. The people there believe they have an evil spirit and they throw them out to die. I went to the Bethlehem Catholic Mission for the unlovable children there where the Church there roams the streets looking for these handicapped children in the gutters. I saw maybe 50 or 60 infants tiny babies and children up to about 14 years in diapers and confined to wooden cribs and that was at least another 60 or 70.
Any decent building in Jamaica has a 20 foot wall with razor wire and most have an armed security guard, what few police are armed with Machine guns and dressed in fatigues. I can honestly say I never really felt safe. Two nights a week they mount giant speakers and I mean giant speakers like the size of a motor home and I’m guessing about 30 of those on a mountain in Ochos Rios and play this Music/ Screaming it started around 4pm and went till at least 3pm, this recording was made at 2:30am.
Those going to this giant party high on cocaine and marijuana, with prostitutes dancing on poles lining the streets up the mountain. I was solicited to buy marijuana almost every time I was in public and you can smell it everywhere with many, many smoking with a glassy look in their eyes.
I did get a chance to speak with many recovering drug and alcohol victims during our work at the teen challenge farm and the fruit of this rampant partying is fatherlessness. I’ll share one story, I’ll call him Mr. Jones, he was about 50ish and a tall well spoken Jamaican. He shared how his mother couldn’t care for him alone so he was given to his aunt, he never knew his name or his birthday until he was in his 20’s. He told me how when people would ask his birthday in school he would just pick a date and in the next class would pick another date. When he was about 22 he went to the magistrate to find his birth certificate in order to find his father, there he found out his name was Emily and his birthday and his father. He discovered he had a half brother and sister. None of his family would acknowledge any relation except to say he looked nothing like his father, insinuating his mother was a promiscuous.
Mr. Jones kept coming back to this story in our conversation, the pain of it was deep and intense. He kept asking me, “why won’t they call him ‘our father’, it is always my father and why do they insist I don’t look like him.
After about the third time he shared this with me in the span of our 10 minute conversation, I got up very close, looked deep into his eyes and God gave me these words. “you know Mr. Jones the more I look, the more I see the resemblance, you look just like ‘our Father’.” At first he looked at me like I was crazy, then I pointed to heaven and the smile on his face erupted. Faithlessness like Simba in the Lion King, we have forgotten who we are, the son of the King.
Now contrast this to a good King as clearly Walt Disney was, a creative visionary who wanted the world to experience an amazing Kingdom, full of adventure and beauty and yes love, as told in all the marvelous stories. He taught every cast member to share the love and the adventure and so it lives on, contrast the song, ‘Its a Small World’ with that so called music above.
So what does this have to do with King of the Road, well we all make choices every day in our own Kingdoms, are we good Kings or bad Kings, what is it like to live in our Kingdoms at work or at home and surely at Church and yes even in our driving, what does it look like, feel like, sound like to live in your Kingdom.
The Jamaican History of Pirates and slavery is quite a contrast as well to our Pilgrim and Puritan, Moravian, Baptist and Methodist heritage, that led to good Kings like you will see at the Hall of the Presidents at Disney World, we have been so blessed to have had George Washingtons and Abraham Lincolns, Teddy and Franklin Rosevelts, compared to Captain Morgan. God did bless America with great Kings, I believe because that’s what the people wanted. The people would reject the corrupt and choose the good because they knew God. Its that simple but by no means easy. So will we leave behind a great Kingdom for our children to enjoy? The choices God entrusted to us astound me.