WHAT IF WE DON’T NEED THE BOX?
It’s the perfect day to talk trees on this rainy Arbor Day of 2023! Julius Sterling Morton is the man to thank for started this holiday. Plant a tree in memory of your loved one. In 1872, Morton declared: “If I had the power, I would compel every man in the State who had a home of his own to plant out and cultivate fruit trees.”
In garden design, trees create the foundation, the canopy, and the soil conditions for all other plants underneath to survive. Maybe this is why throughout scripture fruit trees are used to teach foundational lessons. There are two fruit trees in the creation story of Genesis, and by the End of Times one of them is mentioned in Revelation –The Tree of Life
I wonder if this is why the American public education system uses the same symbolism – the fruit tree. Since American schools used to be grounded in the Biblical truth of our U.S. Constitution, this would make sense. But I honestly don’t know. I just find it curious how these two teachers – the Bible and Public School – can be so polar opposite in philosophy and yet use the same symbolism.
This article was inspired by SoWashCo’s Two Fruit Trees of DEI’s Achievement and Integration model.
The popular narratives often contradict the Bible in lockstep, which I find both terrifying and exciting. It is terrifying because the children are suffering in a system that has become so hostile toward Christians that Biblical narrative is flipped on its head. Children are assigned books that mock Biblical prophesy without the knowledge to recognize the lie. It is pure deception.
In the deception though, I also find the most overwhelming joy! There are two paths in life to choose between, just as there were two trees in the Garden of Eden, and we are seeing New Testament lessons playing out right in front of our eyes! One is the path of life, and one is the path of death. There are two opposite forces of good and evil and two opposite parties of thought. One party wants globalism like King Nimrod with his Tower of Babel, whereas the other party wants local control to live in community with family and friend and neighbor.
Why is there so much sickness and suffering? To name your sickness is to gain power over it. First name it, diagnosis it, accept it, recognize it, learn from it, live in it, treat it, and finally CURE IT. To know that we can CHOOSE to live and die in chaos, or we can CHOOSE to live and survive in God’s order … That is a beautiful thing to behold.
The Tree of Equity and the Tree of Equality.
When South Washington County Schools presented their 3-year Achievement and Integration Plan back in 2020, they used the analogy of a fruit tree to explain why efforts in equity were superior to equality. Others may use the analogy of a ball game over a fence, but the concept is the same. HEIGHT is the implied problem of injustice between the advantaged and the disadvantaged while a BOX is the implied solution to creating equal outcomes.
The FRUIT symbolizes achievement to becoming “whole”
HEIGHT implies privilege and disparity in reaching “success.” The BOX is the solution used by the government to promise the disadvantaged equitable access to the fruit. SUCCESS is therefore the outward appearance of being tall.
Many have come to accept this narrative as TRUTH … but is it?
What if we don’t need a box to make us tall?
The box is giving the child a temporary advantage, yes. But the government is also benefiting from the box. It is growing bigger. Therefore, the current Socialist narrative has established a framework for enabling itself first, not its children.
The most disadvantaged child is standing on the highest box. This means he also has THE GREATEST DISTANCE TO FALL.
Government COULD establish funding to grow the family instead of itself. This would surely be in the best interest of the child. Instead government chooses to grow itself. Why? Presumably self preservation.
What if the fruit we reach for is bad?
The Apostle Paul writes, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21 NLT)
I don’t think you have to be a Christian to identify with this scripture lesson. Does our world seem a little hostile, divisive, angry, lustful and selfish? The popular narrative mirrors desire for the bad fruit of Genesis.
What if being tall doesn’t make us whole?
Maybe the things that make us taller, like boxes, stairs, and ladders are actually developing greater dependency and weakening resolve. Maybe the reliance on artificial constructs is creating a false sense of security and confusion about what is true and what is fake. The child in poverty with no books, food, shelter or hope needs a mom, a dad and a community of support … not a box.
Truth be told, a 4 foot tall child standing on a box is still only a 4 foot tall child standing on a box.
The Biblical Narrative
The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life.
What if opportunity surrounds us like a vine of fruitful abundance regardless of how “tall” we are? What if opportunity meets us exactly where we are, knows exactly where we have been, and can see exactly where we are going?
This is what it is like to follow Jesus Christ. We are called to love one another and, through our individual talents, offer up that first fruit to the ONE body of Christ.
In the Bible, lasting rewards do not come to those who are the tallest. By this I mean the richest in wealth, the intellectually well studied, or the pridefully famous. Nor does success come to those whose goal it is to become like gods.
The Tower of Babel
“Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”Genesis 11:4
This was to be a symbol of Babylon’s power and self-sufficiency, but it was in direct opposition to God’s command to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Genesis 9:1) So the Lord scattered them across the whole earth and confused their language, which is where the word Babel comes from (Genesis 11:8-9).
Be Like Children
“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”Matthew 18:3-4
The Rich Young Man
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, Who then can be saved?Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”Matthew 19:24-26
Be fruitful and multiply
Live by the fruit of the Spirit
Offer up your first fruits to God
Fruit of the Spirit
To live Life by the Spirit, Paul tells the Galatians. “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16-17)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:21-24 (NIV)
Trees of the Bible
In the Garden of Eden there is 1) the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and 2) the tree of life (Genesis 2:8-17). They represent the opposites of life and death. Choosing to eat fruit from the tree of life means choosing to live by the truth of God’s word in scripture, as opposed to the truth of the self (the world’s word). In the future, this same tree of life is also mentioned in Revelation 2:7, when God says, “To the victor I will give the right to eat from the tree of life that is in the garden of God.”
In Zechariah 4, there is the golden lampstand and two olive trees. In the Prophets vision, the two trees are believed to represent 1) the offices of Israel’s priest Joshua, and 2) the offices of Israel’s king, Zerubbabel, who restored the Temple after the exile. Two olive trees are also referenced by John in Revelation 11, and they are accompanied by lamps which represent the two witnesses who provide light in spiritual darkness.
Peter says in Acts 5:30
“The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.”Acts 5:30
I absolutely love this explanation Ray Sullivan writes about The Trees of Life.
“The cross, then, becomes the New Testament tree of life, because the great sacrifice of Jesus on that tree leads to eternal life for us all. In Matthew 26:26-28, Jesus gave us the Eucharist, or Himself, to eat of, so that we will never die (which counteracts Satan, who roams throughout the world seeking someone to devour). Therefore, the Eucharist is the fruit of the tree known as the cross. This is a kind of “bookend theology,” where mankind in the New Testament is saved by the exact same method as mankind fell in the Old Testament – by eating something from a tree.“ (Link HERE)
I am just beside myself in amazement at how beautiful this is.
In Romans, Chapter 11, there is the Olive Tree of Salvation, which is symbolic of new life for all who believe in the salvation of Jesus Christ, Israel and Gentile alike. Some branches of the good tree were broken off, and some branches of the wild olive tree were grafted in.
Living out God’s TRUTH is contrary to popular TRUTH in every way.
“Fruit trees always need to be pruned in order to be strengthened and to bear more fruit. When a fruit tree is pruned, it undergoes great stress. But the stress produces more shoots, which leads to more fruit. The stress also makes the tree trunk grow stronger faster. Tree pruning is directly analogous to human suffering, which also makes us grow in God’s ways stronger and faster.” written by Ray Sullivan (above) who explains this perfectly.
Jesus speaks of hardship in John 15:1-2
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”John 15:1-2
I think most of us try to teach our children how to navigate through the World’s narrative without it devouring them. I think you can hold any number of religious beliefs and still want that for your child.
…‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” —Zechariah 4:6
MAYBE WE DON’T NEED THE BOX. MAYBE WHAT WE NEED IS JUST THE OPPOSITE – TO GET ON OUR KNEES AND SERVE ONE ANOTHER AS A FAMILY, IN COMMUNITY, TOGETHER.
Coming up in May is a continuation of the umbrella family titled, “Of Masculine Importance.” What happens to balance when the pyramid is flipped on its head? Check back in or subscribe to my blog below for email notifications.
And Happy Arbor Day!