Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Thursday, August 16, 2018

What kind of God do you worship?

“when the imitation of Christ does not mean to live a life like Christ, but to live your life as authentically as Christ lived his, then there are many ways and forms in which a man can be a Christian.”
                                                            Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer

There is a place in scripture where we are told to be imitators of God
To, literally

Live in love
And give of ourselves

But somehow it often seems to go wrong

Perhaps it has to do with the God we imitate
For some people God is judgmental, stern, retributive, even angry
God is a God with conditional love
A God who demand and expects and puts all kinds of conditions on sacred love

And so, our imitation of God
Becomes a matter of “us” and “them”
“in and “out”
“Good” and “Bad”
“Blessed” or “cursed”

Having kind of an ugly God
We become kind of ugly people

But, if God is love
If God’s love is unconditional
If God sees the worth in all people
Then we move into a love that is generous

A love that does not shame the poor
Exclude those different from us

If you want to know what kind of God you worship
Then look at how you view the person who is among the “least of these”

Then you will know
Then you will know

But just remember
In the end… God is love

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

love versus attachment

“Love wants the best for others. Attachment takes hostages.”
                                             Louise Penny, The Cruelest Month

Love is an amazing thing
Love sets us free from the self
And gives us an eye for the other

It gives us the wisdom
That joy is to be found most profoundly
In the act of giving others joy

Attachment is another matter
Attachment is the grim task of hanging on

To people
To values
To agendas

it moves us away from others
in a paradoxical way,
toward ourselves

and often becomes essential selfishness
A patriotism that is rigid and brutal
A “love” that is obsessive and manipulative

“Attachment takes hostages”
Children in cages on the border
Women who are abused
Children who are oppressed
Church members who are manipulated

Love is selfless
Attachment is selfish
Love is freeing
Attachment is controlling
Love enables growth
Attachment encumbers
Love is ego reducing
Attachment is ego boosting

Attachment can destroy love
Love will transcend attachment

No matter what the relationship
Between one and country
One and one’s job
One and another person (children, one’s love)

We want to love
Without an unhealthy attachment

I want to love my country
Not have an attachment to that causes me to support walls, and exclusion,
Not an attachment that makes me blind to where we could be better
And unwilling to change

I want to love the woman in my life
My children
My friends
The members of my church the same way

Because I want what is best for my country
My church
The people in the pews
For my family
And yes,
For you

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A global view

“We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.”
                                              Wendell Berry, The Long-Legged House

Essential selfishness
It is the stuff that politicians sell

It the place from which comes
The darker angels
Lust of power

America First!

It’s all about us

The rest of the world is there to satisfy our rapacious hunger
And they should be happy
To feed us

This plays out at so many level
It is seen in the acts of Congress
In the “minster” who drives up to his megachurch in his $350,000 car

It is seen in the people “packing” in McDonalds
And in the super patriots who cheer the caging of children

It is seen in the desire to “remove” people who are different from our country
In the ability to neglect the vulnerable and the poor
It is seen in the angry faces, and crude gestures of people debasing the press

Some how we think all this power
All this anger
And this self focus
Will make us strong
Keep us safe
Get us what we need

It won’t

The odd economy of the Kingdom
Suggests that
We must think a different way

That is not about me, it is about we
It is about all of us
Who inhabit spaceship earth
Finding a way

To live together
Survive together
Flourish together

And the economy of God suggests
That if anyone is left behind

That is not good

It is not good for us
For they are us
And we have left part of ourselves behind
And we have become smaller

Perhaps that is the problem in America
We have become smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller
All in the name of seeking to be great

So it is time to change the question
Time to change the focus

From what is good for me?
What do I need?
To, what is good for us, for all the family of God?
And what can I do
To meet that need?