Welcome

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



Saturday, June 15, 2019

You can rise


“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
 Maya Angelou
_________________________

These days it doesn’t take much to push me to brink of defeat

A parishioner responding badly to what felt like an innocent post
A bad review from a person rating your workshop
Another day of lies from politicians
Another walk with my monkey brain saying

“you suck”

I remember a time when I felt I was effective
Witty
Smart
Articulate
Handsome
Powerful
Persuasive
Helpful
Even sexy

But now?

If feels as if I live on the edge of incompetence

As if I am not longer
Witty
Smart articulate
Handsome
Powerful
Persuasive
Helpful
Or sexy

I just feel space
I have roles I probably should hand over to others

I remember a couple years ago when my board
Confirmed my worst fears
“You suck” they said
“You are gone”

And so I was

Replaced by people with more energy
More smarts
More charisma
More attention to detail

And now, too many days I am saying that to myself

Time to wrap it up
Call it a day
Or a life (not that is not a suicidal statement)

It is hard to let go
Of the illusion of competence

But I suspect that if I just accepted
And de-fused

It would be better for the world
And perhaps
Even better
For me

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Screw duality


Sometimes I wish life weren’t so messy
Sometimes I dream for the blessed anesthesia of black and white
Yes and No
Saved or Lost
Right or Wrong

Sometimes it was all nice, and neat

But instead it is messy

Jesus entered fully into the untidiness of this world

He embraced it all
The beauty and the ugliness
The fear
The legalism
The uncertainty

He entered into the ambiguity and pain
Because that was the only way he could really
Be in the world
See the world
Touch the world

And so he was born in poverty
went down into the muddy water of the Jordan, to receive a sinners baptism
he wandered in the desert
he ate with sinners
he was praised and reviled
he was beaten and scorned
and killed, unjustly

and he calls us, his followers
to follow, follow, follow

We cannot hide behind the rules
We cannot hang on desperately to certitude
We cannot focus on what is rigid and settled
And refuse to enter the uncertainty

For if we do
We can no longer see, people
We can no longer feel, the pain
The confusion
The fear

Instead we will walk around muttering
“the scriptures say, the scriptures say,”
And lose our capacity for empathy

We will not see the young woman, pregnant from a rape
We will not see her life in tatters
Her anger, her fear, her anguish
We will only see our belief that abortion is wrong
And lose our capacity to see her
This living breathing person, who is in so much pain

We will not see the person who happens to be LGBTQI
We will grab hold of a few lines of a letter
Written over a thousand years ago
And not see the value, the beauty of that person
Who is so precious in God’s sight

Jesus always saw the person first
The one standing in front of him
He saw them completely, fully
And with the eyes of love

And for that person, he broke the law
He went against scripture (how many times was he accused of violating scripture!)
And to that person he offered acceptance, and forgiveness, and love

And more than once he said
“you have heard it said, but I say”
As he raised the bar
And called us to higher levels of empathy
And compassion
And generosity
And love

We cannot allow the comfort of certainty
To blind us
To close our minds, and hearts and souls

That is not the Jesus way
The Jesus way is to lead with the heart
The Jesus way is to enter into the mess
And always, always
See the person in front of us
As a child of God…

And love

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

I can't do this anymore


Once you've had enough and you can't do it anymore, you consider the possibility that there might be a better way. That's when your head cracks open and God comes in.
Marianne Williamson
____________________________

I have heard myself say it
All too many times lately

I can’t do this any more

I can’t do forgiveness
I can’t do love
I can’t do generosity
I can’t counter falsehoods with facts

I can’t confront what I think is ill

I can’t keep trying to look past the behaviors
To the person
To the soul

I just can’t

I am too angry
Too sad
Too disappointed
Too frustrated

Perhaps, if the truth were told
I am simply too empty

The reality is
I could never do any of the things I desired in the first place
Without the Sacred
Rocking and rolling in my soul

Pushing me
Challenging me
Moving me into action

Getting me past my self
My priorities
My fears
My prejudices

Setting me free from all those things
“out there” that would suck me dry
And leave me

Empty

I have no chance of being a force for good in the world
Unless I am, like a vine, connected to a life giving branch

I have no chance of staying alive, emotionally and spiritually
Unless I have a spring of living water, welling up in my soul

And that is the beautiful thing about reaching the point
Where one can’t do it any more

Because that is when the wind blows
The fire burns
The water springs up

That is when all that is God
Flows through us

And we pick ourselves up
And start again…

Paul got it
as he honestly admitted (Romans 7)
“My own behaviour baffles me. For I find myself not doing what I really want to do but doing what I really loathe. … I often find that I have the will to do good, but not the power…

 I thank God there is a way out [of this ambivalence]
through Jesus Christ our Lord”

I thank God when I can’t do it any more
That the God in me (that is the secret after all)
says (in effect)….

“finally, now its my turn”