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

Friday, September 6, 2019

the way

“When politicians start talking about large groups of their fellow Americans as 'enemies,' it's time for a quiet stir of alertness. Polarizing people is a good way to win an election, and also a good way to wreck a country.”
                     Molly Ivins

We live in a polarized world
With live in a world
Where divisions are purposefully nurtured

The polarities are many
Liberal and conservative
Black and white
Rich and poor
Privileged and vulnerable
Progressive Christian and Evangelical Christian

But is seems to me that there is one profound polarity
From which comes many others

This is the polarity between people who
Are “me” people,
versus those we are “we” people

The polarity between those who believe we are put here
To help each other
And those who scream “socialism” (something few of them understand)
As if it were a dirty word.

This polarity has many facets
It is about choosing the way of domination and control
And choosing the way of humility and service

How one thinks about everything is determined by this one polarity
Ones’ religion
One’s sexuality
One’s relationship to money
And power

All is profoundly impacted by whether one is engrossed in essential selfishness
Or essential generosity

The way of selfishness has many so called fruits
Economic Inequity
Fear (after all, I must be afraid of those who might take something that is mine, or that I think is mine)

But the way of selfishness creates deep wounds
It creates apathy, robbing us of empathy
It creates cruelty
It smiles with glee over a photo opportunity
While standing next to a baby whose parents have both been killed by a racists

It seizes and deports people who are contributing our society
While leaving stunned children with our parents

This way shreds community
And leaves it in tatters
Leaving a few with much
And many with little

But then there is the other end of this pole
The way of generosity and service

Some look at this way of being
And consider its adherents as weak

There is nothing weak about being empathetic
Nothing week about giving up some of what you have for others
Nothing weak about standing up for the vulnerable,
Nothing weak about resisting those in power
Nothing weak about saying what you believe
Putting your time and money on the line
Nothing weak about talking out

Caring is risking
Sometimes dangerous
Which is why Jesus likened it to “taking up a cross” and following him

For that is the Jesus way
The way of generosity and compassion

It too has fruits
Healthcare for all

This way makes us kind….
It feeds the hungry
Houses the homeless
Provides clothing for the marginalized
Welcomes the immigrant

This way welcomes all into the church
All to the table

There are politicians out there, calling us to essential selfishness
They are people, profoundly afraid of this radical way

But it is
Like it or no
The way of Jesus

And it reflects God’s paradoxical kind of power
And power expressed
In service and love

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