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, October 23, 2020

nothing like a little temptation

As long as the Church bore witness from the margins in some sense, and as long as we operated from a minority position, we had greater access to the truth, to the Gospel, to Jesus. In our time we have to find a way to disestablish ourselves, to identify with our powerlessness instead of our power, our dependence instead of our independence, our communion instead of our individualism. Unless we understand that, the [teachings of Jesus, and Jesus himself] isn’t going to make any sense.

                               Richard Rohr


For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?  Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?

                               Jesus (Mark 8:36)


Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,

          ‘Worship the Lord your God,

              and serve only him.’”

Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.





Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness

He was tempted by power


It was a temptation much like that offered Adam and Eve

grab all you can

all the knowledge, all the power

be like God!


As sat in the hot emptiness

Surrounded by the rubble of creation

Rocks strewn like the ruins of a fallen temple


The temptations came


to appeal to the people by giving them what they want

but not what they need


to hold a political rally and give the people a spectacle

so they would “worship” him


to grab hold of earthly political power

and control it all


Jesus rejected this way of power and domination

and chose a very different way


he taught a different way

turning the theology of power into a theology of

service, even suffering


blessed are the poor

blessed are the hungry

blessed are the meek

blessed are those who mourn (feel for others)

blessed are the kind and merciful

blessed are those who create peace




And it gets harder!

the first shall be last

you must give to receive

you must die to self to find yourself

you must die to live

you must put others ahead of yourself,


“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2)

actually Paul said that! But he was channeling Jesus!


none of this makes sense if you have a theology of domination

none of this


it only makes sense if we live on the fringes


if we identify with powerlessness instead of power,

dependence instead of independence,

communion instead of individualism.


Jesus ministry started with the temptations

it ended on a cross

after another blood sweating, painful temptations


the path Jesus set it clear

and it is the only way to get to the Christ

who brings the Kingdom of God into being


and yet

and yet


here we sit, for 37 days

in the rubble of the world

in the twisted wilderness of climate change

and armed militia

and abusive and dishonest leaders




confronted by a choice

between the way of power and domination

and the way of servanthood and service


what will it be?

what will we choose?


No choice will be perfect

But I will make the choice that I believe is the choice that aligns with

Acceptance and inclusion

Kindness and generosity

Unity and compassion

Kindness and love


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