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

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Inward outward

The outward work will never be feeble if the inward work is great.  And the outward work can never be great or good if the inward work is feeble or of little worth.

                               Meister Eckhart



I did it again this morning

I woke up with a head full of garbage


With a head full of fears

And anger

A head full “if onlys” and “what ifs”

A head full of white nationalism

And constitutional crises


And then there is Trump, who recently has lived in my head,

controlling my thinking with his machinations just as he dominates

the media with his malevolence


and what I want to do

is push the garbage in the corner, into those dark and slimy places

and just carry on


I want to get up and get busy

After all, there are sermons to write, services to prepare

There are clients to see (whose issues make mine look mild)

Classes to teach

Horses and chickens to feed


and baby its cold out there!!!! (10 degrees)

and the snow is deep (1foot)


it would be so easy to leave the garbage where it lies

there in the corners


but I can’t


none of us can ignore our inner world

which if ignored

rots and festers


because it is what’s inside that counts

it is what is inside that determines how we function in this world


Eckhart reminds us that “God is not found in the soul by adding anything,

but by a process of subtraction”.


So just as was the case when I was a little child

one of my primary chores is to empty the garbage


other writers put it other ways

Paul says (Romans 12) “be transformed by the renewing of your minds”


Ezekiel says that if we turn to God, our God will remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh


We are told to seek forgiveness, to offer forgiveness, to repent

to turn our hearts and minds over to God, to meditate on God night and day

to pray without ceasing


In so many ways we are told to clean out the garbage

To order our inner lives

Or rather, to let God order our inner lives


It is difficult, this letting go of all that stuff that rattles around in our brains

It is harder than it might seem to make room for the Sacred


And yet, it is what is inside that counts

Whatever we are filled with is what we offer the world

If we are filled with greed we will live greed, and do greedy things

If we are filled with hate, we will live hate, and act with enmity

If we are filled with ego, we will never be able to see others, and feel for others

If we are filled with fear, we will ooze fear, and we will be defensive and offensive


If we are filled with love?


Then we are a different person

And if we can be those “different” people

Then we have a different home, a different community

A different nation

A different world


We cannot neglect our inner worlds

We cannot let FOX or MSNBC

We cannot let Trump or Biden or anyone else, we cannot let the world

“… squeeze [us] you into its own mold, but let God re-mold [our] your minds from within, so that [we] you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you [us] is good…”  (Romans 12, JB Phillips)


We must do the inner work of cleansing



We must create a free and friendly space for the Spirit to dwell


If we don’t, no matter how much we worry no matter how frantically we work

our work will be feeble


But if we do, then our outer work will honor God

(for it will be God at work through us)


and things will work together for good


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