I am gifted with a great imagination, and an analytical mind, and getting out of the boat, like Peter, to walk on the water toward a promise God has given me, makes me realize just how big those waves of doubt and uncertainty can be. Like a heads up display, I see every possible scenario, both good and bad, with its probability firmly floating above the wave, either granting hope, or threatening impending doom.
As adults we often don’t realize just how many of our decisions are based on similar attempts at fitting in, at defining our identity, at finding our role within our social context. Did I come to this church because it provides the best theological teaching, or because it offers the best programs, or the best adult groups? Did I take this job because I love doing it, or because this type of job pays more money than one that I love to do – and by extrapolation, more money will allow me to get what I really crave?
So, to me, for someone to say that they are “spiritual, but not religious,” means that they are saying something to the effect of “I’m a human being.”
Of course, I’m being deliberately obtuse with my own question, because what people generally want to convey with that statement is that they simply do not subscribe to any form of organized religion, and prefer to find their own method of making sense of the world; that they do not find any meaning in the structures others have created, but prefer to create their own order within the chaos.
Instead of responding to their question, Jesus begins to write in the dirt, and finally says, “Let anyone of you here who is without sin, throw the first stone at her.” And then he keeps writing.
Slowly, one by one, from the oldest first to the younger, all begin to walk away.
Just this morning I ran across an old Facebook post on someone’s timeline. By old, I mean about three months old. It was of a letter from a political candidate who was predicting food shortages, lack of police officers; basically, general chaos moving into the fall and winter of 2021. The predictions were the typical fear-mongering, laced with a smattering of Biblical references to make the whole thing sound like the coming Apocalypse, and that this was prophecy. Cue the air raid claxons and the faint voices of monks chanting in the background.
As I pray through the Morning Prayers, I most often choose to end the prayer with the verses from Ephesians, which read, “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen..” Ephesians 3:20-21
“Too many of you are competing to sit at a table that Jesus would have flipped over.” Some random meme Recently, that meme popped up on my Facebook feed, and I hadRead More…
The stark contrast between my beautiful weekend and the reality of Monday morning made me aware of how easy it is to lose the peaceful nature of those moments away from routine, and I wondered how beautiful it would be to experience those moments I experienced on the retreat in the normal routine of my life. I wondered if it would be possible to live in the mindset of the retreat in every moment.
I’ve seen books that hype the new way to experience the divine, new methods for seeking God, new ways to enter into that state of bliss that helps us to commune with God.
And these books always seem to sell well. They sell well, because the old, tried and true methods for finding God have been tried, and found not to be true.
Many of us, in the days following the riot and attack on the capitol building on January 6th of this year, have come to wonder how people who claim to know Jesus could have ended up storming the capitol with the intent of causing harm to those within its walls. Causing harm, when the Jesus they claim to follow expresses the mandate to “love your neighbor,” and “pray for your enemies.” Nowhere does Christ seem to indicate that violently beating your enemies with a flagpole is the way of love, nor even something he wants his followers to do.