Today I’m just trying something new: sharing a few of my thoughts (from a conversation earlier today) in an audio post! Just 9:51 for your listening enjoyment.
Today I’m just trying something new: sharing a few of my thoughts (from a conversation earlier today) in an audio post! Just 9:51 for your listening enjoyment.
The great sociologist of religion, Max Weber, placed the religious life between the poles of charisma and routine, between the spontaneous, excited outpouring of new life in the spirit and the dogged institutionalization of truth in everyday responsibilities. The mature life of faith is lived between the poles, not around either of them.
Eugene Peterson, Reversed Thunder, x-xi
Between the poles.
Between the poles of charisma and routine.
Charisma / glory / wow-factor / attractiveness / charm
Routine / mundane / dutiful obligations fulfilled
Neither are to become the settled-for, default, gathering pole for my life? Really, neither?
We have all definitely spent seasons of our lives being drawn to one pole or the other, each in their turn. We have fluttered, unwittingly, like moths to a porch light in the dark.
We’ve all had seasons of being drawn to the charisma of a certain leader or teacher, writer or pastor. Sure, their message was mostly(?) good, but if we’re honest it was their good looks, way with words, or the affirmation of our being “right” because we agreed with them that most attracted us to listen.
We’ve all had times of being drawn to the charisma of a fanatical life – whether celebrity or wealthy, skilled or knowledgable, ascetic or missionary – the extraordinary life that amazes and inspires. Sure, our motives were mostly(?) good, but we can’t deny that we craved the attention and accolades, the feeling of being “known” and the large and regular helpings of self-importance.
And: we’ve all had seasons of being drawn to the routine of a regular life with a reliable salary and the comfortable luxury of fast wi-fi. Sure, reliability and comfort and watching The Office reruns every night are mostly(?) good, but they make a small and terrible story as the lived-glory of our lives.
We’ve all had times of being drawn to the routine of memberships and involvements, the security of belonging somewhere that was sure to “count.” Sure, our motives were mostly(?) good, but we can’t deny that we loved the reassurance of being an insider on the inside, and the endless tasks and needs to fulfill that gave us a sense of accomplishment within and significance from without.
So: somewhere in-between? I wonder where that is. I wonder where that will be.
It makes me think of Jesus’ life: a life containing, indeed, a mix of charisma (authoritative preaching and amazing miracles and impassioned calls to repent) and routine (touching sick people and eating dinner with his friends and disappearing to pray alone). But Charisma did not mark his life, nor did Routine. Jesus the God-human was marked by the in-between things, things like: Love, Humility, Self-Control, Salvation. Character things. Lasting things. Things far more glorious than any charisma, far more reliable than any routine.
Some of the best (albeit invisible) work of our lives will be praying and disciplining ourselves to remain content with the in-between, resisting the undertow that pulls us willy nilly toward the cheap glamour of charisma and back again toward the false security of routine. It will be a fantastic working together of the miracle of God’s grace and of our tenacious self-mastery if we will live our lives marked by the character of the in-between: Love and Humility, Self-Control and Salvation.
Toward which pole do you most naturally gravitate? Why?
What will it take for you to remain in the in-between?
I’ve heard a few stories of loss this week. No deaths or anything that would make the church bulletin prayer list, really — just more of your everyday, behind-the-scenes, run-of-the-mill kinds of loss.
Loss of friendships. Loss of psychological bearings in a new season of life. Loss of inheritance. Loss of what were sunny expectations in a long-term relationship.
I have some of my own stories of loss; in fact, some of them sound a lot like these. I’m sure you have your stories, too.
Whenever I hear stories of loss, of course I feel extremely sad for the person suffering, my heart swells with empathy and I grieve their loss, no matter how small or foreign it may seem to be.
These stories have made me think again about the story of rich, successful, accomplished, self-made Zacchaeus and how his story is a story of loss. (Scroll down to read the story in its entirety; I pasted the text at the very bottom.) It was voluntary loss, but it was loss nonetheless. Zacchaeus’ life was going so well!! You would have loved it, wanted it, envied it. Upon coming face to face with Jesus, Zacchaeus impulsively stripped himself of his wealth, his success, his status, his honor, his best efforts to save face. Zacchaeus was already “in” in all of the ways that it was good to be “in.” In one fell swoop, he lost it all: “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And instead of empathy for what would prove to be great personal loss to Zacchaeus’ popularity, bank account, security, and personal comfort, Jesus unexpectedly burst out with my favorite line in the story: “Today salvation has come to this house!” Because stories of loss are stories of salvation.
Then, Jesus again: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
* * * * * *
We tend to think of the salvation of God as mostly sunny, like a beautiful summer day. We tend to picture the salvation of God as mostly ooey-gooey and delicious, like a brownie. We tend to think of the salvation of God as mostly emotionally triumphant, like a happy-tears-filled altar call.
No, the salvation of God often comes to us in the gloomiest, most bitter, most emotionally defeating places in our lives. The salvation of God often lies on the other side of loss. Whenever you lose something, voluntarily or involuntarily, you have come to the edge of salvation. In your most dismal moments of loss, you have arrived at the precipice of experiencing more of God and God’s salvific way of things.
Because stories of loss are stories of salvation.
In whatever areas of your life you hear yourself saying, “I feel so lost…” those are precisely the areas in which God is in the very midst – saving, restoring, healing, transforming: salvation. In whatever areas of your life you sense loneliness or hurt or grief or loss, those are precisely the areas in which God is inviting you to walk with him through the difficult mess and into newer, fresher, even more life-giving life: Eternal Life.
It is exactly in those lost places that the Son of Man comes to seek and save you. It is perhaps only when you are willing and ready to admit that you are, indeed, utterly and self-hopelessly lost that the Son of Man is able to seek and save you.
Don’t get me wrong: even if you let your loss lead you to the salvation of God, the salvation of God will not make you feel immediately, permanently sunny. You will still have a lot of muck through which to walk. (I mean, at the very least, your loves will need re-ordering, your vices will need confessing, and your pride will need humiliating.) Yes, the loss will still sting. In fact, the salvation of God may not alleviate any of the sting of the loss. Ever. But if you choose to let your losses lead you to the vast landscape of the salvation of God, you can be sure of a few things: that you will be with God (even if you can’t feel it) and that God will become more known to you (over time) and you will eventually benefit from knowing God more (and that will probably make you least a little bit happy).
Today you lost your inheritance? “Oh, how great! Today salvation has come to you!” Today you suffer a loss of psychological bearings in a new season of life? “Oh, how great! Today salvation has come to you!” Today you’ve lost another friendship? “Oh, how great! Today salvation has come to you!” Today you seem to have lost your sunny expectations in a long-term, established relationship? “Oh, how great! Today salvation has come to you!”
Loss leads to salvation? It’s an upside down world with Jesus, again, friends.
Luke 19: Zacchaeus’ Loss
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
This may come as a surprise to you (I know it definitely has to me!), but the longer I walk down the path toward God, the more drawn I am to already-written prayers. I find such ease in just reading, such comfort in finding my own feelings and thoughts already amply expressed, such unity in knowing that these are all prayers God has already fielded from so many holy mouths. I also find tremendous freedom of focus, having only to coax my heart into alignment with the words rather than to invent the words with my brain and coax my heart into alignment.
Today I offer you a prayer. I suppose that you could consider it an open prayer, along the lines of the open letter which is a cultural norm in our day. It is both a prayer for your sake and a prayer for your employ. I mean, I have already prayed it to God on your behalf and now I share it with you as a prayer that you may read to God on behalf of yourself and others. Don’t just read it. Try praying it.
I imagine your favor as being always in my periphery, as if you inhabit every corner of my home, my workplace, my neighborhood, my city, our world. You are too humble to appear front and center in every frame of my life. You prefer to sit at my side, to wait in the wings, to condescend yourself into a position of steady support. And yours is not the shallow support of a cheerleader – a baseless, arbitrary romance toward one team and a baseless, arbitrary hatred toward the other. No, yours is a deep and particular support for however and whatever leads ultimately to the Best Good for all. Couched in Wisdom. Founded in Reality.
I imagine turning occasionally to glimpse you and that whenever our eyes meet you are wearing a broadly goofy grin, nearly beside yourself with excitement just to be thought of and to have caught my attention for a moment. “Just admiring you,” you say. The smile takes over your entire face. It is almost an ugly smile, it is so robust. It makes me a bit uncomfortable. Anyone who has seemed to like me so much has always had ulterior motives. But there is something different about this grin. You seem simply, blissfully not to be aware of the social graces that keep most of us from expressing our uninhibited enthusiasm for whatever, whomever we love. It occurs to me that you are exactly like a child in this way. I cannot help it – a laugh bursts from my throat and out my mouth. It sounds fairly like a guffaw. I guess it is just that your face so caught me off guard. It is so unabashedly sincere, so indescribably splendid, and yet so innocently light-hearted. For a moment I am embarrassed at the abruptness of my laugh; it must have seemed fairly rude, to laugh essentially in your face. But you show no signs of embarrassment, even on my behalf. Social graces drown in the wake of instinct — of spontaneous reaction to life as it comes to you.
And so: what else could I do? In the face to so much emanating favor, and that directed so intently, so unobligatorily… toward me.The only thing to do was: laugh.
I suppose that it was my receipt of your favor.
I suppose that it was your receipt for your favor.
I think it might have been all you wanted.
…if you let God have influence over what it is that you want.
I think all of us have some discontentment, idealism, or longing — whatever you want to call it. We just have it for different things. Some of us can’t get enough money to buy stuff; others can’t get enough money for its sense of security. Some of us can’t get enough control/order over our lives; others can never have enough of the free whimsy that adventure offers. Some of us can’t get enough of the comfort of food and drink; others can never be disciplined enough, exercise enough, or get thin enough.
A lot of us want all of the above!
And of course, at some level, all of us want less of the negative things: our anxieties, our anger, the brokenness in our relationships.
I feel frustrated often by all of the things I want that I can’t seem to get. I often say to myself / God things like:
Why can’t I just change myself for good?
Why do other people seem to have blessed and easy lives while I struggle?
Why won’t my relationships heal themselves once and for all?
Why is this always so difficult?
Then, I had an idea:
Maybe the best way out of some of these frustrations is to submit my wants to God, asking not for the stuff to satiate me, but for a change in my expectations, deep contentment with what I already have, and Love to cover over it all.
Maybe some of the things I want seem benign and Good to me, but maybe they are actually self-serving and therefore not desires that God can get behind like I’d expected.
Maybe my discontentment is actually mostly greed.
Maybe my idealism is actually a lot of pride.
Maybe my longing is actually quite a bit of envy.
Maybe my discontentment, idealism, and longing does not need to be satiated, but rather utterly transformed.
God, change what we want so that we can be and have all that we want to be and have, according to Your Best Good for us in every way. We trust you. Amen.
But it’s not what you think.
First, let me say that I think overall we’ve done a grave disservice to the title and meaning of “pastor.” Because when I say “pastor,” don’t you automatically only think of people who work at church buildings and deliver sermons on Sunday mornings??
It’s sad, if you think about it.
We almost always use “pastor” as a noun only, as a label, as a title: “Pastor So-and-So of Such-and-Such Church.” It may certainly be used as a noun, but it is also a verb! All of us can and do pastor each other all the time — incidentally, mostly outside of church buildings, where the largest majority of pastoring is needed since most of us spend 166 hours of our week outside of church.
Also, unfortunately, we’ve reserved the title of “pastor” only for those who have jumped through our denominationally-imposed standards of education and vocational equipping.
By hoarding the title for the elite few, we’ve accidentally turned those few humans into the only living spiritual heroes or heroines we know. The poor things! What infinite pressure this accidentally puts on them! After all, they are just humans, too. They go back and forth between work and home every day, just like the rest of us, figuring out how to live and move and have their being in Christ. Their marriages are messy, just like ours. Their kids struggle within and without, just like ours. They don’t feel like praying and reading the Bible every goddamn day, just like the rest of us.
And, by hoarding the title for the elite few, oh how we miss out on the quiet pastors and pastoras among us who do at least as much if not more of the waiting on, serving, overseeing, and care taking of us day in and day out. (These italicized words are the what the Greek words for “pastor” have as their meaning and undertones.)
No, when I say I need pastoring, I have something else in mind. It’s not less than you think, it’s more. Way more.
I need way more than one person with the title of “pastor” that I see from a distance for a couple of hours one morning per week. I need a whole team of pastors popping in and out of my every day life, each with different gifts, insight, and help.
And I need way more than to hear a once-per-week sermon. I need to learn to hear the sermons that are floating in and around and all about my life constantly, preaching Grace and Truth and Love on the fly, in the moment, exactly when I’m in greatest need of pastoring, whether I know it or not.
Yes, we all need pastoring. And all of us are invited into the vast work of gently pastoring one another every day of the week.
Last week we went to the sea for a few days with dear friends. We stayed in the same big house together with all our kids. We ate together, played games together, played in the sand together, watched Honey, I Shrunk the Kids together, watched the rain together. And we pastored each other. (Though none of us have “pastor” as our regular job title.) Their baby was pretty sick and had a few hours off and on of being really fussy. We took turns holding the baby, pastoring the baby, giving each other breaks from the baby, inventing ways to keep the baby happy. Also, my kids are really loud. They took them down to the beach one afternoon so that I could actually take a nap! Then, one afternoon, two of the adults got in a fight over some legitimately difficult circumstances. Together, all four adults listened, coached, raised our voices, asked questions, affirmed, fought some more, and patiently pastored us all together to greater ways of seeing and understanding.
Though it wasn’t exactly happy and comfortable in the moment, in the end I was so grateful for the fussy baby and the loud kids. I guess I was just mostly so glad for us — that we’d created a culture where we could take turns sacrificing our own needs and agendas for the sake of each other.
Though it wasn’t exactly happy and comfortable in the moment, in the end I was so grateful for the fight. I guess I was just mostly so proud of us — that we’d created a culture where two people could have a very normal fight in front of each other and we could all work through it in a healthy way that led to resolution and actually even stronger relationships between us all.
We all need pastoring, every day. And we all need to offer our Love and our gifts to pastor alongside the people around us, every day. Because we need pastoring pastors everywhere, every day: care giving, overseeing, teaching, preaching, sermonizing, serving, being the humble spiritual heroes and heroines we need in a thousand different ways. We are all invited to learn the care-full, humble, messy, servant’s work of self-sacrificially pastoring one another in all of the moments of our lives, everywhere we go.
Will you let yourself be pastored? Will you humbly pastor the people around you?
I have developed a bit of a habit of beginning my work day with just a few minutes of quiet. The more difficult my work, the more consistent I seem to be. Hm. Anyway, the few minutes of quiet are usually composed of something like read-praying, or pray-reading. (I’m not sure which.) I find myself turning more and more to pre-written prayers that I can borrow as my own prayers. These prayers are especially great for when my brain is too foggy or too famished or too fraught with the big needs of my little life to come up on my own with very intelligent or genuine prayers. So, pretty much every day. It’s a good thing for me that Christ-followers have been writing down their prayers for thousands of years so that I can lean on them.
I have a few sources from which I read often, and I want to mention one to you today because I have found it to be consistently just what I need:
And the book is: Daily Strength for Daily Needs, collected by Mary W. Tileston. It is so old that:
Each daily reading consists of three short entries, usually one Scripture, one poem or song, and one paragraph/prayer. Here is what I read today:
Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
MATTHEW vi. 32
All as God wills, who wisely heeds
To give or to withhold;
And knoweth more of all my needs
Than all my prayers have told.
J. G. WHITTIER
LORD, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee; Thou only knowest what I need, Thou loves me better than I know how to love myself. O Father! give to Thy child that which he himself knows not how to ask. I dare not ask either for crosses or consolations; I simply present myself before Thee; I open my heart to Thee. Behold my needs which I know not myself; see, and do according to Thy tender mercy. Smite, or heal; depress me, or raise me up; I adore all Thy purposes without knowing them; I am silent; I offer myself in sacrifice; I yield myself to Thee; I would have no other desire than to accomplish Thy will. Teach me to pray; pray Thyself in me.
FRANCOIS DE LA MOTHE FENELON
Surely you do not need my commentary on that, but here it is anyway: just a few phrases that hummed louder than the rest and that now will stream through the back of my consciousness as I do my inward, outward, and upward Work today:
And knoweth more of all my needs
Than all my prayers have told…
…I simply present myself before Thee…
…I am silent; I offer myself in sacrifice…
…pray Thyself in me…
The entire mound that is my accumulated, prayed needs – filling many journals and many desperate prattling ons, I can assure you – is a tiny bump compared to the vast stack of my actual needs that are preserved, treasured, and pondered in the mind and heart of God. All that is mine to do is to show up to God, to present myself to God, to be sure that I am present and attentive if and when God’s Voice wavers in my general or specific direction. Even Prayer is not wholly mine to which to attend to — God prays in me.* A silent offering of myself is enough Prayer even for God.
A good way to start my work day, don’t you think? 😉
*PS. To read more about this – the idea of God praying in you – get your hands on something, anything written by Maria Boulding – it is a stunning and recurring theme of hers.
Wrestle, exercise, and go to practice every day to experience more and more what it means to let God restore every aspect of your being. Don’t ever get smug or over-confident toward God; just let God keep energizing you to focus on living congruently (with your motivations and actions in increasing alignment), trusting only in the simple fact of God’s goodwill toward humankind.
I’ve run up against something difficult today, and I’ve had to preach to my heart again the sermon about what to do with difficult things. Anyway, I thought maybe it could help a few of you, in case you, too, have run up against something difficult recently, and so here she is.
It pains me to know of your pain. Life is hard, isn’t it? And there always seems to be something, doesn’t there?
Well, from where I sit, you have two human-way options and one Christ-way option.
The first human-way option is to lie down and let the difficult circumstances or feelings mow over you. If it is something that brings out your fear/anxiety/worry, this means you will choose the safest path rather than the path of courage. If it is something that brings out your anger/rage, this means choosing resentment rather than freedom. If it is something that brings out your self-pity, this means you will choose to despair rather than hope. I have said that you “choose” a path, but in reality hardly anyone ever exactly chooses this path; it is almost as if this path chooses you. This is the path that most often just seems to happen to you when you do nothing in your power or in the power of the Spirit of God to do something differently. It is as if a river of your instinctively reactive thoughts and feelings picks you up and takes you with it, unwittingly, wherever it may flow.
The second human-way option is to attempt to transcend the difficulty by denying or avoiding its pain. “I’m not anxious,” you will hear yourself say, while your mind races and you cannot tear your thoughts away from the difficult thing. “Me? Angry? No way!” you will hear yourself say while bitterness simmers in your bones. “I’m fine,” you will hear yourself say, while you distract yourself with shopping or sex, screen or work, food or drink. A lot of Christians like to call this option the way of faith; it is actually the way of dishonesty. A lot of Christians like to consider this the heroic way. They chant positive phrases while they charge blindly ahead, unwittingly bayonetting Reality with the inchoate battle tactics of a revolutionary war soldier.
Another way to think of these two human-way options is to consider the invitation of N. T. Wright in The Challenge of Jesus: “[to hold on] simultaneously to the pain of the world and to the love of God…and to live in prayer at the places where the world [and ourselves in this world] are in pain.” [italics, mine] The first response to difficulty I have described would be like holding onto the pain of the world while abandoning the Love of God. The second response I have described is like holding onto the Love of God while abandoning the pain of the world.
Now. The third way. The Way of Jesus, the “Christ”-ian option, is to walk with God (and others) through the difficult thing.*
First, we will just sit with the reality that this thing is, indeed, difficult. Go ahead and let yourself admit it. You may even feel sorry for yourself for a moment, if you need. Poor you. Life is hard and the hits just keep on coming. If you live in the western world, if you had a mostly happy childhood, if you have imbibed any of the entitlement of the so-called American dream, these together have forged in you such a strong expectation for ease and comfort and happy-as-the-status-quo that any difficult thing really does seem to jar you deeply. I do not mean that as an indictment, just as an observation, and in response to your pain, I release an onslaught of sincere compassion for your plight.
man of sorrows
a life of descent
the pain of pain
At home you are
in your difficulty
It is wise of you to bring your difficulties, your worry, your ranting and raving, your habitual self-focus to the One who knows it all full-well and can handle it, can handle you.
Now. There is only one thing left to do: Keep walking. Only keep walking. Walk right on through it. Resist the temptation to let yourself be buried by it. (Do not stop or lie down on the path.) Resist the temptation to paste on a smile and avoid within and without the hardship of it. (Do not attempt a rainbow leap over the path in a single bound.) Instead, walk through it. Take in your small hand the gargantuan Hand of God. Put one foot in front of the other.
Your journey through difficulty may be short-lived. You may have forgotten it all by bedtime tomorrow. Or your journey may be long. You may still be forging this very same path through the dark, through the wilderness, through the desert of difficulty all your live long years. You simply do not know and it is not for you to know. It is only for you to walk.
Do not fret about your pace; do not feel guilt over the unsteadiness of your step. Do not pressure yourself to run or jog or skip. Do not lose hope if you lose the path entirely for a bit.
Do not feel the need to come up with fancy prayers, pouring out excesses to the Man of Sorrows who already knows. And, if you can, do not speak many words at all about the difficulty, whether to God or others. Give the difficulty a one word name, if you can, and then pray that word to God.
You do not have to resolve today all of the problems.
You do not have to bear today all of the misery.
You do not have to anticipate today all of the future.
Today you must simply walk.
Today you must simply walk through the portion of it that belongs to today.
Today you must simply walk.
Benediction: Concern yourself only with the difficulty of today, knowing that the Man of Sorrows hears your prayer and walks with you. Amen.
Peace & patience to you today, friend.
* Timothy Keller, in Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering, paints a brilliant picture of these three “options” for dealing with difficulties – the particular language here is mine, the idea was first planted in my mind by him.
In Ishmael (which I briefly reviewed here), Daniel Quinn tells a story that keeps returning to my thoughts. I will retell it to you here in the way that I retell it to myself, though I cannot guarantee that my memory of it will have entirely very much in common with Quinn’s original story. Nevertheless, it went something like this:
A man (with an especial interest in anthropology) was entirely alone on the undeveloped earth. (Think pre-civilization, not post-apocalypse.) The man wandered all over the planet, looking for life. Finally he arrived at the sea. Walking along the beach, he came to a jellyfish washed up on the sand. “And how did you get here?” he asked the jellyfish. “Oh!” said the jellyfish. “Well, in the beginning there was nothing except God. Then one day God spoke and into existence came light. On the next day, God made the atmosphere – the space between the waters here and the waters way above us. On the third day, God made dry land between the seas, like this very sand we’re standing on and….” here the jellyfish paused for dramatic emphasis, “…plants! Millions and millions of delicious things to eat, like phytoplankton. Then, on the fourth day of this particular week, God shaped the sun and moon and stars, effectively making what Time is to us – the seasons and rhythms. But on the FIFTH day,” here the jellyfish sucked in his tentacles a bit with a sort of self-conscious modesty, “on the fifth day, God said, ‘Let the waters swarm with swarms of jellyfish!’ And here we are: Jellyfish. The crowning jewel of all that God made.”
Boy, have I come to love that jellyfish; what a personality! 😉
Anyway, it may be stating the obvious, but Quinn was using the jellyfish’s origin story to poke some holes in our western origin story… a story that inevitably ends with what can sometimes be a very narcissistic, unconcerned dominance that results in oppression of all kinds – ecological, spiritual, sociological, biological, relational, etc. If I were to summarize Quinn’s critique, I’d say that he saw the predominant cultural stories of the west (though not always explicitly articulated) as culminating in the idea that: the world was made for mankind or, to say it another way, that the end of the world is mankind. Quinn longed, I think, for something bigger and better than that story…a Story that would have space for all of the jellyfishes and all of the humans, but something that could leave Life to live itself out and something that could give Life to the lives all around it.
So: I’ll let you read Quinn for yourself, but his ideas have planted a few really good questions in my psyche. Questions like: What if all of the saints and mystics are right – what if the world is God’s and everything in it? What if the entire world was made for God? What if humans have been charged with the Responsibility and Gift to partner with God in leaving Life well enough alone to live itself out? and in bearing and bringing more Life to everything around us? What if the Life we are to enjoy and in which we are to participate is an ever-inclusive kind of Life with ecological, spiritual, sociological, biological, relational, etc. ramifications?
How have I been sucked into the self-centered, human-centered origin story? How have I taken advantage of the Leadership and Responsibility God gave me by wielding my power to misuse and abuse the Life in and around me? How am I a Taker rather than a Leaver/Giver (again: ecologically, spiritually, sociologically, biologically, relationally, etc.)?
Just a few small thoughts for your Tuesday start-to-a-four-day-week. 😉