Tuesday, 17 May 2016
Je ne suis pas...
I want to write poetry again.
Maybe it's the appropriate way to express how I'm feeling about this whole "Charlie Hebdo" thing. The thing is: "Je ne suis pas Charlie!" The reactions--millions marching for the cause (while no one even pays any attention to other simultaneous massacres--way worse ones--like that in Nigeria by Boko Haram... because they're "just black people" maybe?) is really so "secular" at heart. So much of it is all about "my human right" of "free speech."
But just look at where our "human rights" and our "me-centeredness" has got us in this world. It all runs so smack-dab in the face of the Jesus, God, Spirit rule of "Love the Lord Your God, and love your neighbor as yourself." (And when people dare to point out the hypocrisies of the whole situation--and there are many--they are slammed for being non-PC or too religious or whatever...)
Of course, part of the "me-ness" of secularism is the inbuilt intolerance for any way of thinking that is not the way "I" think--despite secularism's proclamations about creating a tolerant society. Tolerant, that is, for anything that doesn't personally annoy me, or challenge or threaten my individual way of thinking. Good grief. And of course, Jesus' way "threatens the empire," as yesterday's Common Prayer quote points out.
I am certainly not in favor of radical, fundamentalist approaches of any stripes--religious, scientific, educational, political, or any other "institutional" radicalism, be it left or right or any other extreme that is willing to cause pain and oppression and even death to further its agenda.
However, there is a fine line in issues like "free speech" or any other "freedom." At what point does "my freedom" begin to impinge on others, to the point at which I am demanding they lose their freedom, to the point at which, in my zealousness, I am oppressing others myself through my "free" demands and reactions, denying them the same kinds of rights and freedoms I demand for myself, in order to gain and maintain those I wish for myself.
Jesus told us we must "deny" ourselves in order to live his way--the way that seeks to love and honor and respect and help others--and no wonder this is a "way" that so many hate...because it does demand self-denial of the "extremisms"--the "radical religious fundamentalist approach" of personal goals and demands, no matter how rational and "humanly right and free" they may appear on the surface.
Enough for now.
Monday, 16 May 2016
Words of Assurance
Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit ... what do You have to say to me today?
My child--Our child!
We love you.
We truly do.
Sing. Praise. Lift your heart, lift your eyes, lift your hands upward to us. Reach out, take hold of our hands which are reaching down to you. Let us lift you up. Cling to us.
Take your eyes off the ground, off the world, and see us. "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the 'things of earth' will grow more and more and more dim--gone!--in the light of his glory and grace."
Remember, child--the darkness you feel and fear is simply the absence of my light. Draw close to my light, closer and closer. Let my amazing glory drive away all the shadows and darkness and tiredness and fears. "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey."
Love Your Father. Love Jesus. Love His Spirit. Love God.
Lay down your little burdens. Lay down your little fears.
I will be with you. I will never leave you alone, not even for a moment--even if it be my will that you follow me into the path of dementia your mama trod. I was with her every moment. I really was. And you, too, I will never let go, not for an instant. Whatever path I call you to tread.
I Love you! You are mine!
[And my husband, children, spouses, grandchildren? Are they Yours too? Can I trust You for them, too?
What about all the people who are seeking You, even if they don't know about You? Father?
Father? How can You let Your creatures, who You died for, perish? What about the ones who haven't had a chance to hear of You? Father? Jesus? Holy Spirit?
You do reach out to everyone, right?
Please help us all to choose You! Help my family, please! Help all people, dear God. Please? ]
[You do care...
And each rejection by one of your created children does break Your heart ... doesn't it?
You love us ... and long for--but do not force--every one of us to come to You.
Okay. Guess I'll just have to place that one on Your shoulders, in Your hands.
Thank You. Amen. In Jesus' name. Thank You. I love You.]
Friday, 13 May 2016
What am I bringing into the world?
I hope, as it says in today's Common Prayer, that I've brought a "little more love and kindness, a little more light and truth in the world," and some peace, too.
I know I'm not being patient with Your ways and timing. There's so much time for You--but so little for us. You know that, Jesus, for You had a very short time here on earth--and an infinitely more important mission. You really saw the "big picture," far more than any of us are capable.
But I'd still like to help open people's eyes ... and hearts.
I like the vision of that guy who is working on a way to inspire peace and caring and stuff among the youth in our town.
Me? I'm just writing "learning themes." And helping out my family a bit (but maybe that's just because they are "my" family). I want to help others, and encourage them, and in some way make people's lives more "community" and peaceable and sustainable and caring.
A friend who has a street ministry in our town says he thinks I'm like him--and in some ways I am, but not altogether. I'm really beginning to see that each of us is different--which is why, without a doubt, You need, call, use all of us. And each of us has something good and worthwhile and useful to bring to Your purposes and plans for Your creation, Your world, Your beloved children.
I'm just not sure what mine is, to bring. I'm such a "Jill of all trades, master of none,"--but maybe that's needed, too.
And you've taught me to care and to maybe even to listen a bit and to long for people to find peace--your peace, real peace, please? Maybe that's enough?
I've written and written and written my thoughts and questions and wonderings (and even some challengings) in the past. But who has really listened, except for a few "members of the choir," so to speak? Maybe people whose hearts and minds You've been preparing ... and yet it seems to me that a lot of people you lead me to be friends with, and share my writing with, don't even know about You. Some aren't even interested or seem to actually be antagonistic against You (or, at least, antagonistic against their "idea of You").
That's what I was thinking when R. was saying he doesn't even know if You're real. (And yes, I felt his pain. And I've felt the same, sometimes ... "Doubting Norma" ...). But I was thinking--or maybe You were whispering in my ear because I really did feel like You were just telling me to keep peace and not argue or try to explain in "doctrinal ways" ... that maybe he's not ready? or he just needs to rant before he can listen? or doctrinal explanations just seem too pat ... or? And maybe You were telling me to realize that he has to work through this with You there at his side even though he doesn't realize it's You just now, because he's looking for, or expecting, a "You" that isn't really You.
"Keep us from trying to rush peace."
Help me see the big picture, Lord. Help me see the world with Your eyes. Help me to speak only the words You give me to speak. And meanwhile, help me to do a lot of listening and gentle caring. (Jeremiah 13:14: pity, mercy, compassion).
And Lord, what about "God's Kitchen" outreach? Has it really gotten too "institutional," or is it just me not willing to change? Or what? It's supposed to be Your kitchen, Lord. Your table.
"He brings me to his banqueting table, His banner over me is love."
You came and invited the poor and the wretched and blind (and the rich and successful and leaders rejected You).
What do You want us to spread at Your table? Just lots of warm, healthy, physical food? And a quiet, peaceful spot for a few minutes? And a few prayers and counseling? And? Or? Lord? Your will be done.
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