Archive for March, 2016

To be there differently

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Much of Christianity, in ways hard to grasp, asks us to allow in the suffering of others. To permit their suffering access into the tidy arrangements of our lives and in so doing allowing us “to be there differently.”

The recent bombing in Lahore bring that great unsettling truth to mind. A suicide bomber attacking a family carnival. Over 70 killed, Over 200 injured. Such events should matter.

The attack itself is hard to imagine.  Hard to imagine someone so tragically warped by a misguided view of God they would purposefully kill innocent families in the name of faith. Hard to imagine the shattering loss those families must feel.  Hard to imagine those traumatized children who experienced that bombing and survived.  What cracked imprint will that event leave in shaping their future lives?

So what can we do?  Maybe for now, we can simply let that suffering into our hearts.  Allow it purchase.  Not to immobilize us with fear or worry. But to humbly say yes to God – a brokenhearted God –  in new ways.  Ways born of suffering.

“To say yes … is not withdrawal from the struggles of the world.  But it is to be there differently.” (Walter Breuggemann)

 

 

 

Gathering and Things Larger Than Us

Friday, March 25th, 2016

We gathered last night, Thursday, to celebrate what is known traditionally in Christian circles as “The Last Supper.”  It is a simple sacrament, often called “Holy Supper” or “Communion”, that marks Christ’s last meal with his followers before his death at the hands of the Romans.

It is a very contemplative, prayerful, blessed time.

So we gathered.  We shared the hardness of recent goodbyes. Many tears. Many laughs. We read from Scripture. We prayed.  We asked for prayers. And we were blessed.

These moments are “perfect” in ways that are challenging to capture in words.  Constant reminders of the power of connection, joyous reminders of things larger than us.

A Faith Amidst Changing Times

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

There are few who write so well of changing times as Walter Breuggemann. In re-reading some of his material there is an uncomfortable foreshadowing around our current challenges….

We are witnessing the demise of patterns of power and patterns of meaning that have been seen as eternal….. There is a deep loss [then] among us that gives way to deep anxiety and that produces deep resentment…. The outcome is a fearful hollowness at the center.

Striking, accurate lines.

And yet we shrink from candid talk of either this deep sense of loss or of the impending newness and the challenging arrangements it may herald.  What we tend to focus on is scapegoating, fear mongering, moralizing.  None of which I would argue will ever feel quite right given their grounding in anxious, pervasive fear and a mistaken certainty.

So churches, maybe be this … maybe speak to this…. Re-imagination.  Shared horizons.  A third way navigating forward and between anger and apathy. A cosmic statement of “being for” – FOR some thing.  For love and service and humanity. “Away from hard, dismissive indifference to compassion.”  It is the way, I believe, modeled by Christ.   Followed by many.

Finding faith amidst changing times by simply living it.

A Fusion of Horizons

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

The softer, more powerful Christian spirituality that can come to color worlds is, as one author phrased it, “a fusion of horizons.”

A fusion as in something we all look towards, shoulder to shoulder.  A direction.  A horizon. A journey. One that implies movement, hope and blessing. One concerned about the other as well.

What flips here is movement away from a need for control centered on our own myopic self absorption. What grows is “a love of service not for the sake of ourselves but for the common good.” (Divine Love and Wisdom, 424)

That is actually a very, VERY soft place.

 

A Bigger Story

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Our dominant narrative tends towards three things… (Walter Breuggemann)

  1. Self Invention
  2. Competitive Productivity
  3. Self Sufficiency
Christian narrative – far different. An “alternative practice of reality” in which we agree to actually hurt, to actually sacrifice, to experience re-aligned joy and purpose, to meaningfully connect one with another outside of the normal confines of ordinary life, to serve.  A call to new horizons and new possibilities growing, with love and care, among us.
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To that constant drumbeat of “more”, a simple counter, beautiful, restful “enough.”