Posts Tagged ‘Choice’

Needing to choose. Not wanting to choose. But able to choose and being offered life.

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

I love the words of Walter Brueggemann that speak directly to the human condition as we often experience it. “Needing to choose. Not wanting to choose. But able to choose and being offered life.”

I am constantly caught short, narrowing my choice into thin slices of life that I mistakenly adorn with value. And God’s call is constantly expansive. “For I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness … for these are the things in which I delight.” (Jer. 9:24)

Nourishing love, cultivating it gently and with the disciplined dedication such an endeavor calls for is just not easy. For me, such an endeavor leaves me both more unsure and more sure. More unsure of definitive opinions stamped on events marking them as good or bad. Treyvon Martin … I am sad for everyone. More sure of what my job is despite worries of money, relationships, and political winds. That job is love … cultivating it as a form of common destiny, a “shalom” here on earth.

 

Waiting to be Picked. Wishing to Choose.

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

We all want to be picked, to be chosen. We all wish, as well, to choose. There is validity there, coming round to Christ’s words, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last.”  (John 15:16)  We are all chosen. Every one of the 7 billion souls.  But do we all “choose?”

That choosing is not about a faith call per se.  I see God’s call much more concerned with being awake … or not.  The awake people I know seem to be ever so completely present not only in their own skins but in their own lives, and as well completely present out to and in to the world around them.

What does it look like to make that kind of choice?  I imagine the words of TS Elliot speak far more clearly to it than I ever could hope.

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
The inner freedom from the practical desire,
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,
Erhebung without motion, concentration
Without elimination, both a new world
And the old made explicit, understood

We will be  asked to that dance of course.  And what will we choose?

 

Money and choice is what you want if you haven’t found something better to want.

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Try this on. “Money and choice is what you want if you haven’t found something better to want.”   Our job as a church is to live in such a way that we create a living testimony that there are better things to want than solely money and choice.

Our culture is saturated however with the message that money and choice are it … the ultimate cultural achievements, what we are all to ‘want.’  And many of us are good at the game. I have made plenty of money in my life.  It has created a situation where my children in turn have access to educational opportunities and personal connections that clearly give them a leg up in continuing to write a “winner’s script.”   Is that wrong for our 5 kids to have those advantages?  Not necessarily.  After all, dis-advantaging your children is hardly good parenting either.   But it is only good within definitive limits.

What matters, I believe, is can we continually form our lives into a message that there is more to want than just money and choice?  Do our children know that?  In an era with fewer limits and few guarantees, I believe that knowledge is critical.

That something ‘more’ that I pray they want is not just knowledge per se of a religious nature (what many churches mistakenly believe their mission is).  It is living witness in which we draw alongside of suffering and create the human connectedness that is God’s ideal for us. Micah got it right ….

 ”He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you … But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah)

Do I want my children to suffer?  No.  (Though they will).  Do I want them to draw alongside of suffering?  Yes.  (And this will be their heart choice)  And that in the end, I pray, will right-size money and choice.

The Freedom of Genuine Choice

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Freedom is the name-of-the-game in a certain sense within New Church theology.   God’s desire is for us to be free.  And we can hold that freedom a number of ways.  Freedom from … fear, anger, jealously, addiction, lust.  Freedom to …. serve, love, connect, relate, live.  Without that freedom – both an end in itself and a means to that end – as Emanuel Swedenborg noted, “How could we co-operate in receiving these things from God?’ (True Christianity 615)

Freedom is more than personal taste. As Seth Godin noted:

Genuine choice involves whole new categories, or “none of the above.” Genuine choice is difficult to embrace, because it puts so many options and so many assumptions on the table with it. There’s nothing wrong with avoiding significant choices most of the time. Life (and an organization) is difficult to manage if everything is at stake, all the time. The trap is believing that the superficial choices are the essential part of our work. They’re not. They’re mostly an easy way to avoid the much more frightening job of changing everything when it matters.

Spiritual choice often presents with just that … the more frightening job of changing everything that matters!   Choices towards life often appear to embrace life-giving danger.