Monthly Archives: December 2015

It is Enough!

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What if strength is not the primary attribute of God?

Psalm 48   1 Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King. 3 Within its citadels God has shown himself a sure defense. … 12 Walk about Zion, go all around it, count its towers, 13 consider well its ramparts; go through its citadels, that you may tell the next generation 14 that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will be our guide forever. (NRSV)

[Scripture quotation from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]
[Image:Creative Commons i simply am” by John Hain is licensed under CC BY 2.0]

Psalms 48… in other words

Mount Zion is a thin place. 0n its heights, there is a Presence so palpable that you can almost taste it. Enemy kings, sensing that presence, have turned their armies around and headed for home. To help us access that presence, there is the temple, a physical representation of God. Its towers and fortifications speak to us of God’s strength and guidance.

Reflection

But what if strength is
not the primary requisite
of God.

What if God
is the essence
of the weak…

Could it be
that Yeshua’s
fundamental legacy
is kenosis
emptying his self
giving up his inheritance.

We want strength in our heroes
power in those we look up to
potency in that which we call God…
not clay feet
not weak hearts
not impotence.

If our heroes have clay feet,
and our leaders have weak hearts,
and God is impotent…
then we would have to stand up for ourselves
be responsible and make decisions
that chart the course of our lives.

Is it enough
that we have an unheard inner voice
an internal moral compass
that insists
that nudges
that calls?

Is it enough
that we name that lure
God? Perhaps.

Is it enough
that our response to the invitation
is the very presence of God in the world?

Yes!
It is enough.
It is enough to give life
enough to transform
enough to open hearts and minds
enough “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

It is enough!

Uninvited — No Room!

Screen Shot 2015-12-26 at 9.56.12 AM“Into this world, this demented inn
in which there is absolutely no room for him at all,
Christ comes uninvited.

But because he cannot be at home in it,
because he is out of place in it,
and yet he must be in it,
His place is with the others for whom
there is no room.

His place is with those who do not belong,
who are rejected by power, because
they are regarded as weak,
those who are discredited,
who are denied status of persons,
who are tortured, bombed and exterminated.
With those for whom there is no room,
Christ is present in this world.

[Thomas Merton, Raids on the Unspeakable, 1966, page 72f.]
[Image:Creative Commons No room at the inn” by tvol is licensed under CC BY 2.0]

A Christmas “Yes!”

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Will you say “Yes.”? Will you do “Yes!”?

Luke 1:38 Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her. (CEB)

Matthew 5:37a Let your yes mean yes (CEB)

[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]
[Image: public domain]

 

Christmas means a lot of different things – carols filling the air; Santa Claus / Kris Kringle / St. Nicholas / Pere Noel; children smiling; gift giving; “peace on earth and good will toward all;” family togetherness; “God bless us, everyone.” For some it means disappointment; hectic activity; depression; “bah humbug!” For Mary it meant mystery, wonder, and affirmation of a future not yet known. Mary simply said “Yes.”

A simple “Yes” may seem hard to come by these days. Some see a war on Christmas because many of our citizens celebrate a different religious or secular holiday at this time of year. Merchants ramp up their commercialism. Charities make their end of the year pitch at a feverish level. And then there are the personal / family / friend concerns – did I forget someone on my Christmas card list? Will Uncle Charlie really like the tie we will give him? Did I really behave that badly at the office party?

When we strip away all the trimmings of the holiday season, just one thing remains for those of us who claim to follow Yeshua, whose birth we celebrate. Are we saying, “Yes!” It is a simple question with an equally simple answer. The answer, however, is less about mouthing the word “Yes” and more about doing “Yes!” We do “yes” every time we speak a kind word to someone who is hurting. We do “yes” whenever we welcome the stranger (including immigrants that are fleeing from political oppression and economic privation). We do “yes” when oppose racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, hatred, and bigotry (even when it is uncomfortable or unprofitable to do so). We do “yes” when we oppose empire-building, patriarchy, and marginalizing strategies (even when we encounter it in our own family, club, religion, or political party). We do “yes” when we reject parochial tribalism that promotes “us” over “them” (whoever “they” may be).

Yes” is a simple word; and it often seems a hard word to accomplish. May Mary’s “Yes” inspire your “Yes.” May your “yes” be a “YES!” this holiday season. May your “YES!” be the tipping point in a world accustomed to “no.” May it be the beginning of peace on earth and good will to all.

 

Force Fields

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 12.55.31 PMGenesis 1:2c God’s wind swept over the waters (CEB)

Hebrews 12:1 So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up (CEB)

[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]
[
Creative Commons May the force be with you” by Victor R. Ruiz is licensed under CC BY 2.0]

Reflections

 

One of the lessons I learned from appreciative inquiry is that we are all going to carry baggage with us as we move toward the future. It is helpful, however, if our baggage contains the best of our experiences and understandings. Anything else will likely slow us down or sidetrack us. The author of Hebrews makes a similar claim, “Let us rid ourselves of any baggage that causes us to hobble and wobble.”

Each of us, as meaning makers, has to sort through our experiences and decide how to proceed. When our lives are touched and colored by “thin places” or “mountain-top experiences” we become present to the world in new ways. We stumble as we try to name those experiences and describe the new meaning that has come into our day-by-day existence. We are touched at a place deeper than language.

The storyteller of Genesis 1 pictures God as a vibration (force field) that draws (lures / evokes) the substance of creation from the depths of mystery. Not satisfied with theo-poetical images, many Christians through the centuries have tried to read the story as if it were the best scientific / rational description of all times – the final answer to the question, “How did that which IS come about?

One of my passions has been the search for language that describes, hopefully without diminishing, the depth / the wonder / the mystery of the thin places (or the mountain top experiences) I have encountered. Richard Rohr provided some clarity and insight to that search as he linked together four terms – “Force Field of the Holy Spirit” (Rohr), “communion of saints” (Apostles’ Creed), “collective unconscious” (C. G. Jung), “consciousness itself” (Buddhism). I would add “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews). For me, these concepts are grounded in the imagery of Genesis 1:2c – the breathiness (ruach) that vibrates over mystery (tehom) or the spirit / breath / wind of God that hovers / sweeps over the waters of the deep.

We are meaning makers, the self-consciousness of the universe. Every attempt to make meaning (science, theology, poetry, art, music, relationship, community, …) is limited by experience, language, and context. Like Adam, I stumble over how to name things. I become frustrated when I find Christian thinkers who can’t express themselves without resorting to the language of power, domination, command, patriarchy, empire, … Today’s sore spot is “the power of love.” Actually power and love cancel each other out. As Catherine Keller describes, love is invitation – eros – followed by reception and response – agape (as well as, storge & philia). When eros is admixed with power and command, it become abusive. Love is dynamic, engaging, captivating. It invites (but does not coerce) power to leave the room.

In our limitedness, it seems easiest to reduce the mysteries of life by using anthropomorphic language that personalizes them – describing them as if they were analogues to human experience and action. This reduction happens when we try to understand the concept of the Holy Spirit as a disembodied personal being that makes God (the Supreme Being) accessible to us human beings. But, what if we understand Spirit (or even God) as a force field, a dynamic vibration that hovers between us and the mystery of life itself? What if the “great cloud of witnesses” is not a substantive collection of individual beings that loom over us, but a dynamic field that hovers between us and the collective influence of those who have lived and died before us? Is this what Jung intends with “the collective unconscious” and what Buddhists mean when they use the concept of “consciousness itself?” I think so.

In spite of our differences in explaining the mystery of life, we can agree that we each have to “run the race that is laid out in front of us.” Religious experience, practices, and concepts are part of the baggage that we carry through life. The author of Hebrews is right. It is important for us to “throw off any extra baggage … that trips us up.” Theo-poetic imagery is light baggage. Turn the imagery into substantive, rational concepts and the baggage becomes weighty and unwieldy. Perhaps it is best, at time like these, to stick with Star Wars and say, simply, “May the Force be with you.”

The Luminous Darkness

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Creativity is not, as such, a personal trait. Instead, it is the result of our interaction with that which the story-telling author of Genesis 1 calls the deep (tehom, in the Hebrew text).

Genesis 1:1-2   When God began to create the heavens and the earth— the earth was without shape or form, it was dark over the deep sea, and God’s wind swept over the waters  (CEB)

[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]
[Image: Hoag’s Object, public domain created by NASA and ESA.]

Reflections

Genesis 1:1-2 has has been strangely mis-represented as Christian theologians have tried to understand the nature of creation. Traditionally creation is presented as the act by which God (the Supreme Being who is Creator) forges something (“the heavens and the earth”) in place of nothing. The success of something over nothing is called creatio ex nihilo — creation out of nothingness. But that is not true to the picture presented in Genesis 1:1-2.

Genesis 1:1-2 is part of a mythic story arising out of 5th-6th Century BCE Israel.  It does, however, contain some rather significant theological insights for today:

1:1 When Elohim began to evoke creativity, 2 the earth was just limitedness and possibility (tohu va boho) and there was a breathiness (ruach) vibrating (mrhpht) over the profound potentiality of serendipitous creativity (tehom).

Genesis 1:1-2 describes a beginning. As the rest of Genesis 1 suggests, God calls forth earth, sky, light, dark, sun, moon, waters, all kinds of creatures, and human beings. If they are not created out of nothing, what is their origin? 1:2 suggests that they are called forth from the “deep” (tehom). The deep is sometimes called mystery, the boundless, infinite, the eternal. The deep is beyond immediate experience, and yet is the ground of all experience. The deep baffles every attempt to describe it, and yet it continues to call to us — inviting us into its depths. Poetry gives us a better chance of approaching the deep than reason. While too many interpreters try to approach Genesis 1:1-2 as theo-logic (that is, as rational propositions), the original author (story teller) offers us poetry: the deep is tohu va bohu — that is the tension between formless and void, wild and waste, limit and possibility. Vibrating over that tension is a kind of breathiness that is the potentiality of becoming. The not-quite-something is on the brink of becoming.

Pseudo-Dionysuis calls this “the luminous darkness.” Luminous darkness refers to our capacity to see into the tehom (the chaos) and discern both the possibility and the limitedness of continuing creation.

The capacity for such discernment makes us co-creators — capable of evoking new becomings. We demonstrate our co-creativity in the arts (painting, poetry, dance, music, …); in relationships (compassion, friendship, pregnancy, charity, …); and in society (justice, peace, community, family, …).

The manner by which we inhabit our present creates the possibility and the limits of our future. The future is always a chaotic tension between limitless possibility and limiting duplicity; or, in moral terms, between good and evil.

We are the universe’s capacity to discern the interaction between possibility and limit; and to act in favor of one or the other. The current political agenda — climate change, universal health care, immigration, civil rights for LGBT citizens, response to racism and islamaphobia, women’s rights — demonstrates the critical nature of our discernment. There is a decided movement on the political Right that perpetuates a fear-based choosing of severe limitation — especially for “them” — while touting unlimited freedom for “us.” As a result, everyone (“them” and “us”) seems to be losing ground — everyone, that is, except the 1% and the corporatocracy.

The luminous darkness is what John Caputo was describing (unwittingly) when he said, “God doesn’t exist; God insists.” Luminous darkness (the tehom, the deep) is the font out of which the insistence arises. Luminosity describes our ability to look into the chaos and see the wild / possibility / potentiality (light) and the waste / limitedness / energy-less-ness (dark) that are held in tension. Our response to the insistence (co-creation) determines the degree to which light and/or dark will be shaped into becoming. We have been given the unique role as a creature in the universe of being able to take a productive approach to chaos — that is, the role of meaning-maker.

Learning to Breathe Underwater

Be the Fish

Learning to “breathe underwater” is not a course taught in school or online. It is one of the hard lessons only learned in the midst of life.

[Image: MehganTheMermaidUploaded by Mhg165CC BY 3.0; words added]

Recent conversations with a couple of friends have helped me better to understand my becoming over these past 75+ years. The most significant single event in my life was a major trauma suffered by my wife 35 years ago. A metabolic imbalance attacked her brain, leaving her on the knife-edge between life and death. The life force won the battle, but brain functioning was a wounded casualty. This past week marks one year since her death, which resulted from a vicious, rapid growing brain tumor. Hers was a life filled with grace; mine, a privilege to have been able to share in her life.

I awakened this morning to a memory from seminary days. One of my professors (or, perhaps, one of the authors I had read) indicated that the name of the divine presence encountered by Moses in the burning bush — YHWH — was to be translated as “I will cause to be what I will cause to be.” Defining God’s presence and essence will always be a task beyond the capacity of human language. That impossibility, however, has never stopped the human imagination from trying. In relating Moses’ encounter, the author of Genesis has provided us with one of the most enigmatic (and insightful) images of God — God is the possibility of being, of becoming.

Lest we become too arrogant, thinking we have captured the essence of God, Bishop Ambrose (4th Century bishop of Milan) suggested that we might learn something from the fish of the sea — namely, while the seas toss and turn in storms above, “the fish swims, he is not swallowed up because he is used to swimming.” (cited in Catherine Keller’s On the Mystery, 2008, p. 45) “Be the fish,” Ambrose advises.

Thirty five years ago, as my wife, Susan, was barely alive in the hospital’s ICU, I was confronted with a question that set in motion a whole new possibility of becoming for me. The doctor asked, “If your wife has another episode, do we treat it or let it take her?” An answer came from somewhere deep within me, without reservation, with an assuredness that was beyond what I would have thought was my capacity, “We let it take her.” As Susan and I had previously dealt with the death of family members, we had already had the conversation about not wanting to be kept alive just for the sake of preserving life if some measure of quality were not present. Neither of us expected to have to act on that conversation so early in our marriage, but life always has surprises for us.

The medical staff never had to implement my decision. Susan, never had a relapse and, ever so slowly, began to come back to life. A month in the hospital, followed by about six months in a rehab facility, then dismissal from rehab because none of the traditional therapies were having positive results — finally Sue came home. And I had to learn anew how to swim like a fish. Ambrose was correct, the storms of the sea were violent; waves tossed and turned and beat fiercely on the shore. The underwater currents were also quite dramatic. Miracle upon miracle, I learned to swim like a fish. I learned to “breathe underwater.”

-and I still don’t know how it happened –
the sea came.
Without warning.
Without welcome, even

And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.
And while I thought the sea crept higher, till it reached my door.
And I knew, then, there was neither flight, nor death, nor drowning.

That when the sea comes calling, you stop being neighbors,
Well acquainted, friendly-at-a-distance neighbors,
And you give your house for a coral castle,
And you learn to breathe underwater.
— Sr. Carol Bieleck, RSCJ
(from an unpublished work)

I can’t explain how it happened. I don’t know if it was a result of my concerted effort or if it was a gracious gift visited upon me. I don’t know if it was a result of the prayers of many family and friends or if was one of those quirky things that just seem to happen in life. I do know that I had no expectations when we brought Susan home from rehab — no expectations about whether she would get better or not; not even any expectations about whether our family could cope and manage her limited capacity. I do know that Susan had committed herself to me at the time of our marriage and, as a result, I had no choice but to move ahead. I did know, at some deep level within me, that regardless of what Sue was to become (or not become) our two children and I would not be prevented from becoming what we might become.

And so, since “there was neither flight, nor death, nor drowning,” I learned to “be the fish” and “to breathe underwater.”

Finding Healing Power

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Which is more effective: to be a healer or to invoke the healing power within?

Matthew 9:2-8     2 People brought to him a man who was paralyzed, lying on a cot. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man who was paralyzed, “Be encouraged, my child, your sins are forgiven.”3 Some legal experts said among themselves, “This man is insulting God.”4 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Why do you fill your minds with evil things? 5  Which is easier—to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6  But so you will know that the Human One[a] has authority on the earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“Get up, take your cot, and go home.” 7 The man got up and went home. 8 When the crowds saw what had happened, they were afraid and praised God, who had given such authority to human beings.   (CEB)

Matthew 9:2-8
The free clinic was open. The waiting room was jam-packed. The paramedics arrived with an emergency, but they had trouble getting in because of the crowd. Four of them carried the paralyzed man to the roof and, after some struggle, lowered him to the exact spot where Yeshua sat. Amazed by the persistent faith of the paramedics, Yeshua told the paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven. Hearing some of the long robes in the crowd murmuring among themselves, Yeshua addressed their cynical questioning, “The Human Being (and that could be you if you truly listened to God within your hearts) has authority to forgive sins.” Turning to the man who was brought in paralyzed he said, “On your feet. Go home!” The man stood up, picked up his mat, and strode out of the clinic. The crown was dumb-founded. They couldn’t believe their eyes. Then they thanked God that human beings had such authority (which they previously thought only God could have).

Concerning Public Discourse

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 2.59.29 PMReflections after reading Faith in the Public Square (Rowan Williams, 2012):

The life-blood of the mature kind of secularism (‘interactive pluralism”) that Williams is championing is comprised of rigorous debate with all parties at the table.  Engaged in the debate are also those from religious traditions — not as ones that HAVE the TRUTH, but as ones who refer to a sacred dimension as part of their argument.  These religious traditions are not excluded from the debate, nor are they privileged in it.

In the political/social realm of the US, Williams describes the ‘typical post-modern trap” — namely, “argument is replaced by parallel assertions.”  Unfortunately, the right wing (politically and religiously) has fallen prey to assumptions about TRUTH as moral issues, instead of dealing with the truths that are theologically based and metaphorically stated).  Because of their religious background, they impute moral issues with theological urgency and, therefore, assume that anyone in disagreement with their moral argument is theologically a heretic.  We have heard this shift in the argument of evangelicals who posit that support of gay marriage or support of abortion or …  as clearly indicative of the failure to honor Scripture.

The place where ‘interactive pluralism’ shines (in a mature secularism) is the debate over the limit of moral positions.  A given culture or society can approach those moral issues without theological overlay and make decisions that not everyone will agree with.  There is always a minority report in ‘interactive pluralisms’ because not every view can be privileged.  Unfortunately in the US the right wingers believe that any disagreement with their moral position is a challenge to their theology…   and, since their theology is undoubtedly correct (their starting point), any challenge is a threat that must be met with whatever force necessary to “repel the boarders.”

When in South Dakota I appreciated the few times I was able to lunch at the table of former US senator James Abourezk (the first Arab-American senator).  He loved to tell stories of how Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch worked together to move the senate’s debate to fruition:  “What can our two sides agree upon now?  Enact that and work on the rest of it as we go along.”  They could then walk out of the senate chamber with their arms around each other’s shoulder, even though their political conclusions were extremely divergent.  As one commentator exclaimed, “The US Senate has given up its role as the great debating society and has become the House of Representatives advocating for a narrow set of predefined perspectives advocated by their constituency.  And their understanding of constituency is limited to those who got them elected (including voters, lobbyists, and ideological bloks).

Instead of an interactive pluralism celebrating diversity the current Republican presidential candidates and the religious Right seems more interested in growing a culture of theocratic xenophobia admitting only uniformity. Those views have always been present, but for one of our two major political party to have become so enamored of such a limited vision does not bode well for our country. Without a resounding repudiation of such fear-based narrow-mindedness, the United States will lose whatever credibility it still has and American-style democracy will become an interesting footnote in the history of humankind.

Rocking Chair — My Metaphor for God

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 9.58.33 PMI have told the story many times about how the rocking chair has become my metaphor for God, but I have never attempted to really unpack that image, to go to the depths of what it might mean for me. I was content to sit back in the comfort of the scene and let the chair rock me.

[Image: “Creative Commons Rockin’ the world!” by Darin House is licensed under CC BY 2.0]

 

First, let me say that I did not ‘invent’ the rocking chair as an image for God. It arose out of my inner depths during a time of meditation as part of a Progoff ‘Journaling Meditation Workshop.’ The image grasped me before I grasped it. It came, as John Caputo might say, insisting itself upon me in the name of God. Perhaps. Second, it is to be noted that this image is rooted in my being rocked during infancy by my mother. As I have jokingly said, “Mom was an ‘industrial strength’ rocker.” Rocking is part of my DNA. It is deeply rooted in my being. It is not a ‘conscious’ memory (but it clearly has been encoded somewhere within). While the rocking chair has always been a comfort (a sign of God’s healing presence) for me and those with whom rocking chairs have been shared, the truth is

Second, it is to be noted that this image is rooted in my being rocked during infancy by my mother. As I have jokingly said, “Mom was an ‘industrial strength’ rocker.” Rocking is part of my DNA. It is deeply rooted in my being. It is not a ‘conscious’ memory (but it clearly has been encoded somewhere within). While the rocking chair has always been a comfort (a sign of God’s healing presence) for me and those with whom rocking chairs have been shared, the truth is the rocking chair has some other dynamics that I hadn’t previously considered.

The rocking chair does not achieve its full functional potential unless it destabilizes the status quo — that is, a rocking chair that doesn’t rock is just a chair. Movement, fluidity, plasticity are important for growth in faith. Replacing the Messiah with a messianic process is the act of radical insurrection. To accept responsibility for one’s own messianic process is an act of revolution that can (and should) turn the tables of the status quo upside down.

My grandchildren do not understand gentle rocking. A rocking chair that really ‘rocks’ bumps into walls, moves off its center, and threatens to overturn. Being connected to Presence, Mystery, Divine, Spirit (especially in the child-like way suggested by Yeshua) often takes one to a passionate and furious edge rather than to a centered stability. Centering faith on the real Yeshua that lies behind all the accretions and overlays that the church (from its start) has forced upon his image will cause one to bump into traditions, move off center to the fringes, and threaten others deeply. Be prepared for a cross or two or more…

The rocking chair is there in all its potentiality; however, it doesn’t rock unless I sit in it and initiate the motion. The messianic process is there, available to me and to all others. Unless I take some initiative, it remains the hope for a Messiah to do it all for me. Waiting for an external God (Savior) to act all on His/Her own to rescue me, rejects my own responsibility and truncates the redemptive process.

The motion of a rocking chair (back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, …) is analogous to the inner psychic process of integrating darkness and light, good and evil, substance and spirit. The result is not a glorification of either back or forward; instead, it is a “third option” of fluid motion (gentle at times; violent at other times).

Unlike a chair which has four legs firmly grounded, the rocking chair has two ‘runners’ that are always in touch with but constantly moving over the ground. I usually think of being grounded as a stabilized (almost single) act. Here I begin to understand (explore) that grounding is a fluid, shifting, variable process that can’t / shouldn’t / won’t be reduced to a single aphorism. The unsettling nature of rocking is a pale image of the “selling all” which is the price of redemption.

Rocking has always been for me a metaphor for the intersection of the divine and human — being enfolded by the arms of God [switch] being enfolded (as an infant) by the arms of my mother [switch] God [switch] Mother [switch] … The reality of God’s presence is always carried relationally — that is, we become the agents that make God present, real, palpable … we are God with skin on. The rocking chair is not the answer (not the savior); it is the carrier of the process, the catalyst that enables me to de-stabilize my status quo, homeostasis, my comfort with ritualized habits that have lost their creative, redemptive edge. As I continue to struggle to grasp and understand God (Mystery, Presence, Divine, Spirit, Higher Power, Beyond, …), all I can say to myself is “ROCK ON!’

Yeshua’s Way

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When choosing, what way do you follow?

Galatians 5:1, 5-6, 13-14          1 Christ has set us free for freedom. Therefore, stand firm and don’t submit to the bondage of slavery again. …  We eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness [justice] through the Spirit by faith. Being circumcised or not being circumcised doesn’t matter in Christ Jesus, but faith working through love does matter.  … 13 You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. 14 All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Reflections

Not circumcision
not uncircumcision
not belief
not lack of beliefs
not legalistic systems of
“do this” “don’t do that”
not religious systems of
this is the “only way to heaven”
These are not what Yeshua is about!

Yeshua is about a Way
infused with God’s insistence
grounded in a calling in the name of God

Yeshua is about a Way
of living
of faithing

Yeshua is about a Way
established in love
based on compassion

Yeshua is about a Way
toward the other
toward to world

Yeshua’s Way is
leaven in the loaf
salt of the earth

Yeshua’s Way is
a remembrance of child-like openness
the promise of mature togetherness

Yeshua’s Way is
me seeking meaning for my life
the community of faithing at work in the world

Yeshua’s Way is
neighboliness as the normalcy of civilization
a foretaste of the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice

No, the Way lived and taught by Yeshua
is not about
constrictions
limitations
narrow-mindedness
moral purity
religion
getting to heaven

Yes, the Way lived and taught by Yeshua
is about
freedom
choosing
open-mindedness
compassionate solidarity
religion without religion
abundant life NOW!

Choosing to follow Yeshua’s Way
means  being fully present to the now
awakening each day ‘in the meantime’
the ‘in-betweem times’
living perpetually in Holy Thursday
the knife-edge between memory and promise
the tension between cross and resurrection
the balance between anguish and hope