Thursday, August 6, 2009

An Interlude Between "Transformations"

I want to get back to my thoughts on Transformations (it's really been on my mind ... it's gestating -- wants to get out), but I had a life-snagging day, and tomorrow will be taken over with a get-together with some dear friends who want to better understand "what we believe and why."

In the meanwhile, I have this to share:

I'm thinking we all need to challenge our own thinking, and even our beliefs ... rather than to assume that everything we've been told to believe/think is true. IF it's true, it'll stand up to all manner of scrutiny ... if it doesn't stand up, then it should fall, not being true. I don't fear questioning anything any more (though I used to cower in terror!) -- and I've discovered that I've been duped by MUCH of what humans have passed off as tradition -- the traditions of man continue to nullify the word of God (which isn't just what's in the Bible -- He's always speaking into our hearts, but what we *think* we know can get in the way of what He's revealing there ... the Spirit continues to lead us into all truth, as we can bear it).

I was struck with what I read this morning, from Richard Rohr's "Simplicity":

We all want to love, but as a rule we don't know how to love rightly. How should we love so that life will really come form it? I believe that what we all need is wisdom. I'm very disappointed that we in the Church have passed on so little wisdom. Often the only thing we've taught people is to think that they're right - or that they're wrong. We've either mandated things or forbidden them. But we haven't helped people to enter upon the narrow and dangerous path of true wisdom. On this path we take the risk of making mistakes. On this path we take the risk of being wrong. That's how wisdom is gained. On the spiritual path the enemy isn't pain - it's fear of pain. We haven't become wise because we're so afraid of pain. For far too long we've confined people to a sort of security zone - a safe place of feeling smugly "right." But failure and falling short are the best teachers, success and certaintude have practically nothing to teach on the spiritual path -- and may even divert one from the spiritual path. The great temptation of the Church has been to imprison the Gospel in our heads. Up there we can be right or wrong, our position can be correct or false, but in any case everything remains firmly in our grip.

But we live in a world that is a mixture of darkness and light, of good and evil. Jesus spoke of the field in which wheat and weeds grow alongside each other... and we're told to let both grow alongside each other 'til harvest. We need a lot of patience and humility to live with a field of both weeds and wheat in our own souls. We'll never conquer evil if we launch a frontal assault. If we do that we may incorporate into ourselves the energy and the weapons of evil. We can end up turning into what we halt. That's why Jesus told us to love our enemies; otherwise, we become just like them.

We hardly ever see our own sin - we tend to rationalize our sin away as virtue. For this reason we need help in recognizing that we ourselves are a mixture of good and evil. There is no perfect political system, nor any perfect religious system. Jesus advised us to take a humble position in this world - a position of nonparticipation in the lie.

I notice that whenever I encounter something I dislike in another ... it's a clear sign that I'm projecting what I dislike in myself -- it's easier to see it in the "other" than to face it in myself. But I notice that Jesus tells us to deal with the log in our own eye, before we even attempt to fix the speck in the eye of another.

When I've done this (& I wonder why I don't *always* do this...), I notice that without my own log, there doesn't seem to be a need to deal with the speck ... either it's no longer there, or no longer important ... or I realize that it never was my business in the first place. "What's that to you? You follow Me." Yes, Jesus, I want to do that ... keep reminding me.

We don't have to be seduced by the power of fear. Notice how many times in scripture we're told to "fear not." Fear is the opposite of love -- fear is the *second* most powerful force in the universe, but LOVE is far stronger (we just don't trust it -- we perceive it as "weak"). If we start to look, really look, we'll see that everything we do/think/believe comes out of either love or fear at it's root. It is AMAZING how very much of what contemporary Christianity teaches that's really rooted in fear. "Love/obey God or else you will be punished eternally." That's not love..! That's fear. That's not of God. Instead, we follow God as a *result* of finally realizing how very much He loves us, unconditionally, no matter what, and that nothing can separate us from that love (nothing! including ourselves and our choices!), and THEN, out of that joy, we love and follow Him. We've got it backwards, and it's just not working.

We can trust Him with ALL things ... Ultimately, whatever we encounter matters not. We can stop being afraid, stop trying to fix, stop trying to control, and enjoy this beautiful world, this precious life, that He's given us as gifts...!

Shalom, Dena


Sue said...

"Love or fear, that's all there is," I told myself for the 14 thousandth time yesterday. It's so true!

I am rereading George Macdonald's Unspoken Sermons. Have you partaken of any Mr Mac? This is the book I go to when I want to share in and be reminded of the reality of God, the kingdom, the here and futureness of it. He grew up in a strict Calvinist culture in the 1800s Scotland and came to avowed universalism. His vision is beautiful.

It's so great to have people like you sharing their thoughts who have the guts to follow the beautiful truth ... Truth :)

Dena said...

Mr. Mac is on my list ... I've read snippets in articles but haven't yet delved headlong into his books ... but I shan't depart this planet without a strong dose!

Whta do you recommend to start?

Sue said...

Well, I haven't got very far in my own readings of Mr Mac except for Unspoken Sermons. It's a three-volume book he wrote and it is truly wonderful. Especially the parts that demonstrate the far reach of his eye, vision of the extent of God's love :) The chapter about the man making his way back from the outer darkness makes me cheer :)

(I was just thinking before in the shower, where I do my best sort of thinking, that I don't generally care to be taught anymore by anyone unless they have broken through the eternal hell thing. It just causes so many roadblocks in people's thinking, and it's a roadblock I can't be bothered having to deal with anymore, heh :)

Anyway, you can read or hear Unspoken Sermons online here if you wish: :)

Camille said...

Again you are speaking to my Soul Dena - its wonderful. I love checking your blog as I know it feeds my spirit. Like Sue I love the fact that you are just 'real' and 'truthful' in what you say, & the truth does shine through in your words and also your genuine and loving nature. Thankyou for the sharing & love you give :D
Namaste, Camille :)

MysticBrit said...

Haven't read any George McD for some time. Note to self - must remedy that. In fact, I'll go do it now:)

dena said...

Sue - thanks for that gift-link...! Wondermous! Can't wait to indulge (may have to figure out how to use the MP3 player that Mark got me for Mother's day in '08! Y'think?!?)!

& yeah, God talks to me the clearest in proximity to plumbing fixtures ... toilet included (talk about getting "real"!).

Camile - You're such a delight! So encouraging -- so timely in that encouragment...! Namaste to you as well! ;)

Harry - I've not been intentionally ignoring your comments --you bless me deeply! I look forward to my daily Harry-doses!

Shalom & Namaste to you all!

Rich said...


I so loved everything said here, quotes and all. Much like having to pinch myself several times only to realize as I drink freely and fully of the water in the oasis, it is not a mirage.

I love these thoughts I read today from Brennen Manning.."Healing is a response to a crisis in the life of another person. It's enough of a response, a satisfactory response to a crisis in the life of another. And whenever the word crisis is used in the Greek New Testament, it is translated in English as judgment. That's right-judgment. Healing is a response that I make to a decisive moment in the life of a brother or sister; whether I respond or not, I have made a judgment.

Healing becomes the opportunity to pass off to another human being what I have received from the Lord Jesus; namely His unconditional acceptance of me as I am, not as I should be. He loves me whether in a state of grace or disgrace, whether I live up to the lofty expectations of His gospel or I don't. He comes to me where I live and loves me as I am.

When I have passed that same reality on to another human being, the result most often has been the inner healing of their heart through the touch of affirmation."

Dena said...

I do adore Brennan Manning ... His "Ragamuffin Gospel" spoke to me earlier in my own journey. Got a video of his to share -- I'll have to put it in a post...!