Showing posts from May, 2013

Silence is God's Gift

"God's first language is silence. Everything else is a translation." -- Thomas Keating "Talk low, talk slow, and don't talk too much." --John Wayne, Old Guys Rule "Theophilus of holy memory, Bishop Alexandria, journeyed to Scete, and the brethren coming together said to Abbot Pambo: Say a word or two to the Bishop, that his soul may be edified in this place. The elder replied: If he is not edified by my silence, there is no hope that he will be edified by my words." --Thomas Merton, The Wisdom of the Desert  "You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger." --James 2:19 (NRSV)       

God's love leads to more awareness

What does it mean that God first loved? I used to have questions about the Christian proclamation declaring sin universal in the human family. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, it seemed it was all too easy an excuse. Hearing we are sinners every Sunday, why would anyone be surprised if behaving badly was soon to follow? While some describe sin as rebellion against God, it's also resistance, because the condition, however subtle or apparent, is not one we are free from, at least in this life.     Too often I get the impression that if I come to Jesus, my rebellion against God's love is somehow solved and I don't have to worry about it anymore. Mainly, I get something (eternal life in heaven) for myself. This approach is tragic because it can foster self deception. I can use my faith to cover whatever darkness that remains in the corners of my life. Hidden from others and myself, I can convince myself that the injury I caused never really happened. The contem

Compassion requires more, not less, courage

Compassion is as unpopular and misunderstood today as in Jesus' time As a complete diversion, recently I tuned on my radio app hoping to hear some sports news and I got an earful of a conversation where no one wins-- and also the last place I thought the gay vs. straight debate  would surface. But I stop listening when people- sports jockeys included- start going on about what Christians believe.  If we stood up for Jesus, we would accept others for who they are, not for who we want them to be. It always requires more courage to love as we are loved by God. Growing in compassion includes facing your own darkness, always the more difficult move. Unless we're engaged in a spiritual practice that can challenge our self-deception, the first choice is to project our garbage onto God or others.       Judging others is the easy way out of our own mess. It's the path of least resistance, and the "wide" way that Jesus describes in Matthew 7:13 ff. The other c

Dear Caregivers

It was a long day's journey into night at a local public hospital the week before the Holidays. I learned so much about the excellent care and wisdom of the surgeon and the quality of people on the staff, from the nurses to the cafeteria personnel. These are good words from the waiting room. They can apply to anyone who attempts to offer their care, not just in the recovery room. What kind of letter do you think your care-receiver would write? What would they add or edit?  Dear Caregivers: Please excuse my bad behavior! I don't usually act like this, but I'm frightened and feel vulnerable.  I read your every facial expression as an indicator of my health- or bad news.  I listen to everything you say, and every exchange you have with staff members. I think everything I hear is about me. Don't forget about me or leave me alone for too long- I'm scared! I'm not only afraid of what will happen to me, but also what I'll see while I&#

Compassion, Holiness & the Truth of a Story

Do questions of safety, convenience, and vocational purity come to mind before asking what God is doing? Luke 10 :29-37 (The Good Samaritan) At last week's meeting of the Jericho Tollwa y Authority , we heard from several of the users of our highway from Jericho to Jerusalem. In summary, we discussed two viable directions of moving forward. You could include doing nothing, but we have already decided to take action because the problem of robbery and beatings is alarmingly high. Digging deeper ditches, so that the injured and dying would remain out of sight. Paying others, even Samaritans, to render aid. As your Chair, I would like to add that the results of our study have concluded that digging deeper ditches is neither time nor cost effective at all. And #2 is not all that cost effective either. Besides, it involves more, not less, contact with undesirables and Samaritans. However, something that was said at last week's meeting has stayed in my mind. That w