...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Saturday, May 11, 2013

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 caution that follows on the heels of Matt. 7:13, is Matt. 7:16, as it asks the simple question, how's that working? Our occupation with correcting others, taking the role of judge, how is that producing the fruit of a more loving spirit within us and with others?

To all who are recovering from what so- called Christians have done to them and for those who've given up hope in finding acceptance in the church, it's not easy.  Remember in his day, Jesus said that the worst "sinners" will enter God's Kingdom first, and the religious folk whose holiness was backed by their Scriptures, would fall in behind. (Matt.21:31)

The truth is, there are Christian people who care more about authenticity than pretense. Look for those, even while turning off the school yard bullies.   

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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