Friday, February 19, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
I leave for Kenya Africa on Sunday. Since I arrived home from work today around lunch time, the emotions have been raw and on the surface. The unnecessary suffering in the world has always had that effect on me and in a few days I will enter a space where dear people live with more than any human should have to face.
And then I listened to today's God Journey Podcast and ever since have been a mess. Even as I sat with a dear loving friend who is also my tax accountant, the emotions were threatening to spill over. After getting the business of my taxes out of the way we got to talking about my upcoming trip and the pain riddled human experience. Then I returned home and watched this trailer from a soon to be released documentary. Brad mentioned it in the podcast and it set in motion a wonderful conversation about life and love and the mess we find ourselves in and how getting in touch with people...in their suffering has a way of changing us and them. This is life...this is the human experience. Our framing story will determine how we go on living in this world.
Are you participating in breaking the cycle of violence and hate in this world? Or are you a party to the madness? There is no such thing as redemptive violence. Only love can turn this around.
Monday, February 08, 2010
There is an absolute necessity for an environment of freedom and if that does not exist...everything remains legalistic and that has never served any of us when it comes to us being set free.
Part of learning to live with one another in grace, in an environment of freedom, is learning that to each and every moment people need to be allowed to bring all they've got. But the environment most live in never allows them to live in that kind of honesty. And in the attempt to force people to act otherwise, we end forcing on them one of two bad options... hypocrisy or rebellion.
I have no control over what others are bring to the party. But the way I live with them does matter and can make a tremendous difference in the other's life.
"I have experienced immense patience, tolerance, and mercy from many of my friends. They put up with my failures and idiosyncrasies, and eventually know that some of my patterns will never even change. They often accept me as I am, and learn to love me as I am— which eventually almost indirectly changes me! Every good parent knows that unmerited love creates love-in-return. Grace creates gracious people. But not our god! God, and the history of religion, seem to prefer mandates, coercion, blame, and shame to achieve some kind of supposed transformation. This is quite helpful for social order and control of the immature. I really understand that, but it is quite clear to me in the later years of my life, that God does not love me if I change, but God loves me so that I can change. That is an entirely different agenda." Richard Rohr
Sunday, February 07, 2010
"I suppose since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing and I know grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside." The Shack
While looking down over the city of LA, Andy asks Steven to tell him what he sees. Steven, like most of us, is too busy...too preoccupied trying to control his life...and too frustrated and too pissed off, actually to the point of being blind as to what is going on right in front of him. All Steven can come up with is "I see lights" and "Lots of stuff. Some good, some not so good."
Andy has come to a place in his life where he is seeing things more honestly...more realistically because his mind is less cluttered by all the crap. And after a time of pressing Steven to think a little deeper, even to the point of Steven being a bit annoyed, Andy offers him some help in seeing.
"Yeah, lots of stuff. Husbands and wives fighting. Angry kids fuming in their rooms, resenting their parents' authority. Some of those lights are cars with sad and lonely kids inside, driving around acting tough, looking for something...anything."
Andy closes his eyes and rubs them. "It starts young doesn't it? They get hurt. Maybe they get hurt really bad early on.And if they're not careful, they learn something that takes a lifetime to unlearn. They learn to cover up, to protect themselves. They don't even know they're doing it at first. But later they can't stop it even when they want to.
All those people down there, walking and driving around confused---angry, hurt wounded, afraid, resentful---they all have some things in common.'
He stops speaking, as if he wants me to ask. I begrudgingly reply, "What's that?"
"Well," he says, after doffing his cigar into an over sized ashtray, "they've learned to protect themselves. Now they're adults and they're discovering this cruel secret: they can't protect themselves. In fact, the last person who can protect them is them."
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Let power go before control becomes a crust around your soul
Escape the hunger to possess and soul diminishing success
This world is full of narrow lives, I pray by grace your smile survives."
"Man is so much the prey of the powers, so closely associated with their work, enjoys himself so thoroughly to their profit, desires so much all that they offer, conceives his life to such a degree separated from God, that every approach of God, every positive work of God, appears to him as an unacceptable disturbance and finally an attack against him. When God comes to deliver him, he does not at all perceive his liberation; he protests against the breaking of those marvelous objects, which are his chains or the doors of his prison: the adored chains. This is clearly the situation of Man." Jacques Ellul
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
With the day light hours on the increase, everything inside me begins to stir. I know what's coming. But when it comes to the natural world that I can feel and touch and enjoy, and yes, sometimes wrestle with, there is nothing more important to me than people. To interact with others is what I live for. To have the opportunity to do that in a healthy way with others is what I long for. I'm grateful to be able to say that that experience is on what feels like as sure a path as is the coming spring. The movement is in the right direction.
And then there is this space that teaches me so much about the process of two steps forward and one step back, or as Anne Lamott says, the scootch, scootch, stall, scootch, stall, catastrophic reversal; bog, bog, scootch process that is GRACE. This is life, the wonderful, sometimes painful experience of learning to live with ourselves and others. And yet there is never a time it's not beautifully in process. As there also seems to never be a time that flawed humans aren't making it more difficult and more painful for ourselves and others than it has to be.
The ease and beauty of a fresh spring garden soon gives way to the reality that the garden exists under pressure, in an environment that is far from a perfect environment. But with the loving attention of a gardener who cares, the struggle can be eased and the stress can be minimized and as the season progresses the garden with all it's flaws can still shine. In a way, even with a garden as is true with us humans, the limp seems to add to the beauty and the experience. It also has a way of keeping us humble. Add to all of that, the care given to help it along the way...helping one another along the way...and we begin to see that the process is perfectly in process. Learning to relax, so as to just enjoy it all, and to be able respond to what is happening, ends up being what it is all about. For the one who is learning to live there, it becomes much easier to see what God has been offering and freely giving all along....everything we all need to be what he created us to be so as we move along in the scootch scootch slog and bog of life, we stop bouncing off one another so much, and instead learn to dance.... graciously learning to lead at times as well as follow.
"It was chaos in color. His eyes tried unsuccessfully to find some order in this blatant disregard for certainty. Dazzling sprays of flowers were blasted through the patches of randomly planted vegetables and herbs, vegetation the likes of which Mack had never seen. It was confusing, stunning, and incredibly beautiful."
and then this, after some important time spent with the Spirit in the garden.
"His gaze moved over the garden that surrounded them. "But it really is beautiful, and full of you, Sarayu. Even though it seems like lots of work still needs done, I feel strangely at home and comfortable here."The two looked at each other and grinned.Sarayu stepped toward him until she had invaded his personal space. "And well you should, Mackenzie, because this garden is your soul. This mess is you! Together, you and I, we have been working with a purpose in your heart. And it is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process. To you it seems like a mess, but to me, I see a perfect pattern emerging and growing and alive---a living fractal." from the chapter A Long Time Ago, In A Garden Far Far Away.....The Shack