September 2008

“The glory of God is man fully alive.” – Saint Irenaeus

Is there anything more liberating, anything more freeing.

Be alive today.  Be who you are, fully expressed, fully you.

And to know that when you are fully human God gets the glory.

Amazing freedom!

I am wearing socks today.  The northwest chill has set in upon us.  The sun’s effervescent warmth has betrayed me.  The majority of Me is pretty good with this change, all except one part, my feet.  Unlike the fall, spring’s thaw comes the joy of new footwear .  Gone is the restriction of shoes and socks!  In comes the revolution of foot freedom… flip flops!

Ahh yes, once summer hits, nary a sock needs to be cleaned in my wardrobe.  The clickity-clack of my flip-flop sound can be heard as the drum beat of my summer soul.

But now fall is here.  The socks on my feet bring a needed warmth, but also a stark reminder of what was lost. The cold must be combated. Yes, I could live in mental rebellion to the frozen feetsies.  I could be as some are, flip-flop warriors, wearing them in the middle of the arctic tundra just because they can.  Guess I am getting too old for that kind of demonstration wear.

And so I will change with the season.

Now this does not mean I round up my flip flops and burn them in a giant heap of protest, chanting and dancing around the toxic billowing smoke shouting, “The Day of Flip Flops are over, today is the day of the sock and shoe!!!”  I probably would have done that at some point in the past.

But today, I have learned that seasons change.  Times change. And so the spiritual act of storing the flip-flops away in my closet is no longer a resignation that summer has been lost, but that summer will come again.

I wonder if that is the role of the Prophet in the church today.  One who is able to see the changing in the season a little sooner than most and speaks out that the leaves are changing color and that the first frost is near.

BTW, today did warm up a little, maybe I could even sneak the flip-flops out for one more hurrah!

~News Flash~

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was switched at the home of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) below the Franco-Swiss border this morning and it indeed has proved the existence of the god particle.  The elusive and historically invisible has been made visible and know.  God does exist.

~Reporting live, now back to you…~

So what would change? The existence of God is proven.  God not is the opium of the masses, God is not the crutch for the weak minded, God is not the fanciful imaginations of religious and fanatical people.  God is real.  God is proven.  Science, modern thought finally has indisputable proof that rings out in the face of all faithlessness, skepticism and doubt.

In the midst of this proven reality what would we do?  Would we abandoned the perfect pursuit of our Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte and give the money to the homeless man who stares all day into the corporate windows of the affluent and well off.  Would we abandon our still born jobs that fill our time with complaint, grief and worry and abandon ourselves to the reckless passions of our youth?  What does the science of God existing change?  Would we have increased passion and desire to mend broken relationships, not to speak of a broken world?

In all reality, when, if, the God particle existence is ever proven.  If there comes a time where existence of God is an indisputable truth.  We will just find other ways to ignore the truth.  New pills to put us to sleep from the insomnia of God’s beauty declared; in the birth of a new friendship, to the mist crawling over a mountain range that imposes a sense of reverence and awe.

So, while the world waits with baited breath to the discovery of the God particle to prove something that they will in the end ultimately refute.  I recognize that me proving or disproving God’s existence does not change God in the least.  For He just is. And He has chosen to be elusive and hidden and yet calls us to seek and find.  And with that pursuit I am ok.

More news at 11.

Walls.  They are all around us.  Some famous, some not.  Some of the more famous are the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall.  Some of the less famous walls are my backyard fence.  But all walls do the same thing.  Keep people out. Keep people at a distance.  But in the end walls keep me safe.

The Christian landscape is filled with walls.  Some are decorative thorn filled hedges called theology.  Some are a little more obvious like the brick walls of denominationalism.  But the truly flesh ripping coiled barbed wire wall of when someone leaves us.  Leaves our support group because they fell in love(even though we know they need more healing), leaves the tight knit group of office comrades to pursue a different job because of bigger dreams and goals(even though we know he will be disappointed with his new job), or leaves our church.

When someone leaves us, the first human reaction is to protect.  To protect ourselves and those around us.  The most obvious way to protect is to build a wall.  Walls of isolation and disconnection.

Jesus speaks about walls I believe in his discussion with Nicodemus.  Nicodemus is dumbfounded at the teaching of Jesus that one would have to be reborn.  Reborn?  Come on Nicodemus would retort.  Impossible!  Not even close to reality.  You can’t fit a grown man into the womb again.  It is simply preposterous talk.

Yet Jesus does not back away from his statement.  He then brings the picture of the wind and says “You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that.  You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next.”

We along with Nicodemus, start with the visible and try to move to the invisible.  Jesus asks us to start with the invisible and have the invisible move us to the visible.

When we start with the visible, things just don’t make sense.  The folks that have just left the church have hurt us and damaged my feelings.  My work companion has just abandoned me to pursue his dreams.  So the walls of resentment, abandonment and hopelessness get erected.  And we, just like Nicodemus say, we don’t get it, we don’t understand.  And to understand the circumstances in any other way is impossible.

Then tucked in and fortified behind our newly constructed emotional walls of defense we feel something against our face.  It is the wind.  The breeze grazes our skin in a way of refreshment and hope.  In the breeze there is the aroma of love and mercy.  So we are compelled to find its source. To search for the invisible source of life.  So we stumble from our crumpled state and take a brick or two from the wall.  We see nothing.  But the wind is getting stronger.  So we remove some more bricks.  By now we clearly see that the breeze has turned into a wind and has turned from coming over the wall to now almost pushing the wall over.  And as the invisible source of power and my visible hands work together in a heaven and earth symphony, my wall comes tumbling down.

What do I see?  I see my friends who just left the church.  Their faces look wind whipped and red as well.  They stand before a rubble of wall as well, but the rubble is from their wall and not mine.  We both stumble across the strewn emotional wreckage of rock, brick and stone looking for the source of the wind.  It is there in the midst of fallen walls and broken dreams, where their wall and mine are so intermixed that to set clear lines is now impossible.

The unseen wind has moved us from the invisible to the visible.

Clearly set walls and lines, clearly crumbled.

The wind moves freely in whatever way He wants.

And there, somehow, to bring togetherness; amidst ruin, chaos,and…

Wait, the gentle breeze is rising again…

“People of faith don’t have to control everything, nor do they have to change people.”

This comes from Richard Rohr’s book Jesus’ Plan for a new world.  A greater context is below.  Anxiety, worry these are things that plague the human condition.  To know that anxiety and worry are ways of trying to maintain a level of control.  That this control is the opposite of faith.

Lord, create in me that faith.  The faith that does have to control.

“Faith for Jesus is the opposite of anxiety. If you are anxious, if you are trying to control everything, if you are worried about many things, you don’t have faith, according to Jesus. You do not trust that God is good and on your side. You’re trying to do it all yourself, lift yourself up by your own bootstraps.

The giveaway is control. That’s a good litmus test of the quality of your faith. People of faith don’t have to control everything, nor do they have to change people.” Richard Rohr, Jesus’ Plan for a New World