“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

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Itunes mix has a great way of being a spiritual pin wheel.  Playing whatever song it’s random generating machine software tells it to.  Funny how sometimes a song will cut right to the heart of where I am.

This morning my it was Keep the Faith by Bon Jovi and boy does it describe where I am at this morning.

Mother mother tell your children
That their time has just begun
I have suffered for my anger
There are wars that can’t be won

Father father please believe me
I am laying down my guns
I am broken like an arrow
Forgive me
Forgive your wayward son

Everybody needs somebody to love
(mother, mother)
Everybody needs somebody to leave
(please believe me)
Everybody’s b**ching
’cause they can’t get enough
And it’s hard to hold on
When there’s no one to lean on

Faith: you know you’re gonna live thru the rain
Lord you got to keep the faith
Faith: don’t let your love turn to hate
Right now we got to
Keep the faith
Keep the faith
Keep the faith
Lord we got to keep the faith

Tell me baby when I hurt you
Do you keep it all inside
Do you tell me all’s forgiven
And just hide behind your pride

Everybody needs somebody to love
(mother, father)
Everybody needs somebody to leave
(please don’t leave me)
Everybody’s bleeding
’cause the times are tough
Well it’s hard to be strong
When there’s no one to dream on

Faith: you know you’re gonna live thru the rain
Lord you got to keep the faith
No, you know it’s never too late
Right now we got to keep the faith
Faith: don’t let your love turn to hate
Oh-oh you got to
Keep the faith
Keep the faith
Keep the faith
Lord we got to keep the faith ) x 2

(Solo)

I’ve been walking in the footsteps
Of society’s lies
I don’t like what I see no more
Sometimes I wish that I was blind
Sometimes I wait forever

To stand out in the rain
So no one sees me cryin’
Trying to wash away the pain
Mother father

There’s things I’ve done I can’t erase
Every night we fall from grace
It’s hard with the world in yours face
Trying to hold on, trying to hold on

Faith: you know you’re gonna live thru the rain
Lord you got to keep the faith
Faith: don’t let your love turn to hate
Right now we got to keep the faith
Faith: now it’s not too late
Try to hold on, trying to hold on
Keep the faith
Keep the faith
Everbody keeps the faith

I think a little satire always makes some of the greatest points.

This illustration comes from comedian Emo Philips talking about two men on a bridge, one of which is contemplating suicide…

I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew or a Hindu or what?”
He said, “A Christian.”
I said, “Small world! Me too. Protestant or Catholic or Greek Orthodox?”
He said, “Protestant.”
I said, “Me too! What franchise?”
He said, “Baptist.”
I said, “Me too!” Norther Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Baptist.”
I said, “Me too! Norther Conservative Baptist or Norther Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”
I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalists Baptist, Great Lakes Region, or Norther Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Eastern Region?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region.”
I said, “Me too! Norther Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”
He said, “Norther Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”
I SCREAMED, “Die, heretic!” and pushed him over.

So I wonder… who will I allow to stand on the bridge with me? Only people who are exactly like me? And for those who are not like me, will I push them off?

But sometimes standing on a bridge all alone gets pretty lonely…

Richard Rohr comments in his book Jesus’ Plan For a New World, “Every town has the hard-to-get-to spot where the teens pain graffiti, late at night, at tremendous risk. Yet when the soul feels utterly insignificant, it writes its name where you can’t miss it.”

I have always wondered what drives someone to dangle above a freeway, nudging themselves along a concrete precipist, with a couple of cans of spray paint(probably made this mistake of not bringing enough spray paint only once) to get to that billboard and tag it with some unintelligible graffiti. I mean really, I don’t like graffiti(it messes with my sense of order), but I have to admit there are some taggers that I consider absolute rock stars for their incredible sense of daring.

Yet really, isn’t it a desperate cry for attention. “Look at me” it screams. It forces the attention of the world of commuters to view at the ‘art’ of one desperate individual.

But back to the quote above. Really am I any different? Yes I don’t hang over highways or slip into tunnels in the cover of the dark. Yet I have realized that when my soul feels insiginfcant, ignored, repressed, or not affirmed that I have the tendancy, even the propesity, to write my name where you can’t miss it.

To scream, “Look at me”, To demand attention. This is what we graffiti artists do.

The spray paint that we use is just a colorful as the graffiti artist’s pallete of colorful cans. They are,

Anger, gossip, arguing, withdrawal, sarcasm, hypocrisy, bitterness, attention, ignoring, disconnection.

(just to name a few)

(my favorite colors are withdrawing and disconecting if you really need to know)

We all do these things. They are as second nature to us as breathing. But the important thing is this

not to know what I do, but to know why I do it.

I know what I do, I know what I do when I get frustrated or annoyed or fearful, but to understand the why, now that really gets to the heart of things.

I guess I have come to this realization. We all have different forms of graffiti. You have soul graffiti, I have soul graffiti. And I am ok with that. And I am confident my Lord that he will clean up our graffiti in his way and in his time. Lest we forget, that love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith and meekness and temperance are called the fruits of the Spirit and not the fruits of my hard work and sweat. They are the fruits of the evidence of the Spirit movement in you and me.

P.S. For what it is worth, I have heard the book Soul Graffiti by Mark Scandrette is just awesome. I have not read it so I have no idea if it has any relation whatsoever to the above. But I have heard it is a must read.

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