Monthly Archives: October 2014

Law is a Transitory Solution – 2 Corinthians 3:1-4:6

Reality: Law is a transitory solution. Law was needed for humanity to survive long enough to grow past survival of the fittest into living in community. (Sumerian Code 2100-2050 BC; Babylon’s Code of Hammurabi circa 1760 BC; Hebrew Torah 1330 – now; Twelve tables of Roman Law 450 BC)
But law, by its set in stone nature, becomes a tool of condemnation, a way of labeling and separating people even within a community. Law protects people and property, but does not nourish the spirit needed to create a community of love.
Paul says, “Only in Christ is the veil of condemnation (by the law) removed.” Without knowing in heart and mind that we are loved unconditionally, we have no way of getting free of the need to earn and prove our value, often at the expense of others. Since in reality “All fall short of perfection” (the glory of God), no matter what we accomplish or how good we become… is never enough. Generally, this leads to settling for believing that we are “better than” another person, another group, another race, another nationality, even another religion. Instead of recognizing our shared humanity, we see people as the “Other” in order to feel good about ourselves. (Pharisees)
But when freed by recognizing the glory (love) of God in Jesus, we begin to become transformed into His image by God’s Spirit within us.
When we acknowledge Jesus as both our Redeemer and as our Lord, we have found the source of grace to grow free to be servants of all. If we continue to go to that well of grace there is less and less need to outperform, have power over, label, or reject others in order to feel better about ourselves. Unfortunately, it’s a big “IF.”
We are all imperfect and all loved as we are. As we grow in our belief in that, we realize “That we are not competent in ourselves. Our competence comes from God.” We do not have to prove anything. Jesus proved with His life and death that we are of infinite value, as servants not only of God, but of ALL others. (Radical inclusivity)
The gospel displays the love (glory) of Christ, who is the image of God. Christ who did not cling to power or importance, but walked in our skin and learned from others, and grew in wisdom and openness to God within, but also accepted failure, rejection, pain, and death for our sake, so we would know we don’t have to earn, win, achieve, anything in our short span here on earth.
All we are called to do is to admit our limits, focus on God’s love for us expressed in Christ and pass it on in whatever ways God gives us.

The Mystery of Suffering

Neither self validation nor self criticism matter. My significance come from who-I-am-as part of a much larger whole, God. And that includes both my good and bad parts. There seem to be only two ways that we know this experientially: prayer and suffering.

Laughter: Carbonated Grace

These are quotes from Job and the Mystery of Suffering by Richard Rohr.
When suffering comes to you (and sooner or later it comes to everyone), don’t search for any special method of prayer. Just be.

Just sit and accept your cross: accept it totally in the depth of your being. How terribly anguishing, but terribly powerful this method of prayer is. There are many different experiences of suffering, but whatever yours is, don’t try to escape it. Don’t fight it. Just sit with your cross.

Rohr says, To be human means to be imperfect and in process. Grace brings us out of the question of why we are suffering to the amazing recognition, “My life is not about me.” This is the great and saving revelation that comes only from the whirlwind, and we are never ready for it…………We are a continuation of the incarnation, a continuation of the…

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Reflections on Important Values and Who in History and in our Personal Experience Embody Them.

Preparing a class on 2nd Corinthians that I will be teaching in a few weeks. Got to thinking about who embodies my personal concept of Christ in history in the Common Era.
I was a bit surprised when I settled on Gandhi. But also know from reading, that Gandhi was a pretty rotten husband and father. Kind of makes me understand why Jesus never got married. I suspect that most great men have had long-suffering families. Perhaps great women also, though in history many of them became nuns and prioresses since that was the only role where women had freedom, respect, and a certain amount of power.
Recently I both read and heard another person say that today’s most popular idol is our self. We’re number one. Our opinions, our belief system, our needs, our desires, our loves, our country, our talents, our goals, our values are more important than anyone else’s when it comes down to making choices. And the end justifies the means when it comes to protecting those.
One of my blog posts brought some rather strong disagreement when I included the bible in a list of possible idols. I really value the bible and look to it for insights, challenges, encouragement and grace. I consider the bible good, but not God.
There are other people than Gandhi,leading smaller lives focused on family and the people they come into contact with, that I consider Christlike. In my past I’ve known a pediatrician, a nun teacher, and an ex nun facilitator that stand out particularly in my memory. They seemed to actually be able to put caring about others first, to be able to admit their own limits and be open enough to others’ very different opinions to be stretched by them, and amazingly to both affirm and challenge others without diminishing them.
I’d love to hear what you value in humans and who in both history and in your personal lives embody those values.