The Waystead is a Hermitage of the Lindisfarne Community, established with the intent to foster the love of God in the world. Our resolve is to follow the Way of the One in Whom we live and move and have our Being.
We trust that by thoughtfully founding, and steadfastly keeping, a dwelling place and setting it apart as a place of prayer, reflection, and contemplation, we will be able to hold onto that resolve.
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Get Away From Me!
2 Kings 18:28-37
35 Where is the god of
any country that has saved its country from my power, so that Adonai might be
able to save Yerushalayim from my power?’36 But the people kept still and didn’t answer him so much as a word;
for the king’s order was, “Don’t answer him.”
Strange logic. ‘What god has ever saved anyone from me,
so how is your god going save you from me?’ It sounds familiar, in a
sickening way. In other words, “Who’s gonna stop me?”
In this present time, in this wreck of a world, I feel a
glimmer of hope replace my guilt over keeping my mouth shut. I have not tried
to ‘speak truth to power’ because my gut tells me it’s useless. It might be cold
comfort, but it is comfort nonetheless, to hear the king’s order, “Don’t answer
him.” Why do you suppose such an order was given? Could it be that the wise men
of those times knew what happens if you try to argue with a manipulator; a
liar; a cold-hearted, insatiable, power addict? ‘Nothing good’ is what happens!
In my own experience, the same holds
true whether you are speaking ‘truth’ to the king himself, or if you are
speaking ‘truth’ to his royal cupbearer. Talk about throwing pearls under the
feet of pigs! If someone is trying to con you; if you are in danger of being
bilked, gulled, beguiled and deceived; maybe it really is best if you keep your
mouth shut. If you are being insulted, made mock of, and abused, maybe it’s
better if you walk away. Never negotiate with a manipulator.
How do you speak truth to someone in whom the
relationship between language and reality has dissolved? How do you persuade
someone who simply isn’t listening? How do you speak to someone who has
corrupted the very structure of language for their own degenerate purposes? An
even more desperate question: how do you speak to someone who will not even consider
that they are being duped?How do you
even begin to communicate with those in power who have succeeded in polluting
the plain sense of the very words we depend on to bring us together in mutual
No, I think I will sit here on the wall, eating my own
dung and drinking my own urine* and obey the command: “Don’t answer him.”
(*The Daily Office skips Verses 26 & 27 of 2 Kings…which read: 26 Elyakim the son of Hilkiyahu, Shevnah and Yo’ach said to
Rav-Shakeh, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it;
don’t speak with us in Hebrew while the people on the wall are listening.”27 But Rav-Shakeh answered them, “Did my
master send me to deliver my message just to your master and yourselves? Didn’t
he send me to address the men sitting on the wall, who, like you, are going to
eat their own dung and drink their own urine?”
1 Corinthians 9:1-15
15b I would rather die
than be deprived of my ground for boasting!
What is it with Paul and boasting? He sure talks about it
a lot. When is boasting okay? Is it ever? Why does Paul feel compelled to ‘boast’
even though he is quite obviously extremely defensive about it?
(What does he mean by the word ‘boast’ anyway? I think
he’s using it to mean merely “to speak of one’s own admirable and praiseworthy
I think the answer’s simple. It’s just that Paul’s between
a rock and a hard place. People are insisting that he defend himself against
accusations that are either just plain lies, or insinuations that make no sense
to Paul because they don’t match his world-view. I think the second is more
likely. He doesn’t want to defend himself because it’s evident to him that
people are paying attention to the wrong things. I’d be angry too, if I was
forced to defend myself under false pretenses.
He’s said over and over that his ‘ground for boasting’ is
Christ. But these people are ignoring this priority and insisting that he
defend himself against something that is all out of context from his standpoint.
They are putting him in an untenable position in which he has to respond as if
he thinks certain things are important, even though they are entirely meaningless
to him, and what’s more, he thinks they’re utterly ridiculous!
I’m reminded of a time that I got called into the patrol sergeant’s
office to defend myself against a complaint from a woman who told him that I
said “It serves you right” after a traffic accident which was clearly the
result of inattention on her part. I simply couldn’t figure out what the woman
was referring to. All I could do was tell the sergeant, “I never said any such
thing!” I was very uncomfortable, because it was clear to me that he was
dubious about my truthfulness. I knew, inside myself, that I could never say
such a thing, because I don’t conceive of the world in those terms. The
Sergeant, on the other hand, was a person who most demonstrably did
think in those terms, so we didn’t have much ground for mutual understanding. I
kept thinking about it all day, and finally it came to me. I had opened the
front passenger side door, and seen that there were two kids in the back seat.
I leaned into the back seat and said, “You guys all right?” Perhaps it was my
tone of voice which often comes across in a bit of an autistic monotone, or
perhaps my inflection wasn’t sufficiently like a question. Anyway, she
apparently heard it as “Serves you right.” What’s worse, apparently the kids heard
it that way too. Even worse than that, I don’t think the Sergeant ever really
believed that I didn’t say it. I guessed that she was predisposed to hear
something like that because she had a guilty conscience, but that’s beside the
point. The only point is that I could not discuss the matter without trying to
explain my point of view to someone who had no perspective whatsoever on my way
of seeing the world.I only manage to 'get past'
events like that due to a lifetime of practice. I’m used to being misunderstood
and misconstrued, and having to defend myself within a social context that barely
makes sense to me, and so I don’t get too wound up about it anymore.
Huh. It just occurred to me to wonder if St. Paul had
Asperger’s too. At any rate, I sympathize with him from the bottom of my heart,
even if he did get pretty wound up about it.
23 Then I will tell them
to their faces, ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of
Again, today's readings are making me feel better
about some of the judgment calls I’ve been making lately:
vTo sit starving on the city wall, keeping my
mouth shut, and listen to powerful people talk about their plans to make things
‘great’, and accept their utter disregard of the likelihood that pretty soon we
will all be eating our own dung.
vTo carry on being philosophical when nothing
makes sense in this wreck of a world, and there’s clearly no point in trying to
make myself understood.
vTo ignore the pretentious, self-righteous,
heartless, and malicious words of people who only want to push other people around
and run the show, not to mention feeling quite all right about snubbing every
last complainer, backbiter, tattler, or busybody, and saying “Get away from me!”
(I originally wrote this in November 2015, after reading a book on understanding Jesus's teachings in the light of first century Jewish Temple mysticism. I had been struggling with the cannibalistic implications in the Eucharist of "eating Jesus's body and drinking his blood." It was such a relief to discover this interpretation which connects neatly with the way his disciples would likely have understood the language Jesus was using.) Eucharist A little bit of research on the internet produced a
description of Jewish ritual sacrifice in the time of Jesus. A person, say a
woman named Sarah, offers a goat. She buys it and takes it to the priest at the
Temple. He examines it to see if it is “perfect,” i.e. healthy and unblemished.
He then takes it and slits its throat with the ritual words, “This is Sarah’s
blood.” The meaning should obviously be, that this is the blood belonging to
Sarah and offered on her behalf. The blood would then be poured out at the base
of the …
almost always have a feeling of discontent (dukkha) when I encounter a way of
looking at the world that exhorts me to define suffering as victimization. This
way leads people to become social activists, fighting “injustice,” “poverty,”
“violence,” and causes them to want to change “society” to make it a 'better'
place. This way of thinking seems to me to miss the point. I call it
"bootstrapping,” because it makes me think of the old saying that describes a
certain kind of futility by the phrase, “trying to pull yourself up by your own
bootstraps.” It can't be done. It seems to me that people often perceive
concepts like "injustice" as entities in their own right, with a kind of
inimical but impersonal life of their own. This leads to the belief that ideas
can do battle in the arena of social activism and when righteousness is the
victor, then "society" will change for the better. I see this as a form of
delusion, and exactly the sort of error tha…
I've been thinking a bit about emotional states and
reactions, trying to figure out if what I personally experience is at all
relevant to what other people experience. I've come to believe that it doesn't
matter. I know I do a thing that everyone else also seems to do, and that is to
think about everything only in reference to myself. I've learned over and over
that doing so doesn't improve a thing, and I've even come up with a name for
it: "bootstrapping." As in 'trying to pull yourself up by your own
bootstraps.' Here's what I've provisionally understood: Attempting to evaluate
or make judgments about a thing, or a state, or a condition, based on nothing
more than a set of ideas that I have about it (especially any ideas that
include the concept of "should") is utterly deluded. If the condition is entirely internal, and my ideas about it
also have no outside referents, then any attempt to change the situation by