Posts

Afraid Of The Wind

Once it blew past, but now it turnsand leans on my window,intent on reminding me that the earth isn’t reliable,not anymore.Things move that ought not to move; the eaves shake, the light shivers,and somewheredown underneath my heartthe bedrock stumbles and shifts. Every time, I look up, listening;waiting to hear the far-off growlof an inbound earthquake—waiting for the bottom to fall out of the world.

"Kenotic Interchange"

I used this phrase in an email correspondence with one of my God-friends. It keeps coming back to me. I was talking aboutwaysof conceiving of ‘service’ and I said this:“I had managed to somehow get wound up in thinking of service only in terms of "things one does to help people," and not in terms of the kenotic interchange between the human and the divine.”(I believe this might be the first time that I have applied the method of Lectio Divina to something that I myself wrote. This is weird.)Anyhow, the phrase ‘kenotic interchange’ just keeps on echoing in my mind. The problem is that it’s extraordinarily resistant to my attempts at interpretation or exposition. It’s so layered— both dense and attenuated— that not only can I not find an end to begin untangling it, I suspect that untangling it would unravel all its meaning and leave me bereft.Kenosis— self-emptying— is the core of my understanding of God. It has nothing to do with self-denial, though. In order to abrogate the …

It Doesn't Matter

What happens when I bring all my hard-won wisdom to bear regarding foolish things? The first thing that happens is that I recognize temptation. The second thing that happens is that I realize that the temptation consists of an urge to disregard my wisdom, as if somehow it doesn’t apply to trivial things.I ask myself this: Why couldn’t I bring my wisdom to bear on Facebook’s comment section?Why couldn’t I bring my wisdom to bear on the unrelenting opinions of other folks?Why couldn’t I bring my wisdom to bear on deciding what to do about the baleful word “should”?It’s a pervasive temptation you see— to think that wisdom is limited to the councils of the wise.It’s an insidious idea that disagreement must mean that I oppose someone, that I’m ‘against’ them, and therefore I must provide a counter-argument to whatever it is that they believe.It’s confusing to listen to my own heart-wisdom telling me that arguing with each other is not the way, when everyone is busy arguing.I am bewildered …

Master of Trust

Acts 14:1-18And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, (ESV)Sha’ul, looking at him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, (CJB)I felt this was really important, especially in view of my recent insights into perceptiveness. I’ve realized that all my life I’ve been dismissive of my own perceptions, intuitions, and observations. I never had faith in them, and have always hesitated to act on them, feeling presumptuous somehow.I mean, I was aware of them, and I trusted them to the extent that I felt that they were probably accurate, but I never did anything with them. I think that was mostly because I couldn’t figure out how to use them (my perceptions) in ways that were useful and helpful.I’m reviewing all those previous decisions, in light of a recent understanding that I’ve gained: that at the very least these intuitive perceptions of mine are a well of creativity that I can draw from. I also understood that if it’s possible to employ my…

Kindly-Ones

Psalm 32This is what everyone faithful should pray
at a time when you can be found.
Then, when the floodwaters are raging,
they will not reach to him. (CJB)
Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him. (ESV)
The Hebrew word translated as “faithful” or “godly” is “chasid” — from “chesed”: loving-kindness. Chesed is often translated as “mercy” or “grace” and refers to the unbreakable bond (oath, covenant, vow) of love between God and God’s people. “A person who embodies chesed is known as a chasid(hasid, חסיד), one who is faithful to the covenant and who goes "above and beyond that which is normally required" and a number of groups throughout Jewish history which focus on going "above and beyond" have called themselves chasidim.”  (From Wikipedia)I got some insight from the Hebrew interlinear website. It isn’t easy to figure out, but by carefully comparing the tran…

Truth and Lies

John 8:33-4743 Why don’t you understand what I’m saying? Because you can’t bear to listen to my message. 45 But as for me, because I tell the truth you don’t believe me. (CJB)Why don’t you get what I’m saying? Why don’t you catch my meaning? My teaching finds no room in you. My teaching makes no headway in you.Don’t you see? It’s because I speak the truth that you don’t trust me.“Lies.” “Lying.” “Liar.”Lectio Divina is so amazing sometimes! I started out by reflecting on the idea of making space for understanding; of keeping the way clear for meaning to enter. I was going to talk about how delusion renders us literally unable to discern whether something is true or not, and even predisposes us to deny reality. But then, I got sucked into a liminal space while contemplating the nature of the truth, and the grammar of lies, and I noticed something that might have far-reaching implications: The words for truth or honesty, and the words for lies or falsehood don’t work at all the same way…

What If?

Dualism— Old Man Zen snorts and says, “You just can’t get away from it, can you?”(Old Man Zen isn’t really real, but he is—— (Really!)Abbot Andy just wrote a blog post in which he sets evil in opposition to good, and describes violence as an obstacle to non-violence. He proposes a world of well-being without violence, in which “human rights are respected, where fairness reigns, where everyone's capabilities are nourished and flourish, where care for the Other is paramount. I say, too, that nonviolence removes the obstacle of violence and paves the way for a better world.”I can’t figure out why Old Man Zen doesn’t get pissed off when people don’t understand him. I mean, he’s not a kind person, but he just never gives up. I asked him if I could give it a shot— to describe the deep, dark, illusionary fissure of ‘either-or’ that I see dividing the world: heart against mind; up against down; kind against cruel; hope against fear; grief against pride; good against evil.He said, “You can…