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Solitaries and The Lindisfarne Rule; Part 2

Solitaries of Lindisfarne; Reflections on the Rule:
Our Community prayer is,that I may be as Christ to those I meet; that I may find Christ within them.”
It’s about connectedness.
“Being Christ” is not a role we play, and finding Christ within others is not about grafting our ideas of “Christ” onto people and then using the other person as our “straight man” in life’s onstage performance.
I find this prayer now has become all jumbled up with some new ideas I’ve had about sin; along with some amazing theological perspectives from a Wesleyan minister namedMorgan Guyton.
The sin ideas are about learning to untangle myself from the notion that my sin belongs to me— about unraveling the notion that it’s my obligation to figure out whether my actions are right or wrong.
Guyton suggests that Jesus didn’t come to save us from our own sins, but to save the world from us; from the consequences of our sinning. Combining that idea with the idea that we are all connected, and I got a brilliant flash:…

The Great Wide

The word “God” is not a noun, it’s a verb!
God doesn’t have a plan; God is the plan!
God does not love us just as we are;
God does not pick us up when we fall;
God does not test us to prove our faith;
God does not measure out the amount of suffering we can handle;
God does not look down from above;
God does not punish us for our sins.
Try this
God is the Way we go about loving each other just as we are;
God is the Way we know how to give each other a hand;
God is the Way we test our lifelines before we mount a rescue;
God is the Way we handle our suffering with the oven mitts of grace;
God is the Way that goes in a different direction than ‘above’ and ‘below’;
God is the Way that has no signposts marked “sin” and “punishment.”


God is the Light that the darkness can’t seize,
and the gleam shining in our eyes.


God is the Air we breathe,
and the wind filling our lungs;


God is the Ground under our feet,
and the bedrock upholding our weight.


God is the Fathomless Source,
and the cradle that rocks…

Go Figure

John 9:1-17
“This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”
“The phrase “in Christ” cannot be understood correctly without recognizing that Christ was already the source of our being as the one “in whom all things were created.”-Morgan Guyton


So, I want to share the outcome of a really convoluted and intuitive mental process; a process which I decline to describe in any sort of detail. It’s just something that my mind does, and it’s been doing it more and more reliably in the last few years.
The starting point of this process was my increasing frustration with my own attempts to describe the fallacies underlying modern evangelical or fundamentalist Christianity. I suspected that there was a real heresy imbedded in the idea that God punishes for sin, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I still can’t.
The end result was the discovery of a blog by a guy named Morgan Guyton, a Methodist pastor and the director of a body called the NOLA Wesley Foundation at Tulane and Loyola Univ…

The Message

Job 13:3-17; Job 13:21-27 (Redacted verses: 13:18-20)
17 “Listen closely, then, to my words;
pay attention to what I am saying.

18 Here, now, I have prepared my case;
I know I am in the right.
19 If anyone can contend with me,
I will be quiet and die!
20 “Only grant two things to me, God;
then I won’t hide myself from your face —

21 take your hand away from me,
and don’t let fear of you frighten me.

Acts 12:1-17
Going out, Kefa (Peter) followed him but did not realize that what was happening through the angel was real — he thought he was seeing a vision.
13 He knocked at the outside door, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer. 14 She recognized Kefa’s voice and was so happy that she ran back in without opening the door,
John 8:33-47
43 Why don’t you understand what I’m saying? Because you can’t bear to listen to my message.
Job: I’m still annoyed about the redactions in Job. This one in particular changes the message drastically. The redacted version goes like this: (I’ve added verses 15, 16 a…

Standpoint

“To Love, to Serve, to Forgive.”
Our Prioress, Amma Beth, suggested that we ‘solitaries’ of the Lindisfarne Community take a look at the summary of our Rule (quoted above) “from the standpoint of the solitary life.”
The first thing that popped into my head was, “Does the solitary life even have a standpoint?” I think it might, but I don’t think it looks like the usual sort of standpoint.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is the one from Ephesians that talks about ‘putting on the whole armor of God.’ It’s trendy now for preachers to disparage the metaphor of “armor” as being less than politically correct because of its association with warfare and violence. I think that’s a bit disingenuous, and generally misses the point. (I could get sidetracked into a discussion about that, but I will restrain myself.)
I mentioned that passage because of a quote from it that I liked so much that I made it into a motto: “And having done all, to stand.” In Latin, that’s “Et Omnibus Perfectis Stare.…

"Blessed"

Matthew 5:1-12 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

5Seeing the crowds, Yeshua walked up the hill. After he sat down, his talmidim came to him, and he began to speak. This is what he taught them: “How blessed are the poor in spirit!
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
“How blessed are those who mourn!
    for they will be comforted.
“How blessed are the meek!
    for they will inherit the Land![a]
“How blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness!
    for they will be filled.
“How blessed are those who show mercy!
    for they will be shown mercy.
“How blessed are the pure in heart!
    for they will see God.
“How blessed are those who make peace!
    for they will be called sons of God.
10 “How blessed are those who are persecuted
because they pursue righteousness!
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.


11 “How blessed you are when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of vicious lies about you because you follow me! 12 Rejoice, be glad, because your…

Wasted Effort

Lectionary Reading: Job 9:1-15; Job 9:32-35
Redacted verses:
16 If I summoned him, and he answered me,
I still can’t believe he would listen to my plea.
17 He could break me with a storm;
he could multiply my wounds for no reason,
18 to the point where I couldn’t even breathe —
with such bitterness he could fill me!
19 If it’s a matter of force, look how mighty he is;
if justice, who can summon him to court?
20 Even if I’m right, my own mouth will condemn me;
if I’m innocent, it would pronounce me guilty.
21 “I am innocent. Don’t I know myself?
But I’ve had enough of this life of mine!
22 So I say it’s all the same —
he destroys innocent and wicked alike.
23 When disaster brings sudden death,
he laughs at the plight of the innocent.
24 The earth has been given to the power of the wicked;
he covers the faces of its judges —
if it isn’t he, then who is it?
25 My days pass on more swiftly than a runner;
they flee without seeing anything good.
26 They skim by like skiffs built of reeds,
like an eagle…

The Book of Job

Job 5:1-11— Job 5:17-21
Below are the redacted verses from the Daily Lectionary reading for today:
12 He frustrates the schemes of the cunning, so that they achieve no success; 13 trapping the crafty in their own tricks and foiling quickly the plans of the false. 14 They meet with darkness during the day, groping at noon like at night. 15 But he saves the poor from the sword, their mouth, and from the clutches of the strong; 16 so the poor can hope again; and injustice shuts its mouth.
22you’ll be able to laugh at destruction and famine. Also you won’t have to fear wild animals, 23 for you will be in league with the stones in the field, and the wild animals will be at peace with you. 24 You will know that your tent is safe; you will look round your home and miss nothing. 25 You will know that your descendants are many, your offspring like grass [growing thick] in the fields.
I have two problems with the idea of censoring the Bible. First of all, it’s an arrogant thing to do. Second, it re…