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I shrivel, I expand, I grow weary from huffing and
puffing my chest out in anger and despair from
hearing hatred and hypocrisy
Fall like stones from the mouths of those who say
they speak for the Lord of Love;
words of war from those who claim the Prince of Peace
As their own.
I falter in my faith as I see this Rushing Wind
reduced to an impotent Breeze;
this Fierce Tiger gelded into submission.
This God, this One of Love to whom I surrender
will not be tamed nor taunted,
controlled nor cajoled by culture or flag, religion or Sect.
This God is NOT ordinary. The God I know to be
True is Love, fierce and relentless, tender and passionate.
This God is ExtraOrdinary, knowable yet unknown,
serene yet dangerous, friendly yet Lord.
How dare we adjust this God like he were
the settings of our brazen technology.
This God is beyond your walls or mine, above our
politics and our safe, sanitized flag waving patriotic religion,
dearth of wisdom as it is. This God is fire and seeks to
set aflame all who hunger for him.

This is one of my favorite poems from one of my favorite poets.  EnJoy!

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.


We have food to share with a world that is hungry, even famished.

Spiritual wanderers—those spiritually starved and denied—show up at our doors, not because they like our buildings or even because they like us, but because they are hungry.

Hungry for forgiveness, for rest and peace. Hungry for mercy and grace. Hungry to explore and grow. Hungry for the good news of new life, of abundant life.

Hungry for God to do a new thing.

The eight parts of speech are nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections and God is all eight simultaneously.

Unconditional (adjective): not limited by conditions; absolute; an unconditional promise (dictionary.com).

One of the things I struggle most with is the oxymoronic values most Christians and religious people have: like saying God’s love is unconditional while simultaneously placing conditions upon that divine unconditional love.

Unconditional means without restrictions, limits or any modifications; limited by NO conditions whatsoever.

Can I say that I believe in a God whose Love is like this?

I’d be lying if I said yes, for my life and judgmentalism prove otherwise. I judge people all the time; I take their inventory, supplanting God’s unconditional love with my own conditional love. And if truth be told, one thing I know is humanly impossible is my ability to understand the divine delineation between “loving the sinner and hating the sin.” For me it is almost impossible; I end up throwing out the proverbial baby with the bath water. I do not see many others who, if they are honest, do a very good job of this either.

I hear evangelicals and conservatives say they love our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters but the barriers to God’s grace and unconditional love are obvious.  I hear liberals and progressives spew hatred towards conservatives.  I hear Christians hating on their enemies (booth real and supposed) even though Jesus said “love your enemies…do good to those that hate you.”

Is it in any wonder that ‘conditional love’ and intolerance are listed as some of the main reasons so many millennials (35 and under) are walking away from the Church and from all religion?  You can read about this survey taken from a recent article that can be found HERE.

Is God’s love really unconditional?

Is God’s love an Adjective?  If you had never heard of Jesus or the two great commandments, and you walked into a church, would you experience such unconditional love? I shudder to think…

What would happen if all God lovers and followers of Jesus simply laid down as the sole and only ‘doctrine’ of Christianity to be that of unconditional love in any and all circumstances, situations and realities? What do YOU think would happen?

Would we once again discover Divine Love as if for the first time and set the world on fire?

What would happen if all I sought was to love God and the divine image of God in all creatures and creation? What would my life look like? Would I become the hunger for which I pine? Would I become the change I so long for (as Gandhi once said)?

Am I so afraid of unconditional love that I can neither accept it nor give it? I have more questions than answers…hence the musings. But if I – if we – are all honest, we are scared to death of unconditional love and what it means. We are scared to love the other, the different, the unknown and the mystery. I need neat, little categories and compartments to classify and codify all of life and all the people in it. If I am white and you are black, if you are Muslim and I am a follower of Jesus, if you are an evangelical and I am radical Catholic, then in that naming process, I can distinguish myself from you. And in distinguishing myself from you, I can identify out – or more simply put, I can make it easier for me to separate myself from you and set limits on God’s love and grace. I therefore become the arbiter of God’s so-called unconditional love and grace. And in that process, I become an idol, a veritable stumbling block to God’s limitless and truly unconditional love.

When I do this I tame God and his relentlessly Wild Love.  I make God safe for me and dangerous for you, when God’s love should be paradoxically safe and ‘dangerous’ for ALL of us.

If God is love and God is in control, then what harm is there if I, if we, err on the side of ‘loving too much? Of giving God’s love to all and save the judgment for God (whose mercies never come to an end)?

If, in the end, I unleash myself in total abandonment and surrender to God’s love and to becoming an agent of his unconditional love, what might happen?

What might really happen to me, or you or our world?

 

replace fear with curiosity

My Lord God, I have no idea of where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

(Thomas Merton)

from Thoughts In Solitude

Great article written by someone deeply in love with God.

ONE MOUNTAIN AT A TIME

I came across a particular article yesterday evening that felt like confirmation from God on 3 different changes I had started this March. The original article is found at -> The Heartwork Blog, written by Seth Silvers.  When I made it to obstacle number 4- spending yourself later, I looked around my apartment- and realized God was speaking to me. First change: for the past 4 weeks, I have been selling pretty much everything I own. I still am. I am condensing measurably. I want to live minimally with less, and more with God. (I’m also saving and putting lot’s of lettuce in my bank for a big move). My second change was after completing half of my MA program on campus, I switched to finish the rest of my program online last week in order to pursue my third change which is applying to ‘dream’ jobs in…

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There is this awful bending
towards God that my soul takes
of its own accord,

a defiant motion set spinning within that
like a swirling eddy draws in with gentle motion
all the doubt, error, foibles and frailties.

This bending leaves me aching and
rent, in heart and body. But bend
I must to this Divine Love or break I will.

God’s call, vocation, is twofold. God calls us saying, ‘Come, follow me.’ We arrive and then we must follow. We find but must go on seeking. God’s call is a never-ending call, to the unknown, to adventure, to follow him in the night, in solitude. It is a call incessantly to go further, and further. For it is not static but dynamic (as creation also is dynamic) and reaching him means going on and on.

God’s call is like the call to become an explorer; it is an invitation to adventure.

Source:

One of my favorite writers, Kathleen Norris, wrote so eloquently in The Cloister Walk that “a prophet’s task is to reveal the fault lines hidden beneath the comfortable surface of the little worlds we invent for ourselves, the national myths as well as the little lies and delusions of control and security that get us through the day.”

Norris writes intensely and powerfully about “call” and “calling” in The Cloister Walk.  I was amazed by how much she writes directly to what I’ve been struggling with over the last few years, about fleshing out one’s calling, and about not being afraid to say one is Called by God.

For indeed, many in our society think those a called life is a bit trite, arrogant, and presumptuous.   I have heard the arguments and comments before, “who are you to call yourself prophet, healer, poet, or shepherd?  I know you, you are not qualified for that…you are far from perfect.”

Well, I say, how dare you not to live a called life!  In my estimation, living an uncalled life is the same as what Socrates said about living the unexamined life – it is not worth living!  In fact, it’s not life – it’s robotic.

Kathleen Norris goes on to say this railing against a called life “would explain our mania for credentials, which allows us a measure of objectivity in assessing our differences.  Credentials measure what is quantifiable; they represent results.”

But I sense deeply in my heart that living a Called Life is a process; a dynamic relationship.  A call is meeting, between pain and joy, hope and despair, fear and love – and it is the ultimate meeting, with God.  How does one “credential” a calling like that?  Does the need for being a professional replace the hunger for passion, compassion, intimacy and mission?

According to the “World”, if I call myself a shepherd, a poet, or a healer I am presumptive.  If I say I know why God put me on this earth, people think me arrogant.  And just exactly what are my credentials?  But if you call me poet, prophet, or a shepherd, then it becomes “acceptable.”

But I say who exactly is doing the “calling” (or better said, naming the calling) at this point?  And who has the authority to issue a call?  For me, it is God alone, not any human being or even myself.  I am merely the responder.  Kathleen Norris hits the heart just right when she says that when one is called, like a prophet, or a poet, we must surrender all human need for credentials, “accepting only the authority of the call itself.”

I pray we can all muster the courage to be so REAL and seek out God and God’s call upon our lives that we find fire in the belly and passion in the hearts to live such ennobled lives.

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