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Book of the Month: Schola Caritatis: Learning the Rhythms of God's Amazing Love

  Starting a new feature for the next several months called Book of the Month.  I will present one of my books and tell you a little of the ...

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

christmas in july

Okay, so I know it’s not July yet, but close enough.  I also know that the whole idea of new birth is gaining a ton of life in me these days.  Mostly because I feel like it’s what God is inviting me to―a quality and depth of life that I have not yet known.  In fact, it’s what he’s inviting all of us to.  It’s the way that he’s doing it that’s surprising, although it should not be.  The way to this new life is through my weakness, frailty, and vulnerability.  It’s coming through embracing my humanity.  It’s coming, as Sue Monk Kidd so beautifully writes, through the dung and the straw:

     “In the passage of emergence, as birthing begins, the soul becomes a nativity.  The whole Bethlehem pageant starts up inside us.  An unprecedented new star shines in our darkness―a new illumination and awareness.  God sends Wisdom to visit us, bearing gifts.  The shepherding qualities inside us are summoned to help tend what’s being born.  The angels sing and a whole new music begins to float in the spheres.  Some new living, breathing dimension of the life of Christ emerges with a tiny cry that says, I am.
     One of the best parts of the whole drama is that it happens in the dung and straw of our life, just as it happened in the dung and straw of Bethlehem. Birthing Christ is an experience of humility. Emerging to newness after the rigors of the cocoon isn’t a spiritual ‘promotion.’ There’s no presentation of a twenty-four-carat halo and a fancy new Christian persona without scuffs. If we’re consumed with holy pride, convinced that we’re spiritually ‘right’ and on a higher plane than others, we haven’t birthed a wider experience of the inner Christ but a new creation of the ego.
     The Christ life doesn’t divorce us from our humanity: it causes us to embrace it. It makes us more human. It humbles us. Genuine transformation always connects us to our essential nature, both sacred and profane. When we go through its passages, we plumb the depths of our humanity. We become intimate with what lies inside—the wild and untamed, the orphaned and abused, the soiled and unredeemed. We hold our falseness in our hands and trace our fingers over the masks we wear, like a blind person feeling the unseen faces of those she wants to know. We stare into the sockets of our pain and glimpse the naked truth of who we are.
     All this we bring with us into the new life. It ushers us into a new humility. Oh, yes, no doubt about it. We birth Christ, on a pile of ordinary straw.” (from When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd)

Christ wants to be born anew in us, but that new birth is most likely to come in our places of greatest weakness and vulnerability. In the dung and in the straw of our own humanity.  In our flaws and in our frailty, that's where his transforming power shows up best.

Lord Jesus, in this world we are most likely to find you in the dung and the straw.  Help us not to be afraid to look for you there.

Monday, June 3, 2024

come home

come home to yourself
not the home you have built
but the one built for you
strip away the layers
of accumulated wallpaper
and get down to the original
to what is true and real

it’s going to take a while
to undo the ego patterns
and unravel the illusions
and deconstruct the story
you have created for yourself
it will not be easy to strip away 
the manufactured self
the one that doesn’t really exist
but in the end it will all be worth it

the home you’ve been living in
is not really your home
but merely a construction of
your deepest wounds
and your greatest fears

so come home to yourself
if you have the nerve
God will be your guide
he is the only one who
can show you the way
but it will not be easy
stripping and undoing
and unravelling 
and emptying 
never is

let him take you there

Sunday, June 2, 2024

in God

God in us
the hope of glory
us in God
the intimacy of 
divine union

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

becoming bartimaeus

there is a beggar
inside each of us
dying to get out
longing to be set free
from the illusion of
strength and adequacy

a lowly pauper
waiting to be seen
and acknowledged
yearning to live out of
authentic dependence
neediness and weakness
instead of trying to
fool the world via
autonomy and control

but in order to make the leap
from falsehood to truth
we must be willing to
put on our beggar's clothes
and allow the deepest cry
of our hearts to be
Lord, have mercy on me

only then do we have
any real hope of finding
genuine transformation

Monday, May 13, 2024

wait for the Lord

What does it mean to wait for the Lord?  What does it really look like?  And why do we have such a hard time doing it?

As a culture, we’re really not into waiting—for anything.  And when we do it’s usually only because we have no other choice.  And if we’re honest, even when we do try to wait for the Lord, we’re really not waiting for him but for a favorable outcome or a change in circumstance.  Most of the time, our version of waiting for the Lord is just trying to use him to get what we want.  He is not the end, but merely a means to our preferred end.  And anytime we approach God not as the end, but as a means to an end, we’re not really approaching him at all.  We’re only trying to get our way or further our agenda.  And that’s not what waiting for the Lord is at all. 

Waiting for the Lord is just that—waiting for the Lord. Waiting for the Lord is laying aside our plans and schemes and agendas.  It is letting go of autonomy and control.  It is surrendering our wants and needs.  Waiting for the Lord is a refusal to try and manage, maneuver, or manipulate outcomes.  It is standing before God totally empty and fully open, willing to do whatever he asks and to go wherever he leads.  Waiting for the Lord is the determination not to charge ahead until we receive a word from him.

Waiting for the Lord is not just something we do until the Lord shows up.  Waiting for the Lord is God showing up.  It is through waiting for him that we are changed.  We are not waiting for transformation; it is in the waiting that God is transforming us.  We cannot do it ourselves.

Thus, waiting for the Lord involves a total dependence upon God.  It involves the realization that we cannot do things on our own.  For whenever we try to do it on our own, we cease to wait for the Lord.  That’s why the psalm says: “For God alone my soul waits in silence.”

Sunday, May 12, 2024

human

i've decided to give myself
the freedom to be human
which is of course what i am
although i have spent a lot
of time and energy trying to
convince people otherwise
because any fall from grace
definitely leaves a mark
especially if it's from a height

but being human is so much
better than the alternative
albeit incredibly messy at times
it can cause a good bit of
disappointment and hurt 
but isn't that better than being
someone who does not even exist

real love comes only when you
allow others to see all of you
not just the pretty parts
all your flaws and frailties
all your failures and foibles
all your weaknesses
and vulnerabilities

for it is not until others
discover your humanness
and embrace it themselves
that there can be real relationship
that they can love the real you

for until there is true being
their love was not about you 
but was about them 
and who they needed 
or wanted you to be
and that is not really love

so i've decided to give myself
the freedom to be human
because being anything
other than that is a burden
too great for anyone to bear

Thursday, May 9, 2024

clinging

help me not to cling
to how it was
because how it was
can keep me from
all that is to be