An excerpt from a devotional posted by renoun Catholic theologian Richard Rohr:
"I think we are in the beginnings of a Trinitarian Revolution. History has so long operated with a static and imperial image of God—as a Supreme Monarch and Critical Spectator living in splendid isolation from what he (and God is always and exclusively envisioned as male in this model) created. His love is perceived as unstable, whimsical, and preferential.
"Humans become the God we worship. So it is quite important that our God is good and life giving. That’s why we desperately need a worldwide paradigm shift in Christian consciousness regarding how we perceive and relate to God. This shift has been subtly yet profoundly underway for some time, hiding in plain sight.
"The slowly-dawning revelation of Trinity was supposed to have radically altered our image of God, but for the most part it did not. The old dualistic hardwiring was too ingrained. In order to come together in politics and religion, to take new scientific findings in biology and quantum physics seriously, and for our species and our planet to even survive we must reclaim Relationship as the foundation and ground of everything.
"As Catherine LaCugna writes:
The God whom Jesus loves, relies on, by whose power he heals and forgives sin, is not a political monarch, a tyrant, an aloof authority figure, a castled king or queen whose subjects cannot visit, an isolated figure who cannot suffer because he does not love. . . . The God of Jesus Christ is, as Bonaventure put it, the fontalis plenitudo, the fountain overflowing with mercy and justice, and also the telos, the end and fulfillment of every creature. 
"God has forever redefined power in the Trinity! God’s power comes through powerlessness and humility. The Christian God is much more properly called all-vulnerable than almighty, which we should have suspected and intuited by the shocking metaphor “Lamb of God” found throughout the New Testament.
"Unfortunately, for the vast majority, God is still “the man upstairs,” a substantive noun more than an active verb. In my opinion, this misunderstanding is partly responsible for the quick expansion of practical atheism and agnosticism we see in the West today.
"Rational and sincere people wonder, “If God is almighty and all-loving, then why is there so much suffering in the world?” If God is all-vulnerable, then perhaps God stands in solidarity with all pain and suffering in the universe, allowing us to be participants in our own healing. This does not make sense to the logical mind, but to the awakened soul it somehow does."
The question we all need to ponder, especially as we begin our journey into Lent, is this: Who is God and what does that mean to you?
Perhaps it might be easier to ask, "What is your god you worship and how does it define you?" Is your god life giving or life taking? Does this deity share your pain and heal your brokenness? Or does your god compound your suffering and brokenness?
I believe the God of Jesus Christ is not the god of governments, financial institutions, and politics. Not a male or female, American or white. As St. John the Cross wrote in the 14th century, "God is nothing!" meaning God is no thing...but everything. My God is a God of radical love, inclusion and grace, and Jesus is the general leading the charge to peace and true freedom that such grace offers.
Until we can define who God is within ourselves, we I'll never be able to truly understand how to be the love and grace the world so desperately desires. Without a clear definition or understanding, we will never be able to be the window for others to see through, or the mirror for them to reflect God's grace within themselves.
As Rohr concludes in his thought provoking message now is the time to "Let the Trinitarian Revolution take root!"
Happy marti gras! And a big Fat Tuesday to all who will begin their Lenten journey on Wednesday. Lent is one of my favorite religious celebrations for so many reasons. As I was shepherding a friend along her spiritual journey I had this new thought to add to my love for this 40 day period of reflection and contemplation.
I wrote this in a text:
"Lent is not just a journey towards the great Easter celebration but a pathway that leads to Pentecost where we begin the great commission of our faith."
Just as Jesus prepared himself for his ministry by going out into the wilderness to fast and pray, so to shall we enter the wilderness of life faithfully relying on the Spirit of God to guide us. Let us use the time to find our faith, our strength, our discipline, and our beloved Creator as we seek to imitate Jesus, the beloved Son. The one named Emanuel, or "God with us."
So as you fast from the things in life that pull you away from being like him, may you also feast on all that is good in life that draws you closer to him.
Random thought. How can you see if you are blind?
Ask a blind person and they will tell you they see differently than a person whose eyesight is perfect. Is it perception or definition? Or is it a sense (or many other senses) that kicks in. A snake uses its tongue. A shark uses a sense of smell. A dolphin uses radar. And so on.
How we see others begins with what we believe. If we believe only our eyes allow us to see then we avoid places where our eyes do not work; i.e. a dark room. But if we believe that even in a lightless room we have other means of seeing, like using our hands to guide us, then we eliminate the fear that might come from a limited point of view. Same is true about seeing others, especially seeing the face of God in everyone around us. If we only see a person by the way they dress or the color of their skin or language they speak, then we might only see a homeless man in rags, a tattooed thug that must be up to no good, or a foreigner who is plotting and scheming something dangerous.
But if we believe there is something greater within that person, we begin to see them as God see them; redeemable, forgivable, lovable children with incredible potential.
Throughout Jesus' ministr, great crowds of people would gather to not only hear his words hit to also see what he could do. But before they saw, they first had to believe. This goes against the way of the world today. The world says, "Let me see first, then I will believe." Jesus says the opposite, "First you must believe, and then you will truly see." Such faith opened the eyes of the blind; physically, spiritually and metaphorically. St. Augustine wrote, "Faith is to believe what we do not see. The reward of faith is to see what we believe."
Belief changes the way we see the world around us, which helps to transform the way we participate in the world around us. Jesus gives us a clear vision of heaven here on earth, then and now and evermore. Faith receives its power from him to help us see the glory and power of God surrounding us, from the smallest of flowers to the smelliest of people.
Take a moment to around your environment and see where your faith can witness the glory of God at work.
Today is my birthday. It is also the 89th Oscar Awards. To celebrate these accomplishments I'd ask you to cut and paste this link into your browser to learn about my childhood hero who helped shape who I am today, and why this blog is so important to me, us, and the world.
God Blessed the world when this man was born.
"Spending time with a child is the surest way back to God."
In Mark's gospel Jesus teaches us something profound about life, love, and discipleship when he said, "Whoever welcomes a child welcomes me and the one who sent me." These words carry some serious weight in light with all that is going on in this country with the Syrian refugees, illegal immigrants from Latin America, and the "Dreamers" who are fearing their status recently given to them by President Obama.
I invite you to take a few moments to think about his words from the point of view of the disciples. In 1st Century A.D. Palestine, kids were 'invisible,' and had no real worth. Unless you were the first born male, your status was less than that of a servant or slave. You could be sold, bought, or traded like a commodity.
Is that description any different today? Think about yourself when you were three or four years old. How would have Jesus' words affected your life? Now, imagine being abandoned or orphaned, struggling to find food, shelter, and the basic necessities to survive.
God knows that babies and children are the most vulnerable. Yet we are all children of God. We are all vulnerable, in need of others to help us, care for us, feed us, and tend to our wounds. Just as we receive we are also called to give.
This is as real of a fact today as it was when Jesus "took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” Mark 9:36-37
How do Jesus' words shape your political position on immigration and acceptance? How do they define your spiritual or religious practices? How do you see your personal call to put your faith or beliefs to work when looking into the eyes of those who are running away from the many wars being fought around the world, or simply seeking peace and sanctuary from the conflicts that surround their lives? What then does it say when we reject them?
As my beloved wife once told me, "spending time with a child is the surest way back to God."
There is a lot of noise in the world. Social media, news media, table talk and various conversations everywhere make up the noise swirling in my head. Fake news, alternative facts, gospel truths. What's real? What's not?
This begs the question: how well do we hear? Are we good listeners? Or are we just mouth peices spewing more noise into the atmosphere?
Listening is an art form I struggle with daily but there is something to be said about working those muscles. In doing so I hear a story. And in that story I meet a person. And in that person I come to see and know God better.
At his baptism in the Jordan, the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus. And out of the heavens comes this great voice speaking to the world. It's God, who says..."Listen up, give me you undecided attention, this is the One I am sending you. My beloved son who will redeem all who listen to his words. So listen. And you too will be my beloved child."
Ok, that is my interpretation of the event. But hearing is super important to living faithfully. But don't just take my word. Listen to the words made popular by Quaker peacebuklder Gene Knudsen Hoffman: "An enemy is one whose story we have not heard."
In the spirit of Mother Teresa’s famous quote “not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love,” here are 10 simple, inclusive ways to show the love of Christ to neighbors, friends, family, community members, strangers, and coworkers.
Thank you to Shane Claybourne and The Simple Way project for this wonderful Valentine's message.
There's an African proverb that states, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others."
I like that. Don't you? It reminds me of what Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "It is go to have an end to the journey, but in the end it's the journey that counts."
Who we travel with will determine not only where we will but also who we might become. Whether they are good people or not as good of people as you thought they'd be or hoped they be, the journey shapes us. It makes our story. Writes our narrative. Paints our picture. Sings our songs.
It takes being with others to make all of this to happen. If anything, you need others to read about who we are and we're we went. What will they read about or sing about you?
"Peace on Earth" does not begin with us. Nor does it end with us. It does, however, require our full participation.
Below is one simple action anyone can do to begin the peacemaking process. It comes from St Paul's historic and epic letter to the Roman churches. The essence of this portion (Rom 15:7-13) is to encourage his readers to see Jesus in the other. I like the way "The Message" version speaks to this using everyday language.
“So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it! Jesus, staying true to God’s purposes, reached out in a special way to the Jewish insiders so that the old ancestral promises would come true for them. As a result, the non-Jewish outsiders have been able to experience mercy and to show appreciation to God."
"Just think of all the Scriptures that will come true in what we do!"
"Outsiders and insiders, rejoice together!"
"People of all nations, celebrate God! All colors and races, give hearty praise!"
And as Isaiah said, (perhaps foreshadowing Jesus' messianic proclamation):
"There’s the root of our ancestor Jesse, breaking through the earth and growing tree tall, Tall enough for everyone everywhere to see and take hope!"
"May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!”
THIS IS THE POWER AND IMPACT THAT ONE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS CAN MAKE TODAY! Anyone can do it. With little or no effort. Here's a quick breakdown of the impact your action can have.
1) Help others see God in their midst, in whatever situation they are in!
2) Unite people, families and communities and nations and religions as one so we may all be with the One!
3) Redefine humanity by celebrating God with our differences: race, skin color, nationality, political views, etc.
The power of God's promised fulfilled simply because we reach out and welcome one another. Mighty. Powerful. Transformative. Because of this action there is HOPE!
From Romans 15
A brief excerpt taken from Richard Rohr's daily mediation: The YHWH Prayer
"A rabbi taught this prayer to me many years ago. The Jews did not speak God’s name, but breathed it with an open mouth and throat: inhale--Yah; exhale--weh. By our very breathing we are speaking the name of God and participating in God’s breath. This is our first and our last word as we enter and leave the world."
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”