Transformative Suffering

RohrEB and I subscribe to Richard Rohr’s Daily Mediation and this was just too good not to share. For those that are not familiar with the writings of Richard Rohr, this is for you. As we approach Holy Week and Easter this meditation will resonate with Christians and non-Christians.

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Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation
Transformative Suffering
Holding the Pain Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Don’t get rid of the pain until you’ve learned its lessons. When you hold the pain consciously and trust fully, you are in a very special liminal space. This is a great teaching moment where you have the possibility of breaking through to a deeper level of faith and consciousness. Hold the pain of being human until God transforms you through it. And then you will be an instrument of transformation for others.

As an example of holding the pain, picture Mary standing at the foot of the cross. Standing would not be the normal posture of a Jewish woman who is supposed to wail and lament and show pain externally. She’s holding the pain instead, as also symbolized in Michelangelo’s Pietà. Mary is in complete solidarity with the mystery of life and death. She’s trying to say, “There’s something deeper happening here. How can I absorb it just as Jesus is absorbing it, instead of returning it in kind?” Until you find a way to be a transformer, you will pass the pain onto others.

Jesus on the cross and Mary standing by the cross are images of transformative religion. They are never transmitting the pain to others. All the hostility that had been directed toward them—the hatred, the accusations, the malice—none of it is returned. They hold the suffering until it becomes resurrection! That’s the core mystery. It takes our whole life to comprehend this, and then to become God’s “new creation” (Galatians 6:15). The imperial ego hates such seeming diminishment.

Unfortunately, we have the natural instinct to fix pain, to control it, or even, foolishly, to try to understand it. The ego always insists on understanding. That’s why Jesus praises a certain quality even more than love, and he calls it faith. It is the ability to stand in liminal space, to stand on the threshold, to hold the contraries, until you move to a deeper level where it all eventually makes sense in the great scheme of God and grace.

Adapted from The Authority of Those Who Have Suffered (MP3 download)
Gateway to Silence:
God is in this with us.

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The Leaf, the Dark and the Light

I was walking across a parking lot recently. Among the leaves that littered the area, I noticed one that was half eaten away. I could still make out its shape. Against the black asphalt and among all of the other leaves, it looked small, meaningless, insignificant and powerless. It’s colors were muted and it looked hopelessly lost among all the other leaves. It would have probably decomposed without as much as a whisper on humanity.

I picked it up and held it up to the light and this is what I saw: A beautiful and delicate leaf of rich, vibrant color. And, because much of it was eaten away, it had an amazing lace-like pattern that made it even more interesting and beautiful. Instead of a leaf that was dying, I saw a leaf that was being transformed. I saw purpose and an order that only the light could reveal.

Perhaps this leaf is very much like you and me. At times, we feel small, meaningless, insignificant, powerless and broken. But when we are held up to the light, our unique beauty is revealed. God holds each one of us up to the light – broken, imperfect, and dying as we may be. God is the light.

Stop. Hold yourself and hold others up to the light. Take the time to see the beauty that is revealed.

Leaf

Unstoppable Is Unstoppable on Sept 24

cameron

Kirk Cameron’s new movie Unstoppable has got some folks’ panties in a twister. Read here about Facebook’s attempt to block fans from posting links to the movie. I’ve always admired Kirk Cameron. The guy is not afraid to live his faith wide open.  EB and I look forward to watching Kirk’s thought provoking new movie on September 24. Check out the trailer for Unstoppable.

Happy Easter! Poke Me Why Don’t You?

doubtingthomas

I think that the Gospel of John verse 20 pretty much sums it up for me. But I think that in our society, it is a lot worse than not believing because we cannot see or touch God. I think we have grown so cynical, egotistical and spoiled, that we won’t believe because we think we are god. Hey, man invented technology, we must be gods or at least we’re pretty dammed certain there is no god. Where the hell is he?

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

My wish for you on this Easter is that you allow your hardened heart to soften, even if it’s just enough to allow God’s grace into your life. This wish goes out especially to those who have a lot invested in their hardened positions. It’s a bad investment.

May the peace of the risen Lord be with you and may all your dreams come true, through Him.

Is there really a God?

Emma

For those of you who are still pondering that question, I submit to you that all you have to do is look at my precious little friend, Emma, or any child for that matter. It’s that simple. While Emma likes pink just like me and has a great sense of fashion like me, I submit to you that children are born with God’s disposition to love. They are filled with His nature. Slowly, as they grow up, they learn how to hate by watching what the rest of us do. They learn about getting ahead, being independent instead of interdependent, getting your’s, being entitled, being important, getting rich, having prestige, being right, being democrat or republican, being a fan, getting plastic surgery, getting the latest app, getting high, worshiping beer, finding that loophole, being free to kill, being a real man, being a real woman, being a star, being jealous, holding a grudge, getting revenge, being politically correct in an aggresively secular world …

What happened to the God in us? What happened to the God in you? The good news is that He is still there. We just need to learn from His actions and His Word and not necessarily the actions or words of one another, or the mind zapping fake-made-real world of entertainment and the media. Too harsh? Tough bunny poop!

As for my wonderful friend Emma, I think that she will remain in God’s nature, because the people around her work hard at being Christ for each other. That’s is something worth learning.

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