Mockers…


The more I try to study the Bible, the more confused I am.

Proverbs 9: 7-8 says

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult;

whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse.

Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;

rebuke a wise man and he will love you.

Before explaining my confusion with this passage, I’ll define my interpretation of the language. First, a “mocker” would be today’s “hater.” That definition can be expanded to include more, but for brevity, let’s stick with “hater.” Haters gotta hate; we see it everyday all over social media.

Secondly, “rebuke” is not just “tell someone they’re wrong,” but to try to correct misinformation so that the person could have a better informed opinion (and hopefully make better decisions).

Here’s my confusion:

I get that trying to explain sense or even just a different point of view to someone who is absolutely determined to not consider any other conclusion other than the one they already have is useless. I get that. We see it all the time. Discourse cannot happen unless everyone involved is really listening to one another. Again, we see this every day not only on twitter (for example) but in our politics, “news” casts, and popular culture. People take sides, create hashtags and catchy phrases designed to empower one person at the humiliation of another — and all we do is listen less and hate more.

BUT –

How do we balance the moral imperative to be compassionate, to foster kindness and respect between people, if we don’t at least try to point out how current choices feed the exact opposite? If I think I’m being a social justice warrior, but really I’m just spewing as much hate as the people I oppose, isn’t it an act of kindness for someone to say to me, “uh, tone down your language. You’re being offensive, and though your point may be valid, your delivery makes it impossible for it to be heard?”

How can we tell if a “mocker” wants to become “wise” but doesn’t know how? Isn’t it unkind to not try to help?


Challenge, 31


This past year has been exceptionally challenging, even to the point of questioning what exactly my faith is. I don’t doubt God’s presence, or even identity, but I’ve started to wonder what His motives might be. And I’m not interested in the prosperity-preacher “it is not for us to question,” “all is for the best” pulp. Even David questioned the veracity of those comments.

In Psalm 31, the psalmist makes a gorgeous plea – and even some challenges – that ring honest and true:

Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;

my eyes grow weak with sorrow,

my soul and my body with grief.

My life is consumed by anguish

and my years by groaning;

my strength fails because of my affliction,

and my bones grow weak.

Because of all of my enemies, 

I am the utter contempt of my neighbors;

I am a dread to my friends-

those who see me on the street flee from me.

I am forgotten by them as though I were dead;

I have become like broken pottery….

But I trust in you—

Let me not be put to shame, O Lord,

for I have cried out to you….

It continues, quite masterfully. In my easier days, I found David to be a little prone to exaggeration – but I stand corrected. I also used to think that psalms such as this were a bit contradictory. He complains, he moans, and then he cheerfully says, “But you’re the Big Guy and you’ll fix it.”

I don’t hear the happy-happy anymore — I hear a challenge. I hear David howling, “Come on, Mister, you big shot. You made all these promises to protect and care for me and look where I am now!! If you don’t help me, you and your name will be humiliated, not just mine, because I have publicly claimed you as my strength. So, for your own sake, help me out.”

I’m with him. 


Something Different: another approach to spirituality


Prayer, reading, and mediation are not the only forms of worship or spirituality.

Participating in our lives, growing our friendships and trying new things are also critical to our souls.

Please join me and a group of my friends in a celebration and exploration of food and literature and inspiration. We’re beginning a new club called Cooking through the Classics. Every quarter, we will read a book together and use it to inspire us in our kitchens with food and drink.

The first book is Dante’s Divine Comedy, and we begin in September. For more details, please click on the links below, and join in!

http://literaryzooey.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/cooking-through-the-classics-preview-and-invitation/

http://zooeysuff.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/cooking-through-the-classics-invitation-and-preview/

 


Wilderness


Shannon Blue Christensen:

This post is a response to a post by CultureMonk.wordpress.com.

Topics include:

Dark nights of the soul, spiritual exhaustion, social obligation, evolution of the spiritual journey, the fine balance between self and other

https://www.youtube.com/embed/OSuSwjoxMp0?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Originally posted on Coffee & Conversation :

DSC08938

By Kenneth Justice

Everything is fine, I really think you’re overreacting” he told me

~ A while back I had coffee with a Christian minister who will remain nameless. I was talking to him about some of my frustrations regarding life here in the United States and he wasn’t very sympathetic to me whatsoever,

I think things are pretty good Kenneth. The United States is the greatest country on earth, it’s a land of opportunity, and anyone who wants to better themselves here is more than able to do so, everything is fine, I really think you’re overreacting in your assessment of the culture” he said

Over this past holiday weekend I disappeared for a few days to read, study, and take a break from my normal day-to-day life. I spent a lot of time thinking about the minister’s words and have been wondering if the…

View original 960 more words


A Sacrifice of Praise


We are instructed to offer a “sacrifice of praise” in Hebrews 13:15. Usually I gloss over that line. Yeah, yeah, praise and Thanksgiving, blah blah blah. Yet, it deserves more consideration than a shrug of  the mind.

“Sacrifice” has multiple meanings depending on the context. Between God and Man, it most often describes a bridging action from man to God which recognizes power (of God, of Law), the deviation from Law (due to intentional action or omission), and the need for the disparity between what is good and holy and what is not. Traditionally, we could not approach God directly. Nothing that is not “clean” or “holy” may. So, the regulations surrounding different forms of sacrifices described in Jewish Law serve to clean the pathway between God and Man so that we may approach Him.

A Christian’s understanding of Jesus as the Messiah means that Christ became the consummate sacrifice meeting all criteria of the Law, permanently. Our individual requirements for guilt or thanksgiving sacrifices have been met, leaving us to offer only “sacrifices of praise.”

All we are asked to do is say “thanks be to God.” Yet, every time we complain about our circumstances, every time we submit to envy or jealousy or self-pity, we do not offer praise. In these negative acts, we shunt praise and prevent it from coming to our lips or hearts.

God does not want us to pretend that suffering is not part of life. He suffered Himself. He wants us to bring our suffering to Him in prayer, however, and not idly grouse and moan to others.

When we speak or think words of praise, we create space within which God can work. When we do not praise, we close ourselves off and prevent His actions.

If we come to him in prayer, acknowledging Him in our suffering and with our praise, we give Him permission to heal and strengthen. Praise is not merely an acknowledgement of faith or of God’s greatness — although that alone would be sufficient reason for praise — it is also our permission to Him for His work in our lives.


Compassion, Social Action, and Christ



Still


 

Psalm 131:1-2

My heart is not proud, O Lord,
My eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
Or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child with its mother,
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.

from Letters from the Desert, by Carlo Carretto

Joy or sadness, war or peace, love or hate, purity or impurity, charity or greed, all are tremendous realities which are the hinges of our interior life. Everyday things, relationships with other people, daily work, love of our family — all these may breed saints.
Jesus at Nazareth taught us to live every hour of the day as saints. Every hour of the day is useful and may lead to divine inspiration, the will of the Father the prayer of contemplation — holiness. Every hour of the day is holy. What matters is to live it as Jesus taught us.
And for this one does not have to shut oneself in a monastery or fix strange and inhumane regimes for one’s life. It is enough to accept the realities of life. Work is one of these realities; motherhood, the rearing of children, family life with all it’s obligations are others.


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