I've been listening to my words over these past few months as I bare my soul in transparency. The need for such contemplation seems to be coming from my continued inquiry of scripture, though at a depth never experienced. As well, a consistent stream of others looking for a safe place to share their own thoughts.
As mentioned before, the phrase, "Come Let Us Reason Together" continues to surface, perhaps another book will come out of this!
As I reflect on the words that come from both my heart and head, at times they seem overly harsh relative to my formal engagement with the organized church, yet that was never my intent.
I truly enjoy the fellowship of believers.
I have to wonder at times if some of the minor prophets felt the same. Having just journeyed through that portion of the Old Testament, at times I could so identify with their challenge, yet wishing they would have been a little more positive in how they said what they said.
That's likely the reason for the intermittent respite provided by way of inspiration. Those "just breathe" moments, the occasional bright spot, love leaks I call them, reassuring the reader of a better day coming.
That's exactly what happened when the I Am became flesh, physically fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies, all purposed to foretell a better day and a Better Priesthood, a Messiah.
Matthew points that out in Chapter 12 of his Gospel, by quoting from Isaiah 42:
"He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged."
Sometimes the Old Testament prophets seem to justify the harsh rebuke of we evangelicals. We tend to use the Old Testament as a rebuke for sinful failures, often citing their words. Yet when we see their words lived out by the Christ, seldom is that the image, but rather one full of mercy and grace, apart from the occasional moment when those most religious inevitably draw out His judgement.
Gentleness, like a quiet stream is far more soothing than pouring salt in a wound. I am learning!
One's persona, their words are critical to the image of the Christ they profess. If you know me, that's often a challenge given my commitment to truth telling. Thankfully, at times buffered by the Spirit, when sharing a moment with "a bruised reed, a flickering candle."
When in private conversation with someone struggling with life and human failures, it becomes apparent that safe spaces are few and far between. It's heart breaking when told how long some carry guilt, when sharing without the fear of judgement could bring remedy, once allowed.
Somehow, baring one's soul sufficient to air the guilt that comes with failure brings liberty, which is true justice, judging sin and freeing the sinner.
That guilt is often the unintended product of those who carry a false righteousness, privileged by generations of spiritual moorings, which alone has prevented their own otherwise significant failures. Yes, that can also easily lead to a damaging pride, when others attempt to bare their struggle!
Gentleness was the way of the Christ, not judgement. Acting out of the Spirit of Christ can do far more to break up the hard soil of guilt than condemnation, allowing seed that lies dormant to once again sprout, without further regret or continued damage to the soul.
I know because of the soil of my soul, almost daily broken by the Spirit.
Ironically, in my search for the origin of the word human, a latin derivative of the word, humus, I came across words from my dear mentor Richard Rohr, cited in an article form the Grand Rapids Press:
"Being human means acknowledging that we’re made from the earth and will return to the earth. We are earth that has come to consciousness. … And then we return to where we started — in the heart of God. Everything in between is a school of love.”
The writer, Douglas Kindschi Director, Kaufman Interfaith Institute, goes on to say: “From that mud, from its carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, and assorted metals, a child can be woven. The atoms in that mud, the same kinds of atoms that comprise my children and you and me, have existed for billions of years. ... This mud is spectacular, and we believe that God made it so.
This mud is rich, pregnant with possibility. … To see ourselves as made of the same stuff that rests under our boots as we journey a mountain path is no insult to human dignity, no affront to the image of God in us; it is rather a reminder of the majesty of inspired mud, a reflected majesty that
gives us but one more fleeting glimpse of the blinding brilliance of the maker of the mud.” *
Isn't it beautiful how the Spirit can today direct one's morning devotionals from the text, to technology, all while expanding upon truth! As a Boomer, I am grateful for ready access to information, once available only in hard copy in a downtown library!