Wednesday, August 19, 2020

When are we ever not in church?

Yesterday's Teresa de Avila and John of the Cross discuss Grace mega-church's court "victory" allowing in-person services, with conditions post stirred a good bit more Facebook discussion with my childhood next door neighbor, who reminds me somewhat of St. Teresa T. Avila. Grace Church is in California.

  • Paula Sevier
    Paula Sevier I have already shared this with you, I think...
    ( so much redundancy):

    In an interview with Eckhart Tolle,
    the interviewer asked Tolle:
    “How do YOU define ‘normal’?”

    Tolle’s answer:

  • Sloan Bashinsky
    Sloan Bashinsky I don't recall you sharing that quote with me, but I can imagine Tolle has been thought by mainstream to be nuts. Sometimes I reply to people who tell me I'm insane, crazy, that they say that because the alternative, that I'm not, is just too terrifying.
  • Paula Sevier
    Paula Sevier You are in good company.
    Remember when Jesus’ mother and brothers came for him....
    because they thought he had “lost his mind”/ was insane? Mark 3:21
  • Paula Sevier
    Paula Sevier Anybody who is inordinately concerned by/ with
    how he/ she is perceived by others....
    is not worthy of God’s Revelation

    and will probably not fulfill her/ his Highest Destiny.
    Faithfulness to God is what matters.
    And, yet, it is not, ultimately, “our” faithfulness that matters..
    God’s Own Faithfulness
    which endures.
    God’s Steadfast Love endures forever....
    Psalm 118
  • Sloan Bashinsky
    Sloan Bashinsky Actually, I just now found that story, one of my favorites, begins with Mark 3:31:

    31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.

    32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.

    33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?

    34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

    35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

    So, being a Jewish man, declining to stop and go meet with his mother and his brothers who had come to see him, was unheard of during that time, and probably today. What did that, and what Jesus said to the multitude, say about his view of his mother and his brothers' standing with God?

    Also this passage, another of my favorites, also never heard mentioned in a church:

    Luke 14:26
    "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life--such a person cannot be my disciple."

    By hate, I think Jesus meant God is the most important thing and has to be put first.

    I can tell many stories of being viewed as insane by people close to me and not close to me, whom I understood simply had no clue what really was in play, and I had to cope with that best I could and still stick to the course I had been put on.
  • Paula SevierActive NowPaula Sevier Mark 3:21 ESV

  • Paula Sevier
    Paula Sevier Yes... “hate” here seems to be “in relation to.”
    We do not put family ahead of our obedience to Christ.
  • Paula Sevier
    Paula Sevier When one gets the goes.
    Regardless of what anybody else may be doing or not doing.
    God, give us the courage....

  • Just as I was about to publish the above and the rest of Paula's and my discussion yesterday, which wended into very personal matters and where psychiatry, Jesus, angels and God fit into all of that, I received this below from a California friend, which seemed more immediately relevant to what is going on in America today, so I left out the rest of Paula's and my discussion.

    Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation

    From the Center for Action and Contemplation
    Image credit: Number 8, (detail), Jackson Pollock, 1949, Neurberger Museum of Art, New York, New York.
    Week Thirty-three

    Order, Disorder, Reorder:
    Part Two

    A Disruption of the Spirit
    Wednesday,  August 19, 2020
    My friend and CAC colleague Brian McLaren has spent years imagining “a new kind of Christianity” that invites people into a deepening commitment to love of God, neighbor, and self. Such a movement for the common good is surely disruptive or “disordering” to our status quo, just as Jesus disrupted the status quo in his own day.
    Jesus was introducing what, in today’s parlance, might be called a disruptive technology. Where sustaining technologies stimulate incremental improvements, like, say, going from a rotary phone to a touch-tone or keypad phone, or even from a landline to a wireless phone, a disruptive technology displaces established assumptions, as in, say, combining a phone, a camera, a computer, a music library and player, a GPS device, and a mobile Internet portal. The old status quo is disrupted, the game changes, and old technologies become irrelevant.
    [In] John’s Gospel, Jesus continues to use the imagery of disruption (John 3–4). First, he tells a man that in spite of all his learning, in spite of all his status, he needs to go back and start over, to be born again—perhaps the most apt image for disruption ever. Then he tells a woman that the location of worship doesn’t matter at all—which in their day meant that temples were irrelevant. What matters, Jesus says, is the attitude (or spirit) and authenticity (or truth) of the worshipper. Jesus was calling for a radical disruption in his religion, a great spiritual migration, and a similar disruption and migration are needed no less today in the religion that names itself after him. . . .
    A later New Testament writer repeated and expanded upon the disruption and migration Jesus was calling for (1 Peter 2:5). The way of life centered in the Temple must be disrupted because God wanted to dwell not in buildings of bricks or stones cemented together by mortar, but rather in human beings—living stones, he called them—cemented together by mutual love, honor, and respect. . . .
    This disruptive revolution, this liberation, this great spiritual migration begins with each of us presenting ourselves, with all of our doubts and imperfections, all of our failures, fears, and flaws, to the Spirit, our legs as pillars, our bodies as temples. . . . You. Me. Everyone. No exceptions.
    “The moving ever shall stay,” [twelfth-century Hindu mystic and poet] Basava said. [1] Those words contradict so much of our inherited religious sensibility. “Stay the same. Don’t move. Hold on. Survival depends on resistance to change,” we were told again and again. “Foment change. Keep moving. Evolve. Survival depends on mobility,” the Spirit persistently says. . . .
    If you want to see the future of Christianity as a great spiritual migration, don’t look at a church building. Go look in the mirror and look at your neighbor. God’s message of love is sent into the world in human envelopes. If you want to see a great spiritual migration begin, then let it start right in your body. Let your life be a foothold of liberation.
    While reading that, I remembered my 11:30 p.m. phone call last night to the after hours maintenance service for the apartment building in which I live. I gave the dispatcher my name and apartment number, and said the front door to the building malfunctioned, again. Every time I call after hours maintenance, I seem to have to repeat myself three times. Last night, I only had to repeat myself twice. After the dispatcher had it all written down correctly, she said I would have to pay a $40 service charge to replace the lock. I blew up, said I had told her several times that the broken lock is in the front fucking door to the building, not the lock in the door to my apartment, and there is no service charge for fixing the front door all tenants use. This is an emergency. People won't be able to get into the building. I jimmied the front door open with a floor mat so people can get in. Please let management know. I then was called by the apartment building's resident handy man. I told him what you just read. He said to leave the front door jimmied open and he will fix the lock in the morning. I said I wish I had not cussed the dispatcher, but every time I call after hours maintenance, it is very difficult for them to get right what I tell them several times. 

    I sometimes tell people who ask me if I attend church, "When are we ever not in church?" I fell out of church last night. I fall out of church often, actually.

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