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When it comes to the hot and hostile topic of racism, how can I talk so another person will listen? Maybe more importantly, how can I listen so another person will talk?
Six degrees of separation is the popular idea that all people are six, or fewer, social connections from each other. The term was first used in 1929 – and popularized in a 1993 movie of the same name – to emphasize how closely connected people are all over the world.
Art is intended to communicate value. Cultivate that value, and learn to find the artful in the ordinary, just as Norman Rockwell taught us.
Each day between now and including Thanksgiving Day, be very conscious of the little things for which you are thankful – in your home, at work, with friends, even with strangers. See each opportunity as an offering plate of sorts.
Everywhere we look, from majestic mountains or sunsets to the tiniest stamen in a flower, we need to be increasingly aware of how our world is nourished by every living organism around us. Whether we refer to “God’s creation,” the “natural world” or some other term, we are smack-dab in the middle of it. Let’s be aware.
Our religious doctrines are pockmarked with winner/loser theologies – zero-sum games on steroids. Yet along comes Jesus and effectively says, “God won’t play your zero-sum game of scarcity. Neither will I!”
God listens to the languages of our hearts – however healthy or unhealthy they may be –and then loves us, so we can use that same listening art to offer a healing moment to each other.
When identity politics drives us to exclude ourselves from others, we’ve missed Jesus’ whole point about loving our enemies.
So much of Christian theology and the rituals resulting over the centuries from that theology have focused on people basically being “worthless,” in ultimate need of salvation. Well, as I read the words and spirit of Jesus, “salvation” meant “healing” more than a ticket to heaven. So how might that worthlessness be healed? How about a vaccination?
Easter’s message can be one of restoration, reconciliation
I nearly always observe God showing up on the margins of our lives as well. That makes me wonder if our spiritual centers just may not always be where we think they are.
I tend to grow more and more impatient with the superficial ways we toss the word “hospitality” into our conversations. It is a very ancient, honorable word. But we domesticate it, reduce it to pleasant manners and forced smiling at others. Hospitality is transformative when it is authentic! Examples of biblical hospitality are many (Genesis 18:1-15; I Kings 17: 9-24; Luke 24: 13-25 to cite three). The transformative power of hospitality really shows itself, whether biblically or in today’s experience, when it finds ways to turn hostility into the friendship and freedom of hope.
Self-examination requires we look deep and wide for our “better angels.” Resolve requires we listen courageously to those better angels.
We don’t always know why another person is silent. Even when we do, our own silence is often the best gift we can offer another person.
I’m sick and fatigued nearly to the point of despair – only nearly! – by the divides we must navigate over matters political and religious, especially when they combine into a cesspool of disrespect and dishonesty. So let’s take a breath and uncover our deeper human spirit that’s been smothered by so much fearful dehumanizing talk and action.
“Sasquatch Revealed” opens Friday at the Moses Lake Museum and Art Center.
Are you ever puzzled? I find myself puzzled most every day. It’s usually because I don’t seem to find the right truth-piece(s) to fit into the larger Truth Puzzle I seek. They aren’t easily found, even when I internally beg to find them.
The collective heart of our nation seems split in two. Part of our heart seems callous, hardened, wild with fear, bizarrely ready to lash out at perpetrators and victims alike. I only vaguely comprehend this. Life still seems too cheap for some who aren’t able to see children as true children.
The Tower of Babel story (Genesis 11:1-9) has been interpreted in a number of ways over the centuries. I became aware of a new (to me) interpretation in the Nov. 8 issue of the Christian Century. Rabbi Shai Held compellingly dismissed some of the traditional looks at that tower. He focused instead on a well-constructed view that makes this story more understandable in the religious and political climates we live in today.
In September, I wrote a letter to our grandkids encouraging them to not stay in the spiritual shallows. They have more control there, but they experience less of what life has to offer them. I want to revisit that piece in a different way. I begin with a true pastoral story. Nearly 40 years ago, a wonderful, elderly member of the church I served at that time always greeted me after worship with “Paul, you gave me something to think about today.” She also described herself as a Christian who studied the Bible and believed every word written there. I’ll call her “Grace.”