Whether you turn to the right or to the left,

your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,

“This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:21

Top 10 Post - #3

Heard this quote this afternoon

and laughed out loud:

"One of the greatest theological questions of our time is,

'What in the Sam Hill is going on around here?'"

(Annie Dillard)

Top 10 Post - #2

The world of the church, throughout history,

has tended to be a "man's world."

In many places, it still is.

And yet, even in the early church

there were whispers ...

names mentioned ...

women who led,

taught,

funded,

were at the center of,

Jesus' ministry,

and the start of the church.

As one who teaches,

some would say, preaches ...

(and happens to be a woman)

it has been an interesting ride.

Fifteen years

of serving God

in this unexpected way.

And as I take a look behind me

at the amazing young women God is using

all over the world,

but especially in my little neck of the woods,

I cheer.

I came across this poem the other day

and post it as a hat-tip to my fellow

"kitchen table theologians."

God sees you,

and he cheers, too.

Laywoman

Were you a man and single,

the Jesuits would have you in a trice.

But you are a man's wife,

lovely hair coarse and wild as a Morgan's tail,

on each hip a fine son, and one on your shoulders.

Your bent for theology is more startling

than your renegade humor,

your ease on a good horse, fast and wild as he can be.

You are no cut-out saint.

Bus-stop apologist,

training your eye for truth at your kitchen table,

turning worn pages in the weary night

as your tea grows cold.

The day has come for your kind.

Venerable Jenn,

you are better than you know,

stirring the oatmeal,

reading Aquinas,

shoveling the snow.

(by Nancy A. Henry)

 

My Top 10 old posts ... #1

In the Old Testament, a trio of people are often cited as deserving special protections from God and God’s people … The fatherless, the widow, the orphan. Often, the foreigner is added to this list.

God knew these people were at risk in the society of the Old Testament … at risk to be marginalized, neglected, oppressed, victimized, even killed.

And so God commanded his people to take special care of these particular people in their midst. He gave special commandments, even made special rules that protected them, gave them chances to enter mainstream society again, helped them escape the noose of generational poverty, protected them from oppression and violence.

And these rules spoke to God’s people and said, “I care for this group of people in a special way, and if you follow me, you must care for them, too!”

Who are the marginalized among us today?

Might they not fit into this same descriptive trio (or quartet)? The fatherless, the widow, the orphan, the foreigner.

It matters not your political persuasion, if you are a follower of God, you are to live in such a way that you protect the marginalized, speak up for them, watch out for them, care for them, serve them, give to them, pray for them.

Often, when confronted with the marginalized in our midst, we hope for someone else to help them.

Annie Dillard addresses this common deferral of responsibility:

“There is no one but us. There is no one to send, not a clean hand or a pure heart on the face of the earth or in the earth --- only us … unfit, not yet ready, having each of us chosen wrongly, made a false start, yielded to impulse and the tangled comfort of pleasures, and grown exhausted, unable to seek the thread, weak, and uninvolved. But there is no one but us. There has never been.”

There is no one but us.

How can they know?

Every time there is a tragedy, a Christian leader feels obligated to tell us all what God is doing.

To announce to the world what God is saying through this catastrophe.

They even deign to tell us what God is thinking, what is motivating God to allow the destruction.

And every time this happens, I feel extremely uncomfortable.

I listen ...

I ponder ...

And I wonder:

How does this person know what God is doing?

How do they know what God is saying?

How  do they know what God is thinking?

Here's the truth -- THEY DON'T KNOW.

They don't.

But they are pretending they do. It feels powerful. It feels authoritative -- superior, even.

The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 8:2:

Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much.

So, when you hear someone start to pontificate about what God is doing, thinking or saying through this current pandemic, be wary. 

God is a great Mystery.

God's ways are beyond our ways; God's thoughts beyond our thoughts.

When great tragedy strikes, we must refrain from making pronouncements about God.

Instead, we must remember that God is doing what God has always been doing --

Drawing people to himself in love and grace. 

Commanding us to show love for him by showing love to our neighbor, especially our poor, marginalized and down-trodden neighbor.

Weeping alongside us -- over the destruction, the sickness, the pain, the callousness of the powerful.

One thing we can know, no matter the time or season --

God is with us.

God is with us.

God is with us.

And if that is all we know, it is enough.