Saturday, December 09, 2006

Finding God where (s)he shouldn't belong

I wonder what the homecoming of the human spirit will look like? Will it be like, as Father O’Donohue describes:
‘As stillness in stone to silence is wed
As a river flows in ideal sequence
As the moon absolves the dark of distance
As the breath of light awakens colour
As spring rain softens the earth with surprise
As the ocean dreams to the joy of the dance
As clay anchors a tree in light and wind
As twilight fills night with bright horizons
May beauty await you at home beyond.'

I’ve been trying to get my head round the Almighty, we’ve had a bit of a week together, my conversations (actually rants) have mirrored President Bartlett’s heated interaction with the Divine at Mrs Langenham’s(?!) funeral. And after all our altercations this week the only conclusion my thoughts have given me is that the more I know the less I understand. Life, with all its concurrent struggles and painful beauty, has brought me to the point where all the things I thought I knew I am now having to learn again. In the long run (and the long run is all there is), when everything is said and done, James was right; by their fruit shall we know the truthful ones. Shaped by the practice of church culture it just may be that I (and I don’t think I’m alone) have limited the context of the road to God. What do I mean by that? I mean that we have made God way too small.

Mystery is something sadly lacking in Western Christian spirituality, sure there are pockets of it, but they are pockets at best. Put bluntly the church’s response to Modernity put pay to that. We became the finest example of a culture preoccupied with answers rather than one who would embrace questions and mystery, and I would propose this is one of the major reasons as to why many people in the post-modern, post-Christian West struggle to connect with our Institution, and so consequently God.

For instance, where do we invest our love, passion and energy? Very few of us really go to the margins – the edge – partly due to the fear of what we will find, or because we are so conditioned that these are not the kind of landscapes that good Christian folk should be traversing. So often we are not looking. So often we are taught not to look, and because of that we become convinced that it is wrong to look. Unfortunately this is rather indicative of the lack of any mysterious, creative, imaginative, incarnate and relational connection that may possibly exist with those perceived to be outside the ‘chosen few’.

In reality we fail so often to authentically allow God’s presence in many a marginalised person’s world. Examples of this are littered in the Scriptures. I will vindicate my statement with the example of Peter. His reluctance to partake of specific foods was consistent with the Jewish tradition of holiness. This grew from a separatist approach to piety – that which divided, in church speak, the clean from the unclean. Here was a man who has followed the Christ in a way beyond even my imagination – but who didn’t realise the implications of the message of this same Christ until he met Cornelius.

For what it’s worth the Western church (all denominations included) needs to rediscover the mystery of what it means to be a friend of tax collectors, prostitutes, and drunkards. This will be messy and will not happen without a certain degree of theological tension. True holiness, real passion for humanity should not keep us from the margins of mystery – rather it should drive us into them - saturated in the faith of the one we follow. For within the margins we find God very much alive in places many of us would say (s)he doesn’t belong.

It seems to me that God is more involved in the love of humanity than the maintenance of an institution, and, as my friend Stocki says, ‘some may think this is blasphemy, but I believe it to be true. God lies here beside you in the gutter, while grace, like a mother, holds you.’

Thursday, December 07, 2006

beauty now gone...

...and i fear i have nothing to give, and i have so much to lose here in this lonely place called 3.30am...

still looking for the sails.....came across this, one of the many reasons my soul cannot find peace tonight...

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You'll fight with your best friend. You'll blame a new love for things an old one did. You'll cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back. Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.

the storm, both inside and out, still rages...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Life? This bloody world is on fire - in fact, it's raging

Oh Little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie?
I refuse to sing this anymore....The Holy Land is anything but... and the truth is - it wasn't 2000 years ago either!
Graham Greene once said that, 'you cannot conceive of the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God' - i may be wrong but i think it will get worse before it gets better...

Our Lord,
We are waiting for your rebirth!
We are looking forward to your return...
Come and see...
The Grotto becomes Ghetto!
Despite the thick Walls surrounding your home,
We are shivering from cold…
Winter is bleak…
Summer is beak
Fall is freak
Spring is weak

The animals are no longer allowed to warm up your Grotto
The magii are not coming again..they are forbidden from visiting.
The Magi couldn’t climb up the wall. It is too dangerous and risky.

Herods are controlling the roads from Persia to Palestine.
It is unsafe...
Gifts are stolen…
No one dares to say by whom...!
If you question authorities you might be labeled
“Terrorist” and then
There will be war on terrorism

Baby Jesus come and see...
Your least brothers...
Are without shelters…
They lack every basic thing.
No... Human security...
Rachel is still weeping not only for her children but
also for her neighbors’ kids...
Rachel has died again today after seeing how her grave has
been misused!
She was upset... she loved to have a humble grave not a military fortress!!!
Rachel refused to violate human security of other kids
Rachel revolts because she doesn’t want
her people to worship a new golden cow called “security ”

Voices are heard in
Beit Hanon, Khan Younes ,
Nablus and Jenin and not only in Rameh …!
Crying and wailing – maiming
Justice is fading
Peace is laming
Reconciliation is wading
Healing is waiting

Baby Jesus ...
The Grinch has stolen Christmas
Children are for your waiting ..
Children are hoping…
They’d like to have a safe haven..
They love to live their life
Peacefully, gracefully ..
No fear! No Trauma! No Paranoia

If we are cold...
Your agape will warm us up
Your freedom and liberation beyond
Thought and imagination

Oh Lord! YOU emancipate
us despite all cuffs of
Enslavement and oppression
Your light will illuminate
Our path of transformation and reconciliation ...

Let us pray with the
Children and their families
Oh child of Cave… please expand the cave ... let it be
Bigger than the wall…
Please create tunnel underneath
To seek refuge at times of danger!
Let it be purified and warm

Our homeland is frigid
Our hearts are frozen
Our tears are pouring down
Christ is our hope
Building peace innerly and outwardly adobe by adobe
Life is again recreated in our veins as they throb
Blessed Christmas is a reminder that injustice is under probe
Benign victory will be yours and ours… we want to cope

(Zoughbi Zoughbi, Founder & Director of The Palestinian Conflict Resolution Centre, "WI'AM", in Bethlehem.)

Monday, December 04, 2006

4 am

'i heard the laughter at the depot
but my tears fell like the rain
when i saw them place that long white casket
in the baggage coach of the evening train

the baby's eyes are red from weeping
its little heart is filled with pain
oh daddy cried they're taking mama
away from us on the evening train

as i turned to walk away from the depot
it seemed i heard her call my name
take care of my baby and tell him darling
that i'm going home on the evening train

i pray that god will give me courage
to carry on 'til we meet again
it's hard to know she's gone forever
they're carrying her home on the evening train'
(J Cash)

He wrestled with his demons all his life, thats why so many adored him, and why he was so loved - a broken man just trying to piece his life back together.

i thought the tears would stop,

but they don't.

how do we know where we belong?

the shadows,

the arc of the moon,

the autumn leaves that have fallen,

the ocean that is as blue as my eyes.

it's all so far far away,

the innocence of children playing...

what can we take when we go?

i have nothing to hold, nothing.

when i close my eyes i can picture my grandfather singing old gospels;

what does that mean?

broken down at the side of the road?

clipped wings that can no longer fly?

why when i look at me do i see you?

tonight it's hard to learn to breathe again,

but that's nobody's fault but my own...

...the wind is blowing and i can't get to the sails

that's what i'm feeling at 4am this morning