Following is a prayer by Macrina Wiederkehr entitled “The Empty Water Jug” that I read on a friend’s blog today. My friend works and lives among the poor here in Phnom Penh. She is daily confronted with needs and suffering she can’t meet or alleviate, but she keeps going outside and facing what she finds there. Such living will strip illusions away. We live with overwhelming struggles and sorrows never far away, and beauty and abundance. What a joy it is when they really meet.
“…full of things…smothered by gods”
Jesus, I come to the warmth of your Presence
knowing that You are
the very emptiness of God.
I come before You
holding the water jar of my life.
Your eyes meet mine
and I know what I’d rather not know.
I came to be filled
but I am already full.
I am too full.
This is my sickness
I am full of things
that crowd out
Your healing Presence.
A holy knowing steals inside my heart
and I see the painful truth.
I don’t need more
I need less
I am too full.
I am full of things that block out
Your golden grace.
I am smothered by gods …
John Walsh speculates in this article about why Ernest Hemmingway committed suicide. He doesn’t deny Hemmingway’s brilliance and acts of bravery, but he paints of picture of a man captivated by an image, addicted to alcohol, and bent on self-destruction.
What was bugging Hemingway? Why all the drinking, the macho excess, the manic displays of swaggering? Why was he so drawn to war, shooting, boxing and conflict? Why did he want to kill so many creatures? Was he trying to prove something? Or blot something out of his life?
I’m struck that a man like Hemmingway, who seemed to live a BIG life that others aspire to, might have never been truly free; this man of far reaching imagination, a genius at crafting stories, may never have seen his own story truly. Did he taste the fullness of life, or was he so desperate to escape a shallow existence that he attempted it with a pen and his imagination?
I know what it’s like to walk around looking for stories and pictures, spinning bits and pieces of narratives and dialogues as I walk like kicking stones. I can easily get lost in the words; it’s like listening to another voice, …
I’ve recently been reading a blog by a former Christian, someone whose “evangelical credentials” were as conservative as can be. How does someone like that lose faith? Or has she? She’s gone off the beaten path and down the slippery slope, yet she’s followed a certain logic that she explains (prolifically). Here’s a question she asks.
So how do we figure out what we really believe and don’t believe? I think this can only take place if we sense an element of personal freedom. As long as we are slaves who must conform to some imposed standard in order to be loved, it won’t be easy to discern our subconscious mind. Do I really believe that or have I only been pressured, or enticed to believe that? We need to know that we’re going to still be loved (at least by our own selves) if we step over the boundaries.
Do you know what you believe if you’ve never felt a freedom to really disbelieve (i.e., without losing the love of God)?
Wayne Jacobsen on his blog today:
Until you know you are loved you will be sucked into every religious activity and performance treadmill that exists, hoping against hope that you can do the right thing to merit that deep affection from the heart of the Father. But you already have his affection! The great lie of the universe is that you are not loved by the Creator of all. The question is only do you realize how loved you are?
If you’re interested in hearing more about living loved and loving others, Wayne has a wonderful series of audio teachings called Transitions on his website in the audio library section, or from iTunes, or I’ve uploaded them all in one zip file that you can download here.
If you or I agreed with everything Peter Rollins says, then probably we hadn’t been listening long or closely enough. Yet he’s a man who often says things that resonate, they may actually shatter glass in some quarters. I love this short interview and wouldn’t mind having a transcript to underline and reference.
Normally, I would quote a teaser or two. I just don’t know where to begin. There’s the story about Hitler serving milk and cookies (okay, something like that), or the part about how he would be a liar if he claimed to believe in Jesus Christ. His message is disturbing for anyone inside the box of traditional Christianity, but it’s a breath of fresh air for those who are ditching the box or at least thinking about it.
I skim quite a few blogs using Google Reader, but I can count on one hand those that I read carefully. Seth Godin’s blog is on my shortlist (and I know I’m not alone). He consistently has insights that cut through my senses and call me to attention. Today he struck twice.
First, in typical Godin style, he reminds me to dare. One large “success” outweighs dozens of failures. I use quote marks, because we all have different ideas of success. Still, the principle holds. As Godin writes,
If you spend your days avoiding failure by doing not much worth criticizing, you’ll never have a shot at success. Avoiding the thing that’s easy to survive keeps you from encountering the very thing you’re after.
Simple, right? Well, I need reminders like this almost every day. That’s about how often I find myself tempted toward doing things I can’t fail at.
But it gets better. His next post speaks directly to something I’ve long believed. The best choices in life are not always the rational ones. Love, faith, art…such things don’t require rational explanations. In fact, something vital is lost when forcing such realities into rationality. We can celebrate the …