Mike’s Rumblings – 12-09-22
This is an audio version of Mike Murphy‘s Friday rumblings. This is a regular post on Facebook that I’ve turned into a podcast. I decided Mike’s words needed a wider audience. You may agree or disagree with what he says, but there is certainly much food for thought contained here. You can friend Mike on Facebook for the printed version or read it below
1. “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions …faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” ~ James, NLT
Faith in Action is the theme for today’s Rumblings.
2. “The gospel is less about how to get into the Kingdom of Heaven after you die and more about how to live in the Kingdom of Heaven before you die.” ~ Dallas Willard
I’m not sure everyone believes this. In fact, I know they don’t.
Becoming too heavenly minded sometimes can get in the way of actually living out our faith redemptively and creatively in the here and now
3. “… I realize that far too many religious leaders are asking the wrong question. The future of Christianity matters little if there are no human beings, whether we extinct ourselves through war or environmental disaster. We can fix our denominations, bring new members to church, write the best theologies ever—and none of it will matter one whit if we are all dead. The question—“What is the future of Christianity?”—must be held in relation to other questions. Right now, the most significant of those questions is: “What is the future of humankind?”
That is the existential question of our time. All other questions pale by comparison and distract us from hearing the voices of God, the earth, and other creatures with the kind of rigor and compassion necessary for the living of these particular days. To me, the question about the future of Christianity has become: “What must Christians do to serve all creation when the island itself is in danger of sinking?” ~ Diana Butler Bass
I think we often forget the stewardship role God asks us to play in this world. Our vision for our life can become far too small. We can find ourselves piddling around in things that really don’t matter all that much. Creation care is not inconsequential. It’s not liberal propaganda. Rather, it is of divine importance because it matters to God. It behooves us not to neglect it. Quite simply it would be sinful to do so.
4. Anti-semitism and racial bigotry have been in the spotlight recently. To stand firmly and unequivocally against such things is a very, consequential action. If we don’t stand firmly and against what is obviously sinful can we really say we belong to God? If we continue to support, even silently, those who have shown they’re OK with racial bigotry and anti-semitism we become partners with the haters. We have become the problem.
5. “One doesn’t have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient. In fact, a man convinced of his virtue even in the midst of his vice is the worst kind of man. There is no wrong time to do the right thing.” ~ Charles Blow, Op Ed columnist for the NY Times
“ . . .a man convinced of his virtue even in the midst of his vice is the worst kind of man.” We’ve had to live with this kind of man for a while now haven’t we? It’s been kind of a ‘sucky’ time. And he’s given a platform to other suspect characters who believe doing the wrong thing is commendable. It’s not.
6. I’m thinking our country might need our own version of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The ongoing divides in our country and the hurts that they have given birth to have caused deep pain to individuals and to the collective. In order to heal, wrongs need to be righted, the truth must be told, and forgiveness must be asked for and received.
Righting wrongs requires a deep desire to make it happen. Do we have that desire? Do we even desire to long for it?
Truth isn’t really all that elusive even though we pretend it is. I have a hunch the bright shiny lights of deceit keep us from even looking for truth. That’s a disservice to ourselves and others.
It’s hard to ask for forgiveness if you think everyone else is wrong. And if you think forgiveness is for sissies everything gets derailed.
7. Our life is not our own; yet, at some level, enlightened people know that their life has been given to them as a sacred trust. They live in gratitude and confidence, and they try to let the flow continue through them. ~ Richard Rohr
The meme from St. Alban’s Episcopal Church suggests, “We are all innkeepers who decide if there is room for Jesus.”
There’s always a decision to be made. Sometimes, those decisions are very hard. They cost us something. Making choices that are hard and costly shape us in ways that the easy choices can’t.
8. I could live in a way that bothered no one’s sensibilities. I could choose never to bother to challenge someone else’s point of view and utter nothing that bordered on controversial. But what kind of life would that be for me? Perhaps less stressful but I’d know I’d be out of step with the ‘me’ God created.
I fully recognize that there are people who do choose a quieter way of service to their God. In their own way, I’ve discovered, they too are controversial. Their type of witness is not always appreciated.
There’s no one right way to carry out God’s call on our lives. Each way, I’ve found, brings great joy and its own sorrow.
“To thine own self be true” the playwright counsels. “Just do it” the shoe company advises. And the scripture reminds us that we are being cheered on by a great “cloud of witnesses.”
Live large, put your faith to work with love and compassion, and remember – you’re never alone.
9. “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard.
Each harms us and others. Where have you been fooled? Are you ashamed to admit it? Are you ever afraid to go against the flow of your crowd and admit that the version of ‘group think’ you’re involved with is crazy? If not, how will you find peace?
10. “Friends, in today’s Gospel (Matthew 18), Jesus asks: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?” Well, of course not! No self-respecting shepherd would ever think of doing that. If you were a shepherd, you’d cut your losses. That sheep is probably dead anyway if it wandered far enough away.
But we are to understand that God is like that foolish shepherd. God’s love throws caution to the wind to seek out the lost sheep. We might expect God to be good to those who are good and kind to those who follow his commandments. Those who don’t, who wander away, are simply lost … No, God is like this kooky shepherd. God loves irrationally, exuberantly risking it all in order to find the one who wandered away. What good news: God does not love according to a strict justice on our terms, but loves in his own extravagant way.” ~ Bishop Robert Barron
May we all learn to love in extravagant ways. May we all become that “kooky shepherd”. Let’s be on the lookout for the wanderer. Let’s learn to err on the side of grace, welcoming any and all to our table.