Mike Murphy’s Friday Rumblings – 06-24-2022
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 a certainly much food for thought contained here. You can friend Mike on Facebook for the printed version or read it below
Rumble 1. “We should measure the prosperity of a nation not by the number of millionaires, but by the absence of poverty, the prevalence of health, the efficiency of the public schools, and the number of people who read worthwhile books.” ~ W.E.B Du Bois
I dare say that current methods of keeping score are failing us. Du Bois and others remind us that what we currently value just might be the instruments of our undoing. Perhaps status, wealth, web surfing skills, radical denial, and ownership of assault weapons, just might not be enough, huh?
Rumble 2. “American notions of freedom are usually at odds with Christian freedom. American freedom says, my freedom is mine to enjoy. Christian freedom says my freedom is for the purpose of serving my neighbor. ~ Rich Villodas
Rumble 3. “The biggest problem in the culture today is the failure of the church. We wouldn’t even have a racial crisis in America if the church had not consistently failed to deal with racism as the severe sin it is. But because the church has historically ignored and downplayed it, the issue still exists. Where the church is called to set an example, we have cowered.” ~ Tony Evans
The church has historically either ignored it or downplayed racism instead of being brave and naming it. When racism is courageously named and claimed it often puts ‘high influence congregants’ on edge. And then the plotting begins and a purge in one form or another is right around the corner.
Kudos, however, to congregations which don’t cower when faced by bullies and courageously deal with the sin in their midst. There’s more of them than you might think.
Rumble 4.“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” ~ The Great Gatsby
What an apt description of the former president, his cronies, appointees, family, and hangeroners. They are careless, messy, brutal, and irresponsible. They are a caravan of grifters, devoid of conscience. And yet, some who read this actually believe this cabal of narcissists were actually sent by God. Don’t get it.
Perhaps both P.T. Barnum and H. L. Mencken were right when they made the depressing observation that “no one ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”
Rumble 5. “With my voice I cry to the LORD;
with my voice I make supplication to the LORD.
I pour out my complaint before him;
I tell my trouble before him.
When my spirit is faint,
you know my way.” ~ Psalm 142: 1-3
In times of distress, this is the first step towards recovery.
Rumble 6. “The prophetic tasks of the church are to tell me the truth in a society that lives in illusion, grieves in a society that practices denial, and expresses hope in a society that lives in despair.” ~ Walter Bruggemann
It takes courage, doesn’t it, to point out to others, that they live in an illusionary world that holds them captive? Of course, it takes even greater courage to banish the illusions we have so brilliantly erected for ourselves.
Truth? Do you desire it? Hope so. Or are you quite comfortable with lies and valiantly declare it to be truth? If so, that’s akin to putting lipstick on a pig and then trying to pretend it’s not a pig anymore.
Grief? Are you grieving over the very things that break the heart of God?
Who in your sphere of influence needs a ‘hope’ transfusion? How do you bring it to them?
Rumble 7. “The early Franciscan friars and Poor Clares wanted to be Gospel practitioners instead of merely “inspectors” or “museum curators” as Pope Francis calls some clergy.” ~ Richard Rohr
What good is faith, the writer of the Book of James asks, without good works? Real faith is lived out, not just verbally expressed. The inspectors of faith and the curators of its museums have a role to play for sure. But we’ve allowed them to supersize that role and in the process inflate their own importance and undermine the actual teachings of Jesus.
Rumble 8. Texas Republicans, MAGA loyalists to the core, produced a party platform last week that includes ripping apart any notion that Biden beat Trump, ending all gun safety measures, ending our participation in the United Nations, arming all teachers, protectIng Confederate monuments, ending same sex marriage, rejecting the Equal Rights amendment, and calling for a vote so the people of Texas can determine whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation. Whew. There’s even more. It’s depressing to read.
Why do I speak out about such things? Whenever I think about my grandchildren I begin to worry about their future. If the MAGA brand wins, in Texas and elsewhere, they will lose. They will live in a rigid world where might makes right, where dissent is limited and just might be considered subversive, where knowledge is suspect, where greed is a virtue, and White Christian Nationalism will be the preferred and perhaps only version of faith allowed.
For the life of me, I don’t understand why so many remain silent. I just don’t get it. So, in the meantime I will echo the sentiments of Langston Hughes:
“Looks like what drives me crazy
Don’t have no effects on you—
But I’m gonna keep on at it
Till it drives you crazy, too.”
Rumble 9. “Slaves sing more to make themselves happy than to express their happiness. Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God was for deliverance from chains.” ~ Frederick Douglass
This past Sunday our church reverently and respectfully incorporated Juneteenth into our worship service. A member of our sister church, a primarily Black congregation, joined our pastor for a conversation. Using the biblical story of the Jews wandering in the desert as their anchor, they talked about Juneteenth -what it was and what it means for us today as people of faith.
I’m sure many churches didn’t make that effort. Perhaps even yours. If so, perhaps it is time to ask why and to keep asking until you get an answer that proves satisfying.Rumble 10. St. Thomas Moore wrote: “ We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk.“
Yes, to all of this, yes. Spiritual Directors create safe havens where real conversations can take place. Look for one. Make meeting with him/her a regular discipline of your spiritual life. Both Anita and myself are spiritual directors and are in spiritual direction ourselves. We also know many good directors we’d be happy to recommend. Let us know if we can be of assistance if you sense this kind of nudging from God.