Mike’s Rumblings – 01-20-23
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. “Not all prophets do as they are told. Not at first, anyway. When the call comes, most of them turn left and then right: “Who, me?” they murmur. If the call is a true one, the voice of the Holy Spirit will roar: “Yes, you!”” ~ Mirabai Starr
I like to believe there’s a bit of the prophet in all of us. Don’t we all have that ‘voice’ inside of us that pops up every now and then and asks us to say or do something that makes us and others a bit uncomfortable? That could be a pivot point moment, inviting us to be brave. Why would we dismiss it?
2. “Saints are those who wake up while in this world, instead of waiting for the next one. Francis of Assisi, William Wilberforce, Thérèse of Lisieux, and Harriet Tubman didn’t feel superior to anyone else; they just knew they had been let in on a big divine secret, and they wanted to do their part in revealing it.” ~ Richard Rohr
That’s my desire too. I want to be part of the big, divine secret ‘reveal’.
3. “Teacher, what does it mean to work on yourself?
It is to stop waiting for others to change.” ~ Unknown
4. When Jesus invited himself over to Zacchaeus’s house, scripture tells us that “all the people saw this and began to mutter, he has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
There’s a lot of muttering that goes on in religious circles. Lots of it is about who’s in and who’s out. Or who’s right and who’s not.
Jesus pretty much ignored the muttering. He didn’t have time for petty religious games. He knew full well who this tax collector was. Simply put, Zaccheus was but a ‘sinful man seeking’. And Jesus wanted him to find what he was looking for.
5. “Do not mess with librarians. The inner strength required to meticulously care for history’s greatest works of literature and then just let total strangers borrow them willy-nilly is Jedi level stuff.” ~ Jonathan Edward Durham
Without the library in Superior, Wisconsin where I was born and raised I would not be the man I am today. The librarians encouraged me to read and someway, somehow got a 10 year old access to the adult stacks.
6. The Sarasota Herald Tribune posted an article about all the changes occurring in our state as a result of its radical and unsettling swing to the far right. In particular, the article focused on the tremendous pressures being brought to bear on the LBGTQ+ community. Many are leaving the state, looking for a safer climate in which to raise a family. One woman said: “Yes, we live in paradise, but I can’t wait to get the hell out.” Another said that “For the safety of our kids, I think we just have to get out now. Choosing to stay would be choosing to struggle every day, but I am heartbroken about the move.”
I get it. Life is hard enough without having to continually watch your back and fear for the safety of your children.
What galls me about this swing to the authoritarian right is that it’s being fueled by a subset of Christians who appear to be quite OK with serving a caricature of Jesus and reading a Bible without any red letters in it. They make it hard for those of us who take the real Jesus quite seriously and are keen on understanding and applying His message.
7. As a spiritual director I struggle at times explaining what it’s all about. With a nod to Eugene Peterson I’m beginning to describe it as “a long conversation in the same direction.” And the purpose of that conversation is to help someone figure out how best to walk and talk with God.
8. “Lord, make me a channel of disturbance.
Where there is apathy, let me provoke;
Where there is compliance, let me bring questioning.
Where there is silence, may I be a voice.
Where there is too much comfort and too little action, grant disruption.
Where there are doors closed and hearts locked, Grant the willingness to listen.
When laws dictate and pain is overlooked… When tradition speaks louder than need…
Grant that I may seek rather to do justice than to talk about it;
Disturb us, O Lord. To be with, as well as for, the alienated; to love the unlovable as well as the lovely; Lord, make me a channel of disturbance.”~Author Unknown
This is not a prayer for the faint hearted is it? Nope, not at all. It’s a prayer of confession, a prayer of desire, a prayer for help and a rallying cry for those who believe making a difference makes a difference.
I think of pastors today who want to be difference makers but are terrified that they’ll be eaten alive by congregants if they have opinions that align with Jesus but not MAGAworld. Of course pastors in more progressive churches also have congregants who are quick to squeal if he/she takes a stand that runs contrary to their particular liberal leanings.
Being a difference maker is sometimes a no-win proposition.
Pray for them please. Stand up for them.
9. “Where do we go from here—chaos or community?” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Unfortunately, we seem to be growing more at peace with chaos. Sad, isn’t it? Until we lean into and embrace our need for the beloved community King believed was possible, chaos will continue to dull our senses and steal our dreams. King really believed that we are “all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
I believe that too.
10. Tell me about your most recent conversion experience. Not that one from long ago. I want your freshest memory of when you wanted to say “no” but instead said “yes”, when you chose the narrow path, not the wide road, and when you trusted God instead of your fears. Yah, tell me that story. That’s the one I need to hear from you. I need that ‘witness’. I want to know about your scars and your defeats and about that moment when you wanted to give up but then God lifted you up.