Mike’s Rumblings – 02-03-23
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.“In his latest book, “Seeking God,” Trevor Hudson recalls a time when he met with Dallas Willard, seeking wisdom in regard to a vocational decision. Trevor was trying to discern God’s will, but his observation was that “The heavens seemed to be silent.” Willard responded: “I am reasonably sure that if God had anything in mind, he would have let you know by now. Maybe God wants you to go ahead and do what you really want to do. It is unlikely that God plays games of hide and seek when we ask for guidance.”
Often people have two or three wonderful choices before them and they spend months trying to discern God’s perfect will for their life. They pray, fret, fume, and worry. What if they just picked one of their wonderful choices? The one that rings truest. Maybe they think God will punish them if they pick wrongly. That’s not the way He rolls.
2. “Football, beer, and above all gambling filled up the horizons of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.” George Orwell, 1984.
Why bother with weighty matters of race, class, poverty, justice, climate change etc. when bigger issues like the Super Bowl point spread demands our attention?
I’m all in on distractions. It helps keep us sane. I love championship games. I enjoy doing nothing. But Orwell is right. When matters of little consequence occupy the vast percentage of our time and energy those who want to control us can do their dirty work in plain sight knowing full well preoccupied people won’t pause to notice.
3. “When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent.” Isaac Asimov
I have no stomach for a patriotism that depends on delusion and stupidity to fuel it and uses religion to give it cover.
I’m not the brightest bulb in the ‘smarts’ category. I’m certainly not an intellectual. But I have acquired some wisdom along the way. Wisdom, I’ve found, shows up and is cultivated in people’s lives in a variety of ways. It’s not about IQ. It’s not about degrees earned. It has a lot to do with a desire to learn, to be discerning, and to use common sense. Most people I know who are discerning don’t need to wrap their arms around a stupid view of patriotism. They know what a real patriot looks and talks like and they don’t have to wrap themselves in a flag to prove they’re right. They manage to live it out in real time. All day, every day. They don’t do stupid.
4. “Anytime the Bible is quoted to defend behavior that is not motivated by the law of love, something is wrong.” Amy Butler.
The law of love includes acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly before God.
5. “Immature religion creates a high degree of cognitively rigid people or very hateful and attacking people—and often both. It is almost the public image of Christianity today, yet God’s goal is exactly the opposite…~ Richard Rohr
The public image of much of Christianity fails us. Perhaps that’s why Gandhi famously said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
6. “I think a lot of Christians have never moved beyond survival questions, security questions, even securing their future in eternity. First-half-of-life religion is an insurance plan to ensure that future. In this stage, any sense of being a part of a cosmos, of being part of a historical sweep, that God is doing something bigger and better and larger than simply saving individual souls (and my own soul in particular) is largely of no interest to us. I don’t think I’m exaggerating. That’s all the first half of life can do.
It’s clear that if someone wants to be elected to a political office in the United States or any country, all they need to do is assure people of safety. Bill Plotkin, who’s been such a wonderful influence on so many people in recent decades, speaks of the first half of life as our survival dance, and the second half of life as our sacred dance. Most people never get beyond their survival dance. It’s just identity questions, boundary questions, superiority questions, and security questions. We would call them ego questions, but they’re not questions of the soul.
The soul moves beyond questions of security and importance because it has discovered that it is absolutely important to do so.” ~ Center for Action and Contemplation
To discover and live into the sacred dance that God has for us requires giving ourselves permission to consider the deeper ‘soul’ questions that lie before us. I need help doing that. That’s why I go to a spiritual director and am always on the lookout for soul friends, those who know there’s more to the spiritual life than they are experiencing. I need help getting to where God wants me to go and to be who God created me to be. Bet you do too.
I love it when people sign on to do spiritual direction or ask how they can find a spiritual director. So, give me a holler if you’re feeling that kind of tug on your life.
7. If you want to understand ‘deconstruction’ watch the movie “Dirty Dancing”. It’s all about ‘change’. That’s the backdrop. Something esteemed and valued is being forced to start changing. It’s joyful for some and it breaks the heart of many. In the religious life, it’s a necessary part of the journey. As is reconstruction. And it all takes time, effort, and intentionality.
8. When Jesus asked to see a Roman denarii (with Caesar’s image front and center)) and then said, “Give back to Caesar, what is Caesars and to God what is God’s” he ruffled the feathers of both the religious types and the political crowd. In effect he was saying “Don’t confuse the rule of Caesar with the rule of God. They are not the same. Pay your taxes as Rome decrees. But don’t make the mistake of making Caesar into a deity, even if he insists he is. That’s a fool’s errand.
Jesus had this uncanny ability to tick people off, especially those who were full of themselves. He still tried to teach them but he refused to suck up to them.
9. “Don’t try to win over the haters. You are not a jackass whisperer.” ~ Scott Stratten
I’ve learned this the hard way over the years.
10. The late, great Mike Yaconelli was once asked about his go-to spiritual gift. He said, “That’s easy. Crap detecting, I have the spiritual gift of crap detecting.”
There are moments when I think I have that gift too. Thus, the Rumblings.