Mike’s Rumblings – 02-17-23
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 a conversation awhile back a friend observed that “we’re either upholding broken systems or opposing them.”
It seems to me that when we uphold broken systems for any length of time, that brokenness is going to seep into our own lives in one way, shape, or form. That’s a formidable downside for choosing to keep our mouths shut.
When we oppose broken systems and question those who guard them, it won’t take long for those systems and guardians to turn on us. That’s the downside of opening our mouths. But when you do and then look in the mirror, you’ll see the face of integrity looking back at ‘ya.
2. When I’m at my worst I feed my anxiety, my worry, and my fear. When I’m attempting to be clever I’ll state that “I practice being anxious, worried and afraid because they have served me well. Those things that I worry about, stress over and face fearfully rarely come to full fruition. In other words. Worry, anxiety and fear work.”
My shadow self tries to convince me that worry, anxiety, and fear protect me, that they are a valuable defense mechanism. My true self, on the other hand, invites me to trust God and find more helpful ways to cope.
3. I know a whole lot of folks who are struggling with matters of faith and/or the practice of it. In their mind no church measures up. Old answers feel tired. Matters of deep importance are swept under the rug. Hypocrisy runs deep.The temptation is to walk away and be done with it all. I get it.
I know people, of course, who don’t walk away but they go off script for a bit and take a sabbatical to sort things out. They begin to deconstruct their faith, trying to discern what’s real and what’s not and what needs to stay or acquired and what needs to be jettisoned. It’s more about taking baby steps than giant leaps. As a spiritual director I’ve spent a good chunk of time with folks who ask for some help during that “putting things back together time.” It’s an honor and privilege to be there for them.
I’m convinced that deeply imbedded in all humans is a desire for the God who yearns for us and won’t let us go. Oh, we might walk away from the institutions for a time and for many that’s probably not a bad option especially if they’ve been beaten up by religious folks. But that yearning to know and be known by a good God never really goes away. How that is addressed varies from person to person. Left unaddressed or unattended it can’t help but lead to a sense of incompleteness.
4. Corrie ten Boom and her family helped to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. She and her family risked their own lives for the sake of others. And eventually ended up in the same concentration camp they were trying to save others from.
Why did they do it?
How could they not?
Was it scary? Sure it was. But she once said: “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
That known God beckons us to count the cost and then do the right thing.
5. Need a pep talk. Here’s one from Henri Nouwen in his book named Discernment
“The truth is that God loved us before we were born and will love us still after we have died. God molded us in the depths of the earth. God knitted us together in our mothers womb. God inscribed us on the palm of his hand. Every hair on our heads is numbered and counted by God. We are held by God in an everlasting embrace. We belong to God from eternity to eternity. Indeed, we are God‘s daughters and sons. As beloved children our core identity is secure in the memory of God whether we do anything worthwhile, prove anything important, or give anything of value. God still loves us unconditionally. It is a strong, vital, and active fatherly and motherly kind of love that holds us safe and affirms our worth, wherever we go and whatever we do.”
We are the beloved of God. Claim it. Live into it. Give thanks for it.
6. The Jim Jordan and Friends “Let’s Get Even Hearing” is off to a rocky start. How rocky? Even FOX News won’t cover it. There are a couple of other congressional witch-hunts going on but the Republicans are getting checked by Dems who have actually done their homework and know the ins and outs of the law.
It’s time for a third political party to emerge, don’t you think? What we once knew as the Republican Party has become, in essence, the MAGA Party, an extremist, right wing entity fueled by outrage, conspiracy theories, Christian nationalism, lies, racism, and dubious loyalty to our country. Who wants to be part of that nonsense? Unfortunately, a whole lot of people do. I’m not one of them.
I do believe our nation needs a principled, conservative alternative to the MAGA party. Sooner rather than later. But it won’t happen soon. That would require more than a few conservatives to step up, willing and able to be really, really courageous, and say that enough is enough. That’s going to take awhile, if ever. In the meantime, we’ve got to deal with the nut jobs from crazy town.
7.“The basic fact is that Christianity as it was born in the mind of this Jewish thinker and teacher appears as a technique of survival for the oppressed. That it became, through the intervening years, a religion of the powerful and the dominant, used sometimes as an instrument of oppression, must not tempt us into believing that it was thus in the mind and life of Jesus. ‘In him was life; and the life was the light of men.’ Wherever his spirit appears, the oppressed gather fresh courage; for he announced the good news that fear, hypocrisy, and hatred, the three hounds of hell that track the trail of the disinherited, need have no dominion over them.” ~ Howard Thurman
Amen. Fear, hypocrisy, and hatred are indeed the three hounds of hell. And Jesus had no time for them.
8. “In the beginning God created …”
That always grabs me. It goes on to say that what God created was good. I think the Lord still wants it to be. He just wants us to get with the program, by being good and promoting goodness.
9. “Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the spiritual life.” ~ Simone Weil
Page through the scriptures. It’s one waiting moment after another. Our job is to make ‘waiting in expectation’ a habit, a spiritual discipline.
10. The old hymn begins with the words “Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee.”
It continues by begging the Lord to take our hands, our voice, our silver and gold, our moments and days, our feet, lips, heart, intellect and will and to use them for His good purposes.
We sang this last Sunday at Church of the Palms and it really got to me. Is this what I really desire? That was the question I was asking myself. I wondered, in the moment, if anyone else was asking that same question. My guess is that they were.
Once we get our desires straight, we can recalibrate the rest of the pieces of our life.