Mike’s Rumblings – 03-03-23
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. I No Longer Pray For Peace
“On the edge of war,
one foot already in,
I no longer pray for peace:
I pray for miracles.
I pray that stone hearts will turn
and evil intentions will turn
and all the soldiers already deployed
will be snatched out of harm’s way,
and the whole world will be
astounded onto its knees.
I pray that all the “God talk”
will take bones,
and stand up and shed
its cloak of faithlessness,
and walk again in its powerful truth.
I pray that the whole world might
sit down together and share
its bread and its wine.
Some say there is no hope,
but then I’ve always applauded the holy fools who never seem to give up on the scandalousness of our faith:
that we are loved by God……
that we can truly love one another.
I no longer pray for peace:
I pray for miracles.” ~Ann Weems
Living in a ‘locked and loaded’ culture means too many are trusting what’s in their holster more than God these days. That’s dangerous. That’s why I pray for miracles too.
2. I’m of the opinion that God is always up to something. What is God up to now? I’m not entirely sure but I kind of think God wants to do something big by asking us to go small.
We’ve been through a long season of ‘go big or go home’. Maybe God wants that to end. Maybe he wants us to do the basic things again, to take baby steps, to do the little things well, to breathe deeply, and act righteously. Perhaps, God wants us to forsake mega-faith and all that involves and replace it with a simpler, less politicized and less frenetic way of being God’s people.
I think one of the reasons the awakening/revival at Asbury College was so meaningful and captivating is due to the fact those in leadership didn’t let big shot, name brand Christians hijack it. They chose to go small and God honored that decision.
3. Last Saturday, on what extremist groups were calling a National Day of Hate we headed to Church of the Palms to listen to biblical scholar Dr. Amy-Jill Levine.
Dr. Levine talked a bit about the Day of Hate saying (and I’m paraphrasing a bit): “On this Day of Hate a Presbyterian church is filled with both Christians and Jews who came to listen to an Orthodox Jewish woman, who just happens to to be a New Testament scholar, speaking about the Jewishness of Jesus.”
Everyone smiled and clapped when she said it and when she ended her talk she was greeted by a standing ovation.
What better way to stare down hate than a show of solidarity, huh?
Levine remarked in her talk that “if we’re reading the Bible at age 66 the same way we read the Bible at age 6 something is wrong.” She’s right. I have a hunch the Bible the day of hate folks read is interpreted in childish (not childlike) ways and thus their understanding of it is fairly primitive, as are their motives and tactics.
4. “… remember the temptation of Jesus in the desert (see Matthew 4:1–11). Three temptations to the misuse of power are listed—economic, religious, and political. Even Jesus must face these subtle disguises before he begins any public ministry; this is a warning to all of us.” ~ Richard Rohr
This reading comes at us on the first Sunday of Lent every year. It’s sobering. How are we being tempted to misuse power these days? What are the economic, religious and political enticements that pull at us and whisper sweet nothings in our ear?
5. “Change is not what we expect from religious people. They tend to love the past more than the present or the future.” ~ Richard Rohr
Not just love the past. Religious folks like to put their love of the past in a box, wrap it in pretty paper, put a bow on it and then put it on an altar and worship it.
6. It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change, that lives within the means available, and works co-operatively against common threats.” ~Charles Darwin
Darwin paid close attention to patterns of behavior in different species. He championed evolution. I appreciate his discoveries. Others don’t. Lots of religious folks don’t like anything that smacks of evolutionary theory. Why? Because theories like that challenge both the biblical narrative and the biblical literalism they’ve anchored themselves to. It gives them the shivers just thinking about such things.
The problem is that a faith rooted in biblical literalism, sincere as it may be, isn’t able to handle the kind of challenges science, history, and even Scripture itself presents. Those challenges are seen as attacks. So, the wagons get circled, and a lifetime is spent trying to debunk anything that challenges their belief that the Bible contains the answers to ‘everything’. It’s an immature response. It thwarts spiritual growth actually. It’s fear based. It requires trying to make the Bible speak about all kinds of things that it really doesn’t address. And it keeps them from exploring the interesting things that people like Darwin try to teach us.
7. FOX News lied. It was brazen. It involved their highest level punditainers who willingly promoted the false narrative that the election was stolen. Why would they do this? Greed, lack of integrity, a foundation of disrespect for their listeners and a willful dismissal of patriotism are all pieces of the puzzle.
8. “The desert is a place of spiritual revolution, not of personal retreat. It is a place of inner protest, not outward peace. It is a place of deep encounter, not of superficial escape. It is a place of repentance, not recuperation…
The desert is a necessary stage on the spiritual journey. To avoid it would be harmful.
Ironically, you do not have to find the desert in your life; it normally catches up with you. Everyone does go through the desert…. It may be in the form of some suffering, or emptiness, or breakdown, or breakup, or divorce, or any kind of trauma that occurs in our life… If we go through this experience involuntarily, then it can be both overwhelming and crushing. If, however, we accept to undergo this experience voluntarily, then it can prove both constructive and liberating.” ~John Chryssavgis
We might not call it a desert experience. We might call it a dry time, where we experience more desolation than consolation. We often make the mistake of believing we can ignore it. How do you avoid what is? Oh, one can try fill their life with laughs and distractions but it doesn’t seem to work. Sometimes the spiritual life requires us to do some very hard work, to face the pain, to own up to our stuff, and to allow our Good God to do His healing work in our lives.
9. Sr. Jean, who made a name for herself during Loyola Chicago’s inspirational 2018 Final Four run, is now 103. She just published her memoir entitled “Wake Up With Purpose -What I Learned in My First Hundred Years.”
Probably worth a look see. She still serves as a chaplain to students, including the men’s basketball team. Wonder what the next 100 will bring.
10. We’re learning here in Florida that when one political party has a supermajority, a democracy begins to look and sound like an autocracy. Every decision is heavy handed and the rhetoric is harsh and condescending. Gun toting fringe groups have a bigger voice. And God becomes more of a right wing nut job and not the Prince of Peace. Be careful how you vote friends. There are consequences, big ones, especially in this pivot point moment in time.