Mike’s Rumblings – 03-31-23
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. U.S Senate Chaplain, Rear Admiral Barry Black: “Lord, when babies die at a church school, it is time for us to move beyond thoughts and prayers. Remind our lawmakers of the words of the British statesman Edmund Burke: ‘All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.’ Lord deliver our senators from the paralysis of analysis that waits for the miraculous. Use them to battle the demonic forces that seek to engulf us.” (March 28, 2023)
Not just the Senators, Lord. The House needs a whole lot of Divine prodding. Oh ya, a whole lot. Good luck with that.
2. “For too long, Christians have used the Bible as a weapon and not as a mirror. The gospel for oppression instead of liberation. The church as a judgment gavel, not a table of inclusion. And Jesus as their mascot, instead of the example. Time to flip the tables.” ~ Carlos A. Rodriguez
Rachel Held Evans died much too young but she still speaks through her writings. She was and still is a table flipper. She wrote: “The gospel doesn’t need a coalition devoted to keeping the wrong people out. It needs a family of sinners, saved by grace, committed to tearing down the walls, throwing open the doors, and shouting, “Welcome! There’s bread and wine. Come eat with us and talk.” This isn’t a kingdom for the worthy; it’s a kingdom for the hungry.”
Those who have ears to hear, please listen. “This isn’t a Kingdom for the worthy; it’s a kingdom for the hungry.” We’ve forgotten that. Instead, we’ve created little boxes of faith, each with its own little twist on the message of Jesus, which we will defend until our last breath even if it’s a perversion of what Jesus actually taught and even if it means making him into a cute little mascot. All that defending leaves us with little energy to do the real work God has for us.
3. Presbyterian pastor Eliza C. Jaremko wrote: “Everyone else was grieving, but I was busy.”
You could easily replace the word grieving with caring, praying, helping, protesting, voting, and for that matter, table flipping. You get the point.
4. “Most people don’t want the truth. They just want constant reassurance that what they believe is the truth.” ~ unknown origin
Reassurance is such a good thing except when it’s not. Reinforcing what is obviously untrue leads nowhere good.
Here’s something that’s true. It’s an inconvenient truth. Another mass killing occurred this week. Facebook is filled with those offering thoughts and prayers.
But let’s get honest.
Frankly, these killings are getting old.
It’s getting scary.
It’s becoming normative.
Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.
Miroslav Volf once said: “There is something deeply hypocritical about praying for a problem you are unwilling to resolve.”
The biggest truth is that our country lacks the will and desire to do whatever is necessary to stop this tidal wave of violence. One of our political parties, especially, doesn’t want to do anything. Its members have a love affair with their guns, value a rather absurd interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, and are indebted to the NRA and other similar groups which help fund their campaigns. Until they value people more than guns we will be mourning over and over and over again.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
5. “I didn’t see a single true leader on Trump’s stage, not even Trump himself. I saw a collection of followers, each vying for the affection of the real power in Waco, the coddled populist mob.” ~ David French
I agree with David French, a conservative of some stature. Truly, there wasn’t a true leader on stage in Waco. Including Trump. Especially Trump. He’s the one who, if elected, is promising to deliver retribution. That’s his platform. And the coddled, populist mob cheers loudly and enthusiastically every time he speaks of revenge.
Anyone with an ounce of integrity and patriotism stayed far, far, away. They knew how vulgarly anti-American that rally would become. It became just that. Hard to believe that glorifying the January 6 Insurrection was plan #1. Actually, it’s not hard to believe. It’s right out of the authoritarian playbook.
Sun Tzu, presumed to be the author of The Art of War, wrote that “An evil man will burn his own nation to the ground to rule over the ashes.” Prophetic, huh? Let’s pray we don’t get that far.
6. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with a parent deciding a certain book is not right for her child. There is a colossal problem with a parent deciding that, therefore, no child should be allowed to read that book.” ~ Jodi Picoult
Banning books is a go to strategy of autocrats. They know that those who read good books are a danger to all their plotting and scheming.
My advice. Read whatever gets banned.
7. “We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for…
Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all.” ~ John Keating (Robin Williams), Dead Poets Society
Stay alive. Expectant. Find your voice and use it. Today. Do these things today.
8. At one of the churches I served we used EGR to describe interactions with certain people who needed a bit more of our patience, attention, and care. EGR stands for Extra Grace Required. It wasn’t meant to be mean spirited nor degrading. No, it was just a reminder that ministry with that person might take a bit more time and energy. And it was helpful to know that.
My hunch is that all of us, at various times in our life, have felt vulnerable enough, and knew deep in our heart we needed someone to come alongside of us, willing to offer the extra grace required for us to believe we could take the next step.
9. “If love is the soul of Christian existence, it must be at the heart of every other Christian virtue. Thus, for example:
justice without love is legalism;
faith without love is ideology;
hope without love is self-centeredness;
forgiveness without love is self-abasement;
fortitude without love is recklessness;
generosity without love is extravagance;
care without love is mere duty;
fidelity without love is servitude.
Every virtue is an expression of love. No virtue is really a virtue unless it is permeated, or informed, by love.”~ Richard Rohr
That ‘faith without love’ list is nasty isn’t it? It ends up ripping us and others apart.
With love we become whole and complete and help others to do the same.
10. Tell me. Is it well with your soul? If it isn’t well, what will you do to change that? Where will you go for help?