Mike’s Rumblings – 05-19-23
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. Rick Wilson, one of the founders of the Lincoln Project, notes that “When Trump’s CNN audience was giggling and clapping as he joked about sexual assault, and throughout his various racist tropes, it proved that Trump’s real superpower, with his base, is that he allows them to be their very worst selves without guilt or shame.”
The base appears to believe that boundaries, civility, and truth telling matter not at all when they are in Trump’s presence. And even when he isn’t present they feel quite free to act like he acts and to say what he says.
2. White Christian Nationalism has taken root in our country. Those buying into it think they are serving God. I believe they are effectively abandoning the cause of Christ. They think they’re right. I think I am.
That’s the impasse many of us find ourselves in. And it’s getting harder and harder to find common ground isn’t it? Discouragement comes easily. In the midst of my discouragement, God still reminds me that “life is indeed hard, that perhaps I should quit whining, and if I quit trying to figure out a way to find common ground I’m missing the point of it all.
And then I push back and say to God: “I know, I know but it’s really hard to reason with people who have abandoned reason.” The only response I get is, “Keep trying.”
3. “In the gospels,” Richard Rohr says, “you rarely see Jesus upset with sinners. Rather, what you see is Jesus upset with people who don’t think they are sinners.” ~ Richard Rohr
This is where the common ground lies. We are all sinners. Right? If we could only name it and claim it.
4. “The Way” is a lovely movie about pilgrimage, sorrow, finding one’s self, and the value of community, imperfect as it might be. It’s being rereleased.
It was written and directed by Emilio Estevez and his father Martin Sheen is the lead character. The star of the show though, is the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and those who walk it and find ‘renewal’ upon it.
Anita and I watch this movie at least once a year and we both recommend it to those who come to us for spiritual direction. It certainly isn’t a formulaic religious movie. It is much deeper than that. It beckons the viewer to enter their own pilgrim journey where they can listen to the deep cries of their soul, where they can find healing for their memories, wrestle with and make peace with God, and find companions along “The Way.”
5. “Often, when I’d go in to see Thomas Merton for spiritual direction, he’d say, “How’s it going?” And I’d say, “I’m doing well!” And he’d say, “Don’t make much of it; it’ll get worse.”
And other times I would go in really down about something. And he’d say, “Don’t make much of it; it’ll get better.”
It ebbs and flows, it ebbs and flows. But what is the infinite love that unwaveringly permeates the wavering ways of our heart? And how can we reserve this inner core place within ourself that cannot be accessed by the finite because it belongs completely to God“ ~James Finley
What is the infinite love that pieces you together?
How do you access that inner core place that grounds you?
Worth pondering, right?
6. “It takes a profound conversion to accept the belief that God is tender and loves us just as we are, not in spite of our sins and faults, but with them…
The compassion of Jesus reaches its zenith on the shores of the Sea of Tiberias. Only the risen Lord could sound the depths of Peter’s hurt, guilt, and self-hatred. Only Jesus fully understood that there was no treachery in Peter’s denial—just a temporary loss of nerve. Like a Marine in combat for the first time, the instinct for self-preservation had prevailed. Yet in spite of that betrayal, the purity of Peter’s heart and the quality of his love were not debatable or open to question in spite of his betrayal.
Jesus had to rid the apostle of his limited self-perception, of the debased self-image of who he thought he was…
Jesus not only frees Peter from self-hatred by allowing him to publicly repudiate his triple denial, but in the subtlest act of affirmation conceivable he appoints him leader of his church and entrusts him to preach the Good News with supreme authority in the power of the Spirit.” ~ Brennan Manning
This gospel story is incredibly and beautifully poignant.
7. I’m reminded of a time in our country’s history when white Americans, declaring themselves to be ‘God fearing people’, would pack a picnic lunch on a Saturday and head towards the town’s lynching tree to watch Klansmen hang Black people. Some of the families would have a photographer snap a picture of their whole family standing next to the still hanging body.
Then, they’d head home and lay out their clothes for church the next morning. During the Sunday service they’d pledge their allegiance to Jesus, who they betrayed the day before.
A week ago President Biden spoke to the graduating class at Howard University, a historically Black university in Washington, D.C. In his speech Biden singled out white supremacy “as the most dangerous terrorist threat to our homeland.”
If you think history doesn’t repeat itself, think again.
8. “The great turning point in your life comes not when you realize that you love God but when you realize and fully accept the fact that God loves you unconditionally.” ~ Anthony de Mello
Periodically, like two or three times a day, I need to be reminded of this. I bet some of you can resonate with that.
9. “I used to think that things were real, and change was something that happened to them over time. Now I think that change is real, and things are events that happen over time. Change is the constant and things come and go, appear and disappear.” ~ Brian McLaren, “Do I Stay Christian?”
I just read that car radios, in many new cars, will be unable to tune into AM stations. At first I was miffed. After all, I grew up with AM radio as did many of you. But I don’t listen to AM much anymore and when I do – well there ‘s an app for that. Things indeed come and go. Change is constant. Inevitably, it forces all of us to adapt in one way, shape or form. Some of us adapt reluctantly and do what we can to thwart the inevitable. Others of us see change as a door opening to new possibilities.
10. “Desert ascetics called this process of moving toward inner freedom – detachment. Detachment allows for greater direct experience of the Divine Presence as the seeker is attached to fewer distractions.” ~ Laura Swan
Perhaps those things we are most attached to need to be reconsidered. Do they breathe life into us or suck it right out of us?