Mike’s Rumblings – 05-26-23
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. This week the NAACP Board of Directors issued a formal travel advisory for the state of Florida. This action is a direct response to Governor Ron DeSantis’s aggressive and ongoing attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools.
The travel notice states that “Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.”
I’m glad the NAACP did this. Other advocacy organizations are taking similar action. They see the need to stand up to the Florida Governor and legislature. Will it do any good? For those of us who are Floridians and are concerned about the political shenanigans going on in the state, it’s always good to know that we have allies.
What happens in Florida matters. After all DeSantis’s ultimate goal is to “Make America Florida.” That my friends is a very, very bad idea.
2. When we confess sin, we are saying in effect “I want to tell the truth about my life. This is what I’ve done. I blame no one but myself. I want to be pardoned and healed. I need a savior.”
I grew up in a religious tradition that helped me to view confession as a sacramental act, a sacred encounter with our own brokenness and an opportunity to once again receive the unmerited favor of God’s grace. Confession of sin is a restorative, interactive, healing encounter with the living God. I think involving another person to witness the confession can be a very good practice.
3. “Start considering that which troubles you, that which keeps you up at night, that which stirs you in the deepest kind of way. Use that to focus and allow it to become the fuel behind you becoming a force for good in the world.” ~ Kurt Vickman, Founder of Good Grocer, addressing graduates at St. John’s University, MN
This is good advice for all of us don’t you think? No matter our age we can slip into a rut if we’re not careful. I see it happen everyday. I watch people with potential and unfulfilled dreams make a decision to just kind of wander through life instead of living fully into it.
4. It’s been said that preaching, at its core, is about “handing on to others the fruits of one’s own contemplation.”
And what is contemplation? It is the action of looking thoughtfully and prayerfully at something (scripture always beckons the preacher) for a long time. The hope is, for the preacher, that something of benefit will stir in his/her heart and soul. And perhaps that something will be worthy of proclamation and people will actually listen and then trust the Spirit, who is always ready and able to move in someone’s life.
What I miss the most about not having opportunities to preach anymore is all of the above.
5. “My home is in Christianity, but I have cottages everywhere!” ~ David Hayward
So do I. So should we all. Hunkering down with only those who agree with us isn’t a particularly good strategy.
6. “Everything in this life is going to be taken away from us, except one thing: God’s love, which can go into death with us and take us through it and into His arms.” -Tim Keller
Keller, according to his friend and NY Times columnist David Brooks, was fond of saying “Cheer up! You’re a worse sinner than you ever dared imagine and you’re more loved than you ever dared hope.”
Tim Keller died last week. He was a passionate and erudite disciple of Jesus. His speaking and writing influenced thousands and thousands of people. He was definitely a difference maker. RIP.
7. I don’t dig deeply into end times theology. The “Left Behind” books and movies left me cold and occasionally someone asks me about them and when I’m not exuberantly positive they get miffed.
Periodically, I do however, pick up an old friend, an apocalyptic novel entitled Fr. Elijah by Michael D. O’Brien. I think it’s my fourth time through it. It’s rich and weighty (at times overly so) but it always gets me thinking and praying about my place in a world that I discern is becoming increasingly unhinged and where we are getting a rather unpleasant whiff of what the ‘spirit of antichrist’ smells like.
The novel captures well the stark differences between the fruits of the Spirit which are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control” and the fruits of the shadowy, malignant, spirit of antichrist which produces anger, finger pointing, divisiveness, legalism, deceit and of course, pride. Yes, always pride.
8. Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one person is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of another … There are just some kind of men and women who are so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.” ~ Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
We’ve all met people who are so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good. Most of us have probably have seen that person in the mirror more than once.
Richard Rohr reminds us that “Christianity is a lifestyle—a way of being in the world that is simple, nonviolent, shared, and loving. However, we made it into an established religion (and all that goes with that) and avoided the lifestyle change itself. We could be warlike, greedy, racist, selfish, and vain throughout most of Christian history and still believe that Jesus is our personal Lord and Savior or continue, in good standing, to receive the sacraments. The world has no time for such silliness anymore. The suffering on earth is too great.”
9. “Just as religious traditions are rooted in a set of beliefs, the phenomenon of violence flows from a belief in its power to save us. The greatest religion on the planet is not Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or Judaism but the pervasive faith in violence.” ~ Walter Wink, Methodist minister, Pacifist, Bible scholar. He passed in 2012.
10. I see no compelling reason for any state to try to mandate that the Ten Commandments be prominently displayed in public schools nor do I understand why legislation is being considered to re-segregate schools.
Attempts by Christian Nationalists to foist their beliefs upon us are coming fast and furious. I still believe, as a practicing US citizen and a fervent follower of Jesus, in the separation of church and state and I strongly believe that any attempt to return to our racist past is sinful beyond measure.