Mike’s Rumblings – 06-02-23
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. So what do we say to the churches that spawn and nurture Christian Nationalism?
There’s a poignant moment in the “Fr. Elijah” novel when ‘goodness says to evil’ – “I would 1000 times rather have a persecuted Church than a compromised Church.”
tell them that.
Can I get an Amen?
2. I once heard a story. Whether it is true or not I can’t rightly say. But what I can attest to is that it rings true in all the places in me that need to hear this kind of testimony.
‘After the minister of a church in the Jim Crow South retired, one of the elders was asked to become the next Pastor. He said yes to that call.
Now this church was filled with Bible believing people. They were all White. The new pastor made it a point to talk about God’s love for all people. He talked about the value of equality and told his congregation that God’s desire was to open the doors of the church to anyone no matter the color of their skin. He called for individual repentance for the sin of racism.
He was told to stop preaching that message. He didn’t. All but four members of that church walked out and stayed out. The new pastor said to his remnant flock “Now our ministry can begin.”
Tim Keller, in his book Prodigal God, wrote: “Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect…That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did.”
3. “Choose your leaders
with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward
is to be controlled
by all that the coward fears.
To be led by a fool
is to be led
by the opportunists
who control the fool.
To be led by a thief
is to offer up
your most precious treasures
to be stolen.
To be led by a liar
is to ask
to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant
is to sell yourself
and those you love
into slavery.” ~ Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents
4. “Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement, to get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
5. Tom Hanks recently received an honorary doctorate from Harvard and spoke these words to the school’s graduates:
“Every day, every year, and for every graduating class, there is a choice to be made. It’s the same option for all grown-ups who have to decide to be one of three types of Americans — those who embrace liberty and freedom for all, those who won’t, or those who are indifferent. Only the first do the work of creating a more perfect union, a nation indivisible. The others get in the way … In the never-ending battle you have all officially joined as of today, the difference is in how truly you believe, in how vociferously you promote, in how tightly you hold to the truth that is self-evident: that of course we are all created equally yet differently, and of course we are all in this together …”
6. “…if prayer has become little more than worry with an Amen tacked on …Maybe we could try not using words …a spiritual practice may be needed that will allow your emptiness, rather than fight to fill it. The ancient practice of centering prayer is a …meditative technique …the quiet, gentle abdication of all one’s illusions of personal power and control. It is not measured by the quality or quantity of emotion it produces. Prayer doesn’t have to be measured by anything.” ~ Barbara Cawthorne Crafton
To be satisfied with quietly being in the presence of the Presence of God is the very essence of prayer. And if the need to use words arises that too is a good thing. But remember God already knows the deepest parts of our deepest longings. In the quiet, in the absence of words, the counsel of the Lord can be received.
7. The culture wars are real and I’m pretty sure a healthy percentage of those fighting it have little or no idea what they’re actually fighting about and why. In order to discover the ‘what and the why’ combatants would need to reject rumor and innuendo and do the really hard work of separating truth from fiction. That work needs to be done. I need to do it. You need to do it. They need to do it. If we don’t do it, the culture war will keep doing some pretty heavy damage to our country, our hearts, and our souls.
8. What’s our responsibility these days?
James Baldwin once said: “We must tell the truth till we can no longer bear it.”
And we must ask God to show us how to speak truth in such a way that is heard by those who want nothing to do with it. Wisdom must be sought and great courage cultivated for we surely will be asked to walk towards situations and people that scare us a bit.
The lie we tell ourselves is that ‘rocking the boat’ helps no one, that keeping the peace is the ultimate virtue, and that neutrality is the ultimate good. If that’s true, why do we admire Jesus, Gandhi, Maya Angelou, Caesar Chavez, MLK JR, or Dorothy Day? Because each in their own way rocked the boat and became the change agent that was needed in their time and place. They lived and modeled truth telling. It ruffled feathers but it also changed history.
9. Both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis have indicated that they will vigorously pursue pardoning those who have been convicted of a crime for their role in the January 6 siege of the Capitol. Let that sink in.
I know what I saw that day and the Jan. 6 Commission showed us what was behind the curtain. None of it was pretty.
10. The Catholic Archbishop, Oscar Romero, encouraged people to talk about and live into “the subversive witness of the Beatitudes.”
Romero, by the way, was assassinated while saying Mass. Why? Because his commitment to the subversive witness of the Beatitudes threatened those in power.