Mike’s Rumblings – 07-07-23
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. “If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart.” ~ Pema Chödrön
First things first, huh?
2. The NY Times and other sources report that “SCOTUS’s decision in favor of a Colorado web designer, Lorie Smith, had an unusual feature: It was based on conjecture and speculation. Ms. Smith, who objects to providing wedding-related services for same-sex marriages, never turned down a gay couple. She had certainly never been punished for violating a state law that forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
Hmmm. So, why was this case even on the docket of the Supreme Court?
Decisions (personal and collectively) by the justices are proving to be problematic as is their refusal to do any self-policing. Their resistance to submitting to any kind of check and balance rubric is discomforting.
Looking at their most recent work one gets the impression that the conservative justices appear to have a culture war legislative agenda they’re advancing. That’s not in their job description.
3. “Back in college, I was one of the few Black students on my campus, and I was proud of getting into such a respected school. I knew I’d worked hard for it. But still, I sometimes wondered if people thought I got there because of affirmative action. It was a shadow that students like me couldn’t shake, whether those doubts came from the outside or inside our own minds.
But the fact is this: I belonged. And semester after semester, decade after decade, for more than half a century, countless students like me showed they belonged, too. It wasn’t just the kids of color who benefitted, either. Every student who heard a perspective they might not have encountered, who had an assumption challenged, who had their minds and their hearts opened gained a lot as well.
It wasn’t perfect, but there’s no doubt that it helped offer new ladders of opportunity for those who, throughout our history, have too often been denied a chance to show how fast they can climb.” ~ Michelle Obama, responding to SCOTUS’s ruling to end affirmative action.
4. Random thoughts about approaching the Bible:
I learned a long time ago that you can make the Bible say what you want it to say. I know. I’ve committed that sin. I’ve done my darndest at times to fit a square piece of scripture into a round hole. Why? God only knows but I was wrong to do it.
I see God at work through the biblical narrative. But the Bible is not God.
Some think the Bible is God’s final answer to everything. I don’t. I believe God still speaks.
Scripture needs to be argued and wrestled with. Let’s be honest. The Bible is troubling to read in certain spots. It contradicts itself at times. It keeps revealing deep truths that require deep thinking. It both soothes the soul and troubles it. It builds us up and it can humble us. To read and study the scripture is a magnificent spiritual discipline. To do it together (in community) can be a blessing but only if people are willing to be honest enough to stand against ‘group think’ and courageously ask questions of the text that others might label as problematic.
Scripture reminds me that I am part of a very remarkable ongoing story and that the role I get to play is not insignificant.
5. Hayes Brown writing on the MSNBC website asserts that one of our political parties is basically involved with “spouting incendiary nonsense.” He’s being kind.
Every day, after I read and mull over the political headlines, one question always comes to mind. “Maturity, where hast thou gone?”
6. Turning to Galatian 5 in the Message, I reminded myself of what I truly desire in my life and what I want no part of but am sorely tempted to accommodate.
The spirit of the anti-christ promotes and extols damaging attitudes and behaviors – “… a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage, frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness, trinket gods, magic-show religion, paranoid loneliness, cutthroat competition, all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants, a brutal temper, an impotence to love or be loved, divided homes and divided lives, small-minded and lopsided pursuits, the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival, uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community….”
Paul implores us to yield to the movement of the Holy Spirit. He’s convinced that the fruit of the Spirit will be made manifest in our lives and things such as “affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity, a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people…” will be evident. May it be so.
7. “It’s easy to be judgmental about crime when you live in a world wealthy enough to be removed from it…” ~ Trevor Noah
Acting all ‘holier than thou’ when one has the resources to distance him/herself from all kinds of hard things is a bad look. When we make judgments about people based on what we don’t know and avoid experiencing, we just make the problem bigger for those who have no choice but to experience it.
8. “I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one heck of a good time. Sometimes, this makes planning my day difficult.” ~ E.B. White
9. Celebrating the 4th of July this week reminded me that our country is in a ‘fragile’ place. We are at war with ourselves. A democracy only works when citizens commit to self-sacrifice, truth telling, and the advancement of the common good.
10. “It’s not the battles we lose that bother me, it’s the ones we don’t suit up for.” – Toby Ziegler, The West Wing
Have you ever read the New Testament Book of James? It’s my favorite. In essence, it says ‘Put up or shut up. There’s a good fight going on that you’re being invited to be part of. Show off your faith by showing up.’