Mike’s Rumblings – 09-01-23
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. “I don’t deny that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die. I only say that at certain strange epochs it is necessary to have another kind of priest, called poets, actually, to remind men that they are not dead yet.” ~ GK Chesterton
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. 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.
To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” Mr. Keating, Dead Poets Society
Unleash the poet within you and write your verse. Then write another, and another, and another. When it is time, pass on your verse and your stories to someone who needs to be reminded that life is worth living.
2. “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” ~ Eric Hoffer
We live in a society where ‘rudeness’ has become a form of performance art for the weak and unprincipled. ‘Tis a spectacle they make of themselves. But they know that not, for they have no sense of shame. They have misplaced their consciences and shattered their moral compass. And so they blurt nonsense, scrunch their faces tightly, extend their middle fingers, and pretend they’re hot stuff. The ‘rude’ lack poetry, and dance, and interesting art and are at a loss when conversations have depth and layers of meaning.
3. “I hate when the discussion turns to helping people, there’s always someone who takes the most ungenerous, contemptible stand toward others. If by helping legitimately needy people, I accidentally help some lazy people, so what? How is that worse than helping no one?” ~ source unknown
I’ve discovered that those who look for an excuse not to give, not to care and not to love are far less interesting than those who do give. They are, however, louder. That’s much to my dismay and to the detriment of our society.
4. “I’ll miss being able to represent our country. I think, a lot of times, that gets lost, when people talk about me in particular: Oh, you guys don’t sing the anthem, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You don’t love America. But we do love America. It’s just more in a James Baldwin kind of way, not in a bald-eagle-on-your-shoulder kind of way.” ~ Megan Rapinoe, United States Women’s Soccer Team
When Colin Kapernick took a knee during the National anthem much of America went ballistic. Megan Rapinoe gets the same kind of reaction from the same people.
Patriotism has many faces. It is expressed in a variety of ways. Sometimes those ways have an edge to them, cutting against the grain.
Every once in a while, I’m in a gathering where the Pledge of Allegiance is recited. I bow my head and after the words “with liberty and justice for all” I quietly, but audibly say “May it be so Lord, may it be so.” It’s a ‘for real’ prayer and it’s also meant as a respectful, verbal protest against those people and policies that hold people back, keeping them from experiencing the same level of liberty and justice I do.
I might not be your version of a patriot but I do care deeply about our country and its people. All of the people. And I certainly resonate with those who show their patriotism in a James Baldwin kind of way. I’m a fan of all those who agitate for the sake of making this a country that lives up to its hype.
5. “The biggest communication problem is that we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply. We must first seek to understand, then to be understood. ~ Stephen Covey
Guilty as charged. I can speak way too quickly, forgetting that God must have had a reason for giving me two ears.
6. “The church is not being persecuted in America.
The church is being challenged to act like Jesus, held accountable for not sounding like Jesus, and losing a generation who wants to follow Jesus.” ~ The Happy Givers
I know that in other locales around the world the persecution of the church is real. Not Here. But a challenge to walk our talk has been issued and it makes us squirm a bit. But that’s not persecution, only a wake up call. When and if we do wake up we should heed Jimmy Carter’s call to action: “I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.“ Jimmy Carter
Then we let the chips fall where they may.
7. The biblical text mirrors our own human consciousness and journey. Life itself—and the Scriptures, including the prophets—is always three steps forward and two steps backward. It gets the point and then loses it or doubts it. Our job is to see where the three-steps-forward texts are heading (invariably toward mercy, forgiveness, inclusion, nonviolence, and trust), which gives us the ability to clearly recognize and understand the two-steps-backward texts (which are usually about vengeance, divine pettiness, law over grace, form over substance, and technique over relationship).” ~ Richard Rohr
I desire to be a man bent on taking three steps forward, which means I must develop the courage to go to battle with my backpedaling inclinations.
8. Bonhoeffer once said that “Your ‘yes’ to God requires your ‘no’ to all injustice, to all evil, to all lies, to all oppression and violation of the weak and poor, to all ungodliness, and to all mockery of what is holy.”
Being a person of faith is a full contact way of being. It cost Bonhoeffer his life. To stand up for what’s good and beautiful and just always attracts attention. Often, that spells trouble. It’s what happens to anyone who’s trying to follow Jesus.
9. Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022 without a single Republican vote. No surprise is it? That law permits the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies over drug prices the government will pay. This week President Biden announced that he used that law, took on Big Pharma, and won an important victory for Americans on a budget, who just can’t afford spiraling drug costs. I pray it’s only the beginning.
Let’s keep rolling. The NRA, the rest of the gun lobby and the GOP which caters to it, needs a come to Jesus moment. May it be so. Common sense gun laws have to be enacted. Too many lives are being lost. And for what? Profits? A nonsensical interpretation of the 2nd Amendment? No, that’s stupid. Guns for hunting. Let’s do it. Automatic assault weapons? No way.
10. “Soon after the people of Israel enter the land God had promised them, Joshua sums up their history as a people. He interprets all that has happened over the centuries as the work of God with them. This history has not been easy. It has plagues, battles, curses and destruction. Yet none of this shakes Joshua’s confidence. Their entry to the Promised Land is a sign for the people of God’s fidelity to them.” ~ Pray As You Go
It’s worthwhile, I think, to periodically spend time mulling over our personal history of faith.
As you think about your faith journey, what’s been easy about it? What’s been hard? Where were you disappointed? Who played or is playing a key role?
Has your confidence in God and/or the People of God ever been shaken? How did you work through it?
What signs and symbols of your faith journey are near and dear to you?