Mike’s Rumblings – 10-13-23
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. When I woke up last Saturday I was startled and deeply saddened to learn, as I’m sure you were, that Israel had been viciously attacked by Hamas, a terrorist organization which exerts great influence and power in Gaza. Civilians were targeted, including children. Hostages were taken. Women were raped. Families were separated. Grievous harm was done.
During the week Israel fought back with a vengeance and soon will make a decision about whether or not a massive ground attack in Gaza will be launched.
This war is still writing its gruesome story. For sure, more innocent lives will be lost. Fingers will be pointed, scape goats will be found, the rhetoric will be loud, the pundits will bellow and images of mourning will fill our screens. There is some worry that terrorist allies of Hamas will join the fray, further destabilizing the region.
In other words, it’s a mess. It is incredibly troubling.
Let us weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn.
And let us pray.
Pray for the peacemakers on both sides of the conflict to stand tall, for the hardliners to calm down, and for the groundwork for a just and lasting peace to be established.
2. President Biden was careful to distinguish between Hamas and the Palestinians during his speech to the nation. “Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination. Its stated purpose is the annihilation of the State of Israel and the murder of Jewish people…. Hamas offers nothing but terror and bloodshed with no regard to who pays the price.”
We need to make that distinction too. Hamas is a terror organization, without a conscience, and not everyone in Gaza is a fan.
3. “Dear Child of God, before we can become God’s partners, we must know what God wants for us. “I have a dream,” God says. “Please help Me to realize it. It is a dream of a world whose ugliness and squalor and poverty, its war and hostility, its greed and harsh competitiveness, its alienation and disharmony are changed into their glorious counterparts, where there will be more laughter, joy, and peace, where there will be justice and goodness and compassion and love and caring and sharing. I have a dream that swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks, that My children will know that they are members of one family, the human family, God’s family, My family.” ~ Desmond Tutu
4. E. B. White watched his wife Katharine planning the planting of bulbs in her garden in the last autumn of her life and later wrote about it: ‘There was something comical yet touching in her bedraggled appearance … The small hunched-over figure, her studied absorption in the implausible notion that there would be yet another spring, oblivious to the ending of her own days, which she knew perfectly well was near at hand, sitting there with her detailed chart under those dark skies in dying October, calmly plotting the resurrection.’ There is room for all of us in the resurrection conspiracy, the company of those who plant seeds of hope in dark times of grief or oppression, going about the living of these years until, no one knows quite how, the tender Easter shoots appear. ~ Robert Raines A Time to Live:
“There is room for all of us in the resurrection conspiracy.” Keep planting.
5. During times of great trouble, I think of the end times/rapture crowd who look to the heavens and start packing their bags.
Perhaps, unpacking their bags and getting to work loving and caring for those they want to float away from would be the better thing.
6. “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.” ~ Hafiz
Lots of cheap rooms are being occupied by jittery Americans these days. They can afford better but what the heck, why bother? After all, fear kind of feels normal now. Besides, they can still afford the internet. That’s what counts. After all, fear needs feeding.
But why walk in fear? That’s the million dollar question.
7. Quite often I read things that ‘stir’ me. That doesn’t mean I agree with them nor does it mean that I disagree. It means that they grabbed my attention and spoke to me.
For instance, Rabbi Mara Nathan got my attention.
“The Torah, the Mishnah, the Talmud, and later rabbinic sources consider the woman’s physical and emotional health before that of the fetus. Until the baby is born, Judaism considers the fetus to be part of the woman’s body. She is never the villain when difficult choices need to be made.”
Marcus Borg, is a progressive theologian who got me thinking.
“The Bible is a human product telling us how our religious ancestors saw things, not how God sees things.”
I’m still pondering each of these. My inner fundamentalist (I bet you have one too) keeps track of anything to do with my faith and related subjects. After reading the Rabbi’s quote related to life issues and Borg’s take on scripture that inner fundy started sounding alarm bells, screaming at me to get my act together and flee such suspect thoughts.
But I can’t do that.
You see there’s another voice speaking to me. It’s the wee small voice of the Holy Spirit exhorting me to not be afraid and won’t let me just run away. That voice assures me that wrestling with ideas is quite OK. Why? Perhaps it’s because they have something to teach me.
Pro-life friends may be uncomfortable with me posting the rabbi’s considered opinion. Biblical literalists might be dismayed that I dared post anything by Borg and especially anything that implies that the Bible is more human than divine.
In their eyes, I’m breaking rank and cutting across the grain of what they thought were our mutually held and deeply revered convictions. I get that. But their discomfort and judgment can’t stop me from being curious. I’m not trying to pontificate but to merely say that two authors caught my intention and I found what they were saying to be thoughtful and worthy of some of my time and prayer. And if that gets me kicked out of someone’s club, so be it.
8. “The kingdom of God is at hand…What we proclaim is that, in Jesus Christ, a whole new way of ordering things has appeared, that God, in Christ, is drawing all things to himself. The great ordering principles of the world—money, fame, power, sex, pleasure—are overthrown. A new King has come, a new way of organizing life. Love, inclusion, compassion, nonviolence, forgiveness, especially of enemies—this is now the way sanctioned by God.” ~ Bishop Robert Barron
9. “Imagine a faith so empty that you think bringing prayer into schools is following Jesus, but bringing free lunches is not.” ~ Michael Johnson
10. “Prayer is a request for what is good, offered by the devout of God. But we do not restrict this request simply to what is stated in words… We should not express our prayer merely in syllables, but the power of prayer should be expressed in the moral attitude of our soul and in the virtuous actions that extend throughout our life… This is how you pray continually — not by offering prayer in words, but by joining yourself to God through your whole way of life, so that your life becomes one continuous and uninterrupted prayer.” ~ St. Basil the Great