Mike’s Rumblings – 10-28-22
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. Late Tuesday night I prayed. I told God that I was afraid of the rise of authoritarianism across the globe and especially in our country. I asked the Lord to guide me as I dealt with that fear. Throughout scripture we’re admonished to ‘fear not’. That’s a habit worth cultivating.
2. “No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot.” ~ Mark Twain
I’m working hard to not be one of them. Some might argue I should try harder.
I am reminded that perhaps living more intentionally into promises I made to the Lord several years ago is my pathway to staying sane in a world going crazy – buying into one idiotic notion after another. They are:
- to be present to the presence of God in the present moment
- to make myself available to others, building and nurturing authentic relationships
- to remain curious about the world I live in
- to be effective in responding to needs, even my own
- to use whatever giftedness I have in ways that help build the Kingdom of God
3. “Do not be too quick to condemn those who no longer believe in God: for it is perhaps your own coldness and avarice and mediocrity and materialism and selfishness that have chilled their faith.” ~ Thomas Merton
Ouch. This is worth using as an Examen, an essential spiritual exercise that allows us to take stock of our lives – where we fall short and where we don’t. Am I cold, greedy, settling for mediocrity, materialistic, or selfish? If the answer is yes I will not be in a position to represent Jesus very well.
4. The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” ~ Albert Einstein
Apathy is a horrible thing isn’t it?
Teddy Roosevelt rocked it back in the day (thus the lack of inclusive language). Who are you in this very challenging address?
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
For sure, I don’t want to be a “cold and timid soul.” In the coldness and timidity, apathy takes root. If that ever happens to me please let me know. You have my permission to whack me upside the head.
5. “It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy. Embrace the joyous task we have been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours because, for all our outward differences, we in fact all share the same proud type, the most important office in a democracy, CITIZEN.” ~ Barack Obama, Midterms 2018
Vote. Vote wisely and prayerfully.
6. “The most interesting people to watch right now are Republicans who are trying to decide whether they submit to “the truth of power” or “the power of truth.” The most impressive ones are those who suffer real costs for choosing bedrock truth over Trumpian power.” ~ Introducing Christian Ethics, David Gushee
This is well stated. It’s downright scary, isn’t it, to see so many candidates choosing power over truth. If they are ever elected will we ever be able to trust them? I’ll be honest. There’s no way I’d trust them. Not for a minute. Trust happens when you can count on the character of someone being rock solid. If they’ve sold their character to the highest bidder they have nothing solid to build upon.
7. “God speaks to us through the people who speak to us about the things of God.” ~ Henri Nouwen
Who are your people? They are the ones who show up for you consistently and show you how much they love you. They are the ones who ask you the hard questions and then give you the space to work it out with God. They are the ones who pray for you and never let you go.
8. Y’all realize that you’re more than the worst thing you’ve ever done, right? Sometimes, we give the memories of our sin way too much power, dwelling on them to the point of emotional exhaustion. We end up tearing ourselves down.
Those memories, however, can also beckon us to repentance and then confession which can morph into transformation. We can then become, as Nouwen phrased it. “wounded healers.”
In the battle between becoming a wounded healer vs wallowing in self condemnation there’s a pretty clear choice I think. But it’s a choice that might take a while to work itself out.
9. “At a 1960 lunch counter sit-in protesting segregation in Arlington, Virginia, Quaker peace activist David Hartsough discovered God’s power in the power of nonviolence:
“Love your enemies . . . do good to those who hate you.”
I was meditating on those words when I heard a voice behind me say, “Get out of this store in two seconds, or I’m going to stab this through your heart.” I glanced behind me at a man with the most terrible look of hatred I had ever seen. His eyes blazed, his jaw quivered, and his shaking hand held a switchblade—about half an inch from my heart. . . .
I turned around and tried my best to smile. Looking him in the eye, I said to him, “Friend, do what you believe is right, and I will still try to love you.” Both his jaw and his hand dropped. Miraculously, he turned away and walked out of the store.
That was the most powerful experience of my twenty years of life. It confirmed my belief in the power of love, the power of goodness, the power of God working through us to overcome hatred and violence. I had a profound sense that nonviolence really works. At that moment, nonviolence became much more than a philosophical idea or a tactic that had once made a difference in Gandhi’s India. It became the way I wanted to relate to other human beings, a way of life, a way of working for change.
My response had touched something in my accuser. He had seen me as an enemy. But through my response, I believe I became a human being to him. The humanity in each of us touched.” ~ Center for Action and Contemplation
I needed to read this. There’s a way to do things and violence isn’t the answer. I’ve known that for a long time but sometimes forget. In a world where “arming up” is considered to be of utmost importance, the path of non-violence beckons us.
10. I met a woman last week named Sheila and discovered she led her first civil rights protest in third grade. In the sixties, there was a bank in Sarasota that refused to allow Black children to participate in their “Christmas Club” savings program. She organized classmates and her neighborhood to stand against this injustice. They won. She has never quit speaking truth to power.
It’s been suggested by more than a few people that perhaps “we are too full of privilege to care about justice.”
Let me offer a ‘for instance’.
Anti-Semitic and Racial taunts and actions are on the increase. This too is a Justice issue. Where do you stand? Is your voice being raised? Are you demanding accountability from elected leaders? Are you too caught up in your ‘privilege’ to do what you know needs to be done? If you are not acquainted with anyone of color or a Jew does it even register that these things are happening?