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Poured from a Clay Pot (Part 1)

June 27, 2014

“The master is coming—not tomorrow, but today, not next year, but this year, not after all our misery is passed, but in the middle of it, not in another place but right here, where we are standing.”

Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer

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Further reflection on Faith in Doubt, my post of April 22nd of this year:

I believe we all suffer from confusion and doubt in our fragmented and dislocated existence. I think the supposition that we should not have confusion or doubt leads to unnecessary suffering, for to suffer as a result of believing that to experience these is somehow wrong is to suffer for the wrong reasons.

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I do not believe prayer should be an attempt to control God, or a way to get things done or to get what I want. I trust in God’s promises to provide what I truly need, and try always to be thankful for that. Prayer is about allowing God to conform me to His will, not God conforming to mine. It is a means to surrender control of all things to God, to allow God to empty me of my selfishness and egocentricity.

I must let go of who I think I am, the psychological self created from the egocentric preoccupations of my thoughts, my accomplishments and my possessions, and believe what God says about who I am, who I have been from the very beginning. This, I believe, is what “dying to self” really means. Prayer is to be filled with the fervent desire to be attuned to His perfect will. This desire generates a kind of harmonic resonance between the heart of God and my own, making it possible to experience our intrinsic union, to have “the mind of God” as the Bible puts it, and thereby to “pray without ceasing”. In prayer I allow God to recognize Jesus in me. That’s what God sees, what He loves and cannot not love.

It is the essence of the oft-repeated phrase, “let go and let God”, although I must take care not to mistakenly shift the initiative from God to myself. Like faith itself, this is a gift God gives me. The moment I turn it into a “work”, my ego is back in control, and it is no longer of God. It is another of those paradoxes that rear up so frequently in the Christian life. I am to do something, but rather than doing it myself, I must allow God to do it. My role is simply to be willing participant in the process.

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Further to my post Stumbling Along the Path of Peace, January 3, 2014:

Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Rom. 13:10)

 

Society spends a great deal of time ignoring the moral values it supposedly reveres.

 

“Resist not evil,” if carried out in real life, would lead to a society of forgiveness. Horrendous notion! If we went around forgiving everybody, either they’d completely take over and dominate us or they might forgive us in return. This second option, which Jesus perhaps had in mind, is so unthinkable that the first option is the only one society considers viable. To forgive, as we now view it, is to show weakness, and those who show weakness deserve what they get: Evil will overrun them.

The only fly in the ointment is that Jesus gave in to evil and is worshipped for it. This moral dilemma has vexed the world for centuries. Now that morality has reversed itself and punishing all evil-doers to the absolute maximum is the most Christian thing to do, we can all rest easy. Jesus’s most radical ideas have been washed clean from our memories and our conscience.

Depak Chopra What Does Jesus Mean By “Resist Not Evil?”

 

Now I know Depak Chopra is a New-Age guru, but I don’t believe that gives us license to chuck him and everything he says into the round file. As I have written before, wisdom may be found in the strangest places. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)

 

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I recently watched The Railway Man, a fact-based story of a British soldier during World War II and his Japanese captor. It is a powerful portrayal that draws together man’s inhumanity to man, the corrosive power of hatred, the lust for revenge, the damage holding onto one’s pain can inflict, the redeeming power of love, how forgiveness can release both violators and the violated from their pain, and the real possibility of reconciliation despite horrific evil. Although brutal in its depiction of torture, it is well worth watching. I give it five stars.

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