Thursday, June 18, 2009


all some people want and long for is a fairly simple answer with a clear right and wrong. they want borders. and they want to accept those answers and borders, and be at peace.
that's alright. jesus said that we must become like little children, who trust with simplicity.

all some people want and long for is to continue to chew on their faith and questions and answers, and to brood over them and watch them and question them.
that's alright. the name "israel" means "wrestle with god."

and it happens, too, that sometimes the desire for simple faith isn't so genuine. sometimes that desire for simplicity and clarity is really about fear and shadow, the reluctance to step out into mystery.
and it happens, too, that sometimes the desire for wrestling faith isn't so genuine. sometimes that desire for complex, wrestling faith comes from fear and shadow, the reluctance to trust.

god can work with any of that. because that's where we are. and how we got where we are is sacred. and this moment is sacred.
we got where we are because of our choices along the way - about what to do with the tools and roles we were given, and chose, and about how to face and deal with our pain, and about how to respond to what we were learning.
and god is in all things.

for decades i believed that god is thwarted by our refusal to be open and learn - the "hard heart." that this exercise of free will is the only thing god cannot penetrate.

but i think now that god knows that everything is temporary. and that the process of learning and healing and liberation does not ever have to end.
i know some doctrines say that god is not going to wait forever. but i don't believe that. i believe that god and love are neverending; it is we who do not want to wait forever.

and god is patient.


DM said...

this is really great. really great.

mike said...

"Everything is temporary" is a lot to chew on... If true, it means that the "process of learning and healing and liberation" not only "does not ever have to end," but that the process can never end. The root of impatience is refusal to accept the process-we either want to hold on to something that will inevitably change (or has changed or is changing), or we have some inflated expectations of the future (i.e. the "happy ending").
The essence of faith is belief that God is in the process with us. Love does not control nor transcend the process; love is the possibility of our recognition of goodness and meaning in the moment that exists through God's presence. The essence of grace is that nothing waits, everything changes - that is the promise to us no matter how hard our heart is.

Joe Rutland said...

Hey dude ... good stuff, as always from my pastor man. I've started re-reading Philip Yancey's treatice (my word) on grace, What's So Amazing About Grace? Here's the kicker: the damn book was written, what, 9-10 years ago. I'm reading it again and, well, same stuff applies today. A graceless world. To be blunt (or should I be PC? fuck it), I admit there are times I am graceless. Ouch. That hurts. Yet it's true. No matter how hard I try, I do my best, yes ... yet there's the "you're a fraud" voice which kicks in.

It's all B.S. ... yet it can be a subtle mistress calling in the night.

I know, I know ... love is the answer. Tell my "over-reactor" in me, please. Never mind ... I'll handle it myself. Yet I want your help. :-)

-- Joe