Home > Uncategorized > scratching back to faith

scratching back to faith

I’ve never been one to peruse devo material spouting just Advent themes.  The Gospel texts have always provided all the inspiration that I’ve wanted or needed.  But this year… I got crazy.  I’ve been venturing outside of my traditional norms and tapped into a collection of Advent writings that I have absolutely loved!  Coupled with rich reading in the book of Isaiah and a sprinkling of other passages throughout the Gospels have provided a wonderful adventure of preparation and yuletide focus.

The guy (Fr. Richard Rohr) laying it down in this material (Preparing For Christmas – Daily Meditations for Advent) speaks my language and I absolutely love it!  Here are a few examples:

Ricky BobbyWe do the Gospel no favor when we make Jesus, the Eternal Christ, into a perpetual baby, a baby able to ask little or no adult response from us.  One even wonders what the mind is that would keep Jesus a baby.  Maybe it was ‘baby-Christianity’.  We might cuddle or coo with a baby, but any spirituality that makes too much of the baby Jesus is perhaps not yet ready for prime-time life.  God clearly wants friends, partners and images, if we are to believe the biblical texts.  God, it seems, wants adult spirituality and a mature, free response from us.  God loves us as adult partners, with mutual give and take, and you eventually become the God that you love.  Take that as an absolute.”

I would have used the Ricky Bobby video instead of the picture… but I just couldn’t do it.  –smile-

Did you like that one?  Here’s another:

When we demand satisfaction of one another, when we demand any completion of history on our terms, when we demand that our anxiety or any dissatisfaction be taken away, saying as it were, “Why weren’t you this for me?  Why didn’t life do that for me?” we are refusing to say, “Come, Lord Jesus.”  We are refusing to hold out for the “full picture” that is always given by God.

 touch“Come, Lord Jesus” is a leap into the kind of freedom and surrender that is rightly called the virtue of hope.  The Theological virtue of hope is the patient and trustful willingness to live without closure, without resolution, and still be content and even happy because our Satisfaction is now at another level, and our Source is beyond ourselves.  We are able to trust that HE will come again, just as Jesus has come into our past, into our private dilemmas and into our suffering world.  Our Christian past then becomes our Christian prologue, and “Come, Lord Jesus” is not a cry of desperation but an assured shout of cosmic hope!

See, it’s not the soft-served baby Jesus that we usually sprinkle on our Christmas crumpets.  Let’s look at one more example and then I’ll stop badgering you.  I love chewing on this stuff!

(The context is set here by the author candidly sharing his experiences as a result of ministering to incarcerated women.   I like the images because we all know people in prison (even though they may not be locked up inside of a functioning penal facility).  Vulnerable brokenness fuels a desperate journey back to their foundations of faith—which is what I think we’re all sensitive to—especially now as we near Christmas.)

Women in jail carry a lot of guilt and shame.  They often asked me, “Why am I here?  What is wrong with me?”  The women feel so guilty because their children were at home, and these mothers were in jail.  How could a mother tell her children that she is in jail and let her children think that Mom is a bad person?

jailThese women must dig into places inside of themselves that you and I don’t have to dig into.  Religion of itself is not enough for such women and men.  These women and men must scratch their way back into faith, and when they get there, it’s often the real thing.  We always said that, “Religion is for people who are afraid of hell, or afraid of God, whereas spirituality is for people who have been through hell and ‘undergone’ God.

We nice guys don’t usually have to scratch our way back to faith.  We’re comfortable with external religion and polite morality for a long time.  God will lead each of us, I’m sure, but by a different path, so that all religion one day has to be faith, love, humility, and surrender—or it’s not true religion. “

I’m not sure exactly how it happens for everyone, but most of us look at the broken things in our life and automatically default to a belief that God rejects us because of our defects.  Those thoughts rolled in on me again this morning.

Most of you who read my stuff know that I have spent this last year emailing devos to a small group of subscribers.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many times the material has been looked over, edited, screened, washed in spelling and grammar programs, and now the manuscript sits at the publisher and is about to be available for purchase.  But, the last two days, I’ve noticed obvious errors that somehow escaped all the corrective processes, and now it’s too late to make the needed repairs!  IT IS BEYOND IRRITATING!

So, I’m sitting here sulking about it—ranting internally, bemoaning the fact that I’ve tried to do something helpful for others and now I feel like Jed Clampett because my masterpiece is now ruined and everyone will soon know how flawed it really is.  Did I mention how irritated I feel?  Grrrrr!

Then the Holy Spirit speaks, “It’s no different from you.  (What?!?!  What do you mean?)  Why would you expect it to be perfect?  (Because I’ve spent 3 years working on this frikk’n project.  I’m not an idiot.  I’ve tried my best to make it right!  Sorry for the yelling, but I’m upset.)  You’ve got warts, flaws, and broken pieces, and I still use you regardless… I still like you… I still love you.  (Yes, this is true.)  Then believe what you preach son.  (Lord, this is always an awkward moment.  I can’t tell if you’re trying to tell me something simple or if I’ve got other issues working here that need to be addressed.)  Both.  Have a little faith.  (Which means what?)  Surrender your control.  Believe I’m doing some things that you are not yet aware of.  Know that our definitions of perfection are quite different from each other.  (Ok… I’m trying.  Thank you.)  You’re welcome.”

Merry frikk’n Christmas!  lol

-MDP-

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Brad
    December 12, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Good stuff! I love how you and the Lord speak with one another! Gives me hope that the voice I hear will lead me as He has lead you.

    • December 12, 2013 at 9:17 am

      Thanks Bradley. I’m proud of you. xo

  2. December 12, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Great thoughts from Rohr, he doesn’t disappoint. Thanks for these…

    I would have appreciated the Ricky Bobby video… now I have to go watch it again myself.

    And I’m looking forward to seeing the final book! Even with the error… what did they do, misspell “frikk’in”? It’s an easy mistake. :^)

    Merry Christmas to your tribe! Tell everyone we said hello, and have a “Happy Christmas, mate!”

    • December 12, 2013 at 10:30 am

      The spelling of “frikk’n” in the least of the problems. lol Thanks Dave! Merry Christmas to you too… love to the fam! x

  3. Kara Nalley
    December 12, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Merry frikk’n Christmas to you too! 🙂 Thanks for your daily words. Love you!

  4. Kayla
    December 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

    As I’m reading this last part and picturing you freaking out about the details I can’t help but smile as my mind is immediately filled with all those times I came to you freaking out about some details in my life. And you would be sitting there, reclined with your feet up and your hands behind your head with this look of complete peace on your face. (And a smirk of course.) You’d say something like, “ok, ok, ok….just take a deep breath…and relax. It’s all gonna work out. You gotta get some peace in this!” (Might be the edited version)
    All that to say, you’ve been faithful with this project for 3 years. Anything He wanted ironed out has been ironed out by now. You’ve continued to mess with it when He says mess with it and now it’s out of your hands. He’s in this and all over this! We appreciate seeing you and your processes as He’s worked on you as much as He’s working on us through your writings. Proud of you! Love you!

    • December 12, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Definitely the edited version. love you sweetheart! xo

  5. December 12, 2013 at 10:49 am

    As I was reading this, I couldn’t help but giggle a bit (I could just see you frikk’in out)! Love love reading your daily post…
    Merry FRIKK’IN Christmas Mike! Lol
    Love ya

    • December 12, 2013 at 11:49 am

      I was freak’n out… but, not frikk’n out. ; )

  6. Bonnie & Dave
    December 13, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Loved this post Michael – Love you and Patti!!!!!! miss you – B & D

    • December 13, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      Thanks Bon… love you much! me xo

  7. December 13, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Man, all these emails and bible studies and your devotion to dig into the word is inspiring Mike! Thanks for being diligent in the process, committed to excellence, and honest about your journey. I’m excited for the end results! Thanks for your thoughts on advent as well. Ricky Bobby… I relate to his people. : ) “We’re going to the Applebee’s!” I miss Applebee’s.

    • December 14, 2013 at 7:48 am

      Love you Miss Ashely! So proud of what you do! xo

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