Archive for February, 2022

those who risk everything…

February 23, 2022 Leave a comment

I believe that faith might be precisely and ability to trust the river, to trust the Flow and the Lover. It is a process that we don’t have to change, coerce, or improve, and is revealed in the notion of God as a Trinitarian relationship that flows unguarded! We only need to allow the Flow to flow—and through us. That takes immense confidence in God’s goodness, especially when we’re hurting. Usually, I can feel myself get panicky. I want to make things right, quickly. I lose my ability to be present, and I go up into my head and start obsessing. I am by nature goal-oriented, and many of us are, trying to push or even create the river—the river that is already flowing through me, with me, and in me (John 7:39).

The people who know God well—the mystics, the hermits, the prayerful people, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover, not a dictator. God is never found to be an abusive father or a manipulative mother, but a lover who is more than we dared hope for.

—Richard Rohr from Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer

… And when you pursue and find God, who do you meet? For as long as I’ve been a pastor and for as long as I’ve lived in spiritual community, I’ve rarely met people who see God as lover. That may be shocking to you, but it’s true. I have found that most people see God much more like a tv game host… “Let’s make a deal! You be good, and I’ll bless you. You be bad, and I’ll spoil your day.” Honestly, all that does is kill the relationship, intimacy, and trust. Perfect love casts out fear! (1 Jn 4:18) We must move beyond that gothic notion and understanding of God. Our God is Love. That’s enough to change everything… especially us. —MDP

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February 8, 2022 10 comments

During the Covid shutdown, I was pastoring two UMC churches in Northeast Wyoming. It was a lovely place, with some lovely people. I loved it there. Within two minutes of my house, I could be in the Black Hills on my motorcycle. Open roads. Zero traffic. Gorgeous. The only real drawback is that the place freezes in the winter. To say, “It’s cold there,” is a gross understatement. The people there don’t even acknowledge it’s cold. The cows must be fed regardless, and there are things to do. Sweet Jesus, Joseph, and Mary! I digress.

Where was I?  Oh… the shutdown. During that year of isolation, I put out a weekly email I called, “Touching Home Plate.” Some of you got those emails.  Most of you did not. It was primarily for the membership of those two churches in Wyoming. In those newsletters, I did broadcast upcoming events and such for the churches, but I also compiled quotes from some of the devotional material I was stewing in during the week. Sometimes I would do a short commentary on those things I was reading.

All of this is to say that I plan to republish (redux) some of that writing here on this blogsite. If you’ve already read it, forgive me. If you haven’t seen any of it, then I hope you’ll find it filling and somewhat stimulating.

By the way, Patti and I have settled in nicely in Pueblo, CO. We love our new church family and the community. If fact, it feels very much like where we grew up.  Of course, it’s nice to be back closer to the daughters and grands. Everyone seems to be doing very well.  Thanks for asking!

Here’s a sample of what’s coming on a semi-regular basis (I’m resolved to do better at posting).

Do not allow yourself one thought of separating from your brother and sisters, whether their opinions agree with yours or not. Do not dream that anyone sins in not agreeing with you, in not taking your work; or that this or that opinion is essential to the work, and both must stand or fall together. Beware of any impatience of contradiction. Do not condemn or think harshly of those who cannot see just as you see, or who judge it their duty to contradict you, whether in a great thing or a small. I fear some of us have thought harshly of others merely because they contradicted what we affirmed. All this tends to division; and by everything of this kind we are teaching them an evil lesson against ourselves.

—John Wesley, A Longing for Holiness

It’s as if the founder of Methodism is in a prophetic vein that sees directly into our current culture, our social habits, and both our religious and political appetites for our neighbors demise. I suspect Wesley wrote this towards the end of his life. He knew how to biblically defend his orthodoxy and orthopraxy, but once natural strength begins to wane, people tend to value peace and harmony over principle and having to be right. It’s like… finally… we succumb to the whole invitation of “The Way” of Jesus. It doesn’t always happen like that, but it’s beautiful when mature individuals embrace their descent.

Jesus was always inviting us into a universal sibling-hood that allowed diversity and unity at the same time. Why is that so damned hard for us to see or agree with? Why is “conformity the only option, or else we separate?” This is the spirit of this age! It is the great anti-Christ we mysteriously fear. There is no Christ in this.  There is no honoring preference of others in this.  There is no love in this in the least. We need to do better. We must do better. All the religious activity in the world is null and void without these components of connected relationship being made right (vertically and horizontally).

Until we take some major steps towards reconciling unity and inclusivity, we’re only fooling ourselves about being real followers of Christ. —MDP



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