Archive for January, 2023

toxic images

January 25, 2023 Leave a comment

If we want to go to the mature, mystical, and non-dual levels of spirituality, we must first deal with the often faulty, inadequate, and even toxic images of God that most people are dealing with before they have authentic God experience. Both God as Trinity and Jesus as the image of the invisible God reveal a God quite different—and much better—than the Santa Claus god who is “making a list, checking it twice, who’s going to find out who’s naughty or nice” or an “I will torture you if you do not love me” god (worse than your worst enemy, I would think). We must be honest and admit that these are the versions of “god” that most people are still praying to. Such images are an unworkable basis for any real spirituality.

Trinity reveals that God is the Divine Flow under, around, and through all things—much more a verb than a noun, relationship itself rather than an old man sitting on a throne. Jesus tells us that God is like a loving parent who runs toward us while we are “still a longways off” (Luke 15:20), then clasps and kisses us. Until this is personally experienced, most of Christianity does not work. This theme moves us quickly into practice-based religion (orthopraxy) over mere word and ideas (orthodoxy).

—From YES, AND…, pp. 65-67

“If we want to go to the mature, mystical, and non-dual levels of spirituality, we must first deal with the often faulty, inadequate, and even toxic images of God that most people are dealing with before they have authentic God experience.”

Regardless, if we want to grow up in our spirituality or not, our image of God “makes us.” In other words, how we see God “affects” and “infects” how we live. The entire notion of a “Christian witness” is null and void if it is not a true representation of the nature, character, and loving responses of God [see the life of Jesus: Colossians 1:15]. We need the Spirit’s discernment to see this. We need the Spirit’s influence to bolster and shape our will to reflect God’s true image. Some of what we see in God’s people is anti-Christ. People who are looking for reasons to throw rocks at the Christian mission and message have no trouble finding targets because of our blatant hypocrisy.

I recently watched a short video where the commentators were discussing the fallout and steady decline of church attendance within our culture. The “good-old-days” are long gone, and modern culture (particularly millennials) are “checked-out” and mostly dismissive of traditional worship settings across the board (not always, but mostly). The simple reason for this isn’t about logistics or their “other” interest. The explanation had everything to do with the incongruence of Gospel evidence regarding how Jesus lived, loved, and preferred others—in comparison to the normal inconsistency of “identifying Christians” who look, act, think about, or relate toward others nothing like Jesus would. In other words—there is a massive disparity between the love of Jesus—and how “Church” people respond to the real-time events and people around them in their daily lives. That’s a brutally painful thing to hear, but we need to hear it and be motivated to re-evaluate and live better. This thing about “following” Jesus isn’t satisfied just by our attending church or religious functions. —MDP



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the shift towards passion

January 11, 2023 Leave a comment

And just like that we are on our annual slide towards the cross and the empty tomb. Advent was full of so much expectation, and now we can look with eyes wide open at the great revealing of God on mission with what and who God loves. Honestly, this reading might be better served during Lent, but it seems right to jump start the meditations earlier than normal. I would ask you to “read,” and attempt to “see” what this reading really offers and invites us to know. Not everyone will… nor will everyone even try… but you might IF you’ll consider the revelation with more than a casual glance.

Every liturgical season is another opportunity to see (maybe) what we’ve never been able to see. To look longer and more intently into the depths of what (maybe) we’ve never been able to comprehend. That’s usually my approach anyways, and I pray that you heart is stirred all over again at the gloriously horrible, and the mysteriously beautiful, journey of the Passion of our Christ!

Dying, Christ destroyed our death.

Rising, Christ restored our life.

Christ will come again in glory. AMEN.

As always… much love,


The supreme irony of the whole crucifixion scene is this: he who was everything had everything taken away from him. He who was seemingly perfect (Hebrews 1:3; 5:9) was totally misjudged as sin itself (Romans 8:3-4). How can we be that mistaken? The crucified Jesus forever reveals to us how wrong both religious and political authorities can be, and how utterly wrong we can all be—about who is in the right and who is sinful (John 16:8). The crowd, who represents us all, chooses Barabbas, a common thief, over Jesus. That is how much we can misperceive, misjudge, and be mistaken.

Jesus hung in total solidarity with the pain of the world and the far too many lives on this planet that have been “nasty, lonely, brutish, and short.” After the cross, we know that God is not watching human pain, nor apparently always stopping human pain, as much as God is found hanging with us alongside all human pain. Jesus’s ministry of healing and death, of solidarity with the crucified of history, forever tells us that God is found wherever the pain is. This leaves God on both sides of every war, in sympathy with both the pain of the perpetrator and the pain of the victim, with the excluded, the tortured, the abandoned, and the oppressed since the beginning of time. I wonder if we even like that? There are no games of moral superiority left for us now. Yet this is exactly the kind of Lover and the universal Love that humanity needs.

This is exactly how Jesus “redeemed the world by the blood of the cross.” It was not some kind of heavenly transaction, or paying the price to an offended God, as much as a cosmic communion with all that humanity has ever loved and ever suffered. If Jesus was paying any price, it was to the hard and resistant defenses around our hearts and bodies. God has loved us from all eternity.

—From Richard Rohr, “YES, AND…” pp. 79-80

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