my inwardness

I wonder if Søren felt like I sometimes do – that while my public Christian self can lead Bible studies and discuss theology, I am oddly hesitant to speak about my raw, honest connection with God – unlike the many forthright people who open their faithful hearts to anyone who will listen. I resonate with Søren as he reflects on his personal spiritual life: “My inwardness is too true for me to be able to talk about it.”

Praying with Kierkegaard

I am going to leave that as is!

Chernobyl

I watched the mini-series Chernobyl. I know there are issues with it – especially about what did and did not actually happen. As always the characters made it real for me. And, I admit, I still mourn Lane Pryce!

Surrender to the universal or stand by yourself. Advancement vs authenticity. What makes this more impactful is that these are real people with real choices. I was really struck by the end when pictures of the actual people are shown with their stories. And the personal cost of their choices.

Life is about choices. I think it is human nature to escape into the faceless crowd and push responsibility to an abstract. “I was just doing my duty”! The essence of faith is that I stand alone before God. I answer for me. That is really lonely in an existential sense. In the end, no one knows my pain or hurt, no one but me. There are things that go on in my head that only God knows. And He still loves me!!! Maybe the start of authenticity is accepting that I am alone before God?And the end is accepting that I am loved anyway!

life goes on

Last night was the last Bible Study for this term. I have mixed feelings about it. The night before I had another meeting. Both ended up being more stressful than I had thought – my fault not the meetings. I have a full day of meetings some of which I have no desire for. So I did not sleep well and I have woken with a headache (a by-product of the medication I am on).

I woke thinking about the above song. I was especially thinking about the line, “life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone”. In my 50s I am forced to completely restart. I have literally come back to my teenage years sleeping in the same bed, working in the same room, living in the same house. And I am not sure I can do it again!!!

Anyway, life goes on!

discipleship pathway

Until very recently I had not heard of discipleship pathways. I must admit, after reading about it a little online, I can see how a clear road for discipleship can be extremely helpful. So here is a link to a post I found helpful: How to Create a Discipleship Pathway.

I want to share just one point:

Celebrating success – which shapes your culture – becomes trickier if people have different views on what success looks like.

We need to be facing the same direction and aiming for the same goal.

Macarius of Egypt

I was reading about sketes (is that the plural?) yesterday. A skete is a monastic community of hermit at the time of the Desert Fathers. I think it is an interesting model for modern monasticism.

Macarius of Egypt

While reading I stumbled across St Macarius of Egypt. I was really struck by this part of his life:

… a pregnant woman accused him of having defiled her. Macarius did not attempt to defend himself, and accepted the accusation in silence.

I have been thinking about Jesus on the cross. The cross is that symbol of love that the world cannot understand. Becausen on the cross God said, “You cannot do it so I will!”. Like Macarius, Jesus accepted it in silence.

Lord, teach me silence!

faith and risk

Without risk, no faith. Faith is just this, the contradiction between the infinite passion of inwardness and objective uncertainty. If I can grasp God objectively, then I do not have faith, but just because I cannot do this, I must have faith. If I wish to stay in my faith, I must take constant care to keep hold of the objective uncertainty, to be ‘on the 70,000 fathoms deep’ but still have faith.

Kierkegaard: Concluding Unscientific Postscript (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy), pp. 171-172.

“Without rish, no faith”, and “If I can grasp God objectively, then I do not have faith”. This is a great quote from CUP!

faith always involves risk

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat[f] to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So he went with him.

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Mark 5:21-43

This Sunday’s gospel reading is a classic “sandwich”. The meat in the middle is the example of faith by the woman who touches Jesus’ clothing. I am still working on the study so not sure how it will all connect.

I am struck by how this reading draws our attention to people – Jairus, the woman, the daughter, even the crowd. Jesus is almost in a supporting role. And the message for me is that faith always involves risk! Risk in relation to established roles and established ideas. All out of love – for others and ultimately for Jesus. And that risk changes me – physically and spiritually. Not because of what I have done but rather by the very nature of Jesus. Faith jumps even when I cannot see the bottom!

be transformed

… it is conceived as a transformative journey that is grounded in an active relationship with the God who is present with us and encounters us in and through the person of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, it involves a growing in relationship with God that does not simply result from God’s encountering us from the eternal beyond but takes place concretely within the history of this world. Accordingly, becoming a Christian requires responding to God’s historical engagement with us within the limitations of time.

The Freedom to Become a Christian, 2.

I have been reading The Freedom to Become a Christian with much interest. I think it discusses some issues that need to be discussed more – a theology of conversion. Further I think this theology of conversion should stand in the middle of our theology of mission. So I might share one or two quotes from the book as I progress through it. I am also hoping to write a full review and discussion of the book when I am done.

a good find

What a good find! A book on Keirkegaardian theology of conversion. YES! I will read the book and try to write some notes. I am glad to have found it!