- September 19, 2017
“You can't fix what can't be fixed”. Certainly a humbling thought! BUT what can't be fixed? People feeling good or most complete for helping people, even when people refuse help! Compassion can be ignored, but not erased! Physical things destroyed by hurricanes can be fixed BUT sometimes the spirit of the injured can't be fixed because the persons will not allow it and just give up!
Sometimes the “hurricane” is opiate induced or psychosis induced by an inherited brain abnormality that prevents any intervention to fix it. No amount of compassion or intervention in such cases can fix it. Well, other than in the one attempting to fix the NEED of the victim. And I use “victim” for one who can't be fixed, rather than “patient” for one who permits being fixed. My Type-1 Diabetes physician once told me that of 100 Type-1 Diabetics, doctors have recognized that 25 are beyond helping, 25 can do just about as well without help, as with it! But it is with the 50 others they know they can make a difference in “fixing”! The reasons are largely still a mystery to doctors! Some things, even some physical things can't be fixed! At least yet!
Thus, persons NEEDING to be fixed hold the ultimate control; the final FIXING power! Jesus noticed it, thus saying children over adults had the best attitude for “kingdom of heaven" living, with their persistent curiosity and therefore greater lust to learn and become “fulfilled” “abundantly alive” adult beings (translated terms Jesus used for his goal John 10:10). They care more about the future than about the past! Little children still wish to be “fixed” to become “grown ups”! Notice their quickness with computers; new music; to feel compassion or animosity in adults and be attracted or repelled; notice their interaction with each other causing them to decide who is included in their “in” or “out” groups.
Yes, persons controlled by those who realize their NEEDS to be fixed is that which caused God to create humans free to want it over bondage! Without that free passion humans cease to be fully human, only animals. So that which makes us free is the very thing that makes us truly human, namely, God! It is God who makes us want to be “fixed”, by staying forever needy to be fixed from forever broken! Always wanting to be FULFILLED!
Some of us refuse to let ourselves be aware of our brokenness and needing to be fixed until we have hurt ourselves and many others. We are like the Prodigal Son’s elder brother who stayed “home” never realizing he too needed to be fixed! But his father’s (god) agape nature never stopped trying to fix him even when he would not recognize how broken he was as a placating son, missing the joy and peace of fulfillment by counting his joy and serenity as true Being! Do we count God’s gift of joyous peace for being true if we can’t fix others? It’s a struggle!
- September 12, 2017
Sarcasm is an old technique of communication! As you know it is a use of the ridiculous to criticize to convince a person how wrong they sound at the moment!
Matthew recorded Jesus using sarcasm to enforce Peter’s just stated conviction that Jesus was the Messiah for Jesus’ leading them to awaken compassion in the hungry crowd rather than use magic to multiply food. Then Jesus began to undermine Peter’s confidence by telling them that he was going to Jerusalem to be killed. Peter protested! Jesus confronted Peter, calling him “Satan”—tempting Jesus from his agenda of compassion back to Jesus’ obvious gifts of magic-like power of medicine!
Soon after this, Peter was confronted by a Jerusalem Temple Tax Collector asking whether Jesus paid the tax. Anxious to keep the authorities peaceful toward Jesus, Peter lies about taxes and says Jesus had paid (Not the last time a person would lie about taxes!) But Jesus heard about it and realized Peter was slipping from his conviction about Jesus’ agenda being compassion rather than magic powers (like everyone assumed like God). So, Jesus challenged Peter.
It was then that Jesus used sarcasm to confront Peter. Read it from Matthew 17:25-27:
Jesus spoke of it first, asking, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their children or from others?” 26 Peter said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the children are free from tax. 27 However, so that we do not give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook; take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a coin; take that and give it to them for you and me.
Children of kings don’t pay taxes! So Jesus argued, “If I am the true Messiah, as you testified, “Son [family] of the living God” (16:16) then I don’t pay taxes. But you told them I did pay! So you are saying I am not a child of the Temple’s God. Then the sarcasm! If you are so afraid of offending Temple leaders and “pushing” me into their uncompassionate “grip”, rather than standing up for my way of engagement with evil, namely compassion, then go drop a line with a hook in the lake and if you find a coin in the mouth of the first fish you catch, use that to pay their tax. But I’m not paying! I am the true Son of the true image of God! And as you said the children don’t pay Temple taxes.
Compromise with anything less than God’s compassion, even for Peter’s best of intentions, was to miss the joy and peace of being true Son of God that Peter had said he experienced! Jesus had to prove this by dying for it, rather than letting Peter “tempt him to switch” from showing this to be true. Violence can sometimes be the most compassionate response. Not ultimately! Not here! Peter said it! Compassion alone creates Eternal quality life! If we choose Selfishness, be prepared for the lesser life! So?
- September 5, 2017
Because of birthday cards, emails and text posts I am counting my blessings on this 4th day of September as I write this column. It occurs to me that a blessing is mostly (maybe totally) just an occurrence (verbal, physical or both) UNLESS it is counted! It occurs to me that an occurrence is not a blessing or reward until we pause and “count it” so.
I remember the children’s’ choir annual end-of-the-year performance and recognition event. One award or blessing was for perfect attendance. I thought I had missed at least once, so when my name was called, I was totally surprised and felt “counted”. It was not a blessing until it was counted or recognized by others, but only then by me! I was made to count it or acknowledge it! Otherwise, it is just an occurrence that I didn’t know to be true!
Johnson Oatman, Jr. hymn lyricist of “Count Your Blessings” had it correct when he penned “count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.” It’s not a reward or blessing unless you pause "to count it"! That is because of God’s "wiring" of us to feel good, authentic, fulfilled and eternal in quality, to meet human needs as it own reward! But we must count it! Even if it is “on the job” and we also earn money! And, even if the needy persons we serve aren’t grateful in response. Even if the needy respond with words, attitudes or behavior that make you feel reviled and persecuted, as Jesus’ last Beatitude promised was a possibility. The helper is still always rewarded with a sense of inner SATISFACTION for trying to do the most completely humane or "right" thing! You know, as in the Good Samaritan story!
But it wasn’t a BLESSING to the Good Samaritan or to the Hebrew victim whose NEED was met, unless and until each paused and counted by recognizing the inner SATISFACTION from that which had been done to them and by them. This step in the process is often discounted out of fear of egotism. But this self focus on the reward or blessing is often discouraged to be missed and discounted out of a false sense of humility. It must be remembered that this sense of being blessed ONLY came with the Samaritan man selflessly meeting the Hebrew’s NEED. All NEED meeting is this way! And to experience the occurrence in the story as reward or blessing both had to pause, count or value its compassion, as Jesus makes us do by telling us the story!
I think “counting” is why Jesus went off to pray! Prayer is for pausing and counting. Not just to tell God things, BUT to tell himself how God had wired him with self-control to meet human NEEDS by patience, kindness, generosity and gentleness to feel “good” for being his blessed, fulfilled, intended self! Are you counting? Well?
- August 29, 2017
But could it be that our existence that is both supposed to be and that we wish to be so, already is? Could it be that the “wish” is a reality that already exists, and is hinted at by that which already makes us most fulfilled, yet we don’t want it enough to recognize it existing?
We really already know that keeping other living things alive (and ourselves) makes us humans feels better than killing things and being killed.
We already know that forgiving those who violate us feels better than violating them. We even know this when we are forced from a higher moral judgment to prevent violence with violence. In a moment of critical decision, and having the capability, being moved to kill someone who is about to kill an innocent child is outrageous, but not as outrageous as letting the child be killed. Each person in a conflict doesn’t necessarily act from the same high moral reasoning. This is why a current politician, who seems to equate violence by persons with very different motivations, was and is wrong. One conflict is to prevent evil and another is to perpetrate evil.
Let us face it; we are more complicated beings than just good or evil. Life, and people who live it, are always more complicated than the proverbial “black and white” extremes. In the above example good has to use evil to prevent evil winning the moment. BUT the truly good never forget the terrible feeling of having to make the decision to use violence against violence. It is only those who the compassionate have failed to influence to accept violence as their “normal” that have to be stopped at times violently by society, standing for the original human design, to prevent violence from becoming the “normal”.
Again, could it be that the existence that is supposed to be and that we wish to be already exists? Could it be that the “wish” already exists as that which makes us most satisfied and fulfilled, but that we don’t want it enough to realize that it exists? Friends, we are “wired” to feel good, joy and serene when we act with other persons (and with ourselves) most humanly authentic by meeting our highest intended Divine authentic ideals.
This is why I suggested above that the very existence we “wish” true and real, already really is! Aren’t we just more prone to pay attention to report evil “missing the mark” of human fulfillment than we are to pay attention to the good “hitting the mark” of fulfillment of our best humanity? Jesus calls us to pay attention to the latter! Indeed, right now, fishermen in the path of hurricane Harvey are using their boats to rescue stranded persons from flood waters. Nobody told them! It just felt right! Glory Be to Reality!