Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September morning walk

I have a long list today.  So many things I want to do.  So many other things I should do...

Taking a walk was on the 'should' list.  It's on the 'should' list because even though I usually enjoy my walk and am glad I went, I almost never look forward to going.  But women of a certain age gain weight easily and exercise helps that.  It also keeps us mentally sharp.  And who can argue with walking on a morning that has bright sunshine, a gentle breeze, and temperatures between 60 and 70?

So I went, with Rich Mullins music on my mp3 player to set my pace.

My birthday is this month and I'm grateful for a September birthday because the wild sunflowers are at their peak in September.  I caught myself feeling sorry this morning for people who have the misfortune to be born in any other month.  The sunflowers seemed like a gift just for me.  Alongside them were lower clusters of pale lavender clover plants.

It was too beautiful for the music so I walked with just the sound of my feet and the wind.

As I walked I thought about the Richard Rohr tapes I've been listening to.  He speaks of prayer as being full surrender of the self to God.  Our culture is so much about 'me'.  We want to have formulas for prayer, even, so that WE can do it right and MAKE God show up for prayer.  Could I be more in tune with this moment, with God, and less aware of myself?

I smiled as I remembered my so recent thoughts about the sunflowers seeming like a gift for me.  Of course they are---but no more a gift for me than for anyone else who happens to really see them.  It's not about me.  It is about so much more than me.  And that is a relief and a blessing.

Does God create this beauty for us?  Maybe.  Or maybe it is like when I push my hands into the dough of my bread.  He just loves making things that are good.  Or maybe it is so many things...a beautiful package for bird food, perhaps?

At any rate, the sunflowers are there.  God is there.  And I was in a place physically, emotionally, and spiritually where I could enjoy both.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

The Conventions Are Over

In the interest of full disclosure, I lean heavily toward the Democratic Party.  That said, this is not a post about my candidate.  It is an admission of weakness.

In the last election, more than any other previously, I had a vision for where this country could go if Barak Obama would be elected president.  I thought that if the person I believed in would win, that the country would change for the better.  I'm not going to talk about why that vision has become sadder and wiser, except for this one thing.

We cannot put hope in people when our hope is in God.

The world will not be saved by the promises of any politician.

We the people of this country are the ones who determine what it is made of, and we...I...still have a lot to do.

We are more deeply divided politically than I can remember in this country.  Our deep divides between left and right are fueled by our choices to surround ourselves with people who agree with us, news sources that report what we want to hear, and a mentality of us vs. them.  Then we vote for people based on the misguided mentality that this kind of seclusion fosters.  And those people we vote for see that what we want is politicians who won't give in on anything, won't compromise, won't listen to other viewpoints.  They see that, because that is what we are doing, and that is what we are demanding from them.

A friends who works at the homeless shelter meets volunteers from all political stripes.  Christians from all along the spectrum, who are working together, following the command to serve those who have fallen on hard times.  There is something about working together that allows people to lay aside some of their prejudices.  People may not agree on political solutions, but they do agree to do whatever they can to make a difference.  They gain respect for each other.

I have opinions about the policies of the political parties, and which party is more likely to help those who struggle.  So I am free to vote those opinions.  But more important than my vote is my action.  Jesus warned that it is how we treat others that determines how we treat Jesus.  That is a daily exercise.

I'm listening to talks by Richard Rohr right now, who says that we cherry pick the words of Jesus.  We only obey about 25% or less of what Jesus said, and we rationalize away the rest of it.  What if the Christians of this world took Jesus seriously?  How would this world be different?  How would our politics be different?  If we every day people were talking with each other, respecting each other, working together, maybe our politicians would be able to do the same.  One thing Richard Rohr suggested was that one good reason to love our enemies is that it is our enemies who can most clearly see our faults.  If we want to become better people, loving those who see our weaknesses might be a good idea.

I read a story in Sojourners the other day.  Sojourners might be considered to be a liberal Christian magazine.  The story was about joining with religious persons from all across the spectrum for an issue that Christians could agree is important.  Sojourners alongside Focus on the Family!  Within a week after these people joined together and issued a statement and spoke with political leaders, a huge change was made in the immigration policy of our country.   You can read about it here:  http://sojo.net/magazine/2012/09/how-change-politics

Our leaders, whomever they are, take their mandates from us.  It is time for us to stop waiting for our leaders to work together to heal our country.  It is time for us to stop believing in political candidates for salvation and healing.  It is time for us to stop isolating ourselves to only those people who agree with us.  It is time for us to listen to and practice all of what Jesus said.