I've been watching the beginnings of the next election for POTUS. Why am I underwhelmed? Perhaps it's seeing the same words being repeated over and over again and the groundwork being laid for what could be become a pretty nasty primary season. No one seems to want to give in, give up, listen to and/or reason with the other.
I'm reading a terrific book called "The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything". James Martin SJ is a terrific writer. He reminds me that wonderful things happened in the faith long before the Reformation. And even after the Reformation God has used a variety of streams of spirituality to both inform and renew the others. Not all Martin says sits well with me but that's OK. I need to wrestle with such things. But forthe most part I'm being enriched by the challenge to go deeper and be deeper.
In the back of my mind a sermons is developing. It's about 'sin'. That's a topic I don't have to do a whole lot of research on. I'm an all pro already. It's not a favorite topic for many. Who wants to feel guilty, huh? Guilt, though, is underestimated as a force for spiritual renewal.
Doing some research about the Pharisees recently, I came to the conclusion that 'I is one'. That shook me a bit. I can slice and dice with the best of them. I'm reminded of a story about W.C. Fields. He was discovered back stage thumbing through a bible. He looked up and said, "Don't worry. I'm just looking for loopholes.". That's what we all do. We're always looking for the loophole, something that will allow us to slide through, under or around our call to obedience. And if we can't find one we'll create one.
Around the 4th of July I begin to get a barrage of emails about patriotism. First of all, I'm all for well placed patriotism. I'm blessed to live in the USA. And I am thankful. I'm not enamored with blind patriotism however. And I cannot place God and country in equal positions. God trumps country every time. We forget that all too often. My deep desire is that Americans would find their way to the true God of true Gods. It's been said that America will remain good as long as it's people are good. I think all too often we are guilty of serving a god of our own creation. That god aligns itself along political and class lines. It's not the real God. Our political and social alignments turn us inward, serving ourselves and not others. That selfishness is not good and has disastrous consequences for our culture.
Still wondering how much of the Obama bashing in our culture is motivated by race but is disguised as something else? Not saying that his policies shouldn't be scrutinized and challenged. Just growing increasingly concerned about race issues and the unwillingness of folks to come to grips with their own feelings and prejudices.
Had a conversation with an older guy the other day. He goes to a church that has 23 members. They are trying to save the church building. I asked him if they ever thought about thinking a bit more missionally and actually building the church. Didn't get a great answer.
I'm writing all this seated next to a roaring fire. I'm 'up north' as we say in the Midwest. The sun is trying to sneak through. I'm only a few steps away from a lake. No agenda today. Eventually, I'll hop on my bike or climb into a kayak. There's something about being in the midst of the Creation that renews my strength and brings me back to the basics of life. The frantic push of everyday life saps me at times. God gives me glimpses into what could be every now and then nudging me to a better way for my life.