1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13

The very depths of me hum

with the greatness of this realization:


This realization that though I might speak great truth

truths which unlock the secrets of this world

truths which unlock the secrets of the next world

I might speak ecstatic wisdom.


but words

without love

are only noise.


And I might appear to be a prophet:

holy man healer medicine man mystic.

There might be a depth to me

deeper even than the deepest wisdom

Healings, trances and supernatural abilities.

but actions,


without love

are irrelevant.


If I am self-sacrificing:

if I give every piece of me

to build up every piece of you

if I give until I am a sad shell…

if I wait until I am almost nothing

if I throw the sad remnants of what I once had

of what I once was

into the very flames of sacrifice…

if I sacrifice even my love

if I give even my love

until I have none left

then I have truly given too much.


Where patience manifests itself

love is underneath.


Where true kindness emerges on the outside

love hovers beneath.


Where envy has been transcended

love has conquered.


Where boasting has been ended

love has begun.


Where pride falls

love rises up.


Where cruelties fade away

love comes into focus.


Where selfishness is defeated

love victors.


Where rule books and score books are thrown away

love springs up.


Love does not flourish among evil,

love abides in truth.

Love preserves the eternal

Love trusts even when it is hard

Love believes in the best of us

Love maintains the best of us.

Love is perfect.


It is not like our words, any words

whether those words refer to this world or the next.


Some day

we will run out of words


Some day

our tounges will no longer wag.


Love is perfect.

It is deeper than understanding.

understanding resides within us.

and begins as a passenger with us.

but transforms us, maybe

into the passenger for a while.


The best we can ever hope for this life is to speak partial truths.

The best we can ever hope for this life is to know half the truth.

But we can participate,

right here,

and right now

in something which is full and complete.


Someday we will be greater than we are.

Someday we will see that we are not so different now

than the child we once were.


We know that when we were toddlers

we could not speak complete sentences

or understand the fullness of adult thought.


Someday we will look at who we are now

and where we are now.

and we will see that we are still toddling around

still so uncomplete.

We put our childishness away before,

we will put away this new childishness again.


In that new place

in that new time

we will step into the fullness

of what we were meant to be.

The best of us

is what will be left of us.

We will be faith


and love.

But the greatest of these

the greatest of what we will be

is love.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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