Outrageous claims

One thing about the way we are built is this:

We get immune to outrageous claims over time.

In some ways it’s a good thing.  A defense mechanism.  Because outrageous things happen to us.  And they don’t always feel real at first.  One of the ways that we get used to even the most unexpected thing, by saying it over and over again.

When crazy changes have happened in my life, some times there’s this broken record in the back of my brain.  It just says the truth over and over and over again.  And eventually I start to accept it.

But the other side of this is that we get immune to things that should bring about a sense of awe and wonder.  There are these images and phrases and ideas that should shock us.  But we say them so often we don’t notice them anymore.

White House Oval Office during the administrat...
Image via Wikipedia

Try this on for size:

A cow is sitting in the oval office and she is the president of the United States.

That paints a picture in my brain that belongs in a Dr. Suess book.  Can you imagine it?  A big giant bovine sitting at that great big desk, utters spilling onto the desk calendar, seal of the oval office on the shiny floor.

And yet this image is less crazy than the one painted in the book of Revelations.

There is a lamb on the throne, and Jesus is that Lamb, and only the lamb is worthy.

Those of us who have been at the whole Christianity thing for a while do this instant act of mental translation.  We think Jesus = The Lamb.  And so when we read that the lamb is on the throne, we just substitute Jesus’ name where the word ‘the lamb’ is written.

But that’s not what John wrote.  John wrote something both mysterious and outrageous.  The Lamb is on the throne.  And only the lamb is worthy.

How could Jesus be the lamb?  How could a lamb be worthy of anything other than being our lunch?  Why would all those cosmically powerful beings be singing to it?

God tells us to listen with fresh ears and to watch with fresh eyes.  This is so that we might see the mystery.


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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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