Outside, Inside

The thing I want to do, most of the time, is swoop down from above.  I want to be a jet, thundering in with a sonic boom, and I want to shoot missiles of love and kindness and then I want to swoop up and out of the picture again after I have solved someone else’s problem.

I am learning that the thing I am supposed to do is walk in, because I was never above those people in the first place.  I am supposed to submit and wait patiently.  The love and kindness that I have been given as a gift will effect change, but they are not missiles.  They are slow, constant, steady things.  I will stick around long enough to see that I did not rescue anybody except perhaps myself.

I was not put here on Earth to fix any problems.  With God’s grace once in a great while I will.  But mostly, I am learning, that I can lighten some people’s loads, some times.  And I can cry with people sometimes.  I can offer up hope that there is more than this.

Even when struggles are so close to me… perhaps this is when this thing is the most difficult.  I have been praying for healing for someone who is  so near and dear to me.

It is not a physical sort-of healing that they need.

I was praying for them, as an isolated, seperate entity.  My prayer had nothing (on the surface) to do with me.    I was not praying for us, I was not praying for the space between us.  It is not that I was altruistic, that I was only concerned for them.  It was that I was only willing to locate the struggles and problems within them, I only saw the things that needed to be fixed outside of me.  I placed myself above them, in a fighter jet.

I had this image of a cut-away view of the world.  There are these massive forces, building up, heat gathering.  They erupt into volcanoes; explosions.

Sometimes, I realized, that people are like volcanoes.  We see a person explode.  It would be so foolish to see this explosion as caused just by the mountain, as a local issue.


Pressures build up in the spaces between us.  Heat gathers.  Volcanoes manifest.

Sometimes, our problems all manifest themselves in one place, on one person.  This is not where they are caused.  This is not where they begin.  This is simply where they erupt.

There are people in our lives who appear to be unhealthy.  The issues they suffer are outpourings of something below the surface and something that belongs to all of us.

The mystery of Jesus himself is somehow a part of this too; there was a problem among all of us, and it manifested outward through him.

I am working hard, now, at not praying for healing the person apart from me, but rather, to pray for both of us and all the space that is between.








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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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