Embracing Mystery, Paradox–Even Unknowing (Richard Rohr)

“I call non-silence ‘dualistic thinking,’ where everything is separated into opposites, like good and bad, life and death. In the West, we even believe that is what it means to be educated—to be very good at dualistic thinking. Join the debate club! But both Jesus and Buddha would call that judgmental thinking (Matthew 7:1-5), and they strongly warn us against it. Dualistic thinking is operative almost all of the time now. It is when we choose or prefer one side and then call the other side of the equation false, wrong, heresy, or untrue. But what we judge as wrong is often something to which we have not yet been exposed or that somehow threatens our ego. The dualistic mind splits the moment and forbids the dark side, the mysterious, the paradoxical. This is the common level of conversation that we experience in much of religion and politics and even every day conversation. It lacks humility and patience—and is the opposite of contemplation. In contemplative practice, the Holy Spirit frees us from taking sides and allows us to remain content long enough to let it teach, broaden, and enrich us in the partial darkness of every situation. We need to practice for many years and make many mistakes in the meantime to learn how to do this. Paul rather beautifully describes this kind of thinking: ‘Pray with gratitude and the peace of Christ, which is beyond knowledge or understanding (what I would call “the making of distinctions”), will guard both your mind and your heart in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:6-7). Teachers of contemplation show us how to stand guard and not let our emotions and obsessive thoughts control us. When we’re thinking nondualistically, with this guarded mind and heart, we will feel powerless for a moment, stunned into an embarrassing and welcoming silence. Then we will discover what is ours to do.” Richard Rohr

“To answer before listening––that is folly and shame.”
Proverbs 18:13 NIV

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you have everything separated into black and white, right and wrong, us v. them? Is this helping?
  • Are you aware of your impatience, arrogance, or judgmentalism towards others? (Think about discussions of politics!) If that’s a regular thing, have you stopped to ask why?
  • Can you practice responding more slowly to others, and listening in the silence for where you might have misunderstood? . . . where you’re being defensive?

May I unlearn, O God, what has taken me a lifetime to learn (my arrogance, my impatience).

For More: Silent Compassion by Richard Rohr. Cincinnati: Franciscian Media, 2014.

_____________

Thanks for reading my blog. Please extend my reach by reposting on your social media platforms. If you like these topics and this approach, you’ll like my book Wisdom From the Margins.

Daily Riches: Praying For One Good Humiliation A Day (Richard Rohr, Krista Tippett and Francis of Assisi)

“Blessed is that servant who does not think himself better when he is praised and exalted by men, than when he is despised and considered simple and good-for-nothing, for what a man is in the sight of God, this he is and no more.” Francis of Assisi

Krista Tippett recently interviewed Richard Rohr: “So recently, I took a break. I got some rest that I needed badly, and I was staying at a retreat center, and …it was a meditation session I went to. And the person who was leading it read a passage from your book, Falling Upward and read the line— … ‘I have prayed for years for one good humiliation a day, and then I must watch my reaction to it,’ which sounds so uncomfortable. There’s nothing in me that wants to pray for one good humiliation a day.”

No, and there isn’t in me either. I just said that to that group of millennials two weeks ago. Some years ago, I started recognizing that I was getting an awful lot of adulation and praise and some people treating me far more importantly than I deserved. And I realized I was growing used to it, that the ego just loves all of this admiration and projection. And a lot of it was projection. And I didn’t want fame and well-knownness and guru status to totally destroy me, and so for me, this became a necessity, that I had to watch how do I react to not getting my way, to people not agreeing with me, to people not admiring me—and there’s plenty of them—and that I actually needed that. And so I do, I still, I ask God for one good humiliation a day, and I usually get it, one hate letter or whatever it might be. [laughs] And then what I have to do, Krista, is I have to watch my reaction to it. And I’ve got to be honest with you, my inner reaction—I’m not proud to tell you—is defensive, is, ‘That’s not true. You don’t understand me.’ I can just see how well-defended my ego is. And of course, even your critics—and I have plenty of them—at least 10 to 20 percent of what they’re saying is usually true.” Richard Rohr

“What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds,
for their ancestors also praised false prophets.”
Jesus in Luke 6:26

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you ever seen humiliation as something positive?
  • The next time you’re humiliated, “watch your reaction” as if from outside yourself. What do you learn?
  • Are you as defended against praise as you are against criticism?

Abba, undefend me.

For More: Falling Upward by Richard Rohr

_________________________________________________

Thank you for sharing/following my blog! – Bill

 

Daily Riches: Why Racism Continues in the Church Today – Part II (Pete Scazzero)

For over twenty-five years, New Life Fellowship in Queens, has been developing a paradigm for the practice of unity in the midst of great diversity. Today’s post includes the remainder of Pastor Scazzero’s reasons why racism, one great source of disunity, continues in Evangelical and other church traditions:

“6. Isolation.

Most American Christians attend churches with people who look like they do, perpetuating a subculture of minimal contact with people of different races and cultures. As a result: ‘Despite devoting considerable time and energy to solving the problem of racial division, White evangelicalism likely does more to perpetuate the racialized society than to reduce it.’ Michael Emerson and Christian Smith*

7. Naiveté regarding demonic powers and principalities.

Evil, unclean spirits are real, feasting on the wounds of a split nation and church. To drive them [out] involves us in a spiritual warfare beyond discussions and statistics. It calls for our following of Jesus to the cross.

8. Lack of skills to love well. 

Learning to love well is among our most important tasks as Christ-followers. Learning to listen, ‘fight’ cleanly, and speak clearly and honestly (to name a few) are foundational for being a healthy community. Bridging barriers requires we create a new culture with a new language. For this reason we developed Emotionally Healthy Skills 2.0 out of our life together at New Life over our 29 year history.

9. Obliviousness of systemic racism.

Peggy McIntosh said it well: “I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.” (See her “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack“)

10. Emotional Immaturity.

It is not possible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. To engage in this level of warfare without addressing people’s immaturities (e.g. unawareness, defensiveness, ignorance of how our families of origin impact us) is a sure recipe for further wounding and division.” Pete Scazzero

“grow up in all things into Him who is the head”
Ephesians 4:15

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is your church helping to perpetuate our “racialized society?” Don’t be too quick to answer.
  • Did you read McIntosh’s words about white privilege. Are you oblivious to the reality of white privilege?
  • Does the ministry of your church help you be a more mature person? …a better human being?

Abba, help! We’re in deep waters.

*For More: Divided by Race: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. Thanks for reading and sharing my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”