Daily Riches: The Soul-wrenching Work of Letting Jesus Deal with Our Stuff (Jayson Bradley, Neil Postman, Matt Groening, Louise C.K)

“One way of looking at the history of the human group is that it has been a continuing struggle against the veneration of ‘crap.’” Neil Postman

“For most of recorded history, you couldn’t get away from it. The farmer, monk, chef, and seamstress all worked in relative silence within the rhythms of the day, month, and year. Gradually, technology intruded upon those rhythms and upset that silence. Electric light extended the evening and absconded with our rest. Radio introduced constant chatter, and television doubled down on that chatter requesting our total attention. …When I was a teen, I was excited for the ability to listen to a portable cassette; now I carry thousands of albums around with me. …Do you know those people who seem to carry with them an inner stillness? …Most people I know (myself included) are overstimulated and overwhelmed…. We scroll through a vast network of news stories, updates, and information responding in ways that seem more conditioned than reflective, our minds abuzz with constant distracted activity. …Louis C.K. nails the problem here.

…In the most profound way, Louise C.K. is totally right. [We think] ‘…It’s that God-shaped vacuum. He just needs Jesus to fill it up.’ But Christianity alone doesn’t just fill up that emptiness. Christians are as guilty as anyone else of looking for a shortcut to fill that hole …and, despite what we say, we fill it with the same exact things as everyone else. We may be able to curb that hollowness for a while, but eventually it catches up to us…. We run headlong into that void without the discipline to navigate it, and it consumes us. …It’s like the whole of our psyche has followed Marge Simpson’s advice to Lisa, ‘Take all your bad feelings and push them down, all the way down past your knees, until you’re almost walking on them. And then you’ll fit in, and you’ll be invited to parties, and boys will like you. And happiness will follow.’ Silence is the tool that brings to the surface all that stuff we’ve buried or lies hidden from us. The silence we need is more than an absence of sound; it’s a break from constant stimulus and activity. It’s about allowing the tangled cords in our spirit and mind to unravel and be stilled. It’s about stopping the constant need to control our surroundings with our actions and words in a never-ending quest to drown out the unrest in our hearts. It’s about facing the dragon of emptiness, loneliness, frustration, anger, hurt, and need head on . . . and doing the soul-wrenching work of letting Jesus deal with it.” Jayson Bradley

  • Do you still yourself to let difficult emotions surface?
  • Are you willing to do “soul-wrenching work?”

Abba, still my soul.

Daily Riches: Galumphing at God’s Heels (William J. O’Malley, and Matt Groening)

“The big black Lab galumphs beside me as I walk,
tongue lolling, eyes intent upon the stick.
He’s submissive to my whistle, not my trifling talk,
nor well-wrought reasons, much less rhetoric.
He trots ahead and turns, impatient for the throw,
snaps off a bark, then lumbers halfway back.
He cocks his head and huffs to tell me I’m too slow.
I throw and off he goes, a blur of black.
The world exists for him: the stick, the roadside, me.
We’re here to serve his simple solipsism.
Except for unpredictable caprice, he’s free,
without the humbling need for baptism.
 .
“To save him from a truck, I choke his collar short.
What earthly link? That noise, this loss of breath?
He punctuates his protest with a snort;
until they meet, no need to ponder death.
What a narrow scope of truth his mind explores:
betrayal, hunger, curiosity.
He knows my mind about as I do yours;
my thoughts as closed to him as yours to me.
How humbling to confront one’s hubris, open-eyed,
to fathom what this big black mongrel feels.
I’d thought that you and I were striding side by side,
when all the time I was galumphing at your heels.”
William J. O’Malley
 .
 “When I was a child, I used to talk, think, argue like a child–who has
just enough grasp of the truth to be thoroughly confused.
When I grew up, I was somewhat better than that, but hardly perfect.
I still see God through a smear of distorting glass.
Ah! but then we will see God face-to-face!
Now I know God so incompletely; then,
I will know God through and through, as God knows me now.”
1 Corinthians 13:8-12 (O’Malley paraphrase)
.

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Remember when Bart tries to explain to “Santa’s Little Helper”, how his disobedience is leading to trouble? The dog wants to please, but just can’t understand. He hears only noise, thinks only of food. Imagine the challenge God has in explaining things to you.
  • None of us are “striding side by side” with God – just “galumphing at [His] heels.” Have you made peace with this sometimes difficult reality?

Abba, I’m no longer thoroughly confused but I still don’t really understand myself or you. I look forward to when I will know you “as you know me now.”

For More: Daily Prayers for Busy People by William J. O’Malley

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. 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.”