Tuesday, January 23, 2018

deep breath, deep breath....

I had a conversation today with someone who believes The Virgin Mary shows up on blank walls, statues cry, Jesus can be seen in the clouds and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Well, calling it a 'conversation' isn't accurate. I yelled and then he yelled and we both yelled some more. Hardly a constructive conversation.

That he's an Episcopal priest made me a little crazy. As wrong as I may be, I expect Episcopal priests to be more grounded than he appears to me.

It all started when I said that the Cluster Lenten book study was on a book called, "How Little Can I Believe and Still Be a Christian".

He called that something I'd never heard. It was something like Protestant 'reductionism', though that's probably not right. What he meant was, I think (since I was so crazed and confused it's hard to know) that Protestants tend to shrink the things people need to believe since Luther's theses were about what the Vatican asked people to believe that wasn't necessary. Something like that.

Another person in the room, who I refer to 'the most maddeningly reasonable person I know', since he can always see both sides of an argument, tried to mediate but I didn't want 'reasonableness' about views I find crazy and totally unreasonable.

See, I believe we find God all around us all the time. But not in magical appearances but in the ordinary, common, everyday moments of life. I don't need blood dropping from the hands of a Jesus statue to 'believe'--I need to see someone caring in compassion for a bleeding human being. There's God in our midst.

I see God in a smile from a stranger, in a kind word to someone bagging your groceries, in a sudden silence, in two people just being 'present' to each other, in the softness of the rain and the beauty of a robin.

I don't need other-worldly realities to believe.

I believe in God when I see someone hope against hopelessness, long for justice, work for equality, speak out against cruelty, stand up to a someone bullying another, offering a hand up to someone who has fallen.

That's the stuff I believe in, not miracles. I believe in the ordinariness of God.

The conversation disturbed me--but at least it made me write this down so I remember what I believe and where God 'shows up' moment to moment....

So, I guess I should thank him for what outraged me.

(Maybe something 'holy' in thanking him for that....)

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.