Selected posts from around our network of affiliated bloggers
Whether we are facing personal conflict in our relationships, or leaning into the harder conversations of our society—like those around racial injustice and sexual identity—many of us struggle to listen to what needs hearing and speaking what needs saying. Listening is a core competency for me as a pastor and chaplain, but I am finding listening also can be a revolutionary and democratic act.
With unprecedented intimacy and frequency, Americans are becoming witnesses to murder. With the videos of beheadings and the footage of black people being murdered by police, we’ve begun watching real people die violently in real time, often from the palm of our hands or from the screens in our laps.
My friend Bob and I were sitting on the bleachers just outside the racquetball court and trying to catch our breath between games. A group of race-running, soccer-ball kicking, tricycle-riding, and twirling-dancing preschool children spread out across the basketball court set the air abuzz with an energy I envy and filled the gym with squeals and laughter. Several brave and curious children came near us and looked at us as if we were bears in a zoo.
Human beings bond in a number of ways. We have all manner of instinctual drives inherited from our evolutionary past; we have needs (for intimacy, pleasure, friendship, affirmation and a thousand more besides) which we depend on other people to fulfill. We have hidden parts of ourselves which we project on others so that we can, in relationship with those others, work out our inner conflicts by proxy. We have our inner cravings for power or esteem or security which we imagine that others can satisfy for us.
I recently told a male rabbi about my age that I find him spiritually attractive. Actually, I didn’t tell him. I posted it to his Facebook page. Immediately before adding this message to his feed, though, I hesitated over the following inner monologue: Is this creepy? Am I over-complimenting? Will this be misconstrued as some sort of strange clergy come on? Should I run this by my husband?
Faith can be a hard road, sometimes. Earlier today, Richard Beck published a short piece on his blog in response to the question, “What keeps me holding on to faith?” His answer reflects the response that many of us would give, I suspect. We are drawn to Jesus. Not necessarily to theological doctrines about Jesus or official explanations about what he did and what it accomplished or will accomplish or whatever, but to the person of Jesus, to stories about how he lived and loved in and for the world.
There it's been, resurfacing over the last couple of weeks. First, in a conversation with the pastor of the church where I grew up, as we sat and caught up about life and faith. "How does that play against process theology?" he asked, as I recounted my reflections on the nexus between faith and the multiverse.
“I can feel your love in this place,” the chorus blasts at full volume, skillfully performed by the worship band on stage. I felt nothing.