Category Archives: Risk

Fear

How very much fear can rule our lives – and we are unaware. We calculate what we say, how we say it, to whom we say it. We fear losing the respect of others, or get caught up in what they think of us. We fear losing our position, our job, or a friend. As a result the light that we are is held back; our unique way of being and flavoring our world is diminished. Not to mention that fear is death dealing to the spirit.

I am saint and sinner. I fly to the heights and I sink to the depths – and both are my teachers. Although I write, preach, speak and sing I am by no means a guru and far from perfect – simply a fellow traveler, expressing what is within and trying to make sense of it all.

Be who you are.
Say what you believe.
And let the chips fall where they will.
At least you’ll be living!

Advertisements

What A Jerk!

“No prophet gains acceptance in his native place.” (See Luke 4: 24)

Ain’t it true?

I know of a minister who voluntarily left a large church at which he served as Pastor for a number of years. He no longer could agree with the teachings of his church, especially regarding women, gay people, divorce and re-marriage and, in his case, mandatory celibacy as a requirement for ministry. He no longer could agree with official teaching on who was acceptable at the table and who was not, who was acceptable as a minister and who was not, who could get married and who could not, who could adopt and who could not. He left, and hearing the call of a number of people to continue his ministry, he started his own church. It is a small, fledgling church in a humble chapel, but one can calmly feel the presence of Spirit in that gathering of people. Unfortunately, this very minister, whose compassion and genuine interest in people is palatable, and whose desire is to someday be a good husband and father – in addition to being a minister – is being called a “sinner” and people are being warned of his “grave error.”

Prophets are indeed not accepted in their own place. I pray for this man and admire his courage in the face of religious officials who now shun him.

OK, let’s bring it home. It’s easy for me to admire someone who stands in agreement with my opinions. But let’s take someone in my life who has had the courage to lovingly, but firmly, challenge me to get back on the path and deal with an issue in my life. My first reaction usually isn’t that good. Those of you who have a partner (friend or other family member) know that sometimes your partner can challenge you – hopefully in love. And oftentimes our first reaction isn’t so loving in return. BUT, if we sit back and take the time to reflect on what they are saying – we just might find that instead of being rude, insensitive, arrogant jerks – they may have been speaking the truth out of love and concern. And maybe if I heed their call and make some changes, I just might be a happier, more fulfilled person.

Who are the prophets in your life? Instead of demonizing them, can I step back and hear the truth that they are speaking to me in love?


Outside The Walls

Take a look at Jeremiah 18: 18-20 and Matthew 20: 17-28.

Two prophets, once hailed and sought after, now ridiculed and plotted against.

I remain amazed at those who have the courage to speak up and go against great powers that be. Not those who just spout off to spout off, but those prophets in our midst who speak out of a conviction that is born of love. I admire such love and the courage that it takes to finally speak out. I can only imagine the risk involved and the trust that somehow in the midst of it all, God will provide.

The movie “Milk” illustrates this well. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. It shows the journey of a prophet, the ups and downs, the fears and the triumphs, and ultimately . . . the price. It shows a man who, at 40 years old, feels he has done little in his life. It shows a man with a growing fire in his belly, wondering about himself, wondering about the injustice that he sees, until after a very long time of gestation, finally he speaks out and takes action. And in a few short years his life and the lives of thousands are transformed. . . . All because one day, one courageous day, his silence ended and he spoke out.

Do I have such courage? Do we? I wonder. I really wonder if most of us remain quiet about issues that really matter to us so as not to ruffle feathers, in order to keep a placid, yet lifeless peace? Of course, some of us have much at stake. Corporate whistle blowers loose their jobs, people are thrown out of churches, excommunicated, loose their families, gain the respect of some and loose the respect of some who they thought would always stand by their side. When things heated up and He got arrested, even the disciples ran and hid. “I tell you, I don’t even know the man!” said one of His closest – Peter.

I want the courage of the prophet. And, I don’t want it. Can I pay the price? Can I trust enough? I don’t know.


Faith and Risk

When we step out in courage, when we step out and take a risk – not knowing what the end result will be – faith comes alive.  Suddenly words of belief, words of faith and trust are no longer just words but are heard in a new way.  They take on a new reality that is spoken and felt in the heart.

Recently I have taken a couple of risks – both of which could involve the loss of my job and livlihood – but I have chosen to step out in faith because I strongly believe that the stance I take is right and good, even though I am intimidated by the “powers that be.”  I have to confess that of late I have been undergoing a bit of a spiritual desert, a dark night of the soul.  It has been one of those times in life where I have felt absolutely no spiritual connection and little motivation to connect to Source.  In taking the risks I have taken, I felt like a zomby, simply putting one foot in front of another and following through on what I had promised.  But suddenly, deep in my heart I heard a whisper:  “I am with you.  You are not alone.  Don’t be afraid.”  And in those words, summoned by the risks I was taking, the darkness of this long night was pierced by a Light within that seemed so very real – not just nice words, but real.  And it’s no big deal, no big feeling, no huge moment of revelation; just something small, something little, but something so very real that emerges from deep within me.  And in that tiny seed, I feel again the reality of which I so often write and speak.  Not just words, but a Power that is real and that promises to be with me – no matter what. 

Suddenly, in the darkness that has been this Winter moment in my life, my heart is beckoned to the reality of Spring that lay just around the corner – if I only have the patience to wait and keep putting one foot in front of the other.


Come and See

John 1: 35-42

Did you ever feel totally unconscious in life, like you were just going through the motions with little internal inertia?  Perhaps the early followers of Jesus were feeling like that.  Obviously they were seeking something, searching.  Were they dissatisfied with where their life was?  Jesus notices them following him and asks them:  “What are you looking for?”  Now, you would think that they would have responded with various requests, dreams for their lives, meaning, healing or whatever.  But they don’t.  What they say is:  “Rabbi, where do you stay?”

I’m not sure that the disciples had a clue of what they were looking for.  But there was something about this man that beckoned them, something about him stirred something within them.  What they did do is act!  Jesus says:  “Come and see.”  And that’s what they did.  They put one foot in front of the other and spent time with him – having no idea where it would lead.

Sometimes life is like that isn’t it?  Something just isn’t quite right, we’re not quite satisfied, yet we don’t know what it is that we seek.  Perhaps in times like this what we need to do is act, put one foot in front of the other, walk outside the closed doors of our being and try something, something healthy for our bodies, minds and spirits.  Who knows where it may lead?


Taking Risks

“Here is your money which I hid for safekeeping. I was afraid of you because you are a hard man.” (See Luke 19: 11-28)

Again we are reminded: how are we using the gifts that we have been given, the gift that we are as persons? Are we taking risks, reaching out and being of service to others with what we have to offer? Or are we afraid of getting out there? Or, maybe we think we don’t have all that much to offer and what difference would it make anyway? Maybe what we have to give is small. But small things put together become big things. A few cents in my pocket isn’t a lot, but when I throw it in a bin, over time these small amounts add up to something much bigger.

As we head into the end of another year, maybe it would be a good time to pause and take stock. How well have we used our gifts for the good of others this past year? Have we given what we have to give? And how have we seen it multiply? Whenever we give, it WILL multiply!


Leaving Home to Find Home

Matthew 10: 7-15

Again I am moved by the Gospel placed before us today.  The Christ sends his followers out to lift people up, to heal and to let people know that they can experience welcome, peace and bliss right now!  “The reign of God is at hand!”  It’s in your midst.  It’s inside you!  This is akin to what Eckhart Tolle speaks of when he talks about being fully and intensely present to this moment.  And in the present, not thinking of anything past or anything in the future, we can experience intense peace and bliss.  Those of us who have transitioned from fear to faith, from self loathing to self knowledge in Divine love are sent out to give the gift we have been given!

There was a time when I felt completely shunned from the community of faith and completely removed from Divine favor and love.  Although I still feel shunned from the community of faith, I stand in firm confidence of God’s love and this has been a gift beyond measure.  When I feel homeless, without a community of faith, hiding in the shadows, I know the presence of the One who comes to me in the night and looks into my eyes with a love beyond my imagining, the One who takes me by the hand and lifts me from the dark night of despair and isolation to a welcome at His table. . . .  And some still whisper, as they did back then, he welcomes even “those” people!?

“If anyone does not receive you or listen to what you have to say, LEAVE THAT HOUSE OR TOWN, and once outside, shake its dust from your feet.”  Sometimes we have to leave home in order to find home.  Some of us are beckoned to homelessness in order that we may walk in freedom to give the gift that we have been given.

And notice what else Jesus says: we are to leave everything behind; yet we are assured that we will be taken care of.  “Take with you neither silver nor gold nor copper in your belts; no traveling bag, no change of shirt, no sandals, no walking staff.  The workman (that is, the one who gives the gift they have been given) is worth his or her keep.”  Don’t worry.  You’ll be all right. You will be taken care of. . . . Just go. . . . Give the gift you have been given!