“A parable does not primarily provide information about our world. Rather, if we allow it to do it’s work within us, it will change our world - breaking it open to ever-new possibilities by refusing to be held by the categories that currently exist within that world. In this way the parable transforms the way we hold reality, and thus changes reality itself.”
“Parables subvert this desire to make faith simple and understandable. They do not offer the reader clarity, for they refuse to be captured in the net of a single interpretation and instead demand our eternal return to their words, our wrestling with them, and our puzzling over them.”
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit In the name of goodness and love and broken community In the name of meaning and feeling and I hope you don’t screw me In the name of darkness and light and ungraspable twilight In the name of meal times and sharing and caring by firelight In the name of action and peace and human redemption In the name of eating and drinking and table confession In the name of sadness, regret, and holy obsession The holy name of anger, the spirit of aggression In the name of forgive and forget and I hope I get over this In the name of Father and Son and the Holy Spirit In the name of beauty and beaten and broken down daily In the name of seeing our creeds and believing in maybe We gather here, a table of strangers And speak of our hope land and talk of our danger To make sense of our thinking, to authenticate lives To humanize feeling and stop telling lies In the name of philosophy, theology, and who gives a damn In the name of employment and study and finding new family In the name of our passion, our loving, and indecent obsessions In the name of prayer and of worship and of demon possession In the name of solitude and quiet and holy reflection In the name of the lost and the lonely and the without direction In the name of efficiency, stupidity, and the holy ineffectual In the name of the straight, the queer, transgendered, and bisexual In the name of boot clogs and boob jobs and erectile disfunction Schizophrenia, hysteria, and obsessive compulsion In the name of Jesus and Mary and the mostly silent Joseph In the name of speaking to ourselves saying this is more than I can cope with In the name of touch up and break up and break down and weeping In the name of therapy and Prozac and full hearted breathing In the name of sadness and madness and years since I’ve smiled In the name of the unknown, the alien, and the holy in exile In the name of goodness and kindness and intentionality In the name of harbor and shelter and family
The following are excerpts taken from my readings today in the classic book containing his conversations and letters compiled after his death, The Practice of the Presence of God:
"Brother Lawrence insisted that, to be constantly aware of God’s presence, it is necessary to form the habit of continually talking with Him throughout each day. To think that we must abandon conversation with Him in order to deal with the world is erroneous."
"Another thing he [Brother Lawrence] mentioned was that our faith is too weak. Instead of letting faith rule our lives, we are guided by our petty, everyday, mechanical prayers, which are always changing."
"We also need to be faithful, even in dry periods. It is during those dry spells that God tests our love for Him. We should take advantage of those times to practice our determination and our surrender to Him. This will often bring us to a maturity further on in our walk with God."
"To succeed in giving ourselves to God as much as He desires, we must constantly guard our souls. In addition to being involved in spiritual matters, the soul is involved in the things of this world. However, when we turn our backs on Him, exposing our souls to the world, He will not so easily answer our call. When we are willing to accept God’s help and guard our souls according to His desires, we may commune with Him whenever we like."
real conversation between myself, and my little brother Dylan (age 9):
Dylan: (Starts reading my C.S. Lewis book at my current location in The Screwtape Letters) asks, “Mr. Wormwood? (starts to laugh) Sis, what is a Wormwood? What is that?”
Me: (laughing to myself running different scenarios through my head of what he may be thinking a Wormwood is.) “I’m not telling…”
Dylan: (now laughing hysterically) “SIS, WHAT IS A WORMWOOD!?! Tell me! I can handle it!” (begins guessing) “Is it the Devil?”
Me: "You’re close…"
Me: “Dylan, if I said you were close when you said ‘the devil,’ then you should know it’s not Jesus. Mr. Wormwood is a demon…”
Dylan: “Wormwoods are demons?!”
Me: “No, thats just one demon’s name.”
Dylan: (In deep thought) “You know, I don’t get it… You know, how that guy, before he was the Devil would want to be the Devil after living with God in a place full of love and joy. It doesn’t make sense…”
Me: “Well, he had a pride issue. “
Dylan: “What do you mean?”
Me: “Rather than letting God be God, and doing what he was created to do - worship - he decided that he wanted to be God. “
Dylan: ”So you mean he just walked into God’s Kingdom, and said, “Hey God, I want to be God!”
Me: "Yeah, something like that… I guess you’ll have to ask God when you get to heaven."
Dylan: ”Well that’s a crazy thing for him to do… I mean, God could have shot him with 23 foot lightning bolts!”
Me: (Laughing again) “Who told you God could shoot 23 foot lightning bolts from a finger gun?”
“I love you means I love you more than anyone loves you, or has loved you, or will love you. And also, I love you in a way that no one loves you, or has loved you, or will love you. And also, I love you in a way that I love no one else, and never have loved anyone else, and never will love anyone else.”—Everything is Illuminated