To Hate Evil

I believe this is our greatest struggle, especially returning evil with good. I was moved by the following video:

I hoping against all hope that our culture is evolving towards redefining this word tolerance. As mentioned in this short clip, “Tolerance is a cold, dead term…even dismissive.” The video concludes that this ‘problem’ and resolution begins with each of us.
How does change for a better society happen? Leadership. Society needs brave voices both politically and spiritually. Faith promotes the most unlikely solution to this problem that seems to kick against the goads. Found within our human history, an enticing contradiction collided with our hearts and mind. From the revelation at Sinai to its climatic and mysterious fulfillment in an itinerant man, in a G-d, named Jesus. This single and profound thread of repaying evil with good seems to have no place to lay its weary head. Whether upon the Palestinian-Israeli border, Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, or within the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort.Jason-Aldean-fans-flee-the-scene-after-Mandalay-Bay-shooting-in-Las-Vegas-670x454 What good can be considered tribute towards carnage in the hearts imprisoned by faith? Seriously, what would Jesus do? What could we do when killers have committed suicide? How in hell can parents explain this to kids fully informed and influenced by the rabid and biased social media? How can even the highest platform of leadership, the president of the United States, who is disregarded, discounted as ’45’, and devalued as a person by half the country as without virtue or character, inspire leadership? Where do our hearts and America turn from here?

Restrict guns or ‘weapons of war’? Maybe…but that argument, despite America’s heritage and fascination with guns, holds both little promise and very little water.
Promote Conceal and Carry? Maybe…but carrying a gun changes the human psyche for it weighs upon the soul to employ its use. Remember when you first learned to do the Heimlich maneuver or CPR how you felt somehow responsible to save a life in need? Imagine the burden of taking a life – something that is repulsive to our souls. Could one with proper training and attitude help in taking down a shooter at Orlando or Las Vegas, surely that possibility exists however slim. I can only assume adding more fire to the flames of gunplay would only add to the chaos adding only to the victim count as people run in all directions. I would hope our first reaction focused on attending to the wounded and dying.

To be clear, I don’t believe in passivism but cling to a nonviolent perspective; there’s a difference.

Maybe the answer lies unexpectedly between the Palestinian-Israeli culture. It is bred within both cultures to defend what is believed rightfully theirs. From Kindergarten, especially Palestine, the formation of a child’s will is forced to hate. Both sides kill each other without hesitation over a narrow strip of land. I honestly cannot fathom the sadness and regret if the a repentant conscious was awakened to the dignity inherent within both cultures. Unfortunately the violent legacy continues in throwing rocks, spewing lead,  and launching mortars as the genetics of hate and intolerance dictate.

Dare we see the other side of the coin with hope? This is what best depicts the contradiction found hidden in Jesus. First and foremost, is to trust that love has no equal. None. Prayer is also the flipside of distrust. Prayer is a power we cannot understand just like forgiveness. The combination of faith, hope, and love is irresistible to both the human psyche and heart. To trust this power that we cannot feel is the gift patiently waiting to be unveiled within us all. Although we may not understand its practicality, love that is experienced can embrace it. If we just submit to the courage to embrace love then we can begin to redefine tolerance from its cold, dead, dismissive state.

Life, in all forms, is precious. It helps me imagine that I would not exist is G-d stopped hoping for my priorities to return to His higher will. Consider how patient, hopeful, and compassionate this same perspective of Christ who promises to unveil this newness in each and everyone of us when we seek this higher will.

So America is racing towards or running from a new definition of tolerance. We are all patiently given time to reflect or distrust the possibilities of adopting this culture of Heaven.

Remember, the greatest authority we are given is forgiveness not slander, a rock, a mortar, a bullet, or worse. America was solely founded in the hope and trust that our forefathers seeded in community. Community can only come about when we love G-d through our neighbor.

I’m a reminded of the words of Dorothy Day:
We love G-d as much as we love those we love least.

Maybe… that’s how we should redefine tolerance.
Just maybe….that’s how would should also hate evil.

Become new.
Become change.
Become love.

Peace,
Chris

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When The Bee Stings

PortraitsOfTheWorld_suffering_by_delirium77

יְהֹוָה

When the bee stings,
a child’s tear erupts
A mother kisses away the pain
When the son disrespects;
his father disciplines,
Trust flowers anew,
Forgiveness blooms in request.
When Torah is celebrated;
His commands galvanize the beating heart
His Laws of Love infuses every jot and title,
Yeshiva lifts eyes to Sinai,
Love of יְהֹוָה and neighbor becomes a Temple.
When Profound Love finds favor;
A handmaid sings,
The Song of Hannah echoes once again,
A virgin is overshadowed,
Magnified is the soul of Theotokos.
When a Son is given;
A Way is infleshed,
A Truth awakens dim eyes,
A Life is revealed,
Magi honor a newborn King,
Psalm 19 finds its voice.
When the Olive is pressed;
Bled is Another’s will,
Stripes give healing,
A thorny crown pricks a King,
Via Doloroso is carved by His cross,
When the Son of God is crushed,
Blood and water baptize the earth,
The choir moans in silent expectation,
Obedience gives up His Ghost.
The Father’s tear anoints a gate through Heaven.
When faith, hope, and charity are sowed,
Crosses are hoisted and yoked to the downtrodden,
A disciple craves love of God and neighbor
The poor are fed,
The naked clothed,
The slave is set free,
The forgotten are welcomed,
Warmth and hope visit the sick and imprisoned,
The church gathers in song and praise.
Happy are the many
When unity is challenged, it offers strength
When friendship is betrayed, forgiveness is availed
When hope is pressured, patience abounds,
When faith is oppressed, fear evaporates,
When charity becomes human, creation finally evolves.

By Chris Clody,
5/26/17

 

Why The Egg Came First…

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The egg.  “The incredible, edi…” – sorry that was my 70’s indoctrination. I will somehow try to approximate the Trinity using this remarkable orb but not the way you’re probably expecting.  All analogies that attempt to convey the unknown seem to hit the ground running before they are limping to a cliff behind a pack of  disillusioned lemmings. However, what I want to convey is a simple truce for the ongoing domestic dispute between science and religion. Since analogies are particularly powerful among children, then those who not only still play but actually ‘believe all’ may find this as exciting as golden memories of sitting unrestrained in the back of a station wagon, a fistful of allowance, heading towards Toys R Us.

Okay, my sad analogy of this boundless, ever-giving, Triune Deity is relating it to an egg.  That same uncreated phenomena between the Father, Son, and Spirit offering fully of themselves to each other. That same incredibly diverse yet profoundly equal functions and measure finally decide it is high time to share their relational energy and allows their egg of wonder to crack. The Spirit, like the cleaving of atoms, explodes out with unprecedented force, sight, and sound.  The ever-creative energy shared within the Wonder Egg, fusing vapors and dust within the swirling centrifugation of planetary new formations begins to expand towards the infinite darkness. From the vulnerable crack, a Big Bang, shakes the billions of newborn galaxies within the universe. Life begins the very moment the Trinity becomes vulnerable.  Life actually flows from the wounded side of this extraordinary analogy.  Love allows the necessary violence to open itself to others at the sacrifice of remaining whole. Love when offered without condition is an unequaled force designed to disrupt the status quo and create life.

Soooo…yea…the egg definitely came first.

Within in every underlying precept of the biblical thread, is some sort of going out and returning back.  The return is never fruitless.  Like the word of God that never comes back void.  Eventually, we will return to the very “crack” the Spirit went out from.  I know by now you are hoping the lemmings along with my analogy has parachutes, so I’m grateful for your patience in not tapping out.

Ultimately I want to invite you to unpack some thoughts and see how well they apply to you:

  1. The diversity and love within this triune relationship.  How is this diversity reflected in your faith, your church, and your friends?
  2. Omnipotence, Ever-Powerful, and All-Knowing are well touted virtues y’All Mighty Creator.  Yet Creator is an ever-creative virtue that continuously proves its propensity through evolution and especially adaptation.  Nature always finds a way. As selfishness, arrogance, and entitled cultures, ignore the ramifications of our continuous assault upon our planet ambivalent that nature will find a way, what can we expect for our future?  What will happen with glacial calving then melting, coral bleaching, oil spills, floating trash islands, and over fishing?  Remember Nature will find a way.  Maybe a new order of water-borne species exquisitely adaptive to our flagrant disregard? Maybe an apex species? Maybe some awakening of a dormant algae or even a leviathan to go out from its slumber and return its sea to order by whatever violence necessary.
  3. Has your faith, expression of worship, seem frozen in language, ritual, tradition, inequality, and/or patriarchy?  Have you and I grown docile and content with being subservient to a power base, those Keepers of the Keys of knowledge?  How will Nature find a way to reflect the ever-creative Triune force and mutual life-giving love within and through this situation?
  4. Finally, let us end with love.  Without love we would have literally never existed. Has the love of a Messiah, which did not return void to the Father, drench us in gratitude.  Will we, even within Christendom, ever stop crucifying one another? Will we be brave enough to open our side, inviting others into our self love-realm? Has the love of G-d and love of neighbors been replaced by religion worshipping itself? Does Sunday seem so distant from the initial decision to share uncreated, original love with exclusionary fallacies of original sin? Has the Spirit convinced you that your soul is yearning for a divine relationship instead of human authority?

Ever

Ever Ancient,
Ever New,
Ever-patient,
Nature will break through.

Unrestrained,
And wild,
He will return,
To reconcile.

Stiff-necked slaves,
Keep two masters,
Keys build empires,
Wolves become pastors.

Vulnerable,
Life is bled,
Soul-drenched and weary,
His disciples are fed.

Reunion,
Draws nigh,
Inviting my soul,
Through Christ my guide.

Lord, awaken me from my slumber!

 

My Song For Today

Savior Of The World

sunrise

Savior of the world,
You gave your life for me,
Savior of the world,
Let me be Your hands and feet,
And walk within your Kingdom,
Where love of God and neighbor meet.

Savior of the world,
You heard my lonesome bleat,
Savior of the world,
I’m lost, thirsty, incomplete,
Shepherd me to green pastures
Comfort me in your Mercy seat.

Savior of the world,
Your mercy I adore,
Savior of the world,
Take my life and give me yours,
Let mercy shine from my heart,
Loving the least and ignored.

Sweet Savior I adore!
Gentle King open Your door,
Prepare a room for me,
So I may praise you ever more!

By Chris Clody
11/19/2016