Trigger warning: This post written by my wife, a nurse, contains imagery depicting stillborn babies.
Thinking about how to respond after events of violence and injustice.
Reflections & Ramblings: Volume Nineteen
Soaking up the fullness of life, and getting back to some writing.
How this all started: Giving space for the story
Refections & Ramblings: Volume Eighteen
Some reflections about trying not to live life on a binary theological island.
My attempt to address the use of “should” and “shouldn’t” in American Christian culture
Some reflections on Ash Wednesday
Our words matter. Our opinions matter. Our response matters.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
“Writing about the Christian life . . . is like trying to paint a picture of a bird in flight. The very nature of a subject in which everything is always in motion and the context is constantly changing — rhythm of wings, sun-tinted feathers, drift of clouds (and much more) — precludes precision. Which is why definitions and explanations for the most part miss the very thing that we are interested in. Stories and metaphors, poetry and prayer, and leisurely conversation are much more congenial to the subject, a conversation that necessarily also includes the Other.”
– Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places
I really like what Chaplain Mike said later in the post:
Jesus did not make God known by giving his disciples a “body of knowledge” from which they could formulate doctrines. He did it partly by teaching, yes, but that teaching was the farthest thing from academic.
- It was not “doctrinal,” but incorporated fully into daily life, experience, ministry — more like apprenticeship than classroom, more like field training than book study.
- It was told “slant” — in ways that prompted curiosity, imagination, questions, even befuddlement and resistance in those who were privileged to receive it, not in easy to learn propositional summaries.
- It was relational, the kind of “knowing” that is shared between persons, which cannot ever be systematized, despite our many efforts to produce “how to” books about such bonds as marriage, parenting, or friendship.
One commenter agreed, saying, “We need cool heads and warm hearts. Study tends to overheat the brain. It leads to hot heads and cold hearts.”