Terror and Meekness

A total of 15 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died since 2002 when Canada first became involved in Afghanistan following the ouster of the hardline Taliban regime.

This weekend 3 more soldiers were killed. War, this war, like all wars are complicated and leave us perplexed and paralysed.

Is it possible to find and commit to a Christian position?

“Do you think that [Jesus] was sent [by God], as might be supposed, to establish some sort of political sovereignty [tyrannis], to inspire fear and terror? Not so. But in gentleness and meekness He sent him… Christians are not distinguished from the rest of humanity either in locality or in speech or in customs. For they do not dwell somewhere in cities of their own, neither do they use some different language… But while they dwell in cities of Greeks and Barbarians as the lot of each is cast… the constitution of their citizenship is nevertheless quite amazing and admittedly paradoxical. They dwell in their own countries, but only as sojourners… Every country is a fatherland to them, and every fatherland is a foreign country.” (The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus)

Interrupting My Day

“It has taken me a while to learn that there is no “them” and “us” in the eyes of God.”, writes Bev Curtis in today’s Religion section of the Edmonton Journal. Bev Curtis’ story will resonate well with “mission-types”; it’s a wonderful piece of writing.

But the experience of being blessed by giving, is something that is not reserved for mission or church workers, it’s a universal human experience. It’s a sign our common humanity points to something far beyond our hide-bound individualism. In Matthew 25 terms, the Jesus we serve in others always brings out the Jesus in us, and vice versa. Through active compassion the categories break down.

I wish this, no “us” and “them” lesson, was one that once learned, always remembered. In my case, I find I need refreshers. The categories need deconstructing every day. And the deconstruction is only done through acts of human kindness.

Which brings me to my wife. Debbie works at an inner-city mission as a Human Resources consultant. Her door revolves with, as they say, people issues. She told me this morning of the thought that crossed her mind as one more “unscheduled” person knocked on her door the other day. “You’re interupting my day…!”

However, she did invite the person in and she listened and learned and cared and after, felt encouraged and inspired.

You’re interupting my day…no, you are my day.


James Alisons Inspiration

This is just to let you know of my basic frame of reference concerning Grow Mercy.

Two years ago my wife brought home an essay by Dr. David Snartch on marriage, sexuality and human desire. In the essay was a quote from Sebastian Moore, a Benedictine monk, “Sin stems from a lack of desire for pleasure”.

Because of my interest in things Benedictine I began to look for stuff by or on Sebastian Moore, but admittedly, his thoughts on desire were even more intriguing. (More on this later.)

I found some articles and one used book in a Catholic book store called, ‘The Language of God’. It was not very accessible. I further discovered that much of Moore’s work is out of print. However, as I continued to comb through links and references I came upon a forward Dom Moore had written for a book by James Alison. The book was called ‘Beyond Resentment, Fragments, Catholic and Gay’.

This is an amazing book that reveals a wonderful mind and a most gracious heart. I have been reading James Alison since then.

I soon found that James Alison regarded the work of anthropologist Rene Girard as more than significant. Alison and others see Girard’s central thought and hypothesis as monumental in scope and touching all disciplines. The “Girardians” are growing in number. Still, far too few have discovered Girard’s work. An interesting aside to this is that before Girard’s work took a decidedly Christian turn, a turn his research compelled him to take, he was highly esteemed in the secular academia.

James Alison however is more than an insightful interpreter of Girard. His theology is borne from long existential engagement with a God of love without borders. And his life and voice reflect a liberated and liberating desire. More, his life reflects the mercy of a borderless God of love.

Float Days

While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” (Luke 24)Some day’s suspend themselves. This morning feels like it could be one of those days. But it’s early.

Some day’s suspend themselves. This morning feels like it could be one of those days. But it’s early.Do you remember sitting under a tree on a pleasant day? Your back and shoulders curled against the trunk, the back of your head resting on rough bark. You stare past your knees out across the park, your eyes move above the tops of trees and come to rest on a broad swath of sky. You lose track of place and time.

Then, in front of your eyes, floating in the air, no wires or smoke or mirrors, appears a spider. Her body turns slow and easy, her many splayed legs float beside her. And it takes you a moment to come to terms. Until you remember to look for the silk thread.

Back on earth you reach out, pinch off the filament a foot above the spider…an experiment. She spins and releases and drops almost to the ground before you jerk your arm up. She’s suspended again. You wonder how long she could keep this up; but instead the next time she drops you let her reach the grass.

Some days feel like float days. Not bad days, just days were you can’t get any traction.

It was a float day that day the disciples couldn’t quite come to terms with who was appearing to them. They still had a lot of smoke in their eyes from all the excitement and madness of the preceding week. So when their friend walked in the heels of their hands shot up to rub their disbelieving eyes. As their world slowly spun and fell away beneath them, their hearts rose and filled with wonder.

And when the sound of his voice broke the air and the spell, the joy they had been holding back flooded in.

And they ate together. No metaphorical friend-Jesus, no mythological friend-Jesus, only warm dark eyes, scarred flesh, hard ground to sit on, and fish to eat, and conversation that rang in deep in their ears.