It’s the Good Friday feeling. When your marriage comes undone. When your beloved partner lies rotting with cancer. When your company implodes. When your brave son or daughter is blown apart in a senseless war or splattered on a windshield by a drunken driver. It’s what the abandoning and abandoned disciples felt that day, back there in Jerusalem, looking up at a broken, tortured and dead body, hanging on a tree trunk, the dirt below reddened with blood.
Without apostasy, Christianity would never have had a St. Paul, who was an apostate Jew. Without heresy, Christianity never would have had a Martin Luther, a John Calvin or a Michael Servetus.
According to the spiritual traditions, there is another source of light, an internal one. Jesus talked about the “lamp of the body,” which, when you are focused on the needs of the world and not external religious devotion or the pursuit of “treasure on earth,” shines out like a beacon of hope to a world badly in need of hope.
The deconstructive liturgy of Ash Wednesday is an anti-Palm Sunday rite: there is no triumph here, just a one sentence reminder that the people who want Jesus to free them don’t really want it badly enough not to betray him, literally or figuratively. That would be us.
I’m tuning out, dropping out, and focusing back in on those things that matter: mindfulness, spiritual awareness, balance, hopefulness, peace and joy and especially, justice. This blog began as a personal account of my own struggle to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly (Micah 6:8) in the public square. I have been doing a terrible job at that of late. And I’m counting on Lent to help me get my own spiritual journey back on track.
(Note: I will sometimes use the pronoun He for God here, to reflect the story as told to me as a child and throughout my formative years. – John) I grew-up believing that God was love; that this loving God formed me in my mother’s womb in this loving God’s image and for this loving … Continue reading Why You Can’t Have Hell and a Loving God — john pavlovitz
In the beginning was The Logos and The Logos was with God and The Logos was God.-The Gospel According to St. John 1:1. In one of the most difficult and powerful passages in the Western spiritual canon, St. John the Gospeller wrote those mysterious words. They have been fought over, wrestled with, mocked, twisted and, … Continue reading Unimaginable Grace
The day began with Morning Prayer, followed by a meditation from Bishop Waldo in which he expressed his own view that he yearns for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the Episcopal Church. He said that this is very different from an endorsement of promiscuity, whether in straight or gay relationships. Further, … Continue reading The First Theological Council Day 2
I was late getting out of Sumter and hit the Friday afternoon spring break traffic that snarled its way out of Columbia along I-26 nearly to Chap in before it settled down to a more normal, merely dangerously overcrowded narrow-shouldered highway of death at 75 MPH. So I missed the opening session of the First … Continue reading The First Theological Council Evening Day One
Today's United States Supreme Court 8-1 ruling that members of the Westboro Kansas Church have a constitutional right to their repugnant protests of military funerals is offensive to most people who have any sense of decency--but that does not mean that the Supreme Court is wrong. In fact, in its defense of the cult's right … Continue reading The Supreme Court and the Westboro Baptists: The Right to Be Wrong