I get this daily email from a Christian organization that is suppose to help me through this transition. Much of it is very helpful and timely. I am grateful for the service and have found it immensely helpful. But parts of it I can’t decide whether to think it’s funny or just sick. The current topic is on forgiveness, yes they promote it, but not in a way that reflects God’s example of forgiveness or Christ’s life as recorded/displayed in the Bible. But it is aligned with some (not all) of the common psycho babble that is easier to swallow. what they describe is not forgiveness but the preparation fir forgiveness. But in our wounded areas, it is what we want to hear. I read their email and my ears hear the “tickle, tickle” and “clang clang” of the empty cymbals and i am saddened for I know many will live with it’s permission (authority?) in a stunted deformed forgiveness. Gosh if God’s forgiveness was like what they describe, we’d all be hosed.
God’s example of forgiveness is very hard work, infinitely risky yet has the potential to be life giving, breathing, for the giver, the receiver and the web of living relationships they are connected to…it is hard to practice God’s kind of forgiveness when it is such a foreign concept…even in the church.
I continue to prepare my own ground.
Here is another email I get regularly from a different group.
HOW MEN CHANGE
We operate with the assumption that giving people new ideas changes people. It doesn’t. Believing ideas is, in fact, a way of not having to change in any significant way, especially if you can argue about them. Ideas become defenses.
If you have the right words, you are considered an orthodox and law-abiding Christian. We burned people at the stake for not having the right words, but never to my knowledge for failing to love or forgive, or to care for the poor. Religion has had a love affair with words and correct ideas, whereas Jesus loved people, who are always imperfect.
You do not have to substantially change to think some new ideas. You always have to change to love and forgive ordinary people. We love any religion that asks us to change other people. We avoid any religion that keeps telling us to change.
Adapted from How Men Change: A Thin Time (CD, DVD, MP3)
Starter prayer: Teach me about letting go, surrender, and trust.–Richard Rohr 2010 Center for Action and Contemplation
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