...and not be as honest as we need to be about ourselves.
Early morning reading on this day after Veteran's Day/'12 has taken me from some Biblical thoughts, to a book by Enuma Okoro that I had begun on Christmas break 2011, to glancing at the op ed piece by Ruth Marcus in today's Washington Post. That's quite a gallop of varied thoughts up to this hour--6:19am.
Ruth has taken on the subject of General Patreaus downfall. Whether one agrees with her comments, or not, there is deep truth to what is being done these days with technology both for good and for not-so-good, even for evil. Every time we push "send" we need to be circumspect as to the why, the motivation, for doing so. Are we being honest to God, ourselves and others?
Even as I type in my thoughts, there is the wonder of where they will end up. How will they be interpreted? Might they be used for or against me? Will you, the valued reader, have any inkling that what is shared is meant to encourage you forward in your own (as Mary Oliver puts it) one wild and precious life?
Then there is this profound tome I began to read at 8:30am on 16 Dec '11 in San Jose, Costa Rica. My wife and I were waiting in a hotel cafe to meet with one of the most selfless missionaries to Latin America that one could ever meet, a hero of the Christian faith, if ever. Though still human, his very presence reeks of grace, beginning with his deep love and extraordinary care of a very ill spouse. Later that day our daughter was flying in from Texas, as well as a friend of her's from Paris, for us to share the Christmas holidays together.
I took one book on that sojourn south. Reluctant Pilgrim by Enuma Okoro is well worth several reads.
Her honesty about the "stuff" of life (whether one is famous, or not) and about God's grace in the midst, even in spite of that "stuff" has, again, hammered home, and opened up some spaces where I need to be paying closer attention in my own life. I would agree with one of the lines in Phyllis Tickle's endorsement of this powerful book: "It is terrifyingly honest and, above all else, very beautiful."
Until this morning, I had only read eight chapters of Enuma's book. I will finish it before the year is out. It is serving as a unique bookend to the conclusion of last year and this one, as the final days of 2012 are showing up.
Beginning a rather massive project this weekend of rearranging my personal library, I rediscovered Enuma's earthy and wise counsel via her eclectic journey through her young life. Though 40+ years is most likely the difference in our ages, I will welcome learning through her eyes and experiences.
There is something to be learned through Ruth Marcus eyes as well. There is something to be learned through the sadness within the General Petraeus situation, which no one should be smug enough to think that they are above some similar self destruction, maybe not in his way, but in some way.
Jesus' words have filtered into my soul, one more time, when thinking about the account of the woman who was caught in adultery and was taken outside the city gates to be stoned for her sins by the selfrightious leaders of the day: Let any one of you who is without sin cast the first stone.
In God's story of us, it is one of those Biblical scenes I wish I could have witnessed. After I had dropped my own stone.
Can you imagine watching that precious woman's face turn from one of horror at facing her pending death. To one of bewilderment at wondering just who this man was. To absorbing the grace of a gaze that lived with no condemnation?
"Where are those who condemn you?"
The only sound was falling rocks (which I understand would have been about the size of volleyballs) and feet shuffling into the distance.
"Neither do I condemn you."
"What? But, if you only knew all about me," she must have thought.
Little did she know, he did.
What will you and I do with "no condemnation" in our own lives this day?
No matter who, or what, may be holding a stone against us for whatever their reason. Or if we, within our souls may be found holding stones intended for others. If we even believe Jesus was for real, or not, at all, how will we use our no condemnation freedom in this day?
Where, and about what or whom,
do you and I need to drop the stones we may be holding?
........more thoughts coming within a day or two.......