Who are you? What do you do?
We get caught up in this “measuring tape” when we meet someone new: what size, how high, how tall, how small, how broad, how thin, how much substance? All because of the one question we never speak aloud but need answered:
“Do I bow to you, or do you bow to me?”
This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,'” as the prophet Isaiah said. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing. John 1:19-28
Good old church: “Is the status quo being challenged? Then send our people to find out.” Head Office religion maintaining its loving control. Something religion through the ages “gets caught up in”.
Blogland has taught me something really important. That when I have no tape measure, no pecking order, no deference to title, no “where do I fit” … That when I have none of the usual smoke and mirrors … then I can allow (and do) an immediate knowing, bond, connection, acceptance – all with just one post. It is as though an old friend has arrived – a much loved and gentle friend – a “forever friend” with whom I could sit for hours. And I know this also works in reverse – this immediacy of “connection” is a two way thing – a knowing and acceptance – something that just “is”.
(“love at first sight” is the closest I can describe it as)
And blogland is teaching me to allow those connections – no how matter how when where or why. Teaching me to get “me” and my identity out of the way – to experience that ALL of us have something that will ALWAYS add to ALL of us – if we each ALLOW (and there are many in blogland who will not allow – who insist on the tape measure – who will defend a distance – no matter how thin).
But when we do allow, then my God may also be “your God” (or any other name for that which Burns Bright Within). So the label of “God” does not matter much either – not when we allow. Blogland taught me that. The bible teaches me that. The bible teaches Love. Just as most faiths of Love teach that. Just as common decency teaches that. Just as Love itself teaches. As we teach that to each other. As we preach that to each other.
And although we have all learned that, what about church … ? What has religion (that we call church that we confuse with God) learned … ?
Loving and subtle tape measures – loving and subtle bowing – loving and subtle “who are and you and what do you do?” The same stuff – just with smiles. So connection remains beyond reach – and deep stuff stays hidden until we are safe. And even when we feel safe – we may still be put in our place as the “defend a distance” is re-established! So just why isn’t church (that we confuse with God and religion) very different?
Maybe it’s because we can’t help ourselves. Maybe it’s because we fear connection. We have been taught to fear connection. We have been taught that to be open is to be vulnerable. So even in this place of relationship, this place of connection, this place of Love – we have to ask: “Who are you? What do you do?”
The God Soft Hands Jesus I know teaches connection, teaches safety, teaches Love. I do not find Him teaching “Who are you and what do you do?”
And I am asking more and more …
Why do church-folk keep asking that and expect to connect with “God” within each other.