Love without the small print

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I have a weekly commute to London.  It keeps me in touch with the general populace in this part of the world.  A populace drawn into their own personal smartphone screen.

Music.  Emails.  Instant Messaging.  Interminable Indulgent Instagram.  Social Media.  Less and less (thankfully) those intrusive “Can you hear me?” phone-calls on (what used to be called) mobile telephones.  Voice calls much less popular now keyboard and lens replaces the need for actually speaking.

And the biggest draw of these wonderful gadgets … ?

We can all look down.  We can avoid the need to pretend we are alone.  Avoid the discomfort of not making eye contact.  Avoid all the embarrassment of not having to speak to someone face-to-face (or kneecap-to-kneecap).

I remember my younger sister commuting regularly in London years ago (before smartphones). She reported how wonderful it was to see so many people praying for such extended periods. She couldn’t comprehend that closing one’s eyes when commuting in cramped spaces was simply the accepted way of avoiding eye-contact. I still chuckle remembering her face when she found out that praying wasn’t such a common occurrence in The City after all!

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My Godmother’s husband was a chatterer.  An embarrassment.
In any situation he would strike up a conversation.  Loudly.  What we (used to) think of as “The American Way”.
That genetic malady which ignores everyone else’s comfort zones … which rides roughshod over others’ expected-and-defended “personal space”.
But the odd thing was that the majority of those who suffered this intrusion seemed to enjoy the experience.
We just cringed in the background.  With a little envy.

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And as I look out and see the headlines … the (current) forensic analysis of the (another) horrific terrorist attack on London Bridgethe repeated claim of (all) government who have “allocated £xxm in additional funding” (to fix every problem raised) the noise of right and wrong (as we reduce our planet to one giant overflowing rubbish bin)the permanent public arena of “gladiatorial protagonists” spewed out for our entertainment in news and “social meeja”the increasing and inextricable “looking down” and away from so much that unites us

I wonder what other species is quite so self-absorbed.

I wonder how we have detached ourselves from who we really are.  How we made “religion” just another science.  How we made science just another “god”.  How we manage to convince ourselves that “being connected” (to this wonderful self-healing-home) is no longer relevant to us.

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Us the alpha species … the species no longer a “species” … a “species” now having outgrown itself.   Now entitled … now complacent … now detached from the very connection that gave birth to each of us … on this planet that nurtures us … that heals us simply by the sound of a breeze – the sight of all those stars – the smell of freshly cut grass – the taste of cold icy water.   These simple things that connect us – heal our restlessness – our searching – our very souls.

I wonder what other species despises its own kind so much that it chooses to look down … chooses to detach … chooses to “talk” to someone on the other side of the world (in preference to someone sitting right next to me).

Is it fear – and if so of what?  And if it isn’t fear then … what?  Arrogance?  Entitlement?  Ignorance?  That “you aren’t interesting enough” … ?

What is it that means we each choose to look down more and more?

Even church.

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That (default) looking down when “talking” to the being who is loved and loves.  The default (of “worship”) that is now the default for (“talking” to) everybody.  The default “nice smile” that is the default for everyone in every (unexciting) conversation.

I think church has a very important role to play in the world today. 

A role to encourage “looking up” as THE default.  Making eye-contact as THE default.  Finding excitement in the ordinary (that is each of us) as THE default.  Drawing ALL together as THE ONLY default. 

(because the preaching of correctness … of sin … of division salvation … of judgment salvation …. is the default of looking down)

And “the default” of looking up can only start by looking God in the eye.   By not bitching about sin all the time.  By making Love the beginning AND middle AND end of ALL conversations.  Real love.  Unconditional love.  Inclusive love.

Love without the small print of religion and correct (rule littered) teaching”.

We need to teach THE default of looking up.

Because if the church really is “the people” …

We are ALL “the people”!

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Meeting me where I am

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Yesterday’s post has been on my mind.

“I have yet to meet a CEO who does not care … Who will not step outside the box to meet someone where they are … (who will not) override their own polices … to “meet someone where they are”.”

And then this morning GSHJ added this verse: Jesus replied, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.” Matthew 19:18

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It was not this way from the beginning.

Because your hearts were hard.

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What Would Jesus Do? WWJD.

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Well …

As a “follower of the way” … as a “disciple” who knows the Master’s heart and mind and soul and very being …

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Is the question even necessary?

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It was not this way from the beginning.

I have yet to meet a CEO who does not to “meet someone where they are”. 

And yet almost every organisation I have “met” does everything in its power to deliver the opposite.  Every organisation I have met is riddled with fear dressed up as policy.  Dressed up as the computer says.  Dressed up as I would love to but I can’t.  Dressed up as “every (senior manager) you speak to will tell you the same as I am telling you”.

Really …. ?

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It was not this way from the beginning.

In the beginning it was God and some dust and a rib.  Should have been easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.  But three is a crowd.  And God got in the way.  So A&E went into hiding.  Because your hearts were hard (or soft or duplicitous).

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In the beginning it was a great concept delivered by the few to the few.

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Such a great concept that more were needed to satisfy demand.  And the few became the many.  And the CEO became distant from the many.  And the many arranged themselves to be the few to the many.  And the few to the many told the many how things were needed to be.  And as the many became a hierarchy – an institution – whose survival now mattered to so many … hearts were hardened.

It was not this way from the beginning.

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For years I have looked at the Gospels and wondered why Jesus lasted only three years.  Why after the cross and all that he floated back upstairs.  Why the few were left with the few rather than the many.  And then the few became the many.  And the few interpreted for the many as the Master had interpreted for the few – and hearts were hardened.

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My relationship with God Soft Hands Jesus is above all other relationships.

 

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It is above “the church” … It is above being “scripturally correct” … It is above “discernment” … It is above all the stuff I have been taught is “The (accepted and correct) Way”.

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It is even above “WWJD?”

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Love is simple and not any of the things I have been taught.

Love “is always the answer (now what’s your question)?”

Love is the brutal and gritty determination and strength of a parent for their child.

Love is the hard as nails defence of wondrous humanity of each for each.

Love is genuine and without duplicity.

Love is generous and kind without transaction.

Love is who we all would like to be when … and if … and but … (when we can afford to be).

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Like … never!!

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“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36)

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GSHJ is my CEO.

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Because The Way is easy and light – because …

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Is who I am.

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From the beginning.

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An example of being “biblically correct”

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Amazon might be an easy target – but they do what the do really well most of the time.

Most of the time!

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“We had an experience with Amazon yesterday.   An item for one of our grandchildren.  Bulky to deliver and bulky to keep in the house.  But useful.  Something that chills-out Alfie when he unable to express frustration on a dial from 1-10 (as we do).  Alfie just has 10.  And Alfie “chills out” by bouncing – and with more spatial awareness than I have – enough to watch a tv programme and still not fall off the thing!  Special needs are special deeds.

Anyway, Amazon speedily delivered this item bought “Used – as good as new”.  Except it was “Used – not fit for purpose.” A huge tear in the edging cover.  Feet unable to be screwed on to the base.  And bulky.”

“Problem – what problem?”, justmebeingcurious 

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Might not look like anything even close to “biblically correct” …

Or just maybe …

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So to the bible bit …

Seems to me that we use the bible the same way.

We don’t have the authority to overrule the bible.  No one in the organisation or hierarchy has.  But we do HAVE the authority to enforce the bible (on behalf of God).”

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Why not pop across and have a look?

Thank you –

Paul

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