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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Love is always the answer?

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Comments under yesterday’s post (justmebeing curious)

“I don’t know how regionalized it is, but where I’m at a cage is what you described, a crate is solid on all sides, except for the door.

I had a professor who told us that (in his opinion) what Jesus meant when he said that the only way to the Father is through him that he was not saying that only Christians could go to the Father, but that only by following his teachings would get us to that goal. Thus, many of those who are not Christian, but follow Jesus’s teaching “as if by the heart”, will be with the Father, while those who call themselves Christians, but fail to follow his teachings, will stand outside watching.”
The Modern Theologian

“A “dog crate” seems to use the word “crate” to avoid using the word “cage”. Guessing that “cage” is a little too “penal” for man’s best friend (or the self-perception of “man” about his behaviour towards “best friend”).

As for the rest – I wonder more and more if we have the same “self-perception language” to “crate” (could we ever admit to “caging”) a God way bigger than any one “religion”.”
It’s for her own good

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And then Mike wrote this post: “Love Conquers All”
Extract …
“The Christian needs the Jew, the Muslim, and, yes, even the Hindu and Native American. It is only by seeing God in his Infinite Diversity that we can see God in everyone we encounter.”

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Why is it that – more and more – “Love is Always the Answer” is as complete as…

I Am

Paul

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The Body of Christ – a bucket-full of slops

I bit the side of a nail the other day. A “sticky out bit”. Chewed it right off. For a week that bit of my body throbbed. I was aware of that bit every day for a week. That bit which serves no purpose. It is a kind of “finger nail fixing”. A window frame around the nail itself. In the Big Picture of creation and the miracle of life – that “bit” wouldn’t get on anyone’s wish list.

Which bit of the body do you wish to be?
The brains
Sorry that is already taken.
The heart.
Sorry ..
That’s already taken. The legs then – there are two …
(shakes head sadly)
The fingers – there are te ..
(shakes head again)
Well here we go – just because no one else will have: the bum, the anus, the bottom, the arse!
Sorry – that went weeks ago!
That went …
(scans the small print) We do have a few bits left … not sure what most of them are – or what they are for – or why they are on this list. But you know what they say: If you’re on the list – you’re in!

The Body of Christ always seems to be discussed as “it doesn’t matter – we are all equal.” The head does not rule the body, the body does not rule the head.  I find that the “it doesn’t matter” message is usually heard from those who see themselves as “the head”.

I am here to tell you that bits I never even noticed in my body have their five minutes of fame (and quite often much – MUCH- longer)!

That finger nail frame sticky-out bit (or the bit that used to – and then throbbed for a week when it did not). The rough patch just under the ball of my foot (the bit that scratches the sheets every night).  The bit of something at the top of my nose that blocks each night (the bit of which the medical profession can find no abnormality to fix).  I have loads of little bits I never knew were there and which focus my attention nowadays.   My Body of Christ is not ruled by one part.   My Body of Christ is guided to move this way or that – as any numbers of “bits” come to light and change they way I live.  Because as I have grown older I have learned to listen more.

I have a sticky-out bit? Best leave it alone and see what happens. I have a scratchy bit on my foot at night? Best get the foot cream out and use it. I get blocked up? Unless something pops up as the answer, learn to minimise – to live in comfort – together.

And the point of all this musing?

Musing brought to life by Esther’s Petition: Bette Cox – and a post entitled: Introduction to Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

We talk of the differentiation of the Body of Christ … We talk of the usefulness of that differentiation … We talk about the work that unified body can do … The power that body has when it is in harmony … We talk about this “body” as though it were a dysfunctional lump on a slab – sliced and diced and twitched back to life by our own efforts – a squirt of electricity revival there – a zap of power juice programme here.  Yet …

I Am.

When I said “Yes please, my Lord and Saviour” I became I Am – every cell and blood vessel – every breath and heartbeat – every thought and dream (if I allow).

I am I Am.

The Body of Christ is just that – a whole living thing – not the “Million Dollar (wo)Man-Church” – cobbled together with especially designed bits for here – that don’t fit with especially designed bits for over there.  The body is a body.  No more and no less.  And the more we slice and dice the various limbs and organs – the less we are a body – and the more we become just a bucket-full of slops.

Which brings me to another post. One by realchange4u: Tom Caton – and a post entitled: Steadfast & Christlike Being Perfected –  “Can you just imagine what it is like to be filled with the spirit of God to a point that he is the one doing and saying all things in our daily walk. I don’t know about you but that leaves this old man breathless … News flash his kingdom has already come and is alive and well in you if you if are saved and call yourself a christian.”

I am I Am.

How about you?