So difficult the path, but worth the journey.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” Ernest Hemingway
I had an acquaintance who constantly accused his wife of being a liar and not worthy of his trust. He told all his friends and family as much, including their children. He used to grill her and find holes in her stories. He’d follow her to the grocery store, sure she was meeting another man. He’d even show up to her job unannounced to make sure she was at work when she told him she would be. He accused her of having an affair that resulted in the conception of their second son, even though the son was a spitting image of him. He never caught her doing anything, but always said she was an expert liar who covered up everything. You can probably guess that this troubled marriage ended unhappily. His mistrust became abuse when practiced his way.
My experience with this man was that he trusted almost no one. He was suspicious. He thought he knew more than everyone else. He’d say degrading things about people behind their backs. And if they were fragile enough, he’d insult them to their faces, knowing they didn’t have the wherewithal to fight back. But, he had the allure of a bright, charming, fun-loving man. He was the loudest voice at parties. He seemed buoyant and engaged. And you should see what he did on the dance floor … like dirty dancing on steroids!
A colleague described this man as a narcissist. I’m not a specialist in diagnosing pathologies, but it seems to me that he had some self-esteem issues, which caused him to put everyone else down so that he seemed to be a bigger and better man. His reality was sad. The man I knew was fearful, paranoid, and lonely.
He thought the world was out to “pull one over” on him, so that’s all he saw – hucksters, liars and cheats. I met some of those same people. I perceived them as honest, kind, and generous and I told him so. Somehow, he thought he was able to discern peoples’ motivations in a way that eluded the rest of the world. He told me that only 3% of the population scored the way he did on the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory. When I heard that declaration, I thought to myself, “Thank God. We don’t need more than 3% of the population being so nasty!”
I tell you about this guy because I believe that we speak our world into being. If I say the church is filled with loving, faithful, and generous people, I’m more likely to see those characteristics than anything else. If I say the church is filled with uptight, controlling hypocrites, I’m going to see behaviors that fit my description, even if those behaviors are the exception rather than the rule, even if those behaviors don’t exist at all.
It’s my hope and prayer that, as people of God, we see others closer to God’s reality than this acquaintance of mine. I think God sees us with rose-colored glasses. Sure, God knows our growing edges and vulnerabilities, but like a loving parent, She has eyes of love that are smitten with us.
I befriended four
and acting as
on my run
no bullets flew.
And then he said, “Here I am.”
You might say that God made us in his own mysterious image — mysterious not like human riddles and conundrums, but in our capacity to energetically participate in the creative, existential mystery of whatever the world is up to with us. At the eye of the storm we can know peace, strength, and a faith that passes understanding, finding ourselves at home with true mystery.
— Paul Martin, from Revelation in the Whirlwind of Existence.
(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
I have a dream for Gordon College. The scope of my dream does not rival that of Dr. King’s, but I believe it is one that would make him proud.
I dream that “freedom within the framework of faith” would mean something. Something real. I dream that “nondenominational” would mean that we represent…
Amen, and may the God of Justice, the Prince of Inclusion and the Spirit of Renewal keep hope alive.
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These are so cute.
"Breathe and everything changes."
—Seane Corn, in Yoga, Meditation in Action.