I was out back having an emotional pity party.
Apologizing to God for all my bad qualities that seem to never give me rest.
The things that persist in me; the things I at times am inclined to fall back into.
And here I go crying, and decide to open up one of the many books I read from time to time. And this is what it said:
“You can show your love to others by NOT wishing that they were better Christians.” ~Francis of Assisi
“We must bear patiently NOT being good…and NOT being thought good.”~Francis of Assisi
The author (Richard Rohr), also mentions how for centuries the nots were deleted;even though St. Francis originally placed them there.
Rohr goes on to say, for better context sake:
“Why were those “nots” deleted? I think that the piously corrected versions provided us with am illusion about our own superiority that very much appeals to the ego, especially the religious ego. Francis’s statements come from a highly enlightened (don’t fear this word ppl) awareness, honest self-observation, and the humility that always comes with it.
I suppose there is no more counterintuitive spiritual idea than the possibility that God might actually use and find necessary what we fear, avoid, deny, and deem unworthy….Yet I believe this is the core of Jesus’s revolutionary Good News, Paul’s deep experience, and the central insight that Francis and Clare lived out….”
You see, I came from a very legalistic church setting. Where if you are to sin in one area, you might as well go all out. This was the message I was told as a kid.
I later came across context that made a lot more sense:
You hear many many believers preaching or teaching on the “it is better to be hot or cold and not “lukewarm”, in terms of sin.
It has been taught there is no room for the human condition honestly.
I still wrestle with this.
Later, I came across someone who put this idea of hot and cold found in the book of Revelation into the context it was written in:
Back in First Century Rome, they relied on the aqueducts to bring water. Well by the time it reached them, or the city I suppose, it was not hot or cold.
Cold being refreshing, hot being something one could cook or bathe in.
Hot and cold is much more useful than lukewarm water.
So they would have not even related it to sin management as we do now. To be “on fire” for God or “cold”.
It was more about usefulness.
Ever wanted lukewarm water on a hot day? Or lukewarm soup or bathwater? Maybe, some..but get the point they would have.
It was about being un-useful. Unable, to refresh or warm up a soul in a sense.
I didn’t mean to go off on tangent, but this verse came to mind while writing.
We’ve taught people they can’t be people in a way. That there is no room for it. Not all, but much of our theology is wrapped up in this idea of moral perfection, adherence, laws of our own making.
And it has really killed many, more than it has healed or brought hope.
Anyway, I still have trouble excepting God loves me in all my imperfections, and a lot of it comes from people and institutions claiming the authority of God and The Bible, but having no vision to really see past ones own lense and context.
Telling me, this is God’s voice..but is it?
We went back to the voices of all those, but Jesus.
And it is lukewarm.
I want to include one more excerpt I read in this book “Eager to Love”, that was in the last chapter.
“In some ways, the Western Church did not become so totally dualistic(divided) in its thinking until after the Reformation and the rational Enlightenment. *After the printing press, words become more important than actual experience.”
They don’t tell you this. I don’t think people even realize this.
But we can’t forget, the Bible itself is solely peoples EXPERIENCES with God or whome they called God. And they are so varied and personalized, I don’t see how we made so much dogma out of it all.
I don’t understand how teaching and doctrine became more imperative than people.