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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Borrowed Thoughts

Today is brought to you by the Queen, and the migraine philosopher.

The Queen:
"Love is something more stern and
splendid than mere kindness."
CS Lewis-The Problem of Pain

(I like the mystery in that).

".... It Cannot all be figured out, and it's truly annoying to have to listen to people who think they have. Wasn't it St. Augustine who said something loosely translated as "If you can figure it out, it isn't God"?

"....I know beyond any reasonable doubt that NOTHING is as it appears, I'm cynical, yet trusting in a guarded sort of way.

"I hear the TV evangelist variety telling how bad they were, and then Christ entered their life, and they became good. It didn't happen like that for me. Christ came into my life and showed me how much worse things were than even I thought possible. He never told me, 'There, I've fixed you up good, now you go point out to everyone else what is wrong with them'. He seemed to say to me something entirely different. Something more like - come to the party where everyone is an honest mess, but together I'll teach you where to find the joy."

What Judy says here resonates with sensible grace, doesn't it?
The more I want to be that person who so looks like Christ that people will want more of him, the more frightened I become that I must be causing mass, trampling crowds to run screaming away. The truth is, I'm shattered like any other honest human I've ever met. I don't expect to become a show piece. Ever.

But maybe grace is more about partying amidst the honesty of the mess of life. One can not wait for that elusive time when all the questions and failures have been resolved before offering grace to others.


QueenHeroical said...

Well the Queen thanks you the nod for the borrowing of the borrowing etc etc ...

Oh but I have another quote for you (I am big on quotes these days as you can see):

"The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It's for you I created the universe. I love you. There's only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you'll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too." (Carl) Frederick Buechner

I thought it fit in here.

--still chewing

Rosster said...

Looooove the Buechner !!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm speechless.

I almost didn't press the publish button. I slept on it, and published it in the morning.

I'm truly humbled.

Judy - Anybody Home

Anonymous said...

I didn't really "get" the concept of grace until awhile ago. Honestly, I found the term to be over-used and empty.

My favorite thought on this topic is by Anne Lamott (surprise, suprise).
"Grace means you're in a different universe from where you had been stuck, when you had absolutely no way to get there on your own."

That's what happened to me.

Anonymous said...

I realize that you are talking about grace from you to others. Continuing the lengthy list of what I don't "get", what do you mean by "offering grace" to others? What does that look like to you?

Joyce said...

love all the resonance here...
Judy, you have a refreshing and sincere honesty. It just makes sense. Maybe its not going to write any theology texts, which few of us would read anyway,,, but what you've offered is so lovely because it doesn't try to tame God.

Me said...

I am not sure if I even commented on Judy's post because it would have sounded too much like an extravaganza of idolatrous flattery!!

But wasn't her post awesome?

One thing that I loved about her post was her 'loose' translation of Augustine which so fits with how I feel good worship needs to be - we have to realize the awesomeness of God and realize we will never, ever, ever get our minds around Him!! I think it is splendid.

That said, I think I sometimes write like someone who thinks they have all the answers and that happens when I am excited by one of my so-called "discoveries." :)

I am as lousy at the self-discipline of knowing God as I am at the self-discipline of moderate food intake. So absolutely no one ought to think I have the answers.

lettuce said...

thats a great definition of grace, "partying amidst the honesty of the mess". And grace means so much more when it comes from someone who also knows about the mess, who's also in the mess. (which is what I think the incarnation was essentially about)

Anonymous said...

At the risk of not being cool to your readership, I confess I used to be of that evangelist variety. I don't want to bash the type, b/c some are just trying to live out sincerely what they believe.
I used to know a Jewish girl who was quite close to our family for some time. And I used to try to enlighten her with my knowledge of Christ. Unfortunately, the only grace that abounded existed in her quiet non-argumentative spirit. I was the antithesis of grace actually. I was right. She was wrong. I had it all wrapped up I thought, not realizing that I was just another needy, thirsty mule that should have waited her turn at the trough. What a hard lesson.
I am still trying to forgive myself. Please let me come to your party where I can partake in the making of messes.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, that's wrong. I don't want to make any more messes. I'll bring what I've already got. We can pool them altogether and see what we come up with. Ummm...that sounds like church to me.

Joyce said...

Joanne, isn't it true that none of us are "cool"? Would it not be the truest irony to be too un-cool for grace?!

"some are just trying to live out sincerely what they believe"...
isn't this true for all of us? And does God not judge us on the intention of our hearts? We were raised on evangelism and it probably has a place, but I like you am uneasy with the holier-than-thou approach. I'm more interested in a life that births from the Spirit, and speaks for itself. Well, more specifically that God speaks through.

Do you still have a relationship with the friend? It would be interesting to simply ask her what it was like for her.

Of course, the glory isn't in the mess. But hiding or denying mess is lying, faking, and deceiving. We are to bear one another's burdens, not grovel in them, and of course have the courage to point people we love in the right direction AS THE SPIRIT LEADS.

Oh, AND.
I'm SO glad to see your comment here. Honestly, I thought I'd scared you off!! Its crazy how insecurities even creep into blog relationships. And we're not even REAL?!!!

Let's do church sometime.
What I'd actually, really love to do some time is communion the way Jesus did it. Get together, share a meal, share the wine, share our hearts.

it's a gong show... said...

Reserve a seat for me Joyce (at that meal sharing/wine sharing event).


QueenHeroical said...

Hi again,

I don't know if this applies fully but I keep coming back to the fruits of the spirit:

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

These far flung hard to find things which I -alone- have a hard time drumming up, they are bits and pieces of grace. I don’t know if I can aspire to being Grace-ful; I can however hope(pray)to bear and taste fruit occasionally, God willing.

my 1/4 of a cent,


Homo Escapeons said...

Your honesty proves that you truly are one in 6 billion!