Lent Is Coming
Several times a week, I join a guided meditation Zoom call by the Yoga studio that I belong to. I do both yoga and meditation for my own personal devotional work besides reading Bible, Richard Rohr, Philip Newell, Phyllis Tickle, and journaling every day. Yoga and meditation are part of my routine because to me, Christianity doesn’t do a very good job of connecting body and Spirit. We focus a lot on mind and Spirit. We do a pretty good job of that—reasoning and growing our way into this life as children of God.
I often read things that I wish I had written—in last week’s blog I copied “She Let Go,” a poem by Saphire Rose. Just stuff I can relate to in my bones. A lot of the time, this happens when I read Richard Rohr. He rings that bell all the time for me.
RR rang my bell on a couple of fronts going into Lent last year. I read him every day. RR is a Franciscan friar (something I learned about, too) and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque.
First this from RR:
Since Jesus himself was humble and poor, then the pure and simple imitation of Jesus became Francis’ life agenda. He was a fundamentalist, not about doctrinal Scriptures, but about lifestyle Scriptures: take nothing for your journey; eat what is set before you; work for your wages; wear no shoes. This is still revolutionary thinking for most Christians, although it is the very “marrow of the Gospel,” to use Francis’ own phrase—He knew intuitively what many educators have now proven--that humans tend to live themselves into new ways of thinking more than think themselves into new ways of living. The lecture method changes very few people at any deep or long-lasting level. It normally does not touch the unconscious, where all our hurts and motives lie hidden and disguised.
And then this, on atonement:
Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity. It did not need changing. Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God! God is not someone to be afraid of but is the Ground of Being and on our side.
The Franciscan minority position, our alternative orthodoxy, is basically saying that no atonement is necessary. Some call it “at-one-ment” instead of atonement. There is no bill to be paid; there is simply a union to be named. Jesus didn’t come to solve a problem; he came to reveal the true nature of God as Love.
Whew! This is the kind of stuff that makes your brain hurt and it speaks into Lent. Lent is an entire season of Christian atonement. By giving something up that doesn’t make us “at-one” with God or adopting spiritual disciplines in Lent that do bring us closer to God, I think we often come at it trying to think ourselves into new ways of living.
What if we just followed Jesus? Purely and simply living into the lifestyle scriptures. Stop focusing on right belief and focus on right practice. Living into it.
Doing. Being. Connecting mind, body, and Spirit!
I can’t help but think if we just tried to live into new ways of thinking, we will see Jesus changing our minds about God!
I’m just gonna leave that right there, because that alone is enough to make your brain hurt.
Grace and peace,
Assorted muttering and armchair theology from the interim pastor, Rev. Scott Foster.