The Weak Have Nothing to Run From

I’m inspired and challenged by these words from chapter 64 of The Rule of St. Benedict: The Election of an Abbot:

“Goodness of life and wisdom in teaching must be the criteria for choosing the one to be made abbot, even if he is the last in community rank…

Once in office, the abbot must keep constantly in mind the nature of the burden he has received, and remember to whom he will have to give an account of his stewardship (Luke 16:2).  Let him recognize that his goal must be profit for the monks, not preeminence for himself.  He ought, therefore, to be learned in divine law, so that he has a treasury of knowledge from which he can bring out what is new and old (Matt. 13:52).  He must be chaste, temperate and merciful.  He should always let mercy triumph over judgment (James 2:13) so that he too may win mercy.  He must hate faults but love the brothers.  When he must punish them, he should use prudence and avoid extremes…

Let him strive to be loved rather than feared.

Excitable, anxious, extreme, obstinate, jealous or oversuspicious he must not be.  Such a man is never at rest.  Instead, he must show forethought and consideration in his orders, and whether the task he assigns concerns God of the world, he should be discerning and moderate…drawing on… discretion, the mother of virtues, he must so arrange everything that the strong have something to yearn for and the weak nothing to run from.”

The Silent Seduction of the Suburbs

Sometimes I can feel the deadening, the hardening, the glazing of the eyes…

It’s not a seduction of passion.  There’s no rush, no thrill.  
Just predictable stability.  Just the normal routine.

It can kill the soul.  It can blunt the once raw edge of the spirit.    
This is the silent seduction of the suburbs.  But it can happen anywhere, because it happens within.  Slowly, without detection, the oxygen is turned down, the morphine is turned up, and we exist in a mild state of mediocrity.
And, in time, our “Christianity” is nothing more than a “positive alternative”, 
                     our prayers never reach beyond “keep us safe”,
                            and our ethic is reduced to “being nice.” 
              Dulled into lifelessness. 

It’s common, but it’s counterfeit.  
Don’t spend your life on a spiritual couch holding a spiritual remote.  

Today is a journey.  It could be epic.

(What’s keeping you from really living it?)

Common Grace

What is it that turns a simple meal from something that fills a stomach to something that fills a soul?  
Why is it that sometimes after I eat, I feel like I can exist another few hours, and other times, after I eat, I feel like I can change the world?  
What’s the variable that changes a meal from something that makes me feel full to something that makes me feel loved? 
I think it’s community.  It’s relationships.  It’s others. 
You and I share the same basic need: we need calories.  You and I share the same basic solution: food.
I think this is fascinating: you and I can individually address our same needs with the same solutions and have one kind of experience. 
Or we can collectively address our same needs with the same solutions together and have a completely different kind of experience. 
You can say, man I’m hungry.  I’m gonna eat a burger. 
And I can say, man I’m hungry.  I’m gonna eat a burger. 
And we can go to different burger joints and in 30 minutes we’ll both be full.
Or you can say, man I’m hungry.  And I can say, man I’m hungry.  And we can say, Let’s go get burgers together.  And in 30 minutes something more than just the taking-in of fuel has happened.  Community has happened. 
And because of community we’ve at least opened up the opportunity for something more:
Instead of just existing, we’ve had a chance to make a difference.
Instead of feeling full, perhaps now we feel loved.
Instead of just feeding our stomachs, maybe we’ve also fed our souls.
The Bible is just full of food.  But it’s not really about the food. 
I suggest it’s about Christian community: people of different races, different backgrounds, different experiences, all gathering together with a common condition, with a common need, a common hunger, a common longing… all coming to the same place hoping to be filled – not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually, holistically: body, mind, soul. 
Here’s the point:
People gather as a Christian community for something none of us can get by ourselves.  We come together for something we can only get from another.  We gather for grace.