So. Sometimes I come across things that stretch me, but maybe there doesn’t seem to be enough meat to include in a blog post. BUT. What if I just include several points? And then you can comment on every one, if wanted, or just one. Or whatever. It’s your internet, too.
Drum-roll! Trumpets! May I present: three messages I found interesting.
I went to a talk by our Archbishop and a local Rabbi as they discussed the book and character of Job. Refresher course: in the story, there is a righteous and successful man named Job. A wily character (for the different religious interpretations had him as different beings) said to God, “Hey, Joe is only holy because his life is good.” So then all these really tragic and painful things started happening to Job, but for all of the problems, he doesn’t lose his faith. *end refresher course*
There is a point where Job curses the day he was born. The lady who was asking questions/ moving along the conversation asked, “What is your take on this–should we be so honest and blunt with God?”
I loved our Archbishop’s answer. He talked about how God desires relationship with us–a covenant relationship where all that we have is His and all that He has is ours.
In that case, the Archbishop said, of course God wants our pain and our honesty, too. Because, without those things, we are withholding things from God. And God desires all of us.
Reaction: So good! Mind exploding!
Discuss: What is your take on giving God even the things that are hard? Did you ever think that withholding the tough honesty was keeping you from the covenant relationship?
Someone posted on Facebook one of those touching videos where deaf people are given cochlear implants and can suddenly hear.
I have a beautiful friend who is a professional sign-language interpreter. Every day she works with the deaf community, translating thoughts and phrases back and forth with the hearing. (She can hear, btw).
This was her response to the video:
Well, you see, the problem with videos like this is that they don’t show the rest of the story with the painful toil of speech therapy and pounding headaches and unsuccessful stories after the initial activation.
The percentage of times that the Cochlear Implant works isn’t very high. More often it works best for people who have heard before and already have the neural pathways established for auditory input. If people are deafened before they acquire language, then getting a CI doesn’t work like in Mark 7 when Jesus heals the man born deaf who then immediately understands language. If you’ve never heard speech you have to start from the very beginning with distinguishing the sounds and making sense of it all.
That is what makes Mark 7 so incredible. Jesus wasn’t just giving the man the ability to hear birds and wind or whatever, he was giving the man access to words, communication, and society. Nowadays there are so many other options for communication, rather than only speech. So Deaf people are not (or should not be, even though they are still) the societal outcasts that they once were. CIs are great, when they work, but they are not the miraculous “fix” that so many people think when they see videos like this. The true fix will be when hearing people’s perspective changes to the extent that those who communicate differently are not viewed as inferior and in need of a “fix”. Like how Jesus took the time to communicate to the man what he was about to do (touching the man’s ears and mouth- not speaking to him) and then didn’t pray with words to leave the man out of the conversation (he looked to heaven and groaned without speech), people need to take the slight extra time needed to communicate with Deaf people. That would be truly beautiful.
*Steps off soapbox*
Reaction: Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang, girl.
Discuss: That understanding of the Gospel was just absolutely new to me. Before, it didn’t make sense–why was Jesus touching him like that? Why was he groaning? But now, beautifully, it does make sense.
On a personal level, I feel like Jesus has tiny ways of communicating with me, too. Silly ways, that I don’t usually talk about: raindrops often fall square on the tip of my nose, for instance…even when it’s barely raining. Maybe that’s just a coincidence, sure, but I’ve always interpreted it as a loving, heavenly touch.
ANYWAY–what are your thoughts on the Gospel?
I came across this because sometimes (cough every day cough) I read the internet.
Here’s a quote from St. John Chrysostom who lived in the 300/ 400 A.D. range. Oh, he was an Archbishop. This is what he suggested that young men would say to their wives:
I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us. . . . I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.
Reaction one: *pant…pant…pant*
Reaction two: Dangit, I went to that one wedding a few weeks ago and I could have written that in the card!!
Discuss: Sometimes I think I kind of forget that, actually, the church knows what love is about. And this quote helped me remember that. Love is not the stuff of top-40 radio. I mean, love is the stuff of the crucifix, and we know that. But, I mean, romantic love is a part of love, too…so why wouldn’t the church have the best words for that, as well?
SO. These are my points. Thoughts?