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When we were kids, my best friend and I would announce it was “opposite day” and turn our jackets or sweaters around backwards.  Who knew that this silly childhood game would become a national pastime.

Did someone there on the right disagree with me?  Sorry, couldn’t hear him.  I’m already running my mouth again or jabbing my phone to post a snippy response on social media.

Step back.  Take a deep breath.

If this is something you truly believe in, leave off the snotty Facebook posts. Look for a protest march to join.  Write a letter to your Congress people.   Mine is going to include a quote from Romans.  A slightly longer quote than the one used to justify the abuse of children.

Yeah.  I said it – abuse.  But it isn’t a term I selected in anger.  Being slow to anger doesn’t mean ignoring wrongs.  It just means you need to hear them out in good faith.  Then you get to have your say.

–SueBE

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I have to admit that I laughed when I read Miss Ruth’s post on whether or not we see each other around our own world view. I do not change directions easily.  I don’t think I’m narrow-minded but my brain seems to hard wire things.  This is X.  That is Y.  When I find out that I had it backward, it takes me a few minutes to reorient my brain.

Yesterday our Bible class was discussing Jonah.  Pastor Sean pointed out how important it is for us to understand that the Israelites saw the sea, any sea, as chaos.  The giant fish?  A beast of chaos.

As much as I loathe water and swimming, I would have remembered this if I had ever heard it before. It so fits my world view!

But my grandad grew up on Biloxi Bay.  He was a bay life guard and swam in the ocean, the ocean that scared me silly.

My great uncles on the other side were river fishermen.  My grandmother and aunt pointed out that out often.  “Fishermen, Susie.  Just like the apostles.”  For my family, the fact that they were fishermen made them, and faith, that much more accessible.

Chaos?  Really?

The problem with this mental reversal was that I was teaching the class.  Not the best time to sit there and reorient your world view.  Fortunately, most of them have known me since I was 12.  Chaos.  I had it backwards?  One tiny step forward but still not wise.

–SueBE

Lori’s post from yesterday was so timely.  Liberals are complaining about what this person and that person said.  Conservatives counter with some other hateful thing that a liberal said.  All of the comments are dehumanizing and need never have been said.  But then one person disagrees with someone else and you’d think the sky was falling.

And so often it just doesn’t make sense.

What was being discussed wasn’t even about the person who has taken it all oh-so personally.  And it isn’t that I never do this.  Oh, no.  There are days where I Am the Queen.  Usually it means that I need to take a step back.

Why?  Because what has upset me didn’t have to.  I let it.

There will be upsetting things in this world.  There will be suffering.  As Lori pointed out, we ran right over to the Tree of Knowledge.  That decision has made for a life of suffering.

But what someone said in response to a post, a meme or a comment?  That’s small in comparison.  We all need to learn to let some things pass.

–SueBE

 

Try as you might, you can’t be in the present and in the past at the same time. Well, not unless you dive into quantum theory. But that’s neither here nor there. Get it? It’s a pun!

Two quantum physicists won the Nobel Prize for proving “the correctness of the bizarre properties of quantum mechanics, i.e., that electrons can be two places at the same time.”

I like to read about quantum theory, although I can honestly say that I don’t quite understand it. It’s so murky that even Einstein refused to accept it, saying, “God does not play dice.” Niels Bohr responded, “Einstein, stop telling God what to do.”

I’m with Richard Feynmann, who said, “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics.”

That being said, you’re not an electron. You may have an electric wit, even flashes of brilliance, (not to mention hot flashes😉) but you’re still only human.

You can’t hold onto the past – whether it was your heyday or a Nightmare on Elm Street – and reach forward to the future at the same time. You may be in your cubicle at work, but once your psyche time-travels back to your first heartbreak, you’re not really anywhere, anymore.

Not to worry; there’s a map to mental health in Philippians, with two keys.

“…One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.”  

Forget what lies behind.

Reach forward to what lies ahead.

Forget and reach. I think it’s interesting that “forget” is used here. It’s something separate from “forgive.” Not just forgiving a slight, but forgetting it to make way for better things. To put it more simply, let go, let God, and let new blessings in.

This may be one of my all time favorite Bible verses and it has only become more so after a God moment I experienced this week.

My friend and I are once again preparing to teach adult Sunday school.  Our class uses two sets of material.  One consists of pamphlets put out by a religious press.  They cover a wide range of topics from the Lord’s Prayer to the Kings.  While I try to tell myself that I’m okay with them, 90% of the time they feel like an educational snack.  There’s just enough there to make me want more.

The other set of books are the ones produced by the Presbyterian Church USA for women’s Bible study. My friend and I chose the 2007/2008 study that taught Jonah and Ruth.  We tend to like these books so we didn’t really look at it.  We already knew there would be almost more information than we could use.

Thursday I flipped it open and read lesson 1.  Some scholars believe that both Ruth and Jonah were written after the Babylonian captivity.  That is why both books are strongly anti-foreign, an issue that God addresses with Ruth and Jonah and the author addresses in the study.

This study may be 10 years old but it is still needed today.  Thank you, Lord, for leading us to it.

–SueBE

I don’t really understand why my husband and son can’t remember which herb in the garden is which. Chives do not resemble sage.  Oregano and peppermint may look similar but the smell of each is revealing. But I have learned that I better check which one they’ve handed me.  Of course, I didn’t remember that until after the tarragon went into the fritata.  Fortunately, it was a really good mistake.

Not all mistakes have such delicious results but that’s okay.  I’m a firm believer that without mistakes and accidental discoveries, we stagnate.  Me?  I’m not in much danger of stagnating because each and every day is a series of oops, rats, not what I meant to happen.

Frankly, it isn’t hard to imagine myself bumbling my way across the wilderness although I would like to think that it wouldn’t take me quite 40 years.  But who knows?  It could take longer.

–SueBE

Not my will but thy will, Lord.

I pray it because I know I should but on my more aware days I realize that truly I want things on my time-table.  God’s stretches out too far.  I don’t want results in 40 years.  I want them now.

But even in my own life, I sometimes feel like things have stalled.  I want to push.  I want progress now!   And I have to remind myself that some things, even if they are God’s will, take time.  After all, a 40 year time-table is not unheard of.

–SueBE

There’s no doubt about it. This has been a tumultuous Lent for many of us.  But tomorrow we celebrate a reminder that Christ is risen for us.

And that means all of us.  The crabby ones. The disorganized ones.  The baffled ones.  Even the ones who rejected Him yelling “Crucify him!” just days after greeting him with waving palm branches.

And he forgave them.  He forgives us all.  He washes us clean.

Honor your soul.  It isn’t easy but try to leave some of the anger at the foot of the cross.  Don’t look back.  Look forward.  Step out as a guardian of nature, a messenger of wonder, or an architect of peace.

–SueBE

 

Spoiler alert: If you’re looking for declarative answers, this is not your lucky day. Because no one has them. Yes, all Christians believe in a “triune” God — one God composed of three persons: The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. But to try to make a triune God fit in a square box would be nothing but an exercise in futility. God is not so easily defined.

But let’s try. The three persons of God are God fully present in each of God’s roles: As God our Father in Heaven; as Jesus, God’s son; and as The Holy Spirit, who operates as a sort of bridge between Father and Son and between God and us. Think of it like water, which can assume three forms: ice, liquid and steam, yet remains one chemical compound, H2O. Three unique embodiments, one unified composition.

If you’re not satisfied with that explanation, I understand. It’s tricky. But therein lies the beauty of the Holy Trinity, and of Catholicism. See, us Catholics perceive the Holy Trinity (and other difficult concepts) as a mystery of the church. In other words, it’s okay to be confused. The church, in a beautifully zen move, admits that not everything can be neatly defined. Some things are not explicable. And that’s okay.

We live our lives in tension with mystery: How exactly does gravity work? How can something exist if I can’t see or touch it? How does an egg and a sperm become a human being? Nobody has all the answers, even if they very much want to. The Holy Trinity is like that.

I think one of the greatest chores of our lives is to give in to mystery, to admit that we don’t know and that not knowing is acceptable. I pray to God in all three persons, as a father who creates, loves and cares for me; as Jesus, my brother and friend, who lived a human life like mine; and as the Holy Spirit, who enlightens and empowers and transmits the grace that allows me to grapple with the great mysteries of life. Yet there is only one God. This isn’t the Pep Brothers or Donald Duck’s nephews — three guys who are always seen together. This is one indivisible God in three unique persons.

And, of course, God isn’t a guy at all. Or a gal. But that’s an entirely different mystery. Let’s save that one for another day.

Helping people can be tricky.  We see someone with a problem.  We know, just know, how to help them.  So we do.

The problem was theirs.The solution was ours.  And there are times that all is well and good.

But what if they had another solution in mind?  A better solution?  A solution that didn’t create an us with power and a them without?

When we help someone, we need to do it with love which is what makes helping people tricky. Love listens.  Love opens up to new ways of doing things.   Love doesn’t assume that there is only one way, our way.

Love, like Christ, moves among those in need, getting to know them, seeing them, speaking to them, sitting beside them.   Only then does love act.

–SueBE

 

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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