Tag Archives: holyvernacular.wordpress.com

Slowing Down the Jubilee Writing

Ah jubilee… my companion project for two years.  I set out to do a jubilee year at 48 going on 49, and I’ve just rounded the corner on a second lap, ending at 50.  And it’s been fun.  In the way that conviction is fun….  Fun as in cleansing and challenging and interesting and transformative.

The most important thing I learned in these two years of reflecting on Biblical principles of how to let the land lie fallow, how to forgive debts, how to make restitution, how to return the land to its original owners (and many possible metaphorical manifestations of this in my middle-class American lifestyle)… the most important thing I learned is this:

When we rely on the Holy Spirit for change, we really do care about the things that God reveals to us in Scripture as His concerns: the poor, justice, love.  And when we are living our normal, selfish lives (yours may not be; mine is), we don’t care so much.

I learned this from day one in the project.  I’m still learning it after two years.

There really is a mind of Christ, a new creation… and these are ours if we ask.  But apart from God’s infusion of His power and spirit, we live in our old minds and as the old creations we are… and in that mindset, I’d just as soon not share, not forgive, not love, not lean into God and let some things be.

Yet I think I’m changed as a result of this project in mindfulness.  I know the difference between when I’m me, and when I’m touched by God’s spirit.  And it shows in behavior.

I don’t know if Dallas Willard said this, or someone else, but it’s true: “If you want to change your life, ask for the grace to change your behavior.”  We are what we do.  Regardless of what we intend.

So thanks for reading.  And I’ll be interspersing some thoughts on this topic into my “other” (main) blog: www.holyvernacular.wordpress.com insofar as that one is about seeing God in the commonplace of life, in everything.  So just about anything fits over there.   And I think I’ve explored jubilee as much in writing as I should… it’s time to act, abide, act some more.

I’ll see you over at Holy Vernacular!


Shepherd’s Guide, Fish Symbols and Loving Our Neighbors

Who is my neighbor?  Everybody.  Rob Bell talks about how we must “know the other.”    I’ve been thinking about that lately, what with my “stranger of the week” feature on my other blog: (http://holyvernacular.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/inaugurating-stranger-of-the-week-feature/).

So is that why I laughed so hard today when I saw this on a car in a parking lot?

Cracked me up...

Let me say that whereas I am a big fan of Jesus, I’m not so much of a fan of those Christian fish symbols.  I can’t figure out any other way to interpret them other than “us and them.”  We’re in; you’re out.  We smile at each other and let each other cut in in traffic, and you — ultimate non-Christian otherness — will have to wait.  I just don’t get it.  Especially since they’re often on huge gas-guzzling behemoths and often driven by people (like me, I’ll admit) who sometimes inadvertently yell at people who don’t claim the intersection or who drive too slowly in the left lane.

Somehow advertising “I’m a Christian” without any nuance, conversation, relationship feels to me like answering a question nobody is asking, and it feels like a set-up (an invitation to have my behavior held to a particularly high standard, or low one, depending on who’s assessing).

And the advertisements on the radio for the “Shepherd’s Guide,” a compendium of all-Christian businesses, really bothers me.  Yes, I might go to the shepherd’s guide to get a recommendation for a priest, if I didn’t happen to know where else to find one.  In that line of work, I want my peeps to be professing Jesus.  But painters?  Carpenters?  Nail technicians (how technical is it, really?)?  I want to meet all sorts of people.   With all sorts of beliefs.  Who might teach me something.  Who might be — GASP! — “other.”  And I want to hire the best people for a job, not just the best Christian people.

I think it matters that we try to encourage and love those brothers and sisters of our own faith.  I also think it matters that we consider everyone brothers and sisters.  Why isolate when we can connect?  Why say “I’m separate” when we can say “You’re interesting.”

Just a thought.  I’ll take some fish n’ chips with that.