Peg

The “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” concept only works so far.  How do you deal with the situation when they don’t return the favor?  I feel like I’m constantly giving out 20 dollar bills, and not getting anything back – not even a thank you.

I have often felt like a square peg in a round hole. How people treat me is often at odds with how I feel they should treat me. I asked God about this and God said that perhaps it’s me. Perhaps I need to change my expectations of the world.

God says “My ways are not your ways.”

Jesus asked his disciples to stay in the world but not to be of the world.

Jesus said to forgive people without count.

Jesus said that we should treat our enemies with kindness, and in so doing we will prove that we are children of God.

God says to me that I am supposed to stay the way I am and stay in the world as it is,

and feel that hurt

feel that pain

feel that dissonance.

…in part, so that I understand and can empathize with people who are excluded and left out. But also so that in holding my ground I can teach others how to act in a Godly way.  Sometimes we are to be teachers through our actions.

Many years ago,

I had asked God to be able to spread the messages he gave without attention to me. I want to be anonymous, and live my life without fame. This way I can go to the gym or the grocery store and live like a normal person. In the meantime God uses me as a conduit. I want to be a good steward of the gifts that he gives me.

 

So why am I upset when a message I share is taken up and adopted (stolen, in my mind) by someone who acts as if it is theirs? I don’t want fame or money, so it doesn’t make sense for me to be upset.

I brought this to God this week and got a lot of peace.  That feeling I had is the human part of me, rearing its ugly head.  It is important that I felt it, and brought it to God.  That is what God wants – to heal all of our brokenness.  But we have to take it to the Healer to be healed.

Here is what it means to be a child of God: It isn’t natural, but spiritual.  We are all created by God at birth but the true children of God, once they are spiritually awake, then choose to be further formed and shaped by God. They choose to align themselves with God and then let God work through them.  It is a two-way adoption.  God wants all of us to choose to follow God’s ways, but not all of us do.  It is our choice.

I need to give my immature feelings of jealousy (because these messages are not mine, but God’s) to God, so God can transform them into selflessness.   I need to do this in order to become a pure vessel for God’s Spirit in this world.

Sometimes for healing to take place, there has to be a reconciliation – a balancing of the accounts.

It is important to let other people know how you feel.  They can’t read your mind. It is like being a bill collector who issues the bill (with interest) ten years after it is due.  It is better to issue the bill early, to get it over with and have the accounts settled as soon as possible.

Jesus says that if we have an issue against someone, to not take our offering to the Temple, but to leave it and go make peace with that person first.

So today I wrote sent this message to a lady in a head covering group I belong to:

“Hello!  I thought it would be important to write you.  At least a year ago I mentioned something on the “Cover me happy” Facebook page about how it would be a good idea to focus on the idea of covering, instead of covering with a lot of fancy wraps.  I said that too many fancy wraps would make it difficult for the beginner, or someone who is poor and can’t afford a lot of scarves.  I also pointed out that modesty is an important part of covering, so calling attention to it with fancy wraps didn’t make sense.  Not long after I said that, you posted on the Wrapunzel page this very idea, saying that you’d read it in another group but wasn’t sure who said it.  Then it became a thing, where people were posting their single scarf wraps and tagging you.  I felt very hurt by this, since I am the one who suggested it.  I said nothing at the time, but now that something like this has happened to me in a different context, I think it is important to speak up and set things right.  I don’t want fame for the idea – it was just an idea.  I don’t want to be tagged when people post when they wear one scarf.  But I also don’t want my ideas claimed by someone else.  I think it is important to make things right, so that is why I am writing, to let you know how I feel.”

I have no idea how she will respond to it.  She probably doesn’t even remember.  Because of the message system on Facebook, she might never see it.  But I needed to write it.  It is important to balance the accounts.

Yesterday I wrote to the administrator of a group I’d been submitting newsletter offerings to, saying that she could not claim that she was writing the posts.  My first several posts were given the anonymous “from a member” credit.  I wasn’t sure about this – there was nothing saying that what we submitted would be anonymous.  But now it didn’t even say that, and at the bottom I noted that she’d said the contents were copyright (to her group – not to me).

Perhaps it was good for it to be anonymous – that way one member wouldn’t stick out.  I was also still wrestling with the idea that at least my messages were getting out.  I still don’t want fame or attention.  But I also don’t want my work to be claimed by another.

It is why I say that anyone can use anything I wrote for “The Condensed Gospel” for free, but they cannot claim that they wrote it, or charge money for it.  I don’t want money for it – but I also don’t want someone else to make money on it.  I now feel that credit is a sort of money in a way.

So now I’m holding my ground and speaking up. I’m telling people that they have hurt me as soon as I realize that they have, without “charging interest”.

 

Who is the most important?

The disciples came up to Jesus and asked him “Who is the most important in the kingdom of heaven?” They had been arguing about it.

To answer them he called a child to him and had him stand in the middle of them. Jesus said “If anyone wants to be the most important, he has to be the least important, even like a servant to everyone.

“Mark my words, unless you change your ways and become innocent like children you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever is able to humble himself in the same way that this child is, that person is the most important in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives an innocent child like this in my name is also welcoming me. And whoever welcomes me also welcomes The One who sent me.”

Mt 18:1-5, MK 9:33-37, LK 9:46-48

“It is impossible to avoid the causes of sin, but it is a terrible thing to be someone who is responsible for those stumbling blocks! He would be better off if a huge rock were to be tied around his neck and he was thrown into the sea than for him to cause the downfall of an innocent person who believes in me!”

MT 18:6-7, LK 17:1-2, MK 9:42

“If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. Likewise, if your eye leads you into temptation, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one of the parts of your body than for all of your body to go to hell, where the prophet Isaiah tells us that ‘Their worm does not die, and the fire never goes out.'”

MT 18:8-9, MT 5:29-30, MK 9:43-48

“Everyone will be salted with fire in the same way that every sacrifice made at the Temple is salted. You are the salt of the earth. Salt is good, but if it loses its flavor how can you make it salty again? Then it is no longer good for anything, even the compost pile. The only thing you can do is throw it out for people to walk on. If you have salt among yourselves you will be at peace with one another.

MK 9:49-50, MT 5:13, LK 14:34-35

Ah! God!

I’m noticing a connection in the different names for God. Jehovah. Allah. Yahweh. Hosanna. Adonai. All have the sound “ah” as part of them. Is there something we should notice here?

Is God, (which is not a name so much as a descriptive) the surprise, the awakening? When we are surprised in a gentle way we often say “Ah-ha!” It is a sound of coming to ourselves, of waking up. It is a sound of an awareness that is deepening. It is a sound of new understanding and growth. It is a good sound. It means that we are stretching ourselves and growing into awareness and consciousness.

Or, another idea, do we find God in the exhalation? A breath out is an “ah”. Of course, God breathed life into us, so the sound we breathe out is that same breath. It didn’t change from going into us to going out of us. And when God was breathing into us, God was actually breathing out. God breathes out, and we breathe in.

Another idea, is God to be found hiding in “amen” and “alleluia”? In our giving thanks, we are pointing back to God. With our God-given breath we are giving it back in praise. I’m reminded of the idea of giving up the first born of the livestock. It takes a lot to give up the firstborn – you aren’t guaranteed a second. It takes a lot to give up your breath, for the same reason.

There are no guarantees. But we are made to love and serve God, and not to hoard up any of the gifts we have been given by God. To use our breath to praise God is the simplest and most honest gift we can offer.

Wherever we go, there we are. Wherever we go, there is God with us.

There is a Jewish podcast that I listen to a lot. The writer/speaker likes to talk a lot about the first word in the Torah. The word is b’reishit. It sounds a bit like “Bray-sheese.” It is often translated as “in the beginning”, but the author says that “with beginnings” is better. It isn’t about the beginning of time, but beginning itself. Every moment is a new beginning, a new chance.

He has said that if you rearrange the letters of the first word, it spells the “song of the aleph-bet (the alphabet)”. That is pretty poetic, and it makes a lot of sense. I’ve heard that the Jews believe that God spoke or sang the world into existence with the Torah.

The writer/speaker has talked about many different meanings and depths to this word, this beginning of beginnings, but I don’t think he has ever talked about the fact that the Torah begins with the second letter of the alphabet and not the first. So I will.

Why would the Torah’s first word start with B, and not A? For starters, God is always surprising us. The underdog is constantly getting promoted in the Bible stories. The second son gets the inheritance most of the time. The last shall be first.

I think God wants us to not expect things with God to be the same pattern as it does with the world. God’s ways are not our ways. The rules change. Don’t become complacent. What you thought was going to happen isn’t always what is going to happen. You are not in charge.

But then, it all goes back to the sound, Ah. Sometimes you only notice something when it is missing. By having B as the first letter and not A, it points back to A. And A, “ah,” points back to God. And God is the beginning of everything.