I wrote this a while back for Amber’s blog. There are themes in it that we have been discussing, so I’m reposting it here.
I wish Jesus would have said, “it is easier for a camel to walk into heaven than for a rich man to walk through the eye of the needle.” Then, we could all move to the middle east and hitch a ride with the nearest caravan.
I wish Jesus would have said only “love the Lord your God with all your mind and strength.” Then, doctrine and moral uprightness would justify our exclusivity, our honor for a good Pharisee.
I wish Jesus would have said “render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesars and leave a tenth for me.” Then, by my estimation, I’d get to keep about sixty-five to seventy-five percent of my honest-day’s wage, depending on my current tax bracket.
I wish Jesus would have said, “go give your pops a proper funeral before you follow me.” Then, I could hold out until my dad dies.
I wish Jesus would have said, “unless you eat a cracker and drink some unfermented grape juice once every four months or so, you have no life in you.” Then ritual would take the place of metaphor, making my Sunday mornings much more appetizing, though admittedly less intoxicating.
I wish Jesus would not have said, “if any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sister, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Then, I could continue to elevate country, politics, holy wars, and my opinion of each over the homesickness of faith.
This space is difficult and uncomfortable. But no matter how hard I try, I cannot stretch myself thread-thin. I am part of a people. And we are all trapped between earth and the eye of a very small needle.Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.
Lately I’ve been thinking about your first visit, that time you and your wife drove up from Texas to spend the weekend. We were all standing in the kitchen and you were easing us into your story. I remember something about a train, and foreign living–English teacher was it? I remember you telling me that you had this notion of grandeur, the confirming presence that real existence lies somewhere above the perfunctory protestant life.
I was standing at the sink scraping crimson pearls from the center of a pomegranate. They fell into a glass bowl filled with water so that the pith would rise to the surface. No one likes a mouthful of pith in their pomegranate. At least that’s what Amber said. I couldn’t actually recall eating pomegranate pith and neither did you.
You told us of that day when you stood on the beach throwing rocks into the ocean. Something about the promise in an infinite circle of ripples. Something about dying, falling in tandem with the baptism of the rocks. Something about meeting Jesus in a metaphor that was meant for you. Amber stood in the corner and cried “amens.” Matt and I stood still, quiet. I looked down into the bowl to make sure the pith was rising to the surface.
The kitchen was a sanctuary that morning, quiet and brimming with good food. I skimmed the surface of the glass bowl, pulling off the inedible innards and washing them down the sink. The water spiraled counterclockwise, east to west on a compass dial.
Sometimes a kitchen is just a kitchen. Sometimes it is a sanctuary for the Church.
Thank you for your story.
On Fridays, I want to post scripture readings from those spending time on the collective. If you have a text you’d like to share, record it and send it to me (uploaded YouTube link will work nicely, as will any video format file).
This week, because it seems to have been the theme, I read about the Bread of Life. The passage is John 6:47-58.
Send any reading submissions to seth.m.haines at gmail.com.Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.
I’ve often wondered what would happen on a blog if someone gave a simple topic in a post and said, “let’s hash this out in the comments.”
Today I broke bread with a friend, a member of the local body. I confessed that I need a bit of balance in my life, that I desperately desired respite in community. I need accountability to peace. He asked if I was finding an Acts 2:42 expression of faith.
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
Does this scripture work itself out in your community? If so, how? How does it bolster your spiritual life?
Hash it out in the comments (even if there are only 2 or 3 of you right now).Want to receive my updates in your inbox? Click here. Also, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.