In spite of us
Follows me everywhere. Now here, now there.
Never too far yet too close for comfort
I'd rather not see you, but I can’t hide from you
Like a light (in spite of its darkness) it reveals me
I like to see myself as this, yet it shows me as that
That which I’m not proud of, that disturbing self
That unsettles, worries, shames, reduces me
Yet humbles and fills me with love for a God
Who knows me all, and accepts me all….every which way.
Surely, this life is all going somewhere good
In spite of us.
2 seemingly opposing ways of being
We are not those characters we want to be, we are the characters we are.
Seeing and Recognizing
Scandal of particularity
Like the wind, the Spirit blows where it will (John 3:8). There has been more than enough wind at my back—and more than enough seeing and encountering of Love—for all of these 75 years. All of it was given, never acquired, merited, or even fully understood. I just stumbled into Love again and again. And was held by it.
The Spirit has always persisted in drawing and pushing me, despite my many personal limitations,
my unfaithfulness with what was given to me,
I passionately believed my own message while also denying it in practice.
Over identification with the mind brings on a deep seated sense of not being good enough. It results in the pursuit of ego gratification in the form of a special relationship that makes me feel better about myself, or more complete.
Ironically it doesn’t make me feel good about myself. I am feeling distinctly bad about myself.
A mature Christian sees Christ in everything and everyone else. That is a definition that will never fail you, always demand more of you, and give you no reasons to fight, exclude, or reject anyone. Isn’t that ironic? The point of the Christian life is not to distinguish oneself from the ungodly, but to stand in radical solidarity with everyone and everything else. This is the full, final, and intended effect of the Incarnation—symbolized by its finality in the cross, which is God’s great act of solidarity instead of judgment. Without a doubt, Jesus perfectly exemplified this seeing, and thus passed it on to the rest of history. This is how we are to imitate Christ, the good Jewish man who saw and called forth the divine in Gentiles like the Syro-Phoenician woman and the Roman centurions who followed him; in Jewish tax collectors who collaborated with the Empire; in zealots who opposed it; in sinners of all stripes; in eunuchs, pagan astrologers, and all those “outside the law.” Jesus had no trouble whatsoever with otherness. In fact, these “lost sheep” found out they were not lost to him at all, and tended to become his best followers. Humans were fashioned to love people more than principles, and Jesus fully exemplified this pattern. But many seem to prefer loving principles—as if you really can do such a thing.
Rohr, Richard; Rohr, Richard. The Universal Christ (p. 33). SPCK. Kindle Edition.