Monthly Archives: September 2014

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Asking Questions

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I heard a fascinating interview this morning with Yo-yo Ma the renowned cellist, in the On Being podcast with Krista Tippett.

In the course of their conversation they found themselves discussing vulnerability and Ma made the statement that “vulnerability to weakness provides the wholeness of the world.” He suggested that our willingness to be vulnerable allows us to share fully in any given moment with another.

As they continued, Ma made the further statement that our willingness to ask questions reveals our willingness to be vulnerable and open ourselves to someone else’s stories and solutions to situations.

This made me reflect on my experience working in the “church world” over the last 20 years. More often than not, the conversations that were engaged in were the provision of answers, sometimes to questions that weren’t even being asked. Rarely were the nature of the conversations reflecting an openness and willingness to listen to and truly hear others stories and fully embrace a vulnerability that might allow us to be challenged and changed in the course of the shared moment.

I wonder how often this too is reflected in how we approach God.

We approach with the answers in mind, lacking vulnerability and a willingness to truly listen and hear alternatives from the heart of all that is. Our prayers of many words fill the air with the sound of our own voice. This draws me to Luke 18:9-14 the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. “God have mercy on me a sinner” prays the tax collector. The prayer of the truly vulnerable. The prayer of one who is truly willing to commune with the Giver of Grace and be transformed in the shared moment.

Imagine what our lives would look like if we lived into this faith? Vulnerable before God and humanity. Listening openly, willing to be changed and become the answer the world needs in flesh.

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The Price of Faith

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I spoke recently at my cousin’s┬áchurch youth service on a Sunday night.┬áBeing of the Uniting Church persuasion, they operate under the Common Lectionary so I found myself with the story of Jesus and the Canaanite Woman (Matt 15:21-28) to have a look at (last time I ended up with the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man! I think it might be a set up).

Do you recall the story? Jesus is out in the pagan regions and this Canaanite woman finds him and starts begging him to heal her demon possessed daughter. Jesus ignores her but this woman just won’t leave it alone and eventually the Disciples come to Jesus to complain that she is really ruining their feng shui and would Jesus just deal with her?! So Jesus tells her that he’s been sent to the lost sheep of Israel, imply here, “You’re not one of them so just go away” (that could be my occasional lack of tolerance for annoying people being imported there?). Yet she continues to beg and cry out, finally eliciting from Jesus “It’s not good to waste the children’s bread on dogs!” to which she replies seamlessly “Yes Lord; but even the dogs feed from the crumbs that fall from the Masters table.”

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