Sunday, December 16, 2012

Where are the Answers?

I’m a Marriage and Family Therapist as well as a Pastoral Counselor.  Over the years I’ve sat with women and men who were abused as children.  They ask me, “Why won’t God protect innocence children?”  I don’t have an answer to that question—didn’t then and don’t today.  What efforts I’ve heard seem to be trying to protect God and God’s reputation.  If God needs our protection, we don’t have much of a God.  I think God has a lot to answer for when we enter the eternal realm.  With the murder of the children and adults in Connecticut, that question is fresh in my mind.  I choose to continue to believe, pray and look into the scriptures.  I’ll continue wrestling with the question.  Whatever faith is all about, at least it is trusting in a reality, i.e. God, who won’t let you make sense of the reality.  That’s doesn’t seem fair.  Today I’m grateful for some of the imprecatory Psalms, such as Psalm 44—note the “but” in verse 9 that changes the tone of the Psalm.  My prayer is from Psalm 44:26 “Wake up God and help.”  These Psalms of lament let me know that I’m not alone with these questions about this God.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Violence, enough already!

I’m both incredibly sad and very angry this weekend.  I’m sad and full of grief because of the death of the children and their teachers in Connecticut.  Their grief is unimaginable to me.  I pray for them and that community regularly throughout the day.  I’m also angry.  I’m angry because our policies don’t put money into mental health programs.  We have a difficult time funding quality education.  I’m angry because of the violence in our culture.  Violence is not the answer to our frustrations and lack of power.  I’m angry that we have allowed large groups with powerful influence and money, such as the National Rifle Association, to buy the silence of our leaders regarding sensible gun control.  For the sake of our children, we can no longer be silent.  Let’s make the commitment to contact our leaders and say, “Enough!”  The possession of a gun may be used for sport or self-defense, but it seems more frequently to be a dangerous response to a feeling of impotence.  If we permit violence to grow in our culture and our hearts, there aren’t enough weapons to protect ourselves and our children.  The Christian model is the person of Jesus, our Redeemer, who was non-violent.  Lord, in your mercy.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hearing God?

I've heard folks say that God has told them such and such.  On the one hand I'm envious because I've never been that certain.  I'm suspicious.  It is too easy to confuse my own ego needs with God's desire for me.  I've been reading Francis deSales' Introduction to the Devout Life.  Even though I've read it several times, it is one of those books to which I often return. Francis was the Bishop of Geneva during the time that John Calvin's followers were creating religious and political havoc in that area by insisting local governments govern according to the morality as the Calvinists interpreted the scriptures. Francis wrote a number of letters to individuals with instructions about keeping one's spiritual life alive in the midst of conflict, persecution and lack of support. He writes, for example, to Philothea (lover of God) saying that she is to seek spiritual guides, teachers, mentors, partners, etc. who "must be full of charity, knowledge, and prudence, and if any of these qualities is lacking there is danger."  As I approach the end of 2012, I've been wondering and praying about continuing with my spiritual director. That's an evaluation I do at the end of each year.  Father Michael, whom I've been seeing at the Abbey of Gethsemani for a couple of years, is full of charity, knowledge and prudence. Perhaps the Lord has answered my question or maybe it is just one of those things that happen.