The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Wise Words for Living Life

Pastor Barbara Brown Taylor wrote the moving book Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith. She speaks of stepping aside from all the busyness involve din ministry to truly regain her faith. I read portions of the work during my hectic seminary years and am now returning to it as a minister to regain her powerful perspectives. She speaks of a puzzling passage in Luke where Jesus speaks harshly of what people would have to give up to follow him. There is all sorts of commentary on this dealing with rabbinical exaggeration to make a point, etc., but I really appreciate Barbara's take on this issue. She writes:
In Luke's gospel, there comes a point when he [Jesus] turns around and says to the large crowd of those trailing after him, "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple" (14:26), Make of that what you will, but I think it was his way of telling them to go home. He did not need people to go to Jerusalem to die with him. He needed people to go back where they came from and life the kinds of lives that he had risked his own life to show them: lives of resisting the powers of death, of standing up for the little and the least, of turning cheeks and washing feet, of praying for enemies and loving the unlovable. [Italics added.] That would be plenty hard enough for most of them.
That is plenty hard enough for most of us, but would be lives well lived if that is what we did. Especially in an age when the strong man demagogue is becoming the favored personage in Western countries around the world. Especially when school children are coming to imitate the bullying ways of such demagogues. We definitely need people who will resist such powers that be and the death they bring, who will stand up for the little guys and gals, the powerless and the least, who will serve and pray for enemies as well as friends, who will be patient in a volatile age and show love even to those society casts out or ignores time and again.  

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