Today my friend, Lisa, posted a quote on Facebook. It was from the book Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller:
“I think every conscious person, every person who is awake to the functioning principles within his reality, has a moment where he stops blaming the problems in the world on group think, on humanity and authority, and starts to face himself. I hate this more than anything. This is the hardest principle within Christian spirituality for me to deal with. The problem is not out there; the problem is the needy beast of a thing that lives in my chest.”
It was good for me to read. I have been quite vocal on Facebook and Twitter and this blog about my disdain for the man residing in the White House right now. When I’m reminded of my own responsibility in the matter (that ‘needy beast of a thing’ inside me) it’s good. It’s good to be reminded. I am not without sin, so I shouldn’t throw stones. (John 8:1-11)
I wrote this response to Lisa on Facebook:
Wow, that is a powerful quote, Lisa. It’s good for me to remember. I’ve been complaining a lot about the past election. It, and the months following, have been a mirror for our country to see what we have become.
However, as Donald Miller reminds us, real change is when each of us deals with “the needy beast of a thing” within ourselves.
It’s the reason I won’t ever leave Jesus, even when people were walking away from Jesus’ tough words in John 6. He asked his disciples if they wanted to leave too. Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
Precisely! To whom shall I go? except to this one who not only convicts me of sin, but saves me from it. I’m the bigot, the fearful, the arrogant, the rich person trying to squeeze into the needle’s eye, the one who shouts at students and the one who ignores the needy. And that was just today.
I am a sinner through and through, and that should not be forgotten as I resist this president.
Since that comment, I have thought more about that inner beast. God save me if I had to start recapping all the crap that has shaped who I am over the past five decades. I’m ashamed of what I was, and I’m thankful to God for helping me to be better.
I have hope. Hope in God. Hope that people on both sides can face their demons. Hope in the Constitution. Hope.
I’ll try to throw more stones like hope.
God help me.
5 thoughts on “Stones Like Hope”
Thought provoking post. I especially like this line, “I’ll try to throw more stones like hope.” Something I need to consider as well.
Thank you for the balanced approach you created in this post. I’m with you, but we do need to cling to hope as much as possible and be salt and light in this dark time.
Thank you, Erika and Aileen,
I appreciate the comment. It’s not an easy topic. Yes, I think we should throw stones when there is something dreadfully wrong. Donald Miller’s quote was actually written after he had attended a protest. It’s good to protest injustice and hatred.
I just want to remember the fingers pointing back at me when I point at someone else and accuse them of bad thinking and actions. I’m guilty too.
Clinging to hope and being salt and light in this dark time. That’s good advice, Aileen.
Blessings to you both,
Great post, and as educators, I think we always reflect on our work and our lives with, “What could I have done and should do to make this better?” We have a duty to be responsible for creating a positive climate for what happens within our work, and we carry that into our personal lives.
I’m not a student of the Bible, but I do have my faith based on the stories in church on which I grew up. And as I read your post and agreed with you, I also remember the story of the anger Jesus showed in the temple, which was being used for other than God’s purpose. And right now we have a several people in the White House who are lying and undermining the foundations of our democratic republic, destroying the trust in our institutions and developing an authoritarian regime.
So, although we must look forward with our own best actions, so too must we actively point to that darkness and bring our country back into the light. If we don’t, we are complicit in the demise of democracy.
“If you want peace, work for justice.” Pope Paul VI
Thanks always for your kindnesses and gentle nudges to do what’s right.
Powerful, Sheri. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.
Yes, you are right. I do not want to stop resisting the seeming dismantling of our republic. We must fight back and resist the travesty going on right now.
Thanks for bringing up the story about Jesus in the temple too. (In Matthew 21:12-17 for those who want to read it.) Jesus was certainly the best fighter of injustice. He should be my role model. I want to fight like Jesus did–with hope, purpose, grace, humor, meekness, and an occasional overturning of a table.
I know God cares about the injustice more than I do, so I also want to continue to trust in God.
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