I have had a day off when a few of our plans didn't happen. A trip to the hardware store proved a waste of time. What we wanted to buy would not fit in the car. A trip to a science festival program likewise proved wasted - there was no room in the hall for us. A plan I had dreamed up to make little gifts for a luncheon later in the week did not work out. I had a lazy but frustrating day. Tonight I blobbed out in front of idiot TV for a while then went on You Tube and listened to various speakers. Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, Philip Gulley, Philip Yancy, Krista Tippet and Barbara Brown Taylor have all informed and entertained me tonight. I have enjoyed myself.
I get so much mail and religious stuff thrown at me from the religious right that I begin to feel lonely. Am I the only one asking the questions I ask? Am I the only one thinking the thoughts and rethinking the faith? Am I an out and out heretic, really out in left field? Tonight I have enjoyed listening to people asking the same sort of questions, rethinking the traditional perspectives, but who are still alive "spiritually". It has been good not to feel so alone.
One aspect not emphasised enough ...
It is great to listen to these type of thinkers and to read them. I find though that I feel they often miss out on an important emphasis of who Jesus is and what a "Jesus spirituality" should look like. I love their theological reflections, and it is important to think out the faith. But for me I would want to add that a servant lifestyle is an important expression of the faith, an important experience of the faith and an important part of the theological journey. Progressive Christianity which leaves out active compassion does not know "Jesus" no matter how good its intellectual thinking, or modern its liturgical expression. I love listening to and reading Progressive Christian thinkers, but often get the feeling I want to add this dimension to what they say. So many of my experiences of and insights into the "sacred" have come through a servant lifestyle.
I listen to these speakers and get jealous. I have the same questions, the same sort of thinking and am on a similar journey - but in my attempts to communicate or articulate it even to myself, I am a babbling simpleton compared to these articulate and skilled thinkers and speakers. I want to scream at God, "Would it have spoiled some vast eternal plan if you had given me a little bit more intelligence and skill!" I get so frustrated with my skill levels when I see such clever intellects.
Oh well you play with the hand you have been dealt as best you are able - but a few more Kings, Queens and Aces would help.