Tag Archive: struggle


Lay your burdens down child

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At the beach this week I found myself writing a bit of a song of lament and solace but can see it having several applications perhaps as prayer of confession of self, powers and politics.

Lay your burdens down, burdens down, burdens down child x2

Chorus
I will come to you, come to you, come to you child x2
I will lift you up, lift you up, lift you up child x2

Let your tears fall down, tears fall down, tears fall down child x2

Variations
Lay your:  troubles/darkness/heartbreak/sorrow… down
Lay: what scares you/what’s hurting/what’s broken… down
Lay your: body/spirit/hunger/weapons… down
Lay your: anger/sadness/hatred… down
Lay your: power/whiteness/stigma/baggage…down

 

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Yes, “the truth will set you free” as Jesus says (John 8:32) but first it tends to make you miserable. The medieval spiritual writers called it compunction, the necessary sadness and humiliation that comes from seeing one’s own failures and weaknesses.  Without confidence in a Greater Love, none of us will have the courage to go inside, nor should we… People only come to deeper consciousness by intentional struggle with contradictions, conflicts, inconsistencies, inner confusions, and what the biblical tradition calls “sin” or moral failure… God actually relishes the vacuum, which God knows God alone can fill… in other words, the goal is actually not the perfect avoidance of all sin, which is not possible anyway (1 John 1:8-9 and Romans 5:12) but the struggle itself, and the encounter and wisdom that comes from it. Law and failure create the foil, which creates the conflict, which leads to a very different kind of victory, not moral superiority but just luminosity of awareness and compassion for the world.

p.31-32

hurt people, hurt people

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whoever said:
“what you don’t know can’t hurt you”
was an idiot.
what I don’t know
hurts me all the time
not knowing how to articulate
what I need or want
and wanting you to provide it
and being disappointed when you don’t
hurts me
not knowing how my upbringing,
my culture, my experiences
shape the filter by which I take life in
– not recognising you have a filter you relate out of too –
hurts me
not knowing how intergenerational trauma
has affected my great grandparents, grandparents,
parents and siblings and self
hurts me
it’s a lie to think that not talking about things
will make them hurt less.

Talitha Fraser

berrigan blog(photo credit: chedmyers.org)

(to the Plowshares 8, with love)

by Daniel Berrigan

Some stood up once, and sat down.
Some walked a mile, and walked away.

Some stood up twice, then sat down.
“It’s too much,” they cried.
Some walked two miles, then walked away.
“I’ve had it,” they cried,

Some stood and stood and stood.
They were taken for fools,
they were taken for being taken in.

Some walked and walked and walked –
they walked the earth,
they walked the waters,
they walked the air.

“Why do you stand?” they were asked, and
“Why do you walk?”

“Because of the children,” they said, and
“Because of the heart, and
“Because of the bread,”

“Because the cause is
the heart’s beat, and
the children born, and
the risen bread.”

 

Reflecting these past weeks on the life and works of Daniel Berrigan who died 30 April 2016, he is now among that cloud of witnesses (Heb 12:1) that ask us to ask of ourselves: “On what will you spend your life?”. I think it is fair to say that he knew something of endurance, on the cost of that he commented: “I think it’s kind of the price you pay for the bus ride”.

In his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey suggests writing your own eulogy – what do you imagine you want to hear said about you by family, friends, colleagues… are you making the choices now… living the life now… that will lead you where you want to go? …that will see you develop and grow up to be the best you can imagine? I don’t imagine Daniel Berrigan did this exercise but I do not doubt he was effective. Why did he live as he did? Make the choices that he did?

“Because the cause is
the heart’s beat, and
the children born, and
the risen bread.”

What will you live for?

What makes your life meaningful will give you a meaningful life.
Do not wait until you are dying to start.

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I have started reading The Jihad of Jesus by Dave Andrews.  With a title like that I think it confronts and offends peoples sensibilities before they ever read a page.  I can assure you there is plenty of scope for it to confront and offend sensibilities once you open it too. How can it not?  This is a self-effacing story.  I’m only 30 pages in but I understand that it costs something – before I can preach to you about non-violence I must confess the horrendous history of violence, rape, torture, murder done in Your name.  It makes you wonder, why anyone might align themselves with such a thing as this?  How can you be associated with Christians, with religion, when it has not just participated in but driven so much atrocity in the world?

I do find it hard to align with the structure, the culture of the “institution” of the church.  I can feel very far away from You when I am in these walls.  It is necessary for healing, on both sides, to participate in building a world that is different.  Who is sick?  Who needs to be saved?  We do not send a doctor for those who are well but those who are sick.  I know I am sick.  I know I need help.  I need help everyday.  I must take the plank out of my own eye before I look at the speck in yours.  Do you not want to be well?  I do.  I long to be well. It hurts. It’s uncomfortable, it’s sickening to read these things and understand that they form part of the cultural tail I claim.  But we get Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa too.  What is stopping you from being the next Martin Luther King?  These were imperfect human beings – MLK cheated on his wife with some regularity I believe and MT was someone who set such high standards she was difficult to please and work with.  Side by side with them they might not be so easy to admire and love as their reputations act like airbrush to photography.  I am not so easy to love up close.  Religion is not so admirable up close either.

We judge those harshly who have gone before.  In our current age where brain comes before brawn we think “how savage“, we want to know how these actions might conceivably be justified and the only response we have is “they know not what they do”.  We know now – issues of indigenous land rights and protection of culture, mandatory detention of refugees, family violence, climate change, water shut offs in Detroit,  war and genocide… we have our own share in stupidity or willful blindness or whatever you want to call the gross injustices of our own time… consumption climbing relative to our social isolation as we look for the things that will fill us but not to each other.

[p.1, The Jihad of Jesus]

“Jihad is an Islamic term referring to a religious duty for Muslims.

In Arabic, the word jihad translates as a noun meaning “struggle”… there are two commonly accepted meanings of jihad: an inner spiritual struggle and an outer spiritual struggle.

The “greater jihad” is the inner struggle by a believer to fulfill his or her religious duties.  This non-violent meaning is stressed by both Muslim and non-Muslim religious authors.

The “lesser jihad” is the physical struggle against oppressors, including enemies of Islam. This physical struggle can take a violent or non-violent form.”

If fulfilling your greater struggle is to follow the call to living a life of love, peace, forgiveness… then this “lesser” struggle needs to be framed by the principles of the first.

I am grateful for smart, wise elders who can write these books, have these conversations, articulate what needs to be said – even if it confronts and offends.

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Last night I participated in a graveyard shift with the Walking for Freedom crew who were walking for 30 hours for the 30 ASIO negatively assessed refugees who are still indefinitely detained in Australia.  Largely this is awareness raising, while we will willingly acknowledge the rights and responsibilities of the ASIO to protect the local populace we are interested in what this looks like in the light of that little piece of paper called The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  People are being held, uncharged, indefinitely, without any opportunity to defend themselves. Is that OK?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has 30 Articles – here’s the first 14… apart from Article 4 (slavery)… can we honestly say that these refugees are being treated fairly and with just consideration of their human rights?  Let’s talk about it as we walk along the way… 

Article 1.

  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

  • Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

  • No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

  • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

  • Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

  • All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

  • Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

  • Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

  • (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
  • (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
  • (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  • (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

— About the ASIO Negatively Assessed Refugees —

Australia has found these 30 people to be refugees fleeing war and persecution. However, ASIO have given these people negative clearance assessments- claiming that they may be a security threat to Australia. ASIO do not have to inform the people of why they think they are a threat. The refugees are not given any chance to dispute or explain the claims against them.

As they were granted refugee status, Australia cannot deport them to their home countries and because of their negative assessments from ASIO, they cannot be released into the Australian community.

For some it is now the beginning of their sixth year in detention. Six years of their lives have been taken from them. No one knows when they will be released.

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The Christian Virtue of Hypomone – Transfiguration Community (Bible Study)

hypo – under
menein, mone –

  • to remain standing, to stand one’s ground (as in an Olympic wrestling match)
  • to endure to the end (as in a race), to last the distance
    • under the impact of evil
    • under the impact of a burden
    • in the face of a hostile and unbelieving culture
    • in the midst of seductions and temptations
  • to withstand resistance
  • to bear or suffer (patience)
  • to persevere
  • to be immovable

Its opposite is:
cowardice, caving in, colluding,
passive doormat kind of suffering,
running away, to waver, wobble, flee, give way,
to be changed, to pass away, to be transient, perishable

Menein is an active stance, a brave withstanding, a virtue.  Hypomone is used 7 times in the book of revelation, as the right and necessary virtue of the faithful i the old aeon (age)

Biblical: the soil that bears fruit under pressure

  • Luke 8:15 ‘But as for the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in a beautiful and good heart, and bear fruit in hypomone.
  • Acts 14:22
  • Romans 2:7, 12:12, 15:4-5
  • 1 Corinthians 13:7
  • 2 Corinthians 6:4, 12:12
  • Ephesians 6:11, 13, 14 The goal of the wrestling with the principalities and powers etc is to stand (used 4 times). The word used here is not hypomone but stenai.
  • Colossians 1:11
  • 1 Timothy 6:11
  • 2 Timothy 3:10
  • Titus 2:2
  • Hebrews 12:1
  • Revelation 2:2ff, 2:19, 13:10; 14:12

Walter Wink – Naming the Powers

Steadfastness in Prayer
Refusal of idolatry
Absolute intransigence – Unbending determination – an iron will.
The capacity to endure persecution, torture and death without yielding one’s faith – one of the fundamental attributes of non-violent resistance.
The power to sustain blows.  Obstinacy – Endurance.
Perseverance on the basis of the inner victorious sense that all contrary relationships and hostile forces can be overcome.

The strength that comes from faith, hope and love.

Hypomone is not gritting one’s teeth in stubbornness but the strength to suffer that comes from faith, hope and love. ‘Let your only experience of evil be in suffering – not in its creation.’

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13.03.14 JK Baxter

there is no love

11.02.14 no love