I Want to Know What "Is" Is

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Most Christians, with utter irony, worshipped Jesus the Scapegoat on Sundays and made scapegoats of Jews, Moslems, other Christian denominations, heretics, sinners, pagans, the poor and almost anybody who was not like them the other six days of the week. One would have thought that Christians who 'gazed upon the one they had pierced' would have gotten the message about how wrong domination, power and hatred can be. The system had been utterly wrong about their own, chosen God figure, yet they continued to trust the system. I guess they did not gaze long enough ...

Jesus is shockingly not upset with sinners, a shock so total that most Christians to this day refuse to see it. He is only upset with people who do not think they are sinners: These denying, fearful and illusory ones are the blockage. They are much more likely to hate and feel no compunction. Formerly, religion thought its mission was 'to expel sin and evil from River City.' After Jesus we find out that sin lies in the very act of expelling. There is no place to expel it to. We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us. We either carry and transform the evil of human history as our own problem, or we only increase its efficiency and power by hating and punishing it 'over there.' The Jesus pattern was put precisely and concisely by Saint Paul: 'for our sake he made the sinless one a victim for sin, so that in him we might become the uprightness of God' (2 Corinthians 5:21). I admit, that is heavy stuff. Only the mystics and the sinners seem to get it.

Richard Rohr - Hope Against Darkness

I am a violent, hateful woman. Oh, wordy lordy yes, I am. It is a sophisticated version, it has to be said. It comes out sideways, in strange ways. It comes out against stupid people who cannot at this moment see any better than they are seeing. It comes out as arrogance that things I have been shown and can now see, for whatever reason, are therefore things that should just be common knowledge to everyone. Such stupid arrogance. It just comes out, you know?

There has been a drought of God's presence for me over the last several months. Which is a teaching in itself. It is a cold sort of one but sometimes it seems he needs to place himself a little further away so that I will stretch myself like a plant toward the light. If that is what has happened. I can't rightly say, but what I know is that I do not need his honeyed presence to know that he is there. It's like riding a bike without training wheels. I do not need to rely on his presence but, like you don't need to be kissing your lover to know that they still are out there in the world, how much better it is to be kissing. It's like that.

Some small measure of wisdom has attached herself to me along the way, like limpets on a rock. She is so very beautiful, Sophia.

It is a mess in here amongst the contradictions and the paradoxes. To become more merciful, to myself as well as others, I need to learn to "switch others off" more. Weird, huh? Never would have been able to come to that conclusion by myself. But Life is a masterful, beautiful teacher and somehow, miracle of everyday miracles, we learn. The lessons seem to vomit themselves out at the pace to which we are willing to see them. How coldly sad how often we are not willing to see.

Today I look at how much hatred and violence is capable of coming out of me. Not physically, but in words, in thoughts. I look at the master Teacher and again, anew, he takes my breath away, and blows me away in the process. This seeing such horridities in myself is easy today. It is easy today because ... well, I don't quite know. I guess in some ways it's easy because seeing what is is always a relief after the strain and stress of trying to see things in the way that we need to see them. Another weirdness, that the cold harshness of seeing things as they are is a million times easier to walk with than the weird contrivances we need to construct to control our small little out-of-control worlds. How strange, though, that we can't come to seeing one second before we are ready and willing to see, even though living in what is is easier than living in our illusions. And I am in love with what is. I recognise it when I see it. It's like what really "is" has a Nike swish of its own, and my soul and spirit understand intuitively when they see it. And it just never ceases to astound, how much better is is, how flimsy my own constructs are next to it. It also makes me feel safe, in an unsafe world, that this is the ultimate reality behind everything. I cannot be shaken on that golden thread I hold, regardless of how stupid it seems to other people. I want to know what is is :) I want Love to show me.

I sometimes forget I am a sinner. And then I get reminded. And both are graces and both can be held. When you are smothered inside and out in Love, when you realise that you - you! - you! - belong in the middle of that Love, it makes it easy and a joy to dismantle those flimsy little constructs. The grace is in the seeing.

Happy New Year everyone. Love to all of you. We are so loved, even if we cannot see it or feel it.


  1. Lovely thoughts to begin a new year, Sue. Yes, we are a crock (to paraphrase the line in the Epistles about our being broken vessels), but we don't have to be more to be loved. God doesn't love the way we do and WE complain! I like to think that when I start relating my sins to Jesus, he just rolls his eyes and says "yada, yada, now give me a hug."
    Happy New Year, kiddo.

  2. Dear Sue, Happy New Year!

    And what a post - totally right about wisdom, self knowledge, and is-ness. I love Eckhart's expression, istigkeit. What is, is so beautiful and whole in itself. It's our "knowing about it" that screws it up. Rohr is so right about this.

    Love & prayers


  3. What you describe is a crotchety old woman.

  4. Happy new year to you Sue!!! I am really glad I found this site.

  5. And happy new year to you my discombobulated friend.
    You are right, the learning happens again and again - or worse, sometimes doesn't.
    And I so identify with the first line of your "blah blah" post yesterday. I am also so goddamn sick of the boring old crap in my head!
    Happy to swap for a week.
    Meanwhile we stagger on together. And I do mean stagger!

  6. Thanks Sue. I'm a better person having traveled with you this year.

  7. Barbara - LOL. Yes, yada yada yada :) I agree. Sometimes it is good to remember, though, in the right light. This was one of those times where I felt like I could look at the worst in myself and it wouldn't matter. I like those times :)

    Mike - istikgeit. Might have to look this one up :) Oh, to sit in the isness without having the juice of that tree running down my awareness :)

    David - yes, indeed. What you describe is a bitter and twisted old man. No wonder you come a'calling :)

    Mork - likewise :)

    Tess - okay, then. Let's swap. Should be interesting! Do you know how to go about it? :)

    Kent - likewise :)

  8. Happy New Year, Sue. Maybe everything you wrote about yourself being full of hatred is true, maybe not. But I do know you are so full of beautiful wisdom, which you are kind enough to share with us all. Thank you!

  9. It is a cold sort of one but sometimes it seems he needs to place himself a little further away so that I will stretch myself like a plant toward the light.

    I remember a time when I could only "see" God as being way out beyond space in a sort of self existence that seemed so foreign and far. I think He gave me that time for the same reason you express here. To enter into His world a bit more instead of being content to reap all the emotional highs he provided me. It was a serious, yet liberating time.

    I do not need to rely on his presence but, like you don't need to be kissing your lover to know that they still are out there in the world, how much better it is to be kissing.

    I know what you mean...that's why this jumped of the page when I read it:

    "The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. Zephaniah 3:17

    That says it all eh? Protector, encourager, silent partner, and a heart that sings with love for us. It's too much sometimes for the body to contain.

    And what a lovely and beautiful thing it is to come here for a mental and emotional rest from current events. :)

  10. I can relate. I guess we all need to be softened in some areas and strenghtened in others. It is a beutiful paradox and only something that Love can accomplish... It is so easy to become arrogant once we gain some ground, as though we have arrived... Yuck, thank God we begin to fall once pride rears it's ugly head; we stumble. Then, like you said, we reach out, "like a plant toward the light" He is so very faithful to keep us, restore us.

  11. Erin - thank you :) I wouldn't say I'm full of hatred, but it is there at times and it is strong. The way it is in any person whose heart beats. I think that's why it's so hard for us to believe that God loves us, because we are such pathetic little creatures in some ways. Of course, that doesn't negate how amazing we are too. It's just quite the mix, that's all :)

    Jennifer - you are welcome anytime. Thank you for posting that verse. I read it just before I went to bed, and so when I woke up 2 hours later with something crawling in my ear, I thought of those words while I was praying. They are beautiful. I love, "He will be quiet in his love". :)

    Manuela - he is quite the God, is he not? :) The way he does these things, it just boggles and biggles my mind. Such a balancing act.

  12. Oops, I didn't mean I think you're full of hatred, I just heard you saying that about yourself...but I didn't mean FULL in that exact sense. Anyhow, sorry.

    What I meant was that when you are seeing yourself this way, don't forget the ways you shine.

  13. Erin - yeah, I know you weren't saying that you thought I was full of hatred but that you thought I was saying that :) Is this getting confusing? :) Okay you meant full in the sense of weightiness. Or something. Anyway, no need to apologise, I didn't take it as an insult or that you were slurring :)

    I know what you meant :)


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