Tuesday, December 27, 2011

a nonjudgmental presence

can you tell I have the week off? :-)
A Nonjudgmental Presence

To the degree that we accept that through Christ we ourselves have been reconciled with God we can be messengers of reconciliation for others. Essential to the work of reconciliation is a nonjudgmental presence. We are not sent to the world to judge, to condemn, to evaluate, to classify, or to label. When we walk around as if we have to make up our mind about people and tell them what is wrong with them and how they should change, we will only create more division. Jesus says it clearly: "Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge; ... do not condemn; ... forgive" (Luke 6:36-37).

In a world that constantly asks us to make up our minds about other people, a nonjudgmental presence seems nearly impossible. But it is one of the most beautiful fruits of a deep spiritual life and will be easily recognized by those who long for reconciliation.

- Henri Nouwen (Bread for the Journey - Dec. 27)

Friday, December 23, 2011

shipwrecked at the stable

I've been reading "Reflections for Ragamuffins" (Brennan Manning) as my evening devotion this year, and it has been great! From last night's reading...
The shipwrecked at the stable are the poor in spirit who feel lost in the cosmos, adrift on an open sea, clinging with a life-and-death grip to one solitary plank. Finally they are washed ashore and make their way to the stable, stripped of the old spirit of possessiveness in regard to anything. The shipwrecked find it not only tacky, but utterly absurd to be caught up either in tinsel trees or in religious experiences— “Doesn’t going to church on Christmas make you feel good?” They are not concerned with their own emotional security or with any of the trinkets of creation. They have been saved, rescued, delivered from the waters of death, set free for a new shot at life. At the stable in a blinding moment of truth, they make the stunning discovery that Jesus is the plank of salvation they have been clinging to without knowing it!

All the time they were battered by wind and rain, buffeted by raging seas, they were being held even when they didn’t know who was holding them. Their exposure to spiritual, emotional, and physical deprivation has weaned them from themselves and made them reexamine all they once thought important. The shipwrecked come to the stable seeking not to possess, but to be possessed, wanting not peace or a religious high, but Jesus Christ.

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in
Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all
those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord
Jesus Christ —their Lord and ours.
1 Corinthians 1:2