• David Carlson

500 Don’t trivialize your life. If you find hospitality along the way, enjoy it.

Day 500 Thursday, July 29th, 2021

Don’t trivialize your life. If you find hospitality along the way, enjoy it. If you experience rejection, let it go.


"My Life as a Pinball" - A reflection by Geoff Wood


At the close of my eighth grade in parochial school I was surprised to learn that I had been selected among some other boys to test for a scholarship at the two private Catholic high schools of the diocese, one run by the Christian Brothers and the other by the Jesuits. I was surprised because I never took school too seriously as other than a place that had a playground for recess antics. Nevertheless, I crossed town twice to take the scholarship exam at LaSalle High in a then somewhat suburban location and at St. Joseph’s Prep (originating out of St. Joseph’s parish founded in 1733). Being that old and also Jesuit made it an honor even to cross Saint Joseph’s threshold.


I first took the LaSalle test – impressed by its gothic architecture and pleasant neighborhood and later took the St. Joe’s test – situated in the noisy inner city. The environment put me off right away but it was the half-eaten hamburger I found in my desk while taking the exam that made me skip the test and catch the trolley. The result? I won a half scholarship to LaSalle – and guess what was the half tuition my parents had to pay back in l941? Twelve dollars a month!


What would have happened had I gone to St. Joseph’s to undergo the influence of the elite Jesuits? I can’t even imagine. But it would have taken me far afield from the direction my life took after attending LaSalle. Indeed it wasn’t a matter of what I would become but who. I mean of course we have genetic characteristics that chart our path in many ways but it’s the incidents, the turns, the detours, the confrontations, the people we meet once we are launched that bring us to where we are. As I look back I am surprised at the meandering, the unexpected, the disappointments, the treasurable people I have encountered – surprised even in retrospect. The same can be said of you.


As people of faith we accept that something more than our reason and choices pulsate our growth – every life is a novel co-authored in some way by a dynamo somewhere beneath our soles (souls).



The Hebrew and Christian traditions demonstrate this by the directionless ways its characters chose to advance only to wind up always focused on “a promised land” – each a metaphor of every human experience. What would you be and who would you be today, if . .


In today’s first reading Amos serves as an example. After all he had settled into being an anonymous, forgettable fellow defined as a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores – when something diverted him to confront the priests of Bethel and wind up - his oracles, his poetry, his insights echoing down the corridors of time forevermore. So that we now know who and not just what Amos was! Confrontational words from the prophet Amos:


You levy a straw tax on the poor

and impose a tax on their grain.

Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,

you will not live in them;

though you have planted lush vineyards,

you will not drink their wine.

12 For I know how many are your offenses

and how great your sins.


There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes

and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.

13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times,

for the times are evil.


14 Seek good, not evil,

that you may live.

Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,

just as you say he is.

15 Hate evil, love good;

maintain justice in the courts.

Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy

on the remnant of Joseph.



The Gospel spells it all out.



Give without demanding payment.9 Workers deserve to be fed, so don’t gather gold or silver or copper coins for your money belts to take on your trips.10 Don’t take a backpack for the road or two shirts or sandals or a walking stick.11


Whatever city or village you go into, find somebody in it who is worthy and stay there until you go on your way.12 When you go into a house, say, ‘Peace!’13 If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if the house isn’t worthy, take back your blessing.14 If anyone refuses to welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet as you leave that house or city.


Hang loose. Travel light. Go with the flow. Food, baggage, money, wardrobe – don’t make them a weight that burdens your mental mobility. Don’t trivialize your life. If you find hospitality along the way, enjoy it. If you experience rejection, let it go. Just stay open to the oncoming summons that may arrive from where you least expect it.


Stay open-minded, openhearted. As the Gospel parables put it: stay awake to the Spirit’s lure; don’t bury your gift of life simply to keep it intact, unwrapped.


Announcement:

Women Erased: Grappling with Patriarchal Constructs of Women in the Lectionary and Bible with Reverend Wil Gafney, Ph.D.

Today - Thursday, July 29, 2021 at 8:00pm ET



Hebrew Bible Scholar, Rev. Wil Gafney., Ph.D., argues that the overwhelming majority of Christians receive their scripture mediated through a lectionary. Lectionaries are not simply as androcentric as are the scriptures, but women are even less well represented than they are in the biblical text. To the degree that biblical texts function as scripture for religious readers, it ought to be possible to tell the story of God and God’s people through the most marginalized characters in the text. Though the bible is an androcentric document steeped in patriarchy, a women’s lectionary should demonstrate and grapple with the gender constructs of the text rather than romanticize heroines.

The story of Jesus and those who tell his story may begin for some with the gospels and the story of a miraculous pregnancy. At least that is what the table of contents suggest. Tables of contents are implicitly suggested reading sequences. But suggested by whom? All of our stories have editors behind the curtains who curate or shape what we read. Scholars of the text will tell us that another beginning to the story of Jesus is the epistles, the letters written by the presumptively male followers of his followers to tell his story because the first hand eye-witnesses had died or were dying. Some of the accounts of those witnesses would later be written down as gospels and some of them would be canonized, receiving official table of contents status. Again, hidden hands, male hands, shape the contours of the story of these sacred stories. Register with this link:

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