THINKING

Thinking
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

cam4 -- Praying

I have been thinking
and reading,
and reading and thinking
this last year and have come to,
what might not be conclusions,
but at the most
a thoughtful suggestion
about how I
can/will/should/might
deal with being a Christian,
at a time
when so many Christians,
the ones who are so vocal right now,
are setting such a bad
and embarrassing example
for Christianity.
My reading has led me
To confirm my understanding
that Christianity itself
is a movement born of
mainstream politics
and developed out of a
need to sustain the power of
the prevailing culture.
This is continuing as I write.
Christianity, for those on the right,
and for those
who are most vocal in this time,
has become something
that makes it OK
to be comfortable with
cultural prejudices.
That is not only
not what Jesus
proclaimed but the opposite.
I think that I now need
to make more claims
on Jesus than on the entity,
we know as
Christianity,
which spun off from his
radical message
of tearing down the established
systems of
tyranny and prejudice and hate and fear.
So, while I will still
consider myself a Christian,
I will no longer emphasize
that I am a Christian,
but that I am a
follower of Jesus —
the one who would
not only never
support the massive
power Christianity has become,
but would attempt to heal
its consequent and conservative
abuse of that power,
and would promote the message of
love and hope and healing and strength
for the weak and disfranchised
that, in the end,
got Jesus executed.

TO WRESTLE WITH GOD

Genesis 32:22-32
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

This is an amazing story.
Wrestling with God,
and winning,
or at least not losing.
How many times have we done this—
wrestled with God,
struggled with God-thoughts,
fought hard with the possibilities
of God
only to discover that the hard
tussle
was really with ourselves.
I think we can understand this
Jacob/Israel wrestling
and renaming match
as an inward struggle.
Trying to figure out
how to slip
out of the messes
he had gotten himself into.
In an earlier text,
good old Jacob had lied and
tricked his
father into giving him
God’s blessing
thereby stealing
it from his older brother,
Esau.
He was now
on the lam
for opportunizing and repurposing
his father-in-law, Laban’s,
wealth to his own end.
It seems Jacob-cum-Israel
had a questionable character—
one with many
cracks, chips, bumps and blisters.
This is who was putting the squeeze on God.
But aren’t we all God-wrestlers?
Don’t we all have
cracks, chips, bumps and blisters?
This story shows me above all else that God
wants the best for us all,
desires
for us to survive our struggles
and various desperations,
and that most of the wrangling
we think might be with God
is actually with ourselves.
We do get ourselves into messes.
God,
through friends,
good leaders,
our own common sense,
and better choices
will help us get out of them,
and into the fullness
of the blessings
into which
we are living.

WHY PRAISE?

Psalm 105:1-5
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

So why should we praise
God, anyway? I mean,
why bother?
I think God knows
better how we feel about God
than we do ourselves.
So I repeat the question,
Why praise God?
I have heard many reasons,
but none of them are
sufficient for me.
Usually
they just revolve around
getting
something from God
that we really, really want.
Praise in this scenario equals
bribery.
As if God is dumb
enough to fall for that!
Don’t get me wrong, here,
I don’t think it is a bad thing
to give God praise,
because it does show we recognize
from whence