Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fighting God, who dares to love me

God always meets our needs. Usually God gives me what I need through other people. Come to think of it, what I need is other people. After all, love requires a lover and beloved, a subject and an object. This is yet another sign as to how true spirituality is other-centered and why it must be so. After all, I was taught by a wise teacher years ago that "One person is no person." I thank God for so many wise and loving people who extend their friendship to me in so many ways.

I was in touch with one such friend today. He is a hospital chaplain and has been through some harrowing experiences this past week. After reading about these experiences I wrote to express my solidarity with him and to let him know that he is very much in my prayers and, more importantly, the people he is currently ministering to are in my prayers. In his reply I received this nugget of wisdom: "I can deal with death at pretty much any level, I am not God so it does wear me down." This is wisdom borne of humility and sanity.

Too often I try to be god, not the God who is God, but the third rate deity of my own making. In trying to be god, I undertake an ethic of control whereby I arrogantly work and try to pre-determine outcomes. This all goes back to "the lecture" (I am referring to it so much that it richly deserves to be in scare quotes). Particularly, Dr. Crysdale's third quality that distinguishes an ethic risk from an ethic of control: "Recognizing limitations [as a creature] and risks of moral action rather than than pre-determining outcomes of moral action."

I wrote Sunday that it sometimes pisses me off that I need God, or even other people. Why? Because I want to be my own god! In this I re-commit the sin that is at the root of all sin, which is the first, or, original sin. To think and feel this way is irrational, even ridiculous. It is irrational because it denies reality at a very fundamental level and ridiculous because it isn't true to my everyday experience. Realizing over-and-over that I am not sufficient to myself is so necessary, so simple, so common sensical and yet so difficult. A line from Rich Mullins' song, Hold Me Jesus, echoes in my head: "I'd rather fight you for something I don't really want than take what you give that I need."

People! Who needs 'em? I DO!

Writing of needing other people, please keep Bishop Donald Pelotte, SSS, the bishop of the Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico in your prayers. He is in hospital in Phoenix after being found at his home battered and bruised after a terrible spill down his big staircase. Also pray for his brother, Fr. Dana Pelotte, formerly pastor of St. Martin de Porres Parish here in Salt Lake City and one of those wise and kind people who I count as a friend, as well as the whole Blessed Sacrament family, who have become my brothers over many years, as they wait, pray, and wonder what happened.

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