The term “Affirmative Action” was used over the last decades to suggest that giving preference to one group over another is wrong yet it also undermines that very position by saying that to balance the wrong we will offer a “prejudice and bias” in the other direction as a mid course correction.
Being positive, good, and kind in attitudes, attributions, and actions toward all people regardless of anything about that attitudes, attributions, actions of that person or that group of persons, will eclipse bias and judgment not by random acts of kindness but by perpetual and perennial flowing waters of grace and mercy, from hearts of love for all and peace within.
When during the holiday season many churches read not only the Biblical “Christmas Story” (In three of the four Gospels) but also the resounding context of that story in the heart and mind of God found in the Gospel of John. In John 1, Jesus is not the Babe of Bethlehem but the Lead of God in the person of Christ. Jesus is presented here as the one in whom we beheld the Glory of God: “Full of Grace and Truth”.
Jesus life and ministry and his “lead” as a model for all people of faith to follow was to attribute to all people the truth of divinity and humanity.Divinely speaking, God loves everyone regardless of anything about them, positive or negative. Humanly speaking, God knows all humanity to have both a seed of His goodness, grace and mercy but also a seed of judgment, bias, and prejudice (seeing things the way they see them regardless of how God might see them).
Does it surprise you if you flip pages of New Testament Scripture a few hundred pages to Ephesians 4, you find the expression from Paul to the church geo-communications and eco-compassion: “speak the Truth with Love”. This formula eludes the church and many relationships. People speak their truth, their perceptions as if they are true with egoism, bias and prejudice running the show! Little or no love or grace is present. Whenever Jesus speaks “Truth” he always speeaks that Truth with the Comapssion of Grace not the harshness of “I am Right”. For God the lead is that being right in judgment is less Godly than being “right in your heart of Grace” toward all regardless of anything. Maybe this iss why John 3:16 is probably the most often quoted and known biblical verse and yeat the least follwoed as a motto and model for humanity.
Leading with”Truth and Grace” is to be affirming of the seed of goodness in all without ignoring the seed of humanity in all as well.
Be affirming in your attitudes, attributions, and actions toward all not because they deserve it but because you didn’t deserve it yet received that form God.
Affirmative action produces Righteous relationships.
Happy New Year. Imagine 2000 plus years ago as the excitement of Christmas faded and May Joseph and Jesus prepared to leave for Egypt the talk around the little town of Bethlehem was “no doubt” still even with all the excitement of Christmas (excitement fades quickly in the presence of a suspicious, bias, prejudice, and judgment).
When the dust of divine celebration settles the judgment of human criticism overtakes. They were fleeing to Egypt to avoid the judgment of humanity. The human narrative outweighs the divine dream narrative.
This is so true in our day. People are slow to grace and mercy and quick to human narratives of bias and prejudice.
Will you consider making a commitment (Not a New Year’s Resolution) to extending “grace and mercy” to all people and expunging from your narrative bias and prejudice (even if you think your narrative is correct, can you suspend a right narrative – in your mind – in favor of a narrative of grace and mercy! What a difference that will make in your world as it is “loving the world as God loves the world”
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I laid there in the middle of the road with a sense of “God’s presence”, a sense the “the Most high God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth” was all around me under me and over me. All would be well! Now sixteen months later thankful that I am mostly well.
I see the world and God from the Well of wellness inside of me. I know God put it there. It seems people think and say to me “Where was your God” as if they assume that when tragedies happen God is absent rather than knowing that God is right there in and through it all. We try to rewrite history or change the future rather than seeing God in everything not that god causes it but that he is present for those who are in it.
From the hospital bed that i could not get our of I tweeted, “Shit Happens by accident, Shifts happen by choice“.
I wished a clerk, Merry Christmas and he said “I hope so”. I responded with “make it so”
Augustine said, “their is s hole inside of humanity that nothing can fill except God”.
This obviously is an affirmation of the life and journey of faith that over the years many have embraced.
But in the scene of the baby born in Bethlehem, all of nature of earth seem to sing along with all the angels, “Glory to God in the highest”.
What if what Augustine was a hole was not the whole story? What if there is the seed of the Imago Dei inside of everyone, and once a person becomes aware of this presence of “Self”, this well of wellness inside, and once connected to the Most High God comes alive with the same song the angels sang. “Glory to God in the highest, peace to my heart and love toward all my neighbors as myself”. That is I see all other people regardless of anything as having this sense of wonder, God, of “namaste”, Jesus inside of them.
What a way to end one year and begin another.
With faith not in a particular theory or theology of God but with a sense of the incarnate in each of us for good and peace.
AS we enter the new year and leave the celebrations of light and life, can you enter the new year in peace with whatever is, and love for all people as they are!
What transformation would happen as it begins inside of you not where there is a hole but where you have the poe=wer to shift your focus to, “Making It so”
One of nearly everyones top 5 Christmas Songs of all time include, “I am Dreaming of a White Christmas”. Yes I know there are many parts of the world that do not have snow at Christmas probably more than do. So why the fascination with “Dreaming of a White Christmas”. I wonder what your answer would be. Here is mine.
When white snow blankets the earth it renewing. Underneath the snow healing of the earth is taking place. On the surface it looks wonderful. A winter wonder land (another favorite) is mystical, magical, and majestic. We need mystical, magic, and majestic in our lives.
Open your heart to the beauty, bounty and beneficence of the mystery of love and forgiveness, the magic of hope and faith, and the majesty of wonder and witness.
I am Dreaming of a Wonder filled World. Where adults listen, and children everywhere are well. I am Dreaming of a Wonder filled, Where bias and prejudice are lost, where smiles glisten, as everyone listens to the sounds of love and peace everywhere, I am Dreaming of a Wonder filled World, where inner peace, leads to outer acts of goodness from and toward all. I am dreaming of a wonder filled World where stigmas give way to acceptance, judgment to justice, and criticism to affirmations
Two days before Christmas, I stopped by Phelps Memorial Hospital where I had been a patient recovering from severed pelvis, fractured pelvic ring, fractured sacrum etc, simply to say “Thank You”.
We had made a few Ginger bread houses to say thank you to people this Christmas (a tradition in our home)
Saying “Thank You” is an incredible thing with a multiplicity of blessings. You recall the ten lepers and only one returned to say thank you.
Did you ever wonder if the Inn Keeper ever said “thank you”, to Mary and Joseph for honoring his stable in such a life changing way? Business had to have increased as news of the event traveled. In our day this stable would have become a historical, must see travel destination. Business is Booming in Bethlehem would become about the buzzing bees of the area.
Why wouldn’t the inn keeper be appreciative of the positive impact of his graciousness and goodness.
Thank you is easy to say. Thank you energizes the giver and receiver of goodness. Thank you is effective as it prompts appreciation, affirmation, and adoration.
Have you said “Thank You” to God for the gift of His Son? Have you, in your own hand writing, written a thank you note to someone for some little act of kindness they did for you. Please note it is an act of kindness and goodness so to do! Have you shown appreciation in a creative and personal way that will not only create more thankfulness and goodness in the world but promote the power of thankfulness to change that world.
“the Noes knows” is an expression that dates me for sure.
A Day after Christmas, a day after we looked at how judgment is what people see with their eyes and believe in their hearts can be so wrong even if right, I invite you to look at another side. Animals go by scent more than any other sensory motor skill.
Last night I offered my Golden retriever apiece of my almond cooking. I tossed it in her direction. It was visually right there in front of her. She sniffed all over until her nose brought her to it.
Another expression of humanity is, “Something smells” which draws attention to a foul odor. It also draws me to our kitchen where something always smells good, as I love home cooking and baking. My wife and I do some of both and both of us love the smell of each others offerings of love that fill the kitchen with good smells.
The Animals smelt something good happening in that stable and they came to see, witness and worship. Interesting in a place that you would normally thing of as having “something that smells bad” was being transformed by or into “something smells good”.
Nature and the Nose Knew more truth than all the wisdom of humanity.
The religious community, the Sadducees and Pharisees and the people of faith community of the “House of David” got it wrong because they went by their mind and heart not their nose.
Years alter Jesus would say to his disciples who wanted him to rebuke the crowd, “Let them praise for if they did not even the stones would cry out with praise”> In reality the stones and nature knew better than the people what was really going on that day as in this day.
Forget about what you are so sure your know.
Breathe a breath of Fresh air and let “Something smells Good in” and see goodness going out!
The Birth of Jesus was in this way:
All the families of the house of David were required along with Mary and Joseph to go to Bethlehem to register for taxes.
So when this world changing celestial and earthly event was taking place where were all the people?
The angles sang in the heavens, the shepherds heard and came to Worship, the wiseman followed the brilliant star in the East and it led then to the obscure place in which the christ child was born.
The other day i was in New York City and saw the huge crowds at Rockefeller Center to see the enormous Christmas Tree covered with lights of all colors of the world and creation. The event itself was summoning of the masses.
So why are there no stories of people coming to the manger, the stable. It is all speculation I know and you may have your ideas and I welcome them as a response to this blog but here is mine:
The people were convinced by their own judgment, prejudice, and bias that this event was a blight on Judaism, on humanity, on good and wholesome people who obeyed the laws and the cultural norms of their day. They sat in their comfort stations quite sure that they were right and that this was not only not of God, it as a violation of common decency in society: A woman our of marital relationship having a sexual encounter and becoming pregnant could not be an act of God.
What a true travesty and tragedy. Where judgment, prejudice and bis abounds grace, mercy and truth are an elusive commodity. It is the same this Christmas. Families that I know both personally and professionally are divided by nothing more or less than their own: judgment bias and prejudice. You here people saying things like: “it was just wrong”, ” they are wrong”, “if we gather as if nothing is wrong it is wrong”, “religious and moral standards are important”, “They knew what they were doing and did it anyway”, “judgment is not un-forgiveness it is just righteousness”, etc.
Really? Reality check: First yes this was an exceptional event and they were judged badly. Second regardless it is a clear challenge to the apparently religious and righteous to not be so sure they are right and realizing that they may be totally wrong and judge a friend or a family member badly. Like the line in Lady and the Tramp, “We judged tramp badly!”
I would rather err on the side of grace and mercy than on the side of bias and prejudice. Jesus years later would teach years later “forgiveness to all as God forgives you of all”. When the comforter shall come, “He will convict the world concerning their sin and will guide you into all truth about yourself and others, and God.” Reality check 2: The Holy Spirit does not ned your help!
This Christmas maybe one of the gifts you can give to a friend or family member this Christmas is to Step out of your comfort zone, your judgment, and enter the “Judgment free zone” of grace and mercy. You might find God there.
Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone. So let the God of all comfort Comfort you into the Discomfort of True Comfort
It was the night before Christmas and all through the stable their was not an animal was stirring not even a mouse. ll the hay was arranged for all the comforts of home, No focus was made on the absence of family and an overwhelming presence of animals of nature. Years later, the coming babe of Bethlehem would say clearly that if the people did not cry out with praise the stones would as they could not let the moment pass. It was to be exactly like that for this couple. They sense it because there focus was on what was happening not on the question of “What is Happening”>
It was happening in the darkenss, aloneness, and poorest of conditions the King of Kings was becoming a son, “Prince of Peace” would be but one of his names……
While Mary and Joseph were on their way to Bethlehem they clearly focused not on who was not with them but on who was with them. Specifically they knew God was with them and all the judgment, prejudice and bias that surrounded their lives, isolated them and abandoned them did not become their focus.
How important this is makes me wonder why no one has even thought about this part of the Christmas Story.
Whenever you feel all alone, deserted by friends and family, isolated, the focus you need is to be on the God who is always present even when he/they seem absent.
Some suggest this is the difference between seeing the glass half full or half empty but it is truly on who is holding the glass.
Mary and Joseph felt God holding them with every step toward their destination and when they heard the inn keeper say their is no room in the Inn.
There was no room in the inn but God ws in the stable.