Stephen Curry, basketball star of the Golden State Warriors, said he wasn’t quite sure he wanted to visit the White House. He was hesitant due to the President’s statements concerning NFL football players and their protests during the national anthem.
I’m told there is no utility in my delusions but yet I choose to imagine, envisioning a world of fellowship and joy. In this, my alternate global reality, wooden ships are ushered through placid seaways as steady breezes push against their ample sails, all adorned with the sacred symbol of the cross. Upon spotting lush islands and enchanting coastlines, the wayfarers disembark, Bibles in hand, and begin to work through their Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, French, and English tongues to somehow communicate warm expressions of greetings to new found friends, who attempt their own Taino, Arawak, Carib, Fulani, Akan, and Hausa greetings.
At Street Psalms we embrace a particular perspective that invites us into a grace to see from below. We do theology from below, celebrating the opportunity to read the Bible with the excluded and ostracized. We practice spirituality from below, together learning to see and celebrate good news in hard places. We share a spirituality of imperfection that delights in the Spirit’s dance among awkwardness and disarray.
“No! No! No!” My two-year old son screamed as we drove down the interstate at seventy miles per hour. “I want the door open!” At this point, he had been crying for almost five minutes, demanding, for some unknown reason, and really, out of nowhere, that we leave the doors open while we drive. He doesn’t know how to say, “It’s not fair” yet, but I could hear it in his voice.
One of the disciples poses a question that is essentially asking, “How much do we really have to forgive each other?” Jesus’ response, as was his habit, came in the form of a parable. A servant begs for mercy from the king. He asks for patience in paying back his debt. The king takes pity and says, “Don’t worry about it. Debt paid.” Boom.
In one of my favorite Ted Talks, Educational Technology Specialist Sugata Mitra discusses his experiments with “Hole in the Wall” computers. These are computer kiosks left in Indian slums, among children with no prior contact with PCs. Mitra found that children, by pooling their knowledge and resources, learned how to operate the computers.
In today’s world of instant news, we experience one story of scandal after another. Our news feed constantly tempts us with the tantalizing details of the latest political or Hollywood scandal. The details of this Gospel story seem so comparatively mild. Peter has become a “scandal” to Jesus for insisting that Jesus should live and not die: “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”
The camp speaker joined us in our cabin and Harry was on the edge, struggling with Jesus again. Harry had been to camp many times and each time he’d said “yes” to Jesus. Each time he meant it. And each time he returned to his neighborhood where the peaceful clarity of summer camp gave way to the reality of violence that eventually swallowed him up.
These were some of the chants being screamed by marchers in the “Unite the Right” Rally in the state of Virginia (United States) last weekend. The marchers were making a statement, loud and clear…“We are human, and you are less than human. We are clean, and you are unclean. We are holy, and you are unholy.” Maybe they didn’t use those exact words…but that was at the heart of the message.
Even the Muscle Dudes’ Knees Were Shaking.
Muscly New York City dudes ascended the multitiered stairway, making their way to the “H-2 Oh No” Waterslide somewhere out among the beauty of New Jersey’s Kittatinny Mountains. Yes, New Jersey does have a little mountain grandeur and yes, these hard-accented tough guys did break out into knee-shaking fear as they reached the top of the platform and gazed down at 100 feet of pure vertical terror. Most who approach this slide quickly change their minds, fearing it a bit too suicidal. But not Edwaan, he was a young man of faith.