“In Love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve.” – Brennan Manning
One thing that continually amazes me and I think gets overlooked often is the initial faith of Jesus’s first followers. I get criticism for doubting things later, but come on. Would start lose your composure if you were walking on water? Or in a boat that is about to capsize? The Love and acts of Jesus were so radical, it makes complete sense to me they had moments of wavering faith. But the initial faith was robust and childlike. It would have to be to give up everything and follow a random carpenter.
Another thing currently blowing my mind is the vulnerability and openness displayed in the writings of Brennan Manning. One of Brennan’s chapters goes into great depth about living like a child versus living like a Pharisee. The Pharisees were very much the law keepers and “religious people” of the day. They did not really get along with Jesus.
Brennan posits we all have some Pharisee in us. The Pharisee in us gets anxious. It gets fearful. It has prejudices against people different from us. It is paranoid, cynical and nervous. It looks solely for success with complete disregard to others and love. And we all have it in us.
My Pharisee is very cynical. And sarcastic. Lots of times it is cynical towards organized religion. It can grow cynical towards intimate relationships. It can be sarcastic at times of intimacy to avoid deep conversations and connections with friends and family. The Pharisee has to be embraced. It has to be communicated with. When it is ignored, it starts to run rampant.
We also all have a child in us. The child doesn’t close itself off to the world. The child is open. It is vulnerable. It is simple. It is playful. The child looks for spiritual surprises. The child does not turn away from risks that lead to growth. The child is available to new opportunities, others and Abba. The child has trusting dependence on Abba and others. The child knows and welcomes the tenderness and compassion that is God’s Love. It accepts a wild, rambunctious, full, overwhelming Love. And the projects that Love on others. The child is constantly learning, curious and looks at the world as a playground.
Two thoughts from Brennan pertaining to these thoughts:
“The ragamuffin who sees his life as a voyage of discovery and runs the risk of failure has a better feel for faithfulness than the timid man who hides behind the law and never finds out who he is at all.”
“Hope knows that if great trials are avoided great deeds remain undone and the possibility of growth into greatness of soul is aborted.”
Regardless of your faith, even if that faith is solely in yourself, we all have a metaphorical (or literal) Pharisee and Child in us. What is your Child? What is your Pharisee? I really believe in getting to know your Pharisee. I hate mine. But we talk on occasion. It started as a “Twitter relationship” (we communicated in about 140 characters at a time. But it is getting better. Knowing your Pharisee well is the only way to eradicate it. Embrace your Child. Let your Child free.