"A student doesn't get a better desk than her teacher. A
laborer doesn't make more money than his boss. Be content - pleased,
even - when you, my students, my harvest hands, get the same
treatment I get. If they call me, the Master, 'Dungface,' what
can the workers expect?
"Don't be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to
be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really
are. So don't hesitate to go public now.
"Don't be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies.
There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save
your fear for God, who holds your entire life-body and soul-in
"What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right?
And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays
even greater attention to you, down to the last detail-even numbering
the hairs on your head! So don't be intimidated by all this bully
talk. You're worth more than a million canaries.
"Stand up for me against world opinion and I'll stand up
for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run,
do you think I'll cover for you?
"Don't think I've come to make life cozy. I've come to cut
- make a sharp knife - cut between son and father, daughter and
mother, bride and mother-in-law - cut through these cozy domestic
arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members
can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over
me, you don't deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over
me, you don't deserve me.
"If you don't go all the way with me, through thick and
thin, you don't deserve me. If your first concern is to look
after yourself you'll never find yourself. But if you forget
about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and
<The Message >
What do you know that falls in the category of truth which runs
either slightly or altogether in a different direction from that
of the prevailing wisdom in your family, community, nation, or
world? Avoiding bringing it forward in order to avoid conflict
is not going to work. Eventually this conflict will surface.
So, if you are being as wise as a serpent in knowing when you
will bring your part of truth forward, blessings upon you. However,
if you are simply trying to avoid issues or are being intimidated
into silence - it is time to stop that and be the part of truth
Jesus expects from you.
A tricky part of this truth-telling is also having the humility
to recognize the ways in which we intimidate others from passing
on a helpful word to us. What tricks do you use to avoid responding
to a part of truth the larger community has for you. Is it the
magic two-year old response of, "No," of the teen response
of boredom, or the young adult knowing it all, or the older,
"well my experience is... and you can't change it."
Here Jesus can also be heard to remind us that the message of
repentance we bring to the world does have an echo that comes
back to remind us that repentance is a continual process that
is not just for others but includes us.
Don't expect that this business of being one with God and Jesus
is going to be cozy. It tosses us, evermore, into the cauldron
of life. So let's get on with it since there doesn't seem to
be an out. Pat answers and avoidance will not suffice. Onward.
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