Public thanks to incandescens , stark_black , bellumina and shadowgirl1605 for helping me out when I wasn't nearly at my best. *laughter* I've been moody, cranky, unable to sleep. The medication side effects I've alleviated by taking it earlier in the evening. I get the full 12 hours on either side, and I can always do it when Jet goes to sleep, so by the time I go to sleep I can now sleep. So that's to the good, and I'm breathing and thankful for all the breaths I'm now aware of. I'm picking up tai chi again just to enjoy the depth of breath, and it's helping me with the other things, again. Probably a bit like yoga for others.
There's two quotes for this week. "Disciples know themselves as distinctive, peculiar people bearing the inner mark of character and the outer mark of compassion." -- from my Disciples Biblical study workbook. And "Compassion is the secret name of God." -- from The Saving Jesus workshop.
I'm starting to really get what it is that the Disciples Bible study class has given me. Having the Biblical background in conjunction with the "Saving Jesus" class has been making my brain explode, and my heart expand. "Saving Jesus" is about the fact that conservatives have, basically, stolen Jesus to stand for the Establishment, and it's time that radically liberal congregations started claiming him back. Basically, Jesus was part of a poverty stricken, oppressed minority, and he was a dangerous radical in his time. His whole message is about how to be an offensively and defensively non-violent radical that stood for gaining justice for all people as the means to peace; rather than the accepted means of military conquest as the only means to peace.
Sound familiar? It's really bemusing to have six Biblical scholars all agreeing with me that the Church is now the Temple of Jesus' time. That the Christian Establishment really has gotten it wrong. That "Jesus Meek and Mild" is a total cop out of the man that terrified the centers of imperial power. That war in the name of Christian faith is really bad, horrible theology. That a lot of the Constantine decisions (including the majority of decisions about sexuality, making submission to authority a priority, and a slew of other stuff I've always struggled with) were done in order to control people and to give the Church a power it could not have had without merging with the Empire. And then they come up with dozens and dozens of Biblical quotes, historical background, and deep study of the culture that the teachings come from and suddenly I'm like... this is a completely new way to look at Christianity for me.
And, most of all, I don't have to let what's been established define what Christianity means to me. That's the most radical concept of all, for me. I'm starting to get why Biblical study with a group, with authoritative studies and backgrounds is so important. I lends my faith weight and a conviction, and, possibly momentum in a way I could not have gotten on my own.
The Disciples quote may become my mantra soon. It implies that we understand that we're all utterly different and that God made us that way. That my strengths, my peculiarities are my reason for existing, and that the more I use and exercise and those peculiarities the closer to I get to what God meant me to be. That my compassion will stem from being outcast, that because I used to think I'd burst into flame on crossing a Church's threshold I might actually better serve in a church that is willing to embrace anyone like me that wants to be a part of them. That the Samaritan woman with seven husbands who is the first to announced Jesus' divinity really was chosen for various reasons.
Okay... and it doesn't hurt to be in a congregation where, when Pope Benedict's quote about how submission to Church Authority was the root of Christian belief was read to them by our paster, we all started laughing: not just titters, not just chuckles, but outright laughing. I'm so glad I have my own peculiar, set-aside People.