Thursday, January 31, 2013

Making Space in A Culture of Disgust

I wish all smart phones
would crash
and we would all mob
the local libraries
like back when we weren't
afraid of each other.

Suspend judgment. 
Make space. 

This was the theme of Monday's yoga practice at church.

If I suspend my judgment about a certain pose, whether I like or dislike the pose, I am free to just be in it, no assumptions, no pressure. I can make space for my body to work, breathe, and be.

My friend and I had a conversation about technology, specifically smartphones-- a topic I feel very strongly about. We discussed the questions that come to our minds about this technology. My mind asks questions about the future: How will this affect the next generation and what can I do about it? His mind asks questions about the past: Where have we seen this issue before and how did people react?

You really do need both sides.

If I suspend my judgment about a topic I feel strongly about, I am free to make space for provocative questions and conversations, making space for God's Spirit to move.

This--everything--has all been done before.

It began before my birth.
It will continue after my death.

I am not responsible for the past or future outcomes.
I am not responsible for what others have done in the past, what they are doing now, or what they will do.

I am responsible for my little piece,
for keeping my garden in bloom,
for bringing a bit of light and hope in this time and place.

I am responsible for loving people,
in whatever form that takes.

At a church I attend, we are discussing the book Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Morality. Last week we discussed the culture of disgust we have toward certain things like sex, bodily functions, and profanity and how our assumptions about these things may keep us from loving people like Jesus did.  Jesus reached beyond the barriers of His society's ideas of what it was to be "unclean." He asked no questions about how the people got to be in the situation they were, nor did he hesitate to touch them, right where they were, no matter what society told Him about how disgusting they were.

"Lord, that woman has been bleeding for 12 years! She is unclean and disgusting!"
"Lord, that man has a contagious skin disease and we have to keep him away from everyone, including you!"
"Lord, this person is dead. You cannot touch her without contaminating yourself!"
"Lord, this woman is living with a man who is not her husband. She is a sinner."

He reached beyond everyone's assumptions to love people as they were, not trying to change their behaviors or personality, just loving them, serving them, showing them the beauty of the Kingdom of God as He forewent society's culture of disgust to touch the untouchables.

Who are your "untouchables"?
How can you reach beyond your assumptions about who/what is "unclean" to love and reach out to people like Jesus did, without assumptions, judgments, or condemnation?

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