Faith and relevance in the 21st century

Category: Richard Rohr (Page 4 of 4)

Surrender and paradox

white flagRecently I’ve been thinking about how attractive the idea of surrender is to me. I wrote in a previous post how I seem to spend most of our lives clinging on to control when the fact is that I cannot do life on my own. Surrender is the way to freedom. The way to life is in giving up – giving up control and the idea that I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul, to quote William E. Henley.

I have no power to live life the way I want to live it, and so I submit to Christ in full surrender. But the more I realise that this is the way to life, the more I find myself resisting. For me, it is a matter of trust; trust that God really is good and that the life God wants for me is not too good to be true. Just like Peter who, when Jesus had just demonstrated the outrageous grace of God, could only say “go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8), I don’t believe I deserve the grace that God gives. And truth be told I don’t deserve it. No one does. But give it he does, and when I accept it, I enter into that life that is truly life, where I am free from having to perform, free from having to strive, where I am free.

Paul said “when I am weak then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). True Christianity never aligns itself with power. It always aligns itself with weakness, with failure, and with powerlessness. Richard Rohr, as usual, sums it up brilliantly:

When Christianity aligns itself with power (and the mindset of power) there’s simply very little room for the darkness of faith; that spacious place where God is actually able to form us.

So when we speak of paradox, I’m trying to open up that space where you can “fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31), because YOU are not in control. That is always the space of powerlessness, vulnerability, and letting go. Faith happens in that wonderful place, and hardly ever when we have all the power and can hold no paradoxes. Thus you see why faith will invariably be a minority and suspect position.

Surrender, faith, and paradox. The combination that gives the life that transforms our hearts, and then transforms the world.

Why does God love us?

Here’s another stunner from Richard Rohr. Richard has a knack of cutting straight to the depth of God’s character. I reckon he can do that because he spends alot of time being still before God – something I don’t do very well. Check this out:

God cares, for some wonderful reason, despite all of our smallness and silliness. Divine love does not depend on our doing nice or right things. Divine love is not determined by the worthiness of the object of love but by the Subject, who is always and only Love. God does not love us if we change, as we almost all think; but God loves us so that we can change. 

No matter what we do, God, in great love and humility, says, “That’s what I work with. That’s all I work with!”  It’s the mustard seed with which God does great things. Our life experiences, “good and bad alike,” are invited to the great wedding feast (Matthew 22:10). They are the raw material that God uses to prepare the banquet.

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