"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
Friday, January 07, 2005 Sitting in a bar in Boston
using free wi-fi and waiting until ECM alum Ellen Wilson gets off work at the Harvard Coop so we can dine and catch up. I'm in town for Noah Evans' (another ECM alum) ordination to the priesthood tomorrow. It's an exciting event ... the first ECM alum to be ordained priest. I'll be one of his presenters and then he asked me to preach at his first celebration of Eucharist Sunday morning (and also do adult ed about the whole 0.7% for the MDGs campaign, so I'll be busy).
Spending tonight with my sister-in-law Leslie and tomorrow night with the Farias (two of Schroedter's godparents and our buddies from seminary), so I'm packing a lot in.
On the plane I got more into reading "Borderland Theology" ... the book my dad gave me for Christmas. It talks about the incarnation as a border crossing (crossing the border between divinity and humanity) and, with the way God in Christ did it, Jesus pretty much being an illegal immigrant (or at least despised as one). I'd never thought about it in those terms ... casting Jesus as a refugee (from pure divinity). It's an interesting image to play with.
Also am re-watching Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi" -- which I really believe is my favorite film of all time. It's interesting to hold those two works together at the same time. In "Borderland Theology," Jerry Gill spends some time talking about the Christ hymn in Philippians and the "self-emptying" (kenosis) act of God in becoming human (Desmond Tutu and others talk a lot about this, too) and we as the body of Christ being the living incarnation of that self-emptying. It's what Gandhi lived.
It occurs to me that a place where that is most difficult is at home. It's a lot easier for me to think in grand theological terms and grand movements of people ... but a lot more difficult for me to act as a servant in my own home. That's the place where I behave most selfishly -- with the people I care about the most. That's where I get the most defensive.
One of the things Gandhi did continually was hold up the ethic of living something himself before trying to lead people in it. I'm becoming convinced that's the only way to do it. I think why I and others often skip that step is that living a life of radical servitude and love privately at home is perhaps the toughest piece of it all.
More later. Oh, Amber Stancliffe (yet ANOTHER ECM alum) should be finishing up General Ordination Exams either tonight or tomorrow (don't know the schedule). Yeah, Amber!
| Mike at 1/07/2005 05:33:00 PM
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"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."