November synchroblog on wordpress: calling us out of numbness. Every month we get to blog at the same time on the same topic!
Richard Rohr says "the role of the prophets is to call us out of numbness." Since the beginning of time, prophetic voices both in and outside of scripture have been calling us to consider change of some sort. ... Regardless of the emphasis, prophets challenge us to consider a better future. Right now there's a strong sense of change brewing...The popular media has been showing and telling us a lot about the consensus in the meritocracy, on The [Wall] Street and company; I'm wondering about the common sense on Main Street where most of us spend most of our time.
This month's Synchroblog is centered on where are you being challenged by some kind of prophetic voice.
- What is it stirring up in you?
- What is God challenging you to consider?
- How does it intersect with your faith & practical experience?
The San Diego River winds through a section of this city, lending its name to Camino Del Rio - Way of the River - in west, north and south designations. Most of the time it crawls along instead of running through because it has become a dumping ground for trash and has caught on fire a number of times. But in any case, the current moves you along. As we read in the book of Acts, the early church sometimes referred to Christians as followers of "The Way" of Jesus. The early church always baptized in the flowing water of a river: you can't step into the same river more than once, since it's always in motion, the waters that were here then are over there now--that's how is is with the Way of the River, the Riverway; we live out our baptism with similar fluidity and unpredictability.
God calls us and baptizes us into the way of justice for all creation, but since that is extremely historically and geographically generic, what's happening right here on the street where I live and on nearby mesas and canyons and beachfronts? For one thing, similar to a lot of other cities, there's been a fairly active Occupy San Diego movement that spun off from Occupy Wall Street and that's been "occupying" the plaza around City Hall. As their Facebook page points out, "1% of the people who live in the United States own and control the wealth, while the remaining 99% of the population struggle to make ends meet and there those who fail in that goal due to the fact their voices and their needs go unnoticed by the controlling 1%." And I know peeps who are getting involved in more visibly conservative political, social and economic movements that also aim to return agency and a measure of control to that 99% of the regular people--it's still the case that those who hold the gold typically have the say; in other words, they're financially articulate and verbally articulate, too: money talks.
Eddie Vedder sings "The Times They are a-Changin'" by Bob Dylan and notice this performance is from Voices for Justice Rally. A selection from the lyrics:
Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen // And keep your eyes wide; the chance won't come again // And don't speak too soon, for the wheel's still in spin // And there's no tellin' who that it's namin', for the loser now will be later to win // For the times they are a-changin'(the complete song: The Times They Are A-Changin').
The line it is drawn; the curse it is cast // The slow one now will later be fast // As the present now will later be past // The order is rapidly fadin' And the first one now will later be last // For the times they are a-changin' ...
Doesn't that sound like the Magnificat? "He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty." ...Luke 1:52-53
God calls us to make the ministry of Jesus, the words of the Magnificat Miriam sang our own, to make them living realities in the world, particularly in our very nearby vicinities.
What is stirring in me on this early November day? How is God challenging me and what would common sense advise? What's the Camino del Rio, the Way of Jesus, our baptismal call in this intersection of history and geography? What situation, circumstances and words call me out of numbness and even might cause me to help others to enlivening action?
The scriptures and the liturgy long have been the currency of my life; the patterns and rhythms of the liturgical year shape and inform my days, weeks, months and years. It's now November, late in the greening, growing "ordinary" or ordered season of Pentecost that's sometimes referred to as the Time of the Church. Soon Advent will be here, with texts and symbols full of promises, cautions, warnings, charges to repent--and replete with hope. John The Baptist preaches and pushes us into initiating God's way of justice - especially distributive justice - in our lives and worlds before we meet the God of heaven come to earth in the fragile vulnerability of the Bethlehem manger. Wouldn't you think God's presence in our very midst in human form that we can encounter face to face would be a time for "Hallelujahs?!" The jagged, colorful, apocalyptic and prophetic images that meet us at right angles to much of our everyday manner of living and being also stir us out of complacency about completing yet another liturgical year again... What is stirring up in me and the air around me? That question reminds me of the Advent collects that each open with, "Stir up your power, O Lord..." Stir up your power in us, O Lord!
From where I live in an ethnically, socially, demographically diverse section of the city there are some simple ways to start. For example, on the day after the US celebrates Thanksgiving that's been called Black Friday because retailers typically are able to balance their books from the purchasing power of the day, instead try Buy Nothing Day or better yet, make it a day to Buy Local from nearby-based manufacturers, vendors, artisans, farmers and crafters, literally seeking the welfare of the place where we live. For example, in the wake of the excessive greediness of most of the mega-banks, there's been a tremendous run on consumer-friendly credit unions. Another example is the woman who started a signature petition that before long convinced one mega-bank and then others to discontinue debit card fees. Those types of actions are as simple as they sound and they're doable, too. Each of us can be the beginning of helping fill the hungry with good things and lifting up the lowly. Bringing down the mighty from their thrones? The first ones now later being last? Justice just may make that happen!
The river is always in motion, so you can't step into it more than once; the always in motion current will move us along together, taking us somewhere other than where we started. What God calls us to do today may be finished tomorrow, when we can seek different challenges as together in the Spirit we travel the Way of the River together in church and community and making the world more just and livable.
Not surprisingly, I have enough ideas on this for a second post, so maybe soon. To be continued? I hope so—peace!
PS Due to YT vids coming and going, I've been deleting links to them but keeping the song titles so you can find your own performances
City street/alley by Ethan Wilkinson; Wall Street by Maely Schassin, both via Unsplash.
Other synchroblog participants:
• Joy Wilson - Solacetree - The Blessing of Losing Your Faith
• Jeremy Myers - Till He Comes - I Have a Dream
• Glenn Hager - Breathe - Uncomfortably Numb
Sally - Eternal Echoes - Where are the true prophets?
• Alan Knox - the assembling of the church - "My Word of Prophecy: stop listening to prophetic voices"
• Liz Dyer - Grace Rules - Listen
• Linda - kingdom grace - on earth as it is in heaven
• Christine Sine - Godspace - Surrounded by Prophetic Voices: Clouds of Witnesses That Call Us Out of Numbness
• Amy Martin - The Window of Suffering, the Beginning of Hope
• Kathy Escobar - The Carnival in My Head - rising up from below
• K.W. Leslie - More Christ - What is God Challenging You to Do?
• Katharine Gunn - Truth Makes Freedom - Where is Your Heart?
• Steve Hayes - Khanya - Murder of the Cathedral
• Tammy Carter - Blessing the Beloved - No compromise
• Katherine Gunn - A Voice in the Desert - Where Is Your Heart?
• Bobby Aunder - Deconstructing Neverland - Shift