Day 1 of 100 Days of Writing & Yoga project
In my last blog, I quoted Brian McLaren saying, “If we (the church) don’t provide emerging generations with genuine identity, community and purpose through robust and vibrant spiritual communities, somebody else will do so.” Today, I want to look at the topic of identity and what that calls us to believe about ourselves and each other.
Hurricane Harvey disrupted many things including my ability to practice with my yoga community, so when things began to settle down, I reengaged. For the first time, I thought about how I could jump back into my practice in a more compassionate way knowing that I had not practiced in 2 weeks and experienced health problems even before the hurricane. This new line of thought went to battle with my ego because I have been practicing for 7 years and I wanted to just jump right back into the more intense practices. Thankfully, I looked at the yoga schedule and saw that the next class I could take is a class called ROOTS. Back to my roots. Time to focus on grounding myself in the beauty of simple poses held for several breaths.
I wonder if this time after the crisis of Hurricane Harvey but before everything becomes normal again is the time to think about our roots as a faith community. Richard Rohr calls the time in between 2 things Liminal Space. Rohr talks about how it is in the liminal space where God can really work magic in our lives and in our world. I picture a ledge on the right and a ledge on the left and I am leaping across. Liminal space is that brief moment when neither foot is touching the ground.
As a Christ follower, my identity is rooted in Genesis 1 where God speaks, the word of God creates and the spirit empowers all living things. God blesses each part of creation with, “It is good.” Then, God created humans, male and female, in God’s image and blessed humankind with, “It is very good.” I hope that we can get back to rooting ourselves in the idea that humankind is created in God’s image and we are good. Richard Rohr calls creation the first incarnation! If you think about the idea that we bear God’s image on this earth and that God looks at us and sees God’s self. The very idea of the possibility of that being true makes me feel like a kid again with arms open wide running on the beach toward the first wave that will take me. Laughter. Feet over head tumbling. Freedom. Exhilaration.
I think when I was younger I had an easy time believing that I bear the image of God and that God calls me VERY GOOD! As an adult, I tend to let other people decide my inherent GOODNESS, my created likeness. The good news is that we can’t ever get away from the likeness and goodness that is within us. Awaken to that idea every morning!!! I like to engage in the spiritual practices of meditation, writing, prayer, breathing and movement to help bring me back to that simple truth. Maybe you are like me and need to get back to the basics.
Once we begin on the path (again) of claiming our goodness and our likeness with God, then we must balance that inner focus with embracing all people as GOOD and bearing the image of God. After what happened in Charlottesville, I slid down the slippery slide of seeing humans shockingly terrible side. Likeness and Goodness seemed like strangers in the human tragedy. Then came Hurricane Harvey to remind me of the great goodness found in all of humanity. I am sure that some of the same people who spread fear and hatred of all who are different were also the people who risked their lives to save others. Blows my mind! Richard Rohr in his new book, The Divine Dance, says, ” To forgive, you have to be able to see the other person–at least momentarily–as a whole person, as an image of the Divine, containing holiness and horror at the same time…You have to learn to live well with paradox, or you can’t forgive.”
God created all people, all skin colors, all religions, all levels of ability, all love, all truth, all beauty, male and female, God created them to bear the image and likeness of God. No exceptions. God likes diversity. God likes difference. You are unique in how you bear the image of God but so is the person standing next to you, opposite of you or opposed to you. Wherever you find love, God is there. Wherever you find truth, God is there. Wherever you find beauty, God is there. Wherever you find peace, God is there. Wherever there is a celebration of diversity, God is there.