To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is itself to succumb to the violence of our times. Frenzy destroys our inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
It’s important to realize that Jesus’ message was being given, at the same time, to those on the top of their game and those on the bottom. Both groups would have been in any crowd.
To those on the top, he is always saying, “Come down. Give up your power, your righteousness, and your explanations. Jump off the tower.” To those on the bottom—all the nobodies—he’s always saying, “Come up! You’ve got faith. Go show yourself to the priests. You’ve got the power.” The same parallel is found in his address to the two genders. He is invariably telling the males, including the apostles, to come down! He is almost without exception telling the women, who were second-class citizens, to come up. Please check this out yourself, and don’t just believe me. It is a great Bible study, and one wonders how we could have missed it.
There is a gospel to the oppressors and there is a gospel to the oppressed, reversing both of their self-evaluations and their illusions.
Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, by Richard Rohr, p. 371, day 385