Have you ever heard something that (1) rang true and affirmed everything your life was about, and at the very same time (2) challenged you in a way that scared your pants off? That’s the two extremes that come through loud and clear for me in Wayne Jacobsen’s Transitions series (available for free downloads here).
I pointed my brother to the download page a couple of weeks ago. He started listening, and one of the first IM conversations we had centered around how these things sounded good, but he was keeping an ear out for when the teaching went off the deep end. I don’t blame him, and I didn’t want to pry too much – except to ask why he was listening for the mistake that he was sure was going to happen. I don’t recall the whole chat, so I won’t go any further than that to save myself some future accusation of slander or libel over Sunday dinner at Mom’s or something. But as of the end of session #2, he hadn’t heard it yet.
Good faith will always seek to be better, and bad faith stands pat, considers everything as "that’s good enough for me". Something different doctrinally or politically isn’t necessarily wrong, because if I have that good kind of faith that’s looking to be better, I’ll find little truths and nuances in just about anything. But if I’m staying put, feeling good about myself and my stance, then "something different" becomes a trifling trivia at best, or a heretical enemy at worst.
I just heard a phrase this morning on a different podcast: "learn what it means to be merciful, not just sacrificial". I can say from experience that this statement will mess with me all day. I’ll see nuances on forgiveness and relationships that will be poked and prodded as being unmerciful, or as focusing on my sacrifice in "just let that go". Real mercy is probably something more involved and meaningful than where I’ve taken it so far, and I’m going to chase this new bunny down the rabbit trail to see what else in my life can be tweaked towards "better".