Please Don’t Feed the Fears — The Trinity Offers a Path

You can’t trust an atom – they make up everything! – Uncle Mac

I am the vine, you are the branches… Make yourselves at home in this love so that as you love outwardly, you will experience the depth of this love inwardly. — Jesus

When my brother and I were kids, our Uncle Mac would take us hunting, though we did more talking and chattering (and occasionally catching sight of an actual fox or deer) than any hunting.

Once, he stopped us and whispered, kind of loudly, “Hey! Stand.Very.Still. Look in those trees over there.”

We stood still, awkwardly, stuck in mid-motion. But when we turned to look at the trees, there was nothing there but trees. “I don’t see anything,” I shouted.

“Be quiet!” he whispered emphatically. “You’ll spook it!”

He could see we were straining hard to see something, anything, our necks craning this way and that as if that gave us a better vantage point. He slowly stepped closer to us and added, “Don’t look so hard. Just look around the area I pointed out. Be patient. Breath slowly. You’ll see it.”

So we stopped straining, being anxious, and started scanning the area of the trees calmly, without staying focused on any one spot, and suddenly I saw something move! “I see an antler,” I shouted.

“Shhh!”

“But right there,” I whispered now as I pointed. “I can see part of its body and a tail!”

My brother started to see it, too.  The less we focused on the one spot, the more that spot, that deer, became clearer to see.

On another trip, I was hiking in Guadalupe Mountains in west Texas with Uncle Mac. It was our first day, and we were about half-way up one of the mountains. We’d been walking the dusty, rocky, trail for about three hours and I was already feeling the heat of the morning sun and tired.  Impatiently, I asked, “Uncle Mac, where’s the beautiful scenery you talked about?”

And Mac smiled, “You’re walking on it now, as you will see when we get to the peak.”

I’d say it’s just a matter of perspective. But it’s really about being still enough, paying attention to our reactionary, or habitual, responses in order to simply relax, breath, and see what else is there more clearly.

We are experiencing a lot of anxiety, grief, and anger – most recently over the loss of reproductive rights for women and the anxieties over the potential loss of other human rights around matters of love and human relationship. This reality we are in right now is a long-time-coming consequence of fear that’s been brewing and stewing in our culture for years. Fear of change. Fear of what we can’t control or don’t understand.

Fear is a nasty virus that infects our lives in unconscious ways. It’s in our evolutionary biology. So, unless we try to consciously address it in healthy ways, it can spread quickly and drive masses of people to identify with collective illusions that often lead to alienation, hatred, judgment, and violence.

We can do so much better. Humanity has to do life better.

We can tell the larger story of interconnectedness and the reality of love that grounds us all. The author of 1 John tells us that “perfect love casts out all fear.” We hear it in the words of Ghandi, “Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”

In the meantime, we stand for human rights, for women’s rights and embodied autonomy, for racial justice and equity. For families and family welfare. And for love, and for those who love who they love to have the freedom to do so. We have to step in and repair what keeps being broken.

But we respond with compassion for anyone facing hard choices and emotionally wrenching realities. We love our enemies and pray for those whose very lives, words, or actions upend our own comfort. And we commit to listening to everyone, to every concern and every fear, with compassion and curiosity, so that we are helping ourselves and others to hear and see the larger story of love and our interdependence. This is how we begin to transform ourselves. This is how we begin to transform the world.

So… here are a few Take Aways from this past Sunday’s look at the Trinity that maybe can help with fear and change.

1. We are at a point in human history, human evolution, where our intellectual and technical abilities have outpaced our wisdom to see the deep interdependence of life. So we deal with change by trying to simply eliminate what scares us, instead of transforming our relationship with fear.

2. Change is a fact of life. The Christian idea of the Trinity can serve us better in dealing with change if we see it as a model for a dynamic relationship with life instead of simply being a static, unchanging, doctrine of Christian belief (more “us vs. them” orthodoxy).

3. Try facing fear and the challenges of change with a post-modern, post-Copernican, progressive path to wisdom by practicing the Triune Dance of Curiosity (attentive love), Contradiction (challenging our own assumptions as Jesus did), and Connection (participating in what gives life to all our moments, everyone’s). Curiosity, Contradiction, Connection (or what some might call Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer or Father, Son, and Holy Ghost).

 

This Sunday, July 3, is our annual celebration of eleven:eleven’s Declaration of Inter-Dependence!  
I hope you can join us on this special day with guest artist Hannah Kirby, Brad Thompson and the band, 
storytelling, and sharing a wider table as we participate in a global eucharistic celebration.  

 

This is the wisdom of the ages… Humankind has not woven the web of life; we are but one thread. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. — Rebecca Adamson

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality. — MLK, Jr

See you Sunday!

Sunday, July 3
eleven:eleven, downtown
historic 512 • 11:11 a.m.
“Our Annual Declaration of Inter-Dependence!”
with guest singer/songwriter Hannah Kirby
stories by Catherine Crowley and Tom McDermott
and very special music with Brad Thompson and the band!

And come early at 10:30 for an ice-cream social in the Garden at FUMCFW…

Two ways to join in this Sunday
In-Person @ the Historic 512, FW
(Mask wearing is optional. Extra masks available on site)

Online
Live Streaming
Facebook
(On our FB page, join in with other viewers live @11:11 am)

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