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From "Limping to Jerusalem" the community group on Facebook. (Culled from another FB site: Garden of Bright Images. Artwork by Carl Holsoe

From “Limping to Jerusalem” the community group on Facebook. (Culled from another FB site: Garden of Bright Images. Artwork by Carl Holsoe)

On Facebook I came across a Christian community group in which some anonymous person puts up beautiful memes and pictures every day.

The illustrations usually cite wonderfully incisive and inspiring quotes from Christians famous and obscure, but also from other faith and wisdom traditions.

This is how it’s described at the Facebook site itself:

About
Join me, friends, in filling your minds, hearts and eyes with what is inspiring, encouraging and gracious.

Sometimes it simply features a picture that gives its viewer meditative pause, like this one below of a boy and his dog. (And what’s not to love about a child with a dog.)

Oftentimes the daily posts at “Limping” are taken from other spiritual FB community groups that I go to and start following.

A beautiful meditative picture from the Christian community group on Facebook called "Limping to Jerusalem."

A beautiful meditative picture from the Christian community group on Facebook called “Limping to Jerusalem.” It immediately brings to mind Jesus telling us that the way into heaven is by letting your guard down and becoming as free and vulnerable as a child.

The group site is called “Limping to Jerusalem”–a name that got me quietly excited the first time I saw it.

Admittedly, it doesn’t take much to get me quietly excited when I see something that stirs me spiritually.

We're all broken people. You might say we're all "limping to Jerusalem."

We’re all broken people. You might say we’re all “limping to Jerusalem.”

But that name–Limping to Jerusalem–grabbed me because it comports with my own personal theology. And longtimers here at the Cult of the Jitterbug know that my theology in the proverbial nutshell is this:

    “We’re all broken people, all doing the best we can in a noisy, violent, broken world, all in need of God’s healing powers of love, extravagant grace and tender mercies–all of which the healing God is happy to provide.”

That’s a way of saying “We’re all broken people, all limping to Jerusalem.

The anonymous person behind the Facebook group has a messenger button on the page, so I sent a private message and this is the communication we had:

    ME:
    Love the name “Limping to Jerusalem. That’s chock full of theology.”

    THE RESPONSE:
    Thank you, Paul. Here’s a little paragraph I wrote to explain the name. (You’re the FIRST one who hasn’t asked me for an explanation. You understood it immediately… Bless you, brother, from your sister Claudia way up in North Idaho.)

    Why Limping? We live in a world where human strength is idolized. We gaze longingly upon the athletes…so dazzled by their leaps and bounds. But what impresses God?

    Psalm 51 says: “You [Lord] do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice You desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God…”

    I have despised my brokenness, but God does not. I am a limper, but scripture tells me:

    “What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.” (Psalm 84)

    Though I have spent many years in the Valley of Weeping, I will appear before God in Zion. I will limp up the hill into Jerusalem, singing a Psalm of Ascent and carrying my sheaves with me. Follow me, fellow limpers, and make your struggle the most beautiful part of your song.

Good stuff.

Blessings back atcha up there in the frozen north, sister Claudia.

More posts from the many and very many posts at Limping to Jerusalem:

"As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate." From Limping to Jerusalem and the FB site Contemplative Monk, another wonderful online community.

“As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” From Limping to Jerusalem and the FB site Contemplative Monk, another wonderful online community.

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton

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" 'For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.'  Then they said to Him, 'Lord, always give us this bread.' Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.' " (John 6:33-35)

” ‘For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.’
Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, always give us this bread.’
Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’ ” (John 6:33-35)

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Great wisdom is great wisdom, now matter who shares it. Limping to Jerusalem isn't restricted to orthodox Christian wisdom and spirituality.

Great wisdom is great wisdom, now matter who shares it. Limping to Jerusalem isn’t restricted to orthodox Christian wisdom and spirituality–another thing I like it about. If you’re on Facebook check it out.

See here to see Claudia Lovejoy.


First Class Family.

First Class Family.

Money can’t buy class, and the Obama family exemplifies class.

Money has nothing to do with family values and the Obama family represents the best of the best in family values.

Grace-filled people show grace and courage under all kinds of pressure, including the relentless pressure of hatred and vitriol. The Obama family has demonstrated extravagant grace and courage under burning hot pressure.

Christian families don’t just talk about their love of God and neighbor to impress other Christians. They walk the love of God and neighbor. The Obama marriage is a model of what a Christian marriage can and should be, and the Obama family is a model of a what Christian family can and should be.

Thank you, Obama family, for your beautiful legacy of grace, Christian values, and love of country and people everywhere.

In today's New York Times, Lonnie Ali, widow of Muhammed Ali, writes of her husband and Thomas Merton: "Neither the monk nor the boxer relied on political leaders to set their course in matters of justice, equality and tolerance. Neither man was elected to high office, but their messages in print, in words and in deeds reverberated across the globe and in the highest chambers of power." (Photo from today's New York Times.)

Two days ago in The New York Times, Lonnie Ali, widow of Muhammed Ali, writes of her husband and Thomas Merton: “Neither the monk nor the boxer relied on political leaders to set their course in matters of justice, equality and tolerance. Neither man was elected to high office, but their messages in print, in words and in deeds reverberated across the globe and in the highest chambers of power.” (Photo from New York Times.)

Lonnie Ali, widow of his greatness Muhammed Ali, had a nice piece in The New York Times Tuesday about two men whose lives converged in Louisville, Ky.–the lives of her husband and Thomas Merton.

More specifically, she notes that it’s “the convergence of their message of faith that bears noting as we mark what would have been Muhammad’s 75th birthday on Jan. 17.” (See here to read the article in whole.)

Longtimers here at the Cult of the Jitterbug know that Thomas Merton has always been one of my faith heroes. And Ali, of course, one of my sports and cultural heroes.

So the article naturally got my attention.

Writes Lonnie Ali:

    Like Merton, whom he never met, Muhammad was naturally drawn to the power in all faiths and at his direction his memorial service included an imam and an Islamic scholar, two Baptist ministers, two Jewish rabbis, a Roman Catholic priest, a Native American tribal chief and faith leader, and a Buddhist monk. Muhammad famously said, “Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams — they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do — they all contain truths.”

The point of her article is laid out in these words:

    As America stands divided once again in the aftermath of a polarizing election, we would do well to follow the example of Thomas Merton and Muhammad Ali in their approach to diversity, pluralism and faith. Regardless of our differences, we share a common humanity, something that will always bind us to each other. We must find ways to reconnect to each other by developing empathy and by giving back. In truth, America has always faced division in varying degrees. The test for America has always been how she manages her division, how she finds and clings to a common purpose, and how she spins the tapestry of her diversity.

Indeed, these times we live in aren’t as unique in terms of division as we might think.

Lord be with us as we seek to manage the division and help us to “spin the tapestry of our diversity” in the spirit of those deeply spiritual peacemakers Merton and Ali.

Agape is not a weak, passive love. It is love in action… agape is a willingness to go to any length to restore community… It is a willingness to forgive, not seven times, but seventy times seven to restore community… .

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness." -- MLK Jr, on his vision of "the beloved community."

“The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.” — MLK Jr, on his vision of “the beloved community.”

Never forget: Martin Luther King, Jr. was first and foremost a great preacher and he was a great preacher because he kept throwing his theological nets out deeper and deeper.

Consider, for example, his deep understanding of how and why we love even our enemies.

It’s not because we feel anything like sentimental, affectionate love for those who hate us so much they would gladly kill us.

It’s because … well …

Maria Popova summed it up nicely yesterday in reviewing King’s pillars of nonviolent resistance and the Greek notion of Agape love.

Popova is the curious brain behind the online site “Brain Pickings,” which is a readable, must-read blog featured every Sunday for people curious about all things literary, philosophical and theological.

You can read for yourself her summation of King’s tenets of nonviolent resistance and Agape love here.

 Maria Popova, the brains behind "Brain Pickings." She describes herself as "a reader, writer, interestingness hunter-gatherer, and curious mind at large."

Maria Popova, the brains behind “Brain Pickings.” She describes herself as “a reader, writer, interestingness hunter-gatherer, and curious mind at large.”

Here’s a sampling of Popova’s post yesterday (which I’ve broken down into short paragraphs for readability):

    Dr. King turns to Ancient Greek philosophy, pointing out that the love he speaks of is not the sentimental or affectionate kind — “it would be nonsense to urge men to love their oppressors in an affectionate sense,” he readily acknowledges — but love in the sense of understanding and redemptive goodwill.

    The Greeks called this agape — a love distinctly different from the eros, reserved for our lovers, or philia, with which we love our friends and family. Dr. King explains:

    Agape means understanding, redeeming good will for all men. It is an overflowing love which is purely spontaneous, unmotivated, groundless, and creative.

    It is not set in motion by any quality or function of its object… Agape is disinterested love.

    It is a love in which the individual seeks not his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

    Agape does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people, or any qualities people possess. It begins by loving others for their sakes.

    It is an entirely “neighbor-regarding concern for others,” which discovers the neighbor in every man it meets. Therefore, agape makes no distinction between friends and enemy; it is directed toward both.

    If one loves an individual merely on account of his friendliness, he loves him for the sake of the benefits to be gained from the friendship, rather than for the friend’s own sake.

    Consequently, the best way to assure oneself that love is disinterested is to have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution.

Even many of his fellow civil rights activists initially thought King was wrong to come out against the Vietnam War as it took to the focus off the cause. But he saw the war and profiteering from it as an impediment to the realization of a restored community--it was always about community with King!

Even many of his fellow civil rights activists initially thought King was wrong to come out against the Vietnam War as it took to the focus off the cause. But he saw the war and profiteering from it as an impediment to the realization of a restored community–it was always about community with King!

Nonviolence … does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding. The nonviolent resister must often express his protest through noncooperation or boycotts, but he realizes that these are not ends themselves; they are merely means to awaken a sense of moral shame in the opponent. The end is redemption and reconciliation. The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Growin’, growin’, changin’ ev’ry day
Knowin’, showin’ all my worldly ways

Hear the chimes, hear how they ring
Marking time all through the day”

— From the Doobie Brothers classic “The Captain and Me”

I don’t know about you, but at times this week I’ve felt like this was the craziest, most divisive week in America I’ve ever experienced in my (soon-to-be) 67 years.

But then remember I graduated from high school in 1968 and lived through the divisive time of civil rights and the Vietnam War and Watergate and all that.

At any rate, this calls for some music therapy from my era featuring The Doobie Brothers–a great American band that was a hit machine back in some turbulent days.

My favorite of their songs, though, wasn’t a big single hit; it was the title song from their great album The Captain and Me. (More here on it.)

It was a socially conscious song as much of their music was–“Taking it to the Streets,” for example, with lyrics like:

    You don’t know me but I’m your brother
    I was born here in this living hell

    You don’t know my kind in your world
    Fairly soon the time will tell

Not exactly Beach Boys white-bread music.

“The Captain and Me,” which I never get tired of hearing, seems especially apropos for this weekend in which we commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King.

The other Doobie songs I’m featuring are simply other, personal favorites.

(And here are lyrics to The Captain and Me.)

Keep on rocking’ in the free world, y’all.


Here’s how Trumpcare will work if the incoming President gets his way in Congress:

    Republicans’ planned bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act … would provide an immediate windfall tax cut to the highest-income Americans while raising taxes significantly on about 7 million low- and moderate-income families (My italics for emphasis.)

    First, it would eliminate two Medicare taxes — the additional Hospital Insurance tax and the Medicare tax on unearned income — that both fall only on high-income filers, thereby cutting taxes substantially for those at the top.

    The top 400 highest-income taxpayers — whose annual incomes average more than $300 million apiece — each would receive an average annual tax cut of about $7 million, we estimate from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data.

    This group’s tax cut would total about $2.8 billion a year.
    The roughly 160 million households with incomes below $200,000 would get nothing from the repeal of these two taxes.

    Second, ACA repeal would significantly raise taxes on about 7 million low- and moderate-income families due to the loss of their premium tax credits — worth an average of $4,800 in 2017 — that help them buy health coverage through the health insurance marketplaces and afford to go to the doctor when needed.

So says a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research and policy institute. (See more here.)

I’m sorry, but this is not good governance.

And it’s sure as the dickens not moral, ethical or Christian, is it? If you think it is, I’m open to your argument.

* * *

Unless you believe everything that runs counter to anything Trump is for is just so much fake news, you might want to take the time to digest the whole report here.

Then contact your Congressman and ask her or him, who works for you in Washington, where they stand on this.

This, after all, could have an ill effect a lot of sick and injured folks and our wallets, too.


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Speaking of my first book (see yesterday’s post about the idea I’m developing for a book about “Trumpianity”), it’s going to be published in this millennium, I promise.

Maybe even in a couple or three months.

Publication of The View from Down in Poordom: Reflections on Scriptures Addressing Poverty has had seemingly endless delays beyond my control.

To update you, it’s in the hands of a proofreader who aims to be done with the reading this weekend. The manuscript is also in the hands of a sketch artist who will be done with pen-and-ink illustrations soon.

After I’ve given it another reading myself it will go back to the publisher for some more weeks and probably a few months of processing before it hits the market.

So stay tuned–it’s going to hit the market some day, that I can tell you.