Part One: Early Listening:

My colleagues are ordained to meetings, not the word of God.
We’re going to look at the word. I do not 
promise a comfortable weekend.
The Bible calls itself a double-edged sword. We’re going to get cut.

If you’re going to get Jesus, you’re going to get him in community.
Add the metaphors of the past, to get meaning
from the word in the now.
Give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me with daily bread.
Praying the first echoes of what was already there.
Manna and mercy, what Jesus put at the core.

I grew up in apartheid South Africa, born in 1968.
The people who administered apartheid knew
the Bible backwards and forwards.
…nearly a million people killed in Rwanda.
How is it, people dropping drones across the world claim the Book?
This Book is the most bloody book in the world.
To enable us to read the book meant to bring light to the world,
while bringing death and destruction needs to be stopped—
and if we can’t, let’s stop reading the book at all.

My greatest distance from you is my greatest gift.
May we ask to grow, not argue to win.
Receive my assertions as questions.

One of the words for God is impossible to pronounce.

How not to be able to use Scripture for death and destruction…

The Jesus story
The Christ event
The interpretive lens
through which
we read Scripture

Would Jesus say Amen to that interpretation?
Which Jesus?

Some Jesus’ drop bombs quite easily.
Paul says we teach Christ and Christ crucified.
Would your Jesus give one any reason to crucify Jesus?
Where your Jesus challenges hierarchy gets people edgy,
but none of those Jesus’ warrant crucifixion.

If I were to go to Pharaoh, who owns all the gas in the world,
I want to go before him with a fuel 
that doesn’t come from Pharaoh’s world.

When you’ve lost everything,
you don’t give a damn how the world was made.
Love breaks out of the facts.
Lives, stories, make believe.
I don’t know if it happened
that way or not,
but I know this story is true.

The snake represents anything and everything in the world
which raises questions about where our salvation is found.
We have to have a story to take us to the truth.
…then you’re Babylonian. That’s what Babylonians believe.
To give your heart to love…to believe
in the assassin’s bullet or the cross.
It doesn’t fill churches.

Death on a cross in a rubbish dump outside of Jerusalem—
that’s what we have to look forward to—
the world sees it as failure.
                                             But you can’t see
resurrection until you’ve been to the cross.

Much of Scripture looks and feels like modern Christianity.

If God is not loving I’m not interested in God.
My still point, here. My immovable…
I am born in love, by love, and for love.

Freedom not to love…in order to have freedom to love.

I don’t know anything about you,
but I know the deepest thing about you.

Our own Scriptures contest the still point.

Because the stories of Mandela were so many,
and so consistently the same, it’s beyond doubt true of Mandela.
But the agenda…this is what we can learn from him now.
You cannot follow Christ as a pastor of only one tribe.
Where is the other? That is my agenda.
Natural born killers? Or natural born lovers—
with the choice to be killers.

Through the lens of Jesus.

What is the real, real, reality?
That’s my immovable point.
I question everything from that point.
I am born in love, by love, and for love.

When we move towards truth
we knock against power.
How we change the narrative.

Jim Bodeen, Listening/Listener
January—April, 2014
Yakima, Wa


Part II: Through the Lens of Jesus: The Still Point

I am born in love, by love, and for love.
In Hebrew,  African languages speak plural.

When we really nail Jesus down
we’ve probably nailed him to the cross.

There is no such thing as out of God.
That whole thing of backsliding. No.

When we can absorb that truth, we’re liberated.
Freedom or death…when you get to that place.

You’re free because nobody can rule you.

God wants to come through you.
When he shows up, he’s not just coming to you.
Salvation for some is not good news to all.

I live in Cape Town, a hot tourist place.
Security will keep you safe
and you won’t even know it’s there.

There is no such thing as private salvation
because sin is democratic.
Sin is personal, but it is also social.

Where have you been, God asks,
with those dirty hands? We’ve even

dirtied the culture of change.
No such thing as privatizing.

Reading Scriptures
with a wide angle
and a zoom lens
bumping into fertility

Can institutions be redeemed
I am addicted to my position

                                    I don’t want to give it up
                                    How do I get out
                                    of the swimming pool
                                    without slipping

I am addicted to a way of life that kills people. I am a killer. Jim is a killer. Destroying this miraculous land, I am like a slave driver 300-400 years ago. Where is your 12-Step Program for economic analysis.

                                    How are we doing
                                    I eat before I am hungry
                                    Can we say, Amen

                                    Take a break

Moses, a redeemed murderer
            Prejudice makes you stupid
Midwives bring forth lives
            In all oppressive states

If you have been present at the birth of a child,
you know pharaoh is not God.
Put the child on the river, not in the river.
God works behind enemy lines. Don’t paint the enemy with one brush.

Moses grows up
He has no male friends
as a child
living with survivor guilt
in surround sound
of privilege

God doesn’t forsake
even in a God-forsaken place

Moses, David, Saul,
with blood on their hands
What God can do with murderers

Imagine being a teacher
in the wilderness school

We work so we have something to share with the needy. Not an earning but a giving. Earn a giving. I grew up in a Jewish area.What Christians call the Preamble to the Ten Commandments, the Jews include. The Lord is embedded in grace.

Lovers have sacred language
The only way out I know
Find someone you trust
to bring your story to light
If someone comes to you
with their story of division

Shared, a privilege,
a sacred space

In our deepest darkness
we feel a bright light

Enjoy being engaged
in moral courage

When I am in the presence
of people who have too little
then I have too much

We buy houses with people
who have pretty much
what we have

This is the pain of living in two worlds. Fighting Zulu warriors, the few beat the many, giving God the glory (actually it was gunpowder). Hit me as an equal or don’t hit me at all. One thing greater than being naked is causing nakedness. In the doorpost of the kitchen, particularly in the U.S…

God can only play one music
the music of love

Can you imagine Jesus
sending someone to eternal fire?
He didn’t do that to Pilate.
God doesn’t send motor vehicles
to run us down.
Jesus is God’s answer
to a bad reputation.
For love to stop loving
is for love to stop being.
Shalom. Justice.
Hebrew means
the crossover people

People will come
from miles around
when they know
they are not being healed
as they should be.

God honors those who love
across division
more than he loves Scripture.

Jesus must have learned
lots about grace from his Dad.

God comes into the world
through the underground.
Mary names the future.

What is this silence?
What does it mean?
Born in love,
by love, for love

Let’s be quiet.

Jim Bodeen, Listener, Listening.
Central Lutheran Church, Yakima, WA
In the Notebooks, From the Notebooks
26 January—16 April 2014

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