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Confiance ou méfiance

Trust and Mistrust

Chapter 13

Good Monday Morning to this week 13 of 2022

Trust is quite an interesting thing. On the one hand, it is something very individual; my trust in life, my trust in others. In regard to those that are particularly important to me, the mistrust is especially strong after the abuse of trust has been experienced. We don’t only trust individually, therefore trust has social, political or even spiritual components.

Both trust and distrust are self-reinforcing: If I trust, more and more trust is created; if I mistrust, the skepticism I show others tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy and creates new mistrust. If I think “this person doesn’t like me” and confront him accordingly in an unfriendly manner, he will confirm my judgment.

In communication we currently have a problem of trust. What source can we trust, who is feeding the information we read or even pass on? Can we trust what we are seeing or reading?

In the development of a child; The trust versus mistrust stage is the first stage of psychosocial development. This stage begins at birth and lasts until your child is around 18 months old. it is one of the most important periods of your child’s life, as it shapes their view of the world as well as their overall personality.

Trust:
Believing in caregivers, trusting that the world is safe, knowing that needs will be met

Mistrust
Distrusting caregivers, fearing the world, unsure that needs will be met

Isaiah 31 shows us the challenge of Egypt and Assyrians while placing the Messianic kingdom alongside the downfall of Assyria 

Doom to those who go off to Egypt thinking that horses can help them, impressed by military mathematics, awed by sheer numbers of chariots and riders. And to The Holy of Israel, not even a glance, not so much as a prayer to God. Still, he must be reckoned with, a most wise God who knows what he’s doing. He can call down catastrophe. He’s a God who does what he says. He intervenes in the work of those who do wrong, stands up against interfering evildoers. Egyptians are mortal, not God and their horses are flesh, not Spirit.

Isaiah. 31:1 is the fifth of six “woes” that Isaiah pronounces in this section of his book. Israel would experience woe, writes Isaiah, not just because they looked to Egypt for help, but because they “did not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord”. Indeed, it is not inherently wrong to prudently prepare for trials. However, it is sinful to not recognize, as Solomon wrote, “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the Lord” (Prov. 21:31). This is helpful advice coming from Solomon, who himself had erred in accumulating many, many horses from Egypt, contrary to God’s instructions at Deut. 17:16, “But the king shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’”

In Isaiah 31:4–5; God promises to defend His people with the idea that they would repent of their sins and rely solely on Him for deliverance. God’s care for and over His people can be seen in the two illustrations Isaiah uses, that is, a lion and a bird. First, Isaiah notes that God’s care for Israel is like a young lion circling its prey who will not be distracted or deterred by shepherds summoned against it. Second, Isaiah writes that God’s concern for His own people is like that of a mother bird hovering over her fledglings.

Trust needs courage! Because trust is even something that will change. Yes, it adapts dynamically – depending on whether the trust placed in others is confirmed or disappointed. There is always the possibility that trust will be violated; that is a risk, and that is why trust requires courage.

Faith at its heart is about trust. It’s one thing to believe in God; it’s quite something else to trust him. R. Perry

A tremendous amount of trust and faith is required to go through a spiritual crisis. L Penner

Trust is the tie that binds any and all relationships with God, our spouses, our friends, and our community.  B. Williams

One day I believe we will understand, but in the meantime, we have to trust and have faith in the fact that God knows what he is going to do. Hope

Wishing you a blessed week full of trust, hope and faith!

Philemon

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Disney Princess theology

Chapter 12

Good Monday Morning to this new Week 12 of 2022

The current crisis and conflicts here in the West have caused quite some discussion,
especially in light of the fact that so much is shared out of the western worldview.

I stumbled over a blog and post at “citychurchlongbeach.org” and it spoke out of my heart. How often do we just see things out of only one or only “our own” view or perspective?

How do you listen to God’s word? Which persons in the story do you identify with? Today, ponder the insights from a Native Christian leader about the dominant Christian culture – and then read through the passage from 2 Samuel 12 with an open heart. Ask God to speak to you.

“White Christianity suffers from a bad case of Disney Princess theology. As each individual reads Scripture, they see themselves as the princess in every story. They are Esther, never Xerxes or Haman. They are Peter, but never Judas. They are the woman anointing Jesus, never the Pharisees. They are the Jews escaping slavery, never Egypt. For the citizens of the most powerful country in the world, who enslaved both Native and Black people, to see itself as Israel and not Egypt when it is studying Scripture, is a perfect example of Disney princess theology. And it means that as people in power, they have no lens for locating themselves rightly in Scripture or society — and it has made them blind and utterly ill equipped to engage issues of power and injustice. It is some very weak Bible work.” Erna Kim Hackett

The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over because he did such a thing and had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” 2. Samual 12: 1-7

Julia Kristeva also takes a view at this sotry.
Revisiting Bathsheba and David by Julia Kristeva

How about focussing a bit in regard to Bathsheba, not only as the imagined enticement of an illicit romantic encounter, but that of the symbolic system. In this context we could see Bathsheba as metaphorical maternal element of the symbolic order and drives, versus the metaphorical paternal element of the Law and its order. We could then understand Bathsheba as seductive with her imagined power to lead aside, to lead astray, away from
the symbolic of the law of the Father. Perhaps then the idea and mention of her seductiveness is a representational image of the danger of the temptation to act contrary to the laws and principles by which one normally abides, to deviate from the way things are and are to be done in one’s culture and society. Bathsheba is then representative of
the danger to trespass this patriarchal paradigm and its symbolic system, to go beyond its
boundaries, to be seduced to a new paradigm for ethical and equitable living. Then in a
parabolic manner, that is, by taking her story as a parable, Bathsheba is a metaphor for all that seduces us to a disruption of the status quo. We could then see the story as a parabol
that will bring about a revolution of a new otherness in a new paradigm.

When a woman is not given a voice in her own life-story, that is, when her story is told about her but not with her or by her, this is one way of silencing a woman. However, this silencing of her voice in her own story does not mean that she is therefore unprotesting, with the implicit accusation that she is therefore complicit when she is acted upon.

Bathsheba’s story also tells us what happened when David forgot about love. Denise
Lardner Carmody writes that, “to divorce the beauty of a lover from her or his total personality, and then suborn that beauty into the services of one’s own satisffaction is to pervert the interaction. David perverted his first encounter with Bathsheba, and because of it and the consequences that followed he became abject and felt rejected by God. David wept in his abjection and prayed for a religious ritual so that he could come to accept forgiveness and feel once more that he was loved by God. For “love is the most divine, transforming force in the human experience the best evidence that the Spirit of God moves in our spirits, often with sighs too deep for words” There came a transforming force in David, an unwonted, that is, an unaccustomed and unusual generosity as the power of love took him out of himself and into an ability to give comfort to Bathsheba in vers 24 we read;
then David comforted his wife Bathsheba.

It is in the between of our relationships, in the transformation of our interactions with each other that we discover love as healing the traces of our inscription and the experiences which mark us. Although at times filled with “fear of crossing and desire to cross the boundaries of the self … . if we can cross that with our thinking and our tradition we will undergo a revolution, and we will see things in a new light based on an ancient biblical commandment of love also shown in so many stories and parables.

Wishing you a good start to this week as you try to bring order into some of the many thoughts of this very turbulent time.

Philemon


The good Samaritan

Chapter 11

Good Monday Morning to this week 11 of 2022

A few years ago an astonishing story hit the world news.

Samaritans number about 800, roughly split between Mount Gerizim and Holon. Thanks in part to the six Ukrainian women who have moved to the mountain, as well as several Israeli, Ukrainian, and Azerbaijani women who married men in Holon, their population is slowly growing again.

Or another more current story. During the second intifada, a 56-year-old Samaritan, was driving home from the Palestinian town of Nablus. “When I was almost home, I came across two Palestinian boys and they shot me,” he says. “The blood ran from me like water.” He lost control of his car and drove into an Israeli roadblock. The Israeli soldiers shouted at him to stop. “But I couldn’t stop the car. And so they also shot me. There are probably few people in the world who have been shot by both Palestinians and Israelis within minutes of each other.

The Samaritans in Jesus’ day began as a race of people in the Old Testament, formed after the Assyrian King took most of the nation of Israel into exile. He repopulated what was then Israel’s capital city, Samaria, with foreigners who eventually intermarried with the Jews who remained in the land. As a result, their offspring was only half Jewish. These half-Jews became known as Samaritans.

This parable is found in Luke 10:25-37. A pharisee of the law questioned Jesus and asked what he must do to receive eternal life. When Jesus turned the question back to him, he had to say that the law stated that a person was to love God and love his neighbor as himself. However, the agitated pharisee wanted to excuse himself, so he asked, “And who is my neighbor?” But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have’”

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise. Jesus had a different attitude toward Samaritans than most Jews. He didn’t hold them in contempt; instead, he reached out to them. He healed a Samaritan leper. When a Samaritan village refused to welcome him, Jesus didn’t allow his disciples to order its destruction. One of his most famous parables tells the story of a good Samaritan, who helped a Jew in need. Jesus once went out of his way to travel through Samaria so he could speak with the woman at the well. As a result, she and many people in the town believed in him as the Messiah.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus asked her for a drink. The woman was shocked. “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (John 4:9). In response, Jesus said that if she asked Him, He could give her living water. She asked for the water! Jesus continued, yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.’ The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you — I am he.

The story and parable couldn’t be more up-to-date as hatred keeps being promoted in so many areas of the world. Healing of wounds and relationships between people, tribes and nations, or just the daily living by ordinary people. The call of this parable is; acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God forgiving those who hurt and constantly letting our hearts being converted to loving instead of hating.

Wishing you a good start to this new week.

Philemon

The first called

Chapter 10

Good Monday Morning to this week 10 of 2022

St Andrew’s Church is an Orthodox church in Kyiv, constructed between 1747 and 1754. Situated on a steep hill, where Andrew the Apostle is believed to have foretold the great future of the place as the cradle of Christianity in the Slavic lands, the church overlooks the historic Podil neighborhood. The church was consecrated in honor of Andrew the Apostle who is recognized as the “Apostle of Rus′. According to the chronicle The Tale of Bygone Years, Saint Andrew came to the Dnipro River’s slopes in the 1st century AD and erected a cross on the current location of the church. He prophesied that the sparsely inhabited area would become a great city.

Andrew the Apostle was born between 5 and 10 AD in Bethsaida, in Galilee. The New Testament states that Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter, and likewise a son of Jonah. “The first striking characteristic of Andrew is his name: it is not Hebrew, as might have been expected, but Greek, indicative of a certain cultural openness in his family that cannot be ignored. Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade, hence the tradition that Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he will make them “fishers of men”. At the beginning of Jesus’ public life, they were said to have occupied the same house at Capernaum.

The Byzantine Church honours him with the name Protokletos, which means “the first called”. In the gospels, Andrew is referred to as being present on some important occasions as one of the disciples more closely attached to Jesus. Andrew told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes,and when Philip wanted to tell Jesus about certain Greeks seeking Him, he told Andrew first. Andrew was present at the Last Supper. Andrew was one of the four disciples who came to Jesus on the Mount of Olives to ask about the signs of Jesus return at the “end of the age”.

The Chronicle of Nestor adds that he preached along the Black Sea and the Dnieper river as far as Kiev, and from there he travelled to Novgorod. This is how , he became a saint in the Ukraine and other nations around. The Primary Chronicle reports that, in the year 986, Vladimir met with representatives from several religions. The result is amusingly described in the following apocryphal anecdote. Upon the meeting with Muslim Bulgarians of the Volga, Vladimir found their religion unsuitable due to its requirement to circumcise and taboos against alcoholic beverages and pork; supposedly, Vladimir said on that occasion: “Drinking is the joy of the Rus.” He also consulted with Jewish envoys (who may or may not have been Khazars), questioned them about Judaism but ultimately rejected it, saying that their loss of Jerusalem was evidence of their having been abandoned by God.
Returning to Kiev in triumph, Vladimir exhorted the residents of his capital to the Dnieper river for baptism. This mass baptism became the iconic inaugural event in the Christianization of the state of Kievan Rus’. At first, Vladimir baptized his twelve sons and many boyars. He destroyed the wooden statues of Slavic pagan gods (which he had himself raised just eight years earlier). Then Vladimir sent a message to all residents of Kiev, “rich, and poor, and beggars, and slaves”, to come to the river on the following day, lest they risk becoming the “prince’s enemies”. Large numbers of people came; some even brought infants with them. They were sent into the water while priests prayed. To remember the event, Vladimir built the first stone church of Kievan Rus’, called the Church of the Tithes.

Though we know more about his brother Peter, it was Andrew who first met Jesus. At least three times Andrew is shown as one who introduced others to Jesus. First he introduced his borther Simon to Jesus second, he introduced a small boy to Jesus and third, he introduced a delegation of foreigners to Jesus. Andrew showed a global outlook by ushering many to meet Jesus. Andrew realized that the good news of Jesus was for the every man, woman, and child from every tribe and nation around the world. He wanted to be first, not for himself, but for the sake of others meeting the one he follows.

Praying for many “Andrews” in this time great distress, pain, death and war. Praying for many to be Andrew, to have the desire to be first for the sake of others!

Wishing a blessed, protected and safe start to this week.

Philemon