Wednesday, March 22, 2006

An Iraq Prayer

We've been talking about what it means to be human and to be dehumanized. Then I ran across this essay on Common Dreams that quotes from the blog of Tom Fox, the Christian Peacemaker abducted and murdered in Iraq. His life in Iraq, I would suggest, amounted to an extended prayer for peace. Perhaps it is time for some prayer in the streets.
As the Common Dreams piece says:
Tom's Iraq blog is his sad and informative legacy. His last entry was written the day before he was abducted. Why are we here?

"If I understand the message of God, his response to that question is that we are to take part in the creation of the Peaceable Realm of God. As I survey the landscape here in Iraq, dehumanization seems to be the operative means of relating to each other. We are here to root out all aspects of dehumanization that exists within us. We are here to stand with those being dehumanized by oppressors and stand firm against that dehumanization. We are here to stop people, including ourselves, from dehumanizing any of God's children, no matter how much they dehumanize their own souls."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

To Be Human?

A proposition for your consideration: If prayer is what makes us human, then what stands between us and a prayerful life is dehumanizing. So, what gets in the way of prayer for you? Meanwhile, here's a little Griz for the mill:

I want to endow the elements I use with a new quality; starting fromgeneral types I want to construct particular individuals. I consider that the architectural element in painting is mathematics, the abstract side; I want to humanize it. -- Juan Griz.

Monday, March 20, 2006

When We Pray ... Then What?

When we pray, we seek the Spirit. That is the essence of prayer. Of course, it is excellent advice to be careful what you ask for because you just might get it. Jesus promises, “if you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more so will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.” The gift of the Spirit is the answer to our prayers, for it brings us peace where we need it, serenity for what requires our courageous engagement, courage and strength to change what needs changing and a loving wisdom for discerning where we are called to engage and where we are called to step back.

OK. So now I’m curious in a practical sort of way. How do we seek the Spirit? How do we know when what we feel is, in fact, the presence of the Spirit and not just, oh, say, the spirits I just consumed (one glass of red wine, in case you’re counting) or the meatballs, or anger left over from some recent unpleasantness, or sadness at a loss? How do we move with the Spirit when we’re reasonably sure that it is the Spirit leading us? What steps to you take to pray? Are there words or phrases or thoughts that you find helpful? Are there actions? Are there places? Times of day? Situations? Does circling a fire and banging drums help? Just curious, that’s all.