Greetings Sisters and Brothers of Faith,
Christendom has just celebrated Jesus’ miraculous fete of Resurrection which embodies death’s transforming power of birth out of the death of the old. Sadly, however, America’s present socio-political atmosphere is casting a “Good Friday” vibe. Hatred is flowing uninterrupted. Ideologies that many of us thought were dormant have returned with a vengeance. And yes, the problem seems huge and all-encompassing. But to continue in our “business as usual” routines, implies that, even though NOT a contributor to the problem, we are nevertheless part of the problem and need to find a way out of it. In other words, we need to commit to “Spotting Our Shadow”.
“Spotting our Shadow” is a Betty Ford (wife of President Gerald Ford) theory. Her theory contends that the things we hate in others are really our own shadow issues. Shadow issues are those things that drive us crazy; make us scared or angry; and affect us because they exist in us and are the parts of ourselves that we have rejected, denied or fear to be true. So, to discover those areas of our lives, one place to start might well be, the way in which we live out our professed faith as followers of Jesus the Christ. That is, do we see ourselves, nominally, culturally or authentically as Believers?
Deeming anyone an “Authentic Believer” is both subjective and relative. On the other hand, “Nominal and Cultural Believers” are more easily identifiable. Suffice to say, Jesus the Christ has little to no bearing in their lives. Respectively, one is just a church-goer or otherwise religious person whose “faith” does not go beyond being identified with a church, Christian group, or denomination; the other merely pursues the God they want instead of the God who is. The point of this all is whether our faith practice bears Godly Fruit or not. More importantly,
“In our relationships with one another, is ours the same mindset as Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5).
One indicator that we have “the mind of Christ Jesus, is that we are looking out for the interests of others. Consequently, we can’t simply offer the “Jesus rose for you and me” rhetoric without mention of the radical revolutionary Spirit of the man Jesus. After all, Jesus not only walked in his Divinity doing healing work, but he also organized and protested not only the Roman empire, but the practices of his own people’s religious elite as well. For us not to act similarly in our own time against the same type of issues means that our resistance to this invitation of the “Christ Mind” saps our energy to achieve abundant life for all that Jesus promised.
Fittingly then, we don’t have to accept things as they are or might be, but we may well need a little bit of help. Thus, to transform from being part of the problem to finding a way out through “Spotting Our Shadow”, it becomes necessary to first ask God to fill us afresh with God’s Spirit to diminish resistance to our own shadows which only makes them stronger. This way we are empowered with the energy necessary to do God’s work in this world that brings healing, peace, and reconciliation wherever we go beginning with ourselves regardless of our gender, age, or social position…looking to the words of Paul:
“I remind you to fan into flame [stir up] the gift of God, which is in you.”(II Timothy 1:6)
Yours in love…. Reverend Gale Jones, Executive Pastor