the Pharisee within me

the Pharisee within me

Think about the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).

I used to think that I knew the answer is to the question “Which man went down justified?” but that’s only because I didn’t really understand the parable. Nobody listening to Jesus thought it would be the tax collector who went away from the temple justified. Not me or my church brothers or sisters. Not even Pharisees. Nobody.

I sometimes say to people, “Just think about these two men. You’re an Christian. Which of these two are you more like? Don’t you say to God, ‘I thank you that I’m not like others; I thank you that you’ve helped me to new life’; I thank you that you’ve helped me to give away my time, talent; my treasure.’

When I begin to think of these phrases, these words, this type of thinking elevates the Pharisee with me. I make myself into a thing, a non-living being: an idol.

I become as the ruling council leaders in Acts who ‘cover’ their ears and their hearts when Stephen speaks to them; as the Simon in Luke 7 who sits at the dinner table and watches in heart Judgement ( with a capital ‘J’) as the sinful woman washes Jesus’ feet with her tears, I look, but do not see; listen, but do not hear; I read without understanding. I make myself part of every biblical Pharisee’s story.

That is who I am on this Parable.

And that’s very, very disturbing: to think and know that though I trust in Christ, there’s a Pharisee deep down inside me. A root, my radix.

Jesus tells these parables to get us to go deep inside of ourselves to see whether we really understand the gospel and whether the gospel is really beginning to grow new roots in our lives. He wants us to ask ourselves: who are we in these stories: a Prodigal son? a Samaritan? a Tax Collector? An unmerciful servant? ( Matthew )

Parables are stories, yes. But their ultimate purpose is to surgically remove spiritual idols we have created from our own hearts.

Psalm 135 describes what I become as I form them:

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,

made by human hands.

16

They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.

17

They have ears, but cannot hear,
nor is there breath in their mouths.

18

Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.

Psalm 135

I become a Pharisee, inside and out.


We can truly and only give, become like Christ, whether we are tax collectors or Pharisees, homemakers or teachers, caregivers or business people, when we first received Him.ash yourselves in His word, Psalms, His parables.


Ask yourself: who I’m I in this parable; who, why am I in His story now, today? Where do you want me to walk; to see; to hear?


What do you want to be, to do? How can we remove this Pharisee within?


Wash, receive and be. Trust in Him. Trust the Parables to speak your story.


Wash.

appendix quote (not to used)

Isaiah 6: 9-10

And he said, “Go, and say to this people:

“ ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;

keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’

10 Make the heart of this people dull,

and their ears heavy,

and blind their eyes;

lest they see with their eyes,

and hear with their ears

lesson 2 (of 7) choices: ‘Dumbledore’s parenting do’s …. ‘This is, as they say, your party.’

lesson 2 (of 7) choices: ‘Dumbledore’s parenting do’s …. ‘This is, as they say, your party.’

In the chapter entitled ‘King’s Cross’ Harry Potter awakes in a clear, empty white space. Having just fought Lord Voldemort, Harry is whole physically, yet removed from the earth.

Only a seemingly raw baby’s (under a bench) sad cries, is heard.

Again and again.

Only a surrogate father-Dumbledore- approaches Harry in this clean white space. It is as clean as Harry’s, nakedness, then as his new robes and finally, as his forehead- now without his lightning scar.nothing bonds him anymore, Harry is free.

As Harry and Albus move away from the child, they discuss where they are.

While Dumbledore has no idea, Harry ventures his guess: to Harry it seems like King’s Cross. Dumbledore agrees.

Harry, in an empty clean railway station, is paused on his journey. Where is he going? Dumbledore says ‘ on’ to Harry’s query. He cannot reveal any definitive answers of future choices, paths for Harry. To do so would be to heavily colour Harry’s future path.

Albus can not; will not; be may not be able to speak to Harry’s future steps. No. The choice is now Harry’s. This is Dumbledore’s release: no plans; no more willed gifts/legacies. No more withholding of information from Harry. Things have ‘opened at the close.’

Harry does ask if he should go back to the Earth; the forest; to Hogwarts. To Ginny.

Dumbledore states in response that he does not know the outcome if Harry returns. Dead, Albus is relieved of knowledge of the future. He can offer a guess. He only knows that Harry – as the ‘ better man’ – can relieve the hurts of others by returning.

And Harry can only do so by his own choice. Not Dumbledore’s or Snape’s; Not Voldemort’s or the Dursley’s.

The ‘Chosen One’ now gets to choose. This is Dumbledore’s lasting gift to the ‘boy who lived’: freedom to go on or to return. Harry returns to Voldemort for a final confrontation. A final battle.

He returns.

Any parent or grandparent; any mentor or family member must eventually open their hand and let go or a child. The choice is not really given to the child by the (surrogate) parent though. It is truly given by the parent to him/herself.

Dumbledores, when they stop trying to control their children emotionally, physically and/or spiritually, free themselves to ‘go on,’

Both parents and child are released to their choices. Our choices open and we

in a metro

in metros, subways, tubes

‘In a Station of the Metro’

Ezra Pound

The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough.

‘I want mercy for myself; justice for everyone else

the good, things I like to do, have on my train trips

the recording in London, ‘Mind the Gap’

if you are 60 years of age in London, all tube and bus rides are free

for one set fare in NYC you can ride all day from one end to the other (Dyre Avenue, the Bronx, to Coney Island, Brooklyn)

musicians play in the W always of the subway in NYC, from singers to actors; from violinists to drums and more

helpful, friendly staff ( Paris, London, Europe calling)

people giving up seats to seniors, Mums, with children or pregnant with children to come, or to give a seat up for anyone at all

public transportation is the ultimate going green

the baddies, peoples and things who are driving me crazy

the recording in London, ‘Mind the Gap’

people who stand still in the middle of passageways to trains

those who take up more than one space. standing or sitting

those who stand by a subway/metro/tube doors (and won’t move for love, money or the disabled- this is London calling)

people who play their cell phones loud on the subway (NYC calling)

loud talkers

slow walkers

slow walkers who are reviewing the mobiles/cells

slow walking tourists (please stand aside, preferably to the right)

those who block the escalators by standing next to a companion speaking and oblivious to those who want to walk on the left (please stay right, in your slow lane)

slow walkers )did I say this already?)

the uglies, the unthinkable, the unmentionables, the unimaginable

changing service without any notice (NYC, NOT calling)

‘Weekend works’ with ‘free’ shuttle bus services

urine puddles, (especially in NYC at Penn Station when the weather gets hot) stains and smells on the Metros stairwells, walkways and elevators’ enclosures.

full meals with their assortments of: drippings, visuals and odours left on seats and floors in subway cars and stations

large packages and or bags on seats in cars replacing the living

unbearable announcements on cars

people pressing onto you, touching you, on packed trains

vermin in the subway eating piazza

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UPXUG8q4jKU

muffled, muttered, the incomprehensible

oral announcements on the NYC transit cars (I used to tell excited noisy primary students on field trips to understand carefully to such announcements as the speaker was giving out the secrets of the universe-we never could quite get these secrets translated)

the recording in London, ‘Mind the Gap’

a father’s prayer

Mark 9: 21-29

When; how; where did Jesus teach his disciples prayer?

Here is an overlooked passage

“When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

The father is the faithful prayer. He recognises his personal unbelief. He holds this unbelief as he embraces his son. In the face of daily disease; disappointments; illnesses; possessions, he cries out in a father’s prayer for belief. Healing follows.

I pray:

Lord, I want to have faith; believe; love; empathy- fill

me with faith; empty me of my unbelief

LeBron

how does the ‘reversal ‘ call in game one of the 2018 NBA Finals against LeBron James inform my life?

So, in game 1 LeBron was outside the reviewable circle, had feet planted and got a positive call (charging on KG) for his efforts.

But, not only was the cAll reviewed, it was reversed and then a ‘win’ becomes a loss in game one of the NBA finals.

My, the essential question about all this is;

If LeBron can’t get a call, what chance do I, we have?

Birthdays forgotten by your family, even your twin? Check.

Still waiting for your Christmas present in July? Check.

Father’s Day forgotten? Check.

So, why can’t I get a ‘call’?

Well, I think I have a great deal of company in this august overlooked, unseen group. I can’t say why but I can respond reflectively with some personal insights. Here are some:

1. When one call goes against you, expect more to come fast and furiously.

George Hill misses a free throw; JR thinks the Cavs are ahead and holds the ball.

Forgotten for a birthday? Minor stuff. A child will need monies; lots of money; they will ask; another family Manet becomes ill; job changes; movings and divorces. Parents pass or need cares. Fast and furious all comes

When troubles come, they come in cascades. Deal with it.

2. The higher you preform; serve; rescue; be the life of your team, the party, the greater the expectations.

LeBron can’t continuously play the entire 49 minutes (plus one). Soon his heart, his body, his spirit and soul will empty. A stream needs water flow in to be refreshed; it can t solely flow out. But friends, colleagues and even watchers, strangers, expect you, expect more.

3. Referees, as judges, will rule and find you wanting in key moments.

You have preformed and won in the past. It is human nature to root, consciously or unconsciously, for the undergoes, pot against LeBron. Whether by envy or mouse or misapplication of power, those who sit in as referees in your life will find ways to see Not your work or you but what they desire: themselves.

To find for you, to rule in your favour only confirms to them their shortcomings-what and who they will never be.

They can’t truly see you, the calls or even themselves. Don’t expect the blind to see; the deaf to hear; the heartless to feel. They can’t.

4. How does LeBron respond to all of the above? He takes a pause and plays as deeply, as passionately, as fully as as he can becomes he loves the game even when it doesn’t love him He is always, all ways, all in.

Casablanca, in the ‘Blue Parrot’

Ferrari: ‘It would take a miracle to get you out of Casablanca, and the Germans have outlawed miracles. ‘ Ferrari, the Blue Parrot proprietor in ‘Casablanca.’

Rick, the proprietor of Rick’s Cafe American, is the miracle for Victor and Ilsa, fugitives from the Nazis. He gifts precious letters of transit to these ungrateful betrayers. They have no idea the cost Rick pays for these letters: his spirit and soul; blood and flesh; his heart and dreams. His love.

Betrayed twice, Rick still believes, He believes in actions based on love. The hard guy is a romantic sap. He choose a woman who was unfaithful to both her husband Victor and to him. Surrounded by betrayers, liars, the ungrateful, Rick is alone.

Alone, (though he has a walking companion) he walks away in the fog of the, his past. Watched; judged; measured each and every moment, he sees, yet accepts, no views of himself but his own and a higher power, if one exists for him. It may exist, but not for him. (The rescuer is the only higher power in this film)

He is doomed as a Flitcraft in the Maltese Falcon (chapter 6-not in the film) to aimlessly roam the earth.- faithlessly searching for unconditional healings. Never forthcoming; continuously beyond his reach, true love for Spade, Rick, and all film noir detectives, all are to live and speak the Flitcraft parable without knowing they are Flitcraft: ‘rich’ hobos wanderers walking the earth in endless circles. They, we, are become our own Nazis. Doomed to wander but never depart. Rick performed the last miracle for others.

We are not to leave Casablanca.

in a metro

in metros, subways, tubes

‘In a Station of the Metro’
Ezra Pound

The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough.

‘I want mercy for myself; justice for everyone else’

the good, things I like to do, have on my train trips

the recording in London, ‘Mind the Gap’

if you are 60 years of age in London, all tube and bus rides are free

for one set fare in NYC you can ride all day from one end to the other (Dyre Avenue, the Bronx, to Coney Island, Brooklyn)

musicians play in the W always of the subway in NYC, from singers to actors; from violinists to drums and more

helpful, friendly staff ( Paris, London, Europe calling)

people giving up seats to seniors, Mums, with children or pregnant with children to come, or to give a seat up for anyone at all

public transportation is the ultimate going green

the baddies, peoples and things who are driving me crazy

the recording in London, ‘Mind the Gap’

people who stand still in the middle of passageways to trains

those who take up more than one space. standing or sitting

those who stand by a subway/metro/tube doors (and won’t move for love, money or the disabled- this is London calling)

people who play their cell phones loud on the subway (NYC calling)

loud talkers

slow walkers

slow walkers who are reviewing the mobiles/cells

slow walking tourists (please stand aside, preferably to the right)

those who block the escalators by standing next to a companion speaking and oblivious to those who want to walk on the left (please stay right, in your slow lane)

slow walkers )did I say this already?)

the uglies, the unthinkable, the unmentionables, the unimaginable

changing service without any notice (NYC, NOT calling)

‘Weekend works’ with ‘free’ shuttle bus services

urine puddles, (especially in NYC at Penn Station when the weather gets hot) stains and smells on the Metros stairwells, walkways and elevators’ enclosures.

full meals with their assortments of: drippings, visuals and odours left on seats and floors in subway cars and stations

large packages and or bags on seats in cars replacing the living

unbearable announcements on cars

people pressing onto you, touching you, on packed trains

vermin in the subway eating piazza

muffled, muttered, the incomprehensible
oral announcements on the NYC transit cars (I used to tell excited noisy primary students on field trips to understand carefully to such announcements as the speaker was giving out the secrets of the universe-we never could quite get these secrets translated)

the recording in London, ‘Mind the Gap’