when difficult conversations break out, care and respect must go both ways…

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands. – Psalm 63:2-4

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Thoughts worth thinking…

I want to write a quick post in response to my Sunday school class meeting this weekend.

It was a good class. Fifteen of us on Zoom, talking about how knowing God adds a level of richness and completeness that is otherwise unattainable. I put up a slide of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model, pointing out how the Psalmist’s affirmations of how God was meeting him corresponded (all the way from basic physiological needs through safety, love and belongingness, esteem, and the need to become the most that we can be).

But I also asked some hard questions, most specifically this one: “Share something new you learned this week that does not fit neatly with your preferred world view.” Because I believe we need to go beyond just being open to challenge – we must deliberately put ourselves in a position where challenge is part of the agenda.

This is part of becoming actualized, finding that level of richness and completeness – even if the process makes us uncomfortable; maybe exactly because being challenged makes us uncomfortable.

Angst and discomfort can lead to gardening in our souls:

Sunday morning we learned that a lot of us are not happy at all about the internal dissonance we are experiencing. It is evident that some of stuff we are holding inside has been knocking around for quite some time and has never been properly dealt with, a simmering dis-ease years and possibly generations in the making.

On some levels this is good news. Because now we have this opportunity to do some gardening in our souls, some weeding, some cleaning out, some cultivating, some planting for the future. But it is difficult news too, because we would rather not unpack that kind of disruption.

Also – this is important – not everyone is in a place where this conversation is right for them at this particular time, and we have to respect that. For some the wounds are too deep and the anger too close to the surface. We talked about that, too. And we prayed for one another that God’s healing balm will get all the way in and begin to do its work.

All I can say is how much I appreciate the honesty of my friends. Sometimes what comes out isn’t pretty, but how else are we going to grow?

Why share this story?

I’m sharing this because I find a lot of hope in the fact that we can even have this conversation.

Also, I believe it is imperative that we remember that just because we are in the middle of this “cultural moment” it doesn’t mean that everything about being “woke” or “progressive” or “all for reform” should be accepted carte-blanche without being thought about, and prayed over, and debated with care.

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Derek Maul lives, thinks, and writes in North Carolina

This moment has caused a difficult conversation to break out, and that’s what we need rather than a revolution! We are still a nation of laws, and that is critically important to acknowledge at this juncture (see John Adams’ remarkable discussion of this when his cousin, Sam, wanted to fight everything out on the streets!).

I hope this is good food for thought this Monday. In the meanwhile, pray for all those who are struggling and remember that, as Americans, we are all in this together.

Peace, and more peace – DEREK

Bible commentary culture Current News message The Church

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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