Leaning in to generosity
His first opportunity arose when someone hit his car and cracked the frame around his license plate while parallel parking into a space he was saving for a moving truck. He tried to tell her off and then choked. Yes, he got angry and said something (not too bad). He immediately apologized and ended up telling her he was an Episcopal priest and seminary professor. She ended up loaning him her car keys, trusting him who she had just met, who had intended to enjoy telling her off. Interesting.
Using the story, he pushed on to suggest, among other things, that Christians are called to "lean into God's generosity" and in so doing the here and now and the hereafter are shown to be interconnected and permeable. Faith then becomes an acknowledgement of what God is already going in our lives.
Professor Danaher had said in the previous days talk that character flaws are not states to overcome through spiritual technologies, but wounds that are not fully healed in this life. Our own character flaws teach us of the radical need for grace. This leads to the first virtue of humility before God and others. In line with this talk on humility, he challenged us to learn "How to fail better" for failures are more instructive than successes.
And one final thought I am left pondering. During a question and answer time yesterday he spoke with optimism about the institutional church and institutions in general from the knowledge that God can be present in those institutional structures and not just in spite of them. He made this connection sacramentally. Just as Jesus is present in real bread and real wine at communion, he can be present in the very real, sometimes messy Church.
Yes, it is an institution with all the problems that means, but the Church can be the place where we encounter empathy, mutuality and equality in a world where all three are in short supply. The church is also the place where we are awakened to God calling us to love, justice and generosity. For all of these we need others, which is why the Church is essential as we must move beyond an individualistic faith as we move toward the Kingdom of God where the community is essential.
I found his talks thought provoking and hope we provided a helpful place to think through his book, which I look forward to reading once complete.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor