Wrestling with the text...

Two other ideas are emerging as I wrestle with this week's gospel text from Mark 7:

+ What explicit and implicit rules and "traditions" are alive in our congregation that promote cultivating hearts close to God? And, of course, what traditions - both stated and a part of the congregation's "culture" - push our hearts away from the Lord?

+ What are the healthy insights about being "insiders" and what create divisions that wound and destroy?

I remember my mother's mother - feisty Irish Protestant who married a tender Irish Catholic and raised 9 children - cooked all day in a factory with African American helpers. She loved those individuals like her own family and would bring them food or clothes when times were tough. At the same time, she taught me (and her 40+ other grandchildren) to say the nursery rhyme, "Eenie, meanie, miney moe, catch a nigger by the toe...!"

Once, when my high school band brought in a couple of Black kids from Stamford to sing the blues and soul songs we all loved, she freaked out telling me: God intends us to keep the races apart! There was both love and hate all in the same heart... like Obama said about his own beloved grandmother... and like I suspect is true of us all. Springsteen put it like this:
So I don't want to be facile or sentimental in thinking about these questions: cultivating a heart close to God takes a life time. More tomorrow: now its time to get a feast ready for the daughters coming to our house for dinner!

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