Via Negativa: Pacing the Cage — The Cage of Gluttony

By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

In our Jesus story (Mark 10:17-22), we find our guy giving us what seems to be a pretty harsh lesson on how to get out of the cage of gluttony. He’s approached by a man who kneels before him and asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus’ answer is one of heresy to our capitalist ears. “Sell what you own and give your money to the poor,” Jesus tells him. My how this one sentence from Jesus has sent so many modern preachers and religious folks into a tizzy. They have done everything they can to minimize the impact of this answer, especially those preacher types who fill stadiums and live in huge mansions with personal jets and vacation homes.

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Via Negativa: Pacing the Cage — The Cage of Isolation

By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

In preparing for today’s meditation, I sat down a wrote out a list of things that make me feel either connected or disconnected from creation, myself and others.

Some of the things that made me feel disconnected were: fear, anger, frustration, anxiety, yearning, worry, hatred, judgment, envy, loneliness and defensiveness.

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Via Negativa: Dark Matter — Giving Matters

By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

In our Hebrew scripture reading this morning (Isaiah 58:1-6), we find a beautiful example of the universal law we can use to defeat the ego:  Whatever is missing, or lacking, in a situation is what you are not giving.

In this passage, the prophet Isaiah scolds the Hebrew people for their selfishness, for their insistence in staying stuck in their egos.

“Look,” the prophet says, speaking for God, “you serve your own interest on your fast-day,  and oppress all your workers. Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high.”

Whatever we do out of our self-interest, out of ego, will never lead to peace. We can fast and pray and act all pious, and then we wonder why all the fighting and bickering breaks out.

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Via Negativa: Dark Matter — Intention Matters

By: Bill Harris

As we come to our Jesus story (Mark 9:4-29) we find some of Jesus’ disciples having a “holy crap” moment. A father has brought his demon possessed son to Jesus, But, Jesus not being available, he asked some of Jesus’ disciples to cast out the demon. They tried but could not. “Holy crap!” when Jesus shows up he wants to know what’s going on. He finds out his disciples have been unable to cast out the son’s demon. Notice Jesus’ response. It isn’t, “what do you think you’re doing trying to cast out a demon”? No! Instead he expresses his frustration and exasperation. “You faithless generation. How long do I have to keep putting up with you?” Jesus then turns his attention to the father and son.

The father tells Jesus this demon has been wreaking havoc in his son’s life since the son was a child.

He begs Jesus to have mercy and heal his son. Jesus has an interesting response. He says to the father, “If you are able…” Jesus explains that faith can accomplish anything. We then have the most honest moment in all of scripture. The father immediately says, “Oh, I believe.” Then the father hesitates, and out comes the great moment of honesty. “I believe, but help my unbelief.” Jesus casts out the demon. After the father and son are gone, the disciples ask why they couldn’t cast out the demon. Jesus tells them this kind of demon requires prayer.

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Via Negativa: Dark Matter — A Matter of Mystery

By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

In most of the parables that the Christian scriptures report Jesus telling throughout his life, God is featured as a leading character. God is the landowner who generously pays laborers the same wages at the end of the day, whether they worked one hour or eight. God is the father of the prodigal son, running down the road to greet his wayward offspring. God is the shepherd leaving the 99 sheep to go in search of one wooly booger who wandered off.
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Via Negativa: Dark Matter — A Personal Matter

By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.

Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.

— Muslim mystic Rumi

In our Jesus story (Matthew 22:15-21), we find the Pharisees trying to catch Jesus in a trap. They have heard of this itinerant preacher who had committed several blasphemies such as healing people on the Sabbath, talking with strange women and trying to rally his people against the authority of church leaders and the Romans. By giving Jesus a coin and asking him whether he thought it was lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, they believed they had Jesus by the short hairs.

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Via Negativa: Dark Matter — A Matter of Perspective

By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

How many times have you felt like a corpse
and then came back and told a good joke,
that made us all laugh?

And did you ever swear off dancing and then
there you were one day, twirling about again?

And how many times has your soul felt empty
and then maybe, a temple for all near you became?

Bring those, anything you have cherished, to the
forefront of your mind’s view, where they belong
as a testament to your destiny.

Some pendulum which you have bought a ticket on
rocks this way and that.
You can get off. Become more centered.
— Hafiz

In our Jesus story (Matthew 14:22-33), we find our guy out for a morning stroll across the lake. Not around the lake, or down by the shore … but actually ON the lake.

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Via Negativa: Dark Matter – Vision Matters

By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

In our Jesus story (John 9:1-7, 13-17), we find our guy in the middle of a story that the traditional Christian church loves to take literally.

When we see Jesus heal a man who had been blind from birth, traditional theologies say this is proof that Jesus was more than just a guy who had gotten his ego out of the way and was in touch with his true self. No, they say, these miracle stories prove he was God in the flesh.

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Via Negativa: Dark Matter — Today Matters

By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

In our Jesus story (Matthew 18:21-35), we find our guy giving a little math lesson to his disciple Peter, who wants to know exactly how many times we should extend forgiveness to someone.
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Via Negativa: Dark Matter — Animals Matter

By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

In our Jesus story (Matthew 6: 25-33), we find our guy centuries ahead of modern day scientists. He knows, instinctively, that watching creation at work is a natural antidote for human anxiety. Centuries before therapy dogs, Jesus looked around at creation and told those around him to look to the birds and the flowers when their blood pressure went north, or when their mood went south.
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