© 2016 by Charles D. Jones

It's Tough Being at the Center

August 8, 2016

If Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is valid and also if the universe is expanding, both of which certainly appear to be true, then we know something. We know that wherever we are in the universe, it will always appear that we are at the center of universe. While I don't logically believe the universe revolves around me, I have sometimes lived as if I thought it did. Being at the center isn't as easy as you might think. It requires perfection, and any attempt at perfection can lead to pride or insecurity or oddly both. 

 

Thankfully God offers a better alternative. I don't have to be at the center of the universe. All I have to be is me--part of the team. As Thich Nhat Hanh writes, "Our collective wisdom and experience can be a torch lighting our path, showing us what to do. Looking deeply together is the main task of a community or a church." Unfortunately many churches lack the collective faith to look deeply at much of anything. They could learn from the desperation of an AA meeting. There's definitely something humbling but powerful about being in a group where everyone knows they are lost without God. But I'm just lost if I try to live life on my own, without the support offered by a community or a church.

 

The Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 12:7 says that we are given gifts so we can help each other. Richard Rohr writes that Paul's word for this is "Charism--a gift that is given to you not just for your own self, but to build up the community, to build up the society. As an individual, you don't have the full responsibility of putting it all together, as the false theology of perfection claims." That works for me because it means that my teammates are given gifts that I don't have but badly need. 

 

Paul goes on in I Corinthians 12 to say we are all parts of the body of Christ, each serving a purpose for the team. So, if I'm really not the center of the universe, but am instead part of the body of Christ at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, what part of the body would I be?

 

Don't answer that.

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