There is a deep hunger within each person,
a longing for a grounded Presence.
For millennia, we’ve been searching.
We want to know there’s more to this life
then what is visible.
So, we look about for the Divine,
the God of Creation,
Who spoke and all we see came to be.
Who breathed Spirit into a virgin
to form cells and tissue,
flesh and bone,
breath and movement amongst this world He created,
revealing in Emmanuel, Messiah,
the Beauty that humanity is, was, and will once again be.
In our attempts to understand this Wonder,
we theorize, theological-ize, capitalize on
ideas and concepts born of Church and culture,
economics and public space,
with a bit of Spirit sprinkled in… just in case.
We diligently pursue the Holy
not to experience our beloved-ness, but rather
in an attempt to harvest assurance,
hoard grace, and
prove or justify in some way that we belong.
We long for hope
in this wonderful and broken world in which we live
where pauperism and progress
are outcomes of the unholy marriage
between some of the great -isms:
giving rise to generations of mutant offspring
named Wealth and Poverty,
Elite and Disenfranchised,
Privileged and Marginalized.
Where beliefs of eternal predestination lead
to the ascetic life of denial of the world’s vices
while also tapping into the lure of materialistic abundance,
revealing signs, indeed, sure-fire evidence
of divine chosen-ness;
tangible ways of recognizing the elect from the non-elect,
the #blessed from #unblessed,
the “Us” from “Them,”
the “Saved’ from “Damned.”
Entrenched with “to-dos” and “not-to-dos,”
“sanctification by works,”
through methods, goals, tasks, and means
we are led to a “watchful, aware, alert life,”
of fulfilled calling, but devoid of compassion.
Humans saved by Grace
to erect an “iron cage” mechanism
to rule the world
and wield power over others
like never before in history.
What have we become
when our theology
What have we become
when proving one’s individual salvation outweighs
the good of the Gospel,
or when globalized greed
overpowers generously given Grace?
Why have we allowed authentic spirituality
to vaporize through the iron cage (bars)
of modern rationalism, leaving countless
people trapped, hungry, and alone,
at the expense of our fast fashion,
and plasticized conveniences?
One must conclude
we do an exceptional job
at intellectualizing God
and loving others as we love our shame-ridden selves,
“specialists without spirit,
hedonists without a heart,
nonentities imagin(ing) a stage of humankind
never before reached,”
the antithesis of the One we claim to follow.
For Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted,
proclaim freedom for the captives,
and provide release from darkness for the prisoners.
The iron cage was destroyed.
Once free, why do we choose to live any other way?
Are we like the dog who returns to its vomit,
or the washed sow that goes back to wallowing in the mud?
Will we ever find our way Home?
Father, forgive us for we know not what we are doing…
or do we?
**To be read aloud at a slow, even pace.
 Karl Polyani. The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1944, 1957, 2001) 108.
 Max Weber. The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism and Other Writings (New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2002) 67-122.
 Ibid., 77.
 Ibid. 80.
 Ibid., 81.
 Ibid., 121.
 Francis Fukuyama, “The Calvinist Manifesto,” in The New York Times. March 13, 2005. Accessed January 27, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/13/books/review/the-calvinist-manifesto.html.
 Weber, 121.
 Isaiah 61:1.
 2 Peter 2:22
 Luke 15:11-32