Kushner, Barth, and gratitude in the midst of suffering

It is a bright Tuesday morning here in Florida.  The rains seemed to have finally calmed down and we have dried out for the most part.  We spent several hours out at the beach on Sunday, perfect temperatures and calm waters.  A beautiful sailboat framed the scene with our children in the foreground.  Art.  I have been enjoying NPR's podcast, On Being.  I listened to a wonderful interview of Rabbi Lawrence Kushner yesterday morning on my run as the sun came out.  Three thoughts, as has become customary:

1.  Kushner has written, "This is a definition of a mystic": "A mystic is anyone who has the gnawing suspicion that the apparent discord, brokenness, contradictions, and discontinuities that assault us every day might conceal a hidden unity."  A powerful observation.  A recognition of both the chaos and order of this cosmos we exist as a part of.  I have come to accept the view that this life offers more questions than answers.  But that we have the great answer of revelation, upon which everything else - even in its mystery, must be framed.  As stated by St. Augustine, where we taste truth, God is there.

2.  Listened to a remarkable sermon by Wesley Wachob two days ago.  Especially interested in his discussion of Karl Barth's comments regarding Buddhists during his only visit to the United States.  Deeply examining Christ as the way,  even in the midst of my stumbling.  Somewhat intimidated when it comes to diving into Barth.  And not even sure that I want to.  Do I reject dogmatics, or am I intimidated?  Or both?

3.  A friend's son took his life in the ravages of alcoholism recently.  Another good friend, elderly and blind, suffered a debilitating stroke.  I could not help but think about Job as I looked at his broken body and sensed his nearly broken spirit.  I have a hard time understanding how these things happen and what they mean.  Kushner's observation was helpful and I am reflecting upon it a great deal.  I am grateful for the many writers and teachers who walk with me through their writing and thinking.

Peace be with you on this day.


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