Oct 11 2011
Blessed are the Spiritually Bankrupt

You know that feeling, when God is right there, thisclose, and you can just feel His loving arms around you, and you can literally hear His voice, whispering in your ear, telling you how much He loves you? 

I don't. 

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Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."  I'm not sure what that means.  But I think Dallas Willard was the one writing about how "Blessed are the poor in spirit" really means, "Good news!  In MY Kingdom, even the spiritually bankrupt get invites!" 

Oh, man, I hope he's right.  That would be great news for me.  Because I'm not very spiritual.  Never have been.  I've tried.  And I'll keep trying.  But I'm just not.  I don't feel much of anything a lot of the time.  I'm sorry. 

I know;  I probably won't be writing old-school hymns:  "And He walks with me, I'm pretty sure, and He talks with me, in some ways, and He tells me I am His own, but generally not through an audible voice that I hear, at least in a non-metaphorical sense, and none other has ever known just how awkward it even is for me to talk about my faith, personally, and I know I should feel bad about that, too, but I keep trying."

Not a very good hymn.

Maybe I'm still doing something wrong.  I've never come by faith easily.  I don't get swept up in swirling "powerful worship".  Shoot, I'm not even comfy in it.  I don't take easily to praying out loud, even among friends.  I keep trying.

Could Jesus have been talking to people like me, the spiritually dry, when He was talking about how great the Kingdom is?  Maybe Jesus was saying, "Guess what?  When I'm in charge, it's good news even for the people who aren't all spiritual-y."

It means even I can participate!  I can get on this Gospel ride, even if I'm not as spiritually tall as this cut-out stand-up of Third Day.

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I'm thankful for my brothers and sisters who are so different from me, who've had profound, undeniable experiences.  A woman called yesterday, a woman whose husband committed suicide and left her with her kids.  And she was lonely, and helpless, and despairing... and God showed up.  And He put His arms around her, and she felt it, and knew she was not alone. 

I don't doubt God is like that.  In fact, it's why I love Him.  I know He's a father to the fatherless, and a champion of widows, and a lover for the scorned.  But...

...there is no "but".  He's just good.  So good that people like me, maybe like you, are invited to the party, too.  Oh, we might limp in, but we're totally there.

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The truth of Jesus is a two-edged sword, of course.  "Happy are the spiritually bankrupt" -- if that's the correct interpretation -- would sure bug some religious people, some people who really think they're spiritually rich.   But, hey, everything Jesus said bothers them.

And that, alone, makes me suspect Willard is on to something.