Sunday, January 13, 2013


All week long I would come upon something and think it would be great for the blog, as happens many weeks. And then, I turn on the computer and all energy drains out of me and my thoughts dry up as quickly as they sprang. What is that about?

One thing that seems pertinent from last week is the video, The Empathic Civilisation (Jeff Rifkin -- see above). So, I began to write about it and everything went into lockdown. It's nearly eleven minutes long and well worth the watch so I am uploading it. My initial viewing was for a class in which I wanted to offer something contemporary that related to the social classes of Jesus' day and his response...this was contextualized the previous day in sharing a bit about faith and the person of Jesus. And, that sometimes it is just difficult to believe. So, the next logical step for me was, "Well, what can we believe in?" And, of course love was the answer. The next question was, "How do we get to love?" And the answer to that was through relationship. Bingo. That sent me on the journey for something contemporary.

A relationship that does not have empathy is vacuous. The message of Jesus that we Christians claim to share is anything but vacuous. Yet, oftentimes there are times when I lack empathy...generally when my own drama is taking center-stage, or I find someone irritating. Rifkin states that we empathize when we feel another's struggle. This describes Jesus pretty well. Woohoo, that seemed like another bingo. Then today a friend was talking about judgement and another connection happened with empathy and Jesus. When I lack empathy it is oftentimes when I feel superior to someone. Maybe because I have the right answers, the nicer disposition or a better education. Yet, Jesus does not emote a superior attitude while he lives the pain of empathy for those who suffer in big ways. So much so he chooses to be in relationship with people who suffer at the cost his own status in society. Somehow this brings me back to the question, "What is the cost of discipleship?" A question I have yet to answer as I realize this can really only be paid with our lives. ,

It looks like this week I might be networking all types of ideas that relate to Jesus, empathy and the life of the modern disciple. Hopefully this does not become a point of fixation and can actually help me to transform some of the areas where my attitudes need to be adjusted toward the suffering of another. Admittedly, this was much more exciting while dealing with the students, now it is time to attempt to put it into practice -- always the greater challenge.

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