Vulnerable

Today I’m starting on page 15 in the book, Not Left Behind:  Going Back for the Offended .   (Found in pdf format under “books” on this website.)

Jay and I were challenged by some while formatting the book to change the content around to make it more of a “read”.  But we resisted that, preferring instead to stay with the way the Lord had it unfold.  My sense is that now, too, I’m to follow the lead of the Lord, and not conventional wisdom.  I’m not applying any “rules” around what that will look like, either in format or content.

Just a note, too, that here I’m using a Word document the predated the formatting for the book.  So if you’re following in the book – it looks different.

12/19/03

Lisa wrote:

Hello Jay,

I enjoyed reading what you had to say – still digesting it – and wonder why you sent it to me and not as a general post?  I haven’t seen anything relating to Biblical terms in the Deida postings (I’ve only been reading them for a week or two), but would be interested in hearing others’ take on this.  I, personally, am not a Biblical scholar, but your thoughtfulness and translation into the here and now intrigued me.  This whole issue of sexuality and spirituality is vast and certainly can be framed in several contexts.  Thanks for sharing your frame of reference.

Lisa 

I think this was my feeble attempt to “smoke him out” in case he was an internet lurker/stalker.  :-/

Jay wanted the formatting to have my email in its entirety before he broke it down.  Even though it added repetition and length to the book, it was both honoring and lended itself to full vulnerability to do it this way. 

12/19/03

Lisa wrote:

  • I enjoyed reading what you had to say – still digesting it

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for your encouraging note.

  • and wonder why you sent it to me and not as a general post?

Not having read the postings long enough to get a sense of where people were coming from, I was reluctant to stick my oar in. Your contribution, to which I responded, contained so much that I have been exploring for a number of years now, that I thought you might be a safe place to share some thoughts. I am encouraged that this seems to have been a correct impression.

I haven’t seen anything relating to Biblical terms in the Deida postings (I’ve only been reading them for a week or two), but would be interested in hearing others’ take on this.

Perhaps, after reading the postings for a little longer, I might feel free to post it. I try to meet people where they are, and I’m still not sure of where they are on this list. Yesterday I received my first two books by David Deida, and I spent some time reading last night and this morning. I’m not yet ready to write a book review either, but I’m digesting, perhaps to that end.

I, personally, am not a Biblical scholar, but your thoughtfulness and translation into the here and now intrigued me.  This whole issue of sexuality and spirituality is vast and certainly can be framed in several contexts.

For the past 15 years I have been researching and working on a book, by the title I have already alluded to, “In Other Words, Sex Is a Parable.” In 1980 or so I had a book published on the monetary implications of the Bible, and am currently doing a rewrite on it for a Wall Street publishing firm. The monetary implications of the Bible turn out to be love. That’s what I found in 7 years of Biblical research on that subject.

If the current subject is of interest I would be glad to send you a little glimpse into my perspective on what I call, “relationships that come from God.”

In this connection, I should say that your posting today is exactly right. It has to do with “being”, not “doing”. “Doing”, that is not grounded in “being” is always born out of our insecurities. Insecure people aren’t much good to themselves or others.

Spiritual being is a matter of revelation.

Sincerely,

Jay

I was particularly struck by how diligent he was – all those years were quite an investment – as well as this concept of being vs doing.

This last sentence, “Spiritual being is a matter of revelation.” is what captures my attention now.

12/22/03

Lisa wrote:

Hello Jay-

Yes, I would be interested in a glimpse into your perspective. I will be out of pocket from Christmas eve thru the weekend after New Years’, but would look forward to a response by then.  Thanks for the offer.

Take care,

Lisa

In the spirit of honoring and vulnerability, I’m not interrupting what Jay wrote next.

Dear Lisa

In February of 2000, I experienced a paradigm shift: In four months of a broken heart. I don’t think I ever want to be without one again.

In October of 1999, a friend, Nate Krupp asked me to clean up three or four manuscripts which I had been working on for about 15 years. He said it’s time, and he wanted to get them published as soon as possible. Nate’s wife Joanne had finally published her book on women, which contains so much truth that she was unable to find anyone who would publish it for over 8 years. The book is called “WOMAN, GOD’S PLAN, NOT MAN’S TRADITION.”

My three manuscripts dealt with; the church as a new creation, “IN OTHER WORDS SEX IS A PARABLE”; “THE AUTHORITY CRISES”; and “CIRCUMCISION THE BATTLE OF BELONGING”.  Nate asked that I try to combine them. It hadn’t been so easy, and then became impossible. I felt there was a real need to make the book more personal. So I began working on a chapter, tentatively titled “GETTING PERSONAL, CHAPTER 17, a new last chapter.

In this chapter my intention was to be as transparent and vulnerable as possible. I was determined to let it all hang out.  I say, “determined”, because the thought of being that vulnerable was very frightening.  The fear was, and is, the fear of rejection.

As I was thinking about this my wife, Carleen, and I were on a walk together with some friends in our woods. We came to a new insight on the parable of the talents, Matthew 25:14-30.  Looking at the one talent slave, in context, we saw that the parable has little or nothing to do with financial investment, stock market investment, putting money in a bank, or even burying it in the ground. It is speaking about high risk investment as contrasted with the relative safety of money in the bank. It has to do with the nature of the investment.

In the Kingdom of God, the investment is in relationships. Jesus is the investor, He staked everything on relationship first of all, His relationship with His Father, and, with His Father as His backer, He invested everything in us who believe. He is after relationships, lots of them. Jesus’ Father is looking for fellowship.  When the Greeks wanted to meet Jesus, He went away and left the job to us.

By His death, He made a deposit in us, and The Spirit continues to bring us even more of Him. Jesus is looking for a return on His investment. He knows what it is to risk rejection, and be rejected, Isaiah 53:3. He expects us to take the same risk, and invest ourselves in others.

As I was working on the chapter, I had an increasing sense that I was violating my original intention, which was to be transparent and vulnerable. Then I realized that I was increasingly using the Scriptures to support what I was sharing, and the reason I was doing this was so that I could hide behind the Scriptures.  I was hiding behind the Scriptures because of the fear of rejection. Jesus was despised and rejected. I don’t want to be despised and rejected. I want to be esteemed and accepted. Talk about “Who do you think you are?”

Recently, Tim (my son) and I were talking, and I found myself wondering about Jesus’ style of ministry, wondering if He had used the Scriptures as I was using them. I have not had the opportunity to make a thorough investigation, but it is now my impression that this is not at all the way Jesus ministered.

In His skirmish with the Devil, He used the Scriptures to defend himself, but that was war. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. In the beatitudes, He repeatedly said, “It is written…” but then went on to say, “But I tell you….” When confronted by the Pharisees, He quoted Scripture, but, again, that was war. The Scripture is a weapon, our only offensive weapon. We only need weapons when we are at war. When we are at peace, we can be vulnerable. If I am making love, I don’t have to come on with all guns blazing. For years I have joked about wearing pink to leaders meetings to keep them from being too threatened. I don’t want to be seen as a threat, but as a lover.

Jesus may have “only said the things His father said”, but It did not come out of Him in the form of Bible verses. We use the phrase, “What I am saying is…” and we go on to say what we have already said, but in different words. This, I believe, is who Jesus was.  He was what the Father was saying, but in different words. If challenged, He could use the Scripture to explain Himself well enough, but He did not come to us as Scripture, He came to us as love and life.  If only we too could go forth in tears, to the end that we might enter into His laughter. If only we too could be like Him in His death, that we too might attain to the resurrection of the dead.

More and more in recent months, I have found myself saying what The Father is saying, but in different words, and without conscious effort. It’s awesome, and it’s terrifying all at once. A person could get hurt doing this sort of thing.

It is at the point of relationship that this becomes particularly problematic. Jesus said of those that the Father had given Him that He “kept”(John 17:12) them while He was in the world. That’s my Father’s heart, His heart and my heart. My heart is increasingly broken as I think of inviting others into this same vulnerability. It is one thing to have faith that He can save and protect me.  It is a bit more of a stretch to have faith that He will save and protect those who He has made mine from the fallout of my humiliation.

As I recently wrote to a friend, my own children are still damaged by the rejection I have experienced, and we as a family have experienced, from the church back in Connecticut. As you know, when the church meets in your home the transparency and vulnerability are greatly increased. When people who were like older brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, even second parents walked away, because of pressure coming from the institutionalized leaders and saints around us, they just could not understand, and are gun shy to this day. I do take some comfort, however, in knowing that no one is going to sell them any snake oil in the name of The Lord.

But, it was not just my flesh and blood children, it was my spiritual children as well. At this point, just about all of them have come back in the Spirit, but in between then and now, there were many years of alienation and estrangement. In a recent exchange with a local “pastor”, I am looking down the same gun barrel once again. It breaks my heart to see my children hurt so. For this reason, I make every effort to maintain “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,..” and as for my part, to “be at peace with all men.”

Perhaps that’s enough to give you some sense of what I was feeling at that point. I am wrestling with going back over what I have written, and getting rid of most, if not all, the references and footnotes. The problem is, that the religious will see the passion and the intimacy that I have experienced, and into which I am inviting others, that the religious will see this as illegal. That’s what happened to Jesus. When the leadership got in His face about it, He nuked them with the Scripture. At least, tonight, that is the way it looks to me.

Here’s the chapter I was talking about:

CHAPTER 17

GETTING PERSONAL

We’ll save the Chapter 17 for next week.

These are the things that stand out to me of what he wrote above:

  • In this chapter my intention was to be as transparent and vulnerable as possible. I was determined to let it all hang out. I say, “determined”, because the thought of being that vulnerable was very frightening. The fear was, and is, the fear of rejection.
  • In the Kingdom of God, the investment is in relationships.
  • He expects us to take the same risk, and invest ourselves in others.
  • I was hiding behind the Scriptures because of the fear of rejection.
  • We only need weapons when we are at war. When we are at peace, we can be vulnerable. If I am making love, I don’t have to come on with all guns blazing.
  • He was what the Father was saying, but in different words. If challenged, He could use the Scripture to explain Himself well enough, but He did not come to us as Scripture, He came to us as love and life.
  • Jesus said of those that the Father had given Him that He “kept”(John 17:12) them while He was in the world. That’s my Father’s heart, His heart and my heart. My heart is increasingly broken as I think of inviting others into this same vulnerability.
  • For this reason, I make every effort to maintain “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,..” and as for my part, to “be at peace with all men.
  • The problem is, that the religious will see the passion and the intimacy that I have experienced, and into which I am inviting others, that the religious will see this as illegal.

To me all that he wrote, and in particular the sentences directly above, embody Jay’s heart.  He saw things in the Spirit, and lived them – even while being beaten down – with unspeakable joy and hope (of things unseen… but God saw…).  Jay never stopped “beating the arrows against the ground” for and with the Lord.

I heard in the Spirit this morning to say to any of you who were Jay’s that have found your way here – and were hurt somehow in the vulnerability he speaks of – that he welcomes you with open arms.  He spoke of you often with great tenderness, and never lost sight of who you were to him in the Lord, or the unspeakable joy you brought him.  He’s throwing a lavish party for you as we speak.

Lisa

 

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