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Letters from Tim

Dear Friends,

In his book “The Wisdom Pattern”, Richard Rohr writes:

‘What do we do with our fear?

Our age has been called the age of anxiety, and I think it’s probably a good description for this time. We no longer know where our foundations are. When we are not sure what is certain, when the world and our worldview keep getting redefined every few months, we’re going to be anxious. We want to get rid of that anxiety as quickly as we can. Yet, to be a good leader of anything today – to be a good pastor, a good bishop, or a good parent – we have to be able to contain, to hold patiently, a certain degree of anxiety.

That’s probably why the Bible says so often, “Do not be afraid.” I have a printout showing that the phrase appears 365 times – one for each day of the year! If we cannot calmly hold a certain degree of anxiety, we will always be looking for somewhere to expel it. Expelling what we can’t embrace gives us an identity, but it is a negative identity. It’s not life energy, it’s death energy. Formulating what we are against gives us a very quick, clear, and clean sense of ourselves. Thus, most people fall for it. People more easily define themselves by what they are against, by whom they hate, by who else is wrong, instead of by what they believe in and whom they love…

…The wonder of the resurrection stories in the Gospels is that Jesus has no punitive attitude toward the authorities or his cowardly followers, and that the followers themselves never call for any kind of holy war against those who killed their leader. This is not the common and expected story line. All Jesus does is breathe forgiveness.

It’s interesting that Jesus identifies forgiveness with breathing, the one thing that we have done constantly since we were born and will do until we die. He says God’s forgiveness is like breathing. Forgiveness is not apparently something God does; it is who God is. God can do no other.’



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