U is for . . .

UNSETTLEDNESS

And that’s the Gospel truth, we sometimes say. That comment, in all of its forms, supposedly confirms a statement is fact, an uncontested summation.

I don’t buy it. I believe the Gospels, in particular as they struggled to capture Jesus’ ministry and message, were more about unsettledness. The Gospel stories don’t lead to easy-to-grasp, easy-to-live-out conclusions. They intentionally unsettle. I’ll say to another: this is exactly what Jesus meant by telling about a woman searching for yeast or healing a leper or praying “take this cup from me.” Then another person interprets it differently and we’re both unsettled. We then can choose to learn more deeply about each other or whack each other over the head with our “right” version of the Bible.

In a recent tragedy not far from where I live, three people died at Yosemite’s Vernal Falls. They ignored warning signs and scrambled over safety barriers. They were also part of a group. As one slipped, witnesses claim the others tried to help. In news reports, the helpers were referred to as “Good Samaritans” who paid with their lives. Though the entire waterfall incident reeks of sadness, the “helpers” were not like the Biblical Samaritan. The Samaritan was the hated, the enemy, the “other.” It’s an intentionally unsettling parable. We try to make it safe.

Please help me choose to be unsettled enough to listen to and learn from the other, even those so different from me.

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