Believe…Speak

Ever feel like you’re not really communicating? That nobody understands you? Since God destroyed the Tower of Babel, we’ve all felt that way.  (For many of us, the etching below by Cornelis Anthonisz, Fall of the Tower of Babel, 1547, pretty well sums up how our lives have been going).

Voices logo blueBut the confusion of languages had its resolution at Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Now, in Christ, a diversity of voices can come together in unity, if we abandon ourselves to Him.

We hope this can be a clearing house for questions, responses, and general comments too lengthy to fit under a particular posting or podcast elsewhere on the site. Folks on our block and friends in far-flung locations can have discussions here together, and share how the mystery of the cross of Christ is both disturbing and enriching our lives.

You need to register to participate. To register, e-mail the webmaster at jhnrutledge@gmail.com and he’ll put you on the list. (We’re having problems with built-in registration process) If you have an edifying rant, reflection,  artwork  or essay you’d like to submit, send it to voices@communityoncolumbia.org.

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‘The ball is in your court’

Carrie Ratcliff of Virginia visited Dallas in 2003 and was baptized during one of our Pentecost retreats. She’s been listening to Ole’s Bible study podcasts in the years since then. Beginning in 2009 she started e-mailing Ole occasionally about her wrenching spiritual journey. We’re publishing some of her observations here, and you’re invited to comment on her posts. Here’s her latest.

By Carrie Ratcliff

“The ball is in your court.”

basketball on courtThis is the last sentence of an email I recently received. It was from someone whose connection to me is as arbitrary as a shared bus stop. Because, in the material world, even perceived connections such as familial blood lines are really arbitrary.

But this person believed that his connection to me entitled him to make demands of me. We humans love this sport—let’s call it, “You owe me.” Continue reading

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This year, remember: corpses can’t complain

By Carrie Ratcliff, Virginia

We hear people complain day in and day out. It’s endless.

I commented once to a complainer who earns a good living—not just a decent living, but a good living—that he should feel grateful for his life, that there are millions, perhaps billions, of people who have far less. His response was that he wasn’t going to make himself feel better by focusing on the suffering of others. Instead, he was going to choose to continue in his perceived state of suffering.

Stop Complaining

Even the poorest 5% of Americans are better off financially than two thirds of the entire world.

I still cannot fully articulate my disgust at this response. My response was visceral. And it has been with anyone who has expressed anything but gratitude for having air to breathe.

I have heard an expression used many times that seems appropriate. The luxury of despair.

I am dust. I am lower than dust. For me to have air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink, and a place to sleep—these are riches far beyond anything I deserve. What I deserve is the grave and what I have far exceeds this. Continue reading

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Here’s to the Kol Nidrei

Jessica Mujica, our friend in Asheville, N.C., talks about how an understanding of the Kol Nidrei ceremony put her marriage into focus.  Check out her blog at http://thatswhatijesssaid.blogspot.com/

The Kol Nedrei

“Prohibitions, oaths, consecrations, vows that we may vow, swear, consecrate, or prohibit upon ourselves — from this Yom Kippur until the next Yom Kippur, may it come upon us for good –regarding them all, we regret them henceforth. They will all be permitted, abandoned, cancelled, null and void, without power and without standing. Our vows shall not be valid vows; our prohibitions shall not be valid prohibitions; and our oaths shall not be valid oaths.”

The Wedding Vows

We faced each other with beaming smiles. Continue reading

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I Woke Up September 11th

This is by Jessica Mujica, our friend in Asheville, North Carolina. Check out her blog at http://thatswhatijesssaid.blogspot.com/

I Woke Up September 11th

Heart racing, mind buzzing
faster and faster it beats
exploding into
a million little pieces in the sand,
justifications disappeared
conversation long gone
kicking up sand as I ran
saltwater and tears Continue reading

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There is nowhere “safe” from the mystery

Here’s another one from Carrie Ratcliff:

By Carrie Ratcliff

So many of the things I believed before are being proven false right before my very eyes. This is awe-inspiring for me.

One of the things that I believed was that I needed to be in a community of believers. I judged my “present” community as being anything but believers. So I felt like I had to search for a body of believers. I went to church after church after church and nowhere did I hear the Cross being preached—I always found communities of self-seekers. Continue reading

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Be careful for nothing.. but don’t fake it

Here’s another one from Carrie Ratcliff:

By Carrie Ratcliff

I listened to one of the recently posted Bible studies and there was great discussion on thought.

I’ve reflected on this lately as a result of having just started graduate school. Doesn’t graduate school require thought? And lots of what we might call “self improvement?” Isn’t this increasing me instead of Christ?

Sure, if I had applied to graduate school with a result in mind and delusions of grandeur. If my intent were self-interest. If my thoughts become sorcery. And if my thinking is driven by a desire to protect myself, advance myself, be superior to others, or turn graduate school into MY PLAN TO <FILL IN ANY CRAZY NOTION HERE.>

I literally was sitting at my computer one day and it occurred to me that I should apply to graduate school. Continue reading
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World, take your best shot

First up is Carrie Ratcliff of Virginia. Back around 2003 she visited Dallas and was baptized during one of our Pentecost retreats. She’s been listening to Ole’s Bible study podcasts in the years since then. Beginning in 2009 she started e-mailing Ole occasionally about her wrenching spiritual journey. We’re publishing some of her observations here, and you’re invited to comment on her posts.

By Carrie Ratcliff

I’ve listened to the morning Bible studies for nearly ten years. In December, it will be one year from the day that everything Ole teaches made sense to me. I really can’t remember the exact day and I can’t really describe what happened. It wasn’t an earth-shattering moment. My life didn’t change dramatically. I just knew that I felt resolved. At peace. Content.

One of the most immediate and powerful changes that occurred was in how I see other people. I first noticed my change in perception with my husband. Rather than focus on those nagging thoughts in my head, I started to really see my husband for who he is. I started to understand what Ole means when he says “Christ within.” I could see Christ within my husband. I started to pay more attention to his actions and less attention to his words.

Continue reading

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Walking on the Surface

Here are the lyrics to a song I’ve been working on.
–John Rutledge

Walking on the surface of a world spinning’ round
Hard to keep your balance as it turns.
Told myself I’d learn to keep me feet on the ground.
But it’s harder than it seems, to realize your dreams.

Swimming in the darkness, there’s a light way up above.
I’m crushed under the pressures of the deep.
I’d do anything, I swear– just give me one more breath of air.
But I’m sinking in my sleep,
Weighed down by the secrets that I keep. Continue reading

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