“Uncertainty is in every true discernment…”

Today I don’t have any particular declarations. I just wanted to share with you what I think is a really profound little nugget from a fascinating and wide-ranging in-depth interview with Pope Francis (hat tip to Nina for the full interview link!). Read and ponder [emphasis added]:

Certitude and Mistakes

I ask, “So if the encounter with God is not an ‘empirical eureka,’ and if it is a journey that sees with the eyes of history, then we can also make mistakes?”

The pope replies: “Yes, in this quest to seek and find God in all things there is still an area of uncertainty. There must be. If a person says that he met God with total certainty and is not touched by a margin of uncertainty, then this is not good. For me, this is an important key. If one has the answers to all the questions—that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble. Uncertainty is in every true discernment that is open to finding confirmation in spiritual consolation.

“The risk in seeking and finding God in all things, then, is the willingness to explain too much, to say with human certainty and arrogance: ‘God is here.’ We will find only a god that fits our measure. The correct attitude is that of St. Augustine: seek God to find him, and find God to keep searching for God forever. Often we seek as if we were blind, as one often reads in the Bible. And this is the experience of the great fathers of the faith, who are our models. We have to re-read the Letter to the Hebrews, Chapter 11. Abraham leaves his home without knowing where he was going, by faith. All of our ancestors in the faith died seeing the good that was promised, but from a distance…. Our life is not given to us like an opera libretto, in which all is written down; but it means going, walking, doing, searching, seeing…. We must enter into the adventure of the quest for meeting God; we must let God search and encounter us.

“Because God is first; God is always first and makes the first move. God is a bit like the almond flower of your Sicily, Antonio, which always blooms first. We read it in the Prophets. God is encountered walking, along the path. At this juncture, someone might say that this is relativism. Is it relativism? Yes, if it is misunderstood as a kind of indistinct pantheism. It is not relativism if it is understood in the biblical sense, that God is always a surprise, so you never know where and how you will find him. You are not setting the time and place of the encounter with him. You must, therefore, discern the encounter. Discernment is essential.

 

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A quick rephrasing of something I’ve tried to articulate dozens of times

In business, we know the importance of acting on accurate assumptions.
We’ll spend hundreds, thousands, millions of dollars to make sure we’ve got accurate assumptions to act upon.

In my life, if I make my decisions based on the underlying assumption that my own well being is more valuable than that of others,
then I will be basing my life’s decisions on a profoundly incorrect assumption.

I don’t wanna.

Finally, Married Grace Granola

Daniel & Rebekah married in the snowWhen Daniel and I got married (getting toward 3 years ago — holy cow!), we decided to make granola as a little wedding favor/snack for our guests. It was a lot of work. We made GALLONS of granola to have enough for our 250+ guests, and sometimes it emerged a little burnt-er and crispier than we would have liked. But we got to practice working together as a team and having a little “burnt granola grace” for each other when things didn’t quite turn out how we wanted.  In the end, we made enough non-charred granola to go around, and we loved being able to give something so “us” to our guests.

WELL, we’ve had a ton of requests for the recipe for that granola… and I’m FINALLY getting around to sharing it! (Good thing we wrote our thank you notes faster…) So, without further ado, here it is:

Recipe for “Married Grace Granola” (from the SJ Kitchen!)

1. Combine the following dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (you might need two):

8 c rolled oats (not quick)
1 1/2 c oat bran
1/3 c wheat germ
3/4 c sunflower seeds
3/4 c cashews, chopped
3/4 c slivered almonds
3/4 c walnuts, chopped
3/4 c flax seed
3/4 c sweet coconut

2. Then, in a separate container, mix the following until smoothish:

1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/4 c maple syrup
3/4 c honey
1/3 c sesame oil
1/3 c vegetable oil
1/3 c olive oil
1 T cinnamon
1 T vanilla extract

3. Mix the liquids into the dry granola bits. Stir and try to coat evenly.

4. Once the granola bits are coated, spread granola out onto cookie sheets. Do not pack it tightly — it needs a little wiggle room to cook evenly.

granola

5. Bake granola sheets at 350 degrees for 25-30 mins, pulling it out every 10 mins or so to stir the granola around and/or turn the cookie sheets. (Granola can burn easily, so keep an eye on it!)

6. Once the granola is baked, dump it out onto a dry surface (e.g. other cookie sheets, paper towels, parchment paper, drying rack, etc.) to cool. Spread it out a bit so it doesn’t all stick together in clumps.

7. When the granola has cooled to your liking (or when you eat it, if you can’t wait), mix in 1 c raisins or dried cranberries (or both!) and 1 c Ghirardelli 70% dark chocolate chips. Store or serve when ready!

[This recipe makes around 22 cups, or 1.25 gallons, of granola. YUM!]

*Edited 9/19 to correct “maple sugar” to “maple syrup”. Whoopsie! 

In which I brag on my high school girls…

Today when I met with the group of 10th grade girls I mentor we talked about our goals and plans for the year. As a part of planning some of our discussions, I had each of them brainstorm quietly on a piece of paper a few topics they’d like us to address. When I brought them home and started to read them, I was BLOWN AWAY by not only the depth of their thoughts but the breadth! I love to brag on these wonderful ladies, so I thought I’d share my compiled outline of their thoughts. I’ve reworded and done a tad of fleshing out (like on “sin”) to make it be a proper outline, but all the ideas are theirs — there is not a topic here that doesn’t come from what they wrote down!

Suggested Discussion Topics for 2013-2014

1. Who Is God?

  • Character & attributes

2. How do we experience God?

  • Do you have a personal relationship with God?
  • Do you ever think God’s not listening or you don’t see him in your daily life?
  • Talking to God (Prayer)
    • What is prayer?
    • Why should we pray?
    • How should / do we pray?
    • What experiences do we have with prayer? (Is God answering your prayers?)

3. Why does God matter to us?

  • Sin.
    • What is sin?
    • What does God think about sin? / How does sin affect our relationship with God?
  • Salvation.
    • How does God “fix” sin?
    • Repentance, Forgiveness, & Reconciliation.
      • What does it mean to “repent”?
      • What is forgiveness?
  • Predestination vs. Free Will

4. What does it mean to be a Christian? / How do we respond to God?

  • What is a Christian?
  • Church history / denominational family tree
  • What does the Bible say Christians should do / be like?

Love God

  • What is worship?
  • How can we love God (more) ?
  • How do I be more Christ-like / How do I live out my faith?

Love Others

  • What does it mean to love my neighbor? / Who is my neighbor?
  • Loving my enemies
  • The body of Christ: Community, Encouragement, etc.

General

  • What is the Bible? How should / do I read it?
  • How to be an example / mentor
  • Dealing with tough stuff (e.g. death, depression, loneliness, etc.)
  • The female body: body image, modesty, etc.
  • School: Managing time wisely
  • How to be a light at a Christian school (dealing with disagreement / hypocrisy)
  • Revenge
  • Witnessing: Being a light / telling others about Christ
  • What does the Bible say about how to be a righteous woman?
  • Being a Christian even in the midst of “coolness” / Dealing with peer pressure
  • Healthy relationships
    • Family
    • Romantic
    • Friends
    • Dealing with conflict
    • Gossip / accountability

Ok, folks — there is PREDESTINATION on there! I am so impressed. (Not to mention my other mentee / friend, who just started her own blog with the question “What is sin?” I mean really — how do I get to be friends with all these fantabulous humans???)