My son asked me if you have to be a priest to be pope…The answer is no. Even I could be chosen, and while there is a greater chance of hell freezing over, I wouldn’t. But I might accept the challenge to teach those cardinals a few things. If I were to give an intro to Prophets class…it would start like this:
To be a true prophet, you don’t need a pedigree…in anything. You do, however, need to say this prayer: “Honoring all the talents I’ve been given, take me down the path I need to go to fulfill my greatest purpose in life and in turn I will promise to keep walking despite the fear that wells up in my throat, the overwhelming feelings of inadequacy that I may face and the desire to give into the temptation to run in the opposite direction.” If you can say those words then you are ready. Please note, however, that once you say them…God will take you at your word. Changing your mind is not an option.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a prophet as the inspired or accredited spokesman, proclaim-er or preacher of some principle, cause or movement. A prophet is one who speaks for God as the inspired reveal-er or interpreter of divine will; one who is held or (more loosely) who claims to have this function; an inspired or quasi-inspired teacher. No where does it say that a prophet must have any greater handle on the truth or is better suited for it than anyone else. You must see a truth, be inspired by it and believe that it is God who is the source of that truth. What separates the prophet from a charlatan or someone of feeble mind? Nothing. Only time, commitment to the truth, and complete surrender to the divine will can keep you on the right path.
Is truth absolute? If it is, our human limitations probably keep us from fully comprehending it. Is the color blue still blue in the dark? Because color is dependent on light and the reflection and absorbtion of its waves to produce a color in the spectrum, perhaps it’s substance exists only in the realm of potential until light shines upon it. Truth, like color, depends on exposure to the light in the same way. The first challenge of a true prophet is to shed light into the darkest places in their lives. Sometimes the greatest truths lie hidden along side those things we try to bury in darkness. Before you begin this journey of exposure, let me comfort you by saying that things are far less frightening or threatening once you see them in the light.
Once light shines exposes your personal environment, you may be shocked. Life is not as clean and neat as one might expect. Initially, it may be a shock to see how one can live a midst such apparent filth. Life, however, is messy, as is growth. Embracing the fact that “shit happens” to everyone and it is a normal part of anyone’s journey is essentially the first step in understanding it’s importance in allowing the truth to take root and flourish in your life. Growth cannot occur in a sterile environment Dirt is essential, as well as fertilizer. The richest and most natural source? Manure. The simple decision to learn from the “shit” that is present in your life is what determines whether it will help you grow or turn you toxic. A prophet uses everything that happens to enrich their truth.
When you go through the often difficult process of uncovering and embracing a truth, you may have a tendency to tell everyone you know. In your zealous enthusiasm, you may want to strip illusion from the eyes of everyone you love, show them the error of their ways, and challenge them to change. But when you deprive them of the process, truth can be nothing but a bitter pill. Not everyone is ready to let go of illusion and face the truth. Many people may even be angry with you for judging how they live their lives…even though you both know it could stand improvement. The most effective prophet allows themselves to be transformed by truth, and then lives it. Talking about it is often too confusing. When others see the transformation in you and desire the same transformation, then it is time to talk…and yet whether or not they choose to follow the process is still up to them. A prophet is only as effective as the truth they live.
After the initial freedom of embracing a truth, there is often a period of time when you may look back with nostalgia at life shrouded in illusion. It may appear simpler and easier in many ways. This is absolutely normal. Elevating one’s reality brings change to every aspect of life. The brain is forced to work in a completely new and different way. The best way to handle this change is to free fall into it. The phrase, let go and let God is a necessity during this period…as well as remembering the prayer you recited at the beginning of this process. Don’t fight the changes that truth brings and the transition will be easier. You will also be better prepared to face what is to come.
Once you begin living in higher definition, it may become easy to judge others who live with less clarity as stupid or having little to offer you on your journey. WRONG! Everyone and everything that crosses your path is an essential element on your journey. A wise prophet understands that the big picture is comprised of smaller, seemingly insignificant pieces. Even the darkest of characters can provide an opportunity to share the light of truth. Embrace each person or event as the greatest gift. Gratitude builds hope. Hope illuminates what comes next.
This concludes first series…since I’m sure we’ll see black smoke this evening…stay tuned.
I don’t know if it is God’s great humor or the hubris of Jonah that resulted in my isolation in the belly of my own metaphorical whale, but sans the fish smell it was no less cramped, dark, and completely uncomfortable. When it comes to the non-prodigal son and Jonah, I can completely sympathize with their tendency to mope over a last-minute save. Today, they are my brethren. Granted, I may be speaking in the voice of that petulant child that roars her ugly head once in a while, but the feeling of putting my ninja on and wreaking havoc on all the vipers and hypocrites and evil doers even has my rational, old soul, adult self jumping on board. I am tired of bad people getting away with bad things and coming to Jesus to make it all right. I wish omniscience was one of my super powers so I would have the ability to distinguish between who has really learned the hard lessons and has changed their ways and the liars who just pretend to. Then I could spontaneously combust the wolves with my Darth Vader like stare. But alas, that would make me no better than they are, focused so outwardly on the sins of others that I can’t see my own. I did despair a bit at this awareness because Jesus has taught me to keep forgiving the bastards seventy times seventy….which is how I ended up inside my whale. My internal rantings began to the tune of “Walking the Line” and all the difficulties that come with that when there are so many who appear to reap benefits from not only walking far away from the line but taunt the rest of us who do…only to descend even deeper to conclude with a chorus of “nana nana booboo” while I visualized the evil doers being herded off a cliff somewhere. The echo of all that whining bouncing off the blubber of my internal whale became so deafening that I told my internal petulant child that enough was enough already. The descent into emotional and spiritual retardation, became an invitation to revisit why it is I choose to live by a higher moral imperative anyway. It isn’t because I believe that I get to go to heaven, or avoid a heavy karmic backlash. Truly, I believe it is because it makes the most sense to me. Choosing a path of love demands certain behaviors laid out for me in the New Testament. Jesus did prescribe a way to live in the world that will build the Kingdom of God and in order to get out of the belly of the whale I had to figure out that holding others accountable is God’s job and not mine. The phrase, “it’s not fair” is wiped from my lexicon. That is not to say that I won’t continue to fight for justice, rather, I will trust that Jesus’ great gift is very much alive and well even when it appears that the line isn’t even visible anymore. I have learned a great lesson these past days and have regain a greater peace.