Entertaining Angels

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Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
— Hebrews 13:2

When taking our first steps in the spiritual life, it can be easy to see things as this or that, black or white, and right or wrong.

Long ago when I became a Christian, I remember feeling as if I’d finally stumbled upon the answers to all the mysteries of the universe. I could easily articulate those answers to others by opening my bible and quoting a few passages. Then, I’d continue on into the world with my little candle, bringing light to all of those still lost in the darkness.

Oh, how great my folly. (Insert face-palm emoji, here).

Years later, having had a myriad of experiences that challenged my binary ways of thinking and believing, I see those experiences (and the people that I shared them with) as the wisest of all my teachers.

Many of them were walking a much wider path than I was. They’d invite me to drinks or dinner, politely entertain my views, then respond, “I hear you, but have you ever thought of it like this?”

Sure, I’d leave our time together in an internal crisis. How could I not? They’d shed light into my darkness. But as I look back, I am so grateful for each of these angels who saved me from falling off the cliff into a world of smoke and mirrors.

The wandering sage, Lao Tzu once wrote,

Free from certainty, you realize the mystery. Caught in the desire for certainty, you see only the manifestations.
— The Tao Te Ching

I’ve found it helpful over the years to joyfully embrace uncertainty. We will only ever see what we are willing to see. If we’ve resolved within ourselves that we’ve “arrived,” it is in that very place where we stop growing.

Wherever you are in your life today, I want to encourage you to entertain those who challenge your deeply held beliefs, viewpoints, and opinions. Always be willing to own the mantra, “I think I’m right, but I might be wrong.”

It may not feel safe. But it is good.


 
Ryan Phipps is the Senior Minister at Church In Bethesda.  Raised in the church, becoming a pastor was the one thing Ryan vowed he would never do. After spending many years away from faith, he found that for all of its flaws, the church can still occupy a unique place of good in the world if it is willing to evolve with reason and empathy.  Ryan has a special place in his heart for those who have been damaged or disillusioned by the church, and longs to lead those within it toward a more just and generous expression of itself.  Ryan is an  INTJ  on the MBTI and a  5w4  on the Enneagram.

Ryan Phipps is the Senior Minister at Church In Bethesda.

Raised in the church, becoming a pastor was the one thing Ryan vowed he would never do. After spending many years away from faith, he found that for all of its flaws, the church can still occupy a unique place of good in the world if it is willing to evolve with reason and empathy.

Ryan has a special place in his heart for those who have been damaged or disillusioned by the church, and longs to lead those within it toward a more just and generous expression of itself.

Ryan is an INTJ on the MBTI and a 5w4 on the Enneagram.

Ryan Phipps