This week, while I am on vacation, I’m republishing a blog entry entitled “The gospel according to John (Cougar Meloncamp).” I wrote this several years ago after returning from a teaching conference for religious educators. It is still one of my favorites.
I just came back from a wonderful three-day educators conference hosted by St. Mary’s Press in Winnona, Minnesota. I wrote the following reflection at the conclusion of the conference having been greatly inspired by a presentation on the educational philosophy of John Baptiste de la Salle by Kevin Regan. The jumping off point for this piece, however, came from a song by John Cougar Meloncamp that I heard in the airport men’s room while waiting for my flight to leave on Monday. (Why the sound was clearer inside the men’s room than outside is a mystery I’ll have to leave for others to figure out):
“I don’t want to die with “undiscovered country” within me. I want to know who I am, to actualize all that I could have been, to let the Light shine into all of the dark places and to let the healing balm of Christs’s love reach the twisted and broken places in the center and on the periphery of my being.
I want to give the world myself – fully, honestly, joyfully, unapologetically, lovingly. I do not want to hide in the shadows of a cramped existence because I refused to take Jesus at his word.
I woudl like to be a companion to others as they search within their own “undiscovered country”. Not to lecture or instruct them, but to simply be present to them – and, if necessary – to reassure them that there is nothing to be afraid of, no place so dark that Christ is not present, no wound so deep that Christ cannot heal it.
I want to have the courage to seek out others when I am scared and lost. I want each and every one of God’s children to know that every fully human life well lived is a sacred, one time event that lights up the universe in unimagineably brilliant colors.
I want to LIVE. I do not wish to just pass through.
Al in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)