Love Languages

10 Feb

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for Transfiguration Sunday, 10 February 2013
Love Languages
For all the times I’ve written about today’s Gospel passage on the Transfiguration of Jesus, it didn’t occur to me until today to ask Jesus what He benefitted by the disciples keeping silent in those days and they told no one of the things they had seen. (Luke 9:36) I could well-imagine from the disciples’ point of view why they had said nothing. After all, what could they say? “Gee, ummm… We were on this mountain with Jesus. (v 28) We got sleepy. (v 32) Thank God we didn’t actually fall asleep! (v 32) You wouldn’t believe it! Moses and Elijah showed up! Right there! Glowing! The three of them had this Glow Fest going on right in front of us! (v 31) Then Peter got this bright idea to make three dwellings for the Lawgiver (Moses), the Prophet (Elijah), and of course the Messiah (Jesus). (v 33) But no good idea goes unnoticed. Suddenly a cloud came and overshadowed us and we were terrified when we entered the cloud. (v 34) The Cloud spoke and said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to Him!” (v 35) Gosh what could we do? What could we say? God had spoken and we had to listen. Suddenly Jesus was standing there by Himself. (v 36) Did we dream this?
“Then the next day we came down the mountain and a great crowd met us. (v 37) A man begged Jesus to look at his only child, a son at that! (v 38) Can you imagine? He was seizing and convulsing. (v 39) He gave out a shriek! (v 39) The kid foamed at the mouth! (v 39) We had no trouble in believing that this kid was being mauled by a spirit that wouldn’t let him alone. (v 39) The father of the child said the other disciples had tried to cast out the spirit but they couldn’t do it. (v 40) Jesus got upset and said, “You faithless and perverse generation; how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” (v 41) Who could blame Him, really, for getting upset? We were just on the Mountain with Him at the Glow Fest. But were we really a faithless and perverse generation? Hmmm…”
My own little jaunt into the sandals of the disciples took a hiatus and I looked up the word “perverse.” It means: “obstinately or unreasonably wrong; self-willed, headstrong, wayward.” Had I been like this? I know that I’ve had a few very rough couple of weeks lately and it has been the opposite of a mountain-top experience:
23 January 2013 I had to have the chuck supports replaced on the back hatch of my old station wagon because the door kept crashing down and whacking my back whenever I got into my trunk area.
27 January 2013 Had another flat tire.
29 January 2013 I was praying at the beach in the evening and went to use the public restroom only to find they are now being locked at sunset to keep the homeless from camping in them overnight. A lady walking by with her dogs told me, “They are locked because of the homeless issue.”
31 January 2013 My gas tank gauge pegged on empty even though I had just filled up with gasoline. And I had replaced the gauge 3 ½ years ago.
01 February 2013 Someone posted on Facebook: “There is a time when you’ve got to stop praying about your needs, and start standing and walking in your inheritance.”
05 February 2013 I was praying at the harbor and went to use the public restroom to find it also chained and padlocked.
05 February 2013 An idiot light on my dashboard came on with an icon of a wrench. My car was “screaming” at me that I had engine trouble even though I still had another thousand miles to go before having my next scheduled servicing. By this point my nerves were shot and I was not terribly successful at not panicking, even though God repeatedly tells us to Fear Not. Instantaneously, searing hot FEAR from the reptilian part of my brain shot through my body into every nerve ending, because I felt unsafe with no options and no hope of improvement of my life and circumstances. I cannot “save” myself. I cannot publish, because even self-publishing has proven unproductive for me as Reflections: Book One sits and rots buried in the mound of other choices available to the public. I cannot break the Grand Silence with the Churches. I have no resources to “save” myself. And no community to comfort me. I guess you could say I reached a breaking point within my spirit. I gave Self-pity a hard shove, walked past it, and grabbed hold of Christ with all my might.
06 February 2013 The next morning after going to the mechanic, I stopped by a gas station to fill up with gasoline and use the restroom. The teeth of the bathroom door key had broken off and remained in the door lock mechanism. The evidence was clear that someone before me had had their own Rage Fest and entertained a spirit/attitude that had left destruction in its wake. So now I was locked out again but I still have basic needs.
“Faithless and perverse generation”? Locking out the public because the governmental institutions won’t send security-escorted social workers to the haunts of where the homeless hang out and ask them WHY they are homeless in the first place qualifies as “faithless and perverse.” The homeless are not “issues;” they are people. Circumstances are issues. Having a two-week siege of car trouble and basic needs struggling to be met did leave me feeling like the man’s son seizing with epilepsy in the Gospel story. This siege has left me feeling raw, vulnerable, unsafe, and spiritually “foaming at the mouth” and “mauled” by a spirit that wouldn’t leave me alone. And I couldn’t cast out the attitude/spirit by myself no matter how much faith I had. I was no different than the disciples.
What would I do now? I didn’t know. I still donno. I keep praying anyway. By grace I reclined on Jesus’ chest and looked at what I know. What I know is that what is happening to me is not happening in a vacuum. I know that what I go through, the Churches go through in a similar theme and variation. The Churches too, are like the son in the Gospel story. Plus God had said, “…And her child [also a son] was snatched up to God and to His throne.” (Rev 12:5) I have watched the Church get “snatched up” and was left wondering, “Who are you?”
Luke 9:42 While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.
I followed Jesus’ lead and rebuked the unclean spirit. Then I asked: “What healing does the Church-as-boy need? What can I pray for you that I have not already prayed a gazillion times?” Instead of throttling the Church-as-boy like I’ve wanted to do so many times in the past, I asked for more grace and a spirit of transfiguration; one that would transfigure, change at the core level, our relationship to steer the Church-as-ship back on course, because clearly something’s still not working, as we’re not yet connecting at a basic core need level. Today is Transfiguration Sunday, which marks the end of Reflections: Book Four. I have been writing these Reflections since Ash Wednesday 2009. Each book goes through the full liturgical year cycle. Today seals closure of the fourth year. Four years of praying and writing Reflections every week. Jesus’ ministry was three-and-a-half years as He tussled with the Institution of His day. Maybe His ministry was shorter because He called them a brood of vipers—oh wait, that was John the Baptist (Mt 3:7); but then again Jesus did also say it to the crowds and His disciples in Mt 23:33. Wow, I can’t imagine how much courage that took. I’ve mostly stuck to St Paul’s method of looking at scripture–
Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
Honestly, as I looked at the Temporal Needs Siege of these last two weeks, I lost my motivation to explore the dance of the Lawgiver, the Prophet speaking the Truth, and the Messiah (Lk 9:33) and wondered what rock my motivation had crawled under. It was only by grace that my sense of humor returned and hope sprung up when I got a phone call from an estranged dear friend out of the blue. And still the question remained: What else could I possibly say that has not already been said that could change anything?
God said, “It’s not what you say, or even how you say it a lot of the times. It’s how it is received, and you have no control over that.”
“Yeah, I know,” I responded. “So, Lord, what inheritance are You wanting to share with the Church-as-Boy?”
God: “Integration: Integrating the head with the heart; integration of body, mind, and spirit. Would you do Me a favor and pull out your notes from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?”
Me: “Sure.”
I pulled out the article:
“Abraham Maslow (1954) presents a hierarchy of needs model which can be divided into basic (or deficiency) needs (e.g. physiological, safety, love, and esteem) and growth needs (cognitive, aesthetics and self-actualization).
One must satisfy lower level basic needs before progressing on to meet higher level growth needs. Once these needs have been reasonably satisfied, one may be able to reach the highest level called self-actualization.
Every person is capable and has the desire to move up the hierarchy toward a level of self-actualization. Unfortunately, progress is often disrupted by failure to meet lower level needs. Life experiences including divorce and loss of job may cause an individual to fluctuate between levels of the hierarchy.
Maslow noted only one in a hundred people become fully self-actualized because our society rewards motivation primarily based on esteem, love and other social needs.
The expanded hierarchy of needs:
It is important to note that Maslow’s (1954) theory has been elaborated upon by other researchers. Maslow’s original five-stage model has been adapted by other researchers who have interpreted Maslow’s writings to develop both seven and eight-stage hierarchy of needs pyramids.
Changes to the original five-stage model are highlighted and include a seven-stage model developed during the 1970s and a more recent eight-stage model developed during the 1990s.
1. Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.
2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.
3. Belongingness and Love needs – work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.
4. Esteem needs – self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.
5. Cognitive needs – knowledge, meaning, etc.
6. Aesthetic needs – appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.
7. Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
8. Transcendence needs – helping others to achieve self actualization.
Self Actualization
Psychologist Abraham Maslow (1943, 1954) stated that human motivation is based on people seeking fulfillment and change through personal growth. Maslow described self-actualized people as those who were fulfilled and doing all they were capable of.
The growth of self-actualization (Maslow, 1962) refers to the need for personal growth that is present throughout a person’s life. For Maslow, a person is always “becoming” and never remains static in these terms. In self-actualization a person comes to find a meaning to life that is important to them.
Maslow (1968): Some of the characteristics of self-actualized people
Although we are all, theoretically, capable of self-actualizing, most of us will not do so, or only to a limited degree. Maslow was particularly interested in the characteristics of people whom he considered to have achieved their potential as persons. By studying people he considered to be self-actualized (including Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein) Maslow identified 15 characteristics of a self-actualized person.
Characteristics of self-actualizers:
1. They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty;
2. Accept themselves and others for what they are;
3. Spontaneous in thought and action;
4. Problem-centered (not self-centered);
5. Unusual sense of humor;
6. Able to look at life objectively;
7. Highly creative;
8. Resistant to enculturation, but not purposely unconventional;
9. Concerned for the welfare of humanity;
10. Capable of deep appreciation of basic life-experience;
11. Establish deep satisfying interpersonal relationships with a few people;
12. Peak experiences;
13. Need for privacy;
14. Democratic attitudes;
15. Strong moral/ethical standards.
Behavior leading to self-actualization:
(a) Experiencing life like a child, with full absorption and concentration;
(b) Trying new things instead of sticking to safe paths;
(c) Listening to your own feelings in evaluating experiences instead of the voice of tradition, authority or the majority;
(d) Avoiding pretense (‘game playing’) and being honest;
(e) Being prepared to be unpopular if your views do not coincide with those of the majority;
(f) Taking responsibility and working hard;
(g) Trying to identify your defenses and having the courage to give them up.
The characteristics of self-actualizers and the behaviors leading to self-actualization are shown in the list above. Although people achieve self-actualization in their own unique way, they tend to share certain characteristics. However, self-actualization is a matter of degree, ‘There are no perfect human beings’ (Maslow, 1970, p. 176).”
Me to God: “OK, Lord. Once we’ve identified our defenses and gotten the courage to give them up, then what?”
God: “Please do Me another favor.”
Me: “Sure!”
God: “Pull up your notes on the Five Love Languages.”
Me: “Ok.” (I had looked it up earlier in the week, but at the time I thought it was a wild goose chase.)
Amazon Review: “In The Five Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman talks about how different people express love in different ways. Some people are verbal, expressing their love in words. Others may never speak their affection, yet they show it by the things they do.
Sadly, many couples look to receive love the same way they give it, misunderstanding their spouses. This can lead to quarrels, hurt feelings, and even divorce. However, if you understand each other’s love languages, you can learn to give and receive love more effectively.~”
What are the Five Love Languages?
1. Words of Affirmation = This language uses words to affirm other people.
2. Acts of Service = For these people, actions speak louder than words.
3. Receiving Gifts = For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift.
4. Quality Time = This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention.
5. Physical Touch = To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch.
God: “Churches are no different than individuals when it comes to love languages. Each one expresses their love in different ways; some verbally, others creatively, some through service, others through hospitality; some by setting themselves apart in solitude to have quiet time to give Me their undivided attention; each according to how the Holy Spirit has gifted each Church. Misunderstandings have arisen as Churches have looked to receive love in the same way they have given it. Transcendence comes by looking at each other and reaching out in ways that the other understands as loving.”
Me: “Lord Jesus, since I have already rebuked the unclean spirit, I ask You to heal the Church-as-Boy. Mature us into Your likeness and help us to communicate love to each other in ways each will understand. By Your Spirit of Grace and Truth balanced in Mercy, I give the Church back to You, Father. (Lk 9:42) I look forward to ever-increasing astonishment at the greatness of God. (v 43 a) Please expand Your grace, O God, and may the “seeds” of these books of Reflections spill out from Your treasure chest to bring “A TOTAL RESTORATION” just as You promised.” Amen.
[Closing sidebar to the “Sons of Issachar” (Gen 49:14-15; Dt 33:18-19; Rev 7:7): Mount your donkeys on Valentine’s Day!]

Transfiguration Sunday 10 February 2013 Gospel: Luke 9:28-43a
Exodus 34:29-35
34:29 Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.

34:30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him.

34:31 But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them.

34:32 Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.

34:33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face;

34:34 but whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded,

34:35 the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Psalm 99
99:1 The LORD is king; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!

99:2 The LORD is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples.

99:3 Let them praise your great and awesome name. Holy is he!

99:4 Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.

99:5 Extol the LORD our God; worship at his footstool. Holy is he!

99:6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called on his name. They cried to the LORD, and he answered them.

99:7 He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud; they kept his decrees, and the statutes that he gave them.

99:8 O LORD our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings.

99:9 Extol the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy.

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
3:12 Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness,

3:13 not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside.

3:14 But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside.

3:15 Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds;

3:16 but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.

3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

3:18 And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

4:1 Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.

4:2 We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.

Luke 9:28-36, (37-43a)
9:28 Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.

9:29 And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.

9:30 Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him.

9:31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

9:32 Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.

9:33 Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” — not knowing what he said.

9:34 While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud.

9:35 Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

9:36 When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

9:37 On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him.

9:38 Just then a man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child.

9:39 Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him.

9:40 I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.”

9:41 Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.”

9:42 While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.

9:43a And all were astounded at the greatness of God.

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