Tag Archives: judgment


Another gem from Patricia Ryan Madson. Improv Wisdom.

sip. it.

sip. it.Improv Wisdom.

I am stretching this read out as long as possible…

Patricia suggests three vantage points from which we each can look at a person or event:

First filter: to see what’s wrong with it (the critical method – commonly used in higher education, says she. Also the default vantage point of much of religion, I would add – but in reality it’s just the default human method). In using this lens the self looms large, she observes.

Second filter: to see it objectively (the scientific method). Using this lens both the self as well as others are meant to disappear.

Nothing personal.

Third filter: to see the gift in it (she calls this the improv method – I would probably dub it pneumatic). With this lens others loom large, she observes.


This is definitely what we do, but it seems to me all too often everything gets clogged up in the first two filters and precious little even makes it to the third.The first filter alone can be enough to gum up most anything fed into it – there’s so much wrong with anything or anyone that we see or hear or smell or taste or touch – for anything or anyone to make it through that straining filter to the “gift” level can be as likely as the Aussies in Gallipoli reaching the Turkish trenches.

Hdgs_FishingJust wondering what might happen, what treasures we might discover in unexpected places and faces if we inverted the filters.

What if our first filter, the default filter, was the gift filter?

What if our primary mode, our fundamental approach to all of life was experiencing it as we anticipate the gift?

What if our “filter” was more like a great net thrown out into the sea of the world, gathering in a little bit of everything in a non-discriminatory net, all of it then dragged up on the shore of our hearts, anticipating treasures, looking for gifts, expecting unexpected good, unimagined delight. Will there be garbage in the catch? Absolutely. And we’ll know what to do with it when we find it – or it finds us through it’s pungent odor or the slice on our finger from it’s rough edges.

300px-AnatomyofafishhookBut then, as we say, “One man’s garbage…”

How insightful that it is a heightened preoccupation with self that keeps us confined to the “what’s wrong with it” filter, that keeps us from casting a larger net, that limits us instead to a single discriminating hook. Ah, but even then, if we will look even the least impressive randomly snagged gift fish in the mouth caught on our discriminating hook before we throw it back with disgust, we might find just the treasure we need for the day.

Oh to get beyond pointing out all that’s wrong in the big screen performance of life, so we might see the gifts passing right before our faces.

What might we see, and where might it take us?



Posted by on April 8, 2014 in haverings


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religious ruckus

This week’s installment of the MAV…John 7:53-8:11…a religious ruckus involving a disreputable woman in a disputed passage...

Meanwhile, Jesus made his way to the Mount of Olives outside the city.

But not for long.

Early the next morning he was right back at it in the temple. All the crowd flocked to him looking for more, and he obliged them. Having taken his seat, he began teaching them – until a major religious ruckus broke out, Scripture pundits and strict sect types showing up, a woman in tow, a woman caught red-handed in the act of adultery.

They sought no private audience with Jesus, they pushed her right into the center where Jesus was teaching, challenging him,

“Rabbi, this woman was caught red-handed in the very act of adultery! We know what Moses in the law says must be done to such a woman – death by stoning. But what do you say?”

And in case you hadn’t figured it out, this whole thing was a set up; they were just looking for ammunition to nail writingindirtJesus to the wall.

But Jesus didn’t bite or budge.

He just stooped down and started doodling in the dirt with his finger.

The religious lynch mob didn’t budge either.
They stood there and kept prodding him with their own pointed fingers of accusation.

Jesus finally looked up at them and said,

“The only one with a rock in his hand is the one with no sin in his heart.”

And then he was back to finger doodling in the dirt.

Stunned by what they heard, they began to clear out, one by one, from the oldest to the youngest of them, until she was left
alone –
just the woman,
right there in the center.

Looking up again, Jesus spoke to her.

“Woman, where did they all go?
What, no judge and jury to condemn you?”

She said, sheepishly, “Lord, none at all.”

“Well then, you won’t hear any condemnation from me either.
On your way – only, from now on,
how about avoiding the ruts of sin
and aiming higher.”

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Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Gospel of John, MAV, Mercy, Religion


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