The Faithnetworker Newsletter
Vol. 6. No. 1, February 12, 2005
Inside Out Mark Sibley Jones
Years ago I attended a conference where Parker Palmer was the keynote
speaker. He stood up with a strip of paper and scotch tape, twisted one
end of the paper and taped the ends together, creating a Mobius strip.
I’ve been fascinated by Mobius strips since childhood. How could
a strip of paper—that I know to have two sides—only have
one side? See for your self. Follow one side of the paper and you wind
up on the other side. In short, the shape of the Mobius strip has only
Palmer’s point is that the goal of the spiritual life is to make
the inside of life congruent with the outside.
Once again, I am at one of those junctures in life where I’ve
become aware of how out of sync I am with myself. I’ve lost focus.
I’ve become compulsive. I’ve am a bundle of nerves.
Getting my insides to be congruent with my outsides means reflecting
on what I need to say No to. No is hard for me, because No means that
I’m retracting a Yes. Yes is easy; No is tooth-pullingly painful.
I’ve said so many Yeses to good stuff, that I can no longer say
Yes to the best stuff. Once I’m beyond the silly guilt of it, No
is nice. I can see again. Remember, I remind myself, Just say No.
Then, there is the issue of what I am an easy Yes to. The cause. The
group. The organization. The need. The Church. Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, and
Yes. Okay, one more . . . yyyyYes.
I remind myself that institutions are merely great ideas that got set
in concrete and iron. Before long, the structure takes on a life of its
own and the idea may have slipped out the back door, long since unnoticed.
Hey, who am I to judge whether an organization is good or not? But,
it is healthy for my soul to periodically re-evaluate whether the organizations
to which I belong still represent the best commitment of my time and
It is all about the ordering of my outer life with my inner life. And,
all it takes is the creation of a little space. All God needs is a little
toe-hold in my life and the rest becomes, well, more congruent.
During this season of reflection and re-evaluation, may you find clarity
within and without. Amen.