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“Is it permissable to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Jesus answered them,  “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and  give unto God what is God’s.”

The scribes and chief priests in this story are hoping to trick Jesus with their question and hand him over to the authorities for treason. But Jesus, of course, knew they weren’t asking honestly. And he answers as he often does in a way that is not dualistic, meaning Jesus never saw things as simply black and white, good or bad, liberal or conservative—anything “either/or.” He sidesteps their trick to show them once again that he operates from a place of both/and. Either/or divides, both/and includes. It is knowing reality in a totally different way than how our culture usually sees things. It’s a higher mind, a more open heart, a way of being in true prayer.

True prayer doesn’t come to God with fixed ideas of what is right and what needs to be done. It comes, being willing to be changed.

The spiritual practice? Simple but as always, not easy. Notice where you are sure you are right  in what you believe or in an opinion you hold. Pray to God about it, not asking to be affirmed, but asking if God has more to show you about it. Notice if you are even willing to ask. Just notice.

Pastor Marcia Wakeland is a retired ELCA pastor, a spiritual director and a listening advocate. She is interested in the actual experience of having faith and how that is lived out. She can be reached at for comments or more questions Her ongoing blog of living out spiritual practices is