Thursday, January 28, 2010


The message of salvation is more than our verbal proclamation of the gospel. We must redefine evangelism to include how we live and interact with people -- what it means for us to call them into God's family to become members of God's household. This is as important as our ability to accurately quote scriptures.

- Brenda Salter McNeil, from her book A Credible Witness: Reflections on Power, Evangelism and Race

Christian novels

The novelist with Christian concerns will find in modern life distortions which are repugnant to him, and his problem will be to make them appear as distortions to an audience which is used to seeing them as natural; and he may be forced to take ever more violent means to get his vision across to this hostile audience. When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax a little and use more normal ways of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock -- to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the blind you draw large and startling figures.

Flannery O'Connor
Wise Blood

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On the way!

This life, therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed.

- Martin Luther

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Being deep people

Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.

Richard Foster
Celebration of Discipline

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Plumbing and Philosophy

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.

- John W. Gardner, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson (1912-2002)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Violence and NonViolence

And another reason that I'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we're going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but demands didn't force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it's nonviolence or nonexistence.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I See the Promised Land" in A Testament of Hope

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Powers that be

The irony would be delicious if it were not so bitter: earnest theologians have been earnestly persuading Christians for sixteen centuries that their gospel supports violence, while massive outpourings of citizens in one officially atheist country after another [during the peaceful overturning of the Soviet regime and its allies at the end of the Cold War] recently have demonstrated the effectiveness of Jesus’ teaching of nonviolence as a means of liberation.

- Walter Wink, from his book The Powers That Be

Faith is a process

Throughout the gospels we are repeatedly told that after some word or deed of Jesus "his disciples believed in him." The point of this statement is not that up to that point they had no faith, but rather that their faith deepened with the passage of time. To believe in God is more than simply to profess God's existence; it is to enter into communion with God and -- the two being inseparable -- with our fellow human beings as well. All this adds up to a process.

- Gustavo Gutierrez, from his book We Drink from Our Own Wells

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Matter Matters

Bodies matter to God. Matter matters. Until we can proclaim that wondrous truth, ecology will be a sideline in our pastoring and preaching, our theologies and liturgies ... Wetlands and rivers, wheat fields and dough rising, people dancing in the aisles and people sleeping in the streets of our cities. Matter matters to God.

- Barbara Lundblad, from her sermon "Matter Matters"

I think sometimes I imagine salvation is being removed from the possibility of pain and suffering. But that's so much not what it's like to be born. As soon as we start that trip down the birth canal, we become vulnerable to all sorts of wonderful and frightening and beautiful and horrible and sad and amazing things.

Debbie Blue
Sensual Orthodoxy

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Facing the Self

How terrifying it is to face my naked and needy self--the self that longs for love and knows it can do nothing to manipulate the universe into providing the only kind of love I really need. The crux of the problem is that I cannot feel the love of God because I do not dare to accept it unconditionally.

David G. Benner
Surrender to Love

Howard Thurman

When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flock, the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace ... to make music in the heart.

- Howard Thurman, American author, civil rights leader, and theologian (1899-1981)

Friday, January 01, 2010

Writing letters

William Barclay once wrote:
Letters are dangerous things. A man will often write with a bitterness and presumption which he would never use to another's face.

The same applies to emails...perhaps more so, since we're prone to sending them off quickly, without checking the way they're written. So, don't abuse, but speak the truth in love.