Thursday, May 27, 2010

Life at home

We must realize the yawning pitfall in that very characteristic of home life which is so often glibly paraded as its principle attraction: "It is there that we appear as we really are: it is there that we can fling aside the disguises and be ourselves." ... It will never be lawful simply to "be ourselves" until "ourselves" have become [children] of God ... This does not mean, of course, that there is no difference between home life and general society. It does mean that home life has its own rule of courtesy -- a code more intimate, more subtle, more sensitive, and, therefore, in some ways more difficult, than that of the outer world.

- C.S. Lewis, from his essay "The Sermon and the Lunch"

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saving the world

The sad part of it all is that if the world could have been saved by that kind of relatively minor meddling, it would have been--long before Jesus and a hundred times since. But spiritual works no more bring in the kingdom than moral or intellectual ones. The death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus--especially the Ascension, since it is the final affirmation of the hands-off policy implicit in the other two--proclaim that no meddling, divine or human, spiritual or material, can save the world. Its only salvation is in the mystery of the King who dies, rises, and disappears, and who asks us simply to trust his promise that, in him, we have the kingdom already.

Robert Farrar Capon
Kingdom, Grace, Judgement

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Desmond Tutu

In God's world, where each of us is God's precious child and where the risen Jesus is reconciling all things, the last word does not belong to vicious ideologies but rather to the One who tenderly holds our history in his hands. God's justice, forgiveness, truth, mercy, and love--they shall overcome.

Desmond Tutu
Forward to Hope in Troubled Times

John Wesley

Have I rejoiced with and for my neighbor in virtue or pleasure? grieved with [her] in pain, for him in sin? ... Have I revealed any evil of anyone, unless it was necessary to some particular good I had in view? Have I then done it with all the tenderness of phrase and manner consistent with that end? ... Has goodwill been, and appeared to be, the spring of all my actions toward others?

- John Wesley, quoted in A Guide to Prayer for All God's People

Friday, May 14, 2010

Doing what comes naturally

Whether it's the sin of racism, greed, pride, or indifference, doing what comes naturally is what always gets us in trouble. Better to channel our thoughts, actions, and desires through the purifying filter of God's Spirit and [God's] Word.

- Edward Gilbreath, from his book Reconciliation Blues


I'm no tree-hugger. I'm a tree-leaner, and a tree-sitter, and a tree-seeker.... The trees do not speak to me. But I am pleased to take their shelter, pleased when they reinforce my smallness, pleased when they give me separation from the everyday static jamming my head.

Michael Perry
Population: 485

Thursday, May 13, 2010

In their twenties

They inhabit a world so rich in technology that everything works better, but no one seems to know exactly why. Parented by proxy and prescription and by cable TV, they have achieved the loneliness their elders pursued. They enter their twenties less interested in finding themselves than in finding the way out. Faithless, hopeless, untutored in love, they make babies for the sake of company and kill themselves with unspeakable violence in staggering numbers--suffering from a deficiency in meaning acquired from pop culture, pop psychology, feel-good religion, that tells them don't worry, be happy, take care of yourself and your self-esteem. They stand to inherit, along with the spiritual void their parents have left them, the bill from the card it was all charged to.

Thomas Lynch
The Undertaking

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Imitating Jesus

Our imitation of God in this life ... must be an imitation of God incarnate: our model is the Jesus, not only of Calvary, but of the workshop, the roads, the crowds, the clamorous demands and surly oppositions, the lack of all peace and privacy, the interruptions. For this, so strangely unlike anything we can attribute to the Divine life in itself, is apparently not only like, but is, the Divine life operating under human conditions.

- C.S. Lewis, from his book The Four Loves

Waking Up

Waking up is hard to do
But once we see
How deep the suffering goes
How high the purpose of human beings
Created in the image of the Creator
What is sleep, but settling for so much less?
What is sleep, but surrendering to a tiny, lazy savior?
What is sleep, but biding time in such boredom
That eternity becomes bad news?

Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma
"A blessing for wakefulness" in catapult magazine

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Enjoying affluence

Those of us who now enjoy affluence and freedom a well as power are predisposed to believe that benign forces shape our destiny. But to the extent that our blessings are incidental by-products of our citizenship in nations that currently enjoy domination status over others, our well-being may be more a result of flagrant injustice than divine providence.

Walter Wink
Engaging the Powers

Friday, May 07, 2010


When I was in high school I thought a vocation was a particular calling. Here's a voice: "Come, follow me." My idea of a calling now is not: "Come." It's ... what I'm doing right now, not what I'm going to be. Life is a calling.

- Rebecca Sweeney, an American who held a variety of jobs, including six years as a nun

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Things that bring you joy tell you a lot about who you are.

Michael Perry
Population: 485

Monday, May 03, 2010

The issue of God

"You cannot evade the issue of God: whether you talk about pigs or the binomial theory, you are still talking about Him . . . If Christianity should happen to be true--that is to say, if its God is the real God of the universe--then defending it may mean talking about anything and everything."

G K Chesterton

Daily News December 12, 1903

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Vatican II

Christ summons the Church, as she goes her pilgrim way, to that continual reformation of which she always had need.

Coming forth fromthe eternal Father's love, founded in time by Christ the Redeemer, and made one in the Holy Spirit, the Church has a saving and an eschatological purpose which can be fully attained only in the future world. But she is already present in this world, and is composed of men, that is, members of the earthly city who have a call to form the family of God's children during the present history of the human race, and to keep increasing it until the Lord returns.
This she does most of all by her healing and elevating impact on the dignity of the person, by the way in which she strengthens the seams of human society and imbues the everyday activities of men with a deeper meaning and importance. Thus, through her individual memebrs and her whole community, the Church believes she can contribute greatly toward making the family of man and its history more human.

The two quotes above come from the documents of the Vatican II Council. They're quoted on page 72 of Robert Warren's On the Anvil.

Being willing to fall...

If I had to name my disability, I would call it an unwillingness to fall ... This reluctance signals the mistrust of the central truth of the Christian gospel: life springs from death, not only at the last but also in the many little deaths along the way. When everything you count on for protection has failed, the Divine Presence does not fail. The hands are still there -- not promising to rescue, not promising to intervene -- promising only to hold you no matter how far you fall.

- Barbara Brown Taylor, from her book Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith