Friday, August 27, 2010

God, sunrises and daisies

Perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never gotten tired of making them. It may be that God has the eternal appetite of infancy.

G.K. Chesterton from his book Orthodoxy

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blocking the well

There is a really deep well inside me. And in it dwells God ... But more often stones and grit block the well, and God is buried beneath. Then God must be dug out again.

Etty Hillesum - from An Interrupted Life: The Diaries of Etty Hillesum, 1941-1943

No need to feel superior

The easy way for us rid ourselves of whatever sanctimonious self-importance may have attached itself to us [Christians] is by simply (and constantly) remembering that we’re not better than nonbelievers. What we are is luckier than nonbelievers. We didn’t do anything to get saved. We didn’t deserve it. It’s not like God was holding auditions for an open spot in heaven, and we just so wowed him with our killer rendition of “Oklahoma!” or “Go Tell It On The Mountain” that we won.

Blog post by John Shore: On the Christian's Natural Sense of Superiority (extract from his book, I'm OK, You're Not: the message we're sending unbelievers and why we should stop.

Being in the presence of significant lives

“… there is no substitute for learning to be a Christian by being in the presence of significant lives made significant by being Christian. … Significance suggests importance… lives that make a difference and that demand acknowledgment. But the lives of significance I began to notice were not significant in any of those ways. Rather, they were lives of quiet serenity, capable of attending with love to the everyday without the need to be recognized as “making a difference.”

From Hannah's Child: a Theologian's Memoir, by Stanley Hauerwas

Monday, August 23, 2010

A just and humane world

Because of our faith in Christ and humankind, we must apply our humble efforts to the construction of a more just and humane world. And I want to declare emphatically: Such a world is possible.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel,
from his Nobel Lecture

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Todd Donatelli said [about his congregation] 'It is a community that believes that for those created in the image of God, a sign of their faithfulness, a sign of their engagement with the Spirit, will be creativity.'

Diana Butler Bass: Christianity for the Rest of Us, pg 214


Christians have always been hosts and guests, natives and strangers, citizens and sojourners.  In our contemporary world of strangers, tourists, and nomads, Henri Nouwen proclaims, 'When hostility is converted into hospitality then fearful strangers can become guests....Then, in fact, the disctinction between host and guest proves to be artifical and evaporates in the recognition of newfound unity. '

In a time of hate-filled extremism, some Christians still long for a world of nonviolent love, of reconciling peace.  Of human wholeness, of true brother and sisterhood, in God's compassion.  For them, hospitality opens the way to practicing peace, doing a tangible thing that can change the world.

As Martin Marty, a noted Lutheran theologian, says, 'In a world where strangers meet strangers with gunfire, barrier walls, spiritually landmined paths, the spirit of revenge, and the record of intransigence, it sounds almost dainty to come on the scene and urge that hospitality has a strong and promising place.

Diana Butler Bass: Christianity for the Rest of Us, HarperOne, published 2006

The Henri Nouwen quote comes from Reaching Out: the three movements of the spiritual life (New York: Doubleday, 1975) pg 47.
The Marty Martin quote comes from When Faiths Collide, pg 128 (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


To choose what is difficult all one’s days, as if it were easy, that is faith.

W.H. Auden
from For the Time Being

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The time will come.....

The time will come when wealth will be redistributed, when the workers of the world will once again unite -- standing for economic justice -- for a world where we can all have enough to live fully and well.

bell hooks, from her book Where We Stand

bell hooks is the pen name of Gloria Jean Watkins

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sowing seeds

To create this new society, we must present outstretched and friendly hands, without hatred and rancor, even as we show great determination and never waver in the defense of truth and justice. Because we know that we cannot sow seeds with clenched fists. To sow we must open our hands.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Argentinian human rights activist, from his Nobel Lecture

Monday, August 09, 2010

Loving well...or badly

I find that it is better to love badly and faultily than not to try and love at all. God does not have to have perfect instruments, and the Holy One can use our feeble and faltering attempts at love and transform them. My task is to keep on trying to love, to be faithful in my continuing attempt, not necessarily to be successful. The quality of my love may well be the most important element of my spiritual guidance.

Morton T. Kelsey, from his book Companions on the Inner Way

Friday, August 06, 2010

A fully-formed image of Christ

Are we doing it? Are we giving the world a symmetrical, authentic, fully-formed image of Christ? There is still time. Spiritual growth is not a matter of chronology alone. It’s a matter of spirit. Of heart. Of who you are to the next person you meet. In the next crisis you face. In the next moment you live.  

Lloyd John Ogilvie, from his book The Magnificent Vision

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Hungry for Love

Many people are hungry not for bread only, but they are hungry for ... love. Many people are not only naked for want of a piece of cloth, but they are naked for human dignity ... Homelessness is not only not having a home made of bricks, but homelessness is being rejected, unwanted, unloved, uncared for. People have forgotten what the human touch is, what it is to smile, for somebody to smile at them, somebody to recognize them, somebody to wish them well.

- Mother Teresa

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Stripping to the Core

I urge you to still every motion that is not rooted in the kingdom. Become quiet, hushed, motionless until you are finally centered. Strip away all excess baggage and nonessential trappings until you have come into the stark reality of the kingdom of God. Let go of all distractions until you are driven into the Core.

Richard Foster, from his book Freedom of Simplicity