Friday, October 29, 2010

The Clowns of God

All idolatry springs from a desire for order. We want to be neat, like the animals. We mark out our territories with musk and faeces. We make hierarchies like the bees and ethics like the ants. And we choose gods to set the stamp of approval on our creations. What we cannot cope with is the untidiness of the universe, the lunatic aspect of a cosmos with no known beginning, no visible end and no apparent meaning to all its bustling dynamics. We cannot tolerate its monstrous indifference in the face of all our fears and agonies. The prophets offer us hope; but only the man-god can make the paradox tolerable. This is why the coming of Jesus is a healing and a saving event. He is not what we should have created for ourselves. He is truly the sign of peace because He is the sign of contradiction. His career is a brief tragic failure. He dies in dishonour; but then most strangely, He lives. He is not only yesterday. He is today and tomorrow. He is available to the humblest as to the highest.

But look what we humans have done with Him. We have bloated His simple talk into a babble of philosophies. We have inflated the family of His believers into an imperial bureaucracy, justified only because it exists and cannot be dismantled without a cataclysm. The man who claims to be the custodian of His truth lives in a vast palace, surrounded by celibate males who have never earned a crust by the labour of their hands, never dried a woman's tears or sat with a sick child until sunrise.

The Clowns of God by Morris West, pg 258

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Trinity

...In ‘the Holy Trinity we have to do with God himself, not just modal ways of thinking about God, for the One true God is actually and intrinsically Triune and cannot be truly conceived otherwise. There is in fact no real knowledge of God except through his revealing or naming of himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for the three Persons are the One true God. The only God there is, is he who has named himself to Israel as ‘I am who I am/I will be who I will be’, and who as the same Lord has personally come to us as ‘God with us’, clothed with his triune self-revelation and self-designation as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The transcendent God who is the free ground of his own eternal Being is none other than the very one who has shown us his face in the Jesus Christ and imparted to us his one Spirit. He is the one Lord God of heaven and earth in whom we believe and whom we worship as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Thomas Torrance, The Christian Doctrine of God, 15-16.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


It is not that some are all right and others are all wrong: all are bound to seek in honest perplexity. Everybody is an unbeliever more or less! Only when this fact is fully experienced, accepted, and lived with, does one become fit to hear the simple message of the Gospel - or of any other religious teaching.

Thomas Merton
Faith and Violence

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Being poor costs more

Poor people are forced to pay more for less. Living in conditions day in and day out where the whole area is constantly drained without being replenished. It becomes a kind of domestic colony. And the tragedy is so often -- these forty million people are invisible because America is so affluent, so rich; because our expressways carry us away from the ghetto, we don’t see the poor.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution” in A Testament of Hope

In/out of fashion

“Today it is fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with them.”

- Mother Teresa

Monday, October 18, 2010

Killing God...

It is curious that people who are filled with horrified indignation whenever a cat kills a sparrow can hear that story of the killing of God told Sunday after Sunday and not experience any shock at all.

Dorothy L. Sayers

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Speaking truth in your heart

....this person speaks truth in his heart. A curious turn of phrase. It is not enough to speak truth with one’s mouth. Not only is there always the question of just what the truth is, and when it might be appropriate to withhold some part of it, but the more serious problem is that truth-telling can become crass or calculating when it loses its moorings in the character of the truth-teller. Hence the harder task of telling truth to oneself. Such honest is a prerequisite of integrity.

Mark Hamilton, discussing Psalm 24

Who is my neighbour?

It seems clear, from reading the daily news if nothing else, that there will always be some in this world who want their holy wars, who will discriminate, vilify, and even kill in the name of God. They have narrowed down the concept of neighbor to include only those like themselves, in terms of creed, caste, race, sex, or sexual orientation. But there is also much evidence that there are many who know that a neighbor might be anyone at all, and are willing to act on that assumption.

Kathleen Norris
Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Enormous pockets

We need enormous pockets, pockets big enough for our families and our friends, and even the people who aren't on our lists, people we've never met but still want to protect. We need pockets for boroughs and for cities, a pocket that could hold the universe.

Jonathan Safran Foer
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Monday, October 11, 2010

Living beyond today

These are devastating times: 175 billion people are desperately poor, one billion are hungry. Lonely hearts indwell our neighborhoods and attend our schools. In the midst of it all, here we stand, you, me, and our one-of-a-kind lives. We are given a choice... an opportunity to make a big difference during difficult time. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope?

Max Lucado
Outlive Your Life

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Regular prayer

“Prayer that is regular [based on a daily rhythm, like The Office] confounds both self-importance and the wiles of the world. it is so easy for good people to confuse their own work with the work of creation. it is so easy to come to believe that what we do is so much more important than what we are. It is so easy to simply get too busy to grow.. But regularity in prayer cures all that. Regularity harnesses us to our place in the Universe. Morning and evening, season by season, year after year we watch the sun rise and set..w e come to realize that we are simply small parts of a continuing creation..

“Benedict called for prayer at regular intervals of each day, right in the middle of apparently urgent and important work. The message is unequivocal. Let no one forget what they are really about. Let now one forget the purpose of life. Let no one forget to remember. Ever.

“To pray in the midst of the mundane is simply and strongly to assert that this dull and tiring day is holy and its simple labors are the stuff of God’s saving presence for me now…

“To pray when we cannot, on the other hand, is simply to let God be our prayer.

Joan Chittister, quoted by Len Hjalmarson in his blog. Source not listed.

Jesus - more or less

Questions of belief aside, no one could be less interesting than the Jesus of the Gnostic gospels.

Questions of belief aside, no one could be more interesting than the Jesus of the canonical gospels.

Alan Jacobs - two consecutive tweets on Twitter, 6th Oct.10

Truth and justice

Because they spurn riches as ashes that are dead because of avarice, none of them has anything according to his own will. Whatever each has through the gift of God, let her possess with God. She says that nothing is hers by her own strength, but all is from God who gives all good things to the good. And what are these? Truth and justice, which interweave with all good things.

Hildegard of Bingen, Book of Life’s Merits

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Artur Schopenhauer [pictured as a young man]

Sunday, October 03, 2010


Revival in the Church comes not from increased efficiency in organization but from waiting upon God. Not that efficiency is not necessary, but no amount of efficiency can breathe life into a body from which the Spirit has departed.

William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible: the letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon, pge 263. [Revised edition 1984]

Friday, October 01, 2010


Some people see scars, and it is wounding they remember. To me, they are proof of the fact that there is healing.

Linda Hogan
Solar Storms