Monday, January 31, 2011

Christ in each stranger

Recognizing the face of Christ in each stranger is the personal formula for healing. And the structural counterpart is that of seeing the world monastically, in which common ownership is the primary right. If the goods of the earth belong to God, then we are stewards rather than owners, called to see that they are used equally by and for all.

W. Paul Jones
Teaching the Dead Bird to Sing: Living the Hermit Life Without and Within

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cultivating and Creating

What is most needed in our time are Christians who are deeply serious about cultivating and creating but who wear that seriousness lightly--who are not desperately trying to change the world but who also wake up every morning eager to create.

Andy Crouch
Culture Making

Friday, January 21, 2011

Today's Church

If the church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. I am meeting young people every day whose disappointment with the church has risen to outright disgust.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Letter from Birmingham City Jail" in A Testament of Hope

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


“The word discipleship and the word discipline are the same word-that has always fascinated me. Once you have made the choice to say, “Yes, I want to follow Jesus,” the question is, “What disciplines will help me remain faithful to that choice?” If we want to be disciples of Jesus, we have to live a disciplined life.

“By discipline, I do not mean control. If I know the discipline of psychology or of economics, I have a certain control over a body of knowledge. If I discipline my children, I want to have a little control over them.

“But in the spiritual life, the word discipline means “the effort to create some space in which God can act.” Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up. Discipline means that somewhere you’re not occupied, and certainly not preoccupied. In the spiritual life; discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you hadn’t planned or counted on…”

Henri Nouwen, From Solitude to Community to Ministry

Monday, January 17, 2011

Preaching the Gospel

"The ultimate goal is to preach the gospel. But the gospel is not simple to those whose background prevents them from understanding it. Today's global secular culture has erected a maze of mental barriers against even considering the biblical message."

Nancy Pearcey (Saving Leonardo, p.15)

Saturday, January 15, 2011


The teachings from the desert tell us that this kind of restless boredom is often caused by physical or spiritual exhaustion. The ammas’ counsel to us would be to rest, to be still, to allow ourselves time to stop. Imagine that, a Christian spiritual way that counsels rest when we are exhausted, and even considers exhaustion to be a dangerous spiritual condition.

Mary Earle
The Desert Mothers


We know that God is compassionate, loving kindness and all we're asked to do is to be in the world who God is. In order to make that happen, we create this community of kinship. Mother Teresa, I think, diagnosed the world's ills correctly when she suggested that the problem in the world is that we've just forgotten that we belong to each other. So how do we stand against forgetting that? How do we imagine a circle of compassion and then imagine that nobody is standing outside that circle? How do we obliterate once and for all the illusion that we're separate, that there's an "us" and a "them"?

Father Gregory Boyle
"Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion"
from Calvin College January Series

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Faithful servants

The Church does not need brilliant personalities but faithful servants of Jesus and the brethren . . . Pastoral authority can be attained only by the servant of Jesus who seeks no power of his own, who himself is a brother among brothers to the authority of the Word.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer [no source given]

Waking up in our right mind...

The way to genuine cultural creativity starts with the recognition that we woke up this morning in our right mind, with the use and activity of our limbs--and that every other creative capacity we have has likewise arrived as a gift we did not earn and to which we were not entitled. And once we are awake and thankful, our most important cultural contribution will very likely come from doing whatever keeps us precisely in the centre of delight and surprise.

Andy Crouch
Culture Making

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Being graded

When we start being too impressed by the results of our work, we slowly come to the erroneous conviction that life is one large scoreboard where someone is listing the points to measure our worth. And before we are fully aware of it, we have sold our soul to the many grade-givers. That means we are not only in the world, but also of the world. Then we become what the world makes us.

Henri Nouwen
Out of Solitude