Archive for the ‘Core Value’ Category

No Stingy God Here!

Monday, May 25th, 2020

Strangely, many Christians today limit God’s provident care to humans, and very few of them at that. How different we are from Jesus, who extended the divine generosity to sparrows, lilies, ravens, donkeys, the grasses of the fields (Luke 12:22), and even “the hairs of the head” (Matthew 10:29). No stingy God here! (Although he did neglect the hairs of my head.) But what stinginess on our side made us limit God’s concern — even eternal concern — to just ourselves? And how can we imagine God as caring about us if God does not care about everything else too? If God chooses and doles out his care, we are always insecure and unsure whether we are among the lucky recipients. But once we become aware of the generous, creative Presence that exists in all things natural, we can receive it as the inner Source of all dignity and worthiness. Dignity is not doled out to the worthy. It grounds the inherent worthiness of things in their very nature and existence.

— Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ, p. 56-57

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, May 25, 2020

In the Image of God

Saturday, May 9th, 2020

Notice that some of your most interesting attributes are not outcomes of decisions you made. They are present because of what God infused into your life from the very beginning. Your life is unique. It holds certain abilities, certain superpowers present from the very beginning as you were formed in the image of God. You uniquely bless the world. Lavish love calls us to examine our own lives so we can identify all the ways God, as the master gardener, both supported and pruned us so that we could become the people we are today.

— Tom Berlin, Reckless Love, p. 62

Photo: Tree swallow, South Riding, Virginia, May 3, 2020

Make Your Art

Monday, February 10th, 2020

The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you.

Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.

The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself, that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.

— Neil Gaiman, Art Matters, “Make Good Art”

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, December 25, 2019

Wage Peace by Listening.

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

Fortunately for everyone, the solution has nothing to do with talking. Often enough we ask ourselves: How do we bridge the distance between “direct service” and “structural change”? I have learned that it’s never about “saying” very much at all but, rather, receiving, listening, and valuing people until they come out with their hands up — feeling, for perhaps the first time, valuable. Receiving them and allowing yourself to be reached by them is all that’s asked of us. And anyone who is the proud owner of a pulse can do this. Wage peace by listening.

— Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir, p. 178

Photo: Twin Peaks, California, January 1, 2020

A Heart for Us

Sunday, January 12th, 2020

Jesus called Simon to join him as he was. He did not make him confess his sins, get a higher SAT score, or improve his resume for a few years and reapply. Jesus knew he could expand Simon’s capacity to love by offering him grace. When we realize that God has a heart for us, it enables our hearts to expand. That experience may be what allowed Simon to put his shame or his guilt in perspective. It may be why Jesus later changed Simon’s name to Peter, to focus his attention on his strengths and future rather than on his past.

— Tom Berlin, Reckless Love, p. 38

Photo: Overlooking Los Angeles, January 1, 2020

Capacity to Love

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Recognizing that no one else can complete us actually enhances our capacity to love and receive the love of others.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 293

Photo:  Barefoot Park, Germany, July 2003

Praise and Blame

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

We all clamor for praise and recoil at blame. They are oddly and equally seductive. They pull us away from our center, and yet we strangely have grown dependent on blame and praise. Instead, we have to find our way to notice and return. Notice the positive sheen of praise and still refuse to cling to it. Choose to move quickly back to the center. Let the pang of this blame wash over you, abide in it, and then return immediately to your center. We want the “bliss of blamelessness,” as the Buddha would say, and yet find ourselves attaching to the praise of the crowd or the surly comment of the disgruntled. We try and gently catch ourselves when we’re about to let resentment harden into blame and let the illusion of praise define who we are.

— Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir, p. 104

Photo:  South Riding, Virginia, October 24, 2018

 

The Fine Art of Finding Ourselves

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

Failure gives us the chance to experiment with life, to play with it a bit, to move in different directions until we find, as we learned from Cinderella as children, the shoe that fits. Because what doesn’t fit will irritate us all our life. We will live in the unnecessary pain that comes from forcing ourselves into something that not only embarrasses us but cramps our hearts and damps our spirits.

Life is about participating in the fine art of finding ourselves — our talents, our confidence, our sense of self, our purpose in life. The world waits for each of us to give back to the best of our ability what we have been given for its sake. The only way to know what that is depends on learning to follow our hearts until our hearts and our abilities are one, until what we love and what we do well are one and the same thing.

— Joan Chittister, Between the Dark and the Daylight, p. 64

Photo: Gundersweiler, Germany, December 1999

Designed for Joy

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

Almost everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, scared, and yet designed for joy. Even (or especially) people who seem to have it more or less together are more like the rest of us than you would believe. I try not to compare my insides to their outsides, because this makes me much worse than I already am, and if I get to know them, they turn out to have plenty of irritability and shadow of their own. Besides, those few people who aren’t a mess are probably good for about twenty minutes of dinner conversation.

— Anne Lamott, Almost Everything, p. 55

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, December 22, 2018

Liking Yourself More

Friday, November 23rd, 2018

As we have explained, you can feel connected whenever you want, simply by choosing to feel connected. You can even do it in your head, if your partner is unavailable. You can do it when you’re irritated with your partner just as easily as when you’re enraptured with him or her — if you truly want to. And why would you want to if he’s acting like a jerk or she’s being a nag? Well, for one thing, he’s less likely to act like a jerk if he feels connected to you, and she’s less likely to nag if she knows that you care about her feelings. But the more important reason is that you like yourself more when you feel connected to people you love than when you don’t. You like yourself more when you are nice to your partner than when you’re not. You like yourself more when you are true to the most important things about you than when you are not.

One of the most destructive phrases to emerge from modern therapy and self-help books is “getting your needs met” or its variation “What about me?” These little words, and the self-centered attitudes they represent, have done more to promote entitlement and resentment and less to nurture love, compassion, and connection than just about anything that has passed for relationship advice. They fly in the face of a known law of human interaction: You must give what you expect to get. If you want compassion, you have to be compassionate; if you want love, you have to be loving; if you want cooperation, you have to be cooperative; if you want appreciation, you have to be appreciative day by day.

— Patricia Love and Steven Stosny, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, p. 210-211

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, December 26, 2014