Archive for March, 2013

Community First

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

If you want to knit, you find someone who knits to teach you. Go to the local yarn shop and find out when there is a knitting class. Sit in a circle where others will talk to you, show you how to hold the needles, guide your hands, and share their patterns with you. The first step in becoming a knitter is forming a relationship with knitters. The next step is to learn by doing and practice. After you knit for a while, after you have made scarves and hats and mittens, then you start forming ideas about knitting. You might come to think that the experience of knitting makes you a better person, more spiritual, or able to concentrate, gives you a sense of service to others, allows you to demonstrate love and care. You think about what you are doing, how you might do it better. You develop your own way of knitting, your own theory of the craft. You might invent a dazzling new pattern, a new way to make a stitch; you might write a knitting book or become a knitting teacher. In knitting, the process is exactly the reverse of that in church: belonging to a knitting group leads to behaving as a knitter, which leads to believing things about knitting.

Relationships lead to craft, which leads to experiential belief. That is the path to becoming and being someone different. The path of transformation.

It is also the path found in the New Testament; the Way of Jesus that leads to God. Long ago, before the last half millennium, Christians understood that faith was a matter of community first, practices second, and belief as a result of the first two. Our immediate ancestors reversed the order. Now, it is up to us to restore the original order.

— Diana Butler Bass, Christianity After Religion, p. 203

The Holiness of Jesus

Friday, March 29th, 2013

What is stunning to see in these brief accounts is that people who knew themselves to be anything but holy found the holiness of Jesus winsome, open-armed, and utterly compelling.

Is this how you understand holiness?

It changes everything when you do.

— John Eldredge, The Utter Relief of Holiness, p. 38

Steps for Detachment

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

We detach in steps. The first step is to observe but say nothing. The second step is to say a quiet prayer and then avert our eyes, placing our mind with God and some details of our own life. The third step is to get busy, to move on, and to thank God for giving us the willingness to let others do what they need to do. All these steps will need repeated practice; at least I have found that to be the case. But each time I have walked myself through them, I have felt empowered and hopeful, and that has made me willing to take the walk the next time, too.

— Karen Casey, Let Go Now, p. 141

Beneficent Circle

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Pleasure is the spur that motivates beginning readers to spend the thousands and thousands of hours reading that it takes to become a proficient reader. Readers who become proficient are those who enjoy reading and who do it by choice as a voluntary activity in their leisure time. Children who dislike reading and avoid it whenever possible never get the hours of practice that it takes to become a good reader. With each year, the proficiency gap grows between children who enjoy reading and do it voluntarily and those who dislike and avoid reading.

— Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Lynne (E. F.) McKechnie, and Paulette M. Rothbauer, Reading Matters, p. 45

The Gift

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Prayer is the solution. Detachment is the tool. Peace of mind is the gift.

— Karen Casey, Let Go Now, p. 135

Pouring Out Blessings

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

God is all the time at our backs, giving us one lovely thing after another, trying to make us look around and see who it is that is so good to us.

— George MacDonald, Wisdom to Live By, p. 4

Talking About Books

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

I do need to talk about books. Because talking about books allows me to talk about anything with anyone. With family, friends, and even with strangers who contacted me through my Web site (and became friends), when we discuss what we are reading, what we are really discussing is our own lives, our take on everything from sorrow to fidelity to responsibility, from money to religion, from worrying to inebriation, from sex to laundry, and back again. No topic is taboo, as long as we can tie it in to a book we’ve read, and all responses are allowed, couched in terms of characters and their situations.

— Nina Sankovitch, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, p. 210-211