Archive for August, 2017

Our Vocation

Friday, August 25th, 2017

The remarkable thing is that the Creator, having made the world to work in this way – with humans functioning like the “image” in a temple, standing between heaven and earth and acting on behalf of each in relation to the other – has not abandoned the project. Yes, it gets distorted again and again. But it remains the way the world was supposed to work – and the way in which, through the gospel, it will work once more. The powers that have stolen the worshipping hearts of the world and that have in consequence usurped the human rule over the world would like nothing better than for humans to think only of escaping the world rather than taking back their priestly and royal vocations.

— N. T. Wright, The Day the Revolution Began, p. 80

Letting Go of the Past

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

When we are holding on, we are living in the past. When we are living in the past, we are just living in a fantasy that we made up. Holding on can never make us happy, because fantasy is an illusion. As we are willing to let go of the ghosts of yesterday, we allow ourselves to receive what life has for us now, which is better than what we are letting go of. Life has something that is true for us that would move us forward. It is something that would let us really make contact and be satisfied.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 262

Lit from Within

Monday, August 14th, 2017

When we’re in the Gift Zone we hold a certain luminosity. Even in sadness we are somehow lit from within, because we are holding our experience with a quality of compassion. This is the zone that attracts love. And like anything that precious, the stakes get raised if we want to claim it. Claiming our authentic self is one of the scariest and most heroic things we can do. In our Gift Zone, there’s a sense of aliveness, a sense of self — even if that sense of self doesn’t feel as secure or happy as we think it should. We brave a new frontier when we face the risk of entering our Gift Zone And that very sense of risk heightens our ability to love.

— Ken Page, Deeper Dating, p. 26-27.

Dwelling on Good

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Just because bad things happen does not mean you have to dwell on them. I regularly ask people why they do not dwell on their good fortune with the same energy that they invest in their bad fortune. This question always catches people by surprise. They rarely consider appreciating their good fortune as an equal option to obsessing over their bad fortune. Are you one of those people who seem to find their problems more compelling than their blessings? Do you, or someone you know, rent out more space to what is wrong than what is right?

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 9

Beautiful Cracks

Friday, August 11th, 2017

One has to be done with the pretense of being just fine, unscarred, perfectly self-sufficient. No one is.

The ancient Chinese had a practice of embellishing the cracked parts of valued possessions with gold leaf, which says: We dishonor it if we pretend that it hadn’t gotten broken. It says: We value this enough to repair it. So it is not denial or a cover-up. It is the opposite, an adornment of the break with gold leaf, which draws the cracks into greater prominence. The gold leaf becomes part of its beauty. Somehow the aesthetic of its having been cracked but still being here, brought back not to baseline but restored, brings increase.

— Anne Lamott, Hallelujah Anyway, p. 50

Your Own Name

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Forget the face of God, and you forget your own name is Beloved.

— Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way, p. 53

God as Father

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

My own circle of friends finally noticed that Jesus’ favorite image of God was Father (seventy times in the Gospels!). Jesus showed us in the Gospels what fatherhood meant to him: extravagant love, affirmation, affection and belonging. It meant scandalous forgiveness and inclusion. Jesus showed us this supernaturally safe, welcoming Father-love, extended to very messy people before they repented and before they had faith. Or better, he was actually redefining repentance and faith as simply coming to him, baggage and all, to taste his goodness and mercy. He didn’t seem to appreciate our self-loathing. The repentance he wanted was that we would welcome his kindness into our deepest needs and wounds.

— Bradley Jersak, A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel, p. 22

Good News!

Monday, August 7th, 2017

If the message that Jesus came to bring is that most people will actually spend an eternity experiencing the most horrible torment conceivable, well, to be honest, I can think of much better news than that! That theological vision does not strike me as good news at all. It certainly does not set my heart on fire with a joyous desire to share this news with as many people as I can. In fact, when I thought that this view of things was indispensable for Christianity, it made me feel anxious to think about and embarrassed to talk about. God, it seemed to me, had a dark side underneath the veneer of grace and goodness, contrary to how John summed up the meaning of Jesus’s message that “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

There is, however, a theological vision that does strike me as good news, indeed as the best news possible for the world. It is a vision that fills my heart and soul with grateful awe and joyful excitement. It is a vision that I believe is Christ-centered, biblically-grounded, spiritually-compelling, and life-inspiring. In this book, we are concerned with understanding and evaluating a specific Christian vision of God and God’s relationship to humanity known as Christian universalism. Although this view will be fleshed out throughout the book, we can define it initially and simply as the belief that ultimately every person will be saved through Christ.

— Heath Bradley, Flames of Love, p. 2

Joy Waiting to be Gathered

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

Every day joy waits to be gathered. Will you take the trouble to find it, cherish it, be grateful?

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 50