Archive for December, 2017

Story First

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

So it was a theological as well as a literary enterprise for me, but as a storyteller I had to make the story come first. I sat down and typed out “It was a dark and stormy night.” The theology is down deep. It’s not there unless you look for it. And that’s where I think it should be in stories. It should not hang below your skirt like a slip.

— Madeleine L’Engle, quoted in Madeleine L’Engle, Herself, compiled by Carole F. Chase

Undeniable

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

I once heard someone say that my belief in Jesus makes them suspect that I intellectually suck my thumb at night. But I cannot pretend, as much as sometimes I would like to, that I have not throughout my life experienced the redeeming, destabilizing love of a surprising God. Even when my mind protests, I still can’t deny my experiences. This thing is real to me. Sometimes I experience God when someone speaks the truth to me, sometimes in the moments when I admit I am wrong, sometimes in the loving of someone unlovable, sometimes in reconciliation that feels like it comes from somewhere outside of myself, but almost always when I experience God it comes in the form of some kind of death and resurrection.

— Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix, p. xvi-xvii

Love in Our Lives

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

Love is love; it’s always the same, but the angel with no name has shown me that many people have a very narrow view of love — they simply see it as something between a couple, or within a family. I meet so many people who are crying out for love, but they think the only way to get this love is through a romance, and because of this they are failing to see the love that is already in their lives. They fail to recognize there are many different ways in which we can love.

— Lorna Byrne, Love From Heaven, p. 11

Let Go of Judgment

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

We know that when we are having a bad time, we are in judgment. Any time we are not enjoying ourselves and experiencing the beauty within and around us, we are also in judgment. When we have lost our sense of wonder, we are judging something or someone. By our judgment, we are robbing ourselves of a really good, creative time, but we always have a choice. We can choose to have enjoyment. our willingness to let go of judgment allows us to experience the beauty, wonder, and joy in life.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 281

Called for a Purpose

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

The normal Greek word for “sin,” namely hamartia, means “missing the mark”: shooting at a target and failing to hit it. This is subtly but importantly different from being given a long and fussy list of things you must and mustn’t do and failing to observe them all. In the story the Bible is telling, humans were created for a purpose, and Israel was called for a purpose, and the purpose was not simply “to keep the rules,” “to be with God,” or “to go to heaven,” as you might suppose from innumerable books, sermons, hymns, and prayers. Humans were made to be “image-bearers,” to reflect the praises of creation back to the Creator and to reflect the Creator’s wise and loving stewardship into the world. Israel was called to be the royal priesthood, to worship God and reflect his rescuing wisdom into the world.

— N. T. Wright, The Day the Revolution Began, p. 99.

Our Song

Saturday, December 23rd, 2017

We all need to be reminded that we have a song and that it is good and worthy of hearing. We don’t learn that lesson through willpower or through forced “positive thinking.” We learn it through intimacy.

— Ken Page, Deeper Dating, p. 72

Forming a Grievance

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

There are very few instances where the long-term use of anger will be of help to you. I want to make clear, once a situation has passed, both the long-term naming of angry feelings and the expression of anger rarely lead to good results. Anger can be a wonderful short-term solution to your life’s difficulties, yet it is rarely a good long-term solution to painful events. Anger is simply our way of reminding ourselves that we have a problem that needs attention. Yet too often we get angry instead of taking constructive action, or we get angry because we do not know what else to do.

It is my contention that the long-term experience of anger, or what we call a grievance, is almost never helpful.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 14.

Look for Beauty

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Try to practice enjoying and seeing the beauty in the things that are around you. Practice doing it for a few minutes at a time until you get into the habit of it. Take a walk, for example — it could be in a busy built-up city. Take the time to notice what is around you. There is always beauty around us. We just don’t always notice it, and we frequently don’t think it is important. It’s the little bits of beauty around us that help to teach us to appreciate life. Take a look around, and I know you will see something of beauty. It may be a bird, a plant in a pot, a building, a child with a smile, or something in a window. There is always something of beauty around us.

In seeing beauty around you, you will appreciate life more, and recognize more the beauty that is within yourself. Appreciating beauty helps you to slow down, and the more beauty you notice, the more beauty you will see. Much of the time we just don’t notice what is around us. We are lost in our thoughts or fail to give any importance or value to the idea of seeing beauty.

— Lorna Byrne, A Message of Hope from the Angels, p. 91

Lies Don’t Get Along with Jesus.

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

That’s why the demons are afraid. Because Jesus always has something to do with them.

Which is exactly why our demons try to keep us from people who remind us how loved we are. Our demons want nothing to do with the love of God in Christ Jesus because it threatens to obliterate them, and so they try to isolate us and tell us that we are not worthy to be called children of God. And those are lies that Jesus does not abide.

— Nadia Bolz-Weber, Accidental Saints, p. 87

Work as to the Lord

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God.

— Dorothy L. Sayers, Letters to a Diminished Church: Passionate Arguments for the Relevance of Christian Doctrine, p. 127-128, quoted in Called to Create, by Jordan Raynor, p. 51.