“…and I closed the notebook, and this Methodist pastor named Sarah comes out and sits with me and just holds me.” (>>)
“If you find God with great ease, perhaps it is not God that you have found.” (>>)
“God of life,
there are days when the burdens we carry
are heavy on our shoulders and weigh us down,
when the road seems dreary and endless,
the skies grey and threatening,
when our lives have no music in them,
and our hearts are lonely,
and our souls have lost their courage.
Flood the path with light, we beg you,
turn our eyes to where the skies are full of promise.” (>>)
“Here’s the thing though. And this is THE THING. I never got over you. The thing that gets me is the idea of you. The idea that you exist and you love us and we matter in this universe. The idea that human beings matter beyond our small existence here on the third planet from Sol is such a beautiful idea. That idea just kills me. Devastating. I want it to be true so bad. It really is my favorite idea of all time.” (>>)
“If I could hear just one word from you. Just one clear word and everything would change. To hear the church people talk, your words are a dime a dozen and fall like rain upon the just and the unjust. Broken souls who stumble in the church’s back door leave singing their own magnificat and I’m not hearing a thing.” (>>)
“I don’t know therefore I don’t belong.” (>>)
“Folks come to Progressive Christianity so they can question and wrestle in a safe place, which means that honest dialogue, even disagreement, is welcomed. Current culture however, has a toxic level of policing the progressive borders– and this is completely losing me.” (>>)
“The scribes and Pharisees represent another kind of man in the world today. In the story, ironically, they are church people. They take religion seriously, yet they are trying to block the work of God. They are involved with religion, yet they want nothing to do with healing, freedom or the giving of life. They are trapped in their heads, caught up in their moral principles, blinded by their doctrines. They watch from a distance, critically observing what is going on, in order to accuse. They are men of ill will, but ill will carefully disguised. The best way to be a hateful person and not to feel an ounce of guilt about it is to be hateful for God.” (>>)
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” (>>)
“But when I hear about a church spending $130 Million on a building campaign, I get pissed off. That is money stolen from poor and homeless people, from hungry children unable to eat day-to-day, from programs that would have helped people survive. […]
“And for what? Leather seats for the large dollar contributors while many families within the community have no furniture at all to sit or sleep on? […] Numerous wide-screen TVs to read the songs lauding how much you love the Jesus who told you to give it all up and take care of the poor, the widows, the sick, and the imprisoned? A large fountain that pumps a massive number of gallons of water when people have no clean water to drink?” (>>)
“His family — churchier than Thou — looked down on girls who worked. If I was ever going to get a job, it would only be to annoy them, his parents — his dad, mostly. He was a mean, dried-out fart who defied charity, and who used religion as a foil to justify his undesirable character traits. His cheapness became thrift; his lack of curiosity about the world and his contempt for new ideas were called being traditional.” (>>)
“In such an environment ethical acts will emanate from the body just as heat emanates from light. One will not have to be taught that they should look after their neighbour as if it were something that we need to be told, they will simply be more inclined to do so.” (>>)
“Pardon me, I’m just gonna use your poor kid to teach my rich kid a lesson for a minute. I’ll be out of the way in no time — Oh, and I’ll leave you some shoes… and a toothbrush.” (>>)
“So I guess I still care about stuff and people. I mean I knew I did but…well, I guess I kind of wondered if I did anymore. And I do. So that would be a good thing.” (>>)
“You can denounce mother culture in anger, place a mark on your forehead – like Cain – and wander the earth defining yourself by what you are not. You can tell the stories of how mother culture let you down and abused you. But the happiness you gain from each telling will lessen until your stories bring you only unhappiness. But still you will tell the stories, because somewhere along the way your pain has become your identity.” (>>)
“Part of the challenge of history comes from allowing suspicion a proper role. Suspicion, that is, of the texts themselves, of one’s colleagues’ readings, and particularly of one’s own. However, a caution is necessary. The guild of New Testament studies has become so used to operating with a hermaneutic of suspicion that we find ourselves trapped in our own subtleties. If two ancient writers agree about something, that proves one got it from the other. If they seem to disagree, that proves that one or both are wrong. If they say an event fulfills biblical prophesy, they made it up to look like that. If an event of saying fits a writer’s theological scheme, that writer invented it. If there are two accounts of similar events, they are a ‘doublet’ (there was only one event); but if a single event has anything odd about it, there must have been two events, which are now conflated. And so on. Anything to show how clever we are, how subtle, to have smoked out the reality behind the text.
“But, as any author who has watched her or his books being reviewed will know, such reconstructions again and again miss the point, often wildly. If we cannot get it right when we share a culture, a period, and a language, it is highly likely that many of our subtle reconstructions of ancient texts and histories are our own unhistorical fantasies, unrecognized only because the writers are long since dead and cannot answer back.
“Suspicion is all very well; there is also such a thing as a hermeneutic of paranoia. Somebody says something, they must have a motive; therefore they must have made it up. Just because we are rightly determined to avoid a hermeneutic of credulity, that does not mean there is no such thing as appropriate trust, or even readiness to suspend disbelief for awhile, and see where it gets us.” (>>)
” ‘The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.’ ” (>>)
For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same.
And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’
When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage.
And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
So the last will be first, and the first will be last.
Part of William Barclay’s commentary:
This parable may sound to us as if it described a purely imaginary situation, but that is far from being the case. Apart from the method of payment, the parable describes the kind of thing that frequently happened at certain times in Palestine. The grape harvest ripened towards the end of September, and then close on its heels the rains came. If the harvest was not ingathered before the rains broke, then it was ruined; and so to get the harvest in was a frantic race against time. Any worker was welcome, even if he could give only an hour to the work.
The pay was perfectly normal; a denarius or a drachma was the normal day’s wage for a working man; and, even allowing for the difference in modern standards and in purchasing power, 4 pence a day was not a wage which left any margin.
The men who were standing in the market-place were not street-corner idlers, lazing away their time. The market-place was the equivalent of the labour exchange. A man came there first thing in the morning, carrying his tools, and waited until someone hired him. The men who stood in the market-place were waiting for work, and the fact that some of them stood on until even five o’clock in the evening is the proof of how desperately they wanted it.
These men were hired labourers; they were the lowest class of workers, and life for them was always desperately precarious. Slaves and servants were regarded as being at least to some extent attached to the family; they were within the group; their fortunes would vary with the fortunes of the family, but they would never be in any imminent danger of starvation in normal times. It was very different with the hired day-labourers. They were not attached to any group; they were entirely at the mercy of chance employment; they were always living on the semi-starvation line. As we have seen, the pay was 4 pence a day; and, if they were unemployed for one day, the children would go hungry at home, for no man ever saved much out of 4 pence a day. With them, to be unemployed for a day was disaster.
The hours in the parable were the normal Jewish hours. The Jewish day began at sunrise, 6 a.m., and the hours were counted from then until 6 p.m., when officially the next day began. Counting from 6 a.m. therefore, the third hour is 9 a.m., the sixth hour is twelve midday, and the eleventh hour is 5 p.m.
This parable gives a vivid picture of the kind of thing which could happen in the market-place of any Jewish village or town any day, when the grape harvest was being rushed in to beat the rains.
Fairness should always be used to ensure that people get what they earned, but never to prevent people from getting what they need. Generosity trumps fairness.
“Welcome to today’s moralistic therapeutic deism. Welcome to evangelical Christianity, American style, the home of spiritual technology that provides quick fixes and sure results, guaranteed.” (>>)
“We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life — daily and hourly. Our answer must exist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets before each individual.” (>>)
“I sip my drink. Beth and Dawn chug down their mojitos and order another round. I think all servers drink their first postshift drink quickly. A waiter’s first drink is medicinal, his second is relaxing, but his third is anesthesia.
” ‘So you got ’em?’ Beth says to Dawn, her voice dropping to a whisper.’
“Dawn fumbles in her purse and pulls out a medicine bottle.
” ‘What’s that?’ I ask
” ‘Xanax,’ Dawn says.
” ‘You’re not gonna take that now, are you?’ I say.
” ‘What are you,’ Dawn says, ‘my father?’
” ‘Xanax and mojitos don’t mix.’
” ‘I have a perscription.’
“Beth and Dawn take their pills and wash them down with a rum and mint chaser. In a few minutes the drugs will kick in and they’ll forget their own names. I’ve seen it happen before.
“I shake my head and look down at my martini. It’s still half full. I take another sip. The best advice I ever got about drinking was from my grandfather. ‘Drink till you’re mellow,’ he’d say. ‘After that it’s all downhill.’ ” (>>)
“And so, more testimonial evidence that the real evangelical religious enterprise in America is building full service family-friendly activity centers…” (>>)
“In the book, what Iâ€™m mostly interested in is just showing people, people answered these questions. Serious, faithful, devout followers of Jesus have wrestled with these questions and have entered into the speculation and have all sorts of ways they thought about this and talked about this. Iâ€™m not interested in dying on any one of those hills, Iâ€™m interested in dying on the hill that says, ‘Thereâ€™s lots of hills, and thereâ€™s lots of space here.’ ” (>>)
“i did some reading, and talked to a bunch of women about how — for some of them — male pronoun use for god, no matter how much we might try to admit that god doesn’t have a human gender like we do, is a struggle for them. i understand that, no matter now much we try, it’s impossible for us to fully separate our understanding of god from our experience in life, and that metaphors and history both speak loudly into our psyches, worship, theology and practice.” (>>)
“Ultimately, loving people conditionally is an attempt to control them. We are wrongly thinking that if we can make people ‘pay’ for their faults, or their opinions that donâ€™t match ours, they will have a negative association with their faults or their supposedly wrong opinions. But thatâ€™s not the way it works.” (>>)
“…but didnâ€™t know of a thing I could do about it. So I didnâ€™t do anything. I didnâ€™t suppress it. I didnâ€™t deny it. I didnâ€™t revel in it. I just let it be there.” (>>)
“Personally, I have never understood the fear Christians have when it comes to the findings of science. And it strikes me how ignorant most Christians are of earlier battles from which we should have learned.” (>>)
“I canâ€™t imagine that any religion in the history of humanity has made as many clearly false claims and promises as evangelical Christians in their quest to say that Jesus makes us better people right now. With their constant promises of joy, power, contentment, healing, prosperity, purpose, better relationships, successful parenting and freedom from every kind of oppression and affliction, I wonder why more Christians arenâ€™t either being sued by the rest of humanity for lying or hauled off to a psych ward to be examined for serious delusions.” (>>)
“The revolution we now call the emerging church movement may not be as sexy as it once was. It may not be feeding our endless obsession for what’s new and what’s next. It may not have arrived in current form the way we had wanted or anticipated. It may not be stroking our egos as much as it used to, now that some random guy on the streets of Dallas can probably define ‘missional’ without our help. But it is far from over.” (>>)
“[Pat] would never be chosen to teach a class or be a leader because of divorce and a history of substance abuse…” (>>)
“The commenter is correct, and he isnâ€™t saying â€œtickle my ears with something new.â€ Heâ€™s saying that the model of Christian spiritual formation now extent in worship is one that sees the 40 minute information dump as the primary means of spiritual growth. The sermon, the sermon and the sermon from the preacher, the theologian and the teacher. Plus a daily quiet time. Thatâ€™s evangelical spiritual formation in a nutshell.” (>>)
“…ask yourself why not.” (>>)
“We do not know how many members we have. Youâ€™d think we would, given that there are only around 100 people who attend regularly. We have all the names written down, so we could count the members. And we would if the need ever arose. But the only reason I can think of to count members would be to have an answer when other ministers ask me how many members we have.” (>>)
“[Avoid] performing Step 3 without the other steps.” (>>)
“Thatâ€™s the Kingdom, Jesus is saying. When itâ€™s here, people donâ€™t recognize it. So they choose this world (a good world!) over the Kingdom thatâ€™s here now, so the Kingdom then belongs to the unlikely; the last, least, lost, lonely, left out and unwanted. In other words, the Kingdom of God is populated by grace-rescued, undeserving people. Itâ€™s not populated by people who couldnâ€™t and wouldnâ€™t recognize Jesus and his rag-tag movement of losers as the Kingdom in their midst right now. As usual, Jesus is asking if we perceive who he is, and how that changes everything.” (>>)
“Many years ago, an aging pastor came to talk to me. He also was a very intelligent man. He taught Latin at our school. He wanted personal counsel. Age was affecting his mind and emotions. He doubted if God loved him. He was afraid of hell and frightened of death. He thought God had abandoned him for his sins. His mind had become a frightful and dark place, filled with paranoid thoughts. I tried to assure him of the love of God; the God he had known, proclaimed and believed in for so many years of faithful ministry.
“His mind could not take hold of my words. All that was left were the fears and doubts he had suppressed throughout life. Now he was a caricature of himself, terrified and afraid of God. A few months later, he was gone.
“These were my friends. They read the books. Thought the theological thoughts. They taught, read, preached. They had knowledge of God. In the end, their minds weakened, rebelled or turned on them. Knowledge disappeared. But God did not. God knew them and God was with them.
“This is the Good News. We are privileged to know God, and he reveals himself to us. But the God we come to know releases us from the trap of holding onto knowledge as our salvation. He comes to us as a Father, lover, mediator, gracious and all-embracing savior. (>>)
“I canâ€™t bend my faith into the shape of a ‘Limited atonement’ Jesus. And I canâ€™t explain that. I only know that I needed to throw that away, because it was shaping me and my world in a way that was taking me away from Jesus.” (>>)
“Whenever the devil harasses you, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing. Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles. We are conquered if we try too conscientiously not to sin at all. So when the devil says to you: do not drink, answer him: I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to.” (>>)
“While I agree with Ehrman that inerrancy and absolute historical truthfulness cannot be sustained when one closely reads Scripture, I do not, like Ehrman, believe that those facts mean Scripture is not the inspired word of God. Again, I see this as being a false dichotomy.
“If faith is going to continue to meet with the data of critical scholarship then I just donâ€™t see another way around it. You certainly cannot reject data simply because it does not fit into a certain taught system of beliefs. Some may be of the opinion that ‘If my beliefs donâ€™t hold up to the facts, then so much worse for the facts!’ (to paraphrase Hegel). I donâ€™t find myself in that category. Critical scholarship brings up valid points that need to be answered, appropriated, and interwoven into Christian theology. Otherwise Christianity will be nothing more than people holding onto to untenable positions with their heads in the sand of 16th century Geneva.” (>>)
“I still feel… but I keep…
“I’m in transition. I have been for nearly five years now. And I’m almost ready to accept this period of suspension as a part of who I am.” (>>)
“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obligated to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close.” (>>)
“When your view of Scripture causes you to become a miserable, argumentative, ungraceful, uncharitable, unloving, and selfish person, you have missed the purpose of Scripture.” (>>)
“I suppose that’s a good strategy for trying to win an up or down vote, but it’s a dangerous way to think about living in a pluralist society – a society which includes significant numbers of people on either side of the issue. Win or lose, you have to go to work with people who believe (perhaps passionately) differently than you.” (>>)
“…the fact that something happened in the Bible doesnâ€™t mean you can use that event as authoritative and mandatory for all believers and all situations. […] Will we ever learn the lesson that a true interpreter knows his/her interpretation is a human work, and a fragile one at best?” (>>)
“I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church along the Gulf Coast in Texas. It was a suburban church nowhere near a bus line, protected as it were from most demographics that didnâ€™t have our common interests…” (>>)
“… ‘conservative,’ inerrancy loving evangelicals who claim to be doing verse by verse exegesis are often just hanging their own thoughts and advice onto a shallow reading of the text.” (>>)
“Sometimes, itâ€™s the people we choose to have in our lives that often bring the greatest reward or life support. …that moment of nuclear clarity when someone comes to you and they have your back and theyâ€™re willing to lay all the truth they can offer to you to save you from the past that might haunt, or daunt you, or turn you into a failing light. Friendship laced with real love and truth can turn all of us into superheroes.” (>>)
“I haven’t memorized all of the cute things to say,
but I’m working on it.” (>>) [MP3]
“Sort of like Nixon in a Christmas parade.” (>>)
“I donâ€™t want to go the route of carbon dating or dinosaurs or ice ages or tropical plants being found in glaciers, although that is an interesting conversationâ€¦especially when someone claims that dinosaurs were placed in the earthâ€™s crust by Satan in order to test our faith in the Bible (and, yes, people actually say such nonsense).” (>>)
“I think itâ€™s high time we got this whole thing out in the open.” (>>)
“Why canâ€™t we just talk like human beings talk to one another?” (>>)
“[On thinking about Hell] What you donâ€™t want to end up with is the picture that some theologies have of a wonderful, glorious countryside with a concentration camp in the middle with people being tortured. I think the 19th century rightly reacted against that image, and I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s any way back to that except perhaps by closing our hearts to the sort of pity and love which we are told is at the heart of God himself.” (>>)
“…at once liberated and broken-hearted.” (>>)
“Everybody wants to say they looove them some Jebus, but they’re sooooo mad at the Church for not being eschatologically perfect in the middle of history, which excuses them from actually practicing the Christian religion and living in community.” (>>)
“It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community.” (>>)
“Itâ€™s about a kid who learns to not be ashamed of whom he is. In the beginning, he is ashamed of his faith. He feels that faith is socially and intellectually inferior so he wrestles with loving his community while still not wanting to be a part. When he goes off to Reed, he finds escape from that, but through a relationship with Penny, has to confront the reality that faith is larger and more encompassing than he had judged. And he has to face the fact that he is a poser and is as judgmental as those he would consider to be his enemies.” (>>)
“kindness paves the way to repentance.” (>>)
“Could someone please tell me the story
Of sinners ransomed from the fall
I still have never seen you, and somedays
I don’t love you at all” (>>) [MP3]
“I don’t really believe but I sense something important is going on.” (>>)
“I was raised, as a Christian, on inviting Jesus into your heart and giving over your life to him, and he will make you whole again, undo your pain, and shield and protect you from real hardship and trouble. Nobody ever expressed it quite as bluntly or as superficially as that, but that was the message I heard anyway. Jesus will make everything all better. You wonâ€™t have to be afraid of life anymore…
“The more I have thought about Jesus in his own context, and tried to understand him as his disciples would have, as his contemporaries would have, the more disconnected he has become from the Christ of my Christian youth. The more sense Jesus made as a 1st century Jew, the less plausible he became as a timeless big brother intent on undoing the litany of errors I am so gifted at making…
“I realised that there really wasnâ€™t a place for my Casper-the-friendly-second-person-of-the-Trinity-messiah any more. He didnâ€™t exist, he wasnâ€™t real.” (>>)
“At several points when Matthew ‘quotes’ the Old Testament I have gone back and read what he quoted and thought, ‘Did all tax collectors smoke weed in the first century, or was it just Matthew?’ ” (>>)
“It seems to me that this call to communal spiritual formation challenges us to reimagine the gospel itself. Perhaps the challenges of living the dreams of God in the post-industrial world go beyond methodology problems. Perhaps we have been propagating a limited message, reducing biblical authors to sound bytes that cut the gospel message into so many pieces that we are left with little more than statements of what we believe rather than the broader story of how we are to enter into God’s story through a life lived in faith.” (>>)
“Your longing for God is so deep and yet He keeps Himself away from you… He must be forcing Himself to do so â€” because he loves you so much â€” the personal love Christ has for you is infinite â€” The Small difficulty you have re His Church is finite â€” Overcome the finite with the infinite.” (>>)
“Over and over, Jesus reached into the lives of people like that preacher. The last, lost, least, losers. The unacceptable, the unreformable. The failures and the frauds. Those whose lives could not be tidied up with a little cultural religion. And from that, we have constructed a Jesus who prefers the ‘good Christian.’ A Jesus who wants moralizing and religious superficiality. A Jesus who hardly needs to die for us, because a little exhortation to do better and keep on the straight and narrow are more our style. A Jesus without a cross, but with smiles and blessings for our homes and marriages full of ‘Christian moral values.’ ” (>>)
“If our Catholic friends were charging $50 to come to a mass at the local stadium, weâ€™d all be shocked, but the major CCM groups make millions from tours and record sales. Even Osteen sells seats to hear his vapid talks. Tetzel was the bad guy in the reformation, but itâ€™s among evangelicals that Paula White, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar and Joyce Meyer proliferate and profit from the devotion of the Christian public; all because they promise genuine spiritual experience.
“I havenâ€™t seen any Catholic teachers openly promising a dollar return on your financial giving lately. Evangelicals have enough such con-artists posing as ministries to fill several television channels. I loathe indulgences, but Iâ€™ll take them over the promise to get rich by way of Jesus.
“It is among evangelicals that one can write literally endless books promising more, more, more and more spiritual experience. We are Experiencing God, but we still want Our Best Life Now and our Purpose Driven Life courtesy of the Prayer of Jabez. We all know the next 7 easy steps to Being a Better You is in the mail.
“Christian consumerism is just one witness to the state of our spirituality. There are many others. Ministerial burnout. Pornography addiction. Divorce. Prayerlessness. Church hopping. Sexual promiscuity. Rampant materialism. Pastoral turnover. Addiction to fashion, sports, pets, opinions. Hours spent in front of video game screens, staring at web sites, reading MySpace, talking to our friends on the cell, saying nothing.
“And then weâ€™ll go to church on Sunday and hear the minister say the LOST are living empty lives and donâ€™t have the joy of the Lord. Itâ€™s a good thing the few lost folks in our churches are too polite not to laugh out loud.” (>>)
“Christianity’s promises of the present presence and apprehension of God are not simple. In many ways, it seems to me that neither scripture nor recorded experience gives a coherent, teachable view of the subject… What we do know is that from Job to David to Jesus to Teresa to Jack Lewis […], those who belong to God and have His Spirit go through times, even entire chapters of life, where Godâ€™s presence does not come in simple, ‘felt’ ways. God seems to be hiding; to be purposely staying out of reach and out of touch. To what end? For what purpose?” (>>)
“The only good thing that ever came out of church was the amazing feeling of getting home and taking off those damn shoes. It was a weekly footgasm.” (>>)
“In the early and mid-’90s, I starting doubting the systematic theologies I’d inherited. I didn’t know you were allowed to believe in God outside of a prescribed systematic theology. So, I had to go through kind of a deconstruction and reconstruction. The process was really scary, because I had no guarantees. I remember reaching a very low point and thinking, ‘I’m either going to have to be dishonest and pretend that I still believe in a theological system that doesn’t work for me anymore or I’m going to be honest about my doubts and questions.’ I kept thinking, ‘I might lose my whole faith,’ but I couldn’t squelch the honest questions that kept arising. I think this is one of the agonies of these things, you don’t know how they’re going to turn out. It’s a very high-risk thing but you don’t have any choice if you’re trying to be honest. I think you have to do itâ€”doubting and questioning as an act of faith, as strange as that may seem.” (>>)
“I see your world. I’m with your people. I’m surrounded by books about you. I read about you and talk about you… But I miss you.” (>>)
“We say so much about the healing power of the body of Christ, but it seems like most of my friends in the body were too busy attending church choir or leading their small groups to check up on me.” (>>)
“Foy blinked, momentarily disoriented. Dwayne had suddenly disgorged this incredibly complex and personal issue along with all of its emotional and intellectual ramifications. It seemed like such a strange thing to do and so out of place. It was as if Dwayne had hoisted a live sea turtle onto the tabletop, then sat back waiting for Foy to do something. If there’s a sea turtle on the table, bawling and scrabbling around with its flippers, you have to deal with it.” (>>)
“This is why I long for something more. This is why we all look at each other, and ask ourselves why is it that we feel this ache, and why wonâ€™t it go away? This is why we find so much beauty in the midst of so much seemingly irrational disarray. THIS is why I am broken. THIS is why my heart breaks. THIS is what is to come. THIS is what redemption is and THIS is how all is being made right.” (>>)
“But just like Christ was both divine and human, I believe that Scripture is both divine and humanâ€¦ and we need to take both into account without sacrificing the otherâ€¦ which is what Iâ€™m trying to do. This is called ‘concursus’ by B.B. Warfield, ‘accommodation’ by John Calvin, and the ‘incarnational analogy’ by Peter Enns, and I think this does the most justice to the text.” (>>)
“In a similar way, some take the beginning of Genesis and attempt to turn it into a work of science in order to prove that 144 hour creationism is the truth and Darwin was a liar all along. But doing this, Scripture is taken out of the context in which it is perfect (i.e. the context of teaching us about the Triune God and the gospel) and forced into a context in which it is not perfect. This is not because something is wrong with Scripture, it is because something is wrong with us in trying to make it say something that it does not attempt to say. God has given us ‘everything needed for life and godliness,’ not everything we need to write a Scientific American article on the origins of the universe.” (>>)
“I ‘used’ the bible a lot…reading it topically on subjects like baptism, predestination, homosexuality, women in ministry…mostly to prove the things I was being taught at the time (Which is strange if you think about it). Back then, we called it ‘defending our faith.’ I’m not sure what I call it now.” (>>)
“So, Ian, you have any big plans for Valentine’s Day?”
“Oh, yes, big plans. Big, big plans. Very b… no.”
“I’ll probably just do the same thing I do every year.”
“You know, put on some Hank Williams, drink myself into a coma…”
“But, actually, I figured this year I might try something different.”
“Oh yeah? That’s great! What are you going to do this year?”
“Well, I figure if I start drinking the day before, then I can just sleep through the whole contrived farce altogether.”
“Oh. That’s, uh, very… creative.”
“Thanks, I like to consider myself a free-thinker.”
“I loved the Church for Christ made visible. Not for itself, because it was so often a scandal to me. Romano Guardini said the Church is the Cross on which Christ was crucified; one could not separate Christ from His Cross, and one must live in a state of permanent dissatisfaction with the Church.
“The scandal of businesslike priests, of collective wealth, the lack of a sense of responsibility for the poor, the worker, the Negro, the Mexican, the Filipino, and even the oppression of these, and the consenting to the oppression of them by our industrial-capitalist-order–these made me feel often that priests were more like Cain than Abel. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ they seemed to say in respect to the social order. There was plenty of charity but too little justice. And yet the priests were the dispenders of the Sacraments, bringing Christ to men, all enabling us to put on Christ and to achieve more nearly in the world a sense of peace and unity. ‘The worst enemies would be those of our own household,’ Christ had warned us.” (>>)
“I’m not spiritual.” (>>)
“Weâ€™re spiritually unformed, amused, entertained, materialistic, defensive, and celebrity driven. The concepts of silence, loving neighbor, serving others, building true community and becoming apprentices of Jesus are lost in our theological wrestling leagues, church growth hype, constant spin and self-assured lecturing.” (>>)
“But whether you use conservative or liberal theological language, the central issue of our faith â€“ as I see it â€“ is finding a passion for the life and teachings of Christ and giving yourself to Him. Becoming a disciple, as we say, and by that I mean trying to live a Christ-like life. The details of your theology are far less important than that commitment.” (>>)
“some days i question whether God is paying attention to me. is he even watching? listening? why isn’t he answering? some days i want to shake my fist at the sky, demanding response. some days i actually do. and then some days, apathy overtakes any passion, any motivation, any indignance that might propel me into motion: why bother? no one is noticing, anyway. and then i remember things like this and reread them and think, man, have i still got a long way to go. one of these days i’ll get the hang of this, i suppose. until then, i guess i’ll stumble along in grace.” (>>)
“We have heard of saints and rumors of saints, but the flesh-and-blood saints we know fall short of the ideal. Only in the pages of the Bible do we meet the poor in spirit, the peacemakers, those who turn the other cheek and those who love neighbors as themselves. These mystical human qualities exist on paper, like Zeno’s points, but in real life they are rare and sporadic.
“The paradox of the gospel is difficult to work out. Christ tells us that we are to be the salt of the earth and children of the light, but we will never truly be those things. We are, at best, noble savages, with our feet mired in the dust and the clay out of which we were created.” (>>)
“Evangelical Christians talk about life transformation by the grace of God. At the same time, millions of people have tried what evangelicals have recommended- conversion, church, prayer, Bible reading, deliverance, worship, discipleship, Christian events, retreats, music and on and on- and remained the same. Unchanged.” (>>)
“Stay away, Jesus, or I’ll kick you.” (>>)
“It was time someone told me the facts of SBC life, and Iâ€™m glad he did. He explained it in about 10 minutes, and neither this term nor its definition made any sense to me at all. In all my reading of Scripture, I had never thought to see the Bible in the terms he explained to me. I told him this, only to learn that if I didnâ€™t believe in a ‘perfect’ Bible, I couldnâ€™t have trustworthy information about Jesus, and therefore couldnâ€™t have a relationship with Jesus and therefore couldnâ€™t be saved. I left feeling quite annoyed, as I left with the same high opinion of Scripture and rigorous reading habits with which Iâ€™d come in. Only now I was ‘unsaved’ because I didnâ€™t understand this strange thing called ‘inerrancy.’ […] I knew that was wrong, and I just couldnâ€™t be there. It wasnâ€™t an atmosphere that could sustain relationship with Jesus, or the life of the Church in the world. I didnâ€™t know what could.” (>>)
“And come on, weâ€™re big boys and girls now. We can make friends with whom we want, read whatever we like, and have our pick of spiritual directors. Weâ€™ve got a great big church and two thousand years of Christian history at our disposal, both the good and the evil. Letâ€™s leave off our complaining that nobody dropped ‘a good way of being Christian’ in our laps and rather do the hard work of discovering it ourselves. Take some responsibility.” (>>)
“If it never happened – if there was no son of god, no death on the cross, no resurrection, no ministry, no 12 disciples, no miracles….if it was all holy myth, then where does that leave me?” (>>)
“Others relish the battlefield; Graham now prizes peace. He is a man of unwavering faith who refuses to be judgmental; a steady social conservative in private who actually does hate the sin but loves the sinner; a resolute Christian who declines to render absolute verdicts about who will get into heaven and who will not; a man concerned about traditional morality–he is still slightly embarrassed that he kissed ‘two or three girls’ before he kissed his wife–who will not be dragged into what he calls the ‘hot-button issues’ of the hour. Graham’s tranquil voice, though growing fainter, has rarely been more relevant.” (>>)
“But those moments pass, and soon my chin is in my palm again, and I am wondering why I canâ€™t really see God.” (>>)
“The teetotaling culture of the Bible Belt American south is not a dependable guide to what scripture teaches. It is a culture that has taught millions to be ashamed of a glass of wine, a dance at the prom or a Sunday night baseball game. These are matters over which there should be no shame, and about which there should be no ‘binding of the conscience.’ ” (>>)
“…watching TV in his underwear, his empty living room illuminated by the flickering light of a cathode ray tube, his eyes glinting with a sad alcoholic sheen as they gaze into the prison of memory.” (>>)
“…that is what I want.” (>>)
“Sometimes I feel as though the church has a kind of pity for Scripture, always having to come behind it and explain everything, put everything into actionable steps, acronyms and hidden secrets, as though the original writers, and for that matter the Holy Spirit who worked in the lives of the original writers, were a bunch of illiterate hillbillies.” (>>)
“iâ€™d rather live in the tension than have false comfort…” (>>)
“I think that the Church is the only thing that is going to make the terrible world we are coming to endurable; the only thing that makes the Church endurable is that it is somehow the body of Christ and that on this we are fed. It seems to be a fact that you have to suffer as much from the Church as for it but if you believe in the divinity of Christ, you have to cherish the world at the same time that you struggle to endure it.” (>>)
“It is not for us to say who, in the deepest sense, is or is not close to the spirit of Christ. We do not see into men’s hearts. We cannot judge, and are inded forbidden to judge. It would be wicked arrogance for us to say that any man is, or is not, a Christian…” (>>)
“As for my own struggle with these ideas, I’ve given into the Bible, which has been a long journey. Ultimately, I have come to allow the Bible to guide my understanding of God. Scripture seems to say things I don’t like and things I like, which is not unlike truth. If I read a diet book that said ‘eat anything you like and you wont get fat’ I wouldn’t trust it.” (>>)
“Similarly, a ‘literal’ interpretation of the Genesis accounts is inappropriate, misleading and unworkable. It presupposes and insists upon a kind of literature and intention that is not there. In so doing it misses the symbolic richness and spiritual power of what is there. And it subjects the biblical materials, and the theology of creation, to a completely pointless and futile controversy. The first questions in interpreting any part of Scripture are always, what kind of literature is one dealing with, and what issues are being addressed? One cannot merely assume from the superficial look of the material, as it appears to modern eyes, that the material is of the same order as what we might call history or science. One must first provide strong evidence from within the passage itself, and from a careful study of the theological and cultural context of the passage, as to the specific literary form and religious concern involved. When one does this, the literalist assumptions turn out to be far afield, and to have been brought to the passage as a precondition for its acceptance.” (>>)
“Once you can make scripture stand on its hind legs and dance a jig, it becomes a tame pet rather than a roaring lion. It is no longer ‘authoritative’ in any strict sense; that is, it may be cited as through in ‘proof’ of some point or other, but it is not leading the way, energizing the church with the fresh breath of God himself. The question must always be asked, whether scripture is being used to serve an existing theology or vice versa.” (>>)
“…the Bible is not a guidebook on how to live a moral life or grow successful churches. Nor is it a roadmap from our world to Godâ€™s heaven: one may not use it as if were the userâ€™s manual for an iPod. While the Bible does contain key propositional truths, it first relates a story: God created the world and its people for his own enjoyment. The creation fell. In Israel, God called together a people for himself, through which he would save the entire world. This plan has culminated in Christ and his Church. Through us, God is bringing his redemption to bear upon the world.” (>>)
“…if we are working out our salvation through being redeemed and redeeming, then our response to cultural abuses is not to abstain but to redeem. That not only pushes us to maturity by teaching us how to eat, drink, and have sex to the glory of God (though it won’t come easy), but it is also a witness to the world that God redeems. The pervert throws away the pornography (abuse) and learns to love sex with his wife (redemption). The glutton refuses to order a 5 piece fried chicken and fries meal (abuse) and learns to order a salad with light dressing instead (redemption). The alcohol abuser stops drinking until drunk (abuse) and learns to stop after a beer or two (redemption). ” (>>)
“At bottom, I am skeptic and a cynic trying to believe. All three of those parts are important. I don’t deny that I am naturally skeptical, and that my skepticism makes itself known in occasionally biting cynicism. But I do want to believe. I am trying to believe. I’m not over here all la-di-da thinking that nothing matters. I desperately want it all to be true. And I even more desperately want it all to make some sort of difference.” (>>)
“I think there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe. I know what torment this is, but I can only see it, in myself anyway, as the process by which faith is deepened. A faith that just accepts is a childâ€™s faith and all right for children, but eventually you have to grow religiously as every other way, though some never do.” (>>)
“this whole Jesus thing, i’m finding, is kind of hard to figure out.” (>>)
“Or, for further example, say someone is facing a troubled marriage. He reads and discovers a sentence in ‘Walden’ that says, ‘I did not speak to another person for over a month.’ From this, he concludes that God is telling him to not argue with his spouse. The fact that this is a universe away from what Thoreau meant with that sentence would be irrelevant. This is how we would be using ‘Walden’ as a ‘magic book.’ Recognize the method? I think we all do. […] This isnâ€™t a book of plans, principles and magic bullets for lifeâ€™s problems. It is the New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. […] it is possible to be so microscopic that you do miss the most obvious point of all.” (>>)
“The Bible does present us with ‘mute spirits,’ as explanations for a loss of speech, but I believe this is the way an ancient culture explains something that would be explained medically today. If the mute person were examined by a modern western physician, it is doubtful that exorcism would be suggested as a treatment. It is unlikely that anyone today would ask ‘Who sinned? This man or his parents?’ when confronted with a medical problem such as blindness. That Jesus was incarnated into this ancient world and its explanations, and ministered as an exorcist/healer in this world, is appropriate. It shouldnâ€™t alarm any Biblical interpreter. The point of the Gospels is not Jesusâ€™ opinion of ancient medicine or psychology. We do not expect Jesus to be giving modern explanations for conditions that we understand very differently. Jesus was a person of his time, and he viewed and responded to mental and emotional illness as a person of his time.” (>>)
“Scripture, by its own attestation (2Tim. 3:16) and through its use of multiple literary forms and genres, contains more than just propositional revelation. Thus, when we reduce the content of the biblical revelation to propositions we dangerously distort the text with modern philosophical assumptions about the nature of truth and meaning. The sort of postpropositional approach to Scripture I am calling for here is not one that denies that God speaks in Scripture in propositional form, but is an approach that acknowledges that God performs many different types of speech-acts in Scripture, and insists that conveying propositional truths is often not the primary point. There are a variety of revelational media referred to and employed in Scripture (cf. Heb. 1:1-2). A postpropositional approach to Scripture places its confidence in Scripture because of its ability to ‘make us wise unto salvation,’ not because it is a storehouse of universal, infallible true propositions. (This, in turn, suggests that evangelicals need to adjust their truth theories to accommodate the different ways in which Scripture is true.)” (>>)
â€œAll who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in Godâ€™s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge menâ€™s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.â€ (>>)
“So I went over much grass and many flowers and among all kinds of wholesome and delectable trees till lo! in a narrow place between two rocks there came to meet me a great Lion. The speed of him was like the ostrich, and his size was an elephantâ€™s; his hair was like pure gold and the brightness of his eyes, like gold that is liquid in the furnace. He was more terrible than the flaming Mountain of Lagour, and in beauty he surpassed all that is in the world, even as the rose in bloom surpasses the dust of the desert. Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him. Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him. But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of Thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reason of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him, for I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oathâ€™s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is acceptedâ€¦ Beloved, said the Glorious one, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.” (>>)
“The world does not consist of 100 percent Christians and 100 percent non-Christians. There are people (a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be Christians but who still call themselves by that name: some of them are clergymen. There are other people who are slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves so. There are people who do not accept the full Christian doctrine about Christ but who are strongly attracted by Him that they are His in a much deeper sense than they themselves understand. There are people in other religions who are being led by Godâ€™s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it. For example, a Buddhist of goodwill may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he might still say he believed) the Buddhist teaching on certain other points. Many of the good Pagans long before Christs birth may have been in this position. And always, of course, there are a great many people who are just confused in mind and have a lot of inconsistent beliefs all jumbled up together. Consequently, it is not much use trying to make judgements about Christians and non-Christians in the massâ€¦” (>>)
“Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things , and as Saviour wills that all men be saved . Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life . Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator . Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair.” (>>)
“…I like the fact that most of the people donâ€™t know me and I donâ€™t know them. I can come to church, enjoy the singing and sermon, and leave, not worrying about anything or anyone. Your way of meeting seems too serious and far too personal for me.” (>>)
“I’m still unclear as to what I’m supposed to be doing in order to be a better disciple of Christ. I know that I’m supposed to obey the direct teachings of Christ; that I’m supposed to take care of the marginalized and the poor… But I don’t know what to do with the Bible. I don’t know how to apply scripture to my life; I don’t know how to become more a person of prayer; I don’t know how to engage myself in the ancient spiritual disciplines that have that have nourished people for hundreds and even thousands of years. I don’t know how to do that, it hasn’t been translated yet.” (>>) [MP3]
“I have not grown personally in terms of faith with the kind of consumer-oriented Christianity that is prevalent in America. That has never helped me; it’s only stunted my growth. What I mean by that is the self-help, formulaic kind of stuff; the moralist/political angles on our faith tradition. None of that helped me. I didn’t grow. And really what happened was there was a switch that turned where I got interested in the more relational dynamic of faith, the whole notion of God fathering us rather than focusing on the rules or whatever.” (>>)
“The gospel for him equals the doctrine of penal-substitutionary atonement… Jesus said that the gospel was ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand.’ Shouldn’t we let Jesus tell us what the gospel is?” (>>) [MP3]
“I was lied to, and I am tired of being lied to.” (>>)
“We believe that today’s church […] is in a serious spiritual crisis and needs a reformation of theology and practice… From […] investing in maintenance Christianity (pastors, buildings, church programs) to aligning our finances and possessions with God’s heart and purposes: the poor and oppressed, reaching the unreached, mobile apostolic teams, and serving our communities.” (>>)
“Mark had written several articles for secular magazines and had been interviewed a few times on the radio and had gotten this reputation as a pastor who said cusswords. It is true that Mark said a lot of cusswords. I don’t know why he did it. He didn’t become a Christian till he was in college, so maybe he didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to say cusswords and be a pastor. I think some of my friends believed that it was the goal of the devil to get people to say cusswords, so they thought Mark was possessed or something, and they told me I should not really get into anything he was a part of. But, like I said, I was dying inside, and even though Mark said cusswords, he was telling a lot of people about Jesus, and he was being socially active, and he seemed to love a lot of people the church was neglecting…” (>>)
“So I think we need to let go of the Bible as a modern book, but that doesn’t mean we discard it. Not at all! When we let it go as a modern answer book, we get to rediscover it for what it really is: an ancient book of incredible spiritual value for us, a kind of universal and cosmic history, a book that tells us who we are and what story we find ourselves in so that we know what to do and how to live. That letting go is going to be hard for you evangelicals.” (>>)
“It strikes me how rare these kinds of words, outlines, and dissective ways of thinking are in the Bible, which preocupies itself with earthy stories rather than airy abstractions, wild poetry rather than tidy systems, personal and contextual letters rather than timeless, absolute pronouncements or propositions. I have often wondered, Why doesn’t the Bible consist of an ordered schema, like the average curriculum of a semenary? Of course, I’m not against our systematic theologies. I’m begining to see them as an artifact of worship from the modern era, no less sincere or magnificant than medieval cathedrals–in fact, you could call them modern conceptual cathedrals. Rather than condemning, I am simply noticing that our systematic theologies are themselves a modern phenomenon.” (>>)
“I realized that my best answers didn’t answer their questions because they were asking questions on a deeper level: they weren’t just asking, ‘What’s the answer to my question?’ They were asking, ‘How can you be sure any question can receive a definitive answer?’ ” (>>)
“Clearly, what conservative Christians have been reading about the Emerging Church has not been accurate.” (>>)
“And sometimes I am not really sure on things, I have to admit.
My theology? No.
My interpretation of it? Not really. But sure enough to take a step of faith out into my world. How sure do you have to be? If I was absolutely certain of everything, why would I need faith.
Am I certain of the Biblical meaning of the 4th head of the second beast in the Book of Revelation? Yes! . . . i mean . . No!
Do I believe the Book of Revelation? Yes
“Job’s friends were certain of their truth, but they were certainly wrong. Job himself was not certain of why God was allowing his scabs to grow unchecked on his body but he was certain of the One in whom he believed. For what is it worth, and if anybody is listening (this will probably be dismissed and forgotten) but I am absolutely convinced, beyond doubt, in the One True God and his Son Jesus Christ. He is true and his word is truth. He died for sinners and died for me. He is my Saviour. That truth is both propositional and narrative and I believe it both ways, sideways and upwards and downwards and i am living out my life in accordance with that Truth. Dannggittt!!!! Why cant you people hear me??? Are your ears closed???? Or will you only listen to what you want to hear???
“Jesus loves me this i know
for the bible tells me so
“I believe in truth. However, I am not completely sure that my last sermon is the absolute truth. Nor do I think that these words I am writing are absolutely true, and to say that my words, or any other human construct born in the minds of men and women, are true on the same level as the Personhood of God . . . is an insult to God is who far more TRUER than anything i can come up with down here on this side of eternity where i see dimly, as if through a glass.
“[But you didn’t hear me say that. What you heard is; ‘Blah Blah blahBlah’]” (>>)
“Instead of ‘If you were to die tonight, do you know for certain that you would spend eternity with God in heaven?’ the new question seems to be, ‘If you live for another thirty years, what kind of person will you become?’ ” (>>)
“It is common for sectarian Protestants to insist that belief in justification by faith alone is necessary for salvation. Leaving aside for the moment the fact that it is quite possible for Roman Catholics to affirm the substance of sola fide without using the slogan, and still remain in good standing within their own tradition, the idea that the denial of faith as the sole instrument of justification is sufficient to damn a person is open to serious question.” (>>)
“Catholic bashing is a sport that will always be popular among Protestants. It is the type of teenage behavior one expects from kids who leave home after a big fight. It’s not necessary, and even when we take stock of the many serious issues that separate us, we still say the same Apostle’s Creed, worship the same Trinity, share the same first four centuries of the church and believe in the same Christ of John 3:16. I prefer to acknowledge this unity. I don’t care if you don’t. I’m rewarded without applause on this one, I assure you.” (>>)
“I was brought up in a kind of Southern Baptist fundamentalism that taught me to despise and fear Roman Catholics. Catholic horror stories were a regular feature of home and church. But I never really caught on to the problem. Sure, they were baby-baptizing ritualists who drank beer and slavishly obeyed the pope, but the ones I knew were really good people. My buddy Joe’s family was a lot healthier than my messed up family, and they were as Catholic as you could get. Their graciousness to me made an impression that’s never left, and though my attempts to evangelize them at a Billy Graham movie were unsuccessful, it was hard to deny that these folks were as serious about their Christianity as my bunch was about Bible-thumping fundamentalism. It was different, but I couldn’t deny that it was real.” (>>)
” ‘People get the sense that his actions are motivated by love, not by the kind of self-aggrandizing one sees from Jesse Jackson, Pat Robertson, and Michael Lerner. One doesn’t have to agree with all of, oh, say, [Gandhi]’s views to understand why people generally speak well of the man.’ ” (>>)
“All the great characters in stories are the ones who give their lives to something bigger than themselves. And in all of the stories I don’t find anyone more noble than Jesus. […] I think the difference in my life came when I realized, after reading [the] Gospels, that Jesus didn’t just love me out of principle; He didn’t just love me because it was the right thing to do. Rather, there was something inside me that caused Him to love me. I think I realized that if I walked up to His campfire, He would ask me to sit down, and He would ask me my story. He would take the time to listen to my ramblings or my anger until I could calm down, and then He would look me directly in the eye, and He would speak to me; He would tell me the truth, and I would sense in his voice and in the lines on His face that he liked me. He would rebuke me, too, and he would tell me that I have prejudices against very religious people and that I need to deal with that; He would tell me that there are poor people in the world and I need to feed them and that somehow this will make me more happy. I think He would tell me what my gifts are and how to use them. I think He would explain to me why my father left, and He would point out very clearly all the ways God has taken care of me through the years, all the stuff God protected me from.” (>>)
“Even permissive Christians seem scared to drink a substantial amount of it. ‘It’s okay, every now and then, to have a glass of wine at dinner.’ I’m sorry. I find that sentiment lacking. It lacks a certain boldness. There is always a risk in pleasure. In sex, a man may be lacking in selflessness from time to time, yet he should not abstain for that reason. In business, one may give way to greed every now and again (or perhaps often), yet that is hardly reason to abstain from running a store. Boldness is heavily correlated with certainty, and that is precisely why the Church I know is so modest, so unoffensive, so… conservative.” (>>)
“The evenings were spent sitting on the porch reading or talking or just looking at the big, big sky. And no one knew what ‘boredom’ meant. They were all too tired from the work each day. He had to move to the city before he ever understood angst and ennui and alcoholism and drug addiction and depression and suicide.” (>>)
“I realized after writing and recording this record that there’s not a second of it that’s not about relationships. Relationships with women and girls, relationships with drugs and alcohol, relationships with family, relationships with God, a relationship with the road, and a relationship with myself. Whether relationships are past, present or future they always seem to shape who we have been, who we are and who we are becoming. I have lived and am living for all of those relationships and somehow collectively find my meaning, identity, and purpose within them.”
“Later generations of Christian mystics dwelt upon the more desolate kinds of darkness to which the spiritual life can lead: the darkness in which all modes of prayer and spiritual practice become arid, and all consolation in the love of God seems lost. Even in the desolate dark night of the soul, indeed especially there, St. John of the Cross taught, God is present, purifying the soul of all passions and hindrances, and preparing her for the inconceivable blessedness of divine union. Along with dark knowing, there is dark loving, no less ardent for being deprived of all sensible and spiritual vision of the beloved. Therefore St. John can say, ‘Oh, night more lovely than the dawn, Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover, Lover transformed in the Beloved!’ ” (>>)
“It is the self-righteous person who takes pride in abstaining from that which is not evil. I might as well take Christian pride in an abstinence from eating peanuts – for they are the moral equivalent of a beer. And with self-righteousness, comes a haughtiness with which he of the ignorant conscience actually comes to look down on those of stronger faith, those whose consciences do not bind them in the same manner.” (>>)
- This has become a dividing line among Christians, a defining issue. It should not be. It is a secondary issue.
- Jesus does not address this issue. He does condemn religious leaders. He does condemn divorce and remarriage.
- If you can show grace to the divorced (which Jesus condemns), why can you not show grace to the homosexuals (which Jesus does not mention).
- He most likely held to a conservative position (followed the old law). Hebrew Scriptures state homosexuality is an abomination (but also along with other weird kosher laws). The purity code has been eliminated (do not call unclean what I have made clean). The moral code has not.
- If you’re going to be consistent, then we have to throw all of the divorced/remarriage people out of the church.
- We have made it into some kind of super sin.
- We have to acknowledge homosexual Christians as our brothers and sisters, because that is what they are.
- “Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Yes, I love them, but… THERE ARE NOT BUTS!!!
- The State should only grant civil unions for both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Church will grant marriage — marriage is sacred and has nothing to do with the State.
Video Clip 1: “Those who are out to condemn me, and some people do on this, say, ‘You’re far too soft on the gay community.’ I don’t like it when Christians are hard on the gay community, so I don’t mind being soft.” (5.8MB MPEG, 4:29)
Video Clip 2: “There is no explanation of a homosexuality orientation that has sufficient empirical validity.” (12.8MB MPEG, 9:50)
Video Clip 3: “I’m waiting for the day when a homosexual can stand up in church and say, ‘I am a homosexual. Every day I struggle with this. Every day the war goes on. And I’ve only been able to survive because I have this network of Christian friends who know me and love me and pray for me and support me and encourage me and [are] family to me.’ … I’m waiting for the church of Jesus Christ to begin to do something like that in the local congregation.” (11.1MB MPEG, 8:33)
“The first Reformation was about freeing the church. The new Reformation is about freeing God’s people from the church (the institution). The original Reformation decentralized the church. The new Reformation decentralizes ministry. The former Reformation occurred when clergy were no longer willing to take marching orders from the Pope. The current Reformation finds church members no longer willing for clergy to script their personal spiritual ministry journey. The last Reformation moved the church closer to home. The new Reformation is moving the church closer to the world. The historic Reformation distinguished Christians one from the other. The current Reformation is distinguishing followers of Jesus from religious people. The European Reformation assumed the church to be a part of the cultural-political order. The Reformation currently underway does not rely on the cultural-political order to prop up the church. The initial Reformation was about church. The new Reformation is about mission.” (>>)
“Jesus can’t help me — maybe I can find the answer in beer!” (>>)
“One missed step can make you stumble,
you set yourself up for a fall.
You punish yourself for each failure,
dogma beat out alcohol.
When all of your principles were fashioned,
you thought your new rules made you new.
But maybe those X’s on your hands,
are what’s killing you.” (>>)
“Here’s a crazy idea: let culture emerge from free choices of individuals. If it changes, then it changes. If individuals don’t like the way it changes, they can keep living the same way they were before, and they can let other people live how they want too. If Bush wants to refuse to recognize the private arrangements homosexuals make as marriage, let him do it – as a private, personal choice.” (>>)
The Proverbs 31 Approach to Broken Hearts:
“Give beer to those who are perishing,
wine to those who are in anguish;
let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.”
“I never, ever, EVER want to hear from another Evangelical that Catholics aren’t Christians.” (>>)
“Although I do not doubt the possibility of God choosing to show a person ‘the light’ so they can see the error of their ways, I think we should consider how many people make these sorts of claims, and how different their views are on what God revealed to them. While [one] person’s apparent God-given revelation might let them in on the fact that homosexual action is sinful, another person might be equally convicted that God revealed to them that there is absolutely nothing wrong with homosexual activity.” (>>)
Alex has written a good entry on legalizing gay marriage. He concentrates mostly on the legal aspect of denying a certain group of people rights based on their sexuality.