“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.” (>>)
I just decided that the naming scheme for the UPS‘s I’m installing at my church is going to be the first names of the original members of the Ramones. You can’t imagine how happy this makes me.
The great thing about buying alcohol on Valentine’s Day is that, upon seeing the contents on your shopping cart — Pop Tarts, Rolos and the latest issue of the National Inquirer wherein they divulge that baseball great Babe Ruth was, in fact, a communist lesbian from Planet X — seeing the contents sprawled out on the conveyor belt like the confessions of some trashy ‘tell all’ celebrity biography, testifying to your utterly pathetic state of being — not unlike the e-mail your high school girlfriend sent to all of her friends detailing your failings as a lover — the great thing is that Cute Checkout Girl doesn’t even bother to ask for your I.D., but just gives you an odd look of pity mixed with something you can’t quite place (contempt?) and scans the bottle, leaving you to wonder what the hell you’re going to do after the Rolos are gone and do you think she’d go out with me if I just cleaned up a bit?
“…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 hope you have found people in your life to love you.” (>>)
“Her faith in God has created in her an understanding that we can’t understand God…” (>>)
“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.” (>>)
“The next guy…” (>>) [PDF]
“this whole Jesus thing, i’m finding, is kind of hard to figure out.” (>>)
“Words tossed carelessly at pain are an obscenity. Whatâ€™s needed is a shoulder thrown against the load.” (>>)
“People who looked to Jesus as their political savior were constantly befuddled by his choice of companions. He became known as a friend of tax collectors, a group clearly identified with the foreign exploiters, not the exploited. Though he denounced the religious system of his day, he treated a leader like Nicodemus with respect, and though he spoke against the dangers of money and violence, he showed love and compassion to a rich young ruler and a Roman centurion.
“In short, Jesus honored the dignity of people, whether he agreed with them or not. He would not found his kingdom on race or class or other such divisions. Anyone, even a half-breed with five husbands or a thief dying on a cross was welcome to join his kingdom. The person was more important than any category or label.
“I feel strongly convicted by this quality of Jesus every time I get involved in a cause I strongly believe in. How easy it is to join the politics of polarization, to find myself shouting across the picket lines at the ‘enemy’ on the other side. How hard it is to remember that the kingdom of God calls me to love the woman who has just emerged from the abortion clinic (and, yes, even her doctor), the promiscuous person who is dying of AIDS, the wealthy landowner who is exploiting God’s creation. If I cannot show love to such people, I must question whether I have truly understood Jesus’ gospel.
“A political movement by nature draws lines, makes distinctions, pronounces judgments; in contrast, Jesus’ love cuts across lines, transcends distinctions, and dispenses grace. Regardless of the merits of a given issue–whether a pro-life lobby out of the Right or a peace-and-justice lobby out of the Left–political movements risk pulling onto themselves the mantle of power that smothers love. From Jesus I learn that, whatever activism I get involved in, it must not drive out love and humility, or otherwise I betray the kingdom of heaven.”