March 31, 2011
My friend ERIC has written some honest thoughts, expressing who he is on his own:
I am selfish. I am quick-tempered and impatient. I am a worrier, a controller, and an idolater. I am quick to let you down and often don’t even know it. I am lazy when I need to work and work when I should be resting. I am quick to put all the wrong foods in my mouth and let all the wrong words come out of it. I am ageing and feeling it more each day. I am entropy on the outside and chaos on the inside. I am a sinner.
No one really likes to dwell on these truths. These words aren’t glamorous; they’re brutally honest. They may never be anyone’s “quote of the day.” They are, however, Scriptural. Too often I find myself putting my best foot forward, or simply ignoring my weaknesses. But like Eric, and even more so, like the apostle Paul, I’m reminded to “boast in my weaknesses, that His power may be seen in me.”
March 16, 2011
“I think the number of people who come to the point where they can honestly say, like the apostle Paul, ‘For me to live is Christ, to die is gain,’ is few and far between, even among the most godly Christians. For us, to live is Christ and.”
February 23, 2011
“The gospel is not simply about meeting people’s needs. The gospel is also a critique of our needs, and attempt to give us needs worth having” (Willimon, 95, quoted by Tidball, Ministry by the Book, 65).
February 10, 2011
“Humility is the key. It is not a stepping stone to greatness, it is greatness” (Tidball, Ministry by the Book, 28).
January 22, 2011
“In volume 1/2 of his Kirchliche Dogmatic, in a section entitled ‘Freedom under the Word’, Karl Barth is explaining how one who reads Scriptures must ‘think after’ them (nachdenken), saying again in one’s own language what one has understood the biblical author to be saying. There is no understading without such nachdenken and there is no such ‘thinking after’ without using one’s own concept’s, some ‘thought scheme’ from one’s own setting. . . . In a fine-print excursus, Barth runs up the centuries from medieval scholastics to Kierkegaard, showing how everyone read the Bible in terms of their own ‘thought scheme’” (Yoder, To Hear the Word, 100).
Yoder provides an excellent model of this in his own “nachdenken” of the texts with which he interacts. In explaining 2 Cor 5:13 he paraphrases the passage, “Am I [as they say] “crazy”? It is for God’s sake. If on the other hand I am in my right mind, this works out for your good.” Then, interacting with the beatitudes, he writes:
Some people are poor: good for them, for the kingdom is coming and they shall receive it as their inheritance.
Some people are peacemakers: good for them, because in the coming kingdom it will be manifest that they are like God their father
Some people are meek: good for them, for in the coming kingdom their kind will be in charge.
Some of you are rich: too bad for you, you have had all you will get.
January 12, 2011
“Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”
-G. K. Chesterton, quoted in The Narnian, 156.
January 9, 2011
“The first time I ever read a book of the Bible from end to end it was, oddly enough, the book of Revelation. I was fourteen at the time . . . . I can still remember the explosive power and beauty of it, the sense that the New Testament I held in my hands had a thunderstorm hidden inside it that nobody had warned me about.”
-N.T. Wright, Following Jesus, 55
“Followers of Jesus sometimes imagine that the victory of their cause is all that matters, whatever means they use to that end. But this is a travesty of the whole meaning of the ascension, and of the cross and resurrection which give to the ascension its depth and resonance. God’s exaltation of Jesus vindicates not only him and his cause, but his way; and that way is the way by which his followers too must walk.”
-N. T. Wright, Following Jesus, 103
January 4, 2011
I’m continuing the linking begun by PATRICK about lessons learned from Churchhill’s life. I especially like # 1:
1. Always aim high . . . . He did not always meet his elevated targets, but by aiming high he always achieved something worthwhile . . . .
December 19, 2010
“It is a wonderful thing and a strengthening of faith that two souls differing from each other in place, nationality, language, obedience and age should have been thus led into a delighful friendship; so far does the order of spiritual beings transcend the material order” (Lewis, The Latin Letters, 83 [written by Lewis as he corresponded with an old Italian monk]).
“Older people, as we both are, are always ‘praisers of times past.’ They always think the world is worse than it was in their young days” (Lewis, Latin Letters, 91. [What I love about this quote is how it seems to address the issue of the supposed decline of America, an issue at the front of many elderly people's minds that I encounter.]).
“I am now in my fiftieth year. I feel my zeal for writing, and whatever talent I originally possessed, to be decreasing; nor (I believe) do I please my readers as I used to. I labour under many difficulties . . . . Pray for me, Father, that I ever bear in mind that profoundly true maxim: ‘if thou wish to bring others to peace, keep thyself in peace’” (Lewis, Latin Letters, 51; a profound glimpse into the personal life of Lewis).
“Let us beware lest, while we torture ourselves in vain about the fate of Europe, we neglect either Verona or Oxford. In the poor man who knocks at my door, in my ailing mother, in the young man who seeks my advice, the Lord Himself is present: therefore let us wash His feet” (Lewis, The Latin Letters, 47).
November 4, 2010
“Under the Eastern sky the gospel was first preached, and there was Jesus Christ as Lord first worshipfully esteemed. Jesus and Paul were sons of the East. The Amen of our daily prayers, the Hosanna and the Hallelujah of our songs, and even the titles Christ and Gospel, call our thoughts back again and again to the Eastern origins of our fellowship . . . . A gift of the East is the book that maintains an echo of the preaching of Jesus and his Apostles–the New Testament. We are accustomed to reading it under our Northern sky . . . [where] the great contents of the gold-shimmering letters are clear even in the dim light of the sanctuary.”
-Adolf Deissmann, Licht vom Osten, AB’s trans., 1-2.
Deissmann comments that our faith is rooted in the customs and culture of Israel and Greece. Oh, how I would love to travel and stand under those Eastern skies some day!