I think good preachers should be like bad kids. They ought to be naughty enough to tiptoe up on dozing congregations, steal their bottles of religion pills, and morality pills, and flush them all down the drain. The church, by and large, has drugged itself into thinking that proper human behavior is the key to its relationship to God. What preachers need to do is force it to go cold turkey with nothing but the word of the cross—and then be brave enough to stick around while it goes through the inevitable withdrawal symptoms. … Robert Farrar Capon (1925-2013),
Genuine controversy, fair cut and thrust before a common audience, has become in our special epoch very rare. For the sincere controversialist is above all things a good listener. The really burning enthusiast never interrupts; he listens to the enemy’s arguments as eagerly as a spy would listen to the enemy’s arrangements. If you attempt an actual argument with a modern paper of opposite politics, you will find that no medium is admitted between violence and evasion. You will have no answer except slanging or silence. …G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936),
Was there a moment known only to God, when all the stars held their breath, when the galaxies paused in their dance for a fraction of a second, and the Word, who had called it all into being, went with all his love into the womb of a young girl, and the universe started to breathe again, and the ancient harmonies resumed their song, and the angels clapped for joy?
…Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007)
o be calm and quiet all by yourself is hardly the same as sleeping. In fact, it means being fully awake and following with close attention every move going on inside you. It involves a self-discipline where the urge to get up and go is recognized as a temptation to look elsewhere for what is really close at hand. It is the freedom to stroll in your own yard, to rake up the leaves and clear the paths so you can easily find your way.
…Henri J. M. Nouwen (1932-1996)
Here is my examination at the beginning of Advent, at the beginning of a new year. Lack of charity, criticism of superiors, of neighbors, of friends and enemies. Idle talk, impatience, lack of self-control and mortification towards self, and of love towards others. Pride and presumption. (It is good to have visitors – one’s faults stand out in the company of others.) Self-will, desire not to be corrected, to have one’s own way. The desire in turn to correct others, impatience in thought and speech.The remedy is recollection and silence Dorothy Day (1897-1980),
Everything is made to center upon the initial act of “accepting” Christ (a term, incidentally, which is not found in the Bible) and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our souls. We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him we need no more seek Him. This is set before us as the last word in orthodoxy, and it is taken for granted that no Bible-taught Christian ever believed otherwise.. A. W. Tozer (1879-1963)
It must be admitted that a few clergymen glory in the contrast between their status and that of ordinary Christians. They accept obeisance as a natural right; they monopolize public praying; they learn how to keep themselves in the limelight. There is something about the pastoral office which makes the temptation to egocentricity especially powerful. This is partly because the successful preacher is regularly praised to his face.His mood seems a far cry from that of Christ when He girded Himself with a towel and washed the feet of His followers.
… Elton Trueblood (1900-1994)
You have to be holy in your position as you are, and I have to be holy in the position that God has put me. So it is nothing extraordinary to be holy. Holiness is not the luxury of the few. Holiness is a simple duty for you and for me. We have been created for that.
… Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) (1910-1997)
By faith we know God without seeing Him. By hope we possess God without feeling His presence. If we hope in God, by hope we already possess Him, since hope is a confidence which He creates in our soul as secret evidence that He has taken possession of us. So the soul that hopes in God already belongs to Him, and to belong to Him is the same as to possess Him, since He gives Himself completely to those who give themselves to Him.
… Thomas Merton (1915-1968), No Man is an Island, New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1955 p 15
Spirituality is about seeing. It’s not about earning or achieving. It’s about relationship rather than results or requirements. Once you see, the rest follows. You don’t need to push the river, because you are in it. The life is lived within us, and we learn how to say yes to that life.
…Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs, New York: Crossroad, 1999 p 31
It is much easier to belong to a group than it is to know that you belong to God. Those who firm up their own edges and identity too quickly without finding their center in God and in themselves will normally be the enemies of ecumenism, forgiveness, vulnerability, and basic human dialog. Their identity is too insecure to allow any movement in or out. Their “Christ” tends to be very small, tribal, and “just like them.” If your prayer is not enticing you outside your comfort zones, if your Christ is not an occasional “threat,” you probably need to do some growing up and learning to love.
…Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs, New York: Crossroad, 1999 p 22-23
Again Jesus used the image of a child to teach “beginner’s mind.” A child was one without ego identity to prove, project, or protect. Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. Little children are not protecting identity yet. They know kinesthetically and respond to what it is, not what should be or might be. That’s why they cry and squeal with pleasure so much. It drives parents crazy, I’m sure. But that’s also why there can be immediate delight… If only we could receive reality so immediately and so spontaneously, without our judgments and calculations.
…Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs, New York: Crossroad, 1999 p 74
How do you make a day holy? By stopping work—that is, by stopping all the pursuits we engage in for necessity not for pleasure, all our struggles with the world conceived as an enemy that is trying to starve us to death. By looking at that world and seeing that it is good. By entering into all its good and friendly and loving activities, and rejoicing in them. And, above all, by looking beyond the world to the Love that sustains it.
… Joy Davidman (1915-1960)