Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Love That is God


"Our questions and our questing are crucial, because they can help us live into the answer of the future. 

I am certain of one thing: the love that is God is at the heart of the answer, just as it is at the heart of each moment - past, present, and future...

We act in faith, knowing that we see only dimly. But living in faith, we act anyway, choosing and doing the best we can...

For God's grace embraces our questions as well as our answers and our blindness as well as our vision, just as the sun shines steadily through the night, waiting to illuminate the sky at dawn." 
-Jean M. Blomquist, Wrestling till Dawn

Monday, January 26, 2015

Joys and Hopes, Griefs and Anxieties.

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“The joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of people of our time, particularly those who are poor or in any way afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of Christ’s followers. 

"Theirs is a community of people, people who, in union with Christ and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, move forward toward the Kingdom of the Father and carry the message of salvation intended for all. 

"For this reason this community knows that it is deeply united with humankind and its history.” -Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on theChurch in the Modern World

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Peace That Sings and Burns.


"Since the human soul is capable of receiving God alone, nothing less than God call fill it; 

which explains why lovers of earthly things are never satisfied. 

The peace known by lovers of Christ comes from their heart being fixed, in longing and in thought, in the love of God;

it is a peace that sings and loves and burns and contemplates." -Richard Rolle, The Fire of Love

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Great Mystery


"Religion has not tended to create seekers or searchers, has not tended to create honest, humble people who trust that God is always beyond them. 

We aren’t focused on the great mystery. 

Religion has, rather, tended to create people who think they have God in their pockets, people with quick, easy, glib answers. 

That’s why so much of the West is understandably abandoning religion. 

People know the great mystery cannot be that simple and facile. 

If the great mystery is indeed the Great Mystery, it will lead us into paradox, into darkness, into journeys that never cease...That is what prayer is about." -Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hearing the (whole) promise.

 

Full disclosure: I love Jeremiah 29:11, even though I'm fully aware of how often the passage gets taken out of its prophetic and historic context.

Here, then, is what I understand to be the encouraging, inspiring, entire promise of God to a beloved, exiled people (many of whom would not live to see their homeland again):


"This is what the Lord says: 'When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 

"For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 

"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'

"'I will be found by you,' declares the Lord, 'and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,' declares the Lord, 'and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.'”

In other words: God never stopped having a plan. 

God never stopped being trustworthy.

God never stopped loving God's people, and never stopped being present with them in their suffering. 

Indeed, God continued to work faithfully and lovingly in the lives of the people of Judah -and even their captors!- right up until the day of their final deliverance.

Amen!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The work we cannot leave up to politicians.


In the wake of last month's bitter local, state, and federal elections, I'm putting together a new American Federal Government class for the spring semester. In preparing one of the weekly devotionals I (not for the first time) came across these simple, stunning thoughts from Shane Claiborne:

“The question for me is not are we political, but how are we political? We need to be politically engaged, but peculiar in how we engage. Jesus and the early Christians had a marvelous political imagination. They turned all the presumptions and ideas of power and blessing upside down. 

The early Christians felt a deep collision with the empire in which they lived, and with politics as usual. They carelessly crossed party lines and built subversive friendships. And we should do that too. 

To be nonpartisan doesn’t mean we’re nonpolitical. We should refuse to get sucked into political camps and insist on pulling the best out of all of them. That’s what Jesus did—challenge the worst of each camp and pull out the best of each. That’s why we see Essenes, Zealots, Herodians, Pharisees, and Sadducees all following Jesus and even joining his movement. But they had to become new creations. They had to let go of some things. Jesus challenged the tax-collecting system of Rome and the sword of the Zealots. 

So to answer the question, I engage with local politics because it affects people I love. And I engage in national politics because it affects people I love. 

Governments can do lots of things, but there are a lot of things they cannot do. A government can pass good laws, but no law can change a human heart. Only God can do that. A government can provide good housing, but folks can have a house without having a home. We can keep people breathing with good health care, but they still may not really be alive. The work of community, love, reconciliation, restoration is the work we cannot leave up to politicians. 

This is the work we are all called to do. We can’t wait on politicians to change the world. We can’t wait on governments to legislate love. And we don’t let policies define how we treat people; how we treat people shapes our policies.” -Shane Claiborne, http://www.redletterchristians.org/election-day-dialog-political/

It seems to me that the most crucial questions are:

How are Christians called to demonstrate love, justice, mercy, and humility through our political engagement?

And how can "subversive friendships" help strengthen our bonds of both theological and political community?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas is.

 
"Christmas is the promise that the God who came in history and comes daily in mystery will one day come in glory. 

God is saying in Jesus that in the end everything will be all right. 

Nothing can harm you permanently, no suffering is irrevocable, no loss is lasting, no defeat is more than transitory, no disappointment is conclusive. 

Jesus did not deny the reality of suffering, discouragement, disappointment, frustration, and death; he simply stated that the Kingdom of God would conquer all of these horrors, that the Father's love is so prodigal that no evil could possible resist it."

-Brennan Manning, Reflections for Ragamuffins