Saturday, February 28, 2009

Jesus as Deliverer

Understood properly, the Christian doctrine of sin is a vision of wholeness, and Dante represents this tradition at its best. He does not label people as evil because they've fallen short of some ill-conceived, perfectionist goal. Dante's understanding of sin is far more subtle than that, and more humane. These days, we are likely to say to people struggling with addiction or mental illness that their hope lies in a perpetual state of recovery. Imagine for a moment that this is much more severe than anything Dante, or the desert monks, for that matter, had in mind. Their ultimate concern was how, as we deepen our relationship with God, we become more free to love, and more free to choose the good. The idea that one would be defined forever by one's sin or sickness would have seemed to them excessively cruel, more likely to engender hopelessness than hope.

Kathleen Norris, "Acedia & Me", pg 204-205

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Poor Player

Grace changes my perspective on the game. It is what it is, but grace is a greater thing, a deeper, more beautiful thing. I must be careful not to become a fan of the game and forget why I’m here at all. I must remember that the Kingdom of God is not a matter of rules and morals and taking stands in the public square, but of righteousness and joy and the Holy Spirit. I’m not called to be a trophy Christian, but to be a trophy of his grace.

-- Taken from a post this weekend on The Internet Monk blog


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We have this treasure in earthen vessels

We are vessels - containers of the life of God. But we are not the contents of the vessel. God is. The frustration of the vessel is when the vessel tries to become the contents. You can't be both the vessel holding (expressing) the life of God and at the same time try to be the life of God. Only He is the life. Only He can live the life through you. Your eternal purpose is not to become the contents of the vessel. Your eternal purpose is to be the vessel, to let the life flow out of you.

--Dan Stone pg. 113, "The Rest of the Gospel"


Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Passover Lamb

God is showing us here that the lamb they used for blood on the doorpost was the same lamb they ate for the journey. In other words, everything that is necessary for living the life comes from the lamb. It isn't that the lamb dies for and then you're sent out to do the rest on your own (with His help,of course). The lamb is the total answer. The lamb that gave its blood for them also gave its life to them. They took its meat into them, and that became their nourishment, strength, and vitality for the journey. They lived their life out of the lamb's life. They walked in its energy. They killed one lamb for two purposes: for the Passover and for the walk.

--Dan Stone pg. 58, "The Rest of the Gospel"


Saturday, February 7, 2009

By Faith, Not By Sight

I hear men praying everywhere for more faith, but when I listen to them carefully, and get to the real heart of their prayer, very often it is not more faith at all that they are wanting, but a change from faith to sight. Faith says not, "I see that it is good for me, so God must have sent it," but, "God sent it, and so it must be good for me." Faith, walking in the dark with God, only prays Him to clasp its hand more closely.

--Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)


Thursday, February 5, 2009

In Others Words

Sometimes a person can best share ideas that are important to him by relying on the words of others. Over time, it is hoped that the words shared here will paint a more subtle and intricate portrait than words of my own ever could.

In most cases, I will not attempt to explain the quotes I find to share here. For this blog, my intentions are best served by just "putting it out there". Frequently, I will be quoting very ordinary sources, such as a personal blog entry of nobody in particular. It should be made clear that just because I find a quote worthy of sharing on this blog, that does not mean that I'm implying that the author's broader views or interpretations should be subscribed to.

You are welcomed to ask questions and share in the comments. And I will try to be as interactive and transparent as I can in my responses.