"For us let it be enough to know ourselves to be in the place where God wants us, and carry on our work, even though it be no more than the work of an ant, infinitesimally small, and with unforeseeable results."
-- Abbé Monchanin

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Success is one of the dirtiest temptations of the devil."
-- Madeleine L'Engle
Walking on Water

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Quote for the Day

"The devout student is the best of all students. There are too many who are devout, but not students. They will not accept the discipline of study and of learning, and they even look with suspicion upon the further knowledge which study brings to men. There are equally too many who are students, but not devout. They are interested too much in intellectual knowledge, and too little in the life of prayer and in the life of service of their fellow men. A man would do well to aim at being not only a student, and not only devout, but at being a devout student."
-- William Barclay The Revelation of John, Volume 2

Monday, October 29, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Today rather than asking 'What at most may I believe,' we ask 'What at least must I believe.' This narrowing of faith is the Christian equivalent to the death inviting legalism of the pharisees."
-- Someone

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Quote for the Day

". . . when Christianity begins to defend itself by force, it ceases to be Christianity."

-- William Barclay
The Revelation of John, Volume 2

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quote for the Day

"They looked at His death, and said, 'It is cruel in its beauty, heart-breaking in its joy, and most unspeakably grand!'"
-- George A. Buttrick
The Christian Faith and Modern Doubt

Friday, October 26, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Many people still regard prayer as a species of graft whereby God gives special favors to those who whisper in His ear."
-- George A. Buttrick
The Christian Fact and Modern Doubt

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Sin is not breaking a law; it is the breaking of a fellowship."
-- E. Stanley Jones
Christian Maturity

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Dogmatism is the sign of a faith become a fear; and the vehement reiteration of a dogmatism is the poor whistling of a fear scared to death of its own dark."
-- George A. Buttrick
The Christian Faith and Modern Doubt

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Christianity is primarily something to be done. It is not first of all a finished set of propositions to be accepted; it is first of all an unfinished task to be completed. It is a way of thinking about life and living life to be wrought out personally and socially on earth. The question to be asked about it is not simply, Is it true? but Can we ever in this world make it come true? not simply, Is it credible? but Is it possible?"
-- Harry Emerson Fosdick
The Secret of Victorious Living

Monday, October 22, 2007

Quote for the Day

"George Bernard Shaw has lately remarked that he does not believe in the hereafter, and that he would be horrified at the prospect of being George Bernard Shaw forever. . . . Christ's faith in the hereafter is in its very essence the faith that a George Bernard Shaw must not go on being George Bernard Shaw forever."
-- George A. Buttrick
The Christian Faith and Modern Doubt

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Are we asking government to make criminal what we believe to be sinful because we ourselves can't stop committing the sin?"
-- New York Governor Mario Cuomo

Friday, October 19, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Before I can listen to God in prayer, I must fumble thrugh the prayers of words, of wilful demands, the prayers of childlish 'Gimmes,' of 'Help mes,' of 'I want . . . .' Until I tell God what I want, I have no way of knowing whether or not I truly want it. Unless I ask God for something, I do not know whether or not it is something for which I ought to ask, and I cannot add, 'But if this is not your will for me, then your will is what I want, not mine.' The prayers of words cannot be eliminated. And I must pray them daily, whether I feel like praying or not. Otherwise, when God has something to say to me, I will not know how to lilsten. Until I have worked through self, I will not be enabled to get out of the way."
-- Madeleine L'Engle
Walking On Water

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Quote for the Day

"A creed should be more akin to poetry than to logic -- a banner to be unfurled or a glad Te Deum, rather than a set of propositions to be debated."
-- George A. Buttrick
The Christian Fact and Modern Doubt

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Quote for the Day

"It is this fear of touching upon the personal which causes the overorganization of social and administrative activity. In order to avoid telling an applicant that we do not wish to admit him to a college we quickly draw up a regulation that bars his entry by establishing an age limit. In order to avoid speaking as man to man to an employee about an error he has committed, a general order is drawn up and quite impersonally delivered to each man. And the regulations multiply. They completely dominate life in the office or the plant where there are no means of communication other than notices."
-- Paul Tournier
Escape from Loneliness

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Prayer then means yearning for the simple presence of God, for a personal understanding of his word, for knowledge of his will and for capacity to hear and obey him."
-- Thomas Merton
Contemplative Prayer

Scripture Passage for the Day

And the word of the LORD came again to Zechariah: 

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.’

“But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the LORD Almighty was very angry.

"‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land was left so
desolate behind them that no one could come or go. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’”

-- Zec 7:8-14 New International Version

Monday, October 15, 2007

Charlie Reese recently had a good commentary in the local paper here (The Sentinel-Record). Here are a few extracts:

How can anyone look at the levels of corruption, both public and private, and say this is a Christian nation? We swim in a sea of lies. Preachers with sixfigure incomes, mansions and private jets are about as un-Christian as an ignorant cannibal in Borneo. Warmongering Christians and Christians who preach hate are naturally contradictions of everything Jesus Christ stood for. Multimilliondollar churches whose shadows fall on the poor are a contradiction of Christianity.

Evangelical Christians all too often act like insurance salesmen. As soon as they sell a convert, they forget about him and move on to the next prospect. There is a great deal more to Christianity than selling conversions, but too often the evangelicals act like the operators of a pyramid scheme. Their message to the new convert is, now that I’ve sold you, you go out and sell others. Mouthing the verbal rituals of conversion do not a Christian make. Nor does writing a check fulfill one’s duty as a Christian.

The last thing Americans have to worry about is Christian influence. It is practically nil in the United States. I imagine all the true Christians in America would fit into one of those 5,000-room hotels in Las Ve gas, where, by the way, you can find thousands of nominal Christians seven days a week. Las Vegas is the capital of hedonism.

One ought to be able to tell a Christian by his behavior, demeanor and conversation, and I don’t mean mouthing slogans like "praise Jesus." I challenge you to see if you can do that. The essence of Christianity is love, humility and compassion.

There hasn’t been much of that around ever since a Roman emperor decided to make Christianity a state religion.

I'm sorry to say that he's pretty well got it right. There's not a lot of the Imitation of Christ in what passes for Christianity around here these days. However, a remnant remains and it is beautiful to encounter.

Quote for the Day

"This is a universe that is not indifferent to your virtue or your vice. It takes sides. You are free to choose, but you are not free to choose the results or the consequences of your choices. They are in hands not your own. And you do not break these laws written into the nature of things; you break yourself on them. and these laws are color-blind, race-blind, and religion-blind. Break them and you get broken."
-- E. Stanley Jones
Christian Maturity

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Quote for the Day

"If Jesus of Nazareth was God become truly man for us, as I believe he was, then we should be able to walk on water, to heal the sick, even to accept the Father's answer to our prayers when it is not the answer that we hope for, when it is NO. Jesus begged in anguish that he be spared the bitter cup, and then humbly added, 'But not as I will, Father; as you will.'"
-- Madeleine L'Engle
Walking on Water

Friday, October 12, 2007

Scripture Passage for the Day

How long, O LORD, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?

Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.

Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.

--Hab 1:2-4
New International Version

Quote for the Day

"Those who believe they believe in God, but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself."
-- Unamuno
Quoted by Madeleine L'Engle
Walking On Water

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Quote for the Day

"It came to me suddenly that evil was, necessarily always more impressive than good. It had to make a show! It had to startle and challenge! It was instability attacking stability. And in the end, I thought, stability will always win. Stability can survive the triteness of Good Fairy Diamond; the flat voice, the rhymed couplet, even the irrelevant vocal statement of 'There's a Winding Road runs down the Hill, To the Olde World Town I love.' All very poor weapons it would seem, and yet these weapons would inevitably prevail. The pantomime would end in the way it always ended. The staircase, and the descending cast in order of seniority, with Good Fairy Diamond, practising the Christian virtue of humility and not seeking to be first (or, in this case, last) but arriving about half-way through the procession, side by side with her late opponent, now seen to be no longer the snarling Demon King breathing fire and brimstone, but just a man dressed up in red tights."
-- "Mark Easterbrook"
Agatha Christie
The Pale Horse

California slated as new home for Missouri Baptist Convention

This headline is hilarious! No, the Missouri Baptist Convention isn't moving west. California is a town in Missouri. (Did you know that, Arnold?)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Scripture Passage for the Day

This is what the LORD says:
“As for the prophets
who lead my people astray,
if one feeds them,
they proclaim ‘peace’;
if he does not,
they prepare to wage war against him.

Therefore night will come over you, without visions,
and darkness, without divination.
The sun will set for the prophets,
and the day will go dark for them.

The seers will be ashamed
and the diviners disgraced.
They will all cover their faces
because there is no answer from God.”

Micah 3:5-7 New International Version

Quote for the Day

"It is only when the heart is unburdened to God with absolute candour and without any hidden mental reservations that that atmosphere of truthfulness and trust is created in which the communing with God serves a real purpose and the answering of prayers becomes possible."
-- Artur Weiser
The Psalms

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Now and again to some lone soul or other God speaks, and there is hanging to be done."
-- Edwin Arlington Robinson
John Brown
Quoted by George A. Buttrick
The Christian Fact and Modern Doubt

Monday, October 08, 2007

Baptists in the kitchen

Martin Marty continues to observe through astute eyes and speak with a prophetic voice. His commentary Baptists in the kitchen puts things in perspective. How do we respond to the questions he asks? (Better yet, how do Patterson, Mohler and their ilk respond?)

I especially appreciate this sentence:

'Back when Southern Baptists were still Baptist, I was invited to Southwestern Seminary, the "largest seminary in the world," and was impressed by its worship, classes and faculty.'

Would that Southern Baptists were still Baptist!

Quote for the Day

This I tell thee, Sam-I-Am,
I cannot stand thee, Reverend Sam;
I hate thy sophistry and sham,
Thy pulpit pounding blam, blam, blam.
I will not listen to the, bloat!
I will not listen in my coat!
Dear Reverend Sam-thou dreary rote-
Feed all thy sermons to thy goat
I can digest green eggs and ham
But never thee, good Sam-I-Am.

"How I long for content that screams from softer words instead of vice versa."

-- Eutychus
Christianity Today

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Quote for the Day

"The charismatic person is one who, by his very being, will be God's instrument in calling forth gifts. The person who is having the time ofhis life doing what he is doing has a way of calling forth the deeps of another. Such a person is himself Good News. He is the embodiment of the freedom of the new humanity. Verbal proclamation of the Good News becomes believable. The person who exercises his own gift in freedom can allow the Holy Spirit to do in others what He wants to do."
-- Gordon Cosby,
"The Calling Forth of the Charisma" (a sermon)
Quoted by Elizabeth O'Connor
Eighth Day of creation

Friday, October 05, 2007

Quote for the Day

"The whole problem of our time is the problem of love: How are we going to recover the ability to love ourselves and to love one another? The reaon why we hate one another and fear one another is that we secretly or openly hate and fear our own selves, and we hate ourselves because the depths of our being are a chaos of frustration and spiritual misery. Lonely and helpless, we cannot be at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we cannot be at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God."
-- Thomas Merton
The Living Bread

Thursday, October 04, 2007


We hear the phrase "pro-life" a lot from radical anti-abortion activists. Many are not truly pro-life since they don't value the fetus conceived by rape or incest as they do others. They are not truly pro-life since they are willing to execute criminals -- their lives don't count. They are not truly pro-life since they advocate war -- lives of "enemies" don't count.

Bush has moved toward a truly pro-death stance with his veto of the SCHIP bill. He is willing to spend billions for war, but the cost of health insurance for those who are not wealthy (or don't have taxpayer funded health care, as he does) is too expensive.

If one thinks that one can afford to kill but can't afford health care to save lives, then one is truly PRO-DEATH!

Quote for the Day

"Faith is that which, knowing the Lord's will, goes and does it; or, not knowing it, stands and waits."
-- George MacDonald
An Anthology, C. S. Lewis, Ed.

In a nutshell

Larry Wilson says it as concisely as possible:

"The church in the United States seems more concerned with success than faithfulness."

He discusses the problem in more detail in Preachers Are What's Wrong With the World at EthicsDaily.com

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Quote for the Day

"The world judges religion not by what the Bible says, but by how Christians live. Christians are the Bible which sinners read. These are the epistles to be read of all men."

-- E. M. Bounds
The Essentials of Prayer

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Quote for the Day

"But I thought you believed in miracles," broke out the secretary.

"Yes," answered Father Brown, "I believe in miracles. I believe in man-eating tigers, but I don't see them running about everywhere. If I want any miracles, I know where to get them."

-- G. K. Chesterton
The Miracle of Moon Crescent in The Father Brown Stories

Monday, October 01, 2007

Quote for the Day

"'Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be given to you,' is a statement of fact, not a prescription for success."

-- Someone