"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

Friday, November 30, 2007

Quote for the Day

"If there were not strict limits to the potency of prayer in the 'natural order' man would probably commit suicide on the sword of his own overweening power, life would be victimized by unthinkable chaos, and character would fester in lack of the freedom and brave occasion which are granted only in an orderly world."
-- George A. Buttrick
The Christian Fact and Modern Doubt

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Quote for the Day

"His command to us is not 'Make yourself perfect,' but 'Be made' perfect. The love, even for our enemies, which Jesus commands is not our work but his work in us. That makes all the difference."
-- Thomas H. Green, S.J.
When the Well Runs Dry

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Quote for the Day

"I had to learn to seek the God of consolations and not the consolations of God."
-- Teresa of Avila quoted by Thomas H. Green, S.J. in
When the Well Runs Dry

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Quote for the Day

Christians have given Christianity a bad name. They have let their lights flicker and grow dim. They have confused piosity with piety smugness with joy."
-- Madeleine L'Engle
Walking on Water

Monday, November 26, 2007

Quote for the Day

"More than guided missiles, all the world needs guided men."
-- Helen Steiner Rice quoted in SoJo Mail

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Venomous as Vipers and Dumb as Dodos

The following letter was in the Letters to the editor of my local paper:

Dear editor:

A friend recently sent me a photo from the Internet that shows Sen. Obama not saluting during the National Anthem. It is my understanding that he is a devout Muslim and that he refused to be sworn in on the Holy Bible – a 200-year old tradition – when he became a senator for his state. Instead, he took his oath of office on the Koran, the Islamic bible.

Now he is a frontrunner for the highest office in the land and I’m wondering, should he win the presidency, will he be allowed to be sworn in on that document as well? If he is, then our country will have reached an all-time low. He will not be a president who will uphold our Constitution, our history, nor our way of life. He will defend his own Islamic principles and lead the United States into accepting them as well, or he will not be a true Muslim.

If that awful scenario comes true, then all of our soldiers would have died for nothing. The brave people of Sept. 11 would become so much fodder under the heels of Obama. With all the prophecies of the Christian Bible coming true, it may very well be that Sen. Obama could be the "Beast" of the Book of Revelation!

Far fetched, you say? Look at the way our country is heading. Congress and other political heads are running scared by declaring God is not important in the life of this great country. They don’t want to offend the Muslims moving here! President Ronald Reagan said it best: "If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under."

The Rev. Donald Cunningham Hot Springs

Below is the letter I have written to the editor in response:

The Rev. Donald Cunningham should check his facts before writing to the editor. A quick check of published records would have revealed that a) Sen. Obama is a Christian b) the "photo from the Internet" was actually taken during the national anthem (saluting is not the norm during the national anthem) and c) Obama did not take the oath of office on the Koran.

Jesus instructed his followers to be "wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Mt. 10:16) Too often we tend rather to be "venomous as vipers and dumb as dodos." Rev. Cunningham's letter is an example of this tendency. Unscrupulous political power mongers have taken advantage of our gullibility to propagate untruths, sow fear and elicit support for their chosen candidates. As "sheep in the midst of wolves" (Mt. 10:16), we must not allow ourselves to be misled and manipulated.

A suggestion to Rev. Cunningham: When you attach the title Rev. to your name you proclaim yourself to be an "ambassador for Christ" (2 Cor. 5:20). You are called to be His representative. "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect . . ." (1 Pet 3:15). Be a testimony of hope. Leave the fear mongering to representatives of someone other than Christ. During this election season there will be an abundance of slander and fear tactics provided. However, remember, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (1 Jn 4:18) Do not succumb to those sowing fear. Rather, "let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Mt 5:16)

A suggestion to the editorial staff of the Sentinel-Record: Continue your excellent job of providing a platform for the expression of diverse opinions. However, you should develop a policy for providing a disclaimer to accompany letters to the editor and opinion pieces when they present factual errors or falsehoods. This should not be an attack on the views presented but a warning that certain factual inaccuracies are included in the presentation of the writer's position. You have better resources to check facts than the average reader. A responsible press has the obligation to enable readers to make judgments based upon accurate facts and not half-truths and distortions.

As we persevere through the election mania, let us all strive to be "wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

I grieve for truth in this world when the Shepherds of the Flocks join forces, wittingly or unwittingly, with the wolves.

Quote for the Day

"There are two kinds of fools in the world: damned fools and what St. Paul calls 'fools for Christ's sake.'"
-- Frederick Buechner
Wishful Thinking
quoted in Listening to your Life

Friday, November 23, 2007

Quote for the Day

"What really hinders our growth is that we don't really
want badly enough to discover God in our lives."
-- Thomas H. Green, S.J.
When the Well Runs Dry

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Quote for the Day

". . . Whoever you are, the land to which God has brought you is not like the land of Egypt from which you came out. You can no longer live here as you lived there. Your old life and your former ways are crucified now, and you must not seek to live any more for our own gratification, but give up your own judgment into the hands of a wise director, and sacrifice our pleasures and comforts for the love of God and Give the money you no longer spend on those things, to the poor.

"Above all, eat your daily Bread without which you cannot live, and come to know Christ Whose Life feeds you in the Host, and He will give you a taste of joys and delights that transcend anything you have ever experienced before, and which will make the transition easy."
-- Thomas Merton
The Seven Story Mountain

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Meditation and contemplation are not prayer, they are but (normally) a necessary preliminary to prayer: They are the 'getting to know' the Lord which makes prayer possible. Prayer is the loving that flows from a deeper and deeper knowing."
-- Thomas H. Green, S.J.
When the Well Runs Dry

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Quote for the Day

"When we offer up competing prayers in a warfare situation, we are hoping that the Ruler of the Universe takes sides. And that means that one of us is asking God to do the wrong thing."
-- Richard Mouw quoted in Ethics Daily newsletter

Monday, November 19, 2007

Quote for the Day

"It is for saints to lead the way among men by holy influence: they are not to be the tail, to be dragged hither and thither by others. We must not yield to the spirit of the age, but compel the age to do homage to Christ."
-- Charles H. Spurgeon
Faith's Checkbook

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Quote for the Day

"The principal part of faith is patience."
-- Unknown quoted by Madeleine L'Engle
Walking on Water

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Most successes are unhappy. That's why they are successes--they have to reassure themselves about themselves by achieving something that the world will notice. . . . The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves that they don't give a damn."

-- Anthony Browne in Remembered Death
by Agatha Christie

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quote for the Day

". . . devotion, as we have seen, is not the
goal of a good prayer life -- it is a means to the growth of the virtues. If the virtues are alive and flourishing in us, even in the absence of devotion or consolation, then our prayer life is healthy despite the dryness."
-- Thomas H. Green, S.J.
When the Well Runs Dry

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day Creates a Ministry Dilemma

Ruth Rosell has a very important column contribution at Ethics Daily. Entitled
Veterans Day Creates a Ministry Dilemma, it raises an issue all Christian leaders must face or be untrue to their calling. Ruth's response is a very positive one.

Thank you.

Quote for the Day

"God must be very great to have created a world which carries so many arguments against his existence."
-- Unknown quoted by Madeleine L'Engle in
Walking On Water

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Quote for the Day

"It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning, they shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid general applause from all the wits, who believe that it is a joke."
-- Kierkegaard
Either/Or, Vol. I

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Quote for the Day

"People often talk about their fear that God's will may break them, that what he asks is too hard for them to bear. And yet the clay is never broken by anything the potter may do to it -- unless the clay has become hard and rigid."
-- Thomas H. Green, S.J.
When the Well Runs Dry

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Judgement has been rendered once and for all: 'The Light came into the world, and the world did not receive it.' There is no use trying again. And if you see the powers of the world so well disposed, when you see the state, money, cities accepting your word, it is because your word, whether you are only a man of good will or an evangelist, has become false. For it is only to the extent that you are a traitor that the world can put up with you."
-- Jacques Ellul
The Meaning of the City

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Jesus instructed us to be 'wise as
serpents and gentle as doves.' We have chosen, rather, to be venomous as vipers and dumb as dodos."
-- Someone

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Quote for the Day

" . . . but even a beginner can sense that there is something wrong when he professes to follow a crucified Lord and yet is discouraged by a few days of dryness.'
-- Thomas H. Green, S.J.
When the Well Runs Dry

Monday, November 05, 2007

Quote for the Day

"Theology is the study of God and his ways. For all we know, dung beetles may study man and his ways and call it humanology. If so, we would probably be more touched and amused than irritated. One hopes that God feels likewise."

-- Frederick Buechner
Wishful Thinking quoted in Listening to Your Life

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Criswell’s cupids, Roman gods make waves at legendary auction house

Associated Baptist Press carries this article:
Criswell’s cupids, Roman gods make waves at legendary auction house

Here is an excerpt from the article:
Scantily clad nymphs attended by flower-bearing maidens. Strapping young gallants gently bending over lovers’ bosoms. Frolicking cupids surrounded by doves and gilt-edged arrows.

The mythological figurines are not exactly the kind of art you’d expect a legendary Baptist pastor to collect.

But at least one did -- W.A. Criswell. And his collection of 19th century Meissen porcelain was grand enough to earn an estimated half a million dollars Oct. 25 at Christie’s art auction house in New York City.

Criswell, the renowned pastor who led First Baptist Church in Dallas for more than 50 years, first developed an interest in Meissen during a post-World War II mission visit to Germany. For decades after that trip, Criswell and his wife, Betty, studied and collected the figurines, Schneeballen, and flower-applied serving and toilette sets made in the region.

The culmination of the Texan’s collecting years comprised the 200-plus lots expected to take in more than $500,000 at auction. Proceeds will benefit the W.A. Criswell Foundation and Criswell College, the Dallas-based college he founded in 1971.

Christie’s international head Jody Wilkie described the collection as “fabulous.”

These verses came to mind as I read this article:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
NIV Mt. 19:23, 24

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
NIV Mt. 6:24

For the love of
money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
NIV 1 Ti 6:10

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
NIV 2 Ti 3:2-5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
NIV Heb 13:5

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
NIV 1 Pe 5:2, 3

We do not need to go so far as the joke about the deacon who prayed, "Lord, if you'll keep our pastor humble, we'll keep him poor." However, there is something inconsistent with one, who claims to be leading others to follow a Master who had no place even to lay his head, amassing such wealth. Perhaps Criswell's estate is belatedly trying to obey the command of Jesus to another rich young ruler:
“You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (NIV Lk 18:22) However, the wealth is not going to help the poor, but to glorify the giver.

May I quote again the Quote for the Day for 31 October 2007:

"Success is one of the dirtiest temptations of the devil."
-- Madeleine L'Engle
Walking on Water
And also the quote heading this blog:

"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
May God deliver us, one and all.

Quote for the Day

"Jesus was not a theologian. He was God who told stories."
-- Unknown
quoted by Madeleine L'Engle
Walking on Water

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Quote for the Day

"I have often thought that if I were God I would never tolerate as weedy a garden as I myself am. But then I thank the Lord that he is God and not I!"
-- Thomas H. Green, S.J. When the Well Runs Dry

Friday, November 02, 2007

Quote for the Day

"We desperately need the foolishness of God."
-- Madeleine L'Engle
A Circle of Quiet

Thursday, November 01, 2007