Today’s Quote 8/31/07

George Macdonald
Do you think that the work God gives us to do is never easy?  Jesus says that His yoke is easy, His burden is light.  People sometimes refuse to do God’s work just because it is easy.  This is sometimes because they cannot believe that easy work is His work; but there may be a very bad pride in it…  Some, again, accept it with half a heart and do it with half a hand.  But however easy any work may be, it cannot be well done without taking thought about it.  And such people, instead of taking thought about their work, generally take thought about the morrow — in which no work can be done, any more than in yesterday.

The thrill of a completely unselfish act

This morning I was listening to BBC and heard an interview with a man who got some press in the New York Times Magazine some time ago for his radical practice of philanthropy. He not only has given away most of his wealth, maintaining only enough for a modest living and to satisfy his own family that they would not be put out on the street – he also gave away a kidney. After all, most of us have one more than we need and according to this man’s calculation of the worth of others there is a moral demand that we give up (freely) that which we do not need.

He was asked why he was so radical in his giving. His response was that it gives him “morgasms,” the thrill of a fully moral act. This is the joy, the thrill, of doing the completely selfless, the completely good. It is doing the moral thing for the thrill of the fully unselfish act. In a strange twist, the most unselfish things we do are the only way to true joy. Though I like this word I would like to use on a regular basis, but I don’t think Christians could take it.

 Sounds like CS Lewis, and Jesus, to me.

Selective mutism

The killer at VA Tech was diagnosed with selective mutism in high school. In certain situations he was supposedly unable to communicate, like public speaking. Sounds like some Christians suffer from selective mutism, too – they are “unable” to speak for Christ in any kind of social setting. It’s not that we are by temperament quiet – anything but. We still haven’t settled the issue that men cannot believe that which they have not heard, and they cannot hear unless someone tell them.

Today’s Quote 8/27/07

G. K. Chesterton

A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life.  Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged.  They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead.  For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough… It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again,” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again,” to the moon.  It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike: it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.  It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

It’s good to have Mother Teresa’s company

Here are a few words from the recent Time article on Mother Teresa:

On Dec. 11, 1979, Mother Teresa, the “Saint of the Gutters,” went to Oslo. Dressed in her signature blue-bordered sari and shod in sandals despite below-zero temperatures, the former Agnes Bojaxhiu received that ultimate worldly accolade, the Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptance lecture, Teresa, whose Missionaries of Charity had grown from a one-woman folly in Calcutta in 1948 into a global beacon of self-abnegating care, delivered the kind of message the world had come to expect from her. “It is not enough for us to say, ‘I love God, but I do not love my neighbor,'” she said, since in dying on the Cross, God had “[made] himself the hungry one — the naked one — the homeless one.” Jesus’ hunger, she said, is what “you and I must find” and alleviate. She condemned abortion and bemoaned youthful drug addiction in the West. Finally, she suggested that the upcoming Christmas holiday should remind the world “that radiating joy is real” because Christ is everywhere — “Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor we meet, Christ in the smile we give and in the smile that we receive.”  Yet less than three months earlier, in a letter to a spiritual confidant, the Rev. Michael van der Peet, that is only now being made public, she wrote with weary familiarity of a different Christ, an absent one. “Jesus has a very special love for you,” she assured Van der Peet. “[But] as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, — Listen and do not hear — the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak … I want you to pray for me — that I let Him have [a] free hand.”

There are a couple of things interesting about this communication. One, it demonstrates that we all continue to be human in our relationship with God – and that means there is always an incompleteness, a longing not yet fulfilled, a struggle not yet over, a frustration not yet erased. I keep wondering when the church will get past trying to cover up this truth in all of its campaigns to finally get on top of it all and get all that is coming to us. All the dental work in the world displayed on the front cover of the latest Christian best seller (thank you, Rick Warren, for not putting your picture on the front cover of The Purpose Driven Life and for having a bit of a weight issue – if you ever “get thin for Jesus” I am going to give up) is not going to cover up the real truth – the righteous are scarcely saved.

The second thing I note is that this correspondence had to be covered up for a long time. It might get in the way of necessary impressions we should have or that others think we should have. The soul eats truth. When truth is hidden, we starve. Somehow I am strangely comforted and challenged to move ahead by the story of Mother Teresa’s struggle. There might be a place for me at the table.

Joe Craveman

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Community Christian Church is doing an interesting series you might want to check out. Go here.  Below is their announcment.

Meet Joe Craveman!  People call him the “Craveman” because he’s looking to satisfy his soul cravings. No, he’s not a caveman… he’s a Craveman! And Joe is out there searching, interacting and talking to people trying to figure out what this thing called life is all about.   Joe has a blog you can check out at JoeCraveman.com.  He just recently posted his first weblog – check it out.

Craveman is gaining huge popularity.  One of his videos is getting tons of hits in just a few days (over 14,000!) on YouTube and was recently featured in the people and blogs category.  Check out Craveman on YouTube.

If you just want to get to know Joe, start HERE.   But Joe is an interesting guy who is asking  serious questions about these real life issues:

MEANING:  How can I find answers to my most burning questions?
LOVE: Where can I find intimacy, not just with people, but with something greater… like God?
DESTINY:  What’s my destiny… purpose??
All of us will be following Joe’s search and adventures for the next couple months as we start a new series at Community Christian Church on September 15th & 16th called Soul Cravings:  The Evolution of the Soul.  Join me as we follow the Adventures of Joe Craveman and spread the word!

This is a strange turn!

Interestingly enough I have been asked by a local Christian school to teach Bible to senior highers. This will be a stretching experience because at the same time I will be teaching Bible at a nearby Christian college as well as my usual preaching. I am looking forward to the experience and the challenge it provides. I am blessed to be able to handle God’s Word in these contexts and with these different types of students.

This is the same Christian school at which my wife teaches (first and second grade). I have promised that I wouldn’t do anything to get her fired. I don’t think she is convinced!!!! I don’t think I am either.