Basic Needs

March 26, 2010

“We should remain within the limits imposed by our basic needs… For once we are carried a little beyond these limits in our desire for the pleasures of life, there is then no criterion by which to check our onward movement…”

Source: Nilus of Ancyra

Spirit Filled Economy

March 25, 2010

The early Christians did not share their resources out of obligation, guilt or in obedience to a new rule called “equality.” They shared their goods out of a tremendous experience of joy and spontaneous offering. They had experienced the Holy Spirit in their midst, and their response was to share everything they had….
Behaving differently about money is a visible consequence of the Spirit’s presence—a very hard word for people who would rather stay in the upper room with the Spirit and never come down in the street to live out the new economy that the Spirit has created.

Source: The Call to Conversion by Jim Wallis

There comes a time when we want to quit and take up the next thing, but it is important to stay with the discipline through the periods when we lose interest.

This is important to note, because nothing warrants the name discipline which does not evoke resistance, which means an opposing force comes into action. It is a force which has the potential of sweeping out of sight any good intentions. This is another time to name the enemy and define the goal.  If the discipline is real there will be a goal, for disciplines should not exist for their own sake. Their only value is that they enable us to get to the place where we want to go. They are quite useless if they are not related to our goals. It is, of course, equally foolish to have goals and no disciplines. The goal we have been speaking of here is the one of getting our live rooted in God, so that they are not blown and tossed about by every wind.

Source: Journey Inward, Journey Outward by Elizabeth O’Conner

Belonging to you

March 17, 2010

Being part of a church is saying to a specific group of people that I am willing to be with you. I am willing to belong to you, I am willing to be the people of  God with you. This is never a tentative commitment.

Engagement with others in depth is always difficult within the church, which is probably why so few try it and why there is so little genuine Christian community in the world.  In other groupings we choose those we want to be close to and those whom we want to hold at a distance, which means that any relationship in depth is on the basis of human affinity and the standards set for friendship.  The church is the only place where this does not happen. A person is not received into the membership of the church because she is a certain type or because he has arrived at a certain place in life, but because he is following Christ. We do not do the calling. Christ does the calling, and this very threatening because the people he calls are the people with whom we are to have intimate belonging. This gives us a strange assortment of people to be with.

Source: Journey Inward, Journey Outward by Elizabeth O’Conner

Invitation

March 16, 2010

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles
for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,
or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air
as they strive
melodiously
not for your sake
and not for mine
and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude—
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,
do not walk by
 without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.
It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant,
when he wrote:
You must change your life.
Source: Red Bird: Poems, by Mary Oliver

War & Simplicity

March 10, 2010

“Wars are generally fought for material things; they’re not fought over ideals.  After we get into them, we are told we are fighting for ideals.  We are fighting for oil and tin and rubber and markets, and as long as we insist on a standard of life that is so high above all the rest of the world, we’re going to have to pay for our standard of living with a lot of blood.   I think we ought to re-examine the fact that Jesus was a pauper, and we should be committing ourselves to a very humble, simple way of life.” 

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Source: Clarence Jordan, Koinonia Community

The assumption of spirituality is that always God is doing something before I know it.  So the task is not to get God to do something I think needs to be done, but to become aware of what God is doing so that I can respond to it and participate and take delight in it.

Source: The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson