{receive & enter}

thoughts on the way

“For the typical Protestant church member middle class commitments to family, career, and standard of living are so strong that the church commitment is largely instrumental to them and contingent on whether the church appears to serve them. As a result, many local churches tend to become instruments for achieving middle class interests, whether or not these interests can be defended in New Testament terms.”

—   Dean Hoge via Roger Olson in The Most Pernicious and Pervasive Heresy (within American Christianity)

(Source: patheos.com)

“At the root of the Dalai Lama’s understanding of the good life is a profoundly illiberal understanding of humanity. Where the modern liberal project is based on the Lockean and Hobbesian lie that everything rests on the autonomous individual, the Tibetan gave us a vision of humanity existing in families and in community with one another. He told the story of how his illiterate mother carried him on her back while she toiled in the fields and how he learned compassion through a deep and nearly constant communion with her. A good life within the Tao sometimes requires us to carry others and sometimes to be carried as we attempt to make our way on this journey. We are never really autonomous and self-sustaining individuals”

“Community is the garden space where dirt gets underneath our fingernails, as we learn how to love well. It is the great exposure of those inner inclinations towards “selfish ambition and vain conceit”. In our commitment to a together-life we exercise muscles that we want to avoid using, that make us more nimble for the long haul of missional living. Community is more than “belonging” it is about “becoming” and meeting the best and worst in ourselves. It is a profound instrument that acts like a scalpel and warm cup of tea at the same time. Neutralization takes places in our missional endeavors when community is an addendum or afterthought.”

“For the 47 million people enrolled in the food assistance benefit program, the average monthly household income is just $744. Last November, when $4 billion of stimulus funding for SNAP ended, all recipients were hit with an average reduction in benefits of roughly $38 per month. Now, the new farm bill will add a further average cut of $90 per month for some 1.7 million people”

“Buying fair-trade coffee, boycotting Gap jeans, and eating only organic vegetarian foods can be important and valuable decisions. They cost time, money, comfort, and an established worldview. But they cannot be the end of our response to the deeply systemic and complex issues that allow human suffering to persist the world over. They don’t require risk.”

“The Father desires that those whom the Son calls to be his disciples be made, through the work of the Holy Spirit, unembarrassed lovers of Jesus.”

“the ministry is a playground of manipulative games derived from distrust and envy that too often produces lives of destructive self-hate. If you do not love Jesus, you will find it almost impossible to survive your calling.”

“I suspect I am more ready to believe in Jesus than I am to love him.”

“the black church is the “final citadel for our Africanisms,” maintaining that our churches should not only respect, but also preserve and promote, the forms of praise and preaching typically identified with black Pentecostals (and many other black churches). But it’s the shouting and glory-rich emotionalism that becomes exhausting, especially when folks have shouted but then leave the service to return to broken marriages, impoverished communities, domestic abuse, drug use, promiscuity, frivolous consumerism, etc. No change in the sanctified life makes getting our praise on nothing more than Marx’s opiate for the people—a drug that leaves you addicted and searching for the next, and newer, high.”

“I’m not saying there is no such thing as bad decisions, but we all make bad decisions and only some of us have to face the full force of their consequences.”