"When you begin to think outside the box, you often become some other "leaders" lousy follower. That usually costs something" (Andy Rayner)

"Our guardian angels are bored." (Mike Foster)

It's where I feel I'm at these days. “In the second half of life, it is good just to be a part of the general dance. We do not have to stand out, make defining moves, or be better than anyone else on the dance floor. Life is more participatory than assertive, and there is no need for strong or further self-definition” (Falling Upward. Richard Rohr.120).

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

We Are All Bastards Anyway

"When an atheist asked the civil rights activist and Baptist minister Will Campbell to define Christianity in ten words or less, he replied, “We’re all bastards, but God loves us anyway.”"

(Michael Frost)

Healing.... More Healing

"A few years back I was the featured speaker at the Indiana Governor’s Prayer Breakfast. I found myself sitting with the then youngest (thirty-six years old) governor in the country, Evan Bayh. He’s also a very devout Christian. He turned to me and said, “Brennan, you’re in just about every nook and cranny of the United States. You’re in every college and university, from Campus Crusade to Young Life, and in an incredible number of churches as well. What do you hear the Spirit of God saying to the American church?”I said, “Well, Governor Bayh, if there’s one thing I hear with growing clarity, it’s that God is calling each and every Christian to personally participate in the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”

Healing is a response to a crisis in the life of another person. It’s enough of a response, a satisfactory response to a crisis in the life of another."

( Brennan Manning. The Furious Longing Of God)

The Past Can Be A Horrid Place

You know its taken me 48 years to realize some people, so many, have had horror stories in their lives. 

""You will come for lunch," my aunt said, saving me from having to admit that I had jo place I wished to be taken and that this visit to seattle, the last I would ever make in my life, made me feel like that moment when the last leaf falls from a naked tree. Now in every sense I was disconnected from a horrid oast and hoped only to be blown to far places where even the memories of this town would fade."

(Moritz Thomsen. The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey On Two Rivers)

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Idolatry Of Ideas

"Until the love of God that knows no boundary, limit, or breaking point is internalized through personal decision; until the furious longing of God seizes the imagination; until the heart is conjoined to the mind through sheer grace, nothing happens. The idolatry of ideas has left me puffed up, narrow-minded, and intolerant of any idea that does not coincide with mine. The wild, unrestricted love of God is not simply an inspiring idea. When it imposes itself on mind and heart with the stark reality of ontological truth, it determines why and at what time you get up in the morning, how you pass your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, and who you hang with; it affects what breaks your heart, what amazes you, and what makes your heart happy. The revolutionary thinking that God loves me as I am and not as I should be requires radical rethinking and profound emotional readjustment. Small wonder that the late spiritual giant Basil Hume of London, England, claimed that Christians find it easier to believe that God exists than that God loves them."

(The Furious Longing Of God. Brennan Manning)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

I Am Especially Fond Of You...

"“Willie, he was there! Oh, was he there! Wait till I tell you. You’ll never believe it. Man, I’m not sure I do either.” Mack stopped, lost in his memories for a moment. “Oh, yeah,” he said at last. “He told me to tell you something.”“What? Me?” Mack watched as concern and doubt traded places on Willie’s face. “So, what did he say?” Again he leaned forward. Mack paused, grasping for the words. “He said, ‘Tell Willie that I’m especially fond of him.’“ Mack stopped and watched his friend’s face and jaw tighten and puddles of tears fill his eyes. His lips and chin quivered and Mack knew his friend was fighting hard for control. “I gotta go,” he whispered hoarsely. “You’ll have to tell me all about it later.” And with that Willie simply turned and left the room, leaving Mack to wonder, and remember."

(The Shack. William P. Young)

Grandiose People Cannot Create Peace

"In the secular sphere, it has manufactured artificial ledgers of perfection that have clearly changed from age to age, class to class, and culture to culture. Perfectionism discourages honest self-knowledge and basic humility, which are foundational to spiritual and psychological growth. It has made basic social tranquility a largely unachievable goal. Grandiose people cannot create peace."
Richard Rohr

Most Leadership gurus we are trying to emulate here are "Grandiose", in my opinion. 

I can't Be Perfect - Priest

Priest..... nailed it. 

"On the day of my first vows in 1962, the preacher glared at us earnest and innocent novices and quoted the line, "Thou shalt be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect!" (Matthew 5:48). Most of the honest guys left within the first few years of seminary when they could not achieve this supposed perfection. That's sad because I think a lot of them would have been really good friars and priests, precisely because they wereso human, humble, and honest.
Many people give up on the spiritual life or religion when they see they cannot be perfect. They end up practical agnostics or atheists, because they refuse to be hypocrites. This is classic all-or-nothing thinking, characteristic of addicts. Many formal believers keep up the forms and the words, going to church and pretending to believe; but there is no longer the inner desire, love, joy, or expectation that is usually visible in people on the path of union.

Richard Rohr

My Dreams, Visions and Aspirations Died

"For me, everything is about Jesus and Father and the Holy Spirit, and relationships, and life is an adventure of faith lived one day at a time.  Any aspirations, visions and dreams died a long time ago and I have absolutely no interest in resurrecting them (they would stink by now anyway).  I have finally figured out that I have nothing to lose by living a life of faith."

(Paul Young)

Seeing God

"Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God, But only he who sees takes off his shoes; The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries."

~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Becoming a Child Again.

"I have to tell you that I’ve never been around another adult who lives life with such simplicity and joy. Somehow he has become a child again. Or maybe more accurately, he’s become the child he never was allowed to be ........"

( The Shack. William P. Young)

Loving Largely

"Well he’s a human being that continues through a process of change, like the rest of us. Only he welcomes it while I tend to resist it. I have noticed that he loves larger than most, is quick to forgive, and even quicker to ask for forgiveness."

( The Shack. William P. Young)

Be my Life........

“Actually, I don’t think I’m going to need this anymore,” he said. “Can you keep it for me? All my best treasures are now hidden in you anyway. I want you to be my life.”  ~ Mackenzie

(The Shack. William P. Young)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Changed By Another World

“A man who has been in another world does not come back unchanged.”

~ C.S. Lewis

Friday, July 22, 2016

Our Scars Move Us Forward

"When we decide to act, it is natural that unexpected conflict should arise. It is natural that we will be wounded as a result of such conflict. Wounds heal: they stay on as scars, and that is blessing. Such scars stay with us for the rest of our lives, and are of great help to us. If at some point -for whatever reason -our desire to return to the past is strong, we have only to look at our scars. Scars are the marks of handcuffs, and remind us of the horrors of prison -and with that reminder we move forward again.”

(Paulo Coelho, Maktub)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Give Up Religion and you Might Find God.

"Many people begin coming to God once they stop being religious, because there is only one master of the human heart – Jesus Christ, not religion."

~ Oswald Chambers

Easy Sacrifice. Give up What We Don't Have

Saint Francis of Assisi was a very popular young man when he decided to leave it all behind and do his life's work. Saint Clare was a beautiful young woman when she took her vow of chastity. Saint Raimundo Lull knew the great intellectuals of his time when he went off into the desert.

The spiritual quest is, above all, a challenge. Whoever uses it to flee from his problems will not go very far.
It does no good for someone who cannot make friends to retire from the world. It accomplishes nothing to take a vow of poverty if you are already unable to earn a living. And it makes no sense to become humble if one is already a coward. It is one thing to have something and give it up. It is another not to have something and to condemn those who have."

( Paulo Coelho: Maktub)

To Hell With Answers - The Questions Change

"In a bar in a remote village in Spain , close to the city of Olite , there is a sign placed there by the owner. “Just as I succeeded in finding all the answers, all the questions changed.”

The master says: “We are always concerned with finding answers. We feel that answers are important to understand what life means. “It is more important to live fully, and allow time to reveal to us the secrets of our existence. If we are too concerned with making sense of life, we prevent nature from acting, and we become unable to read God's signs.”

( Paulo Coelho : Maktub)

Jump Around - Please

"If you are alive, you have to shake your arms, jump around, make noise, laugh and talk to people. Because life is exactly the opposite of death. To die is to remain forever in the same position. If you are too quiet, you are not living.”

(Paulo Coelho: Maktub)

Does What I Do Matter?

"Let me ask you something. Is what I do back home important?
Does it matter?
I really don’t do much other than working and caring for my family and friends . . . “

Sarayu interrupted him. “Mack, if anything matters then everything matters.
Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen,

(The Shack. William P. Young)

Christian Imperfection - The Abuse of Power

"The spirituality of imperfection is, quite simply, the Gospel. However, in the fourth century, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. From that time on, the spirituality of imperfection--Jesus' liberating message--became a subtext, a minority position. Once you align with imperial thinking, spirituality quickly transmutes in many forms into a spirituality of supposed perfection--achievement, accomplishment, performance, attainment, and willpower--because that is how empires are built and maintained.

As the Church became aligned with power, many went off to the deserts in Syria and Egypt, seeking a lifestyle congruent with Jesus' teachings. But mainline Christianity has by and large continued the pattern of protecting and preserving itself through power. Without even realizing it, we have foundationally compromised the core good news. It has, in fact, become bad news because no one can honestly succeed all the time."

(Richard Rohr)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Too Nice Christian

“You taught me to be nice, so nice that now I am so full of niceness, I have no sense of right and wrong, no outrage, no passion.”

~ Garrison Keillor

Is Everything Important

"Let me ask you something. Is what I do back home important? Does it matter? I really don’t do much other than working and caring for my family and friends . . . “ Sarayu interrupted him. “Mack, if anything matters then everything matters."

(The Shack. William P. Young)

Is Everything Important

"Let me ask you something. Is what I do back home important? Does it matter? I really don’t do much other than working and caring for my family and friends . . . “ Sarayu interrupted him. “Mack, if anything matters then everything matters."

(The Shack. William P. Young)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Half Alive in America

"I didn't want to go back to the United States where for most of my life, it now seemed apparent, I had been only half-alive."

(Moritz Thomsen. The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey On Two Rivers)

I Can Go Home - Most Can't

"Now, after three years in the Peace Corps, my father's letter had illuminated my real position and Ecuador; I was engaged in the ultimate bourgeois gesture.  I had come to live for a time in a poor village....

When things got too rough: if I got sick or the food became unbearable or if the town for some reason or another should you erupt into drunken violence or if, even, the ambient of the town became too boring, I could simply jump in a canoe for Esmeraldas and catch a bus to Quito. I was the only one in town who could solve his problems by simply going to Quito."

(Moritz Thomsen. The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey On Two Rivers)


"... in some degree we are all actors and are playing the part that we feel best expresses our essence...."

(Moritz Thomsen. The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey On Two Rivers)

Eating As A Poor Man

"I was eating pretty much like a poor man eats, or trying to - forced to - and it had begun to affect my emotional stability."

( Moritz Thomsen. The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey On Two Rivers)

Jesus Was Never Upset With Sinners

"That is why Jesus criticizes hypocrisy more than anything else. Jesus is never upset with sinners, but only with people who pretend they are not sinners. Check this out for yourself. This is surprising and even shocking! Why is it that this clear pattern is seldom pointed out in sermons? It might have to do with the fact that low-level religion can't see its own shadow and projects it elsewhere. Thus the high degree of morally judgmental people among most religious groups, which allows them to remain untouched in their self-sufficiency, militarism, and materialism.

This is the classic example of dealing with the symptom instead of the cause. We cannot really get rid of the shadow; we can only expose its game--which is, in great part, to get rid of its effects."

Richard Rohr

Prostitutes and Drunkards Will Go In Before Religious Elders.

"This is why Jesus says that prostitutes, drunkards, and tax collectors are getting into the kingdom of God before the chief priests and religious elders (see Matthew 21:31). This is supposed to blow your socks off.

Our success-driven culture scorns all failure, powerlessness, and any form of poverty. Yet Jesus begins his Sermon on the Mount by praising "the poor in spirit" (Matthew 5:3)! Just that should tell us how thoroughly we have missed the point of the Gospel."

( Richard Rohr )

My Prayers Challenge the Institutions, The Church and The World.

Most religion is highly "legitimating religion." It is used for social control and public order both by the powers that be and by people who want to be in control. This limited use of religion has allowed much of Christian history to participate in a toxic and unjust environment--just as long as we have "a personal relationship with Jesus." .....

If Jesus is indeed "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42), we must not, we cannot, continue to think of salvation as merely a private matter. We are wasting our time trying to convert individuals without also challenging corporate sin and institutionalized evil.
Otherwise, we send momentarily changed people back into the world; now they think they are godly, but they are the opposite of godly, and the disguise is perfect....

Politicians normally prefer an unaware and superficial populace....

If we think we can say our private prayers and still genuflect before the self-perpetuating, unjust systems of this world, our conversion will not go very deep or last very long. There is no one more radical than a real person of prayer because they are not beholden to any ideology or economic system; their identity and motivation is found only in God, not in the pay-offs of "mammon." Both church and state are threatened by true mystics. Such enlightened people can't be bought off or manipulated, because their rewards are always elsewhere.

(Richard Rohr. Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The New Testament Speaks Little About Leadership

"The most striking thing about the New Testament stance on church authority and leadership is how little it says about such issues. This is the opposite of what one would expect from the Bible, given that issues of authority and leadership dominate so many churches."

- Christian Smith

Preparing a People

“I have called you, not merely to prepare sermons, but to prepare people. There is a difference between preparing a message about God and preparing a people for God.” ~ Francis Frangipane

Big Boss Leadership.

It is my opinion—I believe it is more than an opinion, it is insight—that evangelical Christianity as we know it is almost as far from God as liberalism. Its nominal creed is biblical, but its orientation is worldly. The modern evangelicals, the Holiness people, the Pentecostal people, the Bible loving people—we who claim to be evangelical and traditional in our Christian faith—have an orientation toward the big businessman. You know, Jesus never got along with any of the businessmen in His day. But we use them as our model.

— A. W. Tozer … "Reclaiming Christianity"

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I Sleep In Heaven.

" I go to sleep in a desert and wake up a few seconds later just as it is getting dark in another country that looks as though I have died and gone to heaven. In the blink of an eye hell has been replaced with paradise."

(Moritz Thomsen. The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey On Two Rivers)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tears Clense The Soul

"At such moments, unexpected tears may appear -tears neither of happiness nor sadness. Do not be surprised at that. It is a gift. The tears are cleansing your soul. The master says: “If you must cry, cry like a child. You were once a child, and one of the first things you learned in life was to cry, because crying is a part of life. Never forget that you are free, and that to show your emotions is not shameful. Scream, sob loudly, make as much noise as you like. Because that is how children cry, and they know the fastest way to put their hearts at ease. “Have you ever noticed how children stop crying? They stop because something distracts them. Something calls them to the next adventure. Children stop crying very quickly. And that's how it will be for you. But only if you can cry as children do.”

( Paulo Coelho. Maktub)

Jesus, Leave Us Alone.

“My Jesus, we no longer have need of thee. We are now capable of making the aggressor pay for his offenses. We are now able to take vengeance into our own hands, and to deal with Good and Evil. Therefore, You can leave us on our own, and their will be no problem.”

~ Brother Sisois

(Maktub.  Paulo Coelho)

One afternoon at the monastery at Sceta, one of the monks offended another. The superior of the monastery, Brother Sisois, asked that the offended monk forgive his aggressor. “I cannot do that,” responded the monk. “It was he that did this, and it he who must pay.” At that very moment, Brother Sisois raised his arms to heaven and began to pray: “My Jesus, we no longer have need of thee. We are now capable of making the aggressor pay for his offenses. We are now able to take vengeance into our own hands, and to deal with Good and Evil. Therefore, You can leave us on our own, and their will be no problem.” Ashamed, the monk immediately pardoned his brother."

~ Brother Sisois

(Maktub.  Paulo Coelho)

Not The Same Me.

"The biggest challenge was reintroducing myself to my family and friends.  I was not the same person as when I left, not by a long shot, but I was treated the same. "

(Returning Peace Corps Volunteer)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

I Wish I Saw The Angels

"She called me to her bedside just before I left and she pointed at the cumulus clouds that passed by on the bright summer’s day: “Look! Do you see the angels coming?” she asked me. I wish now I had said yes."
(Sophie. Swiss Lady in Djenne, Mali)

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Are Your Wives Bored With You?

"The couple of days that he stayed with us were punctuated with amusing and interesting conversations: one I remember was about his four wives, or rather about polygamy. ‘Well’, said Malick (A Professional Malian Photographer) with just a hint of mischief in his eye ‘ Wouldn’t it be just a little boring to wake up next to the same woman your whole life?’ I agreed that it might be so but I asked him if he didn’t think that his wives might feel the same about always waking up next to him? This he thought was extremely funny..."


We Cant Always Find The Story We Wish To FInd.

The idea of the film director Lutz Gregor was that Kettly was the voice of the film: she was supposed to find out about these Malian manuscripts. To this end they had her visit the Marabout Alpha Issa Kanta in his home which is also a Koran school. He is the most important manuscript owner in Djenné who has given many hundreds of manuscripts into the safekeeping of the Djenné Manuscript Library. She was seen asking him to give her some manuscripts to read in order to understand the scope of the manuscripts.
Now, this is where it became slightly tricky. I had been asked to find out through Saadou, our new manuscript specialist at the library, if we had any texts to do with the equality of the sexes; anything to do with tolerance between religions or anything that would present  Islam in a favourable light in the opinion of the German television audience. The problem is that there are very few such texts in the Malian manuscripts. We have hardly any and  the case is the same with the manuscripts of Timbuktu, although UNESCO and various other bodies have wanted to present the Malian manuscripts as some sort of font of enlightenment that suits our Western sensibilities. There are plenty of fascinating things to find out from the manuscripts, but if one has already decided what one is supposed to find, it is not always possible...


Spare A Thought For His Back Breaking Work

The Salt of the Earth:

Let's drink to the hard working people
Let's drink to the lowly of birth
Raise your glass to the good and the evil
Let's drink to the salt of the earth

Say a prayer for the common foot soldier
Spare a thought for his back breaking work
Say a prayer for his wife and his children
Who burn the fires and who still till the earth

(Beggars Banquet. Song by Keith Richards)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

New Testament Preaching Is Not Modern Sermonising

It might help us in our thinking if we drew a distinction between preaching, which the New Testament talks about as a continuing activity in society at large, and sermonising, which we have made into a special activity in the church premises...
A great many people sermonising in our churches today would be better off and of greater service if they absolved themselves from the bondage and disciplines of the pulpit and came down among their congregations, teaching informally on sounder educational principles. After all, the vital matter in the ministry of the Word is not that a clergyman delivers himself of a discourse but that the people to whom he ministers end up being taught something.
The tragedy is that the professional clergy have been trained to sermonise and they seem overwhelmed with fears and a sense of insecurity when they contemplate other methods.
A further problem, of course, is that most of our churches contain a significant number of people who become emotionally disturbed at any departure from what they have always done in the past. To them, the sermon is part of their Christianity--even if it bores them stiff!
... Gavin Reid (b. 1934), The Gagging of God

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tears Are The Best Words The Heart Speaks

“Don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.”
~ papa
(The Shack. William P. Young)

All Of God With Each Person

"An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others. "

—A. W. Tozer

Song and Show Christianity

"As long as we have a Christianity that is a song and show from the front.... as long as we have that kind of Christianity people will give a song and show back."

A.J. Swoboda.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Rules Are A Lack Of Trust And Control.

"Sarayu continued, “those who are afraid of freedom are those who cannot trust us to live in them. Trying to keep the law is actually a declaration of independence, a way of keeping control.”“Is that why we like the law so much—to give us some control?”asked Mack. “It is much worse than that,”resumed Sarayu. “It grants you the power to judge others and feel superior to them. You believe you are living to a higher standard than those you judge."

( The Shack. William P. Young)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Right Answers Wrong Religion.

“Mackenzie, religion is about having the right answers, and some of their answers are right. But I am about the process that takes you to the living answer and once you get to him, he will change you from the inside. There are a lot of smart people who are able to say a lot of right things from their brain because they have been told what the right answers are, but they don’t know me at all. So really, how can their answers be right even if they are right, if you understand my drift?”

( The Shack. William P. Young)

You've Turned Me.....

"Dipping his hand in the water, he played, watching the patterns his movements made. “I’m realizing how few answers I have . . . to anything. You know, you’ve turned me upside down or inside out or something.”

(Mackenzie speaking - The Shack. William P. Young)

You've Turned Me.....

"Dipping his hand in the water, he played, watching the patterns his movements made. “I’m realizing how few answers I have . . . to anything. You know, you’ve turned me upside down or inside out or something.”

(Mackenzie speaking - The Shack. William P. Young)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I Trust Good Hearted Christians More Than Institutions

"I trust good-hearted people listening to Jesus more than I trust any hierarchy whose perspective is so easily skewed by the needs of their institution or the realities that let them hold on to power. The historic heresies have not arisen from simple people following Jesus, but from someone trying to gain a large following."

- Wayne Jacobsen