"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).

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Your God Is A Dog?

"As we continue chatting and sipping tea, I discover that the word for ‘God’ in Moba is ‘Yendu’. A nice sounding word, I think to myself.  Remembering the much uglier Nawdm equivalent, I say to Thelma: “In Nawdm, the word for God is ‘Sangband.’” “Yes, I know,” she replies with a smile, “and the funny thing is that ‘sangband’ means ‘dog’ in Moba.” “Really? How curious!” “Aye, it does! And so the Moba often mock the Nawdm saying ‘Your God is a dog!’” Uncanny indeed! Fancy that! Who would have imagined such a coincidence could exist anywhere in the world?!"

(Rob Baker. Adventures in Music and Culture: Travels of an Ethnomusicologist in West Africa)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Evangelical Slaugther

“Evangelicalism as we know it today . . . does produce some real Christians . . . but the spiritual climate into which many modern Christians are born does not make for vigorous spiritual growth. Indeed, the whole evangelical world is to a large extent unfavorable to healthy Christianity. . . .  We are making converts of an effete type of Christianity that bears little resemblance to that of the New Testament. The average so-called Bible Christian in our times is  but a wretched parody of true sainthood. Yet we put millions of dollars behind movements to perpetuate this degenerate form of religion, and attack the man who dares challenge the wisdom of it.”
A. W. Tozer, Of God and Men

Preacher Cult - Churchy Thinking

"'Churchy' thinking is one of the great heresies of the modern church - the notion that unless one appears regularly in a certain kind of building labeled a Christian church, God has no relationship with them whatsoever. This is a manifestation of the current 'preacher-cult' in which the clergy emphasize church attendance as the heart of the religious life, and thereby maintain a Sunday morning fan club."

- Clyde Reid (1966)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Shut Up And Walk The Pilgrimage

"So why am I spending three months in silence walking The Camino then staying in a Spanish monastery on an island off the coast of the Sahara Desert?

I TALK TOO MUCH

Growing up, people in authority always told me that I talked too much. These days, I get paid for talking. (Nah Nah Nah Boo Boo!) But, somewhere deep inside I still believe that I talk too much. Actually, I think most people talk too much. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to the quiet ones. There’s something about the quiet ones that I envy. Maybe being silent for three months is something I hope will edge me towards whatever it is the quiet ones possess.
My “gift of the gab” has helped to endear me to many throughout my life. It’s also been the fuel for others to dislike me intensely. I’ve gotten out of stuff because of talking. I’ve gotten into stuff because of talking. At this point in my life, I’m just exhausted of convincing anyone of anything. I’m tired of talking. But I still love asking.:

~ Drew Marshall

Thursday, September 15, 2016

He doesnt love us

I was part of a missionary team in Morocco some years ago.  I asked the village leader why he had never given our team leader one of their names, a name that can only be bestowed on an outsider by the village leader.  He thought for a moment, leaned his head back and said that this man helped them, but that he didn't love them.

Taught me that if I wasn't there and truly loved people, that my "help" was not of much lasting importance to them as well.

I thought that the advice of Rik was also invaluable.

Clif Heeney

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Passion Scares The Government

"Passion is the capacity and readiness to care, to suffer, to die, and to feel is the enemy of Imperial reality. Imperial economics is designed to keep people satiated it so that they do not notice. Its politics is intended to block out the cries of the denied ones. Its religion is to be an opiate so that no one discerns misery..."

Walter Brueggemann

The Christian God Is Too Small For Me

"The God of many Christians is too small for me. The God who loves me when I'm good and hates me when I'm bad...
God loves you as you are, not as you should be. Because none of us are as we should be."

~Brennan- The Movie

Monday, September 12, 2016

Whites Corrupted By The Tropics

"Certain volunteers seem to go to extreme lengths to prove Conrad's thesis that a white man's soul is corrupted by the tropics. They arrive in an exotic culture having read Magnum and Conrad and act as though they had been programmed to disintegrate. I have seen a few volunteers shortly before they resign from the organisation with the same muddy complexion as the fellow who sits at the next table, those same dazed, sunken, and inward-looking eyes, that same careless and rather disgraceful way of dressing...
... that type who has been tossed and twisted in another culture that he can't make sense of, a man at that certain point in his cultural confrontation just before he throws up his hands in surrender and flees."

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

Completely Human

"She was not really beautiful, but there was a tremendous calm power that radiated from behind her pleasant but ordinary features. It was an absence of hang-ups, a sense of joyful acceptance, a glow of pleasure at the miracle of being alive. In one second she communicated to me that rare and beautiful sense of being completely human."

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

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fakey Light

"And I’m exhausted from continuously trying to “manufacture” Light. I know others who think no one can see that their Light is manufactured." Drew Marshall

Let's Skip Normal

I don’t do normal well. One of the things I love the most in life is talking to people that society has cast aside. (What term are we supposed to use these days? Weirdos? Freaks? Losers? Socially unaware? UNCLEAN?) They always love to talk. I love to listen. They always have a story. I get bored with everything BUT story."

Drew Marshall

http://caminoconfessions.com/2016/06/20/sacred-silence-training-day-12/

Your Pilgrimage Is Too Short

"With such an inspiring Christian history of pilgrimage, it is saddening how Christians have reduced Christian pilgrimage to an obligated walk from a parking lot into a sanctuary. " 

(Andy Rayner, A Spiritual Life Without A View)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Church- I love Your Fight For Survival

You have to be labeled as Bitter.
They have no choice, you see.

You can love and serve Jesus, and people, all you want. You can study and gather with other Jesus people often enough, but the Sunday morning building crew will never, ever, no not ever be able to bless you if you are not at their thing. They think their form of church OWNS the definition of church. Their thing, is the only thing.

Because that whole system rises and falls on everyone being there. The definition of success is when more and more of us are there, and only there. When you stop being their volunteer, their financial support, the whole manly system falls.

Therefore, if you are not there to help them succeed,  they see us as setting them up to fail.
So you are the enemy. Bitter...

They will write articles and post FB memes that carpet criticize anyone doing anything other than their thing on Sunday. 

So, if you wonder why church people are so angry at people who don't go to their kind of church: They cannot entertain the idea that believers can actually meet, grow, and be healthy outside their structures. They have to deny any possibility of the like, to save themselves 

That freedom and partnership can not be extended, that release of people to be free to follow Christ and gather in various ways can not be tolerated, because that packages success is based on the view of gathering you, your time, your money, your activity.

It does not matter how silent you are, or non critical you are of what others choose to do.  To them you are critical, negative, or bitter, simply because you will not submit to their game play.

We can say this... but they cant believe it 

We don't hate your church.
We are happy you have a place that works for you.
We are happy you serve there.
We are not saying you have to do it our way.
We are not saying we are right, you are wrong.
We are not following nor promoting a new church model or cool trend.
We are not trying to build anything.
We are not asking you to change anything.
Often, we have never asked a church to change anything they do.
We don't want to fight about it.
Has nothing to do with, "not getting our way"

And above all, your guilt trips, labeling  and criticism does nothing to woo us back.

We get it, you posture at us, to warn the remaining sheep .... see, see those bitter people. You have to paint what we do as so bad, as so dark, so people will not even look or ask questions.
I loose nothing if you will not gather with me. You loose everything if too many people choose not to gather with you. You have more  at stake.

I love you. I come to your box church from time to time. But i am tired of how you treat me, accuse me, and talk about me. I was not bitter when i chose a simpler path. But looking at you from over here has me blinking my eyes, real hard, as i see and hear your reactions.

You actually don't have a clue about what i do, or believe, how i study, or gather with others, because we have never even had one conversation about it. You don't want a conversation, or a blessed coexistence.  Because you have to be against it no matter what, right? Can't entertain the idea, as give an inch the members might take a mile. That hurts the success thing.

So, i don't take it personal.

No, I'm not bitter. But  i am unimpressed by your behavior towards me, your brother, who studies serves, and is part of the church.
But it no longer hurts me. Your church, is not my church. My church, my Jesus, my God help shield me from you, the nasty side of you I've come to see after the fact.

I love your fight for survival, never give it up. But I'm not your enemy, I'm the church too.

So I'm happy....
I'll be back from time to time.
I bless you.
Don't change a thing for me.

But I'm not bitter.....
Are you?





Mouthy Translators

"As in Sassanou, I have another long-winded interpreter, who definitely seems to be adding his own commentary to what I say. At one point, I merely say the word ‘patience’ and he speaks for almost a minute (leaving me to put the word to immediate use!)"

(Rob Baker. Adventures in Music and Culture: Travels of An Ethnomusicologist in West Africa)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

We Want Money Missionary

"Totally exhausted, sweating onto my notebook so much that my pen won’t work, and longing for a nice cool shower, we round up the afternoon by all meeting together in the main room again. It’s all I can do to muster up the energy to thank them. They are thankful too and – all things considered – the final recordings are pretty decent, with a good variety of styles and instrumentation. Then it happens: one of them pipes up with, “It was good, but we wish the workshop had been better organized!”

I’m defensive: “Better organized? What do you mean?”
“Well, so that we would receive some money from you.” Money?

They want money from me! This is a never-ending issue for the expatriate working in Africa: all too often, the issue of money rears its ugly head! To be fair, it does vary depending on location; the Bogo over in Sassanou never asked me for a penny and – in fact – gave me several gifts as a token of their appreciation! My theory is that the closer to the coast and/or to a big city you get, the worse it becomes.

“Money! What for?”
“For participating in the workshop!”
I pause for a moment, then continue:

“Let me ask you some questions.
Firstly, Ifè participants, did you pay for your transport here?”
“No, it was free,” they reply.
“And, everybody, how much have you had to pay for your accommodation during this workshop?”
“Nothing.”
“Right. And your meals?”
“They were provided free of charge.”
“And what about the hours of technical work I’ve put in to record your songs? Do I get paid for that? And my travel from Cotonou – it cost me 40,000 CFA. Nobody is paying me for that! Furthermore, I will go home from here and spend several days editing all your songs and making the cassettes so that you can benefit from them. You will then each receive a cassette of your songs, also free of charge. And still you ask me for money?”

The issue of per diems as they are called is still a contentious one. You see, I just spoke as a Westerner, from a Western viewpoint (and a particularly worn-out, fed up Westerner at that!) Now, the African viewpoint is very different: they’ve given up time to come and take part in this workshop, so should be ‘rewarded’ for this. They’ll also have lost several days’ income, which is not going to appear out of thin air, and they need to feed their families somehow. Finally, in Africa, if you have a friend who is richer than you, then it would be completely normal for the rich friend to give some money to the poorer friend. In the West, we try not to mix friendship with money, in case it spoils it; in Africa, friendship and exchange of cash often go hand in hand, almost as a way of cementing a friendship.

“That’s all I have to say on the matter.” I add. And we end the workshop. Just like that. I’m way too exhausted to continue debating this with them.........

Culture is a massive thing, and cultural differences – or misunderstandings – are at the heart of most friction and stress for an expatriate overseas. I’ve seen perfectly lovely people (Germans, Americans, French and – I have to add – Brits) losing their rag with Africans, because things didn’t happen ‘just so’. We are conditioned to seeking perfection, creating a world where everything is clear cut and runs according to certain rules (and woe betide you, should you veer from those!) Africa is not like that. Sure, there are rules, but things are often more fluid, negotiable, adaptable; and this is not a bad thing, it’s just how things are done here."

(Rob Baker. Adventures in Music and Culture : Travels of an Ethnomusicologist in West Africa)

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Eliminate The Laity

"I don't want to eliminate the clergy. I'm trying to eliminate the laity. I'm trying to ordain everyone to the work to which God calls them"

Michael Frost

Friday, September 2, 2016

We like Background Leadership

"The desire to be a great leader is dreadfully dangerous. . . A soul really called to a great mission, one that keeps in union with God, will go slow, pray much, make little noise over the call, and seek to keep self in the background."

George D. Watson

We Don't Have Any Money To Be Sick

"Have you given him any medicine?" I asked.
"Yes, yes," he said. "We gave him aspirin and vitamins every day."
I shook my head.

“You know that's not enough. You've got to get him to a doctor. You've got to go to the mission hospital."

A look of shame and embarrassment crept onto Kanyenda's face. "Teta katuena ne falanga to," he said. "We don't have any money."

There they were. Those five words: "We don't have any money." They were permanently stitched to the sleeve of serious illness in Kalambayi, speaking like an epitaph for 90 percent of the chiefdom's dead and dying."

(Mike Tidwell. 'The Ponds is Kalambayi. pig 130)

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Sahara Is Tough

"I grew up in Libya in abundance and I believed my people lived in similar conditions. My father never told me.

This is pure hunger. Life in the Sahara is hard. It's tough even for the young people so how can the elderly take it?

I can't  stand the way my people are living here. People here can't even bathe. There is no light or electricity. No phone network to stay in contact with the world.

At night it is really cold here. People living in this desert are constantly getting sick.
A lot of illness. They don't have hospitals,  they don't have medical tests.

People get used to it but my God this Sahara is tough. This Sahara is tough.

(Mahamad Hassan Tuareg in Sahara Desert)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sacred Drums For Worship....

"One guy comes up to me, buzzing with enthusiasm: “You know, when they play those big drums for village ceremonies, it usually makes people go into a trance. But today there was no trance when we played them!” Wow! I might have thought twice had I known this was a risk. However, I’ve studied trance quite a bit and – as a general rule – when the object of worship and the heart of the worshipper change, then trance will not occur. It’s a big issue in redeeming ‘pagan’ music for church worship and one which has caused some churches to fear even trying to play local drums. With time, though, all of these can be redeemed for God’s glory alone."

(Rob Baker. Adventures in Music and Culture: Travels of an Ethnomusicologist in West Africa)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Africa Scenes

"As I edge my way around one of the more acute bends, Mrs Kwadi lets me into a secret: “Rob, the road back down on the other side is even worse than this.” Great! That’s something to look forward to then.

We reach the top and the road flattens out. We’re on the Danyi Plain, one of the prettiest parts of Togo. Even the villages you pass through seem well-ordered, pleasant places: square buildings made of earth, but with tin roofs and tidy wooden shutters, blossoming red flame trees, friendly stalls selling fruit and vegetables, pretty yellow hedgerows and majestic palm trees – it all seems very civilised."

(Rob Baker. Adventures in Music and Culture: Travels of an Ethnomusicologist in West Africa)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Stone Dry Hearts

"While sitting on the bank of a river one day, I picked up a solid round stone from the water and broke it open. It was perfectly dry in spite of the fact that it had been immersed in water for centuries. The same is true of many people in the Western world. For centuries they have been surrounded by Christianity; they live immersed in the waters of its benefits.  And yet it has not penetrated their hearts; they do not love it. The fault is not in Christianity, but in men's hearts, which have been hardened by materialism and intellectualism."
  
... Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Story Allows Wisdom To Be swallowed

"Story is the palm oil with which wisdom is swallowed. "

(Yousufu,  Guinea , West africa. Heard on BBC Podcast about Eola and how story was used to spread messages.)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Rewards and Rules

“You don't have to play by their rules if you don't require their rewards.”

~ William P. Young

Can You Tell Time In Africa

"There are still a good fifteen minutes until the scheduled start time, so it is impressive to see around half of the participants here already. But these are educated folk who can read, write and tell the time; three skills which cannot be taken for granted here. Of course, I wouldn’t even be here today if everyone in Sokodé were already literate."

(Rob Baker. Adventures in Music and Culture: Travels of an Ethnomusicologist in West Africa)

Africans Are Generous With Their Time.

"Further on, three ladies carrying large bowls on their heads are walking by the roadside. “Labaalé!” These three know a place where there is a market and where we can most certainly try out some chouk. After a lengthy conversation, of which I understand precisely three words, Evan gets out and opens the back of his car. The ladies put their bowls in the boot and, somewhat uneasily, get into the back seat (as Ken squeezes into the front with Evan and me). I wonder if this is the first time they’ve ever ridden in a car. Quite possibly. We turn off the main road and along another bumpy track, parking almost immediately. Evan asks the ladies whether they need a lift back to where he picked them up. “No, we can walk back from here,” they say. Helping a foreigner is almost a duty of honour in this part of the world, and these three women – in spite of all the day’s hard work – were still happy to put themselves out to help three strangers. Amazing."

( Rob Baker. Adventures in Music and Culture; Travels of an Ethnomusicologist in West Africa)

We Use Drugs Because We've Lost Each Other.

“People use drugs, legal and illegal, because their lives are intolerably painful or dull. They hate their work and find no rest in their leisure. They are estranged from their families and their neighbors. It should tell us something that in healthy societies drug use is celebrative, convivial, and occasional, whereas among us it is lonely, shameful, and addictive. We need drugs, apparently, because we have lost each other.” 

― Wendell BerryThe Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

The Day I Discovered I Was Not Stupid

This makes me sad..... and angry...

"Every once in awhile I’ll read something that forces me to read faster and faster and faster and… SQUIRREL!… and faster and faster and faster and…. SQUIRREL! When I was young I’m not sure they had a label for my reading comprehension disability. I was just called “stupid” or “lazy” or “an attention seeker”. I would get so distracted so easily during reading time, but because my brain was going a million miles an hour, noticing everything there was to notice in a room full of humans, I ended up acting up and getting kicked out. Eventually, it was suggested that I leave the only school I’d known – the only friends I’d known. I was sent to a different school for my last year of public/primary education and put into a “special” class of 6 kids who were all special/slow. The excruciating social stigma of being a “special” kid in a new school was the start of my downhill slide that lasted 30 years. I soon figured out that if I could make ‘em laugh they would forget that I was “special.” Thus, the Village Idiot was born! Only as I approach my 50th birthday have I begun to allow myself to accept the fact that I AM “special”. Not stupid – lazy – attention seeker special, but special .....

(Drew Marshall.  Www.Caminoconfessions.com #6)

Black Sheep Of The Family

"I’ve been the proverbial black sheep of my family for as long as I can remember. I can vividly recall the first time my father said he was proud of me. Probably because it wasn’t that long ago. I put my parents through hell for so many years. Mom died before I had the chance to show her I could be good at something. Dad is 83 now and the reality is, he won’t be part of my life for much longer. I’m terrified of screwing up and putting on that black sheepskin one more time before he’s gone."

(Drew Marshall. Www.Caminoconfessions.com #8)

Africa - I Can Do Only So Much

“You’re going to the armpit of Africa,” the prim doctor said, as I rolled up my sleeve for the first injection. “We can only do so much for you.” She was as thorough as she was adamant."

(To Timbuktu For a Haircut. Rick Antonson)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

People Love When I Am Alone

"I absolutely love being by myself! Others tell me the same thing. They really like it when I’m by myself as well."

(Drew Marshall. Www.Caminoconfessions.com #7)

Labels That Kill Souls.. for Fifty Years

This makes me sad..... and angry...

"Every once in awhile I’ll read something that forces me to read faster and faster and faster and… SQUIRREL!… and faster and faster and faster and…. SQUIRREL! When I was young I’m not sure they had a label for my reading comprehension disability. I was just called “stupid” or “lazy” or “an attention seeker”. I would get so distracted so easily during reading time, but because my brain was going a million miles an hour, noticing everything there was to notice in a room full of humans, I ended up acting up and getting kicked out. Eventually, it was suggested that I leave the only school I’d known – the only friends I’d known. I was sent to a different school for my last year of public/primary education and put into a “special” class of 6 kids who were all special/slow. The excruciating social stigma of being a “special” kid in a new school was the start of my downhill slide that lasted 30 years. I soon figured out that if I could make ‘em laugh they would forget that I was “special.” Thus, the Village Idiot was born! Only as I approach my 50th birthday have I begun to allow myself to accept the fact that I AM “special”. Not stupid – lazy – attention seeker special, but special .....

(Drew Marshall.  Www.Caminoconfessions.com #6)

A Lifetime of Talking Too Much

"I’m just loving shutting up. It’s honestly been simmering inside of me for quite a while. My entire life has been filled with too much talk. From myself as well as those around me. I’ve been noticing that most of us, when we talk, fill the air with… more air. "

~ Drew Marshall - Practicing silence one day a week for six months, then walking the 800km Camino De Santiago pilgrimage in silence on his 50th birthday.

www.Camnoconfessions.com Day#4

When Your Song Has No "Ti"

The Nawdm People of Northern Togo

For you musicians...

"Most of the genres are also accompanied by clapping, sometimes just a straight beat, other times very syncopated. As they sing through more songs, I notice that many of them are hexatonic. This means there are six different tones in the scale, rather than the Western seven, or the more common African five. Upon further analysis, it would seem that the seventh degree of the Western major scale is missing, so theirs goes: do-re-mi-fa-so-la-do."

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Bare Breasted Culture Is Indeed a Fascinating Thing

I have literally seen it all in Africa. You do not even notice anymore.

"That reminds me of an amusing cultural story told by my mate Eric, a missionary in West Africa. Eric was visiting a village in his early mission days and saw three African ladies preparing a meal together. “Could I take a photo of you, please?” he asked (it’s always good to check first). The ladies looked at each other doubtfully, then one replied: “Wait a moment – we don’t have our heads covered. We must cover our heads before you can take your picture.” And with that, the three ladies removed their tops and wrapped them round their heads, ready for the photo! In great embarrassment, all Eric could do was to take a ‘pretend’ photo of these three bare-chested ladies and thank them for their trouble. True story. Culture is indeed a fascinating thing!"

(Rob Baker. Adventures in Music and Culture: Travels of an Ethnomusicologist in West Africa)

Don't Waste Much Time Defending Your Ego.

Best line I've read in weeks... "Don't waste much time defending your ego"

"Whenever you are offended, it's usually because your self-image has not been worshiped or it has been momentarily exposed. The false self will quickly react with a vengeance to any offenses against it because all it has is its own fragile assumptions about itself.
Narcissists have a lot of asserting and defending to do, moment by moment. Don't waste much time defending your ego. The True Self is untouchable, or as Paul puts it "it takes no offense" (1 Corinthians 13:5)."

~Richard Rohr

The Dream You -That God Doesn't Know

"Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self. This is the man that I want myself to be but who cannot exist, because God does not know anything about him."

(Thomas Merton)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

$19 Per Minute.

Yep. $19.50 a minute when i was first in Ivory Coast.

"I think back to the early 90s when I was first in West Africa, teaching missionaries’ kids. There were no mobiles and even phoning home conventionally cost a small fortune and often had a delay of up to seven seconds. Now, I can text the UK for around ten British pence and the message arrives almost instantaneously. Amazing, really."

(Rob Baker. Adventures in Music and Culture: Travels of an Ethnomusicologist in West Africa)

Mission Driving Skills

At 4:29 in the morning, i laughed out loud in recognition. Sorry Lynn Rayner

"The number one rule to remember on the roads here is as follows: there are no rules. Who has right of way? Answer: whoever has the courage to forge on and fill the gap before the other person gets a chance. Crazy, but kind of fun once you get used to it!"

(Rob Baker. Adventures in Music and Culture: Travels of an Ethnomusicologist in West Africa)

Pretending is Exhausting

"The ego doesn't want to surrender to its inherent brokenness and poverty. Yet the truth is, realizing your imperfection is the beginning of freedom and grace. There is such freedom in no longer pretending to be something we're not."

~ Richard Rohr

Monday, August 1, 2016

God Gives Back To Missionaries

"People often say to me: “Rob, it’s such a sacrifice, what you do,” and in many ways it is. But that’s not to say that missions work isn’t also fascinating, enriching and – on many occasions – just great fun! What you give up back home before coming on the field, God gives back to you in so many different ways – and more."

(Rob Baker. Adventures in Music and Culture : Travels of an Ethnomusicologist in West Africa)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Your Pilgrimage Is Too Short

"With such an inspiring Christian history of pilgrimage, it is saddening how Christians have reduced Christian pilgrimage to an obligated walk from a parking lot into a sanctuary. " 
(Andy Rayner, A Spiritual Life Without A View)

Your Pilgrimage Is Too Short

"With such an inspiring Christian history of pilgrimage, it is saddening how Christians have reduced Christian pilgrimage to an obligated walk from a parking lot into a sanctuary. " 
(Andy Rayner, A Spiritual Life Without A View)

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