"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).

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Inter-Faith Marriage Struggles.

Is this a real practicality about Inter-Faith marriage?

My Spouse's Faith Will Have No Effect on the Family's Unity :A few things to keep in mind about tying an interfaith knot. KOLA OLAOSEBIKAN

"My parents attempted to adopt the live and let live philosophy. They would each follow their respective faiths. They would also give us, the children, the freedom to choose our own beliefs.

This sounded awesome in theory. The practical application, though? Not so much.

Our family ended up going through a phase where we would go to mosque on Friday and then church on Sunday.

This had some unintended side effects.

The more often my parents went to church and mosque, the more serious they became about their individual faiths.

The more serious my mom became about Christianity, the more she wanted to do the things the Bible said. And the more serious my dad became about Islam, the more he wanted to do the things the Quran said.

Sure, Islam and Christianity are similar in some respects, but they are drastically different in other core beliefs, so this was a problem.

The definition of marriage is to live life together with somebody else—in unity. It becomes tricky to live in unity when the individuals in the marriage are getting their ideas about how to live life from different sources.

When the Quran says to do one thing and the Bible says to do another, what’s a married couple to do?

This situation typically means having to choose between happiness in their marriage and fulfillment in their faith. It’s never pretty."

Hamas Muslim Leader And A Christian Pray For Vision Of Jesus For Obama

"I also talked to another Christian man who has befriended the leaders of Hamas and often visits these men to pray with them and to urge them to seek peaceful resolutions to the conflict and struggle they are involved in. He told me about an amazing conversation he had with the leader of Hamas that stunned me. 

He said that he asked this man two questions; One was, "Do you believe that God speaks to men in dreams and visions?" The man said "Yes." Then he asked, "Will you pray with me about one thing until God does it?" The man said, "What is it?" My friend said, "Pray that God would give a vision of Jesus to Obama, Netanyahu, and the Prime Minister of England and that He would teach them the way of Peace." The man - who was the leader of Hamas - with tears filling his eyes, grabbed my friend around the neck and began to kiss his cheeks again and again. "Yes," he said. "I will pray with you for this."
(Keith Giles. Love or Nothing.)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fundamentalist Discrimination Within Humanity.

She has an Algerian father, and I believe a western mother......  Her father was a university professor threathened with death.

"I hope that readers will come along on my trip, and view the landscape through my eyes. My perspective— that of a secular person of Muslim heritage concerned with both rising fundamentalism and increasing discrimination against Muslims— is rarely heard in the West..... For me, the clashes within civilizations, like those between fundamentalists and their opponents everywhere, are much more defining today. Nevertheless, writing about Muslim fundamentalism in this era for an American audience feels like dancing on a minefield."

(Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories From The Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism. Karima Bennoune)

Living Half Truths No More!

"May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships - so that we may live deep within our hearts. May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people - so that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace. May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war - so that we may reach out our hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy. And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in the world - so that we can do what others claim cannot be done, to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor. Amen." (Franciscan Benediction)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It's Better.............

"Better to love God and die unknown than to love the world and be a hero; better to be content with poverty than to die a slave to wealth; better to have taken some risks and lost than to have done nothing and succeeded at it." (Erwin Lutzer)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

When Everyday Muslum People Stand Against Muslim Fundamentalism

Could I defend my father from the Armed Islamic Group with a paring knife? This was the question I pondered on Tuesday June 29, 1993. That day I woke up early in Dad’s apartment, on the outskirts of Algiers, Algeria, to an unrelenting pounding on the front door. It had been exactly two weeks since the murder of Dr. Mahfoud Boucebsi, the country’s leading psychiatrist, and one week since the assassination of Mohamed Boukhobza, a sociologist and former colleague of my father’s at the University of Algiers. As a local newspaper described the season, “at the time, every Tuesday a scholar fell to the bullets of . . . fundamentalist assassins.” 1 Boucebsi and Boukhobza, and others, had been killed that year by the Muslim fundamentalist armed groups that plagued Algeria’s predominantly Muslim population.

My father’s teaching of Darwin had already provoked a classroom visit from the head of the Islamic Salvation Front, who denounced him as an advocate of “biologism” before Dad ejected the man. Now, whoever was pounding on the door would neither identify himself nor go away. We tried to ascertain who might be outside with him. Inside the apartment, my father was not frightened for himself, but visibly worried for me, then a law student visiting for the summer break. He tried repeatedly to phone the police. Perhaps terrified themselves by the rising tide of armed extremism that had already claimed the lives of many Algerian officers, the local police station did not even answer. We were alone to face whoever was on the other side of the door. That was when I went to the kitchen, found a paring knife, and took up a position inside the entryway. What happened to Dr. Boukhobza was not going to happen again here, I told myself. I don’t know what I was thinking: I am not exactly the combatant type. My father looked at me and rolled his eyes. But I could not come up with anything else to do. So there I stood....
Fortunately, on June 29, 1993, the unwanted and unidentified visitors eventually departed. We never knew why, or exactly who they were.....

Subsequently, Algerian fundamentalists would add Mahfoud Bennoune’s name to “kill lists” posted in extremist-controlled mosques in Algiers, along with the names of so many others— journalists, intellectuals, trade unionists, women’s rights activists. They would murder more of my father’s colleagues, his friends and relatives, and as many as two hundred thousand Algerians during what came to be known as “the dark decade.” No matter how awful things became, the international community largely ignored these events. Like the local police who would not even answer our urgent calls in June 1993, the world would leave all those victims to fend for themselves."
(Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories From The Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism.  Karima Bennoune)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Progress Among The Poor.

"I stooped to go inside and noticed immediately that the sooty cobwebs were missing from the rafters. They had raked the garbage off the floor and the children were hauling crushed seashells from the beach and covering the kitchen floor with this granilla, making it fresh and white and clean. They had repaired the walls and were beginning to paper over the cracks in the bamboo with old cement bags supplied by the “Manta Peace Corps.” Raul came out of the bedroom with a machete in his hand. He grinned his eternal smile and, with a wave of his hand, invited me to see what he had been doing. The dirt floor was covered with freshly split and flattened bamboo. He looked at me proudly and I clapped him on his bare shoulder. “It’s beautiful, Raul!” I told him, and I meant it. His work did look beautiful to me and to his appreciative family. But I thought of how it would appear to an outsider coming from another culture. The lopsided walls, the roughly chopped flooring, the crude furniture, the sooty kitchen, the filth left by animals sharing the same living quarters, were anything but beautiful." (Barrios Of Manta. Rhoda & Earle Brooks)

Feeling Helpless To Help

"Inside the sleepy-looking little bamboo houses I visited, I found people struggling with the cruel realities of life: a child crippled by
polio who had never received any
physical therapy; a woman suffering
from severe burns from a pan of
spilled boiling water; a family of nine
living and sleeping in one room and
eating on the floor; children defecating in their own yards; half a
dozen babies on the brink of death,
pigs and flies in the kitchen, sharing
the family's food; a wife in tears
because her husband was sleeping
with the girl next door; a deaf-mute
girl who had never had a physical
examination; children with skin
diseases and eye infections; and on
and on—all this just a few steps from
our door.

I would return home, sick with my
inability to be of real help. Deeply
depressed, tell Earle of my
experiences, and the well-known
wave of futility would sweep over us
as we asked ourselves what we could
really do.

We decided that practical education, together with a sincere personal interest, was the way we could best help." (The Barrios Of Manta. Rhoda & Earle Brooks)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Toxic Charity. .... The Wrong Way To Give

Lupton writes that ... In his experience
-give once and you elicit appreciation.
-give twice and you create anticipation.
-give three times and you create expectation.
-give four times and it becomes entitlement.
-give five times and you establish dependency.

"That's a dependency that weakens rather than enhances people..."
( Toxic Charity.  Robert Lupton)

A Church No Pharisee Can Reach..... In Africa!

"There are God's people in the African bush that will never read, they can never have a bible but they know God by believing the Gospel preached to them they are inside the Gospel of Grace. These churches are so deep in the bush that not even the Pharisee can reach them. Glory to God!!!!" ~Bertie Brit

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Biting People.... You Just Want To Sometimes

I laughed and laughed...... 

"Pancho was a nice guy, but he had no resistance againt disaster. When things started to go wrong he unraveled. On time he borrowed one hundred sucres to buy corn, the last one hundred sucres that I had to live on that month, and then he found that he couldn’t quite make the effort. He spent three days sadly smiling and nodding on Segundo’s store porch, delicately sipping aguardiente and talking about fate, That was one time, come to think of it, when I felt like running down the street biting people, and especially Pancho."  (Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle. Moritz Thomsen)

When It's Hard To See Their Lives.

"I broke one terrible night when Rufo, Ramén’s young brother, arrived at the house begging me to bring medicine for Ramon and Ester, who were suddenly burning up with fever. Carrying aspirin and a thermometer, I walked up the beach through the waves at high tide, under a billion blazing southern stars, the most furiously beautiful night of my life. But the contrast of that night with the utter squalor of Ramon’s house, the sweating bodies, the babbling delirium, their childlike faith that now that I had come everything would be all right, the pathetic collection of objects they had piled in bed around the...  so knocked me out that walking back along the beach I began to cry as I hadn’t cried since I was six years old. What finally made it funny was that I couldn’t stop and had to stay on the beach for almost an hour, embarrassed to go wailing through the sleeping streets of Rio Verde, announcing the fact that I was cracking up.... and the possibility that they were dieing filled me with terror."
(Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle. Moritz Thomsen)

The International Workers Dilemma With Locals

"There was real dissatisfaction in Rio Verde about the job I was doing, and every day I heard reports of my favoritism. Rumors reached me that a couple of old wise guys who knew all about the Peace Corps were telling everyone that I was making money off the people, that the chickens I sold should be gifts, and that the loans I was making did not have to be repaid. It was part of my job to give people money, they said.
It was a curious, back-biting time. Everyone was angry, and jealous of Ramon and Alexandra, who were each selling about ‘ forty eggs a day." (Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle. Moritz Thomsen)

Fattening The Ego With Holiness.....?

"It had never dawned on him that the vitally important thing was to drop his ego, that the ego fattens on holiness just as much as on worldliness, on poverty as on riches, on austerity as on luxury. There is nothing the ego will not seize upon to inflate itself."

DISCIPLE: “I have come to you with nothing in my hands.”

MASTER: “Then drop it at once!”

DISCIPLE: “But how can I drop it? It is nothing.”

MASTER: “Then carry it around with you! You can make a possession of your nothing. And carry your renunciation around you like a trophy. Don’t drop your possessions. Drop your ego.”
(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Faith, With A Lack Of Respect For People's Humanity

"Perhaps this is the hardest lesson of resurrection-centered spirituality: to look upon ourselves and others as free, responsible persons. Instead of creating more freedom, all of us unwittingly erect impediments to it—impediments such as neurotic fear, pressure, threats of punishment. The tragedy of our attempts to compel others to be virtuous by force or subtle manipulation is that these efforts are so prevalent in our lives, so characteristic of our relationships with others that most of us, most of the time, are unaware of the problem. We do not perceive that we betray a basic lack of respect for the humanity of those with whom we deal, and that this lack of respect is the essential problem with the use of authority in the church and in the home.
If we really knew the God of Jesus, we would stop trying to control and manipulate others “for their own good,” knowing full well that this is not how God works among his people. Paul writes, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). " (Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Trained Cowards - Or Free Believers?

"There is profound awareness that the fundamental secret of Jesus was his sovereign respect for human liberty. He never tried to make people virtuous against their will. This is the essential betrayal. The institutional church is untrue to the law of its own “being” whenever it violates freedom. Whenever any authority figure seeks to suppress freedom, he or she is thereby setting himself (however unconsciously) in opposition to Christ and his church. God created us in his own image because he wanted free, responsible service. When the virtue of obedience is reduced to a pattern of domination and submission, we produce trained cowards rather than Christian persons." (Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Tired of Repetition? ????

When you are trying to teach a community new skills..... One gets tired of repeating  himself.

"My God, I was tired of talking about chickens." (Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle. Moritz Thomsen)

Christians And Non Violence - War

Oops... but our nations do.....

"No longer do we take the sword against any nations, nor do we learn war any more since we have become sons [and daughters] of peace through Jesus who is our author instead of following the traditional customs, by which we were “strangers to the covenant.” (ORIGEN OF ALEXANDRIA)

No Path To Faith..... Just A Person To Walk With.

"Jesus Pilgrims are people who don’t always know how to follow or where they’re going, but they know who they’re following and going with. In fact, for Jesus followers, the path is not a trail, the path is the person." (The Well Played Life. Leonard Sweet)

The Bridge of Life - why fear it?

"The whole world is nothing but a very narrow bridge. The main thing is not to be afraid." (Rabbi Nachman of Breslov)

Dull Sermons, Meaness, And New Cloths?

"There is an incessant influx of novelty into the world, and yet we tolerate incredible dulness. I need only suggest what kind of sermons are still listened to in the most enlightened countries. There are such words as joy and sorrow, but they are only the burden of a psalm, sung with a nasal twang, while we believe in the ordinary and mean. We think that we can change our clothes only. (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Settling For Incredible Dulness

"There is an incessant influx of novelty into the world, and yet we tolerate incredible dulness." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Where We Are....

"We know not where we are. Beside, we are sound asleep nearly half our time. Yet we esteem ourselves wise, and have an established order on the surface." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Give Me Truth.....

"Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Money is not required to buy one Necessary of the Soul

"Moreover, if you are restricted in your range by poverty, if you cannot buy books and newspapers, for instance, you are but confined to the most significant and vital experiences; you are compelled to deal with the material which yields the most sugar and the most starch. It is life near the bone where it is sweetest. You are defended from being a trifler. No man loses ever on a lower level by magnanimity on a higher. Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

A Case For Simplicity. ... Even If You Have The Money

"The shadows of poverty and meanness gather around us, "and lo! creation widens to our view." We are often reminded that if there were bestowed on us the wealth of Croesus, our aims must still be the same, and our means essentially the same." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Don't Trouble Yourself Over Friends????

"Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them. Things do not change; we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do not want society." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

In Which We Stop Bitching About Life.

"However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Hearing A Different Drum

"Let every one mind his own business, and endeavor to be what he was made. Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Living More Liberal Laws

"I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Life Outside The Cabin.....

"The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity!

I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

I Left Because I Had Another Life To Live.

"I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Thoreau Says, "Explore Thyself"

"If you would learn to speak all tongues and conform to the customs of all nations, if you would travel farther than all travellers, be naturalized in all climes, and cause the Sphinx to dash her head against a stone, even obey the precept of the old philosopher, and Explore thyself. Herein are demanded the eye and the nerve." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Being Alone......

"What was the meaning of that South-Sea Exploring Expedition, with all its parade and expense, but an indirect recognition of the fact that there are continents and seas in the moral world to which every man is an isthmus or an inlet, yet unexplored by him, but that it is easier to sail many thousand miles through cold and storm and cannibals, in a government ship, with five hundred men and boys to assist one, than it is to explore the private sea, the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean of one's being alone." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Animated Clay

"They love the soil which makes their graves, but have no sympathy with the spirit which may still animate their clay." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden )

Transgressing Our Limits

"We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Never Get Enough Of Nature

"Our village life would stagnate if it were not for the unexplored forests and meadows which surround it. We need the tonic of wildness—to wade sometimes in marshes ...
At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Knowing No Shores But Their Own

"To the liquid waves that it might see a foreign world, And mortals knew no shores but their own." ( Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Open The Door Jailer, Dismiss The Case Judge, Dismiss The Congregation Preacher!

"Through our own recovered innocence we discern the innocence of our neighbors. You may have known your neighbor yesterday for a thief, a drunkard, or a sensualist, and merely pitied or despised him, and despaired of the world; but the sun shines bright and warm this first spring morning, recreating the world, and you meet him at some serene work, and see how it is exhausted and debauched veins expand with still joy and bless the new day, feel the spring influence with the innocence of infancy, and all his faults are forgotten. There is not only an atmosphere of good will about him, but even a savor of holiness groping for expression, blindly and ineffectually perhaps, like a new-born instinct, and for a short hour the south hill-side echoes to no vulgar jest. You see some innocent fair shoots preparing to burst from his gnarled rind and try another year's life, tender and fresh as the youngest plant. Even he has entered into the joy of his Lord. Why the jailer does not leave open his prison doors—why the judge does not dismis his case—why the preacher does not dismiss his congregation! It is because they do not obey the hint which God gives them, nor accept the pardon which he freely offers to all."
(Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

The Green Blade To Eternity

"So our human life but dies down to its root, and still puts forth its green blade to eternity." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

A Living Earth

"The earth is not a mere fragment of dead history, stratum upon stratum like the leaves of a book, to be studied by geologists and antiquaries chiefly, but living poetry like the leaves of a tree, which precede flowers and fruit—not a fossil earth, but a living earth; ... " (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Why Not Verify Radical Claims?

"It is remarkable how long men will believe in the bottomlessness of a pond without taking the trouble to sound it." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Heaven is under our feet is well as over our heads.

"I cut my way first through a foot of snow, and then a foot of ice, and open a window under my feet, where, kneeling to drink, I look down into the quiet parlor of the fishes, pervaded by a softened light as through a window of ground glass, with its bright sanded floor the same as in summer; there a perennial waveless serenity reigns as in the amber twilight sky, corresponding to the cool and even temperament of the inhabitants. Heaven is under our feet is well as over our heads." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Impressions Of Unanswered Questions

"After a still winter night I awoke with the impression that some question had been put to me, which I had been endeavoring in vain to answer in my sleep, as what—how—when—where? But there was dawning Nature, in whom all creatures live, looking in at my broad windows with serene and satisfied face, and no question on her lips. I awoke to an answered question, to Nature and daylight."
(Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Just Sit With Others... And Whittle...

"Having each some shingles of thought well dried, we sat and whittled them,... There we worked, revising mythology, rounding a fable here and there, and building castles in the air for which earth offered no worthy foundation. " (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

I Want To Be A Man Like This...

"A true friend of man; almost the only friend of human progress.......
He is perhaps the sanest man and has the fewest crotchets of any I chance to know; the same yesterday and tomorrow. Of yore we had sauntered and talked, and effectually put the world behind us; for he was pledged to no institution in it, freeborn, ingenuus. Whichever way we turned, it seemed that the heavens and the earth had met together, since he enhanced the beauty of the landscape. A blue-robed man, whose fittest roof is the overarching sky which reflects his serenity. I do not see how he can ever die; Nature cannot spare him. " (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Faith Sees Better Things?

Liking a life like that......

"I think that he must be the man of the most faith of any alive. His words and attitude always suppose a better state of things than other men are acquainted with, and he will be the last man to be disappointed as the ages revolve." (Henry David Thoreau. Walden)

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Alternative Way......

"Too often we idolize the messengers and quote their sayings but miss the essential message of their lives: living the truth at whatever cost. As we live the truth, our lives build a convincing case that there is in fact an alternative way, and that abiding in love is the only way." (Jim Palmer. Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion To Find God.)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Focusing On Numbers Stops Feeding Hungry.... shifts to Motivation of Complacent.

"When you become focused on numbers, what ever numbers, once we're focused on numbers then it is not about the hard core person, the really passionate person, it wasn't about feeding the hungry, it's about motivating the complacent. It's about saying and doing and having enough entertainment that we are drawing people here who aren't really serious about the journey.

I had lunch with a man yesterday. One thing he said to his pastor of a growing mega church is, "The thing I most mistrust is you won't say the thing now that might offend two hundred people and they leave because now can't make it work financially." (Wayne Jacobsen. The God Journey Podcast. "The Numbers Game". June 20th, 2014)

Every Situation Had a Judas....?

“Every issue facing the church today has a slippery Caiaphas, a vacillating Pilate, a betraying Judas, and a centurion who will drive the nails because it’s his job.”

~ Lloyd John Ogilvie