"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).

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Church Is The Fruit Of Something Else

"Jesus’church is not a human creation. Rather, it is the fruit of the relationships of those who are part of a new creation—the redeemed race of humanity that relates to him as the Head."
(Finding Church. Wayne Jacobsen)

The Church Can't Help But Be The Church

"Anyone who beats with God’s heart yearns to engage this family. Granted, you may not have seen that reality in the groups you have been part of in the past, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t exist. This community is growing to trust him and the way he works, and they are learning the simple joy of living in the Father’s affection and sharing it with others. You’ll find it where people lay down their lives for each other, where they don’t fight to be first or thought more spiritual, and where they would rather be defrauded than push for their own way. As they relate together under his leading, this church is the most exciting, functional family ever!"
(Finding Church. Wayne Jacobsen)

THEY LEFT THE CHURCH! No - They Left Your Congregation.

"I know what they mean, but the language still jars me: “They left the church.”Or, “I left the church ten years ago.”Since they have continued to passionately follow Jesus, I want to correct them. You may have left your congregation, but how did you leave the church? Do you think you can belong to him and not be part of his family? It’s one of the tragic consequences of using the term to describe the myriad of religious institutions that dot our landscape instead of the tapestry of his people Jesus is weaving together." (Finding Church.  Wayne Jacobsen)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Refusing Control And Being Controlled.

"Alert to the manipulations and machinations of Pharisaical self-righteousness, ragamuffins refuse to surrender control of their lives to rules and regulations. They see that the stale religiosity of legalists, trapped in the fatal narcissism of spiritual perfectionism, obscures the face of the God of Jesus. They will not barter their souls for the false security of fear-filled pieties that cripple the human spirit. The motto on the New Hampshire license plate, “Live free or die,”is the ragamuffin motto."
(Ruthless Trust. Brennan Manning)

Never Grew Tired Of Jesus

"ALWAYS AND EVERYWHERE the overriding issue for the ragamuffin rabble is the person of Jesus Christ.

Who and what are the ragamuffins? The unsung assembly of saved sinners who are little in their own sight, conscious of their brokenness and powerlessness before God, and who cast themselves on his Mercy. Startled by the extravagant love of God, they do not require success, fame, wealth, or power to validate their worth. Their spirit transcends all distinctions between the powerful and powerless, educated and illiterate, billionaires and bag ladies, high-tech geeks and low-tech nerds, males and females, the circus and the sanctuary."
(Ruthless Trust. Brennan Manning)

Wisest Spiritual Advice EVER!

“Be it hereby enacted: That every three years all people shall forget whatever they have learned about Jesus, and begin the study all over again.”

(Robert M. Brown:)

Reformers As Christian Buthchers

Let’s return for a moment to The Brothers Karamazov, which hurls a tremendous accusation against the Catholic Church. On innumerable occasions it has sinned against the freedom of the children of God, “but to be honest the accusation does not stand only against the Catholic Church. Or were not heretics and witches burnt at the stake in Calvin’s and Luther’s Churches too, and were not opponents fought with violence instead of compelled by love. Does not everything of which the Catholic Church is accused in the way of lack of freedom, arbitrariness, authoritarianism, and totalitarianism, exist in other shapes and forms, more or less disguised, among the Christians of other confessions, and indeed often more in small sects than in large churches?”
(Brennan Manning. The Ragamuffin Gospel)

The Alure Of Sensuality

"There’s something here, my dear boy, that you don’t understand yet. A man will fall in love with some beauty, with a woman’s body, or even with a part of a woman’s body (a sensualist can understand that), and he’ll abandon his own children for her, sell his father and mother, and his country, Russia, too. If he’s honest, he’ll steal; if he’s humane, he’ll murder; if he’s faithful, he’ll deceive."
(Brothers Karamazov.  Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Desperately Empty Church

"I believe that once a person truly experiences the conscious, manifest presence of God, he will lose interest in everything else in this world. No longer will the cheap choruses satisfy. The flood of entertainment that has swamped the Church will leave him with a desperately empty feeling inside. And the cult of personality, which has gripped the Church these days, will no longer draw his admiration. All those things he once reveled in no longer interest him. He has discovered something far greater in God’s presence."

-- A.W. Tozer "Experiencing the Presence of God"

Living Like Polished Marbles?

"Most people are on the world, not in it -- have no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them -- undiffused, separate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate."

- John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, (1938), page 320

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Luther Was Arrogant....

the last paragraph is arrogantly amazing.....

"As most Christians know, one of Luther’s primary doctrines is that we’re saved by faith alone. Yet, the Scriptures never explicitly make that statement. So Luther arrogantly took it upon himself to insert the word “alone”into the Bible. In the Epistle to the Romans, Paul wrote: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law”(Rom. 3:28). Luther wasn’t satisfied with that statement, so he changed it to say “a man is justified by faith alone, apart from the deeds of the law.”When the Catholics called his hand on this, Luther refused to admit that he had overstepped the proper boundaries. Instead, he arrogantly brushed his critics aside in a public letter:    If your papist wishes to make a great fuss about the word “alone”(sola), say this to him: “Doctor Martin Luther will have it so, and he says that a papist and an ass are the same thing!”I will it. I command it. My will is reason enough! For we are not going to become students and followers of the papists. Rather we will become their judge and master. We, too, are going to be proud and brag with these blockheads. And just as St. Paul brags against his madly raving saints, I will brag over these asses of mine! They are doctors? Me too. They are scholars? I am as well. They are philosophers? And I. They are dialecticians? I am too. They are lecturers? So am I. They write books? So do I.  I will go even further with my bragging: I can exegete the Psalms and the Prophets, and they cannot. I can translate, and they cannot. I can read Holy Scriptures, and they cannot. I can pray, they cannot. Coming down to their level, I can do their dialectics and philosophy better than all of them put together. Plus I know that not one of them understands Aristotle. If, in fact, any one of them can correctly understand one part or chapter of Aristotle, I will eat my hat!  No, I am not overdoing it, for I have been educated in and have practiced their discipline since my childhood. I recognize how broad and deep it is. They, likewise, know that I can do everything they can do. Yet they handle me as though I were a stranger to their studies! These incurable fellows! As if I had just arrived this morning and had never seen or heard what they know and teach. How they so brilliantly parade around with their knowledge, teaching me what I graduated beyond twenty years ago! To all their shouting and screaming I join the harlot in singing: “I have known for seven years that horseshoe nails are iron.” So this can be the answer to your first question. Please do not give these asses any other answer to their useless braying about that word sola than simply: “Luther will have it so, and he says that he is a doctor above all the papal doctors.”Let it remain at that. From now on, I will hold them in contempt. In fact, I have already held them in contempt, as long as they are the kind of people that they are—asses, I should say. And there are brazen idiots among them who have never learned their own art of sophistry—like Dr. Schmidt and Snot-Nose, and others like them."

(Will The Theologians Please Sit Down. David Bercot)

Theologian Captivity

 "In the course of His ministry, Jesus destroyed the two methods by which the theologians had held the people in bondage. As we’ve seen, one of those methods was their superior knowledge of the Hebrew language. Did Jesus endorse Hebrew as a holy language, the only language suitable for God’s messages to mankind? Not at all. Instead, the only record we have of His teachings is in Greek. By this, I don’t mean that Jesus necessarily taught in Greek. (Most linguists assume that he taught in Aramaic.) Yet, through the New Testament, His teachings were given to the world in Greek—not Hebrew or Aramaic. Jesus totally bypassed Hebrew. Unlike the theologians, He didn’t train His disciples to read Hebrew so they could read Scripture in its “original language.”In fact, when Jesus’apostles quoted from the Old Testament, they nearly always quoted from the Greek Septuagint, not from the Hebrew versions used by the theologians. Similarly, rather than recognizing the scribes and Pharisees as the “official interpreters of the Law,”Jesus called them “blind guides”who had missed the whole point of the Law. The theologians were constantly perturbed at Jesus because He contradicted their teachings."
(Will The Theologians Please Sit Down. David Bercot)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hiking Art

"To equip a pedestrian with shelter, bedding, utensils, food, and other necessities, in a pack so light and small that he can carry it without overstrain, is really a fine art"
(Camping and Woodcraft, Horace Kephart)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pressure To Appear Christian

The church is notorious in using outside pressure to make a sinner act like a Christian. You can teach almost anybody to do almost anything. Baptize him, confirm him and feed him the Lord’s Supper regularly; instruct him in the faith, and after a while he begins to act like a Christian. He is not a Christian because there is not that inward factor impelling him to righteousness and true holiness. Outside pressure is making him conform and act like a Christian. However, when he is away from that pressure, he reverts to acting like himself— a sinner. His instinct is always toward sin.
A. W. Tozer "Experiencing the Presence of God"

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Where You Are Brought To Tears

“Be aware of the place where you are brought to tears. That’s where I am, and that’s where your treasure is.”
(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Your Unknown Role In History

"The alchemist said, “No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.”"
(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

The Heart Helps Drunkards and Children

“Does a man’s heart always help him?”the boy asked the alchemist. “Mostly just the hearts of those who are trying to realize their Personal Legends. But they do help children, drunkards, and the elderly, too.”
(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

The Soul Of The World Says

"That night, the boy slept deeply, and, when he awoke, his heart began to tell him things that came from the Soul of the World. It said that all people who are happy have God within them. And that happiness could be found in a grain of sand from the desert, as the alchemist had said. Because a grain of sand is a moment of creation, ..." (The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Affraid Of Suffering

“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,” the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself."
(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Fearing Your Dream

"People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them."
(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

His Heart Is No Longer Ready.

"... his heart had always been ready to tell its story, but lately that wasn’t true."

(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Learning By Action

“There is only one way to learn,”the alchemist answered. “It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey."
(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Walking Out To Go IN.....

"I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."

(John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

No Reason Is Needed For Loving

“I’m going away,”he said. “And I want you to know that I’m coming back. I love you because…”“Don’t say anything,”Fatima interrupted. “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”
(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Everyday Is A Good To Live, and Die.

"And, as the camel driver had said, to die tomorrow was no worse than dying on any other day. Every day was there to be lived or to mark one’s departure from this world."
(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Who We Thought Were Suppose To Be

"When they are able to let go of who they thought they were suppose to be, they light up."
 (Jane Langton. Ted Talk)

Who Is Writing Our Life?

“We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.”   (The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Only Two Hours Away By Ship

After all, what he had always wanted was just that: to know new places. Even if he never got to the Pyramids, he had already traveled farther than any shepherd he knew. Oh, if they only knew how different things are just two hours by ship from where they are, he thought."

(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Seeing What's Around You As You Tend The Sheep

“The wise man listened attentively to the boy’s explanation of why he had come, but told him that he didn’t have time just then to explain the secret of happiness. He suggested that the boy look around the palace and return in two hours.
“‘Meanwhile, I want to ask you to do something,’ said the wise man, handing the boy a teaspoon that held two drops of oil. ‘As you wander around, carry this spoon with you without allowing the oil to spill.’“The boy began climbing and descending the many stairways of the palace, keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. After two hours, he returned to the room where the wise man was. “‘Well,’asked the wise man, ‘did you see the Persian tapestries that are hanging in my dining hall? Did you see the garden that it took the master gardener ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in my library?’“The boy was embarrassed, and confessed that he had observed nothing. His only concern had been not to spill the oil that the wise man had entrusted to him. “‘Then go back and observe the marvels of my world,’said the wise man. ‘You cannot trust a man if you don’t know his house.’“Relieved, the boy picked up the spoon and returned to his exploration of the palace, this time observing all of the works of art on the ceilings and the walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around him, the beauty of the flowers, and the taste with which everything had been selected. Upon returning to the wise man, he related in detail everything he had seen. “‘But where are the drops of oil I entrusted to you?’asked the wise man. “Looking down at the spoon he held, the boy saw that the oil was gone. “‘Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you,’said the wisest of wise men. ‘The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.’”The shepherd said nothing. He had understood the story the old king had told him. A shepherd may like to travel, but he should never forget about his sheep."
(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Delayed Living

“Why do you tend a flock of sheep?”“Because I like to travel.”The old man pointed to a baker standing in his shop window at one corner of the plaza. “When he was a child, that man wanted to travel, too. But he decided first to buy his bakery and put some money aside. When he’s an old man, he’s going to spend a month in Africa. He never realized that people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”"

(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Least Developed Countries Have Most Vibrant Church?

"Third, the fool’s- eye view reminds us that our talk of the modern Church needs balancing, for the modern Church is not all the Church. Indeed, it is the smaller as well as the spiritually poorer part. Beyond it stirs the youthful energy and expanding vision of the Church in the global South, and all around the less- developed world. Less modernized, the Church around the world is less worldly. Less sophisticated, it is less secular. Lagging behind in modernization, it is already beginning to lead in its ministry, mission, dedication, sacrifice and joy. As such, it can be a transfusion of life to the withered churches in Europe and the shallow, worldly- wise faith in America."

-- Os Guinness "The Last Christian on Earth"

Devil Not So Excited To Grave Dig Anynore

"In spite of all the forces arrayed against the Christian Church, whether seen or unseen, grave- digging has been a somewhat less than certain business for the Evil One ever since the resurrection. Therefore, in the words of the most constant refrain in all the Scriptures, “Have faith in God. Have no fear.” God is greater than all, and he may be trusted in all situations."

Os Guinness "The Last Christian on Earth"

A Church In Therapy

"We confess that we Evangelicals have betrayed our beliefs by our behavior. All too often we have trumpeted the gospel of Jesus, but we have replaced biblical truths with therapeutic techniques, worship with entertainment, discipleship with growth in human potential, church growth with business entrepreneurialism, concern for the Church and for the local congregation with expressions of the faith that are churchless and little better than a vapid spirituality, meeting real needs with pandering to felt needs, and mission principles with marketing precepts. In the process we have become known for commercial, diluted and feel- good gospels of health, wealth, human potential and religious happy talk, each of which is indistinguishable from the passing fashions of the surrounding world."

-- Os Guinness … at the end of "The Last Christian on Earth", he offers a manifesto of what it really means to be Evangelical, something that we have drifted from over the years. I think that this is more significant than the book itself.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Saying The Strangest Things

"People say strange things, the boy thought. Sometimes it’s better to be with the sheep, who don’t say anything. And better still to be alone with one’s books. They tell their incredible stories at the time when you want to hear them. But when you’re talking to people, they say some things that are so strange that you don’t know how to continue the conversation."
(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

The Greatest Lie is......

“It’s a book that says the same thing almost all the other books in the world say,”continued the old man. “It describes people’s inability to choose their own Personal Legends. And it ends up saying that everyone believes the world’s greatest lie.”“What’s the world’s greatest lie?”the boy asked, completely surprised. “It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”
(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

When Others Become Angry

"When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own."
(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Simple Things Are The Extraordinary Things

"It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them."
(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Burried Desire

"The boy could see in his father’s gaze a desire to be able, himself, to travel the world—a desire that was still alive, despite his father’s having had to bury it, over dozens of years, under the burden of struggling for water to drink, food to eat, and the same place to sleep every night of his life."
(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Having Never Read A Book - Ever

True of where I work in Sub-Sahara Africa.

"Yes, their days were all the same, with the seemingly endless hours between sunrise and dusk; and they had never read a book in their young lives, and didn’t understand when the boy told them about the sights of the cities. They were content with just food and water..." ~The Alchemist

Forgetting Wandering For Love

"'It doesn’t matter,' he said to his sheep. 'I know other girls in other places.' But in his heart he knew that shepherds, like seamen and like traveling salesmen, always found a town where there was someone who could make them forget the joys of carefree wandering."

(The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Learning To Embrace The Life Before You At This Time.... Slowly.

The last twenty years of my life between Africa and Canada has been a struggle to do just this.
Sometimes I do well, other times not so well.
I’ve come to realize that longing is ok as long as it does not paralyze, as long as I slowly continue to embrace the life that has been given at this time, at this moment.-Marilyn R Gardner "Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging"

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I'll Not Be Tending Your Grave Anymore......

"I’d sat in the flowerbed in the woods on our land, where Eddie, Paul, my siblings, and I had mixed her ashes in with the dirt and laid a tombstone, and explained to her that I wasn’t going to be around to tend her grave anymore. Which meant that no one would. I finally had no choice but to leave her grave to go back to the weeds and blown-down tree branches and fallen pinecones. To snow and whatever the ants and deer and black bears and ground wasps wanted to do with her. I lay down in the mother ash dirt among the crocuses and told her it was okay. That I’d surrendered. That since she died, everything had changed. Things she couldn’t have imagined and wouldn’t have guessed. My words came out low and steadfast. I was so sad it felt as if someone were choking me, and yet it seemed my whole life depended on my getting those words out.

She would always be my mother, I told her, but I had to go. She wasn’t there for me in that flowerbed anymore anyway, I explained. I’d put her somewhere else. The only place I could reach her. In me.
The next day I left Minnesota forever. I was going to hike the PCT. "

(Wild: From Lost To Found On The Pacific Trail. Cheryl Strayed )

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Be Yourself

Often we want to be somewhere other than where we are, or even to be someone other than who we are. We tend to compare ourselves constantly with others and wonder why we are not as rich, as intelligent, as simple, as generous, or as saintly as they are. Such comparisons make us feel guilty, ashamed, or jealous. It is very important to realize that our vocation is hidden in where we are and who we are. We are unique human beings, each with a call to realize in life what nobody else can, and to realize it in the concrete context of the here and now.
We will never find our vocations by trying to figure out whether we are better or worse than others. We are good enough to do what we are called to do. Be yourself!
-- Henri Nouwen

You Don't Choose a Life. .. You live One.

"My life here might not seem like much to you, but it's the life I choose."

"You don't choose a life dad,  you live one."

(Movie, The Way)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Being What We are Where We Are.

"The problem with modern Christians is not that they are not where they should be, but that they are not what they should be where they are." 

(Os Guiness. "The Last Christian on Earth”)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Get Cloose Enough To Get Hurt

"If you want to put the hand of the hurting into the hand of the Savior, you have to get close enough to get hurt"
(Rosario Butterfield)

Wispers Of Truth Are Louder Than War

"The gunfire around us makes it hard to hear. But the human voice is different from other sounds. It can be heard over noises that bury everything else. Even when is not shouting. Even if it's just a whisper. Even the lowest whisper can be heard - over armies - when it's telling the truth." Edmond Zuwanie

(The Interpreter: 2005 movie, the inscription to a book written by the fictional African dictator, Edmond Zuwanie)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Church is Not a Meeting?

"The church of Jesus Christ is not a meeting to attend, but a worldwide family you belong to, and God can give expression to her however and whenever he desires."

Wayne Jacobsen

Publicity Does Not Mean Greater Importance

"There are a number of people who have become famous or widely known for their ministries, but much of God’s saving activity in our history could remain completely unknown. That is a mystery difficult to grasp in an age that attaches so much importance to publicity. We tend to think that the more people know and talk about something, the more important it must be."

(Brennan Manning. The Ragamuffin Gospel)