"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, June 26, 2016

You Feel Different......

"Transformation begins with a new experience of a new Absolute, and, as a result, your social positioning gradually changes on almost all levels. Little by little you will allow your politics, economics, classism, sexism, racism, homophobia and all superiority games to lose their one-time rationale. You just "think" and "feel" differently about most things."
~ Richard Rohr

Why You Really Do Suck At Being a Christian- Even When You Don't Realize It.

Jesus' Teachings for the Second Half of Life
Friday, June 24, 2016
Most of Jesus' teachings are completely incomprehensible from a first-half-of-life perspective. Just read a few, and you will get the point.
 
"Leave all things and follow me"
You have to have it before you can give it away. You have to know yourself before you can move beyond yourself. Most people therefore just glaze over when they hear such impossible idealism.
 
"Take up your cross"
By and large, young people are not yet ready to understand "the cross." It becomes a piece of jewelry instead of a real agenda for life. People in the first half of life are about growing up, not growing down. Most people are not psychologically capable of truly grasping the full need and importance of letting go until their fifties or sixties, and many not even then.
 
Messages about letting go, surrendering or giving up of control, repentance or metanoia (turning around)
In the first half of life, you can't let go or turn around. You're rightly focused on creating a name for yourself, finding a spouse and job, accumulating money and possessions. But you must eventually let go so you can fall into your True Self that was always there, but that you were just not ready to meet.
 
"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you."
The first half of life uses the dualistic language of good guys and bad guys. The illusion is that some are all good and some are all bad, and the delusion is that we've got to kill all the bad ones. The first half of life is where we're taught to separate from evil (see Leviticus 16-25). Paul says "Jesus became sin" (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus became the problem; he became the broken, imperfect one. He entered into solidarity with the sin of the world rather than stand above or apart from it. Jesus absorbed evil. He didn't think for a moment he could kill it. He let it wreak its havoc on his body to transform it there, rather than perpetuate violence on others.
 
"Forgive those who've trespassed against you"
I don't think you can do any such thing by mere willpower, by first-half-of-life morality. Your little self can't will the hurt away and truly forgive an offender. You have to move to the larger place of Spirit. Not willfulness but willingness, where another will, another grace, another Spirit does it through you, with you, in you, and as you. And then you find yourself forgiving largely in spite of yourself.
 
Teachings about not seeking power, prestige, or status symbols
You have to have those to get started. I'm not surprised that a well-dressed, thirty-year-old man wants his titles and diplomas on the wall. I surely still carry some status symbols, but it doesn't mean much now. If you're my age and you still need external symbols of prestige to tell yourself and others that you're important, you are not far on the spiritual journey. Once you've met the Holy One who calls you beloved daughter or beloved son, you know you're foundationally chosen, special, and beloved, and you don't need outer symbols to prove it.
 
Do not seek or collect possessions or wealth
The church historically hasn't been a good example of this. I don't know why we picked and chose among Jesus' teachings. But I think it reflects first-half-of-life morality. The church just wasn't ready to follow Jesus all the way with his second-half-of-life wisdom. Frankly, we needed things external to the soul because we had not yet found our soul.

Richard Rohr

Longing For The Open Sea

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

-- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Sunday, June 19, 2016

I Am With You

“Have you been with me the entire time?” inquired Mack, a little ramped from the adrenaline rush.
“Of course. I am always with you.” (Sarayu)

“Then how come I didn’t know it?” asked Mack. “Lately I’ve been able to tell when you’re around.”“For you to know or not,” she explained, “has nothing at all to do with whether I am actually here or not. I am always with you; sometimes I want you to be aware in a special way..... "

(The Shack. William P. Young)

Emotions....l

“Emotions are the colors of the soul; they are spectacular and incredible. When you don’t feel, the world becomes dull and colorless. Just think how The Great Sadness reduced the range of color in your life down to monotones and flat grays and blacks.” ~ Sarayu

(William P. Young. The Shack)

Don't Devote Your Entire Life To It.

"Thus, the first part of the spiritual journey is about externals, formulas, superficial emotions, flags and badges, correct rituals, Bible quotes, and special clothing, all of which largely substitute for an actual spiritual journey (see Matthew 23:13-32). Yet they are all used and needed to create the container. Yes, it is largely style and sentiment instead of real substance, but even that is probably necessary. Just don't devote your entire life to it."

(Richard Rohr)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Shadowlands

"Human life only develops in the shadowlands" 

~ Richard Rohr
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Never Been Down It.

"We stopped at this gas station somewhere down in Nebraska there, and, a, there was this guy, this old guy, sittin on the porch of this house.

We said, 'How far is the next gas station down the road here?'

He said, 'This road goes all the way to California.' He said that. 'But I've never been down it.'

I remember that, things like that, 'never been down it.'"

(Tom Fugal. 22 days under the sky)

You Have Never Had Enough Christianity?

"In the modern world we are primarily confronted with the extraordinary spectacle of people turning to new ideals because they have not tried the old. Men have not got tired of Christianity; they have never found enough Christianity to get tired of."
  
... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), What's Wrong with
     the World

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Leave People Alone....

"I was as safe as anybody in the lowlands, lying like a squirrel in a warm, fluffy nest, busied about my own affairs and wishing only to be let alone."

( John Muir. Steep Trails)

Survival Lies

“Honey, you’re a survivor. No shame in that. Your daddy hurt you something fierce. Life hurt you. Lies are one of the easiest places for survivors to run. It gives you a sense of safety, a place where you only have to depend on yourself. But it’s a dark place, isn’t it?”
“So dark,”Mack muttered with a shake of his head."
(William P. Young. The Shack)

Good Cop Bad Cop - God and Jesus

"He came to show people who I am and most folks only believe it about him. They still play us off like good cop/bad cop most of the time, especially the religious folk. When they want people to do what they think is right, they need a stern God. When they need forgiveness, they run to Jesus.”
(William P. Young. The Shack. God to Mack)

In The Church Institution... But Not Of It

“Mack, the world system is what it is. Institutions, systems, ideologies, and all the vain, futile efforts of humanity that go with them are everywhere, and interaction with all of it is unavoidable. But I can give you freedom to overcome any system of power in which you find yourself, be it religious, economic, social, or political. You will grow in the freedom to be inside or outside all kinds of systems and to move freely between and among them. Together, you and I can be in it and not of it.”

( William P. Young. The Shack)

Institutions Can't Create Security

"People are afraid of uncertainty, afraid of the future. These institutions, these structures and ideologies, are all a vain effort to create some sense of certainty and security where there isn’t any. It’s all false! Systems cannot provide you security, only I can.”

(William P. Young. The Shack. Jesus to Mack )

I Don't Create Institutions

“I really do want to understand. I mean, I find the way you are so different from all the well-intentioned religious stuff I’m familiar with.”“As well-intentioned as it might be, you know that religious machinery can chew up people!” Jesus said with a bite of his own. “An awful lot of what is done in my name has nothing to do with me and is often, even if unintentional, very contrary to my purposes.”“You’re not too fond of religion and institutions?” Mack said, not sure if he was asking a question or making an observation. “I don’t create institutions—never have, never will.”

( William P. Young. The Shack J. Conversation with Mack)

Cracks Make Us Ready For Seed

"Like little cracks in the wall, one at a time, but woven together they prepared you for today. You have to take the time to prepare the soil if you want it to embrace the seed.”

( William P. Young. The Shack. Jesus to Mack)

Profoundly Simple

“.... with her, everything is normal and elegantly simple. Because you are so lost and independent you bring to her many complications, and as a result you find even her simplicity profound.”

(The Shack. William P. Young)

Cracks To Put Your Love In?

“You don't need another human being
to make your life complete, but let's be
honest. Having your wounds kissed by
someone who doesn't see them as
disasters in your soul, but cracks to
put their love into, is the most calming
thing in this world."

— Emery Allen (via perrfectly)

Poverty - True Poverty

"Living Poor is like being sentenced to exist in a stormy sea in a battered canoe, requiring all your strength simply to keep afloat; there is never any question of reaching a destination. True poverty is a state of perpetual crisis, and one wave just a little bigger or coming from an unexpected direction can and usually does wreck things."

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Church Institution Lives On Without God.

"The average church has so established itself organizationally and financially that God is simply not necessary to it. So entrenched is its authority and so stable are the religious habits of its members that God could withdraw Himself completely from it and it could run on for years on its own momentum."

- A.W. Tozer

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Preachers Need Air...

"The minister will not preach a perfectly flat and sedimentary sermon after climbing a snowy peak....Fresh air at least will get into everybody, and the cares of mere business will be quenched like the fires of a sinking ship."

~John Muir. Steep Trails

We are Mountaineers

"The mountains are fountains not only of rivers and fertile soil, but of men. Therefore we are all, in some sense, mountaineers, and going to the mountains is going home."

~John Muir. Steep Trails

Worth Knowing

"Dwelling apart in the depths of the woods are the various kinds of mountaineers,—hunters, prospectors, and the like,—rare men, "queer characters," and well worth knowing."

~ John Muir. Steep Trails

Friday, May 20, 2016

No Chain

"Yesterday I got a call from the outside world but I said no in Thunder.
I was a dog on a short chain and now there's no chain.

~ Jim Harrison

Forget Christ....

“There have been some who were so occupied with spreading Christianity that they never gave a thought to Christ.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fear Of Poor Mans Food.

"There is nothing that separates me more from poor people than the food they eat. How many nights have I gone hungry, miles out on some muddy trail, unable to do more than nibble at the food that has been placed before me by people who wish to honor me with the best they have."

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

Man's Passion For The Land

"Man's deepest passions are centered on land and the water that brings it to life. And what suffering won't a man endure to live in his own hut on his own land, proud and half-mad with the delusion that to some extent he is in control of his own destiny."

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

Lost Anticipation

"It is impossible to guess even vaguely at their ages the country has made them and learn something from their faces. Is it anticipation that they have lost? The expectation of something exciting ever happening?"

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Why Are You In The Woods.

"Some people are in the woods cause they can't fit in anywhere else. Some people just go to the woods for the sheer pleasure of being there.
I'm kinda somewhere in between there."

(Lewis.  The last Alaskans)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Church Planting Is Easy.

"What if church planting was way easier than we ever imagined?  It's not "magic".  And, it's not a formula.  It's simply joining with the One who said He would build His church and following His directions."

John White

Consistent Boredom

"Do not always try to be consistent...... To be consistent is always to wear a tie that matches one's socks. It is to have the same opinions tomorrow as one has today."

(Paulo Coelho: Maktub)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Who Cares?

"The sunrise, of course, doesn't care if we watch it or not."

~ Gene Amole

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Who'd You Eat With?

"Don't tell me what you ate. Tell me who you ate with."

(Greek woman's advice to Anthony Bourdain while in Greece)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Doctrine Police Robbers

"One of the reasons that our Jesus message has lost its attractiveness in the market place and culture is because it has become reduced, cold, and creatively starved. We have become so scared of saying something incorrectly about God that we have limited our speech to only the most well-worn dialogues and tried metaphors. The message is boring because it has, quite frankly, all been said before, in just the same way, with exactly the same word pictures and transitions."

(Tony Kriz. Aloof)

Pretend Religion

"I learned that pretending can be comfortable, very comfortable. Everyone around me was perfectly unfazed with my pretending. I think they preferred it. I discovered that religion encourages pretending. I did not know that."

(Tony Kriz. Aloof)

Does it Work?

"My driving desire was not to be the smartest Christian (at least not the most of the time), or the most holy Christian (a lost cause for sure), or even to have other people compliment my faith. At my deepest level, I wanted to believe that it worked, simply worked. I wanted to know that God was real and that I had not done something to irrevocably disqualify myself from the God-life."

(Tony Kriz. Aloof)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Figuring Out South America

"Maybe someday I will sit down and try to figure out what the hell I'm doing in South America. But not now. It is still not 8 a.m. and I have already had a rough day."

( Moritz Thomsen. The Saddest Pleasure)

DEATH Alternative

"I have not yet found a clue to death's  alternative...."

(Moritz Thomsen. The Saddest Pleasure)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Soul In Animal Environment

"The problem of the soul is how to live nobly in an animal environment; how to persuade and train the tongue and the senses to behave in agreement with the insights of the Soul.

~ Abraham Heschel

Lonely heart

"The heart is often a lonely voice in the marketplace of living."

~ Abraham Heschel

Purity Is Not The Test Of Piety?

"It would be a device of conceit, if not presumption, to insist that purity of the heart is the exclusive test of piety. Perfect purity is something we rarely know how to obtain or how to retain. No one can claim to have purged all the drawers even from his finest desire."

( Abraham Heschel. God In Search Of Man )

God Desire Heart Because He Loves Lived.

"The world needs more than the secret holiness of individual inwardness. It needs more of than the sacred sentiments and good intentions. God asks for the heart because he needs the lives. It is lives that the world will be redeemed, by lives that beat in concordance with God, by deeds that outbeat the finite charity of the human heart."

(Abraham Heschel. God In Search Of Man)

God Raises Us Up Easily


"There are people who try to raise their souls like a man continually taking standing jumps in the hopes that, if he jumps higher every day, a time may come when he will no longer fall back but will go right up to the sky. Thus occupied he cannot look at the sky. We cannot take a single step toward heaven. It is not in our power to travel in a vertical direction. If however we look heavenward for a long time, God comes and takes us up. He raises us easily."

—From Waiting for God by Simone Weil

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bible Worship

"I am deeply distressed by what I can only call in our Christian culture the idolatry of the Scriptures. For many Christians, the Bible is not a pointer to God but God himself. In a word – bibliolatry. God cannot be confined to a leather-bound book. I develop a nasty rash around people who speak as if mere scrutiny of its pages will reveal precisely how God thinks and precisely what God wants. The four Gospels are the key to knowing Jesus. But conversely, Jesus is the key to knowing the meaning of the gospel – and of the Bible as a whole. Instead of remaining content with the bare letter, we should pass on to the more profound mysteries that are available only through intimate and heartfelt knowledge of Jesus."

~ Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus

Monday, April 25, 2016

When My Prayers Are Dominated By Me and "My" People

"When we prayed to win the lottery, do we ever consider the untold numbers who will therefore not win.? Do we think about all those other folks, many of whom are in dire straits, unemployed, maybe with hungry kids? Do our prayers naturally drift to other people for whom a winning ticket would be a way out of poverty, abuse, or oppression? I am not just talking about a little lottery here, since so many of our prayers are an appeal for luck.

When we pray for our kids to make the basketball team or be accepted to a certain College, do we ever think of the other kids who will be left out if God fulfills our prayers?

How about when we pray for our church to grow? Do our prayers, be they private or from the pulpit, include remorse and regret regret for all the small churches that will need to close their doors to make way for another Urban mega church? The statistics are indisputable, churches grow because other churches shrink or close. Do our prayers include them?

My prayers are dominated by me and my people. Do I pray for other countries to succeed or just my country? Do I take into compassionate consideration that many, many other countries are filled with poverty, famine, and epidemics that would make our poorest neighborhoods look like paradise? Do we pray for the success of our neighbors across the globe?

How about when we pray for our soldiers? Do our appeals drift to the soldiers on the other side, for their safety and spared life? How about their families?

In the end, I believe that most of us are narcissists when it comes to our God-imaginations. God is at the game table, and we believe he should be skewing the game to support me, my people, my church, my country my.... my...my....
Am I the only one treating at all like a game?

(Tony Kriz. Aloof. Pg 26)

Desperately Seeking Nature

"But with such grand displays as Nature is making here, how grand are her reservations, bestowed only upon those who devotedly seek them!"

(John Muir. Steep Trails)

Excellence In Judgement

"“What? Me? I’d rather not,” he paused. “I don’t have any ability to judge.”“Oh, that is not true,” returned the quick reply, tinged now with a hint of sarcasm. “You have already proven yourself very capable, even in our short time together. And besides, you have judged many throughout your life. You have judged the actions and even the motivations of others, as if you somehow knew what those were in truth. You have judged the color of skin and body language and body odor. You have judged history and relationships. You have even judged the value of a person’s life by the quality of your concept of beauty. By all accounts, you are quite well-practiced in the activity.” Mack felt shame reddening his face. He had to admit he had done an awful lot of judging in his time.""

(William P. Young. The Shack)

Jesus Wants Brothers Not Slaves

"“Have you noticed that even though you call me Lord and King, I have never really acted in that capacity with you? I’ve never taken control of your choices or forced you to do anything, even when what you were about to do was destructive or hurtful to yourself and others................

"Because we want you to join us in our circle of relationship. I don’t want slaves to my will; I want brothers and sisters who will share life with me.”"

(William P. Young. The Shack)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Waiting For Our Souls To Catch Up.

"An explorer, a white man, anxious to reach his destination in the heart ofAfrica , promised an extra payment to his bearers if they would make greater speed. For several days, the bearers moved along at a faster pace. One afternoon, though, they all suddenly put down their burden and sat on the ground. No matter how much money they were offered, they refused to move on. When the explorer finally asked why they were behaving as they were, he was given the following answer: “We have been moving along at such a fast pace that we no longer know what we are doing. Now we have to wait until our soul catches up with us.”

(Paulo Coelho: Maktub)

Have You Taught How To Make Fire?

The master met one night with his disciples, and asked them to build a campfire so they could sit and talk. “The spiritual path is like a fire that burns before us,” he said. “A man who wants to light the fire has to bear with the disagreeable smoke that makes it difficult for him to breathe, and brings tears to his eyes. That is how his faith is rediscovered. However, once the fire is rekindled, the smoke disappears, and the flames illuminate everything around him -providing heat and tranquility.” “But what if someone else lights the fire for him?” asked one of the disciples. “And if someone helps us to avoid the smoke?” “If someone does that, he is a false master. A master capable of taking the fire to wherever he desires, or of extinguishing it whenever he wants to do so. And, since he has taught no one how to light the fire, he is likely to leave everyone in the darkness.”

(Paulo Coelho: Maktub)