"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).

Monday, February 19, 2018

Mannerly Behavior & Wasted Words

"Torn between his hatred of wasted words and his deep respect for mannerly behavior, he was the very definition of unsettled."

~ Eric Metaxas. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Why Do We Get To Decide Who Lives?

"If you are truly a peacemaker, your very means have to be nonviolent and you have to be consistently pro-life—from womb to tomb. One of the most distressing qualities of many Christians today is that they retain the right to decide when, where, and with whom they will be pro-life peacemakers. If the other can be determined to be wrong, guilty, unworthy, or sinful, the death penalty is somehow supposed to serve justice. That entirely misses the ethical point Jesus makes: We are never the sole arbiters of life or death, because life is created by God and carries the divine image."

~ Richard Rohr

Nuclear Giants & Ethical Infants

"..... Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living."
~ General Omar Bradley. Armistice Day Address in Boston on November 10, 1948.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Beginners Mind

"“Poor in spirit” (Mat 5:3) means an inner emptiness and humility, a beginner’s mind." 


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ten Thousand Surrenders to Mercy

"The mystery of forgiveness is God’s ultimate entry into powerlessness. Withholding forgiveness is a form of power over another person, a way to manipulate, shame, control, and diminish another. God in Jesus refuses all such power....

We do not attain anything by our own holiness but by ten thousand surrenders to mercy. A lifetime of received forgiveness allows us to become mercy....."

Richard Rohr

Be Peace Ourselves Is How To Make Peace

War is a means of seeking control, not a means of seeking peace....
How can we be peacemakers? It begins by being peace ourselves, by connecting with the source of peace within. It means standing up in nonviolent resistance to systems of injustice. It involves learning the skills of nonviolent communication and conflict resolution....
We do not attain anything by our own holiness but by ten thousand surrenders to mercy. A lifetime of received forgiveness allows us to become mercy..."~ Richard Rohr

Precious Time in War-time

"This inactivity, or rather activity in unimportant things, is quite intolerable when one thinks of the brethren and of how precious time is."
~ Bonhoeffer. 1939 while in America worrying about church in Germany as war swallowed up everyone

Suffer With The People

"I have come to the conclusion that I have made a mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period of our national history with the Christian people of Germany. I shall have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people."

~Bonhoeffer, 1939

Non-violent Persistence

"While [it] may take a long time, our nonviolent persistence and truth-telling will eventually win out and bear the good fruit of justice.
Richard Rohr

Truth-telling Wins Eventually

"While [it] may take a long time, our nonviolent persistence and truth-telling will eventually win out and bear the good fruit of justice.
Richard Rohr

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Holding Defense Power

"The price of both holding power and speaking truth to power can be very great. You ricochet between being offensive and being defensive, neither of which is a contemplative or solid position.
Further, you are forced to either defend and maintain the status quo to protect yourself and the group or to waste time reacting against it."

Richard Rohr

The Bent Over Ones

How blessed (or “happy”) are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of Heaven is theirs. —Matthew 5:3

“Poor in spirit” means an inner emptiness and humility, a beginner’s mind, and to live without a need for personal righteousness or reputation. It is the “powerlessness” of Alcoholics Anonymous’ First Step. The Greek word Matthew uses for “poor” is ptochoi, which literally means, “the very empty ones, those who are crouching.” They are the bent-over beggars, the little nobodies of this world who have nothing left, who aren’t self-preoccupied or full of themselves in any way. Jesus is saying: “Happy are you, you’re the freest of all.”

Headless Church

How can you “love Jesus but hate church?” Church is the body of Christ and bride of Christ. I do sometimes hate what we’ve made of the church, our body modifications, plastic surgeries, and all our attempts to go headless.

— Leonard Sweet

Twisting Love?

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image."

— Thomas Merton

First Prayer

In order to be effective, prayer has to be the first thing we do, not the last.

— Eugene Peterson

Marriage Vows Like No Other

"A marriage vow is saying, "I know that you're trouble! Me too! So we won't leave, no matter what happens. Well that's one hell of a vow. But that's why it's a vow. That's why you take it infront of a bunch of people. That's why it's supposed to be a sacred act. What's the alternative? What's the alternative?
Everything is mutable and changable at any moment. Go ahead and live your life like that and see what you're like when you are fifty. Jesus, it's dismal. Two or three divorces. You're family us fragmented. You've got no continuity of narrative. And it's  not good for the kids, not by any stretch of the imagination. It's a form if voluntary slavery i suppose.
It's also the equilivant to the adoption of a responsibility. And there is more too it than that. If you can't (won't) run away, you can solve your problems.
Because, it might be, I'm stuck with you, so how about we fix things. Because the alternative is that we are going to be in a boxing match for the next forty years. That's your alternative.

So, and you think you're going to fix your problems without something like that hanging over your head? There isn't a chance. You'll just avoid them
That is what people do. It's really hard to solve problems, especially in a relationship.

.... do you think you will do that (sort it out) unless there is a good reason?

No! We better sort this out because we are going to be carrying it around for the next forty years. That, maybe, is enough motivation so that you actually try hard to solve a problem.

It's a lot easier to say, " Ha, we're not going there." But then, good, you'll have it every day, every goddam day for the rest of your life."
Jordan Peterson

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Life is Joy With Tears Just Behind

Our life is a short time in expectation, a time in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment. There is a quality of sadness that pervades all the moments of our lives. It seems that there is no such thing as a clear-cut pure joy, but that even in the most happy moments of our existence we sense a tinge of sadness. In every satisfaction, there is an awareness of limitations. In every success, there is the fear of jealousy. Behind every smile, there is a tear. In every embrace, there is loneliness. In every friendship, distance. And in all forms of light, there is the knowledge of surrounding darkness . . . But this intimate experience in which every bit of life is touched by a bit of death can point us beyond the limits of our existence. It can do so by making us look forward in expectation to the day when our hearts will be filled with perfect joy, a joy that no one shall take away from us.

- Henri Nouwen

Human Rights Authoritarian Failure

"Despite my considerable involvement in pressuring the Ontario government, many years ago, to create Canada's first Human Rights Commission, I regret the attempt to use the law in this way.......
There should be no question of the right to publish the cartoons in question Religious prophets no less than political leaders or even deities may be legally permissible targets of satire or even scoring. This is the essence of free speech in a democracy. No ideology political, religious, or philosophical can be immune. It will be wise, therefore, to remove those provisions in the human rights act....."

Alan Borovoy

If We Lose Our Freedom

"If we lose our freedoms in this country, the job will be done to us not by malevolent autocrats seeking do bad but by parochial bureaucrats seeking to do good "

~ Alan Borovoy

Free Speech

"We live in a free country where people have as much right to express outrageous and ridiculous opinions as moderate ones."
~ Justice Ian Bennie Canada

Where There is No Humor

"Joseph Stalin sent 200,000 people to the Gulag for making politically inappropriate jokes. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel prize-winning Russian writer, was sentenced to eight years of hard labor for writing a letter that poked fun at Stalin's mustache."

- Ezra Levant

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Jesus Exists and Gathers People outside the Church Too

I've seen faith community formed many other ways around the world, and right here on PEI.
It's beautiful to see and be part of.

"One twitter comment said by leaving the church I was committing spiritual suicide. I read that comment to a friend (a nationally known, strong Christian leader who does not attend church but doesn’t talk about it) and both of us were taken aback.
Do people really believe there’s no spiritual life, no walk with Jesus, no community and no love outside a Sunday morning worship service? For those who’ve never taken a break from church, this will be a hard one. But I assure you, He’s alive and well and happy and working both inside and outside the traditional church. He’s going places many of us are unwilling to go, or perhaps scared to go. He exists outside our worldly tribes, even if those worldly tribes are labeled as a local church."
Donald Miller

Graduating From One Local Church To The Universal Church

Theologically, I find myself in the evangelical camp in many ways, but as for the “one way to do life and church” I’ve gone a different path. And I’m hardly alone. While I love the traditional church, I love it like a foundational part of my past, as though it were a University I’ve graduated from to join a much larger church those still in the University program are quite suspicious of. (More on church as school later)
For many, though, the church is where people find spiritual security through communion with both God and a local tribe. People love their churches, their pastors and their community. Some people believe church is the main place we worship God, that it’s superior and more sacred than worshipping with their family or friends or through other outlets such as work or daily life. 
Donald Miller

Trustin That God Always Acts Redemptively

We are saying that he is the changeless one. His love never fluctuates,; his Mercy is inexhaustible; his wisdom cherishes all that is truly good; his power can always be trusted to act  redemptively....

So we need not speculate what will be his response whenever we turn to him, whether it be from an hour of victory or from a night of defeat; from an act of which we are proud, or from one of which we are heartily ashamed.. ..
It matters not who we are or where we are, a holy God is our God in whom there is nothing to adulterate or diminish or alter the transcendent qualities which our weakness or our sinful is need. He is always God. Nothing is ever missing from him...."

(Albert Edward Day. The Captivating Presence)

They Burned God

D. Bonhoeffer wrote this date
"9.11.1938" beside Psalm 74:8 in his bible.

That was when the "Night Of Broken Glass", as it was later called, began. Hitler sent out an order to all Gestapo offices in Germany to brutalize the Jews. Jewish synagogues, and stores were broken and burned, jewish people beaten and murdered.

"They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!” They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land." ~ Psalm 74:8

The God "Of Success"

"We still cannot imagine that today God really doesn’t want anything new for us, but simply to prove us in the old way. That is too petty, too monotonous, too undemanding for us. And we simply cannot be constant with the fact that God’s cause is not always the successful one, that we really could be “unsuccessful”: and yet be on the right road . But this is where we find out whether we have begun in faith or in a burst of enthusiasm."

~ Bonhoeffer Advent letter the confessing churches. 1938. After the Night of Broken Glass, wholesale persecution of Jews began. Many pastors of the "Confessig Church"  were taking confessions of devotion to Hitler, as a formality to not lose their jobs. The German Church Bishops ordered their pastors to swear obedience to Hitler.
(Eric Metaxas. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy)

Children Called To Do Brave Things

"I knew that unaccustomed things would be asked of us children from now on but felt proud of now being allowed to share the real troubles of the adults. I thought if I could do nothing against the Nazis myself I must at the very least co-operate with the grown-ups who could."

~ Marianne Leibholze. As a child (11 yrs old) remembers the day her Jewish family secretly fled to Switzerland before Natizi's closed border.

Children Called To Do Brave Things

"I knew that unaccustomed things would be asked of us children from now on but felt proud of now being allowed to share the real troubles of the adults. I thought if I could do nothing against the Nazis myself I must at the very least co-operate with the grown-ups who could."

~ Marianne Leibholze. As a child (11 yrs old) remembers the day her Jewish family secretly fled to Switzerland before Natizi's closed border.

Friday, February 9, 2018

I Can't Stop Buying Bread

I buy bread all the time.
The fear lives with me - I'm afraid of runnin out of bread.
What if there's no bread?
That has stayed with me.
We were given half a loaf. I divided it into four chunks. I kept some for the evening and some for work. We were always hungry. Hungry all the time.
So i constantly stock up on bread.
My son says: 'We've got enough bread.'
I know, forgive me.
I can't help it.
That's what remains from the camps.
The fear of having no bread.
No bread.

Jadwiga Malewicz. Ten years for Counter Revelotion

We Thought It Wouldn't Last!

"Why didn't you try to escape?"

"I really don't know. Why didn't we run away? They couldn't have shot us all.
But where could we run to? Where could we go? I don't know.  We were up against the whole state, soldiers, guns, dogs.
They would have caught us and you see, we believed it wouldn't last"

Joanna Murikieni
10 years Prison for "Anti- Soviet Activity"
Kaunas, Lithuania

No Deceptive Looks

"Let the world despise and leave me;
They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like those, untrue.

~ Hymn "Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken Henry F. Lyte

Face Palm Prayers

"Pressing my eyes against my hands is not praying, and reading about your presence is not living in it."

(Henri Nouwen A Cry For Mercy)

Feline Steps?

My prayer for you all this morning.
The Message Translation seems to cut through the religious  jargon we are accustomed to sometimes.

"His heart pumps God's Word like blood through his veins; his feet are as sure as a cat's."  Psalm 37:31 MSG

An Ecology and Poverty That Allows Time For Prayer

"Lord, help me choose a simpler life-style that promote solidarity with the world's poor,
helps me appreciate nature more,
affords greater opportunity to work together with my neighbors,
reduces my use of limited resources, creates greater inner harmony,
saves money,
allows time for meditation and prayer,
incites me to take political and social action.
May all my decisions about my style of life celebrate the joy of life that comes from loving You. Amen

~ Thomas Pettepiece. Visions of a hungry world

Not With You First

"The church begins not with a Pious individual, but with God. "

~ Hans Küng. "The church"

Monastery Fires And Bellows

"If when we plunge our hand
into a bowl of water,
Or stir up the fire with the bellows
Or tabulate interminable columns of figures
on our book-keeping table,
Or, burnt by the sun, we are plunged in
the mud of the rice-field,
Or standing by the smelter’s furnace
We do not fulfill the same religious life
as if in prayer in a monastery,
the world will never be saved."

~ Gandhi

The No Grabbing Prayers

"It is impressive to see how prayer opens one's eyes to nature. Prayer makes men contemplative and attentive. In place of manipulating, the man who prays stands receptive before the world. He no longer grabs but caresses, he no longer bites, but kisses, he no longer examines but admires.

(Thomas Merton: Contemplative Critic by Henry Nouwen)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Stories Matter

"Stories Matter!
Many stories matter.
Stories have been used to disposses and to malign.
But stories can also be used to empower and to humanize.
Stories can break the dignity of a people. 
But stories can also repair that broken dignity."

~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Leave It To Poets?

"The dualistic mind is essentially binary, either/or thinking. It knows by comparison, opposition, and differentiation. It uses descriptive words like good/evil, pretty/ugly, smart/stupid, not realizing there may be a hundred degrees between the two ends of each spectrum. Dualistic thinking works well for the sake of simplification and conversation, but not for the sake of truth or the immense subtlety of actual personal experience. Most of us settle for quick and easy answers instead of any deep perception, which we leave to poets, philosophers, and prophets. Yet depth and breadth of perception should be the primary arena for all authentic religion."

~ Richard Rohr

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Nothing To Shout?

"Others have not yet attained the mature concepts on which a shout of protest to the crowd must be based. Indeed, only a revolutionary has slogans on his lips that are crying to be uttered aloud; and would the uninvolved, peaceable average man come by such slogans? He simply does not know what to shout."

~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago

Why So Silent?

"Even though my flanks had already lain on rotten straw beside the latrine bucket, my eyes had already beheld beaten-up and sleepless men, my ears had heard the truth, and my mouth had tasted prison gruel. So why did I keep silent? Why, in my last minute out in the open, did I not attempt to enlighten the hoodwinked crowd?

(Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Stuffy World Of theological Bigotry

"I did not come to Schlönwitz in a glad or hopeful frame of mind. . . . I shuddered at the prospect of this period of mental and physical straitening. It was to my mind a necessary evil . . . which one must endure gracefully and get through as well as possible on grounds of self-discipline . . . but then everything turned out quite different from what I had feared . Instead of entering the stuffy world of theological bigotry, I found myself in one which combined much of what I loved and needed; clear theological work in companionship with others, who never let one be wounded by feeling one’s own incompetence, but who made the work a joy; brotherhood under the Word which united us all without respect of person; and at the same time an appreciation of all that gives charm to the fallen creation; music, literature, sport and the beauty of the earth; a magnanimous way of living."

(A student of the secret underground Seminary that Bonhoeffer set up after the Nazis forcibly closed the Confessing Churches Seminary Facilties in Germany.)

(Eric Metaxas. Bonhoeffer:Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.)

Leave Your Church For Interested Fields

This question would come up in a very practical way for some of the ordinands who were dispatched to parishes not terribly interested in what they had to offer. It could be discouraging. Gerhard Vibrans was sent to a tiny village east of Magdeburg that seemed populated almost exclusively by dullards:

"My parish of six hundred souls at Schweinitz is a very poor one; on average only one or two people go to church there every Sunday. . . . [E] very Sunday, wearing my vestments, I make a pilgrimage through the whole village primarily to bring home to the people that it is Sunday. . . . The people try to comfort me by saying that I will get my salary even though no one goes to church."

He said that on Trinity Sunday no one at all showed up, “apart from the woman sexton.”Bonhoeffer’s response to Vibrans was simple, practical, and biblical: “If one village will not listen we go to another. There are limits.”He was echoing Jesus’injunction to the disciples that they shake the dust from their sandals and leave a village where they were not welcomed (Matt. 10: 14). But Bonhoeffer was not cavalier about it, and his heart went out to Vibrans, who had been about as faithful a servant as anyone could have imagined: “Your loyal observance of our advice almost puts me to shame. Don’t take it too literally or one day you might get fed up with it.”

Bonhoeffer visited the village and preached there. He later wrote Vibrans and said that he should write his congregation “telling them that this is possibly the last offer of the Gospel to them, and that there are other communities whose hunger for the Word cannot be satisfied because there are too few workers.”

~ Eric Metaxas. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Monday, February 5, 2018

"Larded" Over With Religion

"He wished to impress upon his ordinands that when one truly presented the Word of God, it would undo people because it had the innate power to help them see their own need and would give the answer to that need in a way that was not larded over with “religion”or false piety. The grace of God, without filters or explanation, would touch people."

~ Eric Metaxas. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Loaded Gospel Ship

"Trust to the Word. It is a ship loaded to the very limits of its capacity!”
~ Bonhoeffer

Arrest Anyone

"In 1937 a woman came to the reception-room of the Novocherkassk NKVD to ask what she should do about the unfed unwean infant of a neighbor who had been arrested. They said: "Sit down, we'll find out." She sat there for two hours whereupon they took her and tossed her into a cell"
~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago.

Losing One Eye, Or two?

"But those same hands which once screwed tight our handcuffs now hold over there palms in reconciliation: "No, don't! Don't dig up the past! Dwell on the past and you'll lose an eye."
But the proverb goes on to say: "Forget the past and you'll lose both eyes. ""

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago. Vol 1.

Losing One Eye, Or two?

"But those same hands which one screwed tight our handcuffs now hold over there palms in reconciliation: "No, don't! Don't dig up the past! Dwell on the past and you'll lose an eye."
But he proverb goes on to say: "Forget the past and you'll lose both eyes. ""

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago. Vol 1.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Free To Be Right Or Wrong

"One of those foundations is our right to have an opinion or belief that is different from society's orthodoxies, no matter if it's popular, or even correct. That's called freedom of conscience.  It's closely related to freedom of speech: having freedom of thought isn't much used if you can't express yourself."
Ezra Levant. Shake Down

Free Speech Is Dead In Canada

"That's the point. It's offensive speech that requires legal protection. If you don't believe in freedom of speech for offense of speech, you don't believe in freedom of speech at all...... But any original thinking on almost any issue is likely to be controversial and offensive to someone, .....
Ezra and I have a higher opinion of Canadians that Agent McGovern and her fellow thought police do. They think you're wee sensitive delicate creatures who need to be protected by the state from anything that might discombobulate you. We think that, as citizens of one of the oldest settled constitutional democracies on the planet, you're perfectly capable of deciding for yourself what you want read. You don't need your opinions monitored by government enforcers, some of whom are incompetent., others of whom are corrupt, and none of whom should have the powers they have."

Mark Steyn. Forward to "Shakedown"