"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).

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Get Out Of Bed Tomorrow

"Jesus didn’t psychologize or spiritualize people’s pain. He didn’t even try to explain it in light of God. Jesus faced pain and tasted the depths of it. He leaned into it, endured it, and fully met others in their hurt and heartache. Jesus cared. He did give a damn. Jesus felt it all deeply.

Being human means we go through life embracing it all fully and feeling it all deeply. That we don’t hide and try to protect ourselves. That we live. That we show up. That we laugh. That we cry. That we hurt. That we heal. That we care. That we love. And then, that we wake up the next morning and sign up to be human all over again. That is being IN the world."

(Jim Palmer. Notes From Over The Edge)

Jesus Wept

"The Religion-Free Bible paraphrase of the shortest verse of the Bible, “Jesus wept,” captures this: “Anguish climbed from the bottom of his gut up through his chest and throat, and into his eyes with a power that even he could not contain. A lone tear quietly dropped from his eyelash and as it inched down his face, he was now inseparably a part. In the length of his face, the heartache of humankind washed through him like rain. Jesus knew full well the human experience and how it sometimes felt like your heart was being ripped right out of your chest. Life is beautiful. But life was also agonizing. That was the deal, and there was nothing Jesus could ever do to change that. Gravity had its way with this solitary tear and as it fell from his chin to the ground, Jesus was undone with sadness and compassion that seemed to stretch across every wound and scar that had ever been suffered. No divinity could save him now from his own human heart. Jesus wept.”

(Jim Palmer. Notes From Over The Edge)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Resentment of Citizen toward Citizen

"The leading social commentator now teaches that despair and rage are an essential element in the struggle for justice. He and others who teache thus are sowing the wind, and they will reap the whirlwind, the tornado. Indeed, we are reaping it now in a nation increasingly sick with rage and resentment of citizen toward citizen. And often the rage and resentment resentment is upheld as justified......"

Dallas Willard. The Divine Conspiracy

Accepting Too Little For Church.

"Many think I’m so concerned about organized religion because I’ve been hurt by the worst of it. That isn’t quite true. I think its greatest danger comes not when it is obviously flawed, but when it works well— giving people an aesthetic experience or a place to park their guilt, and missing out on a real engagement with the King of Glory. When it convinces us that sitting in the same room or greeting each other briefly in the parking lot is real fellowship, we’ll miss the greater joy of supportive relationships that will help us all respond better to what God is doing in us....
What I love about the work of the Spirit in our day is that it is not being driven by an organization, a book or a charismatic speaker. God’s Spirit is creating a hunger in his people that defies the confines of religion or a particular way of doing things, and seeks to drink deeply of his presence and share an effective life with other fellow travelers."

Wayne Jacobsen

We Dont Need Church "Movements"

Everywhere I go now, people ask me about the ‘house church movement,’ hoping it will provide the answer to their hunger for real body life. While I greatly prefer relational environments to institutional ones, every time I hear the word ‘movement’ my heart sinks. I’m convinced that the day we call what God is doing a movement is the day it has already begun to die. I’ve seen many movements come and go —Charismatic, discipleship, deliverance, healing, intercession, spiritual warfare, prophetic, worship, and apostolic just to name a few. All of them came up hollow in the end, not because God wasn’t in some of it, but because people hijacked his work to serve their own needs and ambitions.

Calling something a movement inflates our own sense of importance and separates us from the multi- faceted working of God that transcends any particular way of doing things.

Wayne Jacobsen

Rediscovering The New Testament

Like it or not, the church is finally becoming much more universal in its teaching. Marginalized and oppressed groups have a wealth of insights to offer us in reading the Gospel. The New Testament is being rediscovered by altogether different sets of eyes, raising very different questions and perspectives that we just never thought about before. We are just beginning to honor the voices of women, minorities, and many groups that have not had access to the power, privilege, and comforts of past theologians."

Richard Rohr

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Church Is Doing Fine?

“There are many who agonize over the church. The good news is that the church Jesus is building is alive and well. It is the religious system that is unraveling before our eyes.”

~ Don Nori Sr.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Stunning Little People

"These 'little' people, without any of the character or qualifications humans insist are necessary, are the only ones who can actually make the world work. It is how things are among them that determines the character of every age and place."

(Dallas Willard. The Divine Conspiracy)

You... The Fat One... Jesus Party.

"Blessed are the physically repulsive,
Blessed are those who smell bad,
The Twisted, misshappen, deformed,
The too big, too little, too loud,
The bald, the fat, and the old--
For they are all riotously celebrated in the party of Jesus.

(Dallas Willard. The Divine Conspiracy. Pg 123)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

We Have Problem With The Bible

I have a problem with the Bible. Here’s my problem…

I’m an ancient Egyptian. I’m a comfortable Babylonian. I’m a Roman in his villa.

That’s my problem. See, I’m trying to read the Bible for all it’s worth, but I’m not a Hebrew slave suffering in Egypt. I’m not a conquered Judean deported to Babylon. I’m not a first century Jew living under Roman occupation.

I’m a citizen of a superpower. I was born among the conquerors. I live in the empire. But I want to read the Bible and think it’s talking to me. This is a problem."

Brian Zahnd

Monday, September 4, 2017

Church Is A Field, NOT A Force Of Evangelism

"The church is meant to be a force of evangelism but has become a field of evangelism instead"

British Methodist Samuel Chadwick (1860-1932)

Friday, September 1, 2017

You Can't "Handle" The Truth

"The reason why so few find the Truth is because we impose our conditions and preferences upon it. We insist the Truth must look a certain way, including the path we take to get to it. You have a “Yeah, but” problem. You say you want to know the truth but you have conditions. Yeah, I want to know the Truth… BUT it must nicely fit into, complement or be consistent with certain beliefs and understandings I never plan on giving up, BUT it must not put me at odds with my family, friends, or faith tradition, BUT it must be something I can figure out in, with, and through my mind, BUT it must produce the outcomes I want on my terms. The Truth will not bend to satisfy your conditions. The path is simple except for your preferences."

(Jim Palmer. Notes From Over The Edge)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

No Need To Be God Competent

"It is not hard to see the concrete and oppressive form that the flight from God takes today. There is, for example, no field of expertise in human affairs where interaction with God is a part of the subject matter or practice that must be mastered in order to be judged competent. This is true of chemistry and public administration, but it is also true of education, nursing, police work, and often, astonishingly, Christian Ministry itself. It is true of marriage and parenting. Just observe how people are taught and certified or judged competent in any of these fields, and you will be staring the flight from God straight in the face.

All of us live in such a world, for we live by our competencies. Our souls are, accordingly, soaked with secularity....

The real world has little room for a god of sparrows and children."

(Dallas Willard. The Divine Conspiracy)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Marriage in God's Sight?

"We can still stand for and offer holy matrimony between a man and a woman as a sacred ordinance given by God, while accepting that the state has endorsed a wider view of marriage."

- the Anglican Primate of Australia, Philip Freier

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Cold Decisions By Capitalists

"The real unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, without anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future.
But the crimes they hope to prevent in that future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present - they are real."

— Aral Vorkosigan, Shards of Honor

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

She's A Ragamuffin Mommy

"I saw my mother as a little six-year-old girl kneeling on the windowsill of the orphanage in Montreal. Her nose was pressed against the glass; she was begging God to send her a mommy and daddy who would whisk her away and love her without condition. As I looked, I believe I finally saw my mother; she was a ragamuffin too. And all my resentment and anger fell away."

(Brennan Manning. All is Grace)

A Banana Peel For The Orthodox

"This vulgar grace is indiscriminate compassion. It works without asking anything of us. It’s not cheap. It’s free, and as such will always be a banana peel for the orthodox foot and a fairy tale for the grown-up sensibility."

(Brennan Manning. All is Grace)

Cheapest Grace?

My message, unchanged for more than fifty years, is this: God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because nobody is as they should be.....

Some have labeled my message one of “cheap grace.”In my younger days, their accusations were a gauntlet thrown down, a challenge. But I’m an old man now and I don’t care."

(Brennan Manning. All is Grace)

Fantasy Living

"I have said countless times that losing our illusions is difficult because illusions are the stuff we live by. We believe we’re invincible until cancer comes knocking, or we believe we’re making a comeback until we tumble down the stairs. God strips away those falsehoods because it is better to live naked in truth than clothed in fantasy."

(Brennan Manning. All is Grace )

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Too Dependent On People ?

"In our society we are inclined to avoid hiddenness. We want to be seen and acknowledged. We want to be useful to others and influence the course of events. But as we become visible and popular, we quickly grow dependent on people and their responses and easily lose touch with God, the true source of our being. Hiddenness is the place of purification. In hiddenness we find our true selves."

-- Henri Nouwen

Monday, August 14, 2017

If it Doesn't Cost We Should Question Its Value

"I knew that it was going to cost me. It wasn't about, ah, you know, it wasn't a free ride. There (this) was going to be very very costly, and it was, and it is,  and it will continue to be, I hope. Because anything worthwhile has to cost you something otherwise you're left to question its value."

~ Martin Sheen  in a podcast interview  with Krista Tippett. June 22, 2017. Concering his return to his faith and Catholicism.

Clean and Sober But Not Honest

"Max left the treatment center a broken man but also a changed man. I left the center known as “a tough nut to crack.” I was clean and sober but far from honest."

(Brennan Manning. All is Grace )

How Hurt Yourself and Others

“The cross Jesus asked you to carry is yourself. It’s all the pain inflicted on you in your past and all the pain you’ve inflicted on others.”

~ Thomas Keating 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

No Evil Needed To Thrive

"In his (Jesus) world, astonishingly, there is nothing evil we must do in order to thrive. "

( Dallas Willard. The Divine Conspiracy)

Moving From Belief To I See

" I must, in a little time, go to God. What comforts me in this life is that I now see him by faith; and I see him in such a manner as might make me say sometimes,  'I believe no more, but I see'"

(Brother Lawrence. Toward the end of his life)

Heartily Wanted

"Persons rarely become present where they are not heartily wanted. Certainly that is true for you and me. We prefer to be wanted, warmly wanted, before we reveal our souls or even come to a party."

(Dallas Willard. The Divine Conspiracy)

God is Seen Without Theophanies

"Similarly, God is, without special theophanies, seen everywhere by those who have lived for him. No doubt God wants us to see him. That is part of his nature as outpouring love. Love always wants to be known.....

Seeing is no simple thing, of course. Often a great deal of knowledge, experience, imagination, patience, and receptivity are required."

(Dallas Willard. The Divine Conspiracy.)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Soul Hidden Behind The Fakey Face

"Interestingly, "growing up" is largely a matter of learning to hide your spirit behind your face, eyes, and language so that we can evade and manage others to achieve what we want and avoid what we fear. By contrast, the child's face is a constant epiphany because it doesn't yet know how to do this. It cannot manage its face. This is also true of adults in moments of great feeling which is one reason why feeling is both greatly treasured and greatly feared.

Those who have attained considerable spiritual stature are frequently noted for their "childlikeness." What this really means is that they do not use their face and body to hide their spiritual reality. In their body they are genuinely present to those around them. That is a great spiritual attainment org gift."

(Dallas Willard. The Divine Conspiracy)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Do I have To Be Your Church Mouthpiece

"People were either doing the things that the person or people in charge wanted done, or they weren’t allowed to do much of anything. There was no freedom to truly shape their own community...

All of these data have convinced me that there is a truly sizable subset of congregants, and the recently dechurched, who desire to be active participants in a community of believers but aren’t willing to be the mouthpiece of someone else’s vision.

Too often, they say, church staff and pastors are willing to empower lay leaders, paid staff, and volunteers to do meaningless, mundane, and unfulfilling work while the senior pastor retains all of the authority and ability to make creative, meaningful decisions on behalf of the congregation."

Josh Packard Phd

Too Much Control To Serve In The Churcg

Interview with Cora 66 year old Grandmother.

"It was fine as long as I was doing what I was told. As long as I was plugged into what someone else had put forth, it was no problem. But when I wanted to do something on my own, it was a different story. The last thing I tried to do was start a little group to help the elderly people in our congregation, where we would just go and mow lawns and wash windows and things for people who needed it. But that never came about. There were so many rules and regulations just to mow lawns that I backed off of it. It’s weird, because we were such a big church you would think this little thing would be easy. But I talked to the missions minister, and he told me to come up with a name for my group, propose a budget, write a mission statement, come to the board hearing, and figure out a way to report back every month. I told him, “Really? I just want to mow lawns. Why do we have to do all that?”He told me the board didn’t like things going on in the church unless they could oversee them. And here’s the kicker: They weren’t offering me anything in return. No budget, no help recruiting or organizing. It was just about control. So by that time, I was like, “OK, never mind. I’ll just do this on my own.”
(Church Refugees: Josh Packard Phd)

I'll Only Be Accountable If You Are

He found the nail........ and began tapping.....

"We see ample evidence throughout this chapter that people are willing to engage in communities of accountability, but only with people who have earned that right by living with them , walking with them, and being in conversation with them on an ongoing basis.

We also see that people with long and active church histories don’t need a pastor or church leadership to point out where they’ve failed or fallen short of God’s will. They know. They’ve sat through countless sermons , Sunday school lessons, small group discussions, and Bible studies. They’re acutely aware when they fall short of God’s desire for their lives. When people in the church point out their failings, it simply feels like piling on. What these people need from church is a community that will support them as they try to grow closer to God. They want support and help figuring out how they can live the lives they believe God wants for them."

(Church Refugees. Josh Packard Phd)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

God Doesn't Have You?

"God has many that the church does not have and the church has many that God does not have."

- St. Augustine

Monday, August 7, 2017

God Grits His Teeth At You?

"So we must understand that God does not love us without liking us -  through gritted teeth as Christian love is sometimes thought to do."

(Dallas Willard. The Divine Conspiracy)

From An Ancient Tribe.

"While attending to a Sudanese woman wounds, from being brutally abused in unspeakable ways by Sudanese soldiers during the civil war, a western nurse was asked by this woman.

"Why are you here?"

"I'm here becuase I'm a member of an ancient tribe and in my tribe we beleive that every person is an image of God and that is why I am here."
The nurse replied.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Jesus Isn't "Nice"

"But the real Jesus of history was a lightning rod. He got angry. He was the greatest debunker of religious hierarchies and traditions, and the greatest desacralizer of holy places, times, people, rituals, priests and things, that this world has ever seen. The religious establishment hurriedly condemned him to death for blasphemy, while the secular powers executed him for sedition.

“Nice” is overrated. “Nice” is being “amiably pleasant, pleasing, and agreeable.” Not exactly the word I would use for Jesus when he was turning over tables in the temple. Jesus did not do this nicely. Jesus was a person of deep love and compassion, but the word “nice” doesn’t fit him. “Defiant” and “subversive” fit much better."

You're too nice.

Religion taught you that you should be nice, considerate, polite, amiable, and selfless. An antonym for “nice” is “improper.” “Improper” is defined as: “not being in accord with acceptable behavior and procedures; not in keeping with conventional mores.” Yep, that was Jesus! The road to Truth has improper written all over it. People traveling this road are a threat to all the nice people. Don’t expect them to be nice anymore, at least to you. Your world works because it hinges on you being nice. There will not be a crowd cheering you on. Knowing Truth is not a popularity contest, and the road to your freedom and end of suffering will be lined with people expressing disapproval. Every step on the path of Truth is an act of non-conformity.

(Jim Palmer. Notes From Over The Edge)

Church Enlightenment

There is the story of a disciple who approached his teacher and asked, “It seems to me that by having good friends and advancing together with them, one has already halfway attained the way of enlightenment. Is this way of thinking correct?” The teacher replied, “This way of thinking is not correct. Having good friends and advancing together with them is not half the enlightened way but all the enlightened way.”

(Jim Palmer. Notes From Over The Edge)

How We See God Is How We See The Universe

"Central to the understanding and proclamation of the Christian gospel today, as in Jesus' day, is a re-visioning of what God’s own life is like and how the physical cosmos fits into it. It is a great and important task to come to terms with what we really think when we think of God. Most hinderances to the faith of Christ actually lie, I believe, in this part of our minds and souls."

(Dallas Willard. The Divine Conspiracy)

Heaven is Near

"In the world of Faith the heavens above the city are friendly and

are the upper chamber of every house "
(Max Picard. The Flight From God)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

I Don't Complain About Church

"Ragamuffins do not complain about the feeble preaching and the lifeless worship of their local church. They are happy to have a place to go where they can mingle with other beggars at the door of God’s mercy."

(Brennan Manning. The Ragamuffin Gospel)

Soul-Crushing Dead Ends.

"The Kingdom Must Make Sense. But this cannot come about unless what Jesus himself believed, practiced, and taught makes sense to us. And his message must come to us free of the deadening legalisms, political sloganeering, and dogmatic traditionalisms long proven by history to be soul-crushing dead.

(Dallas Willard. The Divine Conspiracy)

Churches Really Don't Train To Live The Hard Stuff

"The disappearance of Jesus as teacher explains why today in Christian churches——of whatever leaning—little effort is made to teach people to do what he did and taught. Once again, it is a natural
consequence of our basic message. Who among us has personal knowledge of a seminar or course of study and practice being offered in a "Christian Education Program” on how to "love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to those that hate you, and pray for those who Spit on you and make your life miserable"? Matt. 5:44"

(Dallas Willard. The Divine Conspiracy)

Nominal Christians Don't Get It.

"This is the ragamuffin’s secret, which nominal Christians do not understand, but for which martyrs have given their lives. For the sake of the kingdom of God, thousands upon thousands have had their possessions confiscated, homelands seized, and families, careers, and good names sacrificed. The nominal just don’t get it. They hear the Word of God, but it does not speak to them interiorly. The unseen world does not exist. The love story of the Bible is nice for children in Sunday school but not for rational adults. Faith is a relic of the Middle Ages. You can’t pay the rent, cook soup, or purchase a computer with religion. What matters is muscle, intelligence, connections, and stronger battalions. The rest is opium for the people. The nominal do not know the secret. The treasure is hidden from their eyes. The values and lifestyle of the ragamuffin rabble are simply incomprehensible. It is the ragamuffin alone who rightly comprehends what life is really all about. No effort is too great, no venture too daring, no sacrifice too painful for the sake of the kingdom. Her greatest risk is still too small."

(Brennan Manning. The Ragamuffin Gospel)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

God is Leaping Toward You

"Catherine LaCugna ends her giant theological tome with this one simple sentence; it’s taken her two-and-a-half inches of book to get to this one line, and its simplicity might overwhelm you, but I can’t end in any better place than she does: The very nature of God, therefore, is to seek out the deepest possible communion and friendship with every last creature on this earth.

That’s the job description of God. That’s what it’s all about. And the only thing that can keep you out of this divine dance is fear and doubt, or any self-hatred.

What would happen in your life—right now—if you accepted what God has created and even allowed? Suddenly, this is a very safe universe. You have nothing to be afraid of. God is for you. God is leaping toward you! God is on your side, honestly more than you are on your own."

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)

Communion With Every Creature On Earth

"The very nature of God, therefore, is to seek out the deepest possible communion and friendship with every last creature on this earth."

(Catherine LaCugna. God for Us: The Trinity and Christian Life)

God Loves You More......

"You can’t manufacture this by any right conduct, dear reader. You can’t make God love you one ounce more than God already loves you right now. You can’t. You can go to church every day for the rest of your life. God isn’t going to love you any more than God loves you right now. You cannot make God love you any less, either—not an ounce less. Do the most terrible thing—steal and pillage, cheat and lie—and God wouldn’t love you less. You cannot change the Divine mind about you! The flow is constant, total, and 100 percent toward your life. God is for you. We can’t diminish God’s love for us. What we can do, however, is learn how to believe it, receive it, trust it, allow it, and celebrate it, accepting Trinity’s whirling invitation to join in the cosmic dance. That’s why all spirituality comes down to how you’re doing life right now. How you’re doing right now is a microcosm of the whole of your life."

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)

I know Who's In And Who’s Out If Heaven?

"Without the free flow of the Holy Spirit, religion becomes a tribal sorting system, spending much time trying to define who’s in and who’s out—who’s right and who’s wrong. And surprise, we’re always on the side of right! What are the odds?

Yet refining, and any sorting that may or may not need to be done— that is the work of God. It’s not our problem. It really isn’t. Your problem isn’t to decide who is going to heaven and who is going to hell, especially when you realize those are mostly present-tense descriptions before they are ever future destinations. Your job is simply to exemplify heaven now. God will take it from there. Here is the remedy when you find it hard to exemplify heaven now: Let love happen. Remember, you cannot “get there”; you can only be here."

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Passive Resistance Congregations

"Ken Wilber points out that much church organization is at the “mythic-membership” level of consciousness, which often breeds complacency to real human suffering, in-group smugness, and little else.

I’ve been a priest for over forty-five years now; sometimes when I look out over the crowd at Mass, I can see a passive resistance over much of the congregation’s faces. Even when I’m giving what I take to be a risky and life-giving message. They are conditioned to expect nothing. They’ve gotten so used to these gatherings not being meaningful that they no longer know how to allow them to touch their heart or change their mind. The Holy Spirit is again the Missing Person of the Blessed Trinity."

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)

Terrifying Spirit Person

"Precisely because they aren’t trying to push or promote themselves, a true Spirit person often occurs as “terrifying.” They won’t manipulate you, and you always know you can’t manipulate them. Saints living in the circle (trinitarian) dance of love are often a scary anomaly. They are not subject to our usual system of rewards, punishments, and payoffs. They’re not in it for “filthy lucre,” like most of the rest of us are......

Many Spirit people strike fear in the hearts of the guardians of the status quo—or of any kind of privilege. Once you are in the “general dance,” as Thomas Merton called it, you have no need to make your attention-grabbing movements over in the corner."

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)

God Uses Eveything

"In the Divine Economy, all is useable, even our mistakes and our sin. This message shouts from the cross, and we still did not hear it!"

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)

God Doesn't "Decide" To Love

"Being is an active verb, and God is an event of communion? Could it be true? God does not decide to love, therefore, and God’s love can never be determined by the worthiness or unworthiness of the object. But God is Love itself.  God cannot not love, because love is the nature of God’s very being."

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)