Transformed People Transform People

Last year our small group read 'Falling Upward' by Richard Rohr, a Catholic Priest who ministers in Albuquerque, NM. While I do not always agree with him. I often find his words to be inspirational. This first quote seemed appropriate for this time of year. Please let me know if any of these ring true for you.

As you look back on a year almost ended, recall the ways in which God has been inviting you to return, again and again, to Love which is the same as returning to God.

Religious belief has made me comfortable with ambiguity.

You come to God not by being strong, but by being weak; not by being right, but through your mistakes.

Jesus is the very concrete truth revealing and standing in for the universal truth.

It is so important to balance orthodoxy with orthopraxy.

Transformed people transform people.

All great spirituality is about what we do with our pain. If we do not transform our pain, we will transmit it to those around us.

Religion is one of the safest places to hide from God.

The path of descent is the path of transformation. Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines.

Maturity is the ability to joyfully live in an imperfect world.

We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.

I think my great disappointment as a priest has been to see how little actual spiritual curiosity there is in so many people.

Jesus is much more concerned about shaking your foundations, giving you an utterly alternative self image, world image, and God image, and thus reframing your entire reality. Mere inspiration can never do this.

It is at the bottom where we find grace; for like water, grace seeks the lowest place and there it pools up.

Faith and Explanations

"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible."

Thomas Aquinas, a Roman Catholic priest, philosopher and theologian, penned these words more than seven centuries ago. On one hand I find it to be somewhat of a religious cliché that falls short in many ways. Surely a person of faith wants and desires explanations. When we are hurting the most we often desire an explanation concerning the things that are happening. So, in that sense, Aquinas can be misunderstood when he says that "no explanation is necessary".

On the flip-side, I really resonate with the idea of not needing an explanation. The Psalmist challenges me when he writes "Be still, and know that I am God". In a very real reality I have found faith to carry me in times of depression and despair. Knowing God has helped me to persevere when life has overwhelmed me. Knowing that God is good and loving inspires me to live better. And when I consider the life of Jesus I understand what life is all about.

...originally posted December 28. 2013

The Buck Stops Here

I am thinking about President Truman, Kansas City's favorite son, and hoping that the next president will be one that, like Harry, embraces a "buck stops here" style of leadership. Lets all hope that our new president will be a leader who does not pass the buck but accepts responsibility for decisions made in his administration.

...originally posted in October, 2008

The Question of Questions

"The important thing is not to stop questioning." -Albert Einstein

"If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask?
|Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?" - Scott Adams

"A prudent question is one-half of wisdom." -Francis Bacon

"Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers." -Anthony Robbins

"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers." -James Thurber

"No man really becomes a fool until he stops asking questions." -Charles Steinmetz

"Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them." -Leo Tolstoy

"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry." -Thomas Paine

"He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked." -Voltaire

-originally posted October 2009

Keeping X in Xmas

Yes, the title of this post is a bit provocative - are you confused by it? As Erin Wathan, Senior Pastor of Foothills Christian Church in Phoenix, AZ, points out in her post titled "Top 10 Reasons Christians Should Stop Whining About Secular Xmas": “Xmas” is not a dirty word. In fact, “X” is the Greek letter, Chi–which, in the olden days, was often used as a literary symbol for Christ. Here are a few other thoughts from Erin:
  • Do you really want the public school system to be responsible for your child’s faith formation? No? i didn’t think so. ... Let’s just say, while i think many public school teachers model wonderful values and moral behavior, and many are model Christians, I’d much rather my kids learn to read and do math at school, and get their language of faith from my family and the church of my choosing.
  • We might often feel that the secularization of our favorite holiday has deprived it of all meaning. But on the contrary, Christmas is the time when many who would qualify themselves as ‘non-believers,’ feel a stirring of the spirit that leads them seeking. If we are truly disciples of Jesus, we should celebrate any element of the season that urges people toward the holy. It may start with the mall or the Hallmark channel, but it often lands them in church.
  • Speaking of shopping–if you are bothered by all the secular expressions posted around malls and big box stores this season, might i gently suggest that you spend less of your Christmas season at the freakin mall? If you don’t like the signage, spend more time serving the poor, going to worship, getting out in nature, and spending time with the people you love.
I suggest that you catch the rest of Erin's thoughts here. I resonate with this insightful conclusion that she comes to: "When you get right down to it, the best way to “keep Christ in Christmas” is to model Christlike behavior."

- originally posted December, 11, 2012

Not Everything that Counts can be Counted

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." -Albert Einstein

Love this quote. I mean really. Who can put a number on love? Who is smart enough to rate a sunset? Or wise enough to discern the origins of the universe? So much of life has so little to do with the things that we can see or hear. The things that shape us so often are the things that cannot be seen with our outer eyes. These require inner vision. Eyes of faith are need to discover important spiritual truths. Imagination often takes the invisible and makes it visible. Not everything that can be counted counts.

Embracing a Nonlinear Timeline

"If you could see your life from start to finish, would you change things?"

This is the question from yesterday's movie review. The query helped me to see my life from a different perspective. It enabled me to get past the chronology of past events and see my life in a nonlinear fashion. Caused me to see my past decisions in light of the bigger picture. See an image of how these decisions have shaped my life. Helped me to understand, at a macro level, that: 1) I would not really change things in my life; 2) God has worked my past for good.

It makes sense when I think about it. God created time and therefore exists outside of linear time. If we are to understand life from a heavenly perspective then it is productive to see life in a non-chronological nonlinear way. Easier said than done. Yet so important. I guess what I am saying is the sum of our lives are so much great than a sum of their parts.

By embracing this view we are given the freedom to forgive ourselves for past mistakes and release the accompanying pain. To embrace a nonlinear timeline means that we embrace the totality of our uniqueness in ways that set us free from the constraints of linear thinking. We are enabled to envision a future that is so much different than our past.