Daily Riches: Unclenching Our Hearts (John Lewis, Maria Popova, James Baldwin, David Whyte, and Ann Lamott)

“We’ve got to be as clear-headed about human beings as possible, because we are still each other’s only hope.” James Baldwin

“To forgive is to assume a larger identity than the person who was first hurt.” David Whyte

“How few of us are capable of such largeness when contracted by hurt, when the clench of injustice has tightened our own fists. And yet in the conscious choice to unclench our hearts and our hands is not only the measure of our courage and our strength, not only the wellspring of compassion for others, but the wellspring of compassion for ourselves and the supreme triumph of personhood. ‘As we develop love, appreciation, and forgiveness for others over time,’ Anne Lamott wrote . . . ‘we may accidentally develop those things toward ourselves, too.’ . . . A century after Tolstoy wrote to Gandhi that ‘love is the only way to rescue humanity from all ills’ . . . [Congressman John] Lewis writes: ‘Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.’” Maria Popova

“If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load,
do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.”
Ex. 23:5 NIV

Moving From Head to Heart

  • A “poetic” (beautiful) response to hate and violence may seem like an impossible dream–perhaps even undesirable. But how hard to argue with the beauty demonstrated by John Lewis–right?
  • Showing compassion to ourselves and others are intrinsically linked. Can you extend the same grace and understanding to others (who offend) that you extend to yourself?
  • John Lewis was a great example of a loving agitator. Should you love better, or speak up more?

God, help me to unclench my heart and my hands towards the world.

For More: Across the Bridge by John Lewis. New York: Hachette, 2012.

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Daily Riches: “The Unfamiliar Jesus” (David Brooks, Romano Guardini)

“My background is Jewish. So I see Jesus through a Jerusalem lens. To see him in that lens is to see him embedded in the Jewish world of 2,000 years ago. That world is nothing like the peacefulness of an American church pew. It’s nothing like the quiet domesticity of a modern Bible study. It was a world of strife, combat and fractious intensity. The Holy land then, and it is now, was a spiritual and a literal battleground. The primary factor was foreign occupation. Jews and Jewish homeland had been oppressed and occupied for centuries. The Babylonians, the Syrians, the Romans–certain questions would have been electric in the air: Why are we oppressed? Who amongst our people is betraying us and collaborating? How do we survive as a people under the crushing burden of their power? Everything was fraught, semi-hysterical and tension-filled. Desperate gangs roamed the land. Minor league revolutionaries were perpetually rising up. N. T. Wright lists seven separate revolts between the years 26 and 36, about the time of Jesus’s ministry. . . . When you see Jesus in this context, you see how completely bold and aggressive he was. He lived in a crowded, angry world yet took on all comers. . . . Jesus walked into a complex network of negotiated and renegotiated power settlements between various factions. And he . . . pierced through them and went right to the core. At a moment of elite polarization, he was bringing access to the kingdom directly to the poor. He was offering triumph directly to the downtrodden. [He taught] . . . another way, another path, a higher serenity. [The Beatitudes] were an inversion of values. They were beauty in the storm. Romano Guardini put it beautifully–in the Beatitudes, something of the celestial grandeur breaks through. There are no mere formulas for superior ethics, but tidings of sacred and supreme realities entering into the world. Jesus was love and beauty in the midst of muck and violence and the most difficult circumstances imaginable. You don’t have to be Christian. You can be atheist, Jewish, Muslim–whatever, and you can be astounded by this man and astounded by the faith he inspired. . . . [and] these are the acts that have the power to shock . . . a revolution in our culture and in our consciousness.” David Brooks

“Behold, the Man!”
John 19:5 NIV

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Was the Jesus you know an “agitator”–challenging and offending the political and religious leaders of his day? –often rocking the boat?
  • Have we somehow pared Jesus down to make him more acceptable–more manageable–less demanding?
  • Have you turned to his story lately (as an adult)?

Abba, guide me into “good trouble” (John Lewis), and truth seeking just like Jesus.

For More: David Brooks at the National Cathedral in Washington

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Daily Riches: A God Familiar with Confinement, Torture, Disrespect, and Abuse (Willie James Jennings)

“We know too much to ever be fooled into believing that prisons are natural or normal.” Willie James Jennings

“Arrest, incarceration, and imprisonment have never been and never are neutral processes, functioning according to basic rules of justice and human utility. Incarceration is a process at the disposal of the rich and powerful . . . . The prison has never been about criminals but about societies. As this story of Paul and Silas [Acts 16:16-40] indicates, the prison is a tool for control and containment. The question we must continually ask is, Who desires to use this tool? This question turns a searchlight toward finding who, how, and why the prison gets used. . . . This is why we are told to visit those in prison as though we ourselves were imprisoned with them (Heb. 13:3). We must be present in the prison to destroy its anthropology and challenge its false morality and to witness to all those incarcerated a God familiar with confinement and torture, disrespect and abuse. Yet we must also be present in all the places where laws are made and modified to advantage some and disadvantage others, and to challenge social policies that align those already suffering under poverty on a pathway to prison by strangling off the resources and social services they need in order to build a flourishing life.” Willie James Jennings

“But Saul began to destroy the church.
Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women
and put them in prison.” Acts 8:3 NIV

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • When you think of prisoners, do you think not only of Alcatraz and Rikers Island but also of John Lewis, John Donne, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Richard Wurmbrand, Adoniram Judson, William Tyndale, John Knox, Martin Luther, John Hus, Joan of Arc, George Fox, John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe, William Penn, Meriam Ibrahim, the Apostle Paul, and Jesus himself? . . . Do you think of people you know? . . . family members?
  •  Do you think of prison as a necessary cure for the problem (as “inevitable”) or as contributing to the problem (“unjust” or “a tool for control/the “rich and powerful”)?
  • Does God care about prisons and love prisoners? Does our society? Do Christians? What are your “trigger” feelings when you think about it?

Abba, may I never forget that I worship “a God familiar with confinement and torture, disrespect and abuse.”

For More: Acts: A Theological Commentary on the Bible by Willie James Jennings

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Daily Riches: “American Idealism” (James Baldwin and Stacey Abrams)

“It comes as a great shock to discover the country which is your birthplace and to which you owe your life and your identity has not, in its whole system of reality, evolved any place for you.” James Baldwin

“I don’t know what most white people in this country feel but I can only conclude what they feel from the state of their institutions. I don’t know if white Christians hate Negroes or not, but I know we have a Christian church that is white and a Christian church that is black. I know, as Malcolm X once put it, the most segregated hour in American life is high noon on Sunday. That says a great deal for me about a Christian nation. It means I can’t afford to trust most white Christians, and I certainly cannot trust the Christian church. I don’t know whether the labor unions and their bosses really hate me—that doesn’t matter—but I know I’m not in their union. I don’t know whether the real estate lobby has anything against black people, but I know the real estate lobby is keeping me in the ghetto. I don’t know if the board of education hates black people, but I know the textbooks they give my children to read and the schools we have to go to. Now this is the evidence. You want me to make an act of faith, risking myself, my wife, my woman, my sister, my children on some idealism which you assure me exists in America, which I have never seen.” James Baldwin

“Because we live in a nation that has begun its path to democracy by putting stumbling blocks in our way, we’ve got to start moving those blocks.” Stacey Abrams

“Love one another deeply, from the heart.”
1 Peter 1:22b NIV

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you offended by Baldwin’s critique of church and country?
  • Can you attempt to imagine living his experience? . . . feeling as he does?
  • Do you notice “stumbling blocks” meant for people of color where you live? Do you want them moved out of the way? Think about your answer.

Abba, teach me what it means to love deeply, from the heart. Truly.

For More: James Baldwin on Dick Cavett (1968)

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Embracing Mystery, Paradox–Even Unknowing (Richard Rohr)

“I call non-silence ‘dualistic thinking,’ where everything is separated into opposites, like good and bad, life and death. In the West, we even believe that is what it means to be educated—to be very good at dualistic thinking. Join the debate club! But both Jesus and Buddha would call that judgmental thinking (Matthew 7:1-5), and they strongly warn us against it. Dualistic thinking is operative almost all of the time now. It is when we choose or prefer one side and then call the other side of the equation false, wrong, heresy, or untrue. But what we judge as wrong is often something to which we have not yet been exposed or that somehow threatens our ego. The dualistic mind splits the moment and forbids the dark side, the mysterious, the paradoxical. This is the common level of conversation that we experience in much of religion and politics and even every day conversation. It lacks humility and patience—and is the opposite of contemplation. In contemplative practice, the Holy Spirit frees us from taking sides and allows us to remain content long enough to let it teach, broaden, and enrich us in the partial darkness of every situation. We need to practice for many years and make many mistakes in the meantime to learn how to do this. Paul rather beautifully describes this kind of thinking: ‘Pray with gratitude and the peace of Christ, which is beyond knowledge or understanding (what I would call “the making of distinctions”), will guard both your mind and your heart in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:6-7). Teachers of contemplation show us how to stand guard and not let our emotions and obsessive thoughts control us. When we’re thinking nondualistically, with this guarded mind and heart, we will feel powerless for a moment, stunned into an embarrassing and welcoming silence. Then we will discover what is ours to do.” Richard Rohr

“To answer before listening––that is folly and shame.”
Proverbs 18:13 NIV

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you have everything separated into black and white, right and wrong, us v. them? Is this helping?
  • Are you aware of your impatience, arrogance, or judgmentalism towards others? (Think about discussions of politics!) If that’s a regular thing, have you stopped to ask why?
  • Can you practice responding more slowly to others, and listening in the silence for where you might have misunderstood? . . . where you’re being defensive?

May I unlearn, O God, what has taken me a lifetime to learn (my arrogance, my impatience).

For More: Silent Compassion by Richard Rohr. Cincinnati: Franciscian Media, 2014.

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Borrowing the Eyes of God (Dorothee Soelle, Kerry Walters, and Robin Jarrell)

“Society’s conventional image of a mystic is that of a person who withdraws from the world in order to journey inward. . . . The mystic is stereotyped as a guru sitting in splendid isolation on a mountaintop, utterly unconcerned with the world’s affairs. But theologian Dorothee Soelle, herself something of a mystic, argued that . . . the mystic is uniquely motivated and qualified to respond to social and economic injustices. Genuine mystics . . . says Soelle . . . have been liberated from the three powers that typically hold humans in bondage: ego, possession, and violence. . . . The genuine mystic understands that his or her connection with the divine is likewise a connection to all other humans and, indeed, to all of creation—a relationship, as Soelle said, that ‘borrows the eyes of God.’ Patterns of opposition and resistance bred by the division of I and not-I [therefore] collapse to be replaced by ones of mutuality and community. . . . [Soelle] grew up under the Nazi regime and, like many Germans of her generation, never got over the shame of belonging to a nation that willingly collaborated with mass murderers. She was especially worried by the acquiescence of so many people who claimed to be Christian, and eventually concluded that part of the explanation was that they had compartmentalized their faith, transforming it into a private and ‘otherworldly’ thing. Convinced that such privatization is a perversion of faith, Soelle worked as a theologian to demonstrate the social responsibility of religion and as an activist to put her theology into practice. She became one of the Cold War’s leading anti-nuclear voices, a dedicated opponent of both [U.S.] involvement in [the] Vietnam War and Soviet-style communism, and a proponent of liberation theology. The spiritual fuel of these activities was her conviction that the mystical worldview is revolutionary enough to resist ‘powerful but petrified institutions’ that trade in oppression and violence.” Kerry Walters and Robin Jarrell

” . . . a person is considered righteous
by what they do and not by faith alone.”
James 2:24 NIV

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does your version of Christianity address the powers of ego, possession, and violence?
  • What powerful, petrified institutions trade in oppression and violence where you live?
  • Imagine living with the guilt of “belonging to a nation that willingly collaborated with mass murderers.” Do you honestly face up to the shadow side of your country’s history?

Father, may I be a mystic who makes a difference in this world of people loved by you.

For More: The Silent Cry. Dorothee Soelle. Trans. Barbara and Martin Rumscheldt. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2001.

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“Indiscriminate Hospitality” (Dorothy Day and Robert Ellsberg)

For Dorothy Day . . . “spirituality and her social witness were equally rooted in the radical implications of the Incarnation. In Christ God assumed our humanity. And we could not worship God without honoring God’s image in our fellow human beings. We should feed them when they were hungry; shelter them when they were homeless. We should not torture them; we should not kill them. In the 1950s Day and the Catholic Worker took on a more activist profile. She was repeatedly jailed for refusing to take shelter during compulsory civil defense drills in New York City. In the 1960s her activities reflected the turbulence of the times—protesting the Vietnam War, fasting in Rome during the Second Vatican Council to advance the cause of peace. She was last arrested while picketing with the United Farm Workers in 1973 at the age of seventy-five. By this time she was widely honored as the radical conscience of the American Catholic church. But her life was not primarily occupied by activism or protest. She was a woman of prayer, beginning each day with meditation on scripture, attending daily Mass, and reciting the breviary [daily psalms, scripture readings, and prayers]. By and large, her life was spent in very ordinary ways, her sanctity expressed not just in heroic deeds but in the mundane duties of everyday life. Her ‘spirituality’ was rooted in a constant effort to be more charitable toward those closest at hand.” Robert Ellsberg

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement
give you the same attitude of mind toward each other
that Christ Jesus had . . . .” Rom. 15:5 NIV

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Imagine the cognitive dissonance required to claim faith in God, while at the same time torturing or killing creatures made by God, loved by God, precious to God.
  • The simple daily life of Dorothy Day was both “ordinary” and “heroic” because she practiced something “ordinary” (hospitality) in a “heroic” manner (indiscriminately). Can you be indiscriminate when it comes to hospitality?
  • Is there a quiet, prayerful side of your life that enables you to rise to the mundane duties of everyday life in a simple, and perhaps even sometimes, heroic way?

God, help me to honor those you love without any preconditions.

For More: Modern Spiritual Masters: Writings on Contemplation and Compassion. Ed. Robert Ellsberg. New York: Maryknoll: 2008.

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Richer by Far: The Death of Jesus as a Cautionary Tale (Eugene Debs, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, John Howard Yoder)

“To do evil, a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“When great changes occur in history, when great principles are involved, as a rule the majority are wrong. The minority are right. In every age there have been a few heroic souls who have been in advance of their time, who have been misunderstood, maligned, persecuted, sometimes put to death. Long after their martyrdom monuments were erected to them and garlands were woven for their graves. . . . Twenty centuries ago one appeared upon earth whom we know as the Prince of Peace. He issued a command in which I believe. He said, ‘Love one another.’ . . . He espoused the cause of the suffering poor . . . . It was not long before he aroused the ill-will and the hatred of the usurers, the money-changers, the profiteers, the high priests, the lawyers, the judges, the merchants, the bankers—in a word, the ruling class. They said of him just what the ruling class says of the Socialist today. ‘He is preaching dangerous doctrine. He is inciting the common rabble. He is a menace to peace and order.’ And they had him arraigned, tried, convicted, condemned, and they had his quivering body spiked to the gates of Jerusalem. This has been the tragic history of the race. . . . The men and women who have been in advance, who have had new ideas, new ideals, who have had the courage to attack the established order of things, have all had to pay the same penalty.” Eugene Debs

“Jesus’ cross was the price to pay for being the kind of person he was in the kind of world he was in; the cross that he chose was the price of his representing a new way of life in a world that did not want a new way of life. That is what he called his followers to do.” John Howard Yoder

“The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin
were looking for false evidence against Jesus
so that they could put him to death.”
Mt. 26:59 NIV

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you imagine doing evil and thinking it good? (I’m asking you to wonder about yourself, not those who oppose you.)
  • Have you ever read the gospel accounts of the murder of Jesus as a cautionary tale about what happens to those who won’t conform?
  • Does state sponsored violence or deadly religiously motivated hate seem to you like a calibrated response to dissent?

Abba, grant me the courage to live like Jesus in a world that scorns him and his way.

For More: “Address to the Jury” by Eugene Debs

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Richer by Far: The Men in the Vat (Upton Sinclair)

“Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories: those that don’t work, those that break down and those that get lost.” Russel Baker

“Some worked at the stamping machines, and it was very seldom that one could work long there at the pace that was set, and not give out and forget himself and have a part of his hand chopped off. There were the ‘hoisters,’ as they were called, whose task it was to press the lever which lifted the dead cattle off the floor. They ran along upon a rafter, peering down through the damp and the steam; and as old Durham’s architects had not built the killing room for the convenience of the hoisters, at every few feet they would have to stoop under a beam, say four feet above the one they ran on; which got them into the habit of stooping, so that in a few years they would be walking like chimpanzees. Worst of any, however, were the fertilizer men, and those who served in the cooking rooms. These people could not be shown to the visitor,–for the odor of a fertilizer man would scare any ordinary visitor at a hundred yards, and as for the other men, who worked in tank rooms full of steam, and in some of which there were open vats near the level of the floor, their peculiar trouble was that they fell into the vats; and when they were fished out, there was never enough of them left to be worth exhibiting,–sometimes they would be overlooked for days, till all but the bones of them had gone out to the world as Durham’s Pure Leaf Lard!” Upton Sinclair

“Do you see someone skilled in their work?
They will serve before kings;
they will not serve before officials of low rank.”
Prov. 2:29 NIV

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • It’s so unpleasant even to read these things. Imagine going to work at Durham’s each day.
  • Who do you know that has their safety or health endangered by their work?
  • Why are the men at Durham’s treated like “inanimate objects?”
  • No matter how skilled, these workers will never “serve before kings.” Why is that?

Abba, as a consumer, make me aware of how I contribute to the exploitation of others.

For More: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. New York: Doubleday, 1906.

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Daily Riches: Challenging Those in Power (T.P. McCarthy and John McMillian)

” . . . to refer to someone or something as ‘radical’ is to risk offense. To self-identify as such is almost certainly to ensure one’s marginalization, to court caricature. Despite the fact that ‘radical’ can reasonably be defined as ‘going to the root of things,’ it is more commonly interpreted as ‘drastic’ or ‘extreme.’ Radicals are those who decry the status quo, who demand fundamental change, who seek transformation. These kinds of people almost always make others nervous, especially those in power. Without them, however, real social change is much harder to achieve. . . . it is worth remembering that many of the things we now take for granted have radical roots. [For instance] . . . the American Revolution, the abolition of slavery, public education, universal suffrage, public parks, integration, co-education, freedom of speech and assembly, the eight-hour workday, food and drug regulations, the minimum wage, child and prison labor laws, health and safety standards, reproductive choice, same sex partner benefits, marriage equality, blues, jazz, rock and roll, hip hop, unemployment insurance, HIV/AIDS research, the right to a fair trial, public health clinics, Head Start programs, immigrant rights, collective bargaining, affirmative action, wildlife reserves, clean air and water, African-American studies, and the living wage. It’s an impressive, albeit incomplete, list, and it underscores the point that America would be a far less decent and less democratic place were it not for the work of activists who have struggled to make real America’s founding promises of freedom and equality.” Timothy Patrick McCarthy and John McMillian

“Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.” Frederick Douglass

“You have heard that it was said . . . but I tell you . . . .”
Jesus, in Mt. 5:21,22

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Would you want to live in a world without radicals?
  • Have the struggles of radicals benefited you?
  • Do you think of the Bible as a radical book? . . . of the life of Jesus as a radical life?

God in heaven, open my eyes to the truth, and my heart to the needs of others.

For More: Protest Nation. New York: The New Press, 2010.

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Daily Riches (CV Era): Conversations That Heal (David Richo, Heinz Kohut)

Psychologist Heinz Kohut, speaks of “’empathic immersion’ . . . the dedicated presence of the therapist with the client, or the friend with the friend, unhampered by judgment, plans to fix or change him or her, or personal projections. Mindful presence means that one person enters the interior garden of the other and walks through it without trampling any of the flowers, without blaming anyone for the presence of weeds, with great appreciation for all the time, pain, and growth it took to be the way it is. How can this be accomplished in our relationships? It takes an engaged focus that happens best in contemplation, the mindfully bare attention of an alert and caring witness. A contemplative presence involves listening, seeing, and attending without the diversionary mind-sets of fear, desire, control, judgment, or projection. . . . We automatically let the light through, since our ego is no longer in the way. . . . To stay with ourself [sic] or our friend or partner in this way requires that we be free of the need to clear things up or assume control. One person simply accepts the other’s truth no matter how unclear, broken, desperate, or fragmented it may be. In mindful and compassionate presence, it becomes quite acceptable for us or others to be adrift rather than on course, to miss the target, to feel longing without fulfillment. Every variety of human experience is granted hospitality . . . . Empathic presence means listening to someone’s pain with what I call the five A’s: attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing. We pay attention without being distracted. We accept what is said without editing, adding, or blanking. We feel a genuine caring about what happened and what might happen to this person. We allow whatever feelings or silences or head trips the other employs in this moment without attempting to blame him, stop him, or criticize him.” David Richo

“To answer before listening —that is folly and shame.”
Proverbs 18:13 NIV

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Can you listen without trying to “fix”?. . . without judging or projecting your own fear or desire?
  • Do you have a friend who simply listens no matter how unclear, broken, desperate, or fragmented” you or your story may be?
  • Has anyone ever listened to you “with great appreciation for all the time, pain, and growth it took” for you to be the way you are? How did that feel?

Abba, help me reject everything but empathy when I listen.

For More: The Five Things We Cannot Change . . . . by David Richo

Daily Riches (CV Era): A Wilderness With No Visible Sign of Relief (David Richo, John of the Cross)

“I entered I knew not where,
and there I stood not knowing:
nothing left to know.”
John of the Cross

“Nature is a metaphor of our inner life. Thus in our psyches we can expect a tormenting desertlike time in which nothing seems to be moving or growing in us. Such a torturous void is the unlit era in life when exuberance is gone, when nothing seems to succeed in reviving or renewing us, when things do not improve no matter how much effort we expend, when our spiritual practices become flat and uncomforting. This is the ruthless shadow side of our psychic world, a wilderness with no visible horizon of relief. . . . It must be legitimate and even useful to be fully clear and happy at times and at other times to be unhappy and in the dark. . . . We are nourished by light and dark. The spiritual style is to find a way to say yes mindfully to both. Distressing voids are thus challenges to stay with ourselves. . . . Mindfulness is a practice of attending and staying. Mindful presence in the void happens when (1) we pay attention to what is with no attempt to understand it and (2) when we stay in it with no attempt to end it. If we simply stay with the experience of the void, something eventually opens in it and us. What is born from our yes to the void is not emptiness but spaciousness . . . (3) We say yes to the silent dark and it reveals itself as a necessary—even kindly—oasis in our inner landscape. (4) We no longer seek things or people to rescue us. Eventually the space becomes as significant and as supportive as the things or persons who were supposed to fill it.” David Richo **

“May the day of my birth perish,
and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’
That day—may it turn to darkness;
may God above not care about it;
may no light shine on it.
May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more;
may a cloud settle over it;
may blackness overwhelm it.
That night—may thick darkness seize it;
may it not be included among the days of the year
nor be entered in any of the months.
May that night be barren;
may no shout of joy be heard in it.”
Job 3:3-7 NIV

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you have a spiritual technology for desperately dark times between a past “normal” and some painfully elusive “new normal”?
  • Will you insist on having understanding and exerting control in that space?
  • Can you imagine simply “accepting the things you cannot change” – and trusting that the confusing darkness and disorientation can be a “necessary–even kindly”, unexpected path to a better place? . . . even as a nation?

Help Yahweh! In the unbearable Pain! In the Distress! The Confusion! The Despair!

For more: The Five Things We Cannot Change . . . by David Richo

** Numbers in the text [e.g. (1) ] are my glosses.

Daily Riches: A Theology of Love and of Resistance (Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King, Jr.)

“A theology of love cannot afford to be sentimental. It cannot afford to preach edifying generalities about charity, while identifying ‘peace’ with mere established power and legalized violence against the oppressed. A theology of love cannot be allowed merely to serve the interests of the rich and powerful, justifying their wars, their violence, and their bombs, while exhorting the poor and underprivileged to practice patience, meekness, long-suffering and to solve their problems, if at all, nonviolently. The theology of love must seek to deal drastically with evil and injustice in the world, and not merely to compromise with them. …Theology does not exist merely to appease the already too untroubled conscience of the powerful and the established. A theology of love may also conceivably turn out to be a theology of revolution. In any case, it is a theology of resistance, a refusal of the evil that reduces a brother to homicidal desperation.” Thomas Merton

“In the terrible midnight of war men have knocked on the door of the church to ask for the bread of peace, but the church has often disappointed them. What more pathetically reveals the irrelevancy of the church in present-day world affairs than its witness regarding war? In a world gone mad with arms buildups, chauvinistic passions, and imperialistic exploitation, the church has either endorsed these activities or remained appallingly silent. … A weary world, pleading desperately for peace, has often found the church morally sanctioning war. … And those who have gone to the church to seek the bread of economic justice have been left in the frustrating midnight of economic deprivation. In many instances the church has so aligned itself with the privileged classes and so defended the status quo that it has been unwilling to answer the knock at midnight.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“A person who seeks to honor the one who sent him
speaks truth, not lies.”
Jesus in John 7:18

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is your theology of love a “theology of resistance?”
  • Is your church “aligned with the privileged classes and the status quo?”
  • Where in our day, might the church be guilty of appeasing “the already too untroubled?”
  • Do you think these are valuable questions for Christians? . . . for pastors? If not, why not?

Abba, keep us from conforming to this world, or allowing others to do so in peace.

For More: Faith and Violence by Thomas Merton

HUNDREDS of Books for Sale!! Theology, Religion, History, Biography – great books. great prices.

Prices: any 1-10 books – $5 each

any 11-25 books – $4 each

Over 25 books – $3 each!

(shipping and handling will normally be $3 or less per book)

I’ll also take $450. for everything (about 250 books – less than $2 a book)** –

and we’ll figure out a way for you to pick up, or etc.

 

Allegri, Renzo

Conversations With Mother Teresa

Anderson, Sir Norman

Christianity and World Religions: The Challenge of Pluralism

Augustine of Hippo

The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount*

Arnold, Eberhard

God’s Revolution

Arnold, Johann Christoph

Escape Routes (for people who feel trapped in life’s hells)

Alter, Robert

The Art of Biblical Narrative*

The Five Books of Moses* (slipcase)

The Literary Guide to the Bible*

The David Story*

Anderson, Fil

Running on Empty*

Augsburger, David

Caring Enough to Confront

Baab, Lynne

Fasting: Spiritual Freedom Beyond Our Appetites

Bakker, Frans

Praying Always

Baldwin, James

God Tell It On the Mountain

Barclay, William

Delight Thy Will, O My God: Daily Celebration*

Barron, Robert

The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path

Barzun, Jacques

Race: A Study in Superstition*

Bass, Diane Butler

A People’s History of Christianity

Beck, Edward

God Underneath: Spiritual Memoirs of a Catholic Priest

Becker, Ernest

The Denial of Death

Beevers, John (trans)

The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux: The Story of a Soul

Bell, Rob

Velvet Elvis*

Belloc, Hilaire

The Great Heresies

Benedicta, Sister

The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers

Blumhardt, Christoph

Action in Waiting (intro. By Karl Barth)

Boa, Kenneth

Talk Through the Old Testament*

Bobin, Christian

The Secret of Francis of Assisi: A Meditation

Boice, James Montgomery Boice

Genesis (Vol 1: Creation and Fall)*

Borg, Marcus

Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time

Bounds, E. M.

The Weapon of Prayer

Botz-Weber, Nadia

Accidental Saints*

Boyd, Gregory A.

God at War: The Bible and Spiritual Conflict

Satan and the Problem of Evil

Bradshaw, John

Healing the Shame that Binds You

Brooke, Rosalind B.

The Coming of the Friars*

Brown, Colin

Christianity & Western Thought: Philosophers, Ideas, Movements*

Bruce, F.F.

Hard Sayings of the Bible* (800 pages)

Brueggemann, Walter

The Prophetic Imagination

Buber, Martin

On Judaism

Buechner, Frederick

Telling Secrets

Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons

Bunyan, John

The Excellency of a Broken Heart

Carter, Warren

Matthew and Empire

Chambers, Oswald

The Love of God

Conformed to His Image, The Servant as his Lord

Chapman, Gary

The One Year Love Language Minute Devotional

Chan, Francis

Forgotton God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

Chesterton. G. K.

The Common Man*

St. Francis of Assisi

The Everlasting Man

Clairvaux, Bernard of

The Love of God*

Cobb, John

A Christian Natural Theology: Based on … Alfred North Whitehead

Crabb, Larry

The Papa Prayer*

Cromarty, Jim

It Is Not Death To Die: A New Biography of Hudson Taylor8

Crossan, John Dominic

The Greatest Prayer*

D’Arcy, Paula

Seeking With All My Heart: Encountering God’s Presence Today*

Delfgaauw, Bernard

Evolution: The Theory of Teilhard De Chardin*

Dillard, Annie

The Writing Life

Driscoll, Mary (ed.)

Passion for the Truth, Compassion for Humanity: Catherine of Siena

Dorff, Elliot

The Way Into Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World)

Du Bois, W. E. B.

The Souls of Black Folk

Eldredge, John

Walking with God

The Sacred Romance

Waking the Dead

The Journey of Desire

Elie, Paul

The Life you Save May be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage

Elliot, Elisabeth

A Slow and Certain Light

God’s Guidance: A Slow and Certain Light

Enns, Peter

Inspiration and Incarnation

Ericksen, Robert (ed.)

Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust

Erickson, Millard

Christian Theology* (unabridged, 1 vol, ed., 1300 pages)

Fosdick, Harry Emerson

Great Voices of the Reformation*

Foster, Charles

The Sacred Journey (Ancient Practices Series)

Foster, Richard

Prayer*

Fox, Emmet

The Sermon on the Mount

Frankl, Viktor

Man’s Search for Meaning

Franklin, Jentezen

Fasting*

Gordon, S. D.

How to Pray

Grunfeld, Dayan

The Sabbath*

Gutierrez, Gustavo

A Theology of Liberation

Guyon, Jeanne

Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ

Hall, Douglas John

Remembered Voices: Reclaiming the Legacy of “Neo-Orthodoxy”

Hallowell, Edward

Crazy Busy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap!*

Harpur, James

The Pilgrim Journey: A History of Pilgrimage in the Western World*

Haugen, Gary A.

Good News About Injustice

Hanley, Boniface

Ten Christians

Hart, David Bentley

The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami?

Havel, Vaclav

Living In Truth

Hays, Edward

Chasing Joy: Musings on Life in a Bittersweet World

Hayes, Diane

Trouble Don’t Last Always: Soul Prayers

Hays, John

Sub-merge: Living Deep in a Shallow World

Heurtz, Phileena

Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life

Hone, Ralph

The Voice Out of the Whirlwind: The Book of Job

Howard, J. Grant

Balancing Life’s Demands (2 copies)

Jenkins, Philip

The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianty*

John, St.

Dark Night of the Soul

Johnson, Elizabeth A.

She Who Is

Ask The Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love*

Johnson, Jan

Enjoying the Presence of God

Johnson, Robert A.

She: Understanding Feminine Psychology

Jones, Cheslyn (ed.)

The Study of Liturgy

The Study of Spirituality

Jordan, Winthrop D.

The White Man’s Burden

Kavanaugh, Kieran (trans.)

The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila (vol. 3)

The Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila

Kierkegaard, Soren

Fear and Trembling

Provocations: The Spiritual Writings of …

Keener, Craig

The IVP Bible Background Commentary (N.T.)*

Keller, Timothy

Counterfeit Gods* (Money, Sex, Power)

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness

The Prodigal God*

King, Martin Luther

Why We Can’t Wait*

Kung, Hans

Freud and the Problem of God

Hans Kung (Biography) by John Kiwiet

Justification: The Doctrine of Karl Barth & and Catholic Reflection

Kushner, Lawrence

God was in this Place & I, I did not know

Lawson, James Gilchrist

Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians

Levine, Noah

Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries

Lewis, C. S.

Surprised by Joy

Mere Christianity

God in the Dock

The Inspirational Writings of C. S. Lewis (4 books)

Lindberg & Numbers, eds.

God & Nature: Essays on the Encounter Bet. Christianity and Science

Linn, Dennis, Sheila and Matthew

Sleeping with Bread

Longman, Tremper

Cry of the Soul: …Our Emotions Reveal Our Deepest Questions About God*

Dictionary of Biblical Imagery*

Manning, Brennan

The Signature of Jesus

Ruthless Trust

Maxwell, John

The Right to Lead

McCullough, David

John Adams

Martin, James

Awake My Soul: Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions

The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life

The Abbey: A Story of Discovery

Meyer, F. B.

Daily Mediations with F.B. Meyer

McBrian, Richard

Catholicism (1200+ pages)

McCullough, Donald

The Dangerous Illusion of a Manageable Diety*

McLaren, Brian

The Secret Message of Jesus

Mello, Anthony de

One Minute Wisdom

Merton, Thomas

Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander*

Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (paper)

The Intimate Merton: His Life from His Journals*

New Seeds of Contemplation

Metz, Johannes Baptist

Poverty of the Spirit

Miller, Perry (ed.)

The Transcendentalists

Moltmann, Jurgen

The Crucified God

Moss, George

Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism

Nassif, Bradley

Bringing Jesus to the Dessert

Noll, Mark

Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity

Northrup, Solomon

Twelve Years a Slave

Twelve Years a Slave*

Nouwen, Henri

In the Name of Jesus

The Inner Voice of Love

Out of Solitude

The Wounded Healer

With Open Arms

Oden, Thomas

The Good Works Reader

Ortberg, John

If you Want to Walk on Water . . . *

Everybody’s Normal Until You Get to Know Them*

Faith and Doubt*

When the Game is Over It All Goes Back In the Box*

Pagels, Elaine

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent

Pascal, Blaise

Reasons of the Heart (Biography) by Marvin O’Connell

Paxton, Robert

The Anatomy of Fascism

Peers, Allison (trans.)

The Way of Perfection: Teresa of Avila

Perrotta, Louise

All You Really Need to Know About Prayer You Can Learn From the Poor

Petersen, William

Hymns: Inspiriting Stories About 600 Hymns and Praise Songs

Peterson, Eugene

A Year With Jesus: Daily Readings and Meditations

Tell It Slant*

Pieper, Josef

Leisure: The Basis of Culture

Pierson, William

Black Legacy: America’s Hidden Heritage

Piper, John

God’s Passion for His Glory* (re: Jonathan Edwards)

Raboteau, Albert

Slave Religion: The Invisible Institution in the Antebellum South

Rah, Soong-Chan

Return to Justice: Six Movements that Reignited . . . Evangelical Conscience

Rauchenbusch, Walter

A Theology for the Social Gospel

Riedemann, Peter

Love Is Like Fire: Confessions of an Anabaptist Prisoner

Ringwald, Christopher

A Day Apart: How Jews, Christians, and Muslims . . . Sabbath*

Ryle, J. C.

A Call to Prayer

Roy, Arundhati

An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire

Salzberg, Sharon

Loving-Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (Shambhala)

Seeger, Pete

Everybody Says Freedom: Hist. of the C. Rights Movement in Songs & Pictures

Shenk, Joshua Wolf

Lincoln’s Melancholy

Sider, Ron

Just Generosity

Smedes, Louis

Shame and Grace: Healing the Shame We Don’t Deserve*

Smith, David

With Willful Intent: A Theology of Sin*

Smith, Paul

Is It Okay To Call God “Mother”

Soelle, Dorothee

On Earth as in Heaven: A Liberation Spirituality of Sharing

Spencer, Matthew

Athos: Travels on the Holy Mountain

Spoto, Donald

Reluctant Saint: The Life of Francis of Assisi*

Spurgeon, Charles

12 Sermons on the Love of Christ

Prayer

The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life

Stott, John

Basic Christianity*

Christian Counter-Culture: The Message of the Sermon on the Mount

Taylor, Jeremy

Holy Living and Dying, with Prayers containing the Whole Duty of a Christian

Thompson, Curt

Anatomy of the Soul (neuroscience and spiritual practices)

Tillich, Paul

The Courage to Be

Tisby, Jemar

The Color of Compromise: … American Church’s Complicity in Racism*

Tolle, Eckhart

The Power of Now*

Townes, Emilie

Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil

Trible, Phyllis

God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality (OBT)

Text of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives (OBT)

Tucker, Ruth

From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions

Vanier, Jean

Befriending the Stranger

Essential Writings

Veblen, Thorstein

The Theory of the Leisure Class*

Walsh, Chad

S. Lewis: The Literary Legacy*

West, Christopher

Theology of the Body for Beginners

Wiersbe, Warren

Classic Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer

Wilken, Robert Louis

The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity

Wilkerson, Isabel

The Warmth of Other Sons: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

Williams, George (ed.)

Spiritual and Anabaptist Writers (Lib. Of Christian Classics)

Wink, Walter

Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way

Wirzba, Norman

Way of Love: Recovering the Heart of Christianity*

Wright, N. T.

Surprised by Hope*

Yancey, Phillip

Prayer

The Jesus I Never Knew*

Reaching for the Invisible God

Zarnecki, George

The Monastic Achievement*

 

ANON. AND MISC.

The Interpreter’s One Volume Commentary on the Bible*

Oxford Bible Atlas (2nd edition)

Gospel Parallels* (synopsis of the first three gospels)

Hymns for Worship

The Cloud of Unknowing, anon. (Classics of W. Spirituality)

The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way

Living Wisdom with His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Study Guide

The Second Coming of Christ (famous sermons)

 

*********Pimsleur Language Program (Spanish 1) 16 Compact Discs – $40.*********

 

*Hardcover

**When I was in Seminary I bought a guy’s library, kept about 100 books I really wanted, put tables in the back yard and sold the rest. About 40-60 didn’t sell so I kept those too – and what I made selling everything paid for the whole deal. You can do something like this too perhaps, if you’re willing to do the work. If you’re at all inclined to buy the whole lot, please contact me asap before the lot begins to go out piecemeal. (wm_britton@mac.com)

Daily Riches (CV era): Woke by Faith (Thomas Merton)

“The Hassidic Rabbi, Baal-Shem-Tov, once told the following story. ‘Two men were traveling through a forest. One was drunk, the other was sober. As they went, they were attacked by robbers, beaten, robbed of all they had, even their clothing. When they emerged, people asked them if they got through the wood without trouble. The drunken man said: “Everything was fine; nothing went wrong; we had no trouble at all!” They said: “How does it happen that you are naked and covered with blood?” He did not have an answer. The sober man said: “Do not believe him: he is drunk. It was a disaster. Robbers beat us without mercy and took everything we had. Be warned by what happened to us, and look out for yourselves.’ . . . For some faithful . . . ‘faith’ seems to be a kind of drunkenness, an anesthetic, that keeps you from realizing and believing that anything can ever go wrong. Such faith can be immersed in a world of violence and make no objection . . . . The drunkenness of this kind of faith–whether in a religious message or merely in a political ideology—enables us to go through life without seeing that our own violence is a disaster and that the overwhelming force by which we seek to assert ourselves and our own self-interest may well be our ruin. Is faith a narcotic dream in a world of heavily-armed robbers, or is it an awakening? Is faith a convenient nightmare in which we are attacked and obliged to destroy our attackers? What if we awaken to discover that we are the robbers, and our destruction comes from the root of hate in ourselves?” Thomas Merton

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.”
Proverbs 31:8 NIV

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Imagine the violence being done during this pandemic towards first responders and other essential workers. As much as you’re able, do you advocate for them? If not, is your silence a form of consent?
  • Are you aware of violence done in your name? Does your faith challenge you to consider such things?
  • Is your brand of faith a “narcotic”–an opiate, that keeps you from seeing or admitting there is a problem? . . .  that stifles your empathy?

Abba, may my faith always make me more desirous to live in reality–and more useful, more compassionate.

For More: Faith and Violence by Thomas Merton

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