Daily Riches: Anxiety Rising In My Chest (Mary Oliver, Richard Rohr, Lewis Thomas, Matt Licata)

“We are, perhaps, uniquely among the earth’s creatures, the worrying animal.”  Lewis Thomas

“I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.”
“I Worried” by Mary Oliver

“Your sadness, your loneliness, your fear, and your anxiety are not mistakes. They are not obstacles on your path. They are the path. The freedom you are longing for is not found in the eradication of these, but in the information they carry. You need not transcend anything here, but be willing to become deeply intimate with your lived, embodied experience. …Nothing is missing, nothing is out of place, nothing need be sent away.” Matt Licata

“…we dare not get rid of the pain before we have learned what it has to teach us. …Fixing something doesn’t usually transform us. We try to change events in order to avoid changing ourselves. We avoid God, who works in the darkness – where we are not in control! Maybe that is the secret: relinquishing control. We must learn to stay with the pain of life, without answers, without conclusions, and some days without meaning.” Richard Rohr

“Do not be afraid, little flock,
for your Father has been pleased
to give you the kingdom.“
Jesus, in Luke 12:32

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you learning “to stay with the pain of life” rather than attempting to fix things that shouldn’t be fixed?
  • What is your sadness, loneliness or anxiety trying to tell you?
  • We’ve all seen worrying “come to nothing.” Can you remember that from the start, and just go “out into the morning” and sing?

Abba, save my soul from being so steeped in care that I pass heedless and unseeing when even the thorn bush by the wayside is aflame with the glory of God.

For More: Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

 

Daily Riches: Boring Prayer, Perpetual Prayer (Joan Chittister)

“When I was a young monastic, I found prayer a long boring interruption of life. It was not anything the spiritual books and biographies of the period promised it would be. It was not sweet. It did not give me personal consolation. It simply cluttered the day with annoying distractions. Surely my work with students was more important than running in and out of chapel for group recitation of prayers that had nothing whatsoever to do with me or what I was doing at the time. Where were the lights? Where were the insights? Where were the lovely visions of God reported by the saints, assumed by the public, and expected by the spiritually immature? Little by little, I learned. …Benedict called for prayer at regular intervals of each day, right in the middle of apparently urgent and important work. The message is unequivocal. Let no one forget what they are really about. Let no one forget why they have really come to this life. Let no one forget the purpose of life. Let no one forget to remember. Ever. Benedictine spirituality is not a spirituality of escape; Benedictine spirituality is a spirituality that fills time with an awareness of the presence of God …if we keep our souls tied to a consciousness of God as the Rule directs, even in the face of things of apparently greater or more immediate value, then consciousness of God becomes a given. …We pray to see life as it is, to understand it, and to make it better than it was. We pray so that reality can break into our souls and give us back our awareness of the Divine Presence in life.” Joan Chittister

“Pray continually.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Have you adapted a daily routine where you pray at fixed times – so that your day is more permeated “with an awareness of the presence of God?”
  • Do you stop whatever you’re doing to pray at those times whenever possible? …refusing to offer your “important and urgent work” as an excuse to skip it?
  • If you don’t have such a practice, do you have another way to stay present to and conscious of God throughout the day?
  • Do you have a friend to encourage you on this kind of journey?

Abba, help me to be more aware of your constant presence.

For More: Wisdom Distilled From the Daily by Joan Chittister

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Simplicity … Clearing the Way to the Best (Robert Lawrence Smith, Maya Angelou, Montaigne, Simone Weil, Arthur Conan Doyle)

“Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” Maya Angelou

“‘What do I need?’ is simplicity’s fundamental question, a question that rubs against our natural proclivity for acquiring things, a questions few of us feel ready to address. America’s favorite weekend activity is not participating in sports, gardening, hiking, reading, visiting with friends and neighbors. It’s shopping. More often impelled by acquisitiveness than by necessity, we set out to buy or just to look and dream. We gain a false and fleeting sense of self-esteem from our ability to purchase expensive things for ourselves and our children. The vibrancy of our busy malls has made them virtual community centers. We leave boredom and emptiness behind as we browse through their glittering corridors of stuff. Yet many of us have learned that acquiring too much stuff can get in the way of happiness, that it can obscure what is best in us, lead us back to boredom and emptiness, corrupt our children’s values. We often step out of the mall blinking in the sunshine at the end of an almost-vanished afternoon feeling unsatisfied, regretful, grumpy. … Montaigne wrote, ‘All other things – to reign, to hoard, to build – are, at most, inconsiderable props and appendages. The great and glorious masterpiece of man is to be able to live to the point. Simplicity helps us to live to the point, to clear the way to the best, to keep first things first.” Robert Lawrence Smith

“So complex is the human spirit that it can itself scarce discern the deep springs which impel it to action.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

“All sins are attempts to fill voids.” Simone Weil

“Then [Jesus] said to them, ‘Watch out!
Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
life does not consist
in an abundance of possessions.’”
Luke 12:15

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you “discern the deep springs which impel” you away from simplicity? towards acquisitiveness? Are you trying to fill a void? What would that be?
  • Are you “on guard against all kinds of greed?”
  • Have you found a way to withdraw from cares that “will not withdraw from you?” How?

Abba, help me heed Jesus’ stern warning. Free me of a need to acquire and own, and from revelling in an abundance of things.

For More: A Quaker Book of Wisdom by Robert Lawrence Smith

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: How We Change – What Works, What Doesn’t (Dallas Willard)

“There was a new thing at work in me. And I had learned something about how we do change – and how we do not. In particular, I had learned that intensity is crucial for any progress in spiritual perception and understanding. To dribble a few verses or chapters of scripture on oneself through the week, in church or out, will not reorder one’s mind and spirit – just as one drop of water every five minutes will not get you a shower, no matter how long you keep it up. You need a lot of water at once and for a sufficiently long time. Similarly for the written Word.

“A year or so later I learned a related lesson with regard to prayer. In the tradition in which I was brought up, scripture reading and prayer were the two main religious things one might do, in addition to attending services of the church. But I was not given to understand that these had to be practiced in a certain way if they were to make a real difference in one’s life. In particular I did not understand the intensity with which they must be done, nor that the appropriate intensity required that they be engaged in for lengthy periods of undistracted time on a single occasion. Moreover, one’s life as a whole had to be arranged in such a way that this would be possible. One must not be agitated, hurried, or exhausted when the time of prayer and study came. Hence one cannot tack an effective, life-transforming practice of prayer and study onto ‘life as usual’. Life as usual must go. It will be replaced by something far better.” Dallas Willard

“Imitate me in exactly the way I imitate Christ.” Paul, in 1 Corinthians 11:1

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you concluded that “life as usual must go?” If so, what has changed?
  • Are you spending enough “undistracted time” in prayer and study for those practices to be “life-transforming?”
  • Have you “arranged [your life] in such a way that this untypical approach to life would be possible?” If so, how so?

Abba, help me, in the midst of this confused, distracted world, to renounce the practice of life as usual. Lead me into truly life-transforming practices for my good – and the good of others.

For More: The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Gifts that Solitude and Silence Give (Dallas Willard)

“Lay down your ideas as to what solitude and silence are supposed to accomplish in your spiritual growth. You will discover incredibly good things. One is that you have a soul. Another, that God is near and the universe is brimming with goodness. Another, that others aren’t as bad as you often think. But don’t try to discover these, or you won’t. You’ll just be busy and find more of your own doings. The cure for too-much-to-do is solitude and silence, for there you find you are safely more than what you do. And the cure of loneliness is solitude and silence, for there you discover in how many ways you are never alone. When you go into solitude and silence … you will need to stay there long enough for the inner being to become different. Muddy water becomes clear if you only let it be still for a while.

“You will know this finding of soul and God is happening by an increased sense of who you are and a lessening of the feeling that you have to do this, that, and the other thing…. That harassing, hovering feeling of ‘have to’ largely comes from the vacuum in your soul, where you ought to be at home with your Father in his kingdom. As the vacuum is rightly filled, you will increasingly know that you do not have to do many of those things – not even those you want to do. Liberation from your own desires is one of the greatest gifts of solitude and silence. When this all begins to happen, you will know you are arriving where you ought to be. Old bondages to wrongdoing will begin to drop off as you see them for what they are. And the possibility of really loving people will dawn upon you. Soon you will enter into the experience of what it is to live by grace, rather than just talk about it.” Dallas Willard

“He leads me beside quiet waters.” Psalm 23:2

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Have you truly given “solitude and silence” a try? If so, how does your experience match up?
  • Have you tasted what is it to “live by grace, rather than just talk about it?”
  • What change could you make to allow for more solitude and silence in your life?

Abba, meet in the quiet.

For More: The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: “Statio” – Coming to a Full Stop for Contemplation (Kathleen Norris)

“Once, when I was the only guest one Sunday night at a women’s monastery, the sisters invited me to join them in statio, the community’s procession into church. The word, which means ‘standing’ in Latin, is one of the many terms from the Roman Army that ancient Christian monastics adopted for their own purposes. To get into position, to station oneself, to take a stand. To wait in line, in a posture that invites individual watchfulness, to ‘recollect’ oneself before reentering church.  …I didn’t realize it at the time, but …not being able to amble into church on my own to find a choir stall pushed me into recognizing what the sisters already sensed, that Christ is actively present in their worshiping community. Not as a static idea or principle, but a Word made flesh, a listening, active Christ who in the gospels tells us that he prays for us, and who promises to be with us always.  Walking slowly into church in that long line of women taught me much about liturgical time and space. I found to my surprise that the entire vespers service had more resonance for me because of the solemn way I had entered into it.” Kathleen Norris

In some contemplative circles today, another, but related, meaning attaches to “statio.” Statio refers to the practice of pausing after finishing one thing and before starting another. It’s like Merton’s “recollecting” of oneself (one’s communion with one’s soul), or what Richard Foster describes as “reorienting our lives like a compass needle.” It’s simply taking a moment to lift up to God whatever has just transpired, and petition him to be in whatever is next. Such a practice can be very brief, but no doubt on occasions will lead into something longer and unexpected between the individual and God. Certainly it will help us to be more present to God through the day.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise”
Psalm 100:4

Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Is your church experience given “more resonance” because of how you enter into it?
  • Do you attempt to “recollect yourself” before the service begins?
  • What do you do to be intentionally “present” to Christ who is also present as the church gathers?

Abba, help me to constantly recalibrate my soul so I am aware of and available to you.

For More: Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: The Temptation to be Relevant, The Need to Be Respected (Henri Nouwen and Brennan Manning)

“The first temptation with which the devil accosted Jesus was that of turning stones into loaves of bread. This is the temptation to be relevant, to do something that is needed and can be appreciated by people – to make productivity the basis of our ministry. How often have we heard these words: ‘What is the value of talking about God to hungry people? What is the use of proclaiming the Good News to people who lack food, shelter, or clothing? What is needed are people who can offer real help and support. Doctors can heal, lawyers can defend, bankers can finance, social workers can restructure. But what can you do? What do you have to offer?’ This is the tempter speaking! This temptation touches us at the center of our identity. In a variety of ways we are made to believe that we are what we produce. This leads to a preoccupation with products, visible results, tangible goods, and progress. The temptation to be relevant is difficult to shake since it is usually not considered a temptation, but a call. We make ourselves believe that we are called to be productive, successful, and efficient people whose words and actions show that working for God’s Reign is at least as dignified an occupation as working for General Electric, Mobil Oil, or the government. But this is giving in to the temptation to be relevant and respectable in the eyes of the world.” Henri Nouwen

“The world will respect us if we court it, it will respect us even more if we reject it in disdain and anger, but it will hate us if we simply take no notice of it or it’s priorities or what it thinks of us. In John’s gospel the Jews are said to be incapable of believing because ‘they receive glory from one another.’ There is a radical incompatibility between human respect and faith in Jesus Christ.” Brennan Manning

“… you accept glory from one another
but do not seek the glory
that comes from the only God”
John 5:44

Moving From the Head to the Heart
.
  • Are you “hooked” on others’ approval? What does that mean?
  • In Jesus’ day, it was the religious community “receiving glory from one another.” Pleasing the world is probably not our gravest danger.
  • Are you prepared for the day when you seem unproductive?

Abba, may your approval be all I need.

For More: The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Gripping the Hands of Jesus (Mother Teresa, James Stewart and Joan Chittister)

“Pray for me that I not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor.” Mother Teresa

“Another thing which commonly stifles prayer is men’s business. The days become so full that prayer gets crowded out. Sometimes when that happens, the plea is urged in extenuation that work itself is prayer, that honest work is indeed one of the highest kinds of prayer which can ever be offered, and that, therefore, the crowding out of the devotional hour does not really matter much. But look at Jesus. Busy and crowded as our days are, his were emphatically more so. Read the opening chapters of Mark’s Gospel. There you have a number of pictures of typical days in Jesus’ ministry, days that were quite usual and normal for Jesus; and as you study these pictures and see how one duty was heaped upon another, how sick people and broken sinners came clamoring for him until far into the night and none of them were sent away unhelped, you can almost see the virtue going out of him and can realize something of the strain and the drain of it; and yet the harder the days were, the more time did Jesus make for prayer.” James Stewart

“Prayer that is regular confounds both self-importance and the wiles of the world. It is so easy for good people to confuse their own work with the work of creation. It is so easy to come to believe that what we do is so much more important than what we are. It is so easy to simply get too busy to grow. It is so easy to commit ourselves to this century’s demand for product and action until the product consumes us and the actions exhaust us … [In Benedictine prayer] … a whole new life emerges and people are changed. Not in the way tornadoes change things, perhaps, but in the way that the sand in oysters does.” Joan Chittister

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace.”
Proverbs 11:2

Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Have you ever succumbed to “self-importance” or “the wiles of the world” while ministering?
  • Have you ever lost your grip on the hands of Jesus while spending yourself in ministry?
  • What practices help you to remember your proper place? your dependence upon God to act?

Abba, humility, humility.

For More: The Life and Teaching of Jesus Christ by James Stewart

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

 

Daily Riches: God’s Rule: Now, Here, This (John Macmurray, David Bosch, Dallas Willard)

“Like its Lord, the church-in-mission must take sides, for life and against death, for justice and against oppression.” David Bosch

“Instead of thinking about religious things we should think about ordinary things in a religious way. Instead of living a spiritual life which is separate from and in opposition to our material life we should live our ordinary life spiritually. Instead of believing in the idea of God we should seek and find God in this world – a God who does not depend on us and our believings or disbelievings, but on whom we depend. Our religion would cease to be for our comfort or consolation, a compensation for the futilities and failure of our material life, and become power and knowledge for the salvation of the world through us, and even at our expense.” John Macmurray

“We are responsible before God for life on the earth [Gen. 1:28-30]. …We are meant to exercise our ‘rule’ only in union with God, as he acts with us. He intended to be our constant companion or coworker in the creative enterprise of life on earth. …God… pursues us redemptively and invites us individually, every last one of us, to be faithful to him in the little we truly ‘have say over.’ There, at every moment, we live in the interface between our lives and God’s kingdom among us. If we are faithful to him here we … discover the effectiveness of his rule with us precisely in the details of day to day existence.” Dallas Willard

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.”
Proverbs 31:8
 .
Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • What would it mean to “live your ordinary life spiritually?”
  • Do you think of yourself as God’s “companion or coworker in a creative enterprise … on earth?” What would that mean in your “day to day existence?”
  • Have you settled for a religion of “comfort or consolation?” Imagine instead, God making you “power and knowledge for the salvation of the world.” Are you available to God for that?

Abba, may I use whatever influence, gifts and abilities I have for the advance of your kingdom rule in this troubled world. Thank you for vote of confidence, for your willingness to use me to bring about change, whether “big” or “small.”

For More: Idealism Against Religion by John Macmurray

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Sabbath – The Wisdom of Dormancy (George MacDonald, Wayne Muller, Mark Buchanan and Rob Bell)

‘It is our best work that he wants, not the dregs of our exhaustion. So many seem ambitious to kill themselves in the service of the Master – and as quickly as possible. Come with us to God’s infirmary in the country and rest for a while.”  George MacDonald

“Sabbath honors the necessary wisdom of dormancy. If certain plant species, for example, do not lie dormant for winter, they will not bear fruit in the spring. If this continues for more than a season, the plant begins to die. If dormancy continues to be prevented, the entire species will die. A period of rest … is a spiritual and biological necessity.” Wayne Muller

“Sabbath is …
…taking a day a week to remind myself that I did not make the world and that it will continue to exist without my efforts.
…a day when my work is done, even if it isn’t.
…a day when my job is to enjoy. Period.
…a day when I am fully available to myself and those I love most.
…a day when I remember that when God made the world, he saw that it was good.
…a day when I produce nothing.
…a day when at the end I say, ‘I didn’t do anything today,’ and I don’t add, ‘And I feel so guilty.’
…a day when my phone is turned off, I don’t check my email, and you can’t get a hold of me.”
Rob Bell

“’Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any [manna].’
Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none.
Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?
Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath;
that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days.
Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.'”
Exodus 16:25-30

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is everyday the same to you?
  • Are you out “looking for manna” on the seventh day?
  • Does your life reflect the biological necessity of dormancy?
  • Are you rested enough to give God your best?

Abba, help me honor your ordained rhythms.

For More: Notes From an Unhurried Life by Alan Fadling

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: Their Lives Are Not Like Mine (Gary Haugen and Bob Dylan)

“This world is ruled by violence, but that’s better left unsaid.” Bob Dylan

“Often I am ill-prepared for action in a dark world of injustice because I have gotten used to a little lie within my mind. I have gotten used to the idea that the fair garden that I have worked so hard to carve out myself and my family is normal. I have gradually adjusted to the idea that ‘the world’ into which Christ has sent his disciples is actually a reasonably pleasant backyard patio. [but]… The outcome in the twentieth century would be described [otherwise] …I would just call it an open-mouthed grave: an entire generation of European youth composting the World War I battlefields of Verdun and the Somme, Hitler’s six million Jews, Stalin’s twenty million Soviet citizens, Mao’s tens of millions of political enemies and peasant famine victims, Pol Pot’s two million Cambodians, the Interhamwe’s million Tutsi Rwandans, and the millions of lives wasted away during apartheid’s forty-year reign. We can easily forget that the same spirit of darkness rules our present age. …Outside the affluent West … in the Two-Thirds World where most of the children God created actually live, the Fall is being played out in ways more familiar to the biblical writers: it is manifest in a world of brutal injustice. …All those Scriptures about ‘the world,’ which seemed rather melodramatic when I heard them in my suburban church as a kid, turned out to be much more worthy of my attention than I ever knew.” Gary Haugen

‘Their feet are swift to shed blood, ruin and misery mark their ways…’ Romans 3:15

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does your comfortable lifestyle blind you to gross injustice in “the Two-Thirds World where most of the children God created actually live?”
  • We don’t talk about “the world” or “worldliness” much any more – and when we did it was about women wearing short skirts or men who smoked. Imagine how much bigger, darker and more important the concept is.

Abba, when I obtain a service without paying a bribe, when I’m stopped by police without being beaten or unfairly imprisoned, when the legal system works for me, when my daughter walks home from school without being kidnapped to be made a prostitute in a faraway city or work in a sweat shop – may I remember the multitudes around the world who lives are not like mine.

For More: Good News About Injustice by Gary Haugen

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it.I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: You Are God’s Plan for Justice (Gary Haugen)

“Our engagement with the work of justice is no more and no less than an extension of our desire to follow our God and Savior. …if our leaders … teach us about the God of justice, we can, and will follow him in the struggle against injustice…. They will lead us in the authority of the Word of God to know God’s passion for justice, Christ’s compassion for the oppressed, God’s holy condemnation of the sinful abuse of power and his deep desire to rescue the vulnerable. … [they] will show us that God’s plan for seeking justice in the world is to use his people to work acts of love and rescue. …equip us with a hope that will withstand the inevitable trials and suffering that accompany obedience to Christ. [and] …prepare us to be witnesses for Christ’s love and holiness in a hurting world of oppression. Or – they won’t. Some teachers will be so shocked by the unfamiliarity of this God of justice, that they will, like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, return to … worship of a different God – their familiar God of tithes and sacrifices – and neglect the God of the Bible, the God of justice…. Jesus call the teachers and guides of his own people back to their Scriptures, to rediscover this God who had become unknown to them. At least one teacher came secretly to Jesus in the night to learn more (John 3:1-17), but most teachers simply grew angry at the suggestion that they had veered from the God of the Scriptures. They closed their ears to the voice of Christ.” Gary Haugen

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter –
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
Isaiah 58:6,7

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • It’s possible to be very religious and “close your ears to the voice of Christ.” Could you be missing that voice? Could your pastor?
  • Is Isaiah’s theme familiar to you? …in your church?
  • Do you believe God wants you to “work acts of love and rescue?”

Abba, help me see you as you really are.

For More: Good News About Injustice by Gary Haugen

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: A Theology of Love and Speaking Truth to Power (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

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Quest of the Soul and Organized Religion (Richard Rohr and Dallas Willard)

“Organized religion often becomes problematic – not wrong, I’m just saying problematic – when you move into the second half of life because it tends, in most instances, not to answer the questions that the soul is asking. Many people have found various forms of para-church, like the Franciscans. But not everybody is called to be a priest or a nun…. You need to find some way to learn or study or to pray alongside your Sunday worship community, some form of para-church grouping ….’  The Sunday service alone seldom leads people on deeper or even real journeys; we must begin to be honest about this. All that organized religion can do is to hold you inside the boxing ring long enough so you can begin to ask good questions and expect bigger answers. But it seldom teaches you how to really box with the mystery itself. Organized religion does not tend to cook you! It just keeps you on a low, half-cold simmer. It doesn’t teach you how to expect the mystery to show itself at any profound level. It tends, and I don’t mean to be unkind, to make you codependent upon its own ministry, instead of leading you to know something for yourself, which is really the whole point.” Richard Rohr

“Seventeen years of ministerial efforts in a wide range of denominational settings had made it clear to me that what Christians were normally told to do … was not advancing them spiritually.  …All pleasing and doctrinally sound schemes of Christian education, church growth, and spiritual renewal came around at last to this disappointing result.” Dallas Willard

“I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee.” Paul in Acts 26:5

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Pastor, are you guiding people in their own “deeper journeys” with God, or mediating between them and God?
  • Are people “advancing … spiritually” in significant, measurable ways, in your church? Are they prepared for times of doubt, disillusionment, disappointment with God and each other? Do they understand the value of waiting, of suffering, of brokenness, or failure? Do they know how to keep trusting in the dark?
  • Organized religion can be “problematic” or “disappointing.” Does it have to be? What exactly are you “organized” to accomplish in your church?

Abba, give great wisdom and deep courage to those who lead us in the faith.

For More:  Silent Compassion by Richard Rohr

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Compassion Which Flows From Contemplation (Richard Rohr)

“Leave the silence open-ended. Do not try to settle the dust. Do not rush to resolve the inner conflict. Do not seek a glib, quick answer, but leave all things for a while in the silent space. Do not rush to judgment. That is what it really means that God alone is the judge. Inner silence frees you from the burden of thinking that your judgment is needed or important. Real silence moves you from knowing things to perceiving a presence that has a reality in itself. Could that be God? There is then a mutuality between you and all things. There is an I-Thou relationship, as twentieth-century philosopher Martin Buber would call it. He said an I-It relationship is when we experience everything as a commodity, as useful, as utilitarian. But the I-thou relationship is when you an simply respect a thing as it is without adjusting it, naming it, changing it, fixing it, controlling it, or trying to explain it. Is this the mind that can know God? I think so. That does not mean that there is not a place for explaining, not a place for understanding. But first you have to learn to say “yes” to the moment. Yes is where you have to begin. If you start with no, which is critiquing, judging, pigeonholing, analyzing, dismissing, it is very hard to get back to yes. You must learn to start every single encounter with a foundational yes, before you ever dare to move to no. That is the heart of contemplation, and it takes a lifetime of practice. But you have now begun and can live each day with a forever-returning beginner’s mind. It will always be silent before it dares to speak.” Richard Rohr 

“draw near to listen
rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools….”
Ecclesiastes 5:1

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you fallen into the trap of “thinking your judgment is needed or important?”
  • Of seeing others as commodities based on whether they can be useful to you? This seems like a particular pitfall for those in ministry.
  • Have you begun the “lifetime practice” of always starting with a “foundational yes?” …not starting with “critiquing, judging, pigeonholing, analyzing or dismissing?”

Abba, keep me from usurping your role as judge and jury. May I learn to sit with silence before I dare to speak.

For More: Silent Compassion by Richard Rohr

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”