Daily Riches: The Homing Device of a Hungry Heart (Gregory Boyd)

“Every human being with normal mental and emotional faculties longs for more …If only this, that, or some other thing were different, we say to ourselves, then we’d feel complete and happy. …Acquiring the better job, the bigger house, the new spouse, or world fame we longed for may provide a temporary sense of happiness and completeness, but it never lasts. Sooner or later, the hunger returns. [We have] …a vague and bittersweet nostalgia and/or longing for a distant country, but one that cannot be found on earth. …a quasi-mystical sense that we (and our present world) are incomplete, combined with an unattainable yearning for whatever it is that would complete it. …this longing is not puzzling from a biblical perspective, for Scripture teaches us that humans and the entire creation are fallen and estranged from God. Lewis saw [this] as reflective of our ‘pilgrim status.’ It indicates that we are not where we were meant to be, where we are destined to be; we are not home.

Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off is . . . the truest index of our real situation. C. S. Lewis

“With Lewis, Christians have always identified this [uneasiness or longing] that resides in the human heart as a yearning for God. …as a sort of homing device placed in us by our Creator to lead us into a passionate relationship with him. …It’s my conviction that we are made to perpetually share in a life in which we are perfectly and unconditionally loved, in which we experientially know we could not mater more to God than we already do, and in which we feel absolutely secure in his love and worth, for we know that nothing – including the loss of our biological life – could cause us to lose this life.” Gregory Boyd  [my emphasis]

“I came that they may have life … abundantly.”
John 10:10

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you feel like a “pilgrim” on this earth? Is there a sense of unfulfilled longing deep within you?
  • Can you live with that, waiting upon God, or do you insist on attempting to fill it with things-other-than-God?
  • Reread the last (italicized) sentence. This is what God wants for you. Have you begun to enter into it?

Abba, I will hope in you.

For More: Benefit of the Doubt by Gregory Boyd


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: Fear of God, Fascination with God (Richard Rohr and Rudolph Otto)

“In his book The Idea of the Holy, Rudolph Otto says that when someone has an experience of the Holy, they find themselves caught up in two opposite things at the same time: the mysterium tremendum and the mysterium fascinosum, or the scary mystery and the alluring mystery. We both draw back and are pulled forward into a very new space. In the mysterium tremendum, God is ultimately far, ultimately beyond – too much, too much, too much (Isaiah 6:3). It inspired fear and drawing back. Many people never get beyond this first half of the journey. If that is the only half of holiness you experience, you experience God as dread, as the one who has all the power, and in whose presence you are utterly powerless. Religion at this initial stage tends to become overwhelmed by a sense of sinfulness and separateness. The defining of sin and sin management becomes the very nature of religion…. Simultaneously with the experience of the Holy as beyond and too much is another sense of fascination, allurement, and seduction, a being pulled into something very good and inviting and wonderful or the mysterium fascinosum. It’s a paradoxical experience. Otto says if you don’t have both, you don’t have the true or full experience of the Holy.” Richard Rohr

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all,
how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;
who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes,
rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”
Romans 8:31-34

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you embrace both the “scary mystery” and the “alluring mystery?” Can you resist the temptation to simply things by eliminating either the push or the pull?
  • Have you experienced God both as “too much” and as inviting-wonderful? Are you open to “the full experience?”
  • Have you settled for fear and dread (fixated on your unworthiness)? Can you allow yourself to be “fascinated” and “invited” into something wonderful with God (in spite of your unworthiness) – because of what Christ has done for you?

Abba, help me not to simplify what is complicated in my relationship with you.

For More: The Idea of the Holy by Rudolph Otto


“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.  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Preparation for Ministry (James Martin, Brennan Manning and Tagore)

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.

I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.”
Rabindranath Tagore

“Over the past twenty-two years as a Jesuit, I have worked in a variety of what you might call service-related positions. While a novice in Boston, beside the time at the homeless shelter, I worked in a hospital for the seriously ill. Also during my novitiate, I worked with Mother Teresa’s sisters in the slums of Kingston, Jamaica, in a hospice for the sick and dying. During philosophy studies in Chicago, I worked with gang members and at a community center helping unemployed men and women find jobs. After that came my two years in Kenya with refugees. …It would take me into some of the worst slums in the world and introduced me to some people who were certainly the poorest of the poor, and yet whose great faith astonished me. Later, during my theology studies in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I worked as a prison chaplain, spending time with men and women from poor backgrounds who had sometimes committed terrible crimes … and who were desperate for someone to talk to. And since ordination I continue to do service in the form of sacramental ministry like hearing confessions, presiding at funerals, and accompanying people in difficult times. These works all brought me joy.” James Martin

“A two-year leave of absence from the Franciscans took Brennan to Spain in the late sixties. He joined … an Order committed to an uncloistered, contemplative life among the poor – a lifestyle of days spent in manual labor and nights wrapped in silence and prayer. Among his many and varied assignments, Brennan became an aguador (water carrier), transporting water to rural villages via donkey and buckboard; a mason’s assistant, shoveling mud and straw in the blazing Spanish heat; a dishwasher in France; a voluntary prisoner in a Swiss jail, his identity as a priest known only to the warden; a solitary contemplative secluded in a remote cave for six months in the Zaragoza desert.” Brennan Manning

“I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived,
none is greater than John the Baptist.”
Matthew 11:11

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • My ministry preparation was almost entirely academic. Now that seems profoundly misguided and inadequate. What’s your experience?
  • Has your “book learning” been tested and enhanced by “street learning?”
  • Can you trust God to use you no matter what your journey has been?

Abba, use me.

For More: Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning


“Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. –  Bill

Daily Riches: Man As a Consort of God (Abraham Heschel)

“To the prophet, God does not reveal himself in an abstract absoluteness, but in a specific and unique way – in a personal and intimate relation to the world. God does not simply command and expect obedience; He is also moved and affected by what happens in the world and he reacts accordingly. Events and human actions arouse in Him joy or sorrow, pleasure or wrath. He is not conceived as judging facts, so to speak, ‘objectively,’ in detached impassibility. He reacts in an intimate and subjective manner…. Quite obviously in the Biblical view, man’s deeds can move Him, affect Him, grieve Him, or, on the other hand, gladden and please Him. This notion that God can be intimately affected, that He possesses not merely intelligence and will, but also feeling and pathos, basically defines the prophetic consciousness of God.

…the God of Israel is a God Who loves, a God Who is Known to, and concerned with, man. He not only rules the world in the majesty of His might and wisdom, but reacts intimately to the events of history. …God does not stand outside the range of human suffering and sorrow. He is personally involved in, even stirred by, the conduct and fate of man. Man is not only an image of God; he is a perpetual concern of God. The idea of pathos adds a new dimension to human existence. Whatever man does affects not only his own life, but also the life of God insofar as it is directed to man. The import of man raises him beyond the level of mere creature. He is a consort, a partner, a factor in the life of God.” Abraham Heschel

“But then I will win her back once again.
    I will lead her into the desert
    and speak tenderly to her there….
She will give herself to me there,
    as she did long ago when she was young,
    when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
When that day comes,” says the Lord,
    “you will call me ‘my husband’
    instead of ‘my master.’”
Hosea 2:14-16

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Does a God of pathos challenge your understanding of God? Can you allow Biblical language to critique what you may have picked up elsewhere?
  • To refer to man as “a consort, a partner … of God” seems shocking, even outrageous. And yet…. Do you think of God as a lover? hurt by your rejections? gladdened by your love?
  • “… it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.” (Emerson) How is your vision of God shaping you?

Abba, may I bring you much joy.

For More: Between God and Man by Abraham Heschel


Thanks for reading “Daily Riches!”  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Learning from the South and East, the Black and the Brown (Jim Wallis)

“What brought me to Korea was a unique ‘Global Forum for the Future of World Christianity.’ Held on Jeju Island, off the coast of South Korea, it was hosted by three of the largest megachurches in South Korea (and the world) including Myungsung Church. That means this Korean conference of evangelical and Pentecostal leaders from around the world was financially independent from American evangelicalism’s money and political ideology. …for the first time in 1,000 years, more Christians are found in the global South than the North. The center of Christianity has dramatically shifted, and that means the agenda was very different from the northern and western agendas of the older white evangelicals in America and the issues they think most important. Korea could play a particular and convening role as a bridge between the churches of the global north and south. …these global South evangelicals spent their time together wrestling with issues of global economic inequality, the realities of climate change, the imperatives of racial justice, and the need for Christians to wage peace instead of war. Since these are the issues that global evangelical and Pentecostal constituencies are facing in their own lives – and of course, the Bible addresses all of them as central issues Christians need to confront – the narrow, white American evangelical agenda had no interest in this global evangelical and Pentecostal forum. The fact is that they represent a different evangelical world. …How refreshing it was to be in the presence of leaders of faith – heads of these huge churches that represent millions – who are more interested in the needs of the poor and the call of Christ than … reducing gospel concerns to a few hot button social and sexual issues. Their wider global evangelical agenda rings true with black and brown evangelicals in America and a new generation of even white evangelicals emerging in America. Both globally and here in America, these emerging leaders give me hope.” Jim Wallis

“I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight”
Jeremiah 9:24

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Must we choose between Western and Southern evangelical concerns? What would a “Yes, And …” approach look like?
  • Have you unintentionally or thoughtlessly adopted a parochial approach?
  • Do issues like dramatic economic inequality, perilous climate change, the need for racial justice, and supporting peace-making instead of war-making seem to you like valid Biblical concerns? ones that ought to be addressed from the pulpit?

Abba, use my brothers and sisters to the South and East, black and brown – and poor, to stretch me, and help me see with new eyes.

For More: From Times Square to Timbuktu by Wes Granberg-Michaelson


Thanks for following “Daily Riches!” –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: God’s Gift and Our Need of Diversity In the Church (Debbie Thomas)

“In the New Testament Pentecost story Luke tells, the Holy Spirit descended on 120 believers in Jerusalem on the fiftieth day after Jesus’ resurrection. The Spirit empowered them to testify to God’s great deeds, emboldened the apostle Peter to preach to a bewildered crowd of Jewish skeptics, and drew three thousand converts in one day. For Christians, Pentecost marks the birthday story of the Church. And what a fantastical birthday story it is, full of details to challenge the imagination. Tongues of fire. Rushing winds. Accusations of drunkenness. Mass baptism. One could spend years unpacking these details. But here’s the one I find most riveting: ‘All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.’  ‘At this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.’ Christians often speak of Pentecost as the reversal of Babel, the Old Testament story in which God divided and scattered human communities by multiplying our languages. But in fact, Pentecost didn’t reverse Babel; it perfected and blessed it. When the Holy Spirit came, he didn’t restore humanity to a common language; he declared all languages holy and equally worthy of God’s stories …he wove multilingualism into the very fabric of the Church. …Languages carry the full weight of their respective cultures, histories, psychologies, and spiritualities. To speak one language as opposed to another is to orient oneself differently in the world – to see differently, hear differently, process and punctuate reality differently. …If this is true, then what does it mean that the Holy Spirit empowered the first Christians to speak in an unmatched diversity of languages? Was God saying, in effect, that his Church, from its very inception, needed to honor the boundless variety and creativity of human voices?  That he was calling it to proclaim the great deeds of God in every tongue – not merely because multiculturalism is progressive and fashionable, or because the church is a ‘politically correct’ institution – but because God’s deeds themselves demand such diverse tellings? Could it be that there is no single language on earth that can capture the deeds of God? Here’s another detail I love about Pentecost: when the disciples and their friends began to speak in foreign languages, the crowds gathered outside their meeting place understood them. And this – the fact of their comprehension – was what confused them. They were not confused by the message itself; the message came through with perfect clarity in their respective languages. What the crowds found baffling was that God would condescend to speak to them in their own mother-tongues. That he would welcome them so intimately, with words and expressions hearkening back to their birthplaces, their childhoods, their beloved cities, countries, and cultures of origin. As if to say, ‘This Spirit-drenched place, this fledgling church, this new Body of Christ, is yours. You don’t have to feel like outsiders here; we speak your language, too. Come in. Come in and feel at home.’ …I wonder what it would be like if the Church allowed the Holy Spirit to transform it into a place of deep and implicit belonging – not for the few, but for everyone. I wonder how our ministries would need to change so that the crowds listening outside our doors would hear ‘Welcome!’ in languages they comprehend.” Debbie Thomas

“with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
Revelation 5:9

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is there sufficient diversity in your church?
  • Do you make a point to reach out to “different” people with God’s love?
  • How can you be part of God’s “welcome” to outsiders?

Abba, use our many voices in the telling of your deeds.

For More: Against Christianeseby Debbie Thomas

In today’s post I broke my own rule of “400 words” or less. This was just to important and beautiful not to share. Thanks for reading. – Bill

Daily Riches: The Transformational Power of the Psalms (Philip Yancey, Anatoly Shcharansky, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Walter Brueggemann)

“In 1977, at the height of the Cold War, Anatoly Shcharansky, a brilliant young mathematician and chess player, was arrested by the KGB for his repeated attempts to emigrate to Israel. He spent thirteen years inside the Soviet Gulag. From morning to evening Shcharansky read and studied all 150 psalms (in Hebrew). ‘What does this give me?’ he asked in a letter: ‘Gradually, my feeling of great loss and sorrow changed to one of bright hopes.’ Shcharansky so cherished his book of Psalms, in fact, that when the guards took it away from him, he lay in the snow, refusing to move, until they returned it. During those thirteen years, his wife traveled around the world campaigning for his release. Accepting an honorary degree on his behalf, she told the university audience, ‘In a lonely cell in Chistopol prison, locked alone with the Psalms of David, Anatoly found expression for his innermost feelings in the outpourings of the King of Israel thousands of years ago.'”  Philip Yancey

“The psalms wonderfully solve the problem of a praise-deficient culture by providing the necessary words. We merely need to enter into those words, letting the content of the psalms realign our inner attitudes. Dietrich Bonhoeffer suggests that the psalms are God’s language course. Just as infants learn the mother tongue from their parents, Christians can learn the language of prayer from Psalms. …Walter Brueggemann has coined the term ‘psalms of disorientation’ to describe those psalms that express confusion, confession, and doubt. Typically, the writer begins by begging God to rescue him from his desperate straits. He may weave poetic images of how he has been wronged, appeal to God’s sense of justice, even taunt God: ‘What good can I do you when I’m dead? How can I praise you then?’ The very act of venting these feelings allows the authors to attain a better perspective. He reflects on better times, remembers answered prayers of the past, concedes favors that he may have overlooked. By the end of the psalm, he moves toward praise and thanksgiving. He feels heard and cleansed. The psalm, or prayer, works out the transformation.” Yancey

“Holy Scripture is the table of Christ,
from whence we are nourished,
from whence we learn what we should love
and what whence should desire,
to whom we should have our eyes raised.”

Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth
Psalm 119:107

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • What do the Psalms mean to you?
  • Have you prayed through them lately?
  • Will you let them teach you what to love, what to desire, and to whom to raise your eyes?

For More: The Bible Jesus Read by Philip Yancey


I hope you’ll follow and share “Daily Riches.” I appreciate your interest! –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)



Daily Riches: Fun Jesus (James Martin)

“When I imagine Jesus, it is not simply as a person who heals the sick, raises the dead, stills the storm, and preaches the good news. It’s also as a man of great goodwill and compassion, with a zest for life …brimming with generous good humor. Full of high spirits. Playful. Even fun. Interestingly, in the past few decades two images of a joyful Jesus have enjoyed some popularity. The first is The Laughing Christ by Willis Wheatley, a sketch that shows Jesus’s head thrown back in open-mouthed laughter. The second is The Risen Christ By the Sea, a colorful portrait of Jesus wearing a broad smile and standing beside a fishing net, painted by Jack Jewell, a seascape artist, in the 1990s. These two paintings, among others, serve to counteract countless images of the gloomy Messiah. But both images are often mocked in sophisticated religious and academic circles. Admittedly, they are not ‘high art.’ …But I wonder if some eschew these portraits not for the quality of the artistry, but rather for their subject material. Is there something about a smiling Jesus that threatens our understanding of the man?” James Martin

“Jesus frequently called together His disciples, His followers and often strangers to dine with him. It doesn’t take too much imagination to picture these as joyful events – just think of enjoyable dinner parties and celebrations in your own life, full of laughter and good cheer, everyone delighting in one another’s company. There is a reason that one enduring image of heaven is a banquet. Maureen O’Connell, an assistant professor of theology at Fordham University, says, ‘At my house, we often laugh ourselves sick around the dinner table. Isn’t this the point of dinner parties?'” (Martin)

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say,
‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’”
Matthew 11:18

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you uncomfortable with a Jesus who is “fun?” If so, can you say why?
  • Have you perhaps created a Jesus in your own image? …serious? …intense? …confrontational? …humorless?
  • It’s interesting to me that a woman says “we often laugh ourselves sick.”  Statistically men have fewer friends than women, and die younger. Men, in the future, will you regret not “lightening up” more – being so serious so much of the time?

Abba, help me not to take myself, or my life, so seriously.

For More: Between Heaven and Mirth by James Martin


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)

Daily Riches: Listening to the Voice of Depression (Parker Palmer, Van Morrison, Theodore Roethke)

“It doesn’t go away when the church bells chime.” Van Morrison (“Melancholia”)

“Much has been said about the ‘voice of depression.’ It is a voice that speaks despairingly about the whole of one’s life no matter how good parts of it may be – a voice so loud and insistent that when it speaks, it is the only sound one can hear. …Less has been said about the life-giving fact that, as poet Theodore Roethke writes, ‘In a dark time, the eye begins to see.’  …During my recovery, I discovered a book that helped me understand how heartbreak and depression – two of the most isolating and disabling experiences I know – can expand one’s sense of connectedness and evoke the heart’s capacity to employ tension in the service of life. Lincoln’s Melancholy, by Joshua Shenk, is a probing examination of our sixteenth president’s journey with depression. What was then called ‘melancholy’ first appeared in Lincoln’s twenties, when neighbors occasionally took him in for fear he might take his own life. Lincoln struggled with this affliction until the day he died, a dark thread laced through a life driven by the conviction that he was born to render some sort of public service. Lincoln’s need to preserve his life by embracing and integrating his own darkness and light made him uniquely qualified to help America preserve the Union. Because he knew dark and light intimately – knew them as inseparable elements of everything human – he refused to split North and South into ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys,’ a split that might have taken us closer to the national version of suicide. Instead, in his second inaugural address, delivered on March 4, 1865, a month before the end of the Civil War, Lincoln appealed for ‘malice toward none’ and ‘charity for all,’….. In his appeal to a deeply divided America, Lincoln points to an essential fact of our life together: if we are to survive and thrive, we must hold its divisions and contradictions with compassion, lest we lose our democracy. Lincoln has much to teach us about embracing political tension in a way that opens our hearts to each other, no matter how deep our differences. That way begins ‘in here’ as we work on reconciling whatever divides us from ourselves – and then moves out with healing power into a world of many divides, drawing light out of darkness, community out of chaos, and life out of death.” Parker Palmer

“We were under great pressure,
far beyond our ability to endure,
so that we despaired of life itself.”
2 Corinthians 1:8

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you taught yourself to expect not only suffering but something like a “gift” from the debilitating experience of depression?
  • What has your experience of depression caused your “eye to see” that you had missed? Was it worth it?
  • As we discover “divisions and contradictions” in ourselves and others, we must respond with compassion – starting with ourselves. Can you do this?

Abba, save me from, and through, the voice of depression.

For More: Lincoln’s Melancholy by Joshua Shenk


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. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: God’s Work in Your Loved Ones (Dallas Willard and Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

“What is the wisdom of the snake? It is to be watchful and observant until the time is right to act. It is timeliness. One rarely sees a snake chasing its prey or thrashing about in an effort to impress it. But when it acts, it acts quickly and decisively. And as for the dove, it does not contrive. It is incapable of intrigue. Guile is totally beyond it. There is nothing indirect about this gentle creature. It is in this sense ‘harmless.’  … These are qualities we must have to walk in the kingdom with others, instead of trying to drive them to change their ways and attitudes and even who they are. …As long as I am condemning my friends or relatives, or pushing my ‘pearls’ on them, I am their problem. They have to respond to me, and that usually leads to their ‘judging’ me right back…. But once I back away, maintaining a sensitive and nonmanipulative presence, I am no longer their problem. As I listen, they do not have to protect themselves from me, and they begin to open up. I may quickly begin to appear to them as a possible ally and resource. Now they begin to sense their problem to be the situation they have created, or possibly themselves. Because I am no longer trying to drive them, genuine communication, real sharing of hearts, becomes an attractive possibility. The healing dynamic of the request comes naturally into play. …It is a natural extension of this dynamic when we turn to ask God to work in their lives and hearts to bring about changes. These changes will certainly involve more than any conscious choice they could make or we could desire.” Dallas Willard

“Christ stands between me and others [and] … as only Christ can speak to me in such a way that I may be saved, so others, too, can be saved only by Christ himself. This means that I must release the other person from every attempt of mine to regulate, coerce, and dominate him with my love…. Thus this spiritual love will speak to Christ about a brother more than to a brother about Christ. It knows that the most direct way to others is always through prayer to Christ….” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“be as shrewd as snakes
and as harmless as doves.”
Matthew 10:16

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is your love for others characterized by nagging and coercion?
  • Do you really know what is best for them? …what God has for them?
  • Is “fixing” others a distraction from “fixing” yourself?

Abba, in my love, help me honor others, and your work in them.

For More: Presence and Recovery by Anneke Campbell


I hope you’ll follow “Daily Riches.” Thanks!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Nonconformity to Idolatry (Robert McAfee Brown and Abraham Heschel)

“Religion begins as a breaking off, as a going away. It continues in acts of nonconformity to idolatry.” Abraham Heschel

“In the eyes of their contemporaries, the prophets were mad. Hosea, Elisha, and Jeremiah were all considered demented, individuals who …should be put ‘in the stocks and collars.’ (Heschel) “We call people ‘mad’ when they see things from a perspective different from our own. We have a vested interest in doing so, for it they are right, we are wrong. Since we do not gladly entertain the notion that we are wrong, we are more than ready to denounce such people as crazy, mad fools. To be sure, the prophets do engage in some very strange activities: they call kings to account for injustice, which is a very unhealthy things to do in a royal society; they excoriate religious leaders for being co-opted, which is equally unhealthy in a society that allows religious leaders to deal with their own deviants; they announce the fulfillment of God’s will through pagan leaders, which is considered unpatriotic by leaders of both church and state….” Robert McAfee Brown

“If the prophets Isaiah and Amos were to appear in our midst, would they accept the corruption in high places, the indifferent way in which the sick, the poor, and the old are treated? …Would they not be standing amidst those who protest against the war in Vietnam, the decay of our cities, the hypocrisy and falsehood that surround our present Administration, even at the highest levels?” Heschel (1979)

“O my people, your leaders mislead you;
they send you down the wrong road….”
Isaiah  3:12b

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • In what areas do political or religious leaders today need to be “called to account for injustice?”
  • Would voices of dissent more likely originate inside or outside traditional structures like your church? Do you think such critics would fare better in our day than prophets like Jeremiah did in his?
  • Are there prophets today? If so, have you dismissed them as outliers? as those who should be “in stocks and collars?”
  • How will you avoid reflexively rejecting criticism from those “with a perspective different than ours?” …who may be offering a divine perspective?

O Lord, we confess our sins, we are ashamed of the inadequacy of our anguish, of how faint and slight is our mercy. We are a generation that has lost the capacity for outrage. (Heschel)

For More: Saying Yes and Saying No by Robert McAfee Brown


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)

Daily Riches: The Acid Test of Theology (Dallas Willard)

“Modern attempts to think about God independently of historical revelation have been thoroughly victimized by currents of nineteenth– and twentieth-century philosophy that simply make knowledge of God …an impossibility.  …This forces one to handle the texts and traditions of Jesus in such a way that he can never bring us to a personal God whom we can love with all our being. But things often turn out little better for theology on the right. It tends to be satisfied with having the right doctrines or traditions and to stop there without ever moving on to consuming admiration of, delight in, and devotion to the God of the universe. On the one hand, these are treated as not necessary, because we have the right answers; and on the other hand, we are given little, if any, example and teaching concerning how to move on to honest and full-hearted love of God. The acid test for any theology is this: Is the God presented one that can be loved, heart, soul, mind, and strength? If the thoughtful, honest answer is; ‘Not really,’ then we need to look elsewhere or deeper. It does not really matter how sophisticated intellectually or doctrinally our approach is. If it fails to set a lovable God – a radiant, happy, friendly, accessible, and totally competent being – before ordinary people, we have gone wrong. We should not keep going in the same direction, but turn around (repent?) and take another road. …The theologian who does not love God is in great danger, and in danger of doing great harm….” Dallas Willard

“If I have the gift of prophecy
and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge
… but do not have love,
I am nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:2

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

Jesus hoped we would know him, love him, and follow him. After his resurrection it became clear we also should worship him. It doesn’t always work that way.

  • Has your philosophy or theology made a loving relationship with Jesus impossible for you?
  • Has fighting for the truth (right doctrine) become more important to you than loving others well (right relationships)?
  • Does your faith rest in a God who is “a lovable God – a radiant, happy, friendly, accessible, and totally competent being?” Will you determine to look “elsewhere or deeper” for that God if necessary?

Abba, may I know you in truth, in spite of your mystery and my hang-ups.

For More: The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard


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)

Daily Riches: Gradually Being Freed From Habitual Hardness of Heart (Thomas Merton)

“Even the capacity to recognize our condition before God is itself a grace. We cannot always attain it at will. To learn mediation does not, therefore, mean learning an artificial technique for infallibly producing ‘compunction’ and the ‘sense of our nothingness’ when ever we please. On the contrary, this would be the result of violence and would be inauthentic. Mediation implies the capacity to receive this grace whenever God wishes to grant it to us, and therefore a permanent disposition to humility, attention to reality, receptivity, pliability. To learn to meditate then means to gradually get free from habitual hardness of heart, torpor and grossness of mind, due to arrogance and non-acceptance of simple reality, or resistance to the concrete demands of God’s will.” Thomas Merton

“Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do
flows from it.”
Proverbs 4:23

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • In his grace, has God allowed you to “recognize your condition before God?” What has that meant for you?
  • Merton says we must have a “permanent disposition to humility, attention to reality, receptivity [and] pliability” to develop the “capacity to receive God’s grace when he wishes to grant it to us.” Can you pray slowly through this list, asking God to show you any areas in your life that need to change?
  • Are you developing practices like Sabbath, solitude and silence, or like meditation and wordless prayer so that God has more and more unhindered access to your heart? …so that your “capacity” to receive from him is increasing?
  • Are you taking risks with your heart, perhaps resisting “the concrete demands of God’s will” even though you know better?

Abba, by your grace, soften my heart to you, so that I may receive fuller, even more needed grace.

For More: Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton


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: Your Enemy the Savage (Thomas Merton, Martin Niemöller and Richard Rohr)

“It took me a long time to learn that God is not the enemy of my enemies. He is not even the enemy of His enemies.” Martin Niemöller

Today, if African American protests turn into riots, the offenders are often referred to as “animals.” In the early American West, native Americans were called “savages”, and wartime slurs dehumanized Jews, Germans, and Japanese. Richard Rohr reminds us that we all have a viewpoint, and that each viewpoint is “a view from a point.” Consequently, he says “…we need to critique our own perspective if we are to see and follow the full truth.” To love our enemies, as Jesus commands, and to escape our own unconscious biases, we will need such a critique.

“Do not be too quick to assume your enemy is a savage just because he is your enemy. Perhaps he is your enemy because he thinks you are savage. Or perhaps he is afraid of you because he feels that you are afraid of him. And perhaps if he believed you were capable of loving him he would no longer be your enemy. Do not be too quick to assume that your enemy is an enemy of God just because he is your enemy. Perhaps he is your enemy precisely because he can find nothing in you that gives glory to God. Perhaps he fears you because he can find nothing in you of God’s love and God’s kindness and God’s patience and mercy and understanding of the weaknesses of men. Do not be too quick to condemn the man who no longer believes in God, for it is perhaps your own coldness and avarice, your mediocrity and materialism, your sensuality and selfishness that have killed his faith.”  Thomas Merton

“I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
Jesus in Matthew 5:44

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you understand your enemy well enough to understand his motives? his fear of you? your common humanity with him?
  • Do you understand yourself and your fear of your enemy? How you or your nation, political party, religion or race may have helped make him your enemy?
  • Does faith as you practice it tend to disarm others or to make them suspicious and defensive? Do you approach those of other faiths or persuasions based on prejudices and stereotypes – perhaps the way they do with you?

Abba, may practiced love transform my enemy into my friend.

For More: Seeds by Thomas Merton


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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

Daily Riches: Detaching Religion From Power and Money (Hans Küng and Richard Rohr)

Jesus turns with sympathy and compassion to all those to whom no one else turns; the weak, sick, neglected, social rejects. People were and are always glad to pass these sorts by. …And the devout monks of Qumran (and similarly up to a point the rabbis), faithful to their rule, excluded from the very beginning certain groups of men: ‘No madmen, or lunatic, or simpleton, or fool, no blind man, or maimed, or lame, or deaf man, and no minor, shall enter into the Community….’ Jesus does not turn away from any of these …but draws them to himself….” Hans Küng

“We see in the Gospels that it’s the lame, the poor, the blind, the prostitutes, the drunkards, the tax collectors, the sinners, the outsiders, and the foreigners who tend to follow Jesus. It is those on the inside and the top who crucify him (elders, chief priests, teachers of the Law, and Roman occupiers). Shouldn’t that tell us something really important about perspective? Every viewpoint is a view from a point, and we need to critique our own perspective and privilege if we are to see truth. …Once Christianity became the established religion of the Roman Empire (313), we largely stopped reading the Bible from the side of the poor and the oppressed. We read it from the side of the political establishment and, I am sorry to say, from the priesthood side … instead of from the side of people hungry for justice and truth. No wonder Jesus said, ‘I did not come for the healthy but for the sick’ (Mark 2:17). This priority has the power to constantly detach religion from its common marriage to power, money , and self-importance.” Richard Rohr

  “If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes
and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’
but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there”’
or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’
have you not discriminated among yourselves
and become judges with evil thoughts?’”
James 2:3

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Wow, James sounds like his famous half-brother! Is there a “pecking system” in your church? Is anyone treated better than anyone else – given more honor, attention, or influence – because of wealth?
  • Will you support Jesus’ agenda to “detach religion from its common marriage to power and money?”
  • Are you able to read the Bible “from the side of the poor and the oppressed?” What is your “view from a point?”

Abba, may I learn from you a bias for the bottom.

For More: Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr


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