Daily Riches: Brokenness and Prayer (John Cassian, Dan Clendenin, Thomas Merton, Peter Traben Haas and Jonathan Martin)

“In prayer we seek what John Cassian (360–430) called ‘integrity of heart’ or ‘integral wholeness.’ But when you’re honest before God, that can feel far off. Here’s Cassian’s self-diagnosis in his Institutes and Conferences – lethargy, sleeplessness, unsettling dreams, impulsive urges, self-justification, seething emotions, sexual fantasies, pious pretense that masked as virtue, self-deception, clerical ambition and the desire to dominate, crushing despair, confusion, wild mood swings, flattery, and the dreaded ‘noonday demon’ of acedia (“a wearied or anxious heart” that suggests close parallels to clinical depression). Cassian further admits that ‘there are many things that lie hidden in my conscience which are known and manifest to God, even though they may be unknown and obscure to me.’ And this is a monk who had devoted his entire life to prayer!” Daniel Clendenin

“I get so tired of beholding my brokenness. But the deeper I go into the depths of it, the deeper I experience my belovedness too.” Jonathan Martin

“The man who does not permit his spirit to be beaten down and upset by dryness and helplessness, but who lets God lead him peacefully through the wilderness, and desires no other support or guidance than that of pure faith and trust in God alone, will be brought to the Promised Land.” Thomas Merton

“I belong to my beloved,
    and his desire is for me.”

Song of Songs 7:10

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • I can never help but smile reading Cassian’s list – it’s so familiar at points. Are you in touch with your “dryness and helplessness” like Cassian, Martin and Merton are?
  • Do you keep seeking God in prayer even when overwhelmed by your brokenness? …when you’re “beaten down?”
  • Have you attempted to let the experience of brokenness move you into a deeper experience of belovedness?

Beloved Silence: Thank you for listening to my confessions and failures. Under the shadow of your light, my darkness is no more. Amen. (Peter Traben Haas)

For More: Centering Prayers by Peter Traben Haas


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. Thanks!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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

Daily Riches: Living In Sync With Who God Is (Miroslav Volf)

“Here is what we do as worshipers of a Santa Claus God: We embrace the conviction that God is an infinitely generous source of all good, but conveniently forget that we were created in God’s image to be in some significant sense like God – not like God in God’s divinity, for we are human and not divine, but like God ‘in true righteousness and holiness’ (Ephesians 4:24), like God in loving enemies (Matthew 5:44). To live well as a human being is to live in sync with who God is and how God acts. …In his early text, somewhat cumbersomely titled Towards a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, the young Karl Marx famously noted that religion – the Christian faith, he meant primarily – is ‘the opiate of the people.’ It’s a drug, and it’s a ‘downer’ or ‘depressant’ insulating people from the pain of oppressive social realities and consoling them with a dream world of heavenly bliss. Alternatively, religion can function as an ‘upper,’ a ‘stimulant’ energizing people for the tasks at hand – a function of religion Marx failed to grasp.” Miroslav Volf

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Jesus, in Matthew 5:44,45

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is living “in sync with who God is and how God acts” your goal for your life as a Christian?
  • Does what Marx said apply to you? Do your religious beliefs tend to insulate you “from the pain of oppressive social realities and [console you] with a dream world of heavenly bliss?”
  • Does your faith “energize you for the tasks at hand?” (for instance “loving enemies”)

Abba, energize me with your Spirit for the many tasks at hand – in my home, my neighborhood, my church, my country, and my world.

For More: A Public Faith by Miroslav Volf


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. Thanks!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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

Daily Riches: Everybody Matters, So Love Everybody (Rob Bell)

“The most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people and convince them to join. It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display. To do this, the church most stop thinking of everybody primarily in categories of in or out, saved or not, believer or nonbeliever. Besides the fact that these terms are offensive to the ‘un’ and ‘non,’ they work against Jesus’s teachings about how we are to treat each other. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor, and our neighbor can be anybody. We are all created in the image of God, and we are all sacred, valuable creations of God. Everybody matters. To treat people differently based on who believes what is to fail to respect the image of God in everyone. …Oftentimes the Christian community has sent the message that we love people and build relationships in order to convert them to the Christian faith. So there is an agenda. And when there is an agenda, it isn’t really love, is it? It’s something else. We have to rediscover love, period. Love that loves because it is what Jesus teaches us to do. We have to surrender our agendas. Because some people aren’t going to become Christians like us no matter how hard we push. They just aren’t. [I obviously love to talk to people about Jesus and my faith. I take every opportunity I can get.] And at some point we have to commit them to God, trusting that God loves them more than we ever could.” Rob Bell

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.” James 2:1

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you preach the gospel without words? Can you preach it without love?
  • Is speaking the truth so important that it trumps the need to love?
  • Can you do your part (whatever is the best you can do at the time) and trust God to do his part (what only he can do, and according to his timing)?
  • Maybe having an “agenda” is not so bad. Isn’t it just wanting what you believe is best for someone? After all, Christians are “missional.” So to what is Rob Bell objecting?

Abba, let me share your great good news, but love expecting nothing in return.

For More: Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell


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. Thanks!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Sorrows and Joys of Parenting … and Living (Edward Hays)

“Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, ‘This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.'” – Luke 2:34-36

“Since mothers share in the sufferings of the children of their womb, those prophetic words of old Simeon could be appropriately addressed to every mother at the conclusion of her infant’s baptism. Not simply mothering, but all parenting is painful as every mother and father knows. Still they are called to live lives of joy while enduring the sorrows of their children. Whatever your state in life; married, single, vowed religious, or ordained, it is essential to find a balance between joy and those sorrows that seem so unavoidable in this life. This balancing act is easier if you live the art of the famous three: giving thanks constantly, praying always, and rejoicing always. Give thanks constantly by expressing true gratitude for every small daily domestic kindness. Pray always by living as consciously as possible in the presence of God as that mystery unfolds within your home. And rejoice always by searching for something good, the potential of happiness, hidden in every event – even those that are sorrowful. The last discovery of a joy hidden in some misfortune requires trusting God. Faith encourages you to open yourself to God’s creative ability to convert darkness into light, to generate life out of death, to convert anger into peace and sorrow into joy.” Edward Hays

“And Mary said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.’”
Luke 1:46,47

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you keep your eyes peeled for “every small daily domestic kindness” and give thanks for each one?
  • Are you learning to be conscious of the mystery of “the presence of God … unfolding within you home?”
  • Will you commit yourself to “searching for something good, the potential of happiness, hidden in every event – even those that are sorrowful?” …opening up yourself and your situation to “God’s creative ability” to bring light, life, peace and joy?

O God, you, the constantly invisible One, have done great things for me this day. May my gratitude-soaked soul magnify you so expansively that by my smile all will know of your abiding presence in me…. (Hays)

For More: Chasing Joy by Edward Hays


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

Daily Riches: Beyond the God of the Gaps (James Martin and John MacMurray)

“Fear not; the things you are afraid of are quite likely to happen to you, but they are nothing to be afraid of.” John MacMurray

“As I grew older, the model of God as the Great Problem Solver collapsed — primarily because God didn’t seem interested in solving all of my problems. …My lukewarm agnosticism …coalesced when my freshman-year roommate was killed in an automobile accident during our senior year. Brad was one of my closest friends, and his death was almost too much to bear. At Brad’s funeral …surrounded by Brad’s shattered family and my grieving friends, [I] thought about the absurdity of believing in a God who could allow this. By the end of the service I had decided not to believe in a God who would act so cruelly.  …Why believe in a God who either couldn’t or wouldn’t prevent suffering? …Jacque had lived in the same dorm with Brad and me during freshman year. Though wildly different from Brad in outlook and in interests, the two became close. After an accounting class one day …I told Jacque how angry I was at God, and how I decided that I would no longer go to church. My comments were flung at her like a challenge. ‘You’re the believer … explain this.’ ‘Well,’ she said softly, ‘I’ve been thanking God for Brad’s life.’ I can still remember … having my breath taken away by her answer. Rather than arguing about suffering, she was telling me that there were other ways to relate to God, ways other than as the Great Problem Solver. …her words reminded me that the question of suffering … is not the only question to ask about God. …that you can still live with the question of suffering and believe in God — much as a child can trust a parent even when he doesn’t fully understand all of the parent’s ways. …Not until I entered the Jesuits did I begin hearing about a different kind of God — a God who was with you in your suffering, a God who took a personal interest in your life, even if you didn’t feel that all your problems were solved — that things started to make some sense. … it helped me understand the importance of being in a relationship with God, even during difficult times.” James Martin

“Take heart, because
I have overcome the world.”
Jesus in John 16:33

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you still relate to God as “the God of the gaps?”
  • Must your questions be answered before you can trust God?
  • Do you know the God who is “with you in your suffering?”

Abba, help me take my rightful place before you and in your world.

For More: The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin


Daily Riches: The Invisible Companionship of God (Thomas Merton and Edward Hays)

“When bed-ridden with some illness, fearful over some approaching event, or directly confronted by some trouble, you have to descend quickly to those roots of your soul to cause that deep fount of joy in your roots to bubble up to the surface. This holy descent takes but a few profoundly trust-filled moments. Once you feel you’ve reached your deepest depths, come to a quiet rest among the tangled roots of your being and inhale deeply the abundant, fertile power of the Divine Presence. Then ascent as quickly as you descended to joyously face in a new way whatever threatens your peace. Do so with confidence for if God is with you, in you, and intimately one with you, who or what can be against you? If you wish to live joyously regardless of circumstances, develop the habit of frequent descents to be nourished by that abiding holy communion with God. To be frequently in a day in consecrated constant communion requires only going into yourself. Those who practice these daily frequent descents and ascents can smile with the singular joy of which the Master promised “…no one can take from you.'” Edward Hays

“The man who fears to be alone will never be anything but lonely, no matter how much he may surround himself with people. But the man who learns, in solitude and recollection, to be at peace with his own loneliness, and to prefer its reality to the illusion of merely natural companionship, comes to know the invisible companionship of God. Such a one is alone with God in all places, and he alone truly enjoys the companionship of other men, because he loves them in God in Whom their presence is not tiresome, and because of Whom his own love for them can never know satiety.” Thomas Merton

“I have stilled and quieted my soul.”
Psalm 131:2

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you have a way to “come to a quiet rest among the tangled roots of your being?” …to experience the “invisible companionship of God?”
  • This was the practice of King David and of Jesus. Does it seem too mystical to you?
  • Are you developing “the habit of frequent descents to be nourished by that abiding holy communion with God?” …to be “alone with God in all places?”

Abba, help me replace old life-draining habits with new life-giving habits.

For More: No Man Is An Island by Thomas Merton


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. Thanks!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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

Daily Riches: Explaining Jesus (Hans Küng)

“Jesus apparently cannot be fitted in anywhere: neither with the rulers nor with the rebels, neither with the moralizers nor with the silent ascetics. He turns out to be provocative, both to right and left. Backed by no party, challenging on all sides: ‘The man who fits no formula.’ He is neither a philosopher nor a politician, neither a priest nor a social reformer. Is he a genius, a hero, a saint? Or a religious reformer? But is he not more radical than someone who tries to re-form, reshape things? Is he a prophet? But is a ‘last’ prophet, who cannot be surpassed, a prophet at all? The normal typology seems to break down here. He seems to have something of the most diverse types (perhaps more of the prophet and reformer than of the others), but for that very reason does not belong to any one of them. He is on a different plane: apparently closer than the priests to God, freer than the ascetics in regard to the world, more moral than the moralists, more revolutionary than the revolutionaries. Thus he has depths and vastnesses lacking in others. It is obviously difficult both for friends and enemies to understand him, still less wholly to penetrate his personality. Over and over again it becomes clear that Jesus is different. Despite all parallels in detail, the historical Jesus in his wholeness turns out to be completely unique –  in his own time and ours.” Hans Küng

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’  They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?'” Matthew 19:13-15

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you in awe of the “vastnesses” in Jesus? Do you give others the impression that you have him pretty much figured out?
  • Can you think of anyone like him in ancient or modern times? Anyone you’ve ever known?
  • If he was “provocative” both “to right and left”, do you think that either the right or left can fully represent him today? Does Jesus challenge the positions of your political party? …your denomination?

Abba, I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene….

For More: On Being a Christian by Hans Küng


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: Killing Jesus (Hans Küng)

“What is it really that stands here between God and man? Paradoxically, it is man’s own morality and piety: his ingeniously devised moralism and his selective technique of piety. It is not – as people [in Jesus’ day] thought – the tax swindlers who find it most difficult to repent, not being able to remember all those whom they have cheated or how much they would have to restore. No: it is the devout who find it most difficult, being so sure of
themselves that they have no need of conversion. They became Jesus’ worst enemies. Most of the sayings on judgment in the Gospels apply to these, not to the great sinners. Those who finally sealed his fate were not murderers, cheats, swindlers and adulterers, but the highly moral people. They thought that in this way they were doing a service to God.” Hans Küng

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.
And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors,
we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’
So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants
of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then,
and complete what your ancestors started!'”
Jesus in Matthew 23:29-32

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • In Jesus’ day the most religious and orthodox people thought they were “doing a service to God” by killing Jesus. And eventually, many in the crowd apparently accepted that interpretation. Imagine.
  • When you imagine great sinners who do you think of? …rulers who commit genocide? …heartless souls entrapping young girls in sexual slavery? …doctors who perform late-term abortions? …racist pigs? …homosexuals or homophobes? or the usual: murderers, thieves and adulterers? What if the greatest sinners in our day were self-assured religious leaders, speaking for God, thumping their Bibles – revered by many – but actually fighting God, just like in Jesus’ day. Could that happen?
  • Do you trust religious teachers uncritically? How do you recognize orthodoxy today? Could your “service to God” actually be fighting against God?

Abba, show me my blindness, my biases, my wrong assumptions and conclusions. I want to honor your son, not be disloyal to his cause or lead others to reject him.

For More: On Being a Christian by Hans Küng


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: The Dangerous Drowsing of the Laity (Karl Barth)

“No one, however, can be content at this point to be a mere ‘layman,’ to be indolent, to be no more than a passive spectator or reader. No one is excused the task of asking questions or the more difficult task of providing and assessing answers. Preaching in the congregation, and the theology which serves its preparation, can be faithful to its theme and therefore relevant and adapted to the circumstances and edifying to the community, only if it is surrounded, sustained and constantly stimulated and fructified by the questions and answers of the community. With his own questions and answers in matters of right understanding
and doctrine, each individual Christian thus participates in what the community is commanded to do. If he holds aloof, or slackens, or allows himself to sleep, or wanders into speculation and error, he must not be surprised if sooner or later the same will have to be said about the community as such and particularly about its more responsible members. How many complaints about the ‘Church’ would never be made if only those who make them were to realise that we ourselves are the Church, so that what it has or has not to say stands or falls with us. There can be no doubt that all the great errors which have overtaken the preaching and theology of the community in the course of its history have had their true origin, not so much in the studies of the well-known errorists and heretics who have merely blabbed them out, but rather in the secret inattention and neglect, the private drowsing and wandering and erring, of innumerable nameless Christians who were not prepared to regard the listening of the community to the Word as their own concern, who wanted privacy in their thinking, and who thus created the atmosphere in which heresy and error became possible and even inevitable in the community.” Karl Barth

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you thought about your responsibility to be a skillful and critical thinker in the congregation? …are you simply going with the flow?
  • Does your church encourage not only community but individuality? …not only conformity to Biblical norms, but sensitivity to violation of those norms?
  • Do you know the great Christian tradition well enough to know when it’s being ignored or perverted?

Abba, may we love you with our minds as well as our hearts.

For More: Church Dogmatics: A Selection … by Helmut Gollwitzer


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)

Daily Riches: Boldly Loving the Unloved (Matt McAlack)

“This past winter, we had unusually cold weather…. Some nights, temperatures plummeted below zero. Dashing from a warm car through the cold into a warm house, I thought of the dozens of people …near our University, who had no warm place to sleep. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it would be to try to survive overnight in the cold. The physical cold might be unbearable, but for me, the more painful reality would be that no one loved me enough to invite me inside on such a cold night. I grew up in a Christian environment, but as a child and teenager, I heard very little about God’s heart for those in need. I’m not sure how we missed it, because the Bible is full of passages speaking about God’s justice, compassion, and faithful love for those who have nothing, who are marginalized or oppressed. God is pleased when His church acts like Him, showing compassion for those in need, and God can use this generosity to lead those who don’t know Him to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Social justice is not the gospel, but it is a natural consequence of the gospel taking root in our hearts. Jesus’ half-brother James says that true faith produces godly action (James 1:22). He further explains that true devotion to God results in taking action to care for those who could never repay us: “orphans and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27, ESV). …In Isaiah 58, the children of Israel are rebuked because of their lack of response to the oppressed, the hungry, and the homeless. The children of Israel were repeatedly commanded to care for those who were displaced or in need, because the Israelites themselves were once immigrants in need. Now they were practicing outward religious activities such as fasting, but they were not demonstrating any evidence of a heart like God’s heart.” Matt McAlack

 “our Lord Jesus Christ … though He was rich,
yet for your sake …became poor”
2 Corinthians 8:9

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • If you were sitting on the sidewalk in the bitter cold, ignored by people walking past, would you feel loved by God?
  • Doesn’t practicing “social justice” create a context which gives meaning and power to the gospel when it’s preached? If a “gospel” fails the “justice test”, can it really be “good news?”
  • Are you developing a “heart like God’s heart” – not only in church, but on the street?

Abba, help us embrace the poverty that will enable us to enrich others.

For More:  The Prodigal God by Tim Keller


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

Daily Riches: Worshiping a Truly Human Jesus (Edward Hays)

“Since smiling is extraordinarily rare in depictions of divine or savior figures, Buddhist scholars are careful to distinguish the smile of Buddha. They list six classes of laughter, from the most sublime in a descending scale to the most uncouth and crude. They begin with sita, a faint, almost undetectable smile, which is followed by hasita, a smile that involves the slightest movement of the lips, revealing only a glimpse of the teeth. The third classification is vihasita, a broad smile reaching from ear to ear that is often accompanied by laughter. Next comes upanhasita, a broad-faced smile that is accompanied by some laughter. Fifth is apahasita, a smile accompanied by loud laughter so intense as to bring tears. Finally in last place is aithasita, the belly laughter that is so boisterous as to rock the entire body. This wonderful Buddhist catalog of smiles was influenced by the ideals of aristocratic superiority, where only the first two classes were proper for those with refinement. In those circles, the Buddha is shown only smiling with that faint, almost undetectable, sita smile. If artists ever began to depict the joy of Jesus, they will no doubt also limit his expression to a sita smile. The next two classes of smiles, of moderate laughter are those ascribed to the merchant or the average person. The last two classes of excessive and vulgar laughter are reserved to the lower, coarse, and uncouth classes, such as peasants. Yet Jesus of Nazareth was no aristocrat, but a peasant and common workman, so if he laughed, did he do so in a boisterous way? If he did, would a raucous full-bodied laughter diminish in any way his holiness – his intimate union with the All Holy One? While Christianity lacks religious images of …smiling saints, Buddhism has that notoriously happy saintly, old and fat, potbellied Pu-Tai. This famous laughing Buddha is a statue often found at the entrances of Chinese restaurants. He is always depicted laughing with great gusto…. Pu-Tai …spurned the cloister claustrophobia of monasteries to wander the open road. He went dancing down the road to some inaudible music, played with little children in the village streets, and delighted them by acting the crazy fool with joyful, mad humor. Pu-tai, both a wise and holy man, knew that for those living in a village or a monastery the greatest temptation was the craving of the hungry old ego for respect or to be important. [But] Old Pu-Tai was unconcerned if his fat potbelly didn’t make him look saintly, nor that he was the target of the laughter of children and adults.” Edward Hays

“Sarah said, ‘God has brought me laughter,
and everyone who hears about this
will laugh with me.’”
Genesis 21:6

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Can you imagine Jesus laughing with full-bodied laughter?
  • Would you still respect and worship Jesus if he had a pot-belly?
  • Pu-Tai reminds me at points of St. Francis, and of Jesus. Must we take ourselves so seriously?

Abba, help me follow my savior into a life of laughter and joy.

For More: The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey



Daily Riches: God Disguised In Your Day (Paula D’Arcy, Jim Palmer, Dallas Willard, Richard Rohr, Frederick Buechner and Rosalind Goforth)

“God comes to you disguised as your life.” Paula D’Arcy*

“Listen to your life.” Frederick Buechner

“You don’t need to find a spiritual path. Your life is your spiritual path. The next moment is your teacher. Whatever arises next, make it your spiritual path. What does the present moment require of you?
Nothing? Then nothing is your path.
To notice something? Then noticing is your path.
To act? Then your action is the path.
To give love? Then expressing love is your path.
To create? Then creating is your path.
To eat? Then eating is your path.
To be aware of your true Self? Then awareness is your path.
To shed tears? Then your tears are the path.
To be courageous? Then courage is your path.
To notice a pattern of thought or behavior? Then your noticing is the path.
To seek? Then seeking is your path.
To let go of seeking? Then the cessation of seeking is your path.
To be content? Then being content is your path.
To be struck by beauty? Then awe and wonder is your path.
To be seized by bliss and ecstasy? Then bliss and ecstasy is your path.”
Jim Palmer

“In a life of participation in God’s kingdom rule, we are not to make things happen, but only to be honestly willing and eager to be made available. …learning to live in such a way that we can receive the loving presence and relationship in our lives that is present in the trinity.” Dallas Willard

“Knowing God’s presence is simply a matter of awareness, of fully allowing and enjoying the present moment.  …Then life makes sense. Once I can see the Mystery here, and trust the Mystery even in this little piece of clay that I am, in this moment of time that I am–then I can also see it in you, and eventually in all things. …[This] is simply pure and unbounded awareness on our part.  …God is in all things precisely in God’s ever newness and God’s ever possibility.” Richard Rohr

“This is the day the Lord has made.” Psalm 118:24

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you remember today to listen as God comes to you “disguised” as your day?
  • Are you willing and eager to experience God’s loving presence in your day, no matter what that involves?
  • Can you try to maintain awareness of “God’s ever newness and God’s ever possibility” in your day?

“Lord, if this that I am now going through is the right road home, then I will not murmur!” [Rosalind Goforth]

For More: Now and Then by Frederick Buechner


*Paula D’Arcy was twenty-seven years old and three months pregnant when a drunk driver killed her husband and her one-year-old child.

Daily Riches: God’s Call to Evangelicals … And All Christians (Lloyd Gestoso)

“I want the evangelical church in America to be a place of safety and hope for real people who face real problems. …Christianity is one of the largest religions in the world. Evangelical Christians are very influential in this country. Our churches are very well-positioned all over the country. We have the infrastructure built. But people who have real problems, people who have real challenges, people who need hope often are not turning to our churches. It’s partly because, since the New Deal and all the things that happened in the 1930s, all the people born after that think the government is the group that takes care of people’s needs, and the church takes care of just the spiritual. But if you look at history before the Great Depression, the church was very, very active in caring for all needs, for all people, all children. They were educating the illiterate; they were caring for the orphans; they were really seeking to care for people who were addicted to alcohol. And I think we can be that place of refuge again for people when they see the shallow and empty solutions that are available and they want something more real, something of depth, something beyond what we can see. They want to connect with a real God, to the real Almighty God. And I think sometimes our churches are caught up with what others think or with being afraid to speak out, and we’re often caught up, unfortunately, judging others … looking at each other as competitors, not as brothers and sisters, weighing whether they deserve our time or our love. And that’s really unfortunate. We really need to understand the grace of God that’s in our lives, set aside our preoccupation with deciding people’s worthiness, and really begin to see every human being with value, seeing every human being as a human soul that has crossed our paths for some purpose. That’s really why God put us on Earth: to love profoundly. And I think we are still not known for loving profoundly.” Lloyd Gestoso

“whoever loves others
has fulfilled the law.”
Romans 13:8

  Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you calculate “people’s worthiness” before you decide whether to help them?
  • Does your denomination “love profoundly?” …your church? Would others use those words to describe you?
  • Is your church more likely to produce people who are “judging others” or helping others “connect with” the God who is real?

Abba, help us, whoever we are, to love profoundly.

For More: The Soul of Politics by Jim Wallis


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

Daily Riches: The Most Infallible Sign of the Presence of God (James Martin, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)

“Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“In some religious circles, joy, humor, and laughter are viewed as excessive, irrelevant, ridiculous, inappropriate, and even scandalous. But a lighthearted spirit is none of those things. Rather, it is an essential element of a healthy spiritual life and a healthy life in general. When we lose sight of this serious truth, we cease to live life fully, truly, and wholly. Indeed, we fail to be holy. …People seemed fascinated by joy. It’s almost as if they’d been waiting to be told that it’s okay to be joyful believers. Still, many clergy, as well as some devout believers in general, give the impression that being religious means being dour, serious, or even grumpy. Joylessness is nondenominational and interfaith. Religious organizations seem to reward the more serious types; they rise to the top because their dour attitude is perhaps seen as proof of the seriousness of their intent. People’s past experiences with the clergy leads them to equate ministry with melancholy. But the lives of the saints, as well as those of great spiritual masters from almost every other religious tradition, show the opposite. Holy people are joyful. Why? Because holiness brings us closer to God, the source of all joy. Joy, a characteristic of those close to God, is a sign of not only a confidence in God, but also … gratitude for God’s blessings. …Joy, humor, and laughter show one’s faith in God. For Christians, an essentially hopeful outlook shows people that you believe in the Resurrection, in the power of life over death, and in the power of love over hatred.” James Martin
“You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence….”
Psalm 16:11

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • When you look at your life for signs of spiritual health, do you look for joy? Do you find it?
  • Have you fallen into the trap of blaming your circumstances or temperament for a lack of joy? Of thinking joy is unimportant?
  • Do you spend time in God’s presence in a way that brings you joy? If not, why not?

Abba, you know I’m too often joy-challenged. Fill me with your Spirit, and with joy.

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)

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

Daily Riches: Pimping Religion, Confronting Empire – Part II (Dan Clendenin)

“The church has a checkered history in its relationship to the state. Some have followed Amaziah [see Amos 7] and traded religious legitimation for security, power and privilege – the German Christian movement that supported Nazi ideology, the Dutch Reformed church that supported apartheid in South Africa, and Russian Orthodox priests who collaborated with the Soviet KGB. But there are also many inspirational examples. The Archbishop and martyr of San Salvador, Óscar Romero (d. 1980), wrote a letter to President Jimmy Carter that he could have sent to any number of our military or political leaders: ‘You say that you are Christian. If you are really Christian, please stop sending military aid to the military here, because they use it only to kill my people.’ Romero is only one of many brave saints who chose Amos over Amaziah. Consider the Confessing Church in Germany that opposed Hitler, nationalism, and anti-Semitism; the black pentecostal pastor Frank Chikane who in 1985 gathered more than 150 clergy from 20 denominations to draft the Kairos Document that protested South African apartheid; father Gleb Yakunin who insisted that the Russian Orthodox Church publicly repent of its ties to the Soviet regime; the culturally marginal and politically powerless Quakers who helped to abolish the British slave trade in the 19th century; and Morgan Tsvangirai who sought ‘divine intervention’ to end Robert Mugabe’s three decades of thugocracy in Zimbabwe. There’s the Jesuit priest Daniel Berrigan (b. 1921), who did time in prison for his civil disobedience against American policies on racism, nuclear proliferation, and Vietnam…. When asked by Nora Gallagher how many times he had been jailed for subverting caesar because of Jesus, Berrigan responded, “Not enough.” Dan Clendenin

“Righteousness and justice
are the foundation of your throne.”
Psalm 89:14

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • In the moment, it can be hard to know who is “on the right side of history.” God often uses outsiders – unexpected and despised voices – and we often embrace the biases and accept the rationalizations of our culture. Are you striving to know who speaks for God today?  …and who is being sinfully silent?
  • The Biblical pattern is for God to be against Empire since the absolute power of empires predictably leads to profound corruption. Do we need prophetic voices to speak against Empire today? If so, against what “Empire” and for what reasons?
  • Who is speaking out for God today? From where would you expect to find such voices – conservatives/liberals? …insiders/outsiders? …admired/despised? …obscure/prominent?

Abba, give us your eyes to see our world, and your loving heart to care for it.

For More: “Journey With Jesus” by Dan Clendenin


I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill