Daily Riches: Patience with Others … and Yourself (Shirley Carter Hughson and Eugene Peterson)

“I am sure than when St. Paul spoke of ‘the fruit of the Spirit,’ he had in mind such processes that as we find in nature. A tree which brings forth good fruit is able to do so because over many years it has been brought under the influence of cultivation, fertilization, sunshine, rain, caressing winds, [and] cleaning from blight, and so it acquires the power to bear good fruit. A farmer cannot get his result by suddenly becoming very busy for a season and doing these things.”  Shirley Carter Hughson

“The person … who looks for quick results in the seed-planting of well-doing will be disappointed. If I want potatoes for dinner tomorrow, it will do me little good to go out and plant potatoes in my garden tonight. There are long stretches of darkness and invisibility and silence that separated planting and reaping. During the stretches of waiting there is cultivation and weeding and nurturing and planting still other seeds.” Eugene Peterson

“first the blade and then the ear,

then the full corn shall appear”

Henry Alford

“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season…”
Psalm 1:3

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Fruit comes “in its season”, and as a result of years “under the influence of cultivation” and predictable natural processes. Healthy growth takes both time and work, but is definitely does take time. Does your work honor the principle that God cannot be rushed?
  • Are you ever guilty of “suddenly becoming very busy for a season”, of impatiently trying to force things to change?
  • What might God be doing in you or your situation during “long stretches of darkness and invisibility and silence?”
  • With these things in mind, think about people on the journey of faith. What should be your attitude towards fellow pilgrims? What should be your attitude toward yourself? Can you relax and trust God’s timing? What would be the lessons for where you are now? that you may need to learn before you can move on?

Abba, help me to walk rather than to race, to receive rather than to grasp, and to relax rather than to strive. Help me to step into the flow of your divine life rather than living a frenzied version of my very human life. Help me focus on being with you and trust you for the timetable.


For More: The Spiritual Letters of Shirley Carter by Shirley Carter Hughson


The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek God, and as God seeks you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others.  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Difficulty of Stillness and Rest (Thomas Merton, George MacDonald, Brent Bill)

“Our being is not to be enriched merely by activity and experience as such. Everything depends on the quality of our acts and our experiences. A multitude of badly performed actions and of experiences only half lived exhausts and depletes our being. …when our activity is habitually disordered, our malformed conscience can think of nothing better to tell us than to multiply the quantity of our acts, without perfecting their quality. And so we go from bad to worse, exhausting ourselves, empty our whole life of all content, and fall into despair. There are times, then, when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all we simply have to sit back for a while and do nothing. And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform; and often it is quite beyond his power.” Thomas Merton

“Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness.” George MacDonald

“When we discover the secret of being inwardly at worship while outwardly at work, we find that the soul’s silence brings us to God and God to us.” Brent Bill

“my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus in Matthew 11:30

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you aware of activity in your life that “depletes your being”, leaving you exhausted, unhappy or guilty because of its “disordered” nature?
  • When you feel that way, is your response to simply multiply “the quantity” of your acts with more “badly performed actions” and “experiences only half lived?”
  • Are you able to “do nothing at all?” to practice “sacred idleness” in order to “keep yourself in existence?”
  • What practices could help you to “find the soul’s silence”, both in work and in rest?

Abba, may my soul find peace with you in both my work and my rest.

For More: No Man Is An Island 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 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: Let Silence Do the Heavy Lifting (Susan Scott, Pierre Lacout, and Gunilla Norris)

“Silence makes us nervous. …we fear that silence may be interpreted as low self-esteem or questionable intelligence. …Many feel silence is a form of nonparticipation, signaling lack of interest. …For fear of being thought clueless, have you dived into a conversation, throwing out opinions, arguing your point, defending your ideas throughout a debate, only to discern later, once you stopped to catch your breath, that there was another, wiser road you could have taken? It is understandable that emerging leaders believe they need to be fast on their conversational feet …Fierce conversations, however, require silence. In fact, the more emotionally loaded the subject, the more silence is required. And, of course, this carries over into our homes, into our personal relationships. Often we are simply trying to intuit something about ourselves, our companions, or the topics themselves. Sometimes we need silence in which to make a decision about the closeness we feel for our companions or the distance we feel from them. Once in a precious while, silence is merely abstinence from self-assertion.  …Often my role is to slow down a conversation, and silence is my greatest tool in this. As we talk with people, as we sit with them in silence, what is in the way–anger, numbness, impatience, manipulation, rigidity, blame, ego, cruelty, ambition, insensitivity, intimidation, pride–may  fall away. It is in silence that such attributes, emotions, and behaviors reveal themselves as unnecessary. …My conversations with the people most important to me, silence has become my favorite sound, because that is where the work is being done. Of all the tools I use during conversations and all the principles I keep in mind, silence is the most powerful of all.”  Susan Scott

“When we can stand aside from the usual and perceive the fundamental, change begins to happen. …Silence brings us to back to basics, to our senses, to our selves.” Gunilla Norris

“Silence is the welcoming acceptance of the other.” Pierre Lacout

“fools multiply words”  Ecclesiastes 10:14

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Can you remember that “silence is required” in your next “emotionally loaded” conversation?
  • In your relationships, can you trust silence to “do the heavy lifting” like that described above?
  • Will you embrace silence and be brought “back to your senses?”

Abba, I come today only with silence.

For More: Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott*

*Special thanks to Tad Blackburn for making me aware of this book.


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: Imitating Jesus, Not Just Worshiping Him (Richard Rohr)

“One of the earliest accounts of Saint Francis, the ‘Legend of Perugia,’ quotes him as telling the first friars that ‘You only know as much as you do.’ His emphasis on action, practice, and lifestyle was foundational and revolutionary for its time and at the heart of Franciscan alternative orthodoxy (“heterodoxy”). For Francis and Clare, Jesus became someone to actually imitate and not just to worship. Up to this point, most of Christian spirituality was based in desert asceticism, monastic discipline, theories of prayer, or academic theology, which itself was often founded in ‘correct belief’ or liturgy, but not in a kind of practical Christianity that could be lived in the streets of the world. Many rightly say Francis emphasized an imitation and love of the humanity of Jesus, and not just the worshiping of his divinity. That is a major shift. Those who have analyzed the writings of Francis have noted that he uses the word doing rather than understanding at a ratio of 175 times to 5. Heart is used 42 times to 1 use of mind. Love is used 23 times as opposed to 12 uses of truth. Mercy is used 26 times while intellect is used only 1 time. This is a very new perspective that is clearly different from (and an antidote to) the verbally argumentative Christianity of his time, and from the highly academic theology that would hold sway from then on. …Francis and Clare’s approach has been called a ‘performative spirituality’ which means that things are only found to be true in the doing of them. At the level of idea, issues will be forever argued about, because thinking is invariably dualistic. Francis wanted us to know things in an almost ‘cellular’ and energetic way, and not just in our heads. This knowing is a kind of “muscle memory” which only comes from practice.” Richard Rohr

“…faith by itself isn’t enough.
Unless it produces good deeds,
it is dead and useless.”
James 2:17

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • What’s wrong with “verbally argumentative Christianity?”
  • Does your faith require you to “imitate Jesus” in specific ways? How so?
  • In reality is your Christian life more about ideas and words (right doctrine), or actually imitating Jesus (loving practices)?
  • If … “You only know as much as you do.”, how much do you know?

Abba, help me practice daily what I believe.

For More: Eager to Love by Richard Rohr


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and God 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 Community of Sinners and Saints (Miroslav Volf and Thomas Merton)

“Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion – without transposing the enemy from the sphere of monstrous inhumanity into the sphere of shared humanity and herself from the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness. When one knows that the torturer will not eternally triumph over the victim, one is free to rediscover that person’s humanity and imitate God’s love for him. And when one knows that God’s love is greater than all sin, one is free to see oneself in the light of God’s justice and so rediscover one’s own sinfulness.” Miroslav Volf

“Strong hate, the hate that takes joy in hating, is strong because it does not believe itself to be unworthy and alone. It feels the support of a justifying God, of an idol of war, an avenging and destroying spirit. From such blood-drinking gods the human race was once liberated, with great toil and terrible sorrow, by the death of a God Who delivered Himself to the Cross and suffered pathological cruelty of His own creatures out of pity for them. In conquering death He opened their eyes to the reality of a love which asks no questions about worthiness, a love which overcomes hatred and destroys death. But men have now come to reject this divine revelation of pardons and they are consequently returning to the old war gods, the gods that insatiably drink blood and eat the flesh of men.  …To serve the hate-gods, one has only to be blinded by collective passion. To serve the God of Love one must be free, one must face the terrible responsibility of the decision to love in spite of all unworthiness whether in oneself or in one’s neighbor.” Thomas Merton

“love your enemies” Jesus in Luke 6:27

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you reached the point where you have transposed your “enemy from the sphere of monstrous inhumanity into the sphere of shared humanity?”
  • Of yourself “from the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness?”
  • Do you practice “a love which asks no questions about worthiness?”

Abba, let me overcome hatred with love.

For More: Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf


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: Seeking God, Escaping Illusion (Thomas Merton)

“This is what it means to seek God perfectly: to withdraw from illusion and pleasure, from worldly anxieties and desires, from the works that God does not want, from a glory that is only human display; to keep my mind free from confusion in order that my liberty may be always at the disposal of His will; to entertain silence in my heart and listen for the voice of God; …to love all men as myself; to rest in humility and to find peace in withdrawal from conflict and competition with other men; to turn aside from controversy and put away heavy loads of judgment and censorship and criticism and the whole burden of opinions that I have no obligation to carry; to have a will that is always ready to fold back within itself and draw all the powers of the soul down from the deepest center to rest in silent expectancy for the coming of God, poised in tranquil and effortless concentration upon the point of my dependence on Him; to gather all that I am, and have all that I can possibly suffer or do or be, and abandon them all to God in the resignation of a perfect love and blind faith and pure trust in God, to do His will.” Thomas Merton

“So like a fish going towards the sea, we [monks] must hurry to reach our cell*
for fear that if we delay outside we will lose our interior watchfulness.”
Anthony the Great

“Any trial whatever that comes to you can be conquered by silence.” Abbot Pastor

“Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.” Abbot Moses

*an ancient term for a quiet, private place to be with God

“But when you pray,
go into your room [and]
close the door”
Jesus, in Matthew 6:6

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • What two or three aspirations in Merton’s words resonate most with you? Can you form a prayer around them?
  • The dessert fathers had a plan for escaping the grip of illusion, confusion and judgment, and for cultivating liberty, peace and “silent expectancy for the coming of God.” Do you have such a plan?

Abba, help me to abandon myself to you in the resignation of a perfect love.

For More: The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and God 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: Orthopraxy Over Orthodoxy (Richard Rohr)

“What we see in many of the Eastern religions is not an emphasis upon verbal orthodoxy, but instead an emphasis upon practices and lifestyles that, if you do them (not think about them, but do them), your consciousness will gradually change.  …Here at the [Center for Action and Contemplation] we want to emphasize the importance of praxis over theory, of orthopraxy over orthodoxy. We are not saying that theory and orthodoxy are not important; like Saint Francis, we feel that what is ours to do has more to do with our practical engagements, and the way we live our daily lives than making verbal assent to this or that idea. …In the last fifty years, education theory has come to recognize that listening to lectures and reading are among the least effective forms of learning. They are highly passive, individualistic, do not necessarily integrate head with heart or body, but leave both the ego (and the shadow self) in their well-defended positions, virtually untouched. As long as our ego self is in the driver’s seat, nothing really new or challenging is going to happen. Remember our ego is committed to not changing, and is highly defensive by its very nature. And our shadow self entirely relies upon delusion and denial. Only the world of practical relationships exposes both of these. The form of education which most changes people in lasting ways has to touch them at a broader level than the thinking, reading mind can do. …Somehow we need to engage in hands-on experience, emotional risk-taking, moving outside of our comfort zones, with different people than our usual flattering friends. We need some expanded level of spiritual seeing or nothing really changes at a cellular or emotional level. Within minutes or hours of entertaining a new idea, we quickly return to our old friends, our assured roles, our familiar neural grooves, our ego patterns of response, and we are back to business as usual.” Richard Rohr

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you experienced the limits of “orthodoxy” as something that “changes people in lasting ways?”
  • When people serve in a food kitchen or visit people in hospice care they learn to love in a way they never could from a sermon. Have you experienced this “living into a new way of thinking.” (Rohr)
  • Have you thought about the relative merits of orthodoxy and orthopraxis? …about which the Bible emphasizes more?

Abba, renew my mind, but don’t stop there.

For More: Orthopraxy” by Richard Rohr


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: God is Present … Are You? (Lynne Baab and Mark Buckanan)

“The Sabbath teaches us grace because it connects us experientially to the basic truth that nothing we do will earn God’s love. As long as we are working hard, using our gifts to serve others, experiencing joy in our work along with the toil, we are always in danger of believing that our actions trigger God’s love for us. Only in stopping, really stopping, do we teach our hearts and souls that we are loved apart from what we do. During a day of rest, we have the chance to take a deep breath and look at our lives. God is at work every minute of our days, yet we seldom notice. Noticing requires intentional stopping, and the Sabbath provides that opportunity. On the Sabbath we can take a moment to see the beauty of a maple leaf, created with great care by our loving Creator…. Without time to stop, we cannot notice God’s hand in our lives, practice thankfulness, step outside our culture’s values or explore our deepest longings. Without time to rest, we will seriously undermine our ability to experience God’s unconditional love and acceptance. The Sabbath is a gift whose blessings cannot be found anywhere else.” Lynne Baab

“And now we’re all tired. We dream of that day when our work will be done, when we can finally wash the dust of it from our skin, but that day never comes. We look in vain for the day of our work’s completion. But it is mythical, like unicorns and dragons. So we dream…. [But] God, out of the bounty of his own nature, held this day apart and stepped fully into it, then turned and said, ‘Come, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, Come, and I will give you rest. Come, join me here.'” Mark Buchanan

“You can’t wait
for the Sabbath day
to be over….”
Amos 5:4

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • God is present everywhere, and continually present to us, coming to us in love. Have you been stopping long enough to “notice?”
  • How are you at practicing thankfulness? … at stepping outside your culture’s values? …at exploring your deepest longings? Could the practice of “stopping intentionally” help you do better?
  • When is the last time you “really stopped” for at least one whole day? Are you too stressed, distracted, or simply exhausted to experience God’s love–or to love others well?

Abba, help me to live by my convictions when it comes to keeping a weekly sabbath, and as I do, transform the other six days as well.

For More: Sabbath Keeping by Lynne Baab

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. –  Bill

Daily Riches: Meeting God in the Poor (Henri Nouwen and Dean Brackley)

“We all suspect that the world is a crueler place than we dare to admit. Since the poor confront us with this evil, it is tempting to avoid them. But if we let their stories break our hearts, they can open our eyes to marvels we scarcely dared imagine. They reveal the revolution of love that God is bringing about in the world. There is a lot of dying going on, but a lot of rising as well. That is the deepest meaning of history and of our lives. But we perceive the daily resurrections only if we open our eyes to the crucifixions. To share the hope of the poor, we must let their suffering move us and place us before the Holy Mystery laboring among us.” Dean Brackley

“When we are not afraid to confess our own poverty, we will be able to be with other people in theirs. The Christ who lives in our own poverty recognises the Christ who lives in other people’s. Just as we are inclined to ignore our own poverty, we are inclined to ignore others’. We prefer not to see people who are destitute, we do not like to look at people who are deformed or disabled, we avoid talking about people’s pains and sorrows, we stay away from brokenness, helplessness, and neediness. By this avoidance we might lose touch with the people through whom God is manifested to us. But when we have discovered God in our own poverty, we will lose our fear of the poor and go to them to meet God. …The poor have a treasure to offer precisely because they cannot return our favours. By not paying us for what we have done for them, they call us to inner freedom, selflessness, generosity, and true care. Jesus says: ‘When you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; then you will be blessed, for they have no means to repay you and so you will be repaid when the upright rise again.’  (Luke 14:13-14).” Henri Nouwen

“He will rescue the poor …
for their lives are precious to him.”
Psalm 72:12-14

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you honest with yourself about “poverty” in your life?
  • Are you inclined to ignore people who make you uncomfortable? …what in you makes you uncomfortable?
  • Do you think a poor person could teach you anything about “inner freedom, selflessness [or] generosity?”
  • Is that even logistically possible – do you ever actually make a point to speak with or know someone who is poor?

Abba, thank you for truly poor friends who love, inspire, encourage and instruct me.

For More: Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen


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

Daily Riches: Carry Your Cross (James Hanney and Brennan Manning)

“Perhaps some man will say, ‘how can a man carry his cross? How can a man who is alive be crucified?’ Hear, briefly, how this thing may be. …one who is crucified no longer has the power of moving or turning his limbs in any direction as he pleases, so we ought to fix our wishes and desires, not in accordance with what is pleasant and delightful to us now, but in accordance with the law of the Lord in whatsoever direction it constrain us. Also, he who is fastened to a cross no longer considers things present, nor thinks about his likings, nor is perplexed with anxiety or care for the morrow, [nor] is inflamed by any pride, or strife, or rivalry, grieves not at present insults, nor remembers past ones. While he is still breathing in the body, he is dead to all earthly things, and sends his heart on to that place to which he doubts not he shall shortly come. So we, when we are crucified by the fear of the Lord, ought to be dead to all these things. We die not only to carnal vices, but to all earthly things, even to those indifferent. We fix our minds there whither we hope at every moment we are to go.” James Hanney [quoting one of the desert fathers]

“Because of the (the cross of … Jesus Christ),
my interest in this world has been crucified,
and the worlds’ interest in me has also died.”
Galatians 6:14

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Imagine finding consolation for the very difficult circumstances of your life in the fact that you will soon be leaving this life for heaven.
  • Now imagine that you intentionally created the difficult circumstances of your life (the desert hermits did) to escape the faith-wrecking pull of “earthly things” – and not only sinful ones.
  • Does the Christianity you know encourage you to “be dead to all earthly things?” Has your “interest in this world … been crucified” in some measurable way?
  • The one “fashioned to a cross”, among other things, “grieves not at present insults.” Many of the desert hermits were known for this (refusing to be moved by or to respond to insults) and for many others of the virtues mentioned. It seems like we take these matters so lightly compared to them. Why do you suppose that is?

Lord Jesus …Lead me into the crucified life …Lead me away from every lesser thing. (Brennan Manning)

For More: Wisdom of the Desert by James Hanney


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 Divine Emphasis on Economic Justice (Walter Brueggemann)

 “But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, then I will uproot Israel from this land …. reject this Temple …. [and] make Israel an object of mockery….” 1 Kings 9:6-7

“…the problem that now jeopardizes the city [Jerusalem] is not a large disregard of creation. That is too cosmic for this poet [Jeremiah] or the God he speaks. The problem for biblical faith is always more concrete. When the moral shape of reality is disregarded, the crisis does not show up in some generalized way. It shows up, characteristically, as neighbor crisis…:

“Like fowlers they set a trap;
they catch human beings.
Like a cage full of birds….”
Jeremiah 5:26b-27a

“They use and abuse and exploit because, without an ‘if,’ [see 1 Kings above] everything is possible – greed, brutality, despair, all of it, with the neighbor as target. In our stupidity, these folk do not look like neighbors that are protected by God’s ‘if.’ They look only like an inconvenience, or even a threat. And, you guessed it: this whole abusive insensitivity comes down, as it always does, to economics. it does not come down to sexuality or to purity or to private morality, but to dollar power and dollar manipulation:

“Therefore they have become great and rich,
they have grown fat and sleek,
They know no limits in deeds of wickedness;
they do not judge with justice
the cause of the orphan, to make it prosper,
and they do not defend the rights of the needy.”
Jeremiah 5:27b-28

…The poet makes a  very quick, very large travel from the God who tames chaos (v. 22) to the crisis of drought (v. 24) to economic abuse of neighbor (vv. 26-28). In such a quick review, the poet places on God’s lips the assertion of a connection between specific neighbor care and the vast problem of chaos and order. And between the specific neighbor and the large order of the cosmos is the problem of drought and the undoing of a ‘sustainable creation.’ It is all there, all held together, in five quick verses, all an invitation for the numbed city to awaken, for those who refuse to see and to fear and to tremble [vv. 21,22].” Walter Brueggemann

Moving From Head to Heart

  • If “neighbor crisis” signifies a society’s moral failure, how would measure your society?
  • The prophets emphasize economic justice (“defending the rights of the needy.”) Is this important to you?
  • Today, when our cities “refuse to see and to fear and to tremble” we are hardly surprised, but what about when Christian communities are “numbed?”

Abba, may we not be your foolish and senseless people.

For More: Threat of Life by Walter Brueggemann


 Thanks for reading/sharing! –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Need for Action that Proceeds From Contemplation (Rowan Williams, Evelyn Underhill, Richard Rohr, and Thomas Merton)

“Contemplation is very far from being just one kind of thing that Christians do: it is the key to prayer, liturgy, art and ethics, the key to the essence of a renewed humanity that is capable of seeing the world and other subjects in the world with freedom – freedom from self-oriented, acquisitive habits and the distorted understanding that comes from them. To put it boldly, contemplation is the only ultimate answer to the unreal and insane world that our financial systems and our advertising culture and our chaotic and unexamined emotions encourage us to inhabit. To learn contemplative practice is to learn what we need so as to live truthfully and honestly and lovingly. It is a deeply revolutionary matter.” Rowan Williams

“For [mystics,] contemplation and action are not opposites, but two interdependent forms of a life that is one – a life that rushes out to a passionate communion with the true and beautiful, only that it may draw from this direct experience of Reality a new intensity wherewith to handle the world of things; and remake it, or at least some little bit of it, ‘nearer to the heart’s desire.'”  Evelyn Underhill

“The opposite of contemplation is not action, it is reaction. We must wait for pure action, which always proceeds from a contemplative silence.” Richard Rohr

“Do you think the way to sanctity is to lock yourself up with prayers and your books and the meditations that please and interest your mind, to protect yourself with many walls, against people you consider stupid? …in the refusal of activities and works which are necessary for the good of others but which happen to bore and distract you? …by winding yourself up in a cocoon of spiritual and aesthetic pleasures, instead of renouncing all your tastes and desires and ambitions and satisfactions for the love of Christ, Who will not even live within you if you cannot find Him in other people? Far from being essentially opposed to each other, interior contemplation and external activity are two aspects of the same love of God.” Thomas Merton

“I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.”
Psalm 63:2

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is much of what you do “pure action” that “proceeds from a contemplative silence”, or are you typically just reacting?
  • Do you have a practice to help you escape the insidious influence of our “unreal and insane world?” If not by contemplation, then how?
  • Do you believe in contemplation? Do you “practice daily” what you believe?

God of Reality, may I commune with you before attempting to “handle the world of things.”

For More: New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton


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

Daily Riches: That Extremely Soothing Media Narrative (David Foster Wallace, David Lipsky, Seán Dunne and Jerry Stittser)

“We were making jokes about Love Boat and Baywatch and these really, really commercial, really reductive shows that we so love to sneer at [and] are also tremendously compelling because the predictability in popular art, the really formulaic stuff, is so profoundly soothing. It gives you a sense of order, that everything’s going to be alright. That this is a narrative that will take care of you and won’t in any way challenge you. It’s like being wrapped in a shammy blanket and nestled against a big generous [breast].” (Wallace) “He goes on to say that despite the comforts of popular culture, serious art eventually will out. …he seemed to swing precipitously between two poles.” (Gladstone) “…[on the other hand media like] NPR will require something of you. It will require that you engage …that you think about your opinion, it will require you to change your opinion. Whereas the other stuff, it allows you to relax. And what he was saying is, you have to do both.” (Lipsky) – David Lipsky discussing his interviews of David Foster Wallace with Brooke Gladstone

“The guesthouse had no television or radio. There seemed little to do except go to bed, yet I felt eager for distraction. I began to wonder exactly what I was doing in such a place [the monastery at Mount Melleray]. I was unable to sleep and lay awake listening to the fountain, bemused at myself for the absurdity of my attraction towards silence and my inability to practice it. I wanted to be distracted from the questions that rose in me like troublesome yeast.”  Seán Dunne

“Many people form addictions after they experience loss…. So they watch television every moment they can…. In so doing, they hold suffering at a distance. …They dodge pain rather than confront it. But their unwillingness to face pain comes at a price. Ultimately it diminishes the capacity of their souls to grow bigger in response to pain…. In the end denial leads to a greater loss.”  Jerry Stittser

“Blessed are those who mourn
for they shall be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does your media consumption have a soothing effect on you? …preventing you from having to examine or change your opinions?
  • Is your media a “big shammy blanket” wrapping you in comfort so you can “dodge pain?” …distracting you from “questions that rise in you like troublesome yeast?”
  • How can you face pain in your life rather than avoiding it?

God of all comfort, comfort us.


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 Potential Pointlessness of Spiritual Disciplines (James Hannay, Dallas Willard, John Ortberg)

“What is clear … is that a small number of [spiritual disciplines] are absolutely central to spiritual growth. They must form a part of the foundation of our whole-life plan for growth as apprentices of Jesus. These are, on the side of abstinence, solitude and silence….” Dallas Willard

“Asceticism (askêsis) means an exercise, and an exercise is an entirely useless and meaningless thing unless it is undertaken with a view to something to be gained by its use. When St. Paul speaks of “exercising” himself he says that he does so in order to have a conscience void of reproach. In exactly the same way the monks practiced exercise, asceticism (askêsis), not as if the things they did were in themselves good, but simply as a means to the attainment of that perfection which they desired. …Fastings, vigils, meditations on the Scriptures, self-denial, and the abnegation of all possessions are not perfection in themselves, but aids to perfection. The end of the science of holiness does not lie in these practices, but by means of them we arrive at the end. He will practice these exercises to no purpose who is contented with these as if they were the highest good. A man must not fix his heart simply on these, but must extend his efforts towards the attainment of his end. It is for the sake of the end that these things should be cultivated. It is a vain thing for a man to possess the implements of an art and to be ignorant of its purpose, for in it is all that is of any value.” James Hannay

“I discipline my body like an athlete,
training it to do what it should….”
1 Corinthians 9:27

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is there a sense in which you are training yourself so you can do “the right thing at the right time in the right way with the right spirit?” (Ortberg)
  • Do you have a “whole-life plan for growth”, or are you just drifting – leaving your development as a person of faith to chance? If you’re not working a plan, why not?
  • Do you realize the importance and value of some of the most praised spiritual practices (e.g., solitude, silence, self-denial, meditation on Scripture)? Do you realize how those same practices can be distractions or dangers – how they can be “useless and meaningless?”

Abba, help me train myself to be the person you created me to be.

For More: Wisdom of the Desert by James Hannay


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: Transcending Obedience and Virtue (Walter Brueggemann)

“Job, and even more his friends, are models of ideological certitude. That kind of moral certitude, however, does not matter ultimately because we are not saved by our virtue. No one can stand in the face of the whirlwind on a soap-box of virtue. …Job learned what we all learn sooner or later. Virtue does not suffice. Integrity does not give life. Being right is no substitute for being amazed. Controlling will not substitute for yielding in awe and wonder and amazement. The shift to Job’s other language is practically urgent, as it is theologically imperative. The shift to doxology as a mode of life is theologically imperative because praise breaks our terrible idolatries. We live in a society of preferred virtues or convinced moralities, or exacting, relentless idolatries. As with Job, these idols of self-congratulations block healing, make us falsely at ease, prevent transformation, and reduce life to a set of slogans and technologies. The alternative good news of the poem [the book of Job] is that we are made for a second conversation that surprises us and that we can never anticipate. After our earnest behavior, we are invited to doxological yielding. The shift in language destabilized us, puts us at risk, debunks our control, eases our need to dominate, and lets us yield without pouting, submit without resentment, and receive as gift a new restlessness that is communion and praise. After the yielding lyric, we are like Job. We still must go home and live as virtuously as possible. We have, however, been decisively intruded upon, invaded, overwhelmed, reduced to stunned silence, taken seriously by eternity, and finally, like Job approved in our virtue (42:7-8).” Walter Brueggemann

“I take back everything I said,
and I sit in dust and ashes
to show my repentance.”
Job 42:6

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • If someone as admirable and exceptional as Job needed a “conversation” with God to change him and his perspective, how much more is this likely true of you or me?
  • Has your experience of God ever left you feeling “decisively intruded upon, invaded, overwhelmed, reduced to stunned silence?”
  • If not, are you open to an encounter with God that “destabilizes” you, and removes your sense of control, and where you “receive as gift a new restlessness that is communion and praise?”

Abba, in the face of the whirlwind may I never forget the importance of virtue – or the limitations of it in my life with you.

For More: Threat of Life by Walter Brueggemann


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)