Daily Riches: Seeing Your Enemy as a Human In Distress (Susan Edmiston, Leonard Scheff, Thich Nhat Hanh and Cynthia Bourgeault)

“Action taken when I am angry is going to be irrational and probably stupid.” Susan Edmiston, and Leonard Scheff

“In dealing with the emotion that arises when we are attacked, it’s necessary to first allow space for the other person’s anger without reacting. …Deliberately, do not take revenge. In Buddhism, the basic vow is benefiting all beings, not everyone except this particular person. …Your most powerful tool in some situations may be what Thich Nhat Hanh calls ‘compassionate listening.’ ‘Sit quietly and listen with only one purpose: to allow the other person to express himself and find relief from his suffering.’ …When you no longer view the person who directs anger against you as an adversary but as another human being in distress, you have made a good outcome more likely.” Edmiston/Scheff

“Life provides plenty of opportunities for this practice [surrendering to the divine life that lives in us and wants to bubble up in us]; in fact, sometimes it seems as if life is comprised of a ‘twenty-four/seven’ surrender immersion! The problem is, most of the time we’re not aware of it and ‘fall asleep,’ as it’s called in wisdom work: when we brace and tighten and get thrown back into that smaller self. We go unconscious automatically. But if you stay alert and grounded in sensation and are willing to wake up as soon as you realized you’ve started bracing or clinging, then you can use all the adventures and misadventures life throws at you to strengthen and deepen your heart connection—and your Christ connection.” Cynthia Bourgeault

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak and slow to become angry,
because human anger does not produce
the righteousness that God desires.”
James 1:19-20

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you “allow space for the other person’s anger” before responding? Do you?
  • How often to you think you succeed at “compassionate listening?” Where could you practice that (at work, with your kids, in your marriage, on social media)?
  • Try to be sensitive to what your body is telling you. Next time you start simmering, stressing or clenching up, let that remind you to recollect your better self. Don’t fight your anger or beat yourself up, just take a deep breath and surrender to the One who lives in you and wants to live through you–and try to learn that as an habitual response.

Abba, remind me often that I’m not to love everyone–except “this particular person.”

For More: The Cow in the Parking Lot by Susan Edmiston and Leonard Scheff

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. I hope you’ll follow/share my blog. Thanks for your interest! – Bill

Daily Riches: What It Means to Love (Gary Thomas, Radiohead)

“If I could be who you wanted … all the time … all the time” Radiohead – “Fake Plastic Trees”

“’Gary, I kind of locked the keys in the car.’ I put down the phone, ready to drive over and bail Lisa out, but when I went to retrieve another set of keys, I noticed the empty hooks where we keep Lisa’s car keys. Apparently, Lisa had lost the last set. I had to go through her coats, her pants, her purse, her shoulder bags—anything I could think of—to find a key so I could get her home. Lisa is a lastborn, and she does lastborn things. She loses stuff. She ‘forgets’ her purse or leaves her wallet at the store.  …I grew up in a household where my mom had enough food, toilet paper, light-bulbs, and batteries stockpiled to last us at least a year. You could have stretched our supply of toilet paper from Seattle to Tacoma. Lisa shops from an entirely different perspective. She buys stuff a day or two (or occasionally a week or two) after we run out. Some mornings, it’s milk. Some nights, it’s toilet paper. Some afternoons, we’re out of keys. …I could read a how-to book that might tell me how to communicate my frustration. Lisa and I could have several talks about being more proactive. Maybe I could draw up charts, or we could try to redivide responsibilities. Or after two decades of marriage I could just accept that some things will never change, because they won’t. I can’t expect Lisa to become a different person just because she’s married to me—just as she must put up with countless episodes of my own quirks, limitations, and irritating qualities embedded in me as if they were encased in granite. Rather than let little disappointments and minor annoyances steal what is most important, it’s healthier to have a spiritual funeral and bury certain expectations. That, sometimes, is what it means to love.” Gary Thomas

“and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those
who sin against us.”
Jesus, in Matthew 6:12

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you expect your spouse to be like you? Consider what that might look like.
  • Did you enter marriage with realistic expectations? Do you have realistic expectations now?
  • If loving means simply ignoring a lot of bothersome things, are you a loving spouse?

Abba, if I could be who you wanted.

For More: Simply Sacred: Daily Readings by Gary Thomas

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

Daily Riches: Grace Makes Beauty Out of Ugly Things (Gerald May, Frederick Buechner, Bono)

“For Christians, grace is the dynamic outpouring of God’s lov­ing nature that flows into and through creation in an endless self-offering of healing, love, illumination, and reconciliation. It is a gift that we are free to ignore, reject, ask for, or simply accept. And it is a gift that is often given in spite of our inten­tions and errors. At such times, when grace is so clearly given unrequested, uninvited, even undeserved, there can be no au­thentic response but gratitude and awe.” Gerald May

“Here is your life.
You might never have been, but you are,
because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you.
Here is the world.
Beautiful and terrible things will happen.
Don’t be afraid.
I am with you.”

Frederick Buechner

.

“Grace, she takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name
Grace, it’s the name for a girl
It’s also a thought that could change the world
And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything

Grace, she’s got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She’s got the time to talk
She travels outside of karma, karma
She travels outside of karma
When she goes to work
You can hear the strings
Grace finds beauty in everything

Grace, she carries a world on her hips
No champagne flue for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips
She carries a pearl in perfect condition
What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark no longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things
Grace finds beauty in everything
Grace finds goodness in everything.”
Bono

“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life.
He did this, not because we deserved it,
but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—
to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 1:9

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you aware enough of God’s “endless self-offering” that you’re often filled with “gratitude and awe?”
  • Are you waiting well, as you look for God to make “beauty out of ugly things” in your life and world?
  • God looks for and finds unexpected beauty in hidden places–in unlikely people. How are you doing at that?

Abba, catch me up in your endless self-offering of healing, love, illumination, and reconciliation in this, my broken world.

For more: Addiction and Grace by Gerald May

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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. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a comment or question. –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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

Daily Riches: The Church as Refuge (Rachel Held Evans, Kathy Escobar and Dallas Willard)

“Any successful plan for spiritual formation . . . will in fact be significantly similar to the Alcoholics Anonymous program.” Dallas Willard

“As a counselor, Kathy had encountered Christians who kept their battles with pain and depression a secret from their churches, so she helped found and pastor The Refuge, an eclectic and growing faith community in Denver inspired by both the Beatitudes and the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Kathy discovered that when a church functions more like a recovery group than a religious organization, when it commits to practicing ‘honesty for the sake of restoration,’ all sorts of unexpected people show up.

People who make $600 on mental health disability and never graduated from high school are hanging out with friends who have master’s degrees and make $6,000. …Suburban moms are building relationships with addicts. People from fundamentalist Christian backgrounds are engaging those with pagan backgrounds …orphans, outcasts, prostitutes, pastors, single moms and dads, church burnouts and everything in between are all muddled up together…. It’s wild.

…Rather than boasting a doctrinal statement, the Refuge extends an invitation: The Refuge is a mission center and Christian community dedicated to helping hurting and hungry people find faith, hope, and dignity alongside each other.

We love to throw parties, tell stories, find hope, and practice the ways of Jesus as best we can. We’re all hurt or hungry in our own ways. We’re at different place on our journey but we share a guiding story, a sweeping epic drama called the Bible. We find faith as we follow Jesus and share a willingness to honestly wrestle with God and our questions and doubts. We find dignity as God’s image-bearers and strive to call out that dignity in one another. We all receive, we all give. We are old, young, poor, rich, conservative, liberal, single, married, gay, straight, evangelicals, progressives, overeducated, undereducated, certain, doubting, hurting, thriving. Yet Christ’s love bind our differences together in unity. At The Refuge, everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable.

Imagine if every church became a place where everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable. Imagine if every church became a place where we told one another the truth. We might just create sanctuary.” Rachel Held Evans

“I will build my church.”
Matthew 16:18

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is your church a place where “everyone is safe?”
  • Is your church a place where “no one is comfortable?”
  • Do others experience you as a “safe” person? …as comfortable with discomfort?

Abba, lead us into good places.

For more: Searching For Sunday by Rachel Held Evans

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. I hope you’ll follow/share my blog. – Bill

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

Daily Riches: Marrying the Wrong Person (Alain de Botton)

“We marry to make a nice feeling permanent. We imagine that marriage will help us to bottle the joy we felt when the thought of proposing first came to us: Perhaps we were in Venice, on the lagoon, in a motorboat, with the evening sun throwing glitter across the sea, chatting about aspects of our souls no one ever seemed to have grasped before, with the prospect of dinner in a risotto place a little later. We married to make such sensations permanent but failed to see that there was no solid connection between these feelings and the institution of marriage. Indeed, marriage tends decisively to move us onto another, very different and more administrative plane, which perhaps unfolds in a suburban house, with a long commute and maddening children who kill the passion from which they emerged. The only ingredient in common is the partner. And that might have been the wrong ingredient to bottle. The good news is that it doesn’t matter if we find we have married the wrong person. We mustn’t abandon him or her, only the founding Romantic idea upon which the Western understanding of marriage has been based the last 250 years: that a perfect being exists who can meet all our needs and satisfy our every yearning. We need to swap the Romantic view for a tragic (and at points comedic) awareness that every human will frustrate, anger, annoy, madden and disappoint us—and we will (without any malice) do the same to them. There can be no end to our sense of emptiness and incompleteness. But none of this is unusual or grounds for divorce. Choosing whom to commit ourselves to is merely a case of identifying which particular variety of suffering we would most like to sacrifice ourselves for. …It might sound odd, but [it] relieves the excessive imaginative pressure that our romantic culture places upon marriage. The failure of one particular partner to save us from our grief and melancholy is not an argument against that person and no sign that a union deserves to fail or be upgraded. The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently—the person who is good at disagreement. Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the ‘not overly wrong’ person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition. Romanticism has been unhelpful to us; it is a harsh philosophy. It has made a lot of what we go through in marriage seem exceptional and appalling. We end up lonely and convinced that our union, with its imperfections, is not ‘normal.’ We should learn to accommodate ourselves to ‘wrongness,’ striving always to adopt a more forgiving, humorous and kindly perspective on its multiple examples in ourselves and in our partners.” Alain de botton

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another,
because love covers a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Have you made it your partner’s job to save you from your “emptiness and incompleteness”, from your “grief and melancholy?”
  • Do you expect grace from your partner to cover your “multitude of sins?”
  • Can you embrace your union of imperfections as “normal”–even unavoidable?
  • Will you commit yourself to working towards “compatibility” rather than demanding it as a precondition?

Abba, teach me to love.

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Thanks for reading/following my blog. The length of this post is a rare exception. Debotton’s article was just too important to pass over due to my self-imposed rules on length. – Bill

Daily Riches: Left Only With Neighbors (Preston Sprinkle, Oscar Romero, Martin Luther King)

“The church believes in only one violence, that of Christ, who was nailed to the cross.” Oscar Romero

“For early Christians, enemy-love was the hallmark of what it meant to believe in Jesus. …Unless you love your enemy, you actually don’t love your neighbor. …When Jesus talks about His suffering on the cross, He often commands His followers to do the same: ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Matt. 16: 24). Jesus suffers injustice on a Roman cross to die for sin, but He also intends it to be a nonviolent pattern for us to follow. When Jesus washes His disciples’ feet—even the feet of His betrayer—He tells His followers to do the same: ‘I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you’ (John 13: 15).  …Jesus rebukes James and John for their thirst for violent retaliation (Luke 9: 51– 56), encourages His followers to endure patiently when violently attacked (Mark 13: 9– 13), and disarms Peter when he violently resists evil by hacking off the ear of a man trying to arrest Jesus. ‘Put your sword back into its place,’ …Nonviolence is the astonishing rhythm of Christianity ….The Sermon on the Mount constitutes Jesus’s radical kingdom ethic. Heads will turn as we turn our cheeks. Our inexplicable behavior will call attention to our inexplicable God. Light will beam across our dark world as we love the spouses who don’t love us back, keep our word when it hurts, judge ourselves rather than others, and—most shockingly—love our enemies who are harming us. When we are cursed, we bless. When we are hated, we love. When we are robbed, we give. And when we are struck, we don’t strike back with violence. A person who chooses to love his or her enemies can have no enemies. That person is left only with neighbors.” Preston Sprinkle

“Negroes who engage in the demonstrations and who understand nonviolent philosophy will be able to face dogs and all of the other brutal methods that are used without retaliating with violence because they understand that one of the first principles of nonviolence is the willingness to be the recipient of violence while never inflicting violence upon another.” Martin Luther King

“For all who take the sword
will perish by the sword.”
Matthew 26: 52

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you think of nonviolence as “the astonishing rhythm of Christianity?” …as the way of Jesus?
  • Could you be “the recipient of violence” while refusing to inflict violence upon another?
  • Is enemy-love the “hallmark” of your Christianity?

Abba, grant me to have no enemies, only neighbors.

For More: Fight by Preston Sprinkle

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I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. Thanks! – Bill

Daily Riches: Make Up Your Mind About Others … Once and For All (Henri Nouwen and Marcus Borg)

“To the degree that we accept that through Christ we ourselves have been reconciled with God we can be messengers of reconciliation for others. Essential to the work of reconciliation is a nonjudgmental presence. We are not sent to the world to judge, to condemn, to evaluate, to classify, or to label. When we walk around as if we have to make up our mind about people and tell them what is wrong with them and how they should change, we will only create more division. Jesus says it clearly: ‘Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge; … do not condemn; … forgive’ (Luke 6:36-37). In a world that constantly asks us to make up our minds about other people, a nonjudgmental presence seems nearly impossible. But it is one of the most beautiful fruits of a deep spiritual life and will be easily recognized by those who long for reconciliation.” Henri Nouwen

“Those of my university students who have grown up outside of the church (about half of them) have a very negative stereotypical view of Christianity. When I ask them to write a short essay on their impression of Christianity, they consistently use five adjectives: Christians are literalistic, anti-intellectual, self-righteous, judgmental, and bigoted.” Marcus Borg

“Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another.
If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.”
Romans 9:8

Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • How often do you judge, condemn, evaluate, classify or label someone? …even someone you don’t really know?
  • When you catch yourself, do you beat yourself up? Can you just stop? Can you take another look and practice compassion–or attempt some understanding?
  • Can you make up your mind once and for all to see others as God does–with compassion, forgiveness and grace? …to see them as bearing God’s image? …as someone God loves? …as someone God is for? …as a confused person in need of a Savior? …as a broken person in need of a friend? …as someone like you?
  • Do you ever look at people (like while waiting in the doctor’s office) and just let your heart go out to them in love? Try it!

Abba, remind me daily that I’ve made up my mind to look upon others only with love. May your love for me spill over to others.

For More: Bread for the Journey by Henry Nouwen

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

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

Daily Riches: Divine Forgiveness After a Shooting Rampage (Kari Huus, John Rudolf and Steve Munson)

“In 2001, incited by the 9-11 attacks, a Texas man went on a shooting rampage and killed two people, severely wounding another. The wounded man, who lost an eye when the assailant sprayed him with shotgun pellets, survived because he shrewdly played dead. Ten years later, the State of Texas was set to execute the shooter, when the survivor unexpectedly stepped forward to plead for him. ‘If I can forgive my offender who tried to take my life,’ he told BBC News, ‘we can all work together to forgive each other and move forward and take a new narrative on the tenth anniversary of 11 September.’ In short, he was asking the State of Texas to turn the other cheek, as he had done, the very cheek that was still full of pellets. Texas, long known for the conservative evangelicalism of its governors, refused, and the shooter, Mark Stroman, a white supremacist, was executed. His victim, Rais Bhuiyan, is a Muslim immigrant born in Bangladesh. As Rais explained, it was while on pilgrimage in Mecca after the attack that he received a ‘ray of light’ regarding forgiveness and compassion. Drawing on his own faith, he decided not only to forgive Stroman but also to take the further step to try to save him from execution. ‘The Qur’an teaches that those who forsake retribution and forgive those who have wronged them become closer to God,’ he said. ‘My faith teaches me that saving a life is like saving the entire human race.’ In this quest Rais was joined by the widows and family members of the two other victims killed during Stroman’s anti-Muslim rampage, a Pakistani and a Hindu from India. ‘We decided to forgive him and want to give him a chance to be a better person,’ said the brother-in-law of one of the slain. Bhuiyan also received a great deal of encouragement from all over the world, even from fellow Muslims back in Pakistan.” Steve Munson

“But I say, love your enemies!”
Jesus in Matthew 5:44
.

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does this story sound to you like a parable Jesus might tell? And if so, what would be the parable’s point?
  • “The Qur’an teaches that those who forsake retribution and forgive those who have wronged them become closer to God.” Doesn’t the Bible teach this too?
  • A Muslim, a Pakistani and a Hindu walk into a courtroom …. It a tragic story, not the beginning of a joke. Why kind of emotions arise when you contemplate this story.

Jesus, may I follow you in forgiveness and love.

For More: Muslims, Christians and Jews by Carl Medearis

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. Thanks for reading and sharing my blog! – Bill

Daily Riches: I Am The Enemy Who Must Be Loved (Carl Jung, 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

“The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life. That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ – all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself – that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness – that I myself am the enemy who must be loved – what then? As a rule, the Christian’s attitude is reversed; there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering; we say to the brother within us ‘Raca,’ and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide it from the world; we refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves.” Carl Jung

“Do not try to settle the dust. …Do not seek a glib, quick answer, but leave all things for a while in the silent space. Do not rush to judgment. That is what it really means that God alone is the judge. …If you start with no, which is critiquing, judging, pigeonholing, analyzing, dismissing, it is very hard to get back to yes. You must learn to start every single encounter with a foundational yes, before you ever dare to move to no. That is the heart of contemplation … a beginner’s mind. It will always be silent before it dares to speak.” Richard Rohr 

“But I say to you, love your enemies”
Jesus in Matthew 5:44

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Knowing the worst about yourself, condemning and raging against it, being unable to forgive it (even though God does) – this is “the essence of the whole moral problem” – for if you can’t love the enemy within, how can you love the enemy from without?
  • Do you understand that God is not the enemy of your enemies? …that the all-too common fear and hatred you feel towards enemies is foreign to God – repugnant to God – prohibited for you?
  • In a world gone mad, are you able to let the dust settle, step back in silence, and contemplate before you judge?

Abba, may I love my “enemies” in this world, just as you do.

For More: Silent Compassion by Richard Rohr

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If you found this encouraging, challenging or thought-provoking, please share it! And thanks much! – Bill

Daily Riches: Love Turned Inward on the Self (Hannah Hurnard, Gustavo Gutierrez, John Bunyan and Julian of Norwich)

“Holiness is a most lovely word in the Bible sense. It means to be separated and set apart; separated, in fact, from all that is not love and set apart for one purpose only, that the Spirit of Holy Love may dwell in us and think in us and express himself through us. Holy people are people in whom holy love is incarnate.  …There is no evil except in the negation of love, which is the law on which God has founded his whole universe. Sin is love turned inward to the self, instead of outward to our Creator and to all mankind whom he has created.” Hannah Hurnard

“Liberation from sin is liberation from the refusal to love.” Gustavo Gutierrez

“Sin is the dare of God’s justice, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, and the contempt of His love.” John Bunyan

“God wishes to be seen,
and He wishes to be sought,
and He wishes to be expected,
and He wishes to be trusted.”
Julian of Norwich

“… 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. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Jesus, in Mathew 5:43-48

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • When you name your worst sin, is it “love turned inward upon itself?”
  • When you sin against God, do you think of it as “the contempt of His love?”
  • Can you sense God being disappointed and hurt by your failure to reciprocate his loving overtures? …by your “refusal to love?” …to “seek” him?

Loving Father, the only thing more astonishing than my sin is your loving grace. The only thing more predictable than my failure is your faithfulness. My sin is new every morning, but so is your unfailing love. Thank you for drawing me to you. Thank you for holding me there.

For More:  The Winged Life by Hannah Hurnard

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

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

Daily Riches: Love Turned Inward on the Self (Hannah Hurnard, Gustavo Gutierrez, John Bunyan and Julian of Norwich)

“Holiness is a most lovely word in the Bible sense. It means to be separated and set apart; separated, in fact, from all that is not love and set apart for one purpose only, that the Spirit of Holy Love may dwell in us and think in us and express himself through us. Holy people are people in whom holy love is incarnate.  …There is no evil except in the negation of love, which is the law on which God has founded his whole universe. Sin is love turned inward to the self, instead of outward to our Creator and to all mankind whom he has created.”  Hannah Hurnard

“Liberation from sin is liberation from the refusal to love.” Gustavo Gutierrez

“Sin is the dare of God’s justice, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, and the contempt of His love.” John Bunyan

“God wishes to be seen, and He wishes to be sought, and He wishes to be expected, and He wishes to be trusted.” Julian of Norwich

“… 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. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Jesus, in Mathew 5:43-48

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • When you name your worst sin, is it “love turned inward upon itself?”
  • When you choose sin, do you think of it as “the dare of God’s justice, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, and the contempt of His love?”
  • Can you sense God being disappointed and hurt by your failure to reciprocate his loving overtures? by your “refusal to love?” to “seek” him?

Loving Father, the only thing more astonishing than my sin is your loving grace. The only thing more predictable than my failure is your faithfulness. My sin is new every morning, but so is your unfailing love. Thank you for drawing me to you. Thank you for holding me there.

For More:  The Winged Life by Hannah Hurnard

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

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

Daily Riches: 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

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

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

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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: Make Room for Cursing Saints (Miroslav Volf and Philip Yancey)

“For the followers of the crucified Messiah, the main message of the imprecatory Psalms is this: rage belongs before God – not in the reflectively managed and manicured form of a confession, but as a pre-reflective outburst from the depths of the soul. This is no mere cathartic discharge of pent up aggression before the Almighty who ought to care. Much more significantly, by placing unattended rage before God we place both our unjust enemy and our own vengeful self face to face with a God who loves and does justice. Hidden in the dark chambers of our hearts and nourished by the system of darkness, hate grows and seeks to infest everything with its hellish will to exclusion. In the light of the justice and love of God, however, hate recedes and the seed is planted for the miracle of forgiveness.” Miroslav Volf

“I see the cursing psalms as an important model for how to deal with evil and injustice. I should not try to suppress my reaction of horror and outrage at evil. Nor should I try to take justice in my own hands. Rather, I should deliver those feelings, stripped bare, to God. As the books of Job, Jeremiah, and Habakkuk clearly show, God has a high threshold of tolerance for what is appropriate to say in a prayer. God can ‘handle’ my unsuppressed rage. I may well find that my vindictive feelings need God’s correction – but only by taking those feelings to God will I have that opportunity for correction and healing.” Philip Yancey

“Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.”
Psalm 137:8,9

“Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord …
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart …
See if there is any offensive way in me….
Psalm 139:21-24

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you feel free to bring your “unsuppressed rage” to God? your “pre-reflective outburst?”
  • What good could possibly come from that?
  • How could failing to bring it actually be a bad thing?

Abba, help me to trust that you’re able to handle my rage, and teach me to bring it.

For More: Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf

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

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

Daily Riches: Your Heart Is Always Revealing Itself (Anthony de Mello, Kathleen Norris and Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Sa’di of Shiraz tells this story about himself: ‘When  I was a child I was a pious boy, fervent in prayer and devotion. One night I was keeping vigil with my father, the Holy Koran on my lap. Everyone else in the room began to slumber and soon was sound asleep, so I said to my father, “None of these sleepers opens his eyes or raises his heart to say his prayers. You would think that there were all dead.” My father replied, “My beloved son, I would rather you too were asleep like them than slandering.” Anthony de Mello

“Every time you find yourself irritated or angry with someone, the one to look at is not that person but yourself. The question to ask is not, ‘What’s wrong with this person?’ but ‘What does this irritation tell me about myself?’” Anthony de Mello

“Many desert stories speak of judgment as the worst obstacle for a monk. ‘Abba Joseph said to Abba Pastor: “Tell me how I can become a monk.” The elder replied: ”If you want to have rest here in this life and also in the next, in every conflict with another say, ‘Who am I?’ and judge no one.” Kathleen Norris

“By judging others, we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“A good person produces good things
from the treasury of a good heart,
and an evil person produces evil things
from the treasury of an evil heart.
What you say flows
from what is in your heart.”
Jesus in Luke 6:45

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • What is your response to the story about the Muslim father and son? Are you more like the father or the son?
  • What can you do to become more like the father? Can you learn to stop and ask “What does this irritation tell me about myself?”
  • If you’re more like the “slandering son”, are you aware of your “own evil?” Have you been “forgiven much?” Can you extend that grace to others like yourself who, like you, don’t deserve it?

Abba, teach me to judge no one. May my irritations with others lead me into regular self-examination, and to better self awareness.

For More: The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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

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