Daily Riches: Justice, Not Just Love (William Sloane Coffin, Abraham Heschel, and Augustine)

“Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.” Augustine

“It is also true that many pastors . . . find it easier to talk to their congregations of charity rather than of justice. Charity, after all, threatens not at all the status quo that may be profitable to a goodly number of their parishioners. Justice, on the other hand, leads directly to political controversy. So there is a real temptation to think that an issue is less spiritual for being more political, to believe that religion is above politics, that the sanctuary is too sacred a place for the grit and grime of political battle. But if you believe religion is above politics, you are, in actually, for the status quo–a very political position. And were God the god of the status quo, then the church would have no prophetic role . . . The cause of justice . . . is to challenge the status quo, to try to make what’s legal more moral, to speak truth to power, and to take personal or concerted action against evil, whether in personal or systemic form. . . .  Clearly the love that lies on the far side of justice demands a communal sense of responsibility for and a sense of complicity in the very evils we abhor. ” William Sloan Coffin

“The more deeply immersed I became in the thinking of the prophets, the more powerfully it became clear to me what the lives of the Prophets sought to convey: that morally speaking, there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings, that indifference to evil is worse than evil itself, that in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.” Abraham Heschel

Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Psalm 82:3-4 NIV

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is focusing on love a way for you to avoid doing justice?
  • Are you perhaps inadvertently siding with the status-quo?
  • Are you characterized by the kind of love spoken of above?

Abba, help me to take responsibility for my complicity, even in evils I abhor.

For More: The Heart Is A Little To The Left by William Sloane Coffin

Daily Riches: The Descent of God (Augustine, Joseph Hallman, Thomas a Kempis)

“To have no opinion of ourselves,

and to think always well and highly of others,
is great wisdom and perfection.”
Thomas a Kempis

“The Son of God came down and was made humble. …God was made humble for you.” Augustine

“…this is the truth unknown to philosophy. …not found in Epicureans, Stoics, Manichees, or Platonists. Although discovering the best precepts of custom and discipline, they never find humility. This comes only from Christ who became humble even to death on the cross. The humility exhibited by the Word in the Incarnation is the cure for pride, the worst of all sins. Only divine humility is true medicine for superbia [haughtiness]. …It is indeed correct to say that, for Augustine, ‘it is the humility of Christ which is the most striking feature of the Incarnation.’ Augustine has grasped precisely that the core of Christian faith is an acceptance of the divine kenosis in Jesus of Nazareth. To get a sense of the impression Phil. 2:6-8 made on Augustine one should consult the Index at the end of [his Corpus Christianorum]…. There are two hundred or more citations or allusions to this text in De Trinitate alone. Even more impressive is the fact that in Augustine’s entire corpus he cites part or all of this passage 422 times, and alludes to it 563 times. Thus he had it in mind nearly a thousand times when he wrote.” Joseph Hallman

“Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”
Philippians 2:6-8

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • When you look at today’s church–today’s Christian–at yourself in the mirror–do you see humility?
  • Consider the practices of silence, sabbath, listening well, loving well, receiving instruction, simplicity – think how each of these requires or teaches humility.
  • How formative is the Incarnation of Jesus in your life? Has what he did for you in that way ever really gripped you?

Abba, help me to learn to consistently think well and highly of others.

For More: The Descent of God: Divine Suffering in History and Theology by Joseph M. Hallman


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

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

Daily Riches: The Pinnacle of God’s Creation (Gregory Boyd, Jonathan Edwards, Augustine)

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Augustine

“As the New Testament and the church tradition teach, the life of God is nothing other than the perfect love that eternally unites the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and this Triune God spoke creation into being with the ultimate goal of inviting humans to share in this life. …[Jonathan] Edwards painted a portrait of the Trinity in which the love and joy of the three divine persons was so full and intense, it simply could not be contained. God’s fullness thus yearned to be expressed and replicated by sharing it with others. So this fullness overflowed, as it were, as God brought forth a creation that mirrored his triune beauty. And the pinnacle of this creation is created beings whose yearning for God mirrors, in a small way, his yearning for them. But whereas God’s yearning comes out of his fullness, our yearning comes out of emptiness. It’s a beautiful arrangement. The God of overflowing love longs to pour his love into others, so he creates beings that long for his love to be poured into them. But in my opinion … it wasn’t God’s original intention for us to ever go a moment with this longing unsatisfied. Living without the fullness of God’s love is a reality we have brought on ourselves through our rebellion, and it’s completely unnatural to us. And try as we may to run from it or numb it, the pain of our unnatural emptiness is acute and incurable. The profundity of our emptiness is the negative reflection of the profundity of the fullness of the One we long for.” Gregory Boyd

“And may you have the power to understand …
how wide, how long, how high, and how deep [God’s] love is.”
Ephesians 3:18

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Imagine a God whose eternal essence consists of “perfect love that eternally unites the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” Now imagine that God choosing to love you and make God’s “home” in you. What feelings arise?
  • Have you ever thought of your deep-seated yearning for intimacy with God as mirroring God’s deep-seated yearning for intimacy with you?
  • Have you ever thought of the profundity of your existential “emptiness” as the “negative reflection of the profundity of the fullness” God wants for you?

Abba, make your home in me.

For More: Benefit of the Doubt by Gregory Boyd


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

Daily Riches: The Trouble I Give Myself (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, Dwight Moody, Augustine)

“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart – and through all human hearts. …And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … an unuprooted small corner of evil.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“All the devils in hell and tempters on earth could do us no injury if there were no corruption in our own natures. …Beware of no man more than yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us. …The worst thing you have to fear is the treachery of your own heart.” Charles Spurgeon

“I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self.” Martin Luther

“I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man.” Dwight L. Moody

“Lord Jesus, don’t let me lie when I say that I love you…and protect me, for today I could betray you.” Augustine

One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth. But Peter denied it. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ he said, and he went out into the entryway. …When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, ‘This man is definitely one of them!’ But Peter denied it again. A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, ‘You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean. Peter swore, ‘A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!”  Mark 14:65-72

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you fear “the treachery of your own heart?” If not, in light of these testimonies, and Peter’s example, why not?
  • If so, what practices do you have in place to protect yourself from the ravages of “the great pope (Self) within?”
  • Do you have a spiritual friend that can help you watch over your heart?

Abba, help me to guard my heart as though my life depended on it, for of course, it does.

For More: Lectures to My Students by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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.”


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