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

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

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

Moving From the Head to the Heart

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

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

For More: “Journey With Jesus” by Dan Clendenin

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

Daily Riches: Aging and Life In the Body (Dan Clendenin and Sherwin Nuland)

“Last week I read The Art of Aging: A Doctor’s Prescription for Well-Being by Sherwin Nuland, a Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Yale School of Medicine. There’s a very thin line, observes Nuland, between denial and despair, between pretending nothing has changed and doing nothing at all. And a big difference between living long and living well. Beyond the standard advice about diet, exercise, genetics, intellectual stimulation, and social connections, Nuland explores the intangibles of our attitudes, dispositions, and religious faith. It’s not just about eating granola, he says. Cultivating equanimity over entitlement, contentment over complaining, or determination over discouragement, are only three examples of the attitudes we can choose about aging. Aging brings both gains and losses. Cultivating the wisdom to separate fact and fantasy is huge, as is learning to live with uncertainty and adversity. One of the biggest lessons of aging, says Nuland, is that ‘choice exists for each of us.’ Aging is not a disease, it’s a natural condition of every life. And if it’s handled wisely, there really is more sugar at the bottom of the cup. …In 2 Corinthians 4 and 5, Paul mentions the ‘body’ seven times. He uses unflattering metaphors to describe the body – it’s like a flimsy tent, a clay jar, a ‘nakedness’ when we are exposed as ‘unclothed.’ Life ‘in the body,’ says Paul, is a time of ‘troubles’ when we are ‘away from the Lord.’ Paul is brutally realistic about life ‘in the body.’ He yanks us out of fantasy and into reality, from denial into candor. He would move us from despair to wisdom in order to live well today. But make no mistake, for Paul, life ‘in the body’ is hard. Growing old isn’t for sissies. While ‘in the body,’ we are ‘hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.'” Dan Clendenin

“We always carry around in our body
the death of Jesus.”
2 Corinthians 4:10

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • As you age, how are you doing when it comes to “equanimity over entitlement, contentment over complaining, … determination over discouragement?”
  • …when it comes to learning to live with limits? … “with uncertainty and adversity?”
  • Are you discovering “sugar at the bottom of the cup?”

Abba, help me age like a fine wine.

For More: The Art of Aging by Sherwin Nuland

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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 and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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

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