Daily Riches: A World Without Mirrors … Or Gravity (Rebecca Solnit, Isak Dinesen, St. Benedict, Søren Kierkegaard)

“To be a person is to have a story to tell.” Isak Dinesen

“Listen and attend with the ear of your heart.” St. Benedict

“I finally became completely silent. I started to listen–which is even further removed from speaking.” Søren Kierkegaard

“I have often run across men (and rarely, but not never, women) who have become so powerful in their lives that there is no one to tell them when they are cruel, wrong, foolish, absurd, repugnant. In the end there is no one else in their world, because when you are not willing to hear how others feel, what others need, when you do not care, you are not willing to acknowledge others’ existence. That’s how it’s lonely at the top. It is as if these petty tyrants live in a world without honest mirrors, without others, without gravity, and they are buffered from the consequences of their failures. …Equality keeps us honest. Our peers tell us who we are and how we are doing, providing that service in personal life that a free press does in a functioning society. Inequality creates liars and delusion. The powerless need to dissemble—that’s how slaves, servants, and women got the reputation of being liars—and the powerful grow stupid on the lies they require from their subordinates and on the lack of need to know about others who are nobody, who don’t count, who’ve been silenced or trained to please. This is why I always pair privilege with obliviousness; obliviousness is privilege’s form of deprivation. When you don’t hear others, you don’t imagine them, they become unreal, and you are left in the wasteland of a world with only yourself in it, and that surely makes you starving, though you know not for what, if you have ceased to imagine others exist in any true deep way that matters.” Rebecca Solnit

“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says
is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and,
after looking at himself, goes away
and immediately forgets what he looks like.”
James 1:23,24

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is it important to you to hear “how others feel?”
  • Are you approachable enough–safe enough–that others will tell you the truth?
  • “The ability to really listen and pay attention to people was at the very heart of Jesus’ mission….” (Pete Scazzero) Are you developing that ability?

Abba, help me learn to quiet myself and really hear others.

For More: Listening Is an Act of Love by Dave Isay

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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. I appreciate it! – Bill

Daily Riches: Take a Deep Breath and Relax (Peter Scazzero and Dallas Willard)

“When we sleep, God works. God wants to sow this seed into the soil of your heart and mine. If we can slow down and receive this one truth of how He works, thirtyfold, sixtyfold and a hundredfold, fruit will come forth (Mk. 4:20). Our personal lives, our marriages, our leadership, our sermons, our churches will be transformed. God holds the universe together. We don’t have to. God holds the oceans in His hand. He gives drink to every living creature. …He grows the grass and waters the trees. He cultivates every plant and flower. …God invites us to lay aside our bread of anxious toil and receive sleep as His beloved. He alone ‘builds the house,’ not us. God illustrates this with the creation and growth of a child. We engage in one brief moment of sexual intercourse and He then takes over to grow a fetus, a baby, and eventually an adult human being who engages the world (Ps.127). God does 99.9999% of the work. The kingdom of God grows ‘all by itself’–even when we sleep (Mark 4:26). Take a deep breath. Sit at Jesus’ feet, remembering that His love brought you into existence and sustains you today. He is working all over the world at this very moment building His kingdom–apart from you and me. Ask Him what small, small part He may have for you to do today.” Pete Scazzero

“Suppose our failures occur, not in spite of what we are doing, but precisely because of it.” Dallas Willard

“Unless Yahweh builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless Yahweh guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.”
Psalm 127:1,2

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Think about how relaxed Jesus was. Are you relaxed? If not, what does that say about you?
  • It’s probably counter-intuitive for you to think of your seemingly imperative labors as “vain.” What is God saying to you in the quote from the Psalm?
  • Could your striving and laboring actually be hindering God’s work? Explain how that could be. What needs to change?

Abba, I will trust in your work, not my work, to “save the day.”

For More: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero

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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. I appreciate your interest! – Bill

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

Daily Riches: The Revolution of Tenderness (Pope Francis, Pete Scazzero and Martin Luther King, Jr.)

“The great Jewish theologian Martin Buber described the most healthy or mature relationship possible between two human beings as an ‘I-Thou’ relationship. In such a relationship, I recognize that I am made in the image of God, and so is every other person. This makes them a ‘thou’ to me. They have dignity and worth, and are to be treated with respect. I affirm them as being a unique and separate human being apart from me. In most of our human relationships, however, we treat people as objects – as an ‘it’. In an ‘I-It’ relationship, I treat you as a means to an end – as I might a toothbrush or a car …as if [you] were subhuman. …The priest and the Levite [in Jesus’ story in Luke 10] did not make the connection that emotional maturity (loving well) and loving God are inseparable. They missed the ‘thou’ lying on the side of the road and simply passed him by.” Pete Scazzero

“The Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction. True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness.” Pope Francis

“We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin …the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” Martin Luther King

“no one can tame the tongue. …Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father,
and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.
…Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”
James 3:8-10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you see loving God and loving others as “inseparable?”
  • Do you sometimes realize that you have degraded someone’s status to that of a mere object?
  • How could a “revolution of tenderness” undercut racism, materialism and militarism?

Abba, help me treat those made in your image with the dignity they deserve.

For More: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero

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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.”