Daily Riches: In Light Inaccessible, Hid From Our Eyes (Thomas Merton, Robert Russell, David Augsburger, Martin Buber, Walter Chalmers Smith)

“The division between Believer and Unbeliever ceases to be so crystal clear. It is not that some are all right and others are all wrong: all are bound to seek in honest perplexity. Everybody is an Unbeliever more or less! Only when this fact is fully experienced, accepted and lived with, does one become fit to hear the simple message of the Gospel–or any other religious teaching. The religious problem of the twentieth century is not understandable if we regard it only as a problem of Unbelievers and of atheists. It is also and perhaps chiefly a problem of Believers. The faith that has grown cold is not only the faith that the Unbeliever has lost but the faith that the Believer has kept. This faith has too often become rigid, or complex, sentimental, foolish, or impertinent. It has lost itself in imaginings and unrealities, dispersed itself in pontifical and organization routines, or evaporated in activism and loose talk.” Thomas Merton

“I am … reminded of the humility of those early theologians who knew that when we seek to speak of God we do so only out of the glimmers of understanding that sparkle amid the vast background of uncomprehended mystery, a mystery that nevertheless shines in nature and in the human spirit with unquenchable light.” Robert J. Russell

“Since nothing we intend is ever faultless, and nothing we attempt ever without error, and nothing we achieve without some measure of finitude and fallibility we call humanness, we are saved by forgiveness.” David Augsburger

“The atheist staring from his attic window is often nearer to God than the believer caught up in his own false image of God.”  Martin Buber

“Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes”
Walter Chalmers Smith

“We all stumble in many ways.” James 3:2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you have the humility that comes with knowing how much about God is “hid from your eyes?” That in some ways you’re an “unbeliever” too?
  • Has your faith become “rigid, or complex, sentimental, foolish, or impertinent?” Has it “dispersed itself in … organization routines, or evaporated in activism and loose talk?” Has it become cold? Could you be suffering from your “own false image of God?”
  • In spite of it all, can you be “saved by forgiveness?”

Abba, thank you for your constant forgiveness.

For More: Faith and Violence by Thomas Merton

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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. 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: Cutting Through Political and Religious Illusions (Vernon Howard, Thomas Merton and Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

“Every day that you attempt to see things as they are in truth is a supremely successful day.” Vernon Howard

“It seems to me that the most basic problem is not political, it is apolitical and human. One of the most important things to do is to keep cutting deliberately through political lines and barriers and emphasizing the fact that these are largely fabrications and that there is another dimension, a genuine reality, totally opposed to the fictions of politics…. My own peculiar task in my Church and in my world has been that of the solitary explorer who, instead of jumping on all the latest bandwagons at once, is bound to search the existential depths of faith in its silences, its ambiguities, and in those certainties which lie deeper than the bottom of anxiety. In those depths there are no easy answers, no pat solutions to anything. It is a kind of submarine life in which faith sometimes mysteriously takes on the aspect of doubt, when, in fact, one has to doubt and reject conventional and superstitious surrogates that have taken the place of faith. …It is not complicated to lead the spiritual life. But it is difficult. We are blind, and subject to a thousand illusions. We must expect to be making mistakes almost all the time. We must be content to fall repeatedly and to begin again to try to deny ourselves, for the love of God.” Thomas Merton

“The believer is neither a pessimist nor an optimist. To be either is illusory. The believer sees reality not in a certain light but as it is….” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Jesus, in John 8:32

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Whether in understanding politics, your religion or the people in your life, do realize that you are “blind, and subject to a thousand illusions?” Do you attempt every day “to see things as they are in truth?”
  • With the passing of time, have you recognized “conventional and superstitious surrogates that have taken the place of faith?” Stop and really think about it.
  • Is there anyone (friend, author, opponent) that can help you in this regard?

Abba, break down my cocky certainty and keep me from succumbing to the many fabrications of my day.

For More: Faith and Violence by Thomas Merton

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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)