Daily Riches: When Only Empathy Will Do (Peter Scazzero and Martin Buber)

“Before the war began, [Martin] Buber considered the ‘religious’ to be mystical experiences that lifted him out of the earthly ordinary experiences of everyday life. He was more concerned with the eternal than with the temporal, more focused on ecstasy that on daily existence, more interested in what lies beyond the world than in the world itself. That all changed one day in 1914, the year the World War I broke out in Europe, when a young man came to visit Buber.

What happened was no more than that one forenoon, after a morning of ‘religious’ enthusiasm, I had a visit from an unknown young man, without being there in spirit. I certainly did not fail to let the meeting be friendly. . . . I conversed attentively and openly with him–only I omitted to guess the questions which he did not put. Later, not long after, I learned from one of his friends–he himself was no longer alive–the essential content of these questions; I learned that he had come to me not casually but borne by destiny, not for a chat but for a decision. He had come to me, he had come in this hour.

“The young man had committed suicide. The guilt Buber felt was not that he had somehow failed to remove the young man’s despair, but that he was not fully present to him. He was so preoccupied by his religious experience earlier that morning, that he failed to bring the full resources of his attention to their conversation. He did not turn to the young man with his whole being to actually feel with him. Instead, of genuinely listening, he brought leftovers, a courteous but partial engagement. For Buber, the experience felt like a judgment on his whole way of life. He realized that it is possible to have profound spiritual experiences . . . but that such a faith is worth nothing without a deeply present love for people.” Peter Scazzero

“But they did not understand what he meant
and were afraid to ask him about it.”
Mark 9:32 NIV

Moving from Head to Heart

  • How do you think Jesus felt when he spoke about his coming death, and no one asked him what he meant?
  • Can you recall a time when you tragically failed to listen well?
  • What can you do to become a better listener?

Abba, when I listen, help me focus on what’s happening inside the other person, not inside of me.

For More: Emotionally Healthy Relationships Day by Day by Peter Scazzero

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: 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.”

Daily Riches: Uncomprehended Mystery and Unquenchable Light (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 Head to 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

_________________________________________________

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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