Daily Riches: Only Love Can Do That (Parker Palmer, Martin Luther King, and Thomas Merton)*

“Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking.” Carl Jung

“Violence is any way we have of violating the integrity of the other. Racism and sexism are violence. Derogatory labeling of any sort constitutes violence. Rendering other people invisible or irrelevant is an act of violence. So is manipulating people towards our ends as if they were objects that existed only to serve our purposes. …Violence is not just about bombing or shooting or hitting people. To create peace in our lives–and our world–we need to be able to sit with frustration and hold the tension of opposite views.” Parker Palmer

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The child is totally available in the present because he has relatively little to remember, his experience of evil is as yet brief, and his anticipation of the future does not extend very far. The Christian, in his humility and faith, must be as totally available to his brother, to his world, in the present, as the child is. But he cannot see the world with childlike innocence and simplicity unless his memory is cleared of past evils by forgiveness, and his anticipation of the future is hopefully free of craft and calculation. For this reason, the humility of Christian nonviolence is at once patient and uncalculating. The chief difference between nonviolence and violence is that the latter depends entirely on its own calculations. The former depends entirely on God and on his word.” Thomas Merton

“How I wish today that you of all people
would understand the way to peace.”
Jesus in Luke 19:42

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you have the humility required to “hold the tension of opposite views?”
  • Is your past flooded with forgiveness so that, like a child, you have “little to remember?”
  • As you anticipate the future, are you depending on “your own calculations” or depending “on God and on his word?”
  • How can you begin practicing a new “way?”

Abba, help me understand the way of peace.

For More: “The Violence of Our Knowledge” by Parker Parker

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Thanks for reading and sharing my blog! – Bill

Daily Riches: Good Friday and Embracing Endings (Pete Scazzero and Parker Palmer)

“On Good Friday we remember that at the cross Jesus wipes away our sins, becoming a global magnet that draws the whole world to Himself. Good Friday also reminds me that embracing endings (deaths) and new beginnings (resurrections) is the pattern of life for every Christian. Nothing new takes place without an ending. A real ending – a final death – often feels like disintegration, falling apart, a coming undone. It feels that way because that is what death is. It is an ending that requires walking through a completely dark tunnel, not knowing when or if any light will come again. If we embrace these losses for the severe mercies they are, God does a profound work in us and through us in ways that are similar to what the apostle Paul describes as “death is at work in us, but life is at work in you” (2 Cor. 4:12). As a person who tends to resist accepting the necessity of endings, I consistently do four things to keep me on track:

  • I face the brutal facts of situations where things are going badly and ask hard questions, even when everything inside me prefers to distract myself or flee.
  • I remind myself not to follow my feelings during these times of embracing endings as a death.
  • I talk with seasoned mentors who are older and more experienced, asking for their perspective and wisdom.

I ask myself two questions: What is it time to let go of in my personal life and in my leadership? What new thing might be standing backstage waiting to make its entrance in my personal life and in my leadership? This second question especially encourages me to move beyond my fears, reminding me that God has something good for me in the future – even though I may not see any hints of what that might be. Parker Palmer sums it up well: ‘On the spiritual journey…each time a door closes, the rest of the world opens up. All we need to do is to stop pounding on the door just closed, turn around – which puts the door behind us – and welcome the largeness of life that now lies open to our souls.’” Pete Scazzero

“death is at work in us”
2 Corinthians 4:12

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you “embrace losses for the severe mercies they are?”
  • Can you trust that God still has something good for you when that “door” closes?
  • Can you wait well in the in between time, instead of acting out in some destructive way?

Abba, help me trust in your love when I experience the darkness of endings.

For More: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero

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I appreciate your interest in Daily Riches! Please share! –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Primary Work of the Christian Leader (Gordon MacDonald, Henri Nouwen and Parker Palmer) *

“The forming of the soul that it might be a dwelling place for God is the primary work of the Christian leader. This is not an add-on, an option, or a third-level priority. Without this core activity, one almost guarantees that he/she will not last in leadership for a life-time or that what work is accomplished will become less and less reflective of God’s honor and God’s purposes.” Gordon MacDonald

“Before we can conquer the world we must conquer the self.” Oswald Sanders

“Self care is never a selfish act. It is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have – the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” Parker Palmer

“The goal of education and formation for the ministry is continually to recognize the Lord’s voice, his face, and his touch in every person we meet.” Henri Nouwen

“How lovely is your dwelling place,
  Almighty Yahweh!
My soul yearns, even faints,
 for the courts of Yahweh;
my heart and my flesh cry out
 for the living God.”
Psalm 84:1-2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Christian leader, do you consider “the forming of your soul that it might be a dwelling place for God” to be your “primary work?” Have you established routines and prioritized practices accordingly?
  • When you think about whether you are successful, how often do you turn to consider how you’re doing at this “core activity?” If not this, what do you think about instead? Are other responsibilities, real or imagined, deterring you from this non-optional, first-level activity?
  • Gordon MacDonald is a wise guide here. Can you accept his warning that if you fail at this point you probably “will not last in leadership for a life-time … [or your work will] become less and less reflective of God’s honor” over time?  Can you take the time to be this kind of leader in spite of the expectations and pressures others place on you – even perhaps with little encouragement from anyone else?

Abba, I pray that the Christian leaders I know would live a life of deep intimacy with you. Call them to yearn for you like the psalmist does, and to seek your empowering presence. And Lord, help those of us under their care to prayerfully support them and diligently protect them when they attempt this greatest of all work.

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For More: Cultivating the Soul by Gordon MacDonald

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Your Soul as God’s Dwelling Place (Gordon MacDonald, Parker Palmer and Richard Foster) *

“The forming of the soul that it might be a dwelling place for God is the primary work of the Christian leader. This is not an add-on, an option, or a third-level priority. Without this core activity, one almost guarantees that he/she will not last in leadership for a life-time or that what work is accomplished will become less and less reflective of God’s honor and God’s purposes.”  Gordon MacDonald

“Self care is never a selfish act. It is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have – the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” Parker Palmer

“The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.” Richard Foster

“I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you,
you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing.”
Jesus in John 15:5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • The first quote is meant for pastors, but isn’t it true for all of us? The problem is, many of us (pastors included) don’t think of the forming of our own soul as our “primary work.” Do you think of this as your most important work, or are you more focused on serving God and others?
  • Can you imagine offering your best self to your marriage, your family, your neighborhood, your church, your country – to anything – without such a focus?
  • Gordon MacDonald and many of us insisted on learning this the hard way. Will you also need to learn by suffering and painful loss, or can you heed these words of warning? Can you make an action plan so that you don’t fool yourself now with merely good intentions?

Abba, I know that you have taken up residence in me already, and that I’ll always be your dwelling place. It’s only whether I’ll be a holy or unholy one, whether an expansive, welcoming one, or a restricted inhospitable one. Help me to welcome you as lovingly as you have welcomed me.

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For More: “Cultivating the Soul: Spiritual Formation Can Happen, Without Saying a Word” (article) by Gordon MacDonald

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“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” (Marie Antionette) , and thus “Men more often require to be reminded than informed.”  (Samuel Johnson) The purpose of Daily Riches is to return again and again to a list of critical concepts at the core of the spiritual life. “Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you [may] already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.” (2 Peter 1:12)  I appreciate your interest! When you find this helpful, please share! – Bill

Daily Riches: Trying to Give Water From an Empty Well (Parker Palmer and Pete Scazzero) *

“When I give something I do not possess, I give a false and dangerous gift, a gift that looks like love but is, in reality, loveless – a gift given more from my need to prove myself than from the other’s need to be cared for. One sign that I am violating my own nature in the name of nobility is a condition called burnout. Though usually regarded as a result of trying to give too much, burnout in my experience results from trying to give what I do not possess – the ultimate in giving too little! Burnout is a state of emptiness, to be sure, but it does not result from giving all I have; it merely reveals the nothingness from which I was trying to give in the first place.” Parker Palmer

“Remaining in loving union with Jesus is a matter of life and death for us as well as for everyone who looks to us for nourishment.” Peter Scazzero

“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
Jeremiah 2:13

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you ever felt burned out? Looking back, to you have insight now into what happened? Were you “giving something you did not possess?”
  • Do you see “nourishing your soul” as a matter of life and death for you? Do you see how failing do to so can make you “dangerous?”
  • Is busyness, drivenness, exhaustion or a dangerous sense of self-sufficiency keeping you from nourishing your soul?
  • You you have a specific plan to cultivate loving union with God, “the spring of living water?” If not, where could you begin?

Abba, when I come to the end of my rope – when my well is empty  – when I’m running on fumes – when my experience of you is tired or second-hand … may I remember then to address the “nothingness” in my inner life before I attempt to do anything else.  And may I remember my need even when it seems like I’m doing fine.

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For More: Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer

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“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” (Marie Antionette) , and thus “Men more often require to be reminded than informed.”  (Samuel Johnson) The purpose of Daily Riches is to return again and again to a list of critical concepts at the core of the spiritual life. “Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you [may] already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.” (2 Peter 1:12)  I appreciate your interest! When you find this helpful, please share! – Bill

Daily Riches: The Limits of Patriotism (Thomas Keating, Parker Palmer and Os Guiness)

“This sort of spiritual discipline is a therapy for the tyranny of the false self … for our over-identification with family, nation, religion, or group. Of course we owe a measure of gratitude to our nation, religion, and family. But it is interesting that Jesus said that unless we hate our parents, we can’t be his disciples. By this he didn’t mean that we should not love and respect them and care for them in their old age, as commanded by the Fourth Commandment of the Torah, but that we should not have a naive loyalty to a particular group (even one’s family) that disregards injustices that need to be corrected.” Thomas Keating

“Our problem as Americans—at least, among my race and gender—is that we resist the very ideas of limits, regarding limits of all sorts as temporary and regrettable, impositions on our lives. Our national myth is about the endless defiance of limits…. We refuse to take no for an answer.” Parker Palmer

American Cultural Core Values: information, convenience, options, time maximization, comfort, feel good, independence, happiness, entertainment, instant gratification, skepticism, image, style, and control  –  Os Guiness

“…give back to Caesar
what is Caesar’s,
and to God
what is God’s.”
Jesus in Luke 20:25

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you loyal to any group (family, church, denomination, religion, political party, nation) in a naive, uncritical way? in a way that puts that group outside the reach of the prophetic voice of Scripture and its insistence on justice?
  • Does your gratitude for, or loyalty to, any of these groups allow you, or perhaps even cause you, to “disregard injustices that need to be corrected?”
  • Have you embraced our “national myth” as described by Parker Palmer? Can you see any weaknesses in that “mythology?”
  • How many of the “American Cultural Core Values” Os Guiness mentions do you embrace? Are you allowing your religious faith to critique these values? Take some time to consider that.

Abba, forgive my blindness, my careless assumptions and my cowardly silence. Help me to pledge uncritical allegiance and absolute loyalty to you alone – the God over all, and only savior.

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For More: The Human Condition by Thomas Keating 

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In “Daily Riches” my goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate it! –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

Daily Riches: Change Yourself First (Parker Palmer)

“When I give something I do not possess, I give a false and dangerous gift, a gift that looks like love but is, in reality, loveless – a gift given more from my need to prove myself than from the other’s need to be cared for. One sign that I am violating my own nature in the name of nobility is a condition called burnout. Though usually regarded as a result of trying to give too much, burnout in my experience results from trying to give what I do not possess – the ultimate in giving too little! Burnout is a state of emptiness, to be sure, but it does not result from giving all I have; it merely reveals the nothingness from which I was trying to give in the first place.” Parker Palmer

“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
Jeremiah 2:13

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you ever felt burned out? Was it when you were trying to do something “noble?” Why do you think that happened?
  • How could one end up giving a “gift that looks like love, but it really, loveless?”
  • If the problem is “giving something you don’t possess” (giving out of “nothingness”), what is the solution?
  • Based on his words here, what do you think Palmer wants for you?

Abba, when I come to the end of my rope – when my well is empty  – when I’m running on fumes – when my experience of you is tired or second-hand … may I remember then to address the “nothingness” in my inner life before I attempt to do anything else.

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For More: Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)