Daily Riches: When More Knowledge, Enthusiasm and Motivation Doesn’t Work (Pete Scazzero)

“Martin Luther’s intensely disliked Jews and wrote essays against them that were resurrected and used by the Nazis. He also advised the German nobles to slaughter the rebelling peasants without mercy. Ulrich Zwingli condoned the torture and drowning of Anabaptists … because they believed in baptism by immersion. Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield were slaveholders… The great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Asuza Street (1906) in Los Angeles split terribly over race, resulting in black and white churches throughout America for decades. Many leaders of the Protestant Missionary Movement, along with a number of contemporary Evangelical leaders, failed in their marriage and family life. John Wesley, for example, couldn’t live with his wife; his marriage was … deeply troubled.

“We are quick to point out the sins of the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches located primarily in the Eastern part of the world (e.g. The Coptic church of Egypt, the Syrian Church, The Russian Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, The Armenian Church, the churches located in Iran, Iraq and in the Arab world.) We forget that, for the first 1054 years, there was only one church – the one, holy, catholic (i.e. universal), church. I meet many Christians who ignore this history, acting as if God jumped from the book of Acts to the Protestant Reformation. And [who think] if people are not evangelical or charismatic Protestants, then they are probably not Christian. There is much we can learn from Roman Catholics and Orthodox believers – even though they have plenty of problems and we do not agree on a number of points. Remember, a true believer is someone who has a living relationship with Jesus Christ who died and rose again for our sins, not someone who worships like we do. If we are going to slow down for loving union with Jesus and experience deep transformation, we must learn from those with a long history of learning in these areas. Key dimensions of a full-orbed, biblical spirituality are not strong in American Christianity. Disciplines such as silence, stillness, solitude, and waiting on God, for example, are almost nonexistent in our churches.” Pete Scazzero

“… the truth will set you free.” – Jesus

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Different religious traditions emphasize different things. Are you aware of important spiritual practices not emphasized in your tradition?
  • All Christians are misguided or misinformed in some ways. Could some Christians, misinformed about some things, know something of value you don’t know about others?
  • Does your church communicate the importance of “silence, stillness, solitude, [slowing down] and waiting on God?” – things that work where more information, inspiration and motivation don’t?

Abba, teach us that promised freedom which is freedom indeed.

For More: Finding Our Way Again by Brian McLaren

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 Thanks for reading/sharing this blog!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Wisdom Through the Awful Grace of God (Simone Weil, David Benner, Pete Scazzero and Aeschylus)

“Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget

falls drop by drop upon the heart
until, in our own despair, against our will,
comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
Aeschylus

“Misfortunes leave wounds which bleed drop by drop even in sleep; thus little by little they train man by force and dispose him to wisdom in spite of himself. Man must learn to think of himself as a limited and dependent being; and only suffering teaches him this. …Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand. …Difficult as it is really to listen to someone in affliction, it is just as difficult for him to know that compassion is listening to him. …The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, ‘What are you going through?’” Simone Weil

“Suffering can be a path to awakening when we engage it with receptivity to the gifts it holds rather than simply attempt to endure it. One of those gifts is that suffering has unique capacity to help us soften and release attachments and move toward a life of non-attachment. Simone Weil said that suffering that does not detach us is wasted suffering. Don’t waste suffering. It’s always a shame to have to repeat lessons because we don’t get their point but suffering is a particularly bad lesson to be slow to get.” David Benner

“The sad reality is that most of us will not go forward until the pain of staying where we are is unbearable.”  Pete Scazzero

“Do not be like a senseless horse or mule    
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
Psalm 32:9

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you come to see yourself as “a limited and dependent being?”
  • Do you work to “place yourself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them?” …to suffer with them? If not, why not, since understanding them must necessarily precede loving them well?
  • Are you waiting to make some change God wants until things become “unbearable?” Are you at risk of needing to “repeat” difficult lessons that the “awful grace of God” has been trying to teach you?

Abba, help me to heed the lessons of your sometimes awful grace.

For More: Spirituality and the Awakened Self by David Benner

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. Thank you for following and sharing my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Revolution of Tenderness and the Evils of Racism, Materialism and Militarism (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 Head to 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: The Impact of Others on Your Emotional Health (Pete Scazzero, Francis Fenelon, Oswald Chambers and Thomas Merton)

“We can often do more for other men by trying to correct our own faults than by trying to correct theirs.” Francis Fenelon

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

“In this journey of emotionally healthy spirituality, we are talking about radical change at the core of our being. At least two critical forces hinder such a profound shift. First, the pressure of others to keep us living lives that are not our own is enormous. And second, our own stubborn self-will is much deeper and more insidious than we think. The possibility of self-deception is so great that without mature companions we can easily fall into the trap of living in illusions.” Pete Scazzero

“A current of useless interior activity constantly surrounds and defends an illusion. I cannot find God unless I renounce this useless activity, and I cannot renounce this activity unless I let go of the illusion it defends. And I cannot get rid of an illusion unless I recognize it for an illusion.”  Thomas Merton

“I want to do what is good,
but I don’t.
I don’t want to do what is wrong,
but I do ….”
Romans 7:19

Moving From the Head to the Heart

We must “correct our own faults” and let God deal with the faults of others. Most of us don’t do this easily, and, as Scazzero points out, when we do manage to focus on radical change at the core of our being “at least two critical forces hinder such a profound shift.”

  • Change is not only hard for us, but for others who are comfortable with the “system” we share with them. Change shakes up everything and everyone. Have you noticed others working hard to resist your determined efforts to change? If so, what has been your response?
  • Have you learned that your own “stubborn self-will is much deeper and more insidious than you think?” If so, how have you responded to that?
  • Are you perhaps under the illusion that those around you want you to change? or that personal change will occur somewhat efficiently now that you are seriously motivated? now that you are practicing disciplines for “radical change at the core of your being?”

Jesus, grant me mature friends to help me recognize the illusions at work in my life.

For More: No Man Is An Island 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)

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

Daily Riches: The Wine We Are Becoming (Henri Nouwen, Avery Dulles, Hellen Keller and St. John of the Cross)

“We never know the wine we are becoming while we are being crushed like grapes.” Henri Nouwen

“The good life does not have to be an easy one, as our blessed Lord and the saints have taught us. … Suffering and diminishment are not the greatest of evils, but are normal ingredients in life, especially in old age. They are to be accepted as elements of a full human existence. Well into my 90th year I have been able to work productively. As I become increasingly paralyzed and unable to speak, I can identify with the many paralytics and mute persons in the Gospels, grateful for the loving and skillful care I receive and for the hope of everlasting life in Christ. If the Lord now calls me to a period of weakness, I know well that his power can be made perfect in infirmity. ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord!'”  Avery Dulles

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“Contradictions, sickness, scruples, spiritual aridity, and all the inner and outward torments are the chisel with which God carves his statues for paradise.”  Alphonsus Liguori

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Helen Keller

“And I saw the river over which every soul must pass to reach the kingdom of heaven and the name of that river was suffering – and I saw the boat which carries souls across the river and the name of the boat was love.”  Saint John of the Cross

“it was fitting for Him
for whom are all things,
and through whom are all things,
in bringing many sons to glory,
to perfect the author of their salvation
through sufferings.”
Hebrews 2:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Think of people you know and all the reasons that people suffer. Do you think you can somehow escape suffering?
  • Jesus suffered in order to be perfected. Some things can only be accomplished by suffering. Can you embrace suffering in your life as not only inescapable, but necessary, even good?
  • “The good life does not have to be an easy one”, in fact, it can’t be. How are you making your life a good life “while you are being crushed like grapes?”

Abba, thank you for the boat that carries me across the river of suffering.

For More: St. John of the Cross: Selected Writings

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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: Practicing the Presence … Vertical and Horizontal (J. I. Packer, Pete Scazzero, Jean Vanier)

“We only honor God as we honor his image in the other person by practical love to that person, whoever he or she may be: rich or poor, strong or weak, red or yellow, black or white, conventional or wild, respectable or rough, significant or unimportant in the community. To put it the other way round, honoring and loving God means refusing one’s natural inclination to withhold love and honor from people whom one finds awkward, repellent, and inconvenient.” J. I. Packer

“As emotionally mature Christian adults, we recognize that loving well is the essence of true spirituality. This requires that we experience connection with God, with ourselves, and with other people. God invites us to practice his presence in our daily lives. At the same time, he invites us to ‘practice the presence of people,’ within an awareness of his presence, in our daily relationships. Sadly, the two are rarely brought together. Jesus’ profound, contemplative prayer life with his Father resulted in a contemplative presence with people. Love is ‘to reveal the beauty of another person to themselves,’ wrote Jean Vanier. Jesus did that with each person he met. We see this in his interaction with the woman suffering from a twelve-year bleeding problem (Mark 5). This ability to really listen and pay attention to people was at the very heart of Jesus’ mission, and it could not help but move him to compassion. In the same way, out of our contemplative time with God, we too are invited to be prayerfully present to people, revealing their beauty to them.” Pete Scazzero

“… the one who does not love his brother
whom he has seen,
cannot love God
whom he has not seen.”
1 John 4:20

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you find that you are naturally included “to withhold love and honor from people whom you find awkward, repellent, and inconvenient?” Yeah, me too.
  • Loving well requires being “present” to God and people, yet “sadly, the two are rarely brought together.” Do you work at both?
  • Do you see loving well in this way as the “essence of true spirituality?” Have you perhaps put something else first?

Abba, most of all, let me love.

For More: Christianity the True Humanism by J. I. Packer

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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.”