Daily Riches: Disrupting the Dominant Culture With Tenderness (Ed Clark and Pope Francis)

“I sat in the audience as the silence settled over the crowd. Rather than seeing this 80-year-old priest’s message as out-of-date or cliché, rather than pushing back against the value of religious belief writ large, it seemed like the TED audience was actually starving for his words. What struck me most was what he said about our need for a ‘revolution in tenderness’:

And what is tenderness? It is the love that comes close and becomes real. It is a movement that starts from our heart and reaches the eyes, the ears and the hands. Tenderness means to use our eyes to see the other, our ears to hear the other, to listen to the children, the poor, those who are afraid of the future.

At a conference known for its culture of young people celebrating ‘moving fast and breaking things,’ here was an old man talking about slowing down and really seeing people. At a conference where positivity and courage are celebrated, where the future is often painted with an unapologetically optimistic patina, here was a reminder that the world doesn’t feel so hospitable to everyone, that people have deep and understandable fear of what is around the corner—either in their personal lives or in our political sphere. It was truly radical. Tenderness, it strikes me, is an endangered virtue in so many of our professional and public spaces.  …when I’m out in the ‘real world,’ I am conditioned to produce, achieve, and only ask for or offer help if its understood as a mechanism for getting to a goal faster or better, not acknowledging inherent human weakness. …There are so many moments in our fast, furious public lives these days where we miss an opportunity for this kind of brave tenderness, this kind of dignifying gravity. We rush through our neighborhoods, through airports, through workplaces as if trying to bypass the presence of embarrassing emotion, as if none of it matters enough to slow us down, as if—and this is the Pope’s real point—no one matters enough to slow us down. So this week …I’m going to slow down wherever and whenever I feel tenderness—in myself or others—and actually experience it.  …I’m going to, as the TEDsters might say, ‘disrupt’ the dominant culture—not with a new app or a crazy idea—but with the unorthodox assumption that there is room enough for tenderness, here and now, always.”

“therefore if you have any tenderness…”
Philippians 2:1

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you striving for tenderness?
  • Can you afford the time to show tenderness? …to receive it?
  • Where can you practice “revolutionary” tenderness?

Abba, help me disrupt the dominant culture.

For More: The Infinite Tenderness Of God by Pope Francis

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Thanks for following my blog! – Bill

Daily Riches: Adjusting to God’s Slowness (Tertullian, Pete Scazzero, Pope Francis and Dan Allender)

“Impatience is, as it were, the original sin in the eyes of the Lord. For, to put it in a nutshell, every sin is to be traced back to impatience. I find the origin of impatience in the Devil himself. …When the Spirit of God descends, patience is His inseparable companion. If we fail to welcome it along with the Spirit, will the latter remain within us at all times? As a matter of fact, I rather think the Spirit would not remain at all.” Tertullian

“Tertullian expounds on a truth we rarely talk about – i.e. God’s nature to be patient. …Tertullian’s exhortation on patience keeps me anchored in peace and joy since the realization of goals almost always take much longer than I expect.” Pete Scazzero

“I am always wary of decisions made hastily. I am always wary of the first decision, that is, the first thing that comes to my mind if I have to make a decision. This is usually the wrong thing. I have to wait and assess, looking deep into myself, taking the necessary time.” Pope Francis

“God is not bound by time, nor is our story. We desperately want our situation solved. We want resolution. But God unfolds the plot in his own time. It is in our months or years of waiting that our story comes to maturity. It is over a lifetime of stories that he turns our desire toward him.” Dan Allender

“Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering,
take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.”
James 5:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • “When the Spirit of God descends, patience is His inseparable companion.” Are you a patient person?
  • Do you allow for the fact that “the realization of goals almost always takes much longer than you expect?”
  • Are you wary of “decisions made hastily?” of the “first decision?” What does this look like in your actual experience?
  • Do you know how to look “deep into yourself” so that you act with an awareness of your unconscious motives?
  • Is there a spiritual discipline you can devise to help you develop a slower, more aware approach to decision making?

Abba, here it is, yet another reason for me to learn to slow down.

For More: To Be Told by Dan Allender

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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 Encounter with Jesus (Madeleine L’Engle, Pope Francis, Henri Nouwen, Heidi Baker, and Teresa of Avila)

“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.” Madeleine L’Engle

“Giving them the beauty of the Gospel, the amazement of the encounter with Jesus … and leaving it to the Holy Spirit to do the rest. It is the Lord, says the Gospel, who makes the seed spring and bear fruit.” Pope Francis (on evangelism) “The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission.” Pope John Paul II

“If we want to be witnesses like Jesus, our only concern should be to be as alive with the love of God as Jesus was.” Henri Nouwen

“Ministry is simply about loving the person in front of you. It’s about stopping for the one and being the very fragrance of Jesus to a lost and dying world.” Heidi Baker

“Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.”
Teresa of Avila

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.” Acts 2:32

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Proofs and arguments are no substitute for an “encounter with Jesus”, and such an encounter, will often be through you. What are the implications of this as you think about sharing your faith?
  • There are many ways to unintentionally skew the divine intention for another person to encounter Jesus. How do you get in the way? What can you do to facilitate such an encounter?
  • Our need to be “the very fragrance of Jesus” to the one before us, means that the most critical part of evangelism occurs before any meeting or conversation takes place – in our preparation to give “the witness of a Christian life” and be “alive with the love of God.” What can you do to be “alive with the love of God?”

Abba, by your grace, when others encounter me, may they also encounter Jesus and his love – and be changed.

For More: Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle

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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: Scandalized By the Freedom of God (Pope Francis)

Today the word of God surprises us with powerful and thought-provoking images…. In the first reading, Joshua tells Moses that two members of the people are prophesying, speaking God’s word, without a mandate. In the Gospel, John tells Jesus that the disciples had stopped someone from casting out evil spirits in the name of Jesus. Here is the surprise: Moses and Jesus both rebuke those closest to them for being so narrow! Would that all could be prophets of God’s word! Would that everyone could work miracles in the Lord’s name! Jesus encountered hostility from people who did not accept what he said and did. For them, his openness to the honest and sincere faith of many men and women who were not part of God’s chosen people seemed intolerable. The disciples, for their part, acted in good faith. But the temptation to be scandalized by the freedom of God, who sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous alike (Mt 5:45), bypassing bureaucracy, officialdom and inner circles, threatens the authenticity of faith. Hence it must be vigorously rejected. Once we realize this, we can understand why Jesus’ words about causing ‘scandal’ are so harsh. For Jesus, the truly ‘intolerable’ scandal consists in everything that breaks down and destroys our trust in the working of the Spirit! Our Father will not be outdone in generosity and he continues to scatter seeds. He scatters the seeds of his presence in our world, for ‘love consists in this, not that we have loved God but that he loved us’ first (1 Jn 4:10). That love gives us a profound certainty: we are sought by God; he waits for us. It is this confidence which makes disciples encourage, support and nurture the good things happening all around them. God wants all his children to take part in the feast of the Gospel. Jesus says, ‘Do not hold back anything that is good, instead help it to grow!’ To raise doubts about the working of the Spirit, to give the impression that it cannot take place in those who are not ‘part of our group’, who are not ‘like us’, is a dangerous temptation. Not only does it block conversion to the faith; it is a perversion of faith!” Pope Francis

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you sometimes “scandalized by the freedom of God?” Do you see the Pope as a scandalous outsider?
  • Is your God one who “will not be outdone in generosity?” …who seeks us and “waits for us?”
  • The Spirit of God will “blow where it wills.” Does that make you uncomfortable?

Abba, help us to appreciate your work outside “the approved channels.”

For More: The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis

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Thanks so much for reading and sharing my blog!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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: The Globalisation of Indifference Towards the Poor (Pope Francis)

“Jesus states that we cannot serve two masters, God and wealth. … Jesus tells us what the ‘protocol’ is, on which we will be judged: I was hungry, I was thirsty, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me, clothed me, visited me, took care of me. (Matthew 25) Whenever we do this to one of our brothers, we do this to Jesus. Caring for our neighbour; for those who are poor, who suffer in body and in soul, for those who are in need. This is the touchstone. …Poverty takes us away from idolatry and from feeling self-sufficient. …the Gospel does not condemn the wealthy, but the idolatry of wealth, the idolatry that makes people indifferent to the call of the poor. …

‘The Church [is] everyone’s Church, and particularly the Church of the poor.’ (Pope John XXIII)

In the following years, this preferential treatment of the poor entered the official teachings. Some may think a novelty, whilst instead it is a concern that stems from the Gospel and is documented even from the first centuries of Christianity. If I repeated some passages from the homilies of the Church Fathers, in the second or third century, about how we must treat the poor, some would accuse me of giving a Marxist homily.

‘You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich.’ (St. Ambrose) … ‘not sharing your goods with the poor means robbing them and taking away their life.’ (St. John Chrysostom)

…this concern for the poor is in the Gospel, it is within the tradition of the Church, it is not an invention of communism…. The Church, when it invites us to overcome what I have called ‘the globalisation of indifference’, is free from any political interest and any ideology. It is moved only by Jesus’ words, and wants to offer its contribution to build a world where we look after one another and care for each other.” Pope Francis

Moving From Head to Heart

  • What feelings arise when you hear Pope Francis suggest building “a world where we look after one another?”
  • Is your church “indifferent to the call of the poor?” Is it a church “of the poor?”
  • Have you imagined being truly poor?

Abba, help!

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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)

Daily Riches: The Globalization of Indifference (Pope Francis)

“Jesus states that we cannot serve two masters, God and wealth. … Jesus tells us what the ‘protocol’ is, on which we will be judged: I was hungry, I was thirsty, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me, clothed me, visited me, took care of me. (Matthew 25) Whenever we do this to one of our brothers, we do this to Jesus. Caring for our neighbour; for those who are poor, who suffer in body and in soul, for those who are in need. This is the touchstone. …Poverty takes us away from idolatry and from feeling self-sufficient. …the Gospel does not condemn the wealthy, but the idolatry of wealth, the idolatry that makes people indifferent to the call of the poor. …

‘The Church [is] everyone’s Church, and particularly the Church of the poor.’ (Pope John XXIII)

In the following years, this preferential treatment of the poor entered the official teachings. Some may think a novelty, whilst instead it is a concern that stems from the Gospel and is documented even from the first centuries of Christianity. If I repeated some passages from the homilies of the Church Fathers, in the second or third century, about how we must treat the poor, some would accuse me of giving a Marxist homily.

‘You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich.’ (St. Ambrose) … ‘not sharing your goods with the poor means robbing them and taking away their life.’ (St. John Chrysostom)

…this concern for the poor is in the Gospel, it is within the tradition of the Church, it is not an invention of communism…. The Church, when it invites us to overcome what I have called ‘the globalisation of indifference’, is free from any political interest and any ideology. It is moved only by Jesus’ words, and wants to offer its contribution to build a world where we look after one another and care for each other.” Pope Francis

Moving From Head to Heart

  • What feelings arise when you hear Pope Francis suggest building “a world where we look after one another?”
  • Is your church “indifferent to the call of the poor?” Is it a “church of the poor?” Have you imagined being truly poor?

Abba, help!

_________________________________________________

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)

Daily Riches: The Encounter with Jesus (Madeleine L’Engle, Pope Francis, Henri Nouwen, Heidi Baker, and Teresa of Avila)

“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.” Madeleine L’Engle

“Giving them the beauty of the Gospel, the amazement of the encounter with Jesus … and leaving it to the Holy Spirit to do the rest. It is the Lord, says the Gospel, who makes the seed spring and bear fruit.” Pope Francis (on evangelism) “The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission.” Pope John Paul II

“If we want to be witnesses like Jesus, our only concern should be to be as alive with the love of God as Jesus was.” Henri Nouwen

“Ministry is simply about loving the person in front of you. It’s about stopping for the one and being the very fragrance of Jesus to a lost and dying world.” Heidi Baker

       “Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.”
Teresa of Avila

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.” Acts 2:32

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Proofs and arguments are no substitute for an “encounter with Jesus”, and such an encounter, will often be through you. What are the implications of this as you think about sharing your faith?
  • There are many ways to unintentionally skew the divine intention for another person to encounter Jesus. How do you get in the way? What can you do to facilitate such an encounter?
  • Our need to be “the very fragrance of Jesus” to the one before us, means that the most critical part of evangelism occurs before any meeting or conversation takes place – in our preparation to give “the witness of a Christian life” and be “alive with the love of God.” What can you do to be “alive with the love of God?”

Abba, by your grace, when others encounter me, may they also encounter Jesus and his love – and be changed.

For More: Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle

_________________________________________________

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: Working with God’s Slowness (Tertullian, Pete Scazzero, Pope Francis and Dan Allender)

“Impatience is, as it were, the original sin in the eyes of the Lord. For, to put it in a nutshell, every sin is to be traced back to impatience. I find the origin of impatience in the Devil himself. …When the Spirit of God descends, patience is His inseparable companion. If we fail to welcome it along with the Spirit, will the latter remain within us at all times? As a matter of fact, I rather think the Spirit would not remain at all.” Tertullian

“Tertullian expounds on a truth we rarely talk about – i.e. God’s nature to be patient. …Tertullian’s exhortation on patience keeps me anchored in peace and joy since the realization of goals almost always take much longer than I expect.” Pete Scazzero

“I am always wary of decisions made hastily. I am always wary of the first decision, that is, the first thing that comes to my mind if I have to make a decision. This is usually the wrong thing. I have to wait and assess, looking deep into myself, taking the necessary time.” Pope Francis

“God is not bound by time, nor is our story. We desperately want our situation solved. We want resolution. But God unfolds the plot in his own time. It is in our months or years of waiting that our story comes to maturity. It is over a lifetime of stories that he turns our desire toward him.” Dan Allender

“Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering,
take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.”
James 5:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • “When the Spirit of God descends, patience is His inseparable companion.” Are you a patient person?
  • Do you allow for the fact that “the realization of goals almost always takes much longer than you expect?”
  • Are you wary of “decisions made hastily?” of the “first decision?” What does this look like in your actual experience?
  • Do you know how to look “deep into yourself” so that you act with an awareness of your unconscious motives?
  • Is there a spiritual discipline you can devise to help you develop a slower, more aware approach to decision making?

Abba, here it is, yet another reason for me to learn to slow down.

For More: To Be Told by Dan Allender

_________________________________________________

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: Solitude and the Chattering Monkeys (Henri Nouwen, Pope Francis and David K. Flowers) *

“In solitude I get rid of my scaffolding; no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no meetings to attend, no music to entertain, no books to distract, just me—naked, vulnerable, weak, sinful, deprived, broken—nothing. It is this nothingness that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something. But that is not all. As soon as I decide to stay in my solitude, confusing ideas, disturbing images, wild fantasies, and weird associations jump about in my mind like monkeys in a banana tree. Anger and greed begin to show their ugly faces. I give long, hostile speeches to my enemies and dream lustful dreams in which I am wealthy, influential, and very attractive—or poor, ugly, and in need of immediate consolation.  … The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone.” Henri Nouwen

“In the history of salvation,
neither in the clamour nor in the blatant,
but the Shadows and the Silence
are the places in which God chose
to reveal himself to humankind.”
Pope Francis

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you avoid solitude? If so, why?
  • Are you expecting to find God, or be found by him in crowd’s “clamour?”
  •  Are you willing to “persevere” in your solitude until the “monkeys in the banana tree” give up and leave you alone?

“The world is full of people wanting to solve [its] problems. But the world would profit much more if people would first confront their own anxieties and the things that cause them 1) to have to fill every silence with meaningless chatter, 2) to stay constantly busy, and 3) to do anything to avoid being still.” David K. Flowers

Abba, deliver me from these tactics.

__________

For More: The Essential Henri Nouwen

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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)

Daily Riches: Solitude and the Chattering Monkeys (Henri Nouwen and Pope Francis)

“In solitude I get rid of my scaffolding; no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no meetings to attend, no music to entertain, no books to distract, just me—naked, vulnerable, weak, sinful, deprived, broken—nothing. It is this nothingness that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something. But that is not all. As soon as I decide to stay in my solitude, confusing ideas, disturbing images, wild fantasies, and weird associations jump about in my mind like monkeys in a banana tree. Anger and greed begin to show their ugly faces. I give long, hostile speeches to my enemies and dream lustful dreams in which I am wealthy, influential, and very attractive—or poor, ugly, and in need of immediate consolation.  … The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone.” Henri Nouwen

“In the history of salvation,
neither in the clamour nor in the blatant,
but the Shadows and the Silence
are the places in which God chose
to reveal himself to humankind.”
Pope Francis

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you avoid solitude? If so, why?
  • Are you expecting to find God, or be found by him in crowd’s “clamour?”
  •  Are you willing to “persevere” in your solitude until the “monkeys in the banana tree” give up and leave you alone?

“The world is full of people wanting to solve [its] problems. But the world would profit much more if people would first confront their own anxieties and the things that cause them 1) to have to fill every silence with meaningless chatter, 2) to stay constantly busy, and 3) to do anything to avoid being still.” David K. Flowers

Abba, deliver me from these tactics.

__________

For More: The Essential Henri Nouwen

_________________________________________________

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)