Daily Riches: The Divine Emphasis on Economic Justice (Walter Brueggemann)

 “But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, then I will uproot Israel from this land …. reject this Temple …. [and] make Israel an object of mockery….” 1 Kings 9:6-7

“…the problem that now jeopardizes the city [Jerusalem] is not a large disregard of creation. That is too cosmic for this poet [Jeremiah] or the God he speaks. The problem for biblical faith is always more concrete. When the moral shape of reality is disregarded, the crisis does not show up in some generalized way. It shows up, characteristically, as neighbor crisis…:

“Like fowlers they set a trap;
they catch human beings.
Like a cage full of birds….”
Jeremiah 5:26b-27a

“They use and abuse and exploit because, without an ‘if,’ [see 1 Kings above] everything is possible – greed, brutality, despair, all of it, with the neighbor as target. In our stupidity, these folk do not look like neighbors that are protected by God’s ‘if.’ They look only like an inconvenience, or even a threat. And, you guessed it: this whole abusive insensitivity comes down, as it always does, to economics. it does not come down to sexuality or to purity or to private morality, but to dollar power and dollar manipulation:

“Therefore they have become great and rich,
they have grown fat and sleek,
They know no limits in deeds of wickedness;
they do not judge with justice
the cause of the orphan, to make it prosper,
and they do not defend the rights of the needy.”
Jeremiah 5:27b-28

…The poet makes a  very quick, very large travel from the God who tames chaos (v. 22) to the crisis of drought (v. 24) to economic abuse of neighbor (vv. 26-28). In such a quick review, the poet places on God’s lips the assertion of a connection between specific neighbor care and the vast problem of chaos and order. And between the specific neighbor and the large order of the cosmos is the problem of drought and the undoing of a ‘sustainable creation.’ It is all there, all held together, in five quick verses, all an invitation for the numbed city to awaken, for those who refuse to see and to fear and to tremble [vv. 21,22].” Walter Brueggemann

Moving From Head to Heart

  • If “neighbor crisis” signifies a society’s moral failure, how would measure your society?
  • The prophets emphasize economic justice (“defending the rights of the needy.”) Is this important to you?
  • Today, when our cities “refuse to see and to fear and to tremble” we are hardly surprised, but what about when Christian communities are “numbed?”

Abba, may we not be your foolish and senseless people.

For More: Threat of Life by Walter Brueggemann

_________________________________________________

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

Daily Riches: Boldly Loving the Unloved (Matt McAlack)

“This past winter, we had unusually cold weather…. Some nights, temperatures plummeted below zero. Dashing from a warm car through the cold into a warm house, I thought of the dozens of people …near our University, who had no warm place to sleep. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it would be to try to survive overnight in the cold. The physical cold might be unbearable, but for me, the more painful reality would be that no one loved me enough to invite me inside on such a cold night. I grew up in a Christian environment, but as a child and teenager, I heard very little about God’s heart for those in need. I’m not sure how we missed it, because the Bible is full of passages speaking about God’s justice, compassion, and faithful love for those who have nothing, who are marginalized or oppressed. God is pleased when His church acts like Him, showing compassion for those in need, and God can use this generosity to lead those who don’t know Him to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Social justice is not the gospel, but it is a natural consequence of the gospel taking root in our hearts. Jesus’ half-brother James says that true faith produces godly action (James 1:22). He further explains that true devotion to God results in taking action to care for those who could never repay us: “orphans and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27, ESV). …In Isaiah 58, the children of Israel are rebuked because of their lack of response to the oppressed, the hungry, and the homeless. The children of Israel were repeatedly commanded to care for those who were displaced or in need, because the Israelites themselves were once immigrants in need. Now they were practicing outward religious activities such as fasting, but they were not demonstrating any evidence of a heart like God’s heart.” Matt McAlack

 “our Lord Jesus Christ … though He was rich,
yet for your sake …became poor”
2 Corinthians 8:9

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • If you were sitting on the sidewalk in the bitter cold, ignored by people walking past, would you feel loved by God?
  • Doesn’t practicing “social justice” create a context which gives meaning and power to the gospel when it’s preached? If a “gospel” fails the “justice test”, can it really be “good news?”
  • Are you developing a “heart like God’s heart” – not only in church, but on the street?

Abba, help us embrace the poverty that will enable us to enrich others.

For More:  The Prodigal God by Tim Keller

_________________________________________________

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

Daily Riches: Inconspicuous Piety and the Santification of Trifles (Abraham Heschel, Teresa of Avila, William Wordsworth, and Aldous Huxley)

“The path of spirituality is a knife-edge between abysses.” Aldous Huxley

“We are ready to applaud dramatic struggles once a year in Washington. For the sake of lofty principles we will spend a day or two in jail somewhere in Alabama. But that prosaic demand for housing without vermin, for adequate schools, for adequate employment – right here in the vicinity of Park Avenue in New York City – sound so trite, so drab, so banal, so devoid of magnificence. …The [Hebrew] prophets field of concern is not the mysteries of heaven, the glories of eternity, but the blights of society, the affairs of the market place. …The predominant feature of the biblical pattern of life is unassuming, unheroic, inconspicuous piety, the sanctification of trifles….” Abraham Heschel

“The best portion of a good man’s life: his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” William Wordsworth

“Let there be no disappointment when obedience keeps you busy in outward tasks. If it sends you to the kitchen, remember that the Lord walks among the pots an pans.” Teresa of Avila

“Among my people are wicked men
who lie in wait for victims like a hunter hiding in a blind.
They continually set traps to catch people.
Like a cage filled with birds,
their homes are filled with evil plots.
And now they are great and rich.
They are fat and sleek,
and there is no limit to their wicked deeds.
They refuse to provide justice to orphans
and deny the rights of the poor.”
Jeremiah 5:23-28

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • When is the last time you carefully read the Prophets? Have you drunk deeply enough there to be aware of their “field of concern?”
  • Are you committed to heroic, “dramatic struggles” on behalf of the poor or others? Does that keep you from “remembering the Lord among the pots and pans?”
  • Are you engaged in spiritual practices? Is your aim something like “inconspicuous piety?” Does that keep you from activity to address “the blights of society?”
  • What, in really concrete terms, would it mean for you to practice the “sanctification of trifles?”

Abba, balance me on the path which is a knife-edge between abysses.

For More:  The Insecurity of Freedom by Abraham Heschel

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. 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: Moving Upstream for Social Change (Oscar Romero, Saul Alinsky, and Janey Skinner)

“Imagine a large river with a high waterfall. At the bottom of this waterfall hundreds of people are working frantically trying to save those who have fallen into the river and have fallen down the waterfall, many of them drowning. As the people along the shore are trying to rescue as many as possible one individual looks up and sees a seemingly never-ending stream of people falling down the waterfall and begins to run upstream. One of other rescuers hollers, ‘Where are you going? There are so many people that need help here.’ To which the man replied, ‘I’m going upstream to find out why so many people are falling into the river.’ Saul Alinsky

“[Other] rescuers notice that while there are too many babies coming floating down the river to save them all, the chubby ones float pretty well, so they focus on pulling out the skinny ones. One of the rescuers jumps in and starts teaching the babies in the river how to swim.” Janey Skinner

“… if we really want an effective end to violence we must remove the violence that lies at the root of all violence: structural violence, social injustice, exclusion of citizens from the management of the country, repression. All this is what constitutes the primal cause, from which the rest flows naturally.” Oscar Romero

“Take away from Me the noise of your songs;
I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters
And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
Amos 5:23,24

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you good at worship (“songs and harps”) and weak on seeing to “justice?” How about your church?
  • Have you ventured into the river to try to help it’s victims?
  • Have you ventured upstream to try to try to discover the cause of the crisis?
  • Is all your time and energy invested in “pulling out the skinny ones” and “teaching babies how to swim?”

Abba, make my religion one of doing not only of thinking and believing. Make my attempts to help others wise ones, not only sincere and determined ones.

For More: Welcoming Justice by Charles Marsh and John Perkins

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. 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: Learning from the South and East, the Black and the Brown (Jim Wallis)

“What brought me to Korea was a unique ‘Global Forum for the Future of World Christianity.’ Held on Jeju Island, off the coast of South Korea, it was hosted by three of the largest megachurches in South Korea (and the world) including Myungsung Church. That means this Korean conference of evangelical and Pentecostal leaders from around the world was financially independent from American evangelicalism’s money and political ideology. …for the first time in 1,000 years, more Christians are found in the global South than the North. The center of Christianity has dramatically shifted, and that means the agenda was very different from the northern and western agendas of the older white evangelicals in America and the issues they think most important. Korea could play a particular and convening role as a bridge between the churches of the global north and south. …these global South evangelicals spent their time together wrestling with issues of global economic inequality, the realities of climate change, the imperatives of racial justice, and the need for Christians to wage peace instead of war. Since these are the issues that global evangelical and Pentecostal constituencies are facing in their own lives – and of course, the Bible addresses all of them as central issues Christians need to confront – the narrow, white American evangelical agenda had no interest in this global evangelical and Pentecostal forum. The fact is that they represent a different evangelical world. …How refreshing it was to be in the presence of leaders of faith – heads of these huge churches that represent millions – who are more interested in the needs of the poor and the call of Christ than … reducing gospel concerns to a few hot button social and sexual issues. Their wider global evangelical agenda rings true with black and brown evangelicals in America and a new generation of even white evangelicals emerging in America. Both globally and here in America, these emerging leaders give me hope.” Jim Wallis

“I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight”
Jeremiah 9:24

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Must we choose between Western and Southern evangelical concerns? What would a “Yes, And …” approach look like?
  • Have you unintentionally or thoughtlessly adopted a parochial approach?
  • Do issues like dramatic economic inequality, perilous climate change, the need for racial justice, and supporting peace-making instead of war-making seem to you like valid Biblical concerns? ones that ought to be addressed from the pulpit?

Abba, use my brothers and sisters to the South and East, black and brown – and poor, to stretch me, and help me see with new eyes.

For More: From Times Square to Timbuktu by Wes Granberg-Michaelson

_________________________________________________

Thanks for following “Daily Riches!” –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Detaching Religion From Power and Money (Hans Küng and Richard Rohr)

Jesus turns with sympathy and compassion to all those to whom no one else turns; the weak, sick, neglected, social rejects. People were and are always glad to pass these sorts by. …And the devout monks of Qumran (and similarly up to a point the rabbis), faithful to their rule, excluded from the very beginning certain groups of men: ‘No madmen, or lunatic, or simpleton, or fool, no blind man, or maimed, or lame, or deaf man, and no minor, shall enter into the Community….’ Jesus does not turn away from any of these …but draws them to himself….” Hans Küng
.

“We see in the Gospels that it’s the lame, the poor, the blind, the prostitutes, the drunkards, the tax collectors, the sinners, the outsiders, and the foreigners who tend to follow Jesus. It is those on the inside and the top who crucify him (elders, chief priests, teachers of the Law, and Roman occupiers). Shouldn’t that tell us something really important about perspective? Every viewpoint is a view from a point, and we need to critique our own perspective and privilege if we are to see truth. …Once Christianity became the established religion of the Roman Empire (313), we largely stopped reading the Bible from the side of the poor and the oppressed. We read it from the side of the political establishment and, I am sorry to say, from the priesthood side … instead of from the side of people hungry for justice and truth. No wonder Jesus said, ‘I did not come for the healthy but for the sick’ (Mark 2:17). This priority has the power to constantly detach religion from its common marriage to power, money , and self-importance.” Richard Rohr

  “If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes
and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’
but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there”’
or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’
have you not discriminated among yourselves
and become judges with evil thoughts?’”
James 2:3

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Wow, James sounds like his famous half-brother! Is there a “pecking system” in your church? Is anyone treated better than anyone else – given more honor, attention, or influence – because of wealth?
  • Will you support Jesus’ agenda to “detach religion from its common marriage to power and money?”
  • Are you able to read the Bible “from the side of the poor and the oppressed?” What is your “view from a point?”

Abba, may I learn from you a bias for the bottom.

For More: Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily.  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

 

Daily Riches: The Concentric Circles of Compassion (Gary Haugen)

“In my natural state my capacity for compassion and love begins with me and proceeds out (or not) to various concentric circles of human relationships with a decreasing fervency. I have a lot of compassion for my family, but by the time my compassion gets out to the remotest concentric circle where people in strange, faraway countries live, I usually don’t have much left. Granted, this is quite understandable. The limitations of my mind, let alone the limitations of my heart, do not allow me to embrace everyone in the world in the same way that God does…. While this is quite natural and quite human, it is not particularly godly …the extent to which our compassion extends beyond our immediate circle is the extent to which we are loving more like God and less like our carnal selves. While we can never love the broad world as God does … we can at least agree on the ideal toward which we should seek to grow. …I believe [God] understands our tendency to [have compassion for those closest to us] but is probably eager for us to reach out, as we are able (or as we seek his enabling), beyond our carnal limitations, prejudices, cultural mythologies and convenient stereotypes. Jesus calls us to be witnesses of his love, truth, salvation, compassion and justice ‘in Jerusalem [at home], and in all Judea and Samaria [nearby], and to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8) …this is the unique, biblical hope that Christians can offer to a world groaning under the heartache of injustice and oppression: God has compassion on the victims of injustice all over the world, among all people, without favor or distinction. We will, through our acts of compassion, give witness to our belief that what the Bible says is true, or not.” Gary Haugen

“If you love those who love you …
Are not even the tax collectors doing that?”
Jesus in Matthew 5:46

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Does your love transcend “what is quite natural?” Is it becoming more like God’s love?
  • Do you move outward, practicing love in more remote “circles?”
  • Can you identify “prejudices, cultural mythologies and convenient stereotypes” you’ve been using as excuses for not moving outward in love?
  • Does your life testify to the justice of God?

Abba, let me be a force for love in this world.

For More: Good News About Justice by Gary Haugen

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. 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: Activism, Justice and Contemplation (Joan Chittister, Thomas Keating, and Thomas Merton)

“Contemplation is a very dangerous activity. It not only brings us face to face with God. It brings us, as well, face to face with the world, face to face with the self. And then, of course, something must be done. Nothing stays the same once we have found the God within. We carry the world in our hearts: the oppression of all peoples, the suffering of our friends, the burdens of our enemies, the raping of the Earth, the hunger of the starving, the joy of every laughing child.” Joan Chittister

“Without profound purification, how far can social action actually extend? People involved in social action have a false self, too. They need to know the dynamics that are at work within them. Otherwise, social projects may fall apart, or they will suffer burnout.” Thomas Keating

“He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity, and capacity to love, will not have anything to give to others. He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centered ambition, his delusions about ends and means.” Thomas Merton

“With what shall I come before the Lord
    and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:6-8

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does your life with God cause you to “carry the world in your heart?” Does it convince you that “something must be done?”
  • Are you aware of the dangers for activists mentioned by Keating and Merton?
  • Are you seeking to “deepen your own self-understanding, freedom, integrity, and capacity to love” as an integral part of your “attempt to act and do things for others or for the world?”

Abba, keep me from a life of action that springs from aggressiveness, ambition or delusions. Help me walk with you, loving mercy … acting justly.

 

For More: Thomas Merton, Spiritual Master 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.”

Daily Riches: The Lord’s Prayer and Structural Evil (Dallas Willard, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Tim Keller)

“But in human affairs other ‘kingdoms’ [other than God’s kingdom] may for a time be in power, and often are. This second request [of the Lord’s prayer] asks for those kingdoms to be displaced, wherever they are, or brought under God’s rule. …And we are especially praying about the structural or institutionalized evils that rule so much of the earth. These prevailing circumstances daily bring multitudes to do deeply wicked things they do not even give a thought to. They do not know what they are doing and do not have the ability to distance themselves from it so they can see it for what it is…. We therefore pray for our Father to break up these higher-level patterns of evil. And, among other things, we ask him to help us see the patterns we are involved in. We ask him to help us not cooperate with them, to cast light on them and act effectively to remove them.” Dallas Willard

“Jesus, in his incarnation, ‘moved in’ with the poor. He lived with, ate with, and associated with the socially ostracized (Matt 9:13). He raised the son of the poor widow (Luke 7:11-16) and showed the greatest respect to the immoral woman who was a social outcast (Luke 7:36ff). Indeed, Jesus spoke with women in public, something that a man with any standing in society would not have done, but Jesus resisted the sexism of his day (John 4:27). Jesus also refused to go along with the racism of his culture, making a hated Samaritan the hero of one of his most famous parables (Luke 10:26ff) and touching off a riot when he claimed that God loved Gentiles like the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian as much as Jews (Luke 4:25-27). Jesus showed special concern for children, despite his apostles’ belief that they were not worth Jesus’s time (Luke 18:15).” Tim Keller

“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath wheels of injustice; we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“How long will you defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Psalm 82:2-4

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you asking God to help you “see the patterns of evil” that you’re involved in? that you allow by your consent or “cooperation?”
  • Are you asking God to help you “cast light on” these structural evils and “act to remove them?”
  • Does your relationship with Jesus give you a burden to “drive a spoke into the wheel” of injustice?

Abba, may thy kingdom come, may thy will be done – on earth as in is in heaven.

For More:  The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
_________________________________________________

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. [with today being a very rare exception!] I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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

 

Daily Riches: Praying for Discomfort, Anger & Tears *

“May God bless us with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that we may live deep within our hearts.
May God bless us with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people
So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless us with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless us with enough foolishness
To believe that we can make a difference in the world.
So that we can do what others claim cannot be done:
To bring justice and kindness to all our children
and all our neighbors who are poor. Amen.”
– A Franciscan Benediction

“ … the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to [Jesus].
Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.
The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.
He began by saying to them,
‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”
– Jesus, in his inaugural address

Moving From the Head to The Heart

  • Do you ever think of “discomfort, anger, tears and foolishness” as things to ask from God? Is it important to you that oppressed and exploited people be helped? Can you take a moment to ask God what, if anything, he wants you to do, when it comes to the injustice in our world?
  • Have you accepted the idea that it’s impossible to “make a difference in the world?”
  • Does your faith allow you to pray a prayer like the one above? Does it constrain you to?

Abba, what is it I can do about injustice in my world?

For More: Generous Justice by Tim Keller

_________________________________________________

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: Learning From the Poor (Dallas Willard, Henri Nouwen and Bernard of Clairvaux) *

“The mystery of ministry is that the Lord is to be found where we minister. That is what Jesus tells us when he says: ‘Insofar as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me’ (Matthew 25:40). Our care for people thus becomes the way to meet the Lord. The more we give, support, guide, counsel and visit, the more we receive, not just similar gifts, but the Lord himself. To go to the poor is to go to the Lord.” Henri Nouwen

“… shopping, banking, even living in the poorer districts of our area will do much to lend substance to our grasp of how the economically deprived experience their world—and ours. This will add a great substance to our understanding, prayers, and caring that can never be gained by an occasional ‘charity run’ or by sending money to organizations that work with the poor. Remember, Jesus did not send help. He came among us.” Dallas Willard

“Only charity can convert the soul, freeing it from unworthy motives.” Bernard of Clairvaux

“…be willing to associate with people of low position.”  Romans 12:16

Moving From the Head to the Heart

Everyone is at a different place when it comes to ministry to the poor. Some of us make “charity runs”, some “send money” to international or local aid organizations, some have yet to do much of anything. Nouwen even discusses whether it’s possible to truly share the life of the poor by living among them (Gracias!, 115). It’s not always easy to help, but we try.

  • Do you see loving the poor as something that defines what it means for you to love Jesus?
  • Do you regularly do anything that helps you to grasp how the poor “experience their world—and ours?”
  • Can you set aside some quiet time before God in the next week where you ask him to show you about his love for the poor and what that might mean for you?

__________

For More: The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

_________________________________________________

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 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: A Life of Constant Repentance (The Episcopal Liturgy, Tim Keller and Thomas Merton)

“We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf.” (Episcopal Liturgy)

“There is so much evil done on our behalf [as Americans.] … A racist criminal justice and penal system. War, drones and torture. Systemic poverty, the absence of worker protections or living wage laws, the constriction of unions. Oppression of the poor, immigrants, people of color. Globalized capitalism and sweatshop labor. The abuse and exploitation of the environment for financial gain and our financial ease. Racial injustice. Environmental injustice.” David Henson

“… it is the work of Christians in the world to minister in word and deed and to gather together to do justice. … A life poured out in doing justice for the poor, is the inevitable sign of any real, true gospel faith.” Tim Keller

“Contemplation, at its highest intensity, becomes a reservoir of spiritual vitality that pours itself out in the most telling social action.” Thomas Merton

“Seek justice, reprove the ruthless,
defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”
Isaiah 1:17

Moving From Head to Heart

  • One church tradition may emphasize the need for repentance for “the evil we have done” and another for “the evil done on our behalf.” Which is your tradition? If you listen, can you hear God speaking in both traditions? What is lost by listening to only one or the other of these traditions?
  • Does your tradition have a place for the words of the prophet Isaiah? How does your church (or church tradition) “seek justice?” How does it “reprove the ruthless?”
  • Do you agree that, as Christians, we should repent for “the evil done on our behalf?” Is that even possible? If so, what would it look like? What would be the point? Would it be unpatriotic?
  • Can you let you heart be moved by the call to both of these kinds of repentance?

Abba, help me to live a life of constant repentance, full of purity, love and justice.

__________

For More: Generous Justice by Tim Keller

_________________________________________________

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 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Activism Depends on Contemplation (Jim Wallis) *

“Contemplation prevents burnout. Action without reflection can easily become barren and even bitter. Without the space of self-examination and the capacity for rejuvenation, the danger of exhaustion and despair is too great. Contemplation confronts us with the questions of our identity and power. Who are we? To whom do we belong? Is there a power that is greater than ours? Drivenness must give way to peacefulness and anxiety to joy. Strategy grows into trust, success into obedience, planning into prayer.”  Jim Wallis

“When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being. Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before I was. Instead, I went away into Arabia, and later I returned to the city of Damascus.”  Galatians 1:16b, 17 NLT [Paul, the apostle, describing his response when God called him]

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you experienced the dangers from “exhaustion and despair” and “barrenness and bitterness” that can occur in ministry, politics, or just in the demands of everyday life?
  • Is your life or ministry characterized by drivenness? If so, think about what that might say about you – your motives – what you’re trusting.
  • Have you created spaces in your regular routine for “self-examination and … rejuvenation?” Can you make a plan now to do at least one thing differently even this day?

Abba, I relax in you, I bask in your love, and I trust you to do what only you can do in my life and world today.

__________

For More: The Soul of Politics by Jim Wallis

_________________________________________________

The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to provide you with 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 your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Contemplatives In the World (Mother Teresa and Richard Rohr) *

“We are called to be contemplatives in the heart of the world –

by seeking the face of God in everything,
everyone, everywhere, all the time,
and his hand in every happening;
seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus,
especially in the lowly appearance of bread,
and in the distressing disguise of the poor.”
Mother Teresa

“Contemplation is an exercise in keeping your heart and mind spaces open long enough for the mind to see other hidden material. It is content with the naked now and waits for futures given by God and grace. As such, a certain amount of love for an object and for myself most precede any full knowing of it.” Richard Rohr

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”    Matthew 25:37-40

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • I love the phrase “contemplatives in the heart of the world.” Does this seem possible for you? What would it mean for you to be a contemplative in the world today?
  • Mother Teresa said, “If we were not in constant union with God, it would be impossible for us to endure the sacrifices that are required to live [in Calcutta] among the destitute.” Think about that phrase “constant union with God.” Is that concept on your radar?
  • Do you think to look for Jesus in the “distressing disguise of the poor?” If not, why not? How can you practice doing that?

Abba, help me to see and adore you “in the distressing disguise of the poor” – and in so many of your other disguises – the elderly, the child, the disfigured, the dirty, the widow, the orphan, the prisoner, the immigrant, the otherwise marginalized. I’m often so much more likely to judge or ignore than to adore.

__________

For More: “An Urban Epiphany” – the article by Edwina Gateley in Daniel Clendenin’s blog Journey With Jesus.

_________________________________________________

Thanks for reading and sharing Richer By Far! I appreciate it.  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Praying for Discomfort, Anger & Tears

May God bless us with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that we may live deep within our hearts.
May God bless us with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people
So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless us with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless us with enough foolishness
To believe that we can make a difference in the world.
So that we can do what others claim cannot be done:
To bring justice and kindness to all our children
and all our neighbors who are poor. Amen.”
– A Franciscan Benediction

“ … the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to [Jesus].
Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.
The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.
He began by saying to them,
‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”
– Jesus, in his inaugural address

Moving From the Head to The Heart

  • Do you ever think of “discomfort … anger … tears … and ‘foolishness'” as things to ask from God? Is it important to you that oppressed and exploited people be helped? Can you take a moment to ask God what, if anything, he wants you to do, when it comes to the injustice in our world?
  • Have you accepted the idea that it’s impossible to “make a difference in the world?”
  • Does your faith allow you to pray a prayer like the one above? Does it constrain you to?

Abba, what is it I can do about injustice in my world?

_________________________________________________

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