Daily Riches: The Most Despised, and Important, Word of Our Time (Helmut Gollwitzer)

“The word ‘repentance’ turns the door into the narrow gate, the most despised, and yet the most important word of our time. It is a time when no one wants to repent, and yet is is precisely in this unwillingness to repent that we find the secret to the misery of our time. Because ours is a time that cannot tolerate this word, the most vital thing linking people to each other lies broken and shattered: the ability of a person to give another his rights, the ability to admit one’s own error and one’s own guilt; the ability to find the guilt in himself rather than in the other, to be gentle with the other but strict with oneself.  …Who cannot admit his guilt before God can no longer do so before men. Then begins the insanity, the insanity of persecution that must make the other person into the devil himself in order to make himself into a god. Where repentance stops, inhumanity begins…. Repentance wipes away everything we think important, it sweeps away ruthlessly our interests and considerations, and it dries up everything that we hoped to mention in our favor. This contradiction is not without reason; whoever repents denies his own life, whoever allowed himself to be baptized here in the Jordan by John, said in effect: I am a man or a woman who must be drowned. Here all noteworthy conduct is for naught: ‘My wounds stink for my sins reach above my head; like a heavy burden they have become too much for me’ (Ps. 38:6,7,5). Repentance is the terrible discovery that I live under a death sentence, and even worse, that I must say yes to this condemnation to death. I am convicted not only outwardly by the sentence itself but inwardly by my own guilt. This is what happens with repentance: my life is annihilated and destroyed not only outwardly but also inwardly. All my defensive weapons–both those pointing externally toward others and those pointing inwardly toward myself–have been lost.” Helmut Gollwitzer

“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Jesus in Matthew 3:8

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you convinced of your need for repentance as a way of life?
  • Has admitting the need for repentance made you easier on others? …on yourself?
  • This is holocaust-era preaching. Serious. Today seems less so, right? What about that?

Abba, let me be serious about repentance.

For More: Preaching in the Third Reich by Dean Stroud (ed.)

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. My goal is to regularly give you something of unique value in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. Thanks for your interest! Please leave a question or comment. – Bill

Daily Riches: The Limits of Religion and Science (Richard Rohr, Robert Russell, John Buchanan, Arthus Bogel and Simone Weil)

“The living God is related to the categories and formal arguments of our abstract thinking as fire is related to paper.” Arthus Bogel

“Great science, which we once considered an ‘enemy’ of religion, is now helping us see that we’re standing in the middle of awesome Mystery, and the only response before that Mystery is immense humility. Astrophysicists are much more comfortable with darkness, emptiness, non-explainability (dark matter, black holes), and living with hypotheses than most Christians I know. Who could have imagined this?” Richard Rohr

“I am … reminded of the humility of those early theologians who knew that when we seek to speak of God we do so only out of the glimmers of understanding that sparkle amid the vast background of uncomprehended mystery….” Robert J. Russell

“In a recent sermon [Rev. John Buchanan] writes that the science that many Christians had felt over the centuries to be ‘our greatest threat … is now teaching us the ancient truth about mystery, a truth that used to be ours – that when it comes to ultimate truth, the most appropriate posture is modesty, silence, reverence, not propounding, shouting, condemning, excommunicating.’” Kathleen Norris quoting Buchanan

“The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation.” Simone Weil

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name, I said,
‘Here am I, here am I.’”
Isaiah 65:1

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Has the living God ever burned up what you had all figured out on “paper?” Can you be comfortable with “non-explanability?”
  • Do you think of “the mysteries of faith” as something to be analysed and explained, or something to be lived with and savored?
  • Do your religious or scientific convictions lead to “propounding, shouting, condemning, excommunicating” or to “modesty, silence, reverence?”
  • Many world-class scientists are people of faith. I you’re not aware of them, why not do a little checking?

Abba, help me to think clearly and critically, but may my faith be bigger than the best of my figuring and explaining. May I constantly be moving from the head to the heart, from thinking and believing to doing and loving.

For More: Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris

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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 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.”