Daily Riches: A Theology of Love and of Resistance (Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King, Jr.)

“A theology of love cannot afford to be sentimental. It cannot afford to preach edifying generalities about charity, while identifying ‘peace’ with mere established power and legalized violence against the oppressed. A theology of love cannot be allowed merely to serve the interests of the rich and powerful, justifying their wars, their violence, and their bombs, while exhorting the poor and underprivileged to practice patience, meekness, long-suffering and to solve their problems, if at all, nonviolently. The theology of love must seek to deal drastically with evil and injustice in the world, and not merely to compromise with them. …Theology does not exist merely to appease the already too untroubled conscience of the powerful and the established. A theology of love may also conceivably turn out to be a theology of revolution. In any case, it is a theology of resistance, a refusal of the evil that reduces a brother to homicidal desperation.” Thomas Merton

“In the terrible midnight of war men have knocked on the door of the church to ask for the bread of peace, but the church has often disappointed them. What more pathetically reveals the irrelevancy of the church in present-day world affairs than its witness regarding war? In a world gone mad with arms buildups, chauvinistic passions, and imperialistic exploitation, the church has either endorsed these activities or remained appallingly silent. … A weary world, pleading desperately for peace, has often found the church morally sanctioning war. … And those who have gone to the church to seek the bread of economic justice have been left in the frustrating midnight of economic deprivation. In many instances the church has so aligned itself with the privileged classes and so defended the status quo that it has been unwilling to answer the knock at midnight.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“A person who seeks to honor the one who sent him
speaks truth, not lies.”
Jesus in John 7:18

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is your theology of love a “theology of resistance?”
  • Is your church “aligned with the privileged classes and the status quo?”
  • Where in our day, might the church be guilty of appeasing “the already too untroubled?”
  • Do you think these are valuable questions for Christians? . . . for pastors? If not, why not?

Abba, keep us from conforming to this world, or allowing others to do so in peace.

For More: Faith and Violence 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: 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

_________________________________________________

Thanks for reading and sharing my blog! – Bill

Daily Riches: Hearing God’s Voice Over All the Noise (Karen-Marie Yust, Thomas Merton and Chris Tomlin)

“Advertising treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments.” Thomas Merton

“The danger in the rampant commercialization of abundant life is not so much in the particular value (or lack thereof) of a specific product being marketed, but in the insidious ways in which advertising campaigns steal a person’s ability to discern what is necessary for a fruitful life and what is extraneous. Advertisers kill an individual’s sense of self-worth and uniqueness in the eyes of God by promoting excessive regard for the approval of others and competition for the most stuff, rather than promoting good living as collaboration with each other. …Christians need to embrace spiritual practices that will enable them to identify and resist commercial messages that undermine their primary identity as children of God and disciples of Christ. …One critical spiritual practice for discernment is attentiveness. First, Christians need to pay attention to the number of commercial messages to which they are exposed daily and the common themes embedded in those advertisements. With researchers estimating that individuals view or hear as many as five thousand messages each day, paying attention could quickly become a full-time job! What matters here is not a comprehensive attentiveness but an increasing awareness of the pervasive and corrosive nature of commercial influences. Second, Christians need to pay attention to God’s voice as a counterpoint to the negative aspects of advertising. Such attentiveness can occur when individuals, families, and congregations deliberately separate themselves from the noisiness of everyday life and spend time in the set apart ‘pastures’ [John 10:9] of personal and communal prayer, contemplation, and worship.” Karen-Marie Yust

“life does not consist
in an abundance of possessions.”
Jesus in Luke 12:15

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you see good living as “collaboration” with others rather than competition with others? What does your answer say about you?
  • Do you have practices that allow you to hear God’s voice over the “noisiness of everyday life” and act as a counterpoint to all the “pervasive and corrosive” ad campaigns?
  • Are you fighting this battle alone–with no “communal” support? …just depending on what you receive at church? …failing to seek God for yourself to discern what “is necessary for a fruitful life and what is extraneous?”

Abba, you’re a good, good father–it’s who you are … and I’m loved by you–it’s who I am…. (Chris Tomlin)

For more: Feasting on the Gospels: John (Part II), eds, Cynthia Jarvis and Elizabeth Johnson

________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. My goal is to share something of real value with you in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a comment or question. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

Daily Riches: How the Poor Bless Us (Bob McCahill, Thomas Merton, Eduardo Galeano)

“The mask that each man wears may well be a disguise not only for that man’s inner self but for God, wandering as a pilgrim and exile in His own creation.” Thomas Merton

“It seems to me that the poor evangelize us by giving us various types of good example. They instruct us in patience by their patience under adversity. They edify us by their uncomplaining struggles. They inspire us by undergoing suffering without becoming bitter. They encourage us to face our own problems more bravely by grappling with the pain in their lives. They teach us about the simplicity with which one can live a human life. They offer us a good model for prayer life by their dependence on God: that is, in times of great need they look to God before all else. They do not appeal to God secondly or lastly after other possibilities have failed them. When we witness their efforts to survive with dignity amidst the hardships they constantly encounter, they help us to put into perspective our own overblown problems. Through the struggling poor we begin to understand how good God is to us and how stingy we are with our thanksgiving to God. If we think about them deeply enough, they put us to shame, for, though they are oppressed, they can still laugh and sing.” Bob McCahill

“I don’t believe in charity; I believe in solidarity. Charity is vertical, so it’s humiliating. It goes from top to bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other and learns from the other. I have a lot to learn from other people.”  Eduardo Galeano

“You say, ‘I am rich;
I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’
But you do not realize
that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
Jesus in Revelation 3:17

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have poor people helped you to realize how poor you are? …how good God is to you? …how “stingy” you are with your thanksgiving to God? What else?
  • Do you think of your relationship to the poor in terms of “solidarity?” What would that mean?
  • Jesus wandered as a poor man, in disguise among his own creation. Does remembering that help you love those who are poor?

Abba, use your poor to show me the way and to bless me as I attempt to bless them.

For More: A Dialogue of Life by Bob McCahill

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks 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: 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

  • Change is not only hard for us, but those who are comfortable with the “system” we share with them find it difficult too. Have you noticed others working hard to resist, or even sabotaging, your determined efforts to change?
  • Have you learned that your own “stubborn self-will is much deeper and more insidious” than you think?
  • Are you learning to leave changing others to God and focus on the changes needed in your own life?

Abba, help me change in spite of powerful forces, within and without, and not to fall short of the change you have planned for me.

For More: No Man Is An Island 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: “Statio” – Coming to a Full Stop for Contemplation (Kathleen Norris)

“Once, when I was the only guest one Sunday night at a women’s monastery, the sisters invited me to join them in statio, the community’s procession into church. The word, which means ‘standing’ in Latin, is one of the many terms from the Roman Army that ancient Christian monastics adopted for their own purposes. To get into position, to station oneself, to take a stand. To wait in line, in a posture that invites individual watchfulness, to ‘recollect’ oneself before reentering church.  …I didn’t realize it at the time, but …not being able to amble into church on my own to find a choir stall pushed me into recognizing what the sisters already sensed, that Christ is actively present in their worshiping community. Not as a static idea or principle, but a Word made flesh, a listening, active Christ who in the gospels tells us that he prays for us, and who promises to be with us always.  Walking slowly into church in that long line of women taught me much about liturgical time and space. I found to my surprise that the entire vespers service had more resonance for me because of the solemn way I had entered into it.” Kathleen Norris

In some contemplative circles today, another, but related, meaning attaches to “statio.” Statio refers to the practice of pausing after finishing one thing and before starting another. It’s like Merton’s “recollecting” of oneself (one’s communion with one’s soul), or what Richard Foster describes as “reorienting our lives like a compass needle.” It’s simply taking a moment to lift up to God whatever has just transpired, and petition him to be in whatever is next. Such a practice can be very brief, but no doubt on occasions will lead into something longer and unexpected between the individual and God. Certainly it will help us to be more present to God through the day.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise”
Psalm 100:4

Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Is your church experience given “more resonance” because of how you enter into it?
  • Do you attempt to “recollect yourself” before the service begins?
  • What do you do to be intentionally “present” to Christ who is also present as the church gathers?

Abba, help me to constantly recalibrate my soul so I am aware of and available to you.

For More: Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris

_________________________________________________

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: Gluttonous Insecurity (Mark Buchanan and Thomas Merton)

“Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity.” Thomas Merton

“Some of the most gifted people I’ve met are also some of the most broken. Their giftedness has not led them to a place of serenity and thankfulness…[instead] it’s led them to barrenness: fretting, blaming, self-pity, envy, accusation… My giftedness – modest as it is – has fed my insecurity more times than it has helped me vanquish it. I rarely rejoice in the times I think I have spoken or written well. It produces in me something more akin to panic: Can I do it again? Did I really do it then? If I’m doing well, why don’t more people say so? What’s wrong with them? What’s wrong with me? In quietness and rest is your salvation, God says. But we want to flee and amass horses, chariots, accolades, pats on the back – just about anything to bolster our sense of security and worthiness. But none of those things can. All they do is send us scurrying in the opposite direction. They just widen the hole we want them to fill. Like gluttony, insecurity’s appetite increases with every bite.” Mark Buchanan

“The reason we never enter into the deepest reality of our relationship with God is that we so seldom acknowledge our utter nothingness before him.” … “Quit keeping score altogether and surrender yourself with all your sinfulness to God who sees neither the score nor the scorekeeper but only his child redeemed by Christ.” … “God is asking me, the unworthy, to forget my unworthiness and that of my brothers, and dare to advance in the love which has redeemed and renewed us all in God’s likeness. And to laugh, after all at  the preposterous ideas of ‘worthiness’.”  Thomas Merton

“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
It is God who justifies.
Who then is the one who condemns?
No one.”
Romans 8:33

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you insecure? Do you need to think well of yourself?
  • Do you depend on the respect of others for your “sense of … worthiness?”
  • Have you entered into “the deepest reality [of your] utter nothingness” before God? Have you “surrendered yourself with all your sinfulness to God … [who sees] only his child redeemed by Christ?”

Abba, if I have you, I will want for nothing – and I have you.

For More: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

_________________________________________________

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: Fasting From Seeking God? (Dan Clendenin, Denise Levertov, Thomas Merton)

“Jesus describes our struggle between light and dark, life and death, salvation and condemnation, belief and unbelief. … ‘All of us,’ says Paul in Ephesians, are implicated. …So, what am I to do? Double down on earnest religious effort? …A friend encouraged me last week when he described how his spiritual director told him to abstain from all his tried-n-true ways of seeking God — conversational prayer, meditation … “Christian” books, lectio divina, and the like. He’s ‘fasting’ from all that hard work he does to relate to God. …John tells a story from Numbers 21 to point the way forward. Just as Moses lifted up a bronze serpent in the desert that healed people merely by looking at it, so today we only have to look to the love of God. There’s nothing else we can or should do. In his little epistle, John strips away all pious pretense with a shocking admission: ‘In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us.’ The only thing I’m asked to do is ‘to know and rely upon the love that God has for us’ (1 John 4:10, 16). Paul says the same thing. I experience God’s favor ‘by grace through faith,’ apart from any human merit. His goodness is a free gift, not a reward for my spiritual efforts. And my faith? Luther compared faith to ‘the beggar’s empty hand’ that receives a gift. God only asks me to accept his acceptance, in the words of the hymn, ‘just as I am, / without one plea.’ This Lent I want to experience what Denise Levertov describes in her poem The Avowal.

‘As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
free fall, and float
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.’

A true saint, said Merton, is not someone who has become good through strenuous disciplines, but someone who has experienced the free goodness of God.” Dan Clendenin

“Cease striving and know that I am God….”
Psalm 46:10
.
Moving From Head to Heart
  • Is your response to these words “But, but, but…?” What explains that?
  • Do you “work hard to relate to God?” Could there ever be a reason to abstain from doing that?

Abba, help me free fall into your embrace.

For More: “When Less Is More” Dan Clendenin

_________________________________________________

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: 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 Pity of a Life Without Problems (Dallas Willard and Thomas Merton)

“People [who cannot forgive themselves] refuse to live on the basis of pity. Their problem is not that they are hard on themselves, but that they are proud. …They do not want to accept that they can only live on the basis of pity from others, that the good that comes to them is rarely ‘deserved.’ …I have used the word pity … rather than the word mercy … because only pity reaches to the heart of our condition. The word pity makes us wince, as mercy does not. Our current language has robbed mercy of its deep, traditional meaning, which is practically the same as pity. To pity someone now is to feel sorry for them, and that is regarded as demeaning, whereas to have mercy now is thought to be slightly noble—just ‘give’em a break.’  …But no, I need more than a break. I need pity because of who I am. If my pride is untouched when I pray for forgiveness, I have not prayed for forgiveness. I don’t even understand it. In the model prayer, Jesus teaches us to ask for pity with reference to our wrongdoings. Without it, life is hopeless. And with it comes the gift of pity as an atmosphere in which we then can live. To live in this atmosphere is to be able simply to drop the many personal issues that make human life miserable and, with a clarity of mind that comes only from not protecting my pride, to work for the good things all around us we always can realize in cooperation with the hand of God.” Dallas Willard

“Only the man who has faced despair is really convinced that he needs mercy. Those who do not want mercy never seek it. It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in complacency that has never felt the need of forgiveness. A life without problems may literally be more hopeless than one that always verges on despair.” Thomas Merton

“But let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great.” 1 Samuel 2:14

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you unable to forgive yourself? If so, why?
  • Are you done “protecting your pride” so you’re freed to show pity?
  • Is your preference “a life without problems?”

Abba, I’m very grateful for your great mercy.

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. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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

Daily Riches: Faith (Nadia Bolz Weber, Romero, Tillich, Stott, Packer, Edman, Bounds, LLoyd-Jones, Yancey, Cook, Brueggemann, Merton, Willard) *

“Catholic theologian James Allison [talked] about how we think faith is about striving – keeping parameters, calling people out for not having it right, spiritual practices, doctrinal purity… whatever – but that really faith is about relaxing. Specifically, relaxing in the way we do when we are with a friend who we know for certain is fond of us. We don’t have to strive around them and we somehow still become our best self – funny, spontaneous, free. Allison suggests that faith is trusting so much that God is fond of us that we just …relax”. Nadia Bolz Weber

“Faith consists in accepting God without asking him to account for things according to our standard. Faith consists in reacting before God as Mary did: I don’t understand it, Lord, but let it be done in me according to your word.”  Oscar Romero

“Faith is the courage …to accept that God loves me as I am and not as I should be, because I’m never going to be as I should be.”  Paul Tillich

J. I. Packer – “self-abandoning trust in the person and work of Jesus”
Raymond Edman – “trusting in the dark what God told you in the light”
Martin Lloyd-Jones – “the refusal to panic”
Philip Yancey – “trusting in advance, what will only make sense in reverse”
Bob Cook –  “expecting God to act like God”
Thomas Merton – “convinced of the reliability of God”
Dallas Willard –  “confidence grounded in reality”
Walter Brueggemann – “openness to wonder and awe in glad praise”
Oswald Chambers – “unutterable trust…which never dreams that He will not stand by us”
Martin Luther – “permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we do not see”
John Stott – “a trust which reckons thoughtfully and confidently upon the trustworthiness of God”

“Though He slay me,
yet will I trust Him.”
Job 13:15a

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Can you relax with God like you do with your best friend?  Does he love you “as you are and not as you should be?”
  • Are you “seized by” things unseen? trusting what will often only make sense later? refusing to ask God “to give an account?”
  • Can you “abandon” yourself to God like Martin Luther, Oscar Romero and Job did? If not, why not?

Abba, I will trust in you. Only you have the words of life.


_________________________________________________

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: When the Sacred Becomes Vulgar (F. W. Robertson, Thomas Merton, Bernard of Clairvaux and Brennan Manning) *

“There are transfiguration moments, bridal hours of the soul; and not easily forgiven are those who would utter the secrets of its high intercourse with their Lord. There is a certain spiritual indelicacy in persons that cannot perceive that not everything which is a matter of experience and knowledge is therefore a subject for conversation. You cannot discuss such subjects without vulgarising them.” F. W. Robertson

“All speech is impertinent, it destroys the simplicity of that nothingness before God by making it seems as if it had been ‘something.’” Thomas Merton

“… they are readier to speak than to listen, eager to teach that which they do not know.” Bernard of Clairvaux

“Do the truth quietly without display.” Brennan Manning

“The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk
but of power.”
1 Corinthians 4:20

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • James insists that a man must “keep a tight reign on his tongue” (James 1:26), and that seems particularly difficult in this area where the ego cries out for attention and admiration. Do you find yourself sharing your intimate experience with the Lord as a “matter of conversation?” If so, take some time to consider your motivations.
  • After a conversation, are you sometimes convicted that you were “eager to teach that which you do not know?” If so, again, what does this say about you?
  • Merton says that talking about the “simplicity” of something wonderful between us and God “destroys” it. That’s what’s at stake here – what Robertson calls a “vulgarising.” It’s not hard to see this shortcoming in ourselves and others. That makes this a good time to remember how patient and understanding God is with us in our weaknesses.

Jesus’ family were confused by him because he acted “in secret”, and that made no sense for someone who “wants to become a public figure.” (John 7:3-8) Abba, break my ego-driven want “to become a public figure”, and teach me not to take those rare and precious moments of intimacy between us, and vulgarize them in self-promotion.

__________

For More: Dancing in the Water of Life 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: Love Begins With Not Judging Others (Henri Nouwen, Ram Dass, Thomas Merton and Jean Vanier) *

“When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight ….And you look at the tree and you allow it. …You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.” Ram Dass20131018_164446

“We spend an enormous amount of energy making up our minds about other people. Not a day goes by without somebody doing or saying something that evokes in us the need to form an opinion about him or her. We hear a lot, see a lot, and know a lot. The feeling that we have to sort it all out in our minds and make judgments about it can be quite oppressive. The desert fathers said that judging others is a heavy burden, while being judged by others is a light one. Once we can let go of our need to judge others, we will experience an immense inner freedom. Once we are free from judging, we will be also free for mercy.” Henri Nouwen

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image.” Thomas Merton

“To love someone is … to reveal to them their beauty and value, to say, ‘You’re beautiful. You’re important.'” Jean Vanier

“Or how can you say to your brother, Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’
when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye?” – Jesus

Moving From Head to Heart

  • God’s job is to judge, and ours is to love. Can you leave the judging to God? could that free you to love? free you “for mercy?”
  • Can you start by letting others be “perfectly themselves?” If not, why not?
  • How effective are you at revealing to others that they’re “beautiful … important?”

Abba, help me love well by appreciating instead of evaluating.

_________________________________________________

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: Silence – The Most Pleasing Sacrifice (Rozanne Elder, Thomas Merton, Richard Foster and Friedrich Nietzsche) *

“When we are quiet and alone, we fear that something will be whispered in our ears, and so we hate the quiet, and dull our senses in society.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

“Silence means a void, a dreadful emptiness that demands to be filled. What we choose to fill that void with most often produces, not only noise, but agitation through over-simulation. Sensory overload is addictive. It becomes an escape from the present, from the self, from God. Like any addiction, it is pathological and life-threatening. …Prayer uttered out of the deepest longing for God, however, demands silence.” Rozanne Elder

“The soul is offered to Him when it is entirely attentive to Him. My silence which takes me away from all other things, is therefore the sacrifice of all things and the offering of my soul to God. It is therefore my most pleasing sacrifice.”  Thomas Merton

“Yahweh will destroy Babylon;
he will silence her noisy din.”
Jeremiah 51:55

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Without silent patches in our days, we become “dull” to the present, self, and God. Has sensory overload created a pathological dullness in your life?
  • Have you tried to make yourself “entirely attentive to God” – not asking or confessing or meditating, but simply “offering your soul to God” – wordlessly attending to Him? silently resting in his loving arms? quietly returning his gaze, his love?
  • When we take time to sit silently we hear disturbing things “whispered in our ears.” Can you press through this in your pursuit of intimacy with God?

I have, O Lord, a noisy heart. And entering outward silence doesn’t stop the inner clamor. In fact, it seems only to make it worse. When I am full of activity, the internal noise is only a distant rumble; but when I get still, the rumble amplifies itself. And it is not like the majestic sound of symphony rising to a grand crescendo; rather it is the deafening din of clashing pots and clanging pans. …Worst of all, I feel helpless to hush the interior pandemonium. Dear Lord, Jesus, once you spoke peace to the wind and the wave. Speak your shalom over my heart. I wait silently…patiently. I receive into the very core of my being your loving command, “Peace, be still.”  Richard Foster

__________

For More: The Contemplative Path by Rozanne Elder

_________________________________________________

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: Detachment: “Just Step Away” (Peter Scazzero, Thomas Merton and The Virtues Project) *

“Detachment is experiencing our feelings without allowing them to control us. We step back and look at things objectively. We let go and accept what we cannot change. We detach from others’ choices, knowing that their spiritual work is not ours to do. We choose how we will act rather than just reacting. We step away from harmful cravings. …We can listen without losing ourselves. …we see our mistakes honestly, make amends and start afresh. Detachment allows us to be in the world but not of it. It frees us to lead our lives with grace.” The Virtues Project

“…When we put our claws into something and we don’t want to take them out, we are beyond enjoying them. We now must have them. …God’s purpose for us is to have a loving union with him at the end of the journey. We joyfully detach from certain behaviors and activities for the purpose of a more intimate, loving attachment to God. We are to enjoy the world, for God’s creation is good. We are to appreciate nature, people, and all God’s gifts, along with his presence in Creation–without being ensnared by them. It has rightly been said that those who are the most detached on the journey are best able to taste the purest joy in the beauty of created things.” Peter Scazzero

“We do not detach ourselves from things in order to attach ourselves to God, but rather we become detached from ourselves in order to see and use all things in and for God.” Thomas Merton

“Instruct those who are rich in this present world
not to be conceited or to fix their hope
on the uncertainty of riches, but on God,
who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”
1 Timothy 1:17

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you able to detach when you should?
  • Is detachment helping you to “be in the world but not of it?” to “taste the purest joy and beauty of created things?”
  • What would help you to “enjoy all things” without “fixing your hope” on them? How can you “step away?”

Abba, help me to “step away.”

__________

For More: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero

_________________________________________________

This blog is for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow it, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)