Brennan Manning in his book "Ruthless Trust" tells the following story. "When the brilliant ethicist John Kavanaugh went to work for three months at “the house of the dying” in Calcutta, he was seeking a clear answer as to how best to spend the rest of his life. On the first morning there he met Mother Teresa. She asked, “And what can I do for you?” Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him. “What do you want me to pray for?” she asked. He voiced the request that he had borne thousands of miles from the United States: “Pray
Without the capacity to quiet and still the soul the Christian life becomes pretty much a journey of spiritualizing our neurotic and compulsive tendencies in order to feel safe.
Easter is before us--the most compelling three days of human history. Here we see God's honor inseperable from God's goodness, God's justice being fulfilled in God's mercy, God's righteousness that condemns being the love that restores by surmounting even the obstacle of human disobedience. Easter is God's resolution to God's twin decrees that humanity will share in divine life (2 Peter 1:4) and that death must fall on transgressors of God's holy law (Romans 6:23). It would be monstrous were God's decree that sin shall merit death prove to be false. Justice must prevail for God to be God.
As I begin to write this post on Good Friday afternoon the clock struck 3:00 . “It is finished” echoes in the air. No need to break Jesus’ legs. His last breath in which he committed himself to his Father is gone. What is left on the cross is a bleeding, leaking corpse. Those who loved him are sad. And some of them are mad–mad with Jesus and mad with themselves. He dramatically over-promised and drastically under-delivered. His claim of being one with his heavenly Father was bogus. Their Father would never allow himself to be humiliated and crucified by
Our life is in union with Christ. Our lives our hidden in Christ with God (Colossians 3), and the life of Christ dwells in us. Our truest life is the life we have in communion with Christ. All the benefits of the gospel flow from our union with Christ! Lent reminded us of our union with Christ in his death. The resurrection of Christ on Easter morning reminds us that we participate in Christ’s resurrection. His resurrection is our resurrection! The Apostle Paul puts it succinctly when he writes, “For if we have been united with him in a
Have you noticed the danger inherent in the phrase, "falling in love?" I like the love part, but not the "falling" part. I've taken some really bad spills as a kid and as an adult. Winding up bloody and bruised is no fun. Couldn't there be a better term than "falling" to symbolize the beauty and excitement of romantic love? The answer is 'no'. Falling is exactly the imagery needed for this transcendent experience. Why? Because the mystery of love requires losing our balance. It requires relinquishing control. It demands the vulnerability opening our soul to another. That is
I (Jim) am reading Jonathan Edwards on Beauty during Lent. Yes, Lent is historically a time when Christians face their need for the cross of Christ as we prepare for Easter week. We give up things in order to feel our compulsions. I'm all for that. But I'm going at things differently this year based on my dad's words to me when I was a kid--if you want to see if a stick is crooked put it beside a straight one. The beauty of the Lord is indeed a perfectly straight stick revealing the bends and crooks in my
Henri Nouwen writes these words in A Cry for Mercy, "Every day I see again that only you can teach me to pray, only you can set my heart at rest, only you can let me dwell in your presence. No book, no idea, no concept or theory will ever bring me close to you unless you yourself are the one who lets these instruments become the way to you. But Lord, let me at least remain open to your initiative; let me wait patiently and attentively for that hour when you will come and break through all
Taken from The Relational Soul – Be it chronic or acute, slight or significant, loneliness is proof of our relational design. At the core of our being is this truth—we are designed FOR and defined BY our relationships. We were born with a relentless longing to participate in the life of others. Fundamentally, we are relational souls. We cannot not be relational. We cannot exist well without connection and communion with another. Relational reactivity and alienation is death for the soul.
How I relate is how I relate! Yes there are different levels of connection ... from civility toward strangers to intimacy with my wife. Mates, children, friends, acquaintances ... each has a different level of connection. But my capacity for communion 'is what it is' whether I am engaging people or God. Christ invites me into rich intimacy with Him. But do I have the capacity to enter and enjoy such a relationship? The answer hinges, in part, on my ability to trust (trust being 'ground zero' of intimacy). I get a sense of my ability to trust by looking at the 'attachment pattern' in which