Some spiritual nuggets for you
Last year, I blogged about a collection of books I had received. Well, I have been reading and re-reading some of them. Excerpts:
- He will keep his word – the gracious one, full of grace and truth – no doubt of it. He said, “Him that cometh unto me, I will no wise cast ou” and “whatsoever ye shall ask in my name I will give it.” He will keep his word: then I can come and humbly present my petition, and it will be all right. Doubt is to be inadmissible, surely. – David Livingstone, in his journal for May 13, 1872.
- As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude. It is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength at all. Like all the Christian virtues, it is as unreasonable as it is indispensable. G. K. Chesterton.
- One thing and one thing only can break my tranquility of soul. That is deep emotion issuing from love-stirred tears. This calm, which neither wickedness nor danger can disturb, is mightily moved when I behold pure love redeeming the world. Then the fountain of my soul begins to start to ripple under a drenching shower of tears like the untimely waves which rise when a squall falls upon the surface of the sea. – Toyohiko Kagawa.
- Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian “conception”of God….Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gify which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow JESUS CHRIST. It is costly because it cost a man his life, and it is costly because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of hisSon; “ye were bought with a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship.
- We thank God for giving us brethren who live by His call, by His forgiveness, and His promise. We do not complain of what God does not give us; we rather thank God for what He gives us daily. And is not what has been given us enough: brothers and sisters, who will go on living with us through sin and need under the blessing of His grace?….Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize: it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate. The more clearly we learn to recognize that the ground and strength and promise of all our fellowship is in Jesus Christ alone, the more serenely shall we think of our fellowship and pray and hope for it. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together.
- Who taught the evangelists the qualities of a perfectly heroic soul, that they paint it so perfectly in Jesus Christ? Why do they make him weak in his agony? Do they not know how to paint a resolute death? Yes, for the same St. Luke paints the death of St. Stephen as braver than that of Jesus Christ. They make him therefore capable of fear before the necessity of dying has come, and then altogether brave. Jesus would not be slain without the forms of justice; for it is far more ignominous to die by justice than by an unjust sedition. – Blaise Pascal, Pensees.
- The Church exists as community, servant, and messenger of the reign of God in the midst of other kingdoms, communities, and powers that attempt to shape our understanding of reality. the world of those kingdoms, communities, and powers often opposes, ignores, or has other priorities than the reign of God. To that world, the missional Church is apostle – sent out on behalf of the reign of God. – Missional Church: A vision for the Sending of the Church in North America, edited by Darrel Guder.
- God is not ashamed of human lowliness. He enters right into it. He chooses a human being to be his instrument and works his wonders where they are least expected. Jesus Christ is the love of God become human for all men and women, and hence he is not a preacher of abstract ethical ideologies, but the concrete executor of the love of God. God is love. That means that the beggining and end of human life are sheltered in God’s hands. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison.
- Tolerance is one of today’s most coveted virtues. But there are at least three different kinds of tolerance. First there is legal tolerance: fighting for the equal rights before the law of all ethnic and religious minorities. Christians should be in the forefront of this campaign. Second, there is social tolerance, going out of our way to make friends with adherents of other faiths, since they are God’s creation who bear his image. Third, there is intellectual tolerance. This is to cultivate a mind so broad and open as to accomodate all views and reject none. This is to forget G. K. Chesterton’s bon mot that “the purpose of opening the mind is to shut it again on something solid.” To open the mind so wide as to keep nothing in it or out of it is not a virtue; it is the vice of the feebleminded. …to evangelize is in the words of the Manila Manifesto) “to make an open and honest statement of the gospel, which leaves the hearers entirely free to make up their own minds about it. We wish to be sensitive to those of other faiths, and we reject any approach that seeks to force conversion on them.” – John R. W. Stott, Christianity Today, September 2003.