“Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven”

Whether seen on bumper stickers, heard during altar calls, developed from a narrow interpretation of Lutheran or fundamentalist theology, or perpetuated in fluffy paperbacks, the reduction of the gospel to cheap forgiveness is ever with us. This idea often comes from those who have taken Jesus’ parable (in John’s gospel) about being born again and made a theology out of it, usually ignoring much of what Jesus himself said about what beginning and living life as one of his followers meant.

—Mark Lau Branson in

Radix (Summer 1986)

Unnatural choices

The contemporary church needs desperately to bring together a concern for liturgy and a concern for justice, instead of endlessly forcing us to choose between them—or worse, forcing us to choose against both.

—Nicholas Wolterstorff in The Reformed Journal (Dec. 1986)

God with us

We cannot avoid the dangers and the reefs of which this life is full, without the real and constant help of God. Let us ask him for it without ceasing. But how can we ask him without being with him? And how can we be with him without often thinking of him? And how can we often think of him without forming a holy habit of doing so?

—Brother Lawrence in

The Practice of the Presence of God

No surprises

Remember Holiday Inn’s ad a few years back? “The best surprise is no surprise at all.” It was their promise that if you visit some new place, they’ll make it seem like some place you’ve been before. It always raised in my mind the question, “Is life to be lived as an adventure, or do we want to live in a more familiar, domesticated landscape?”

—Andrew Schmookler ...

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