Stepping stone

These days young people don’t take much of an interest in religion, but more of my younger parishioners started to relate more actively to the temple after they saw me out there practicing [golf]. Priestly robes get in the way; they make me hard to approach. But when I visit a parishioner’s home—to conduct a memorial service, for example—I don’t jump into a difficult discourse on Buddhism. Instead, I might notice a set of clubs in the hallway and make some comment. Before long, we’re comparing handicaps, and from there I can talk about the state of mind you need in order to do anything in life well.

Buddhist priest Shido

Takeda in Northwest, on why his 16th-century temple now has a putting green

The sheer excitement of knowing God

To stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coattail and the heavens hailing your heart, to gaze and glory and to give oneself again to God, what more could a man ask? Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth. I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him.

Jim Elliot in

The Journals of Jim Elliot

Looks are deceiving

Our modern church is filled with many people who look pure, sound pure, and are inwardly sick of themselves, their weaknesses, their frustration, and the lack of reality around them in the church. Our non-Christian friends feel either “that bunch of nice untroubled people would never understand my problems”; or the more perceptive pagans who know us socially or professionally feel that we Christians are either grossly protected and ignorant about the human situation or are out-and-out ...

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