Classic & Contemporary Excerpts from October 27, 1997

1997This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

REAL REPENTANCE
Repentance is not a popular word these days, but I believe that any of us recognize it when it strikes us in the gut. Repentance is coming to our senses, seeing, suddenly, what we've done that we might not have done, or recognizeing … that the problem is not in what we do but in what we become.

—Kathleen Norris in
The Cloister Walk


ICONS OF HUMANITY
There is something wonderful about a beaten-up heavily marked, tattered Bible. Madeleine Delbrel, the French Catholic activist who lived a little more than a generation ago, stuffed her Bible with snapshots, clippings, ticket stubs, postcards and other detritus to remind her that she was praying in the world of people and events. She called these scraps "icons of humanity" that prompted one to celebrate the "liturgy of life."

—Lawrence S. Cunningham in
America, "Praying the Psalms"


TAINTED SPIRITUALITY
When you look at our history, it is no wonder that spirituality is so often treated with suspicion, and not infrrequently with outright hostility. For in actual practice spirituality very often develops into neurosis, degenerates into selfishness, becomes pretentious, turns violent. How does this happen? The short answer is that it happens when we step outside the Gospel story and take ourselves as the basic and authoritative text for our spirituality; we begin exegeting ourselves as a sacred text … True spirituality, Christian spirituality, takes attention off of ourselves and focuses it on another, on Jesus.

—Eugene H. Peterson in
Subversive Spirituality

GREATER POWER The longer one lives, the more one realizes that everything depends upon chance, and the harder it is to believe that this omnipotent factor in human affairs arises ...

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