Losing Touch with God
[The] illusion that mechanical progress means human improvement … alienates us from our own being and our own reality. It is precisely because we are convinced that our life, as such, is better if we have a better car, a better TV set, better toothpaste, etc., that we condemn and destroy our own reality and the reality of our natural resources. Technology was made for man, not man for technology. In losing touch with being and thus with God, we have fallen into a senseless idolatry of production and consumption for their own sakes. We have renounced the act of being and plunged ourself [sic] into process for its own sake.
—Thomas Merton in
Mystics and Zen Masters
We need to repent of the haughty way in which we sometimes stand in judgment upon Scripture and must learn to sit humbly under its judgment instead. If we come to Scripture with our minds made up, expecting to hear from it only an echo of our own thoughts and never the thunderclap of God's, then indeed he will not speak to us and we shall only be confirmed in our own prejudices. We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behaviour.
—John Stott in
Hoarding God's Generosity
Three things happened to this bread [the manna] in Exodus 16. First, everybody had enough. But because Israel had learned to believe in scarcity in Egypt, people started to hoard the bread. When they tried to bank it, to invest it, it turned sour and rotted, because you cannot store up God's generosity. Finally, Moses said, "You know what we ought to do? We ought to do what God did in Genesis 1. We ought to have a Sabbath." Sabbath means that there's enough bread, that we don't have to hustle every day of our lives. There's no record that Pharaoh ever took a day off. People who think their lives consist of struggling to get more and more can never slow down because they won't ever have enough.
—Walter Brueggemann in the
Christian Century (May 2431, 1999)
A Most Subtle Temptation
I once heard about an old monk who said that what he would miss most when he died and went to heaven was the Mass. There is a profound cluelessness there. The most subtle temptation for church-prone people, really a dangerous one, is to love the church in an aesthetic way—to be in love with ritual itself, to delight in the feelings we now have about being part of the church, to belong too easily—dangerous, because it lulls us into forgetting that during the liturgy we are taking the bread of the kingdom that is still to come.
—John Garvey, quoted in
Context (Jan. 15, 1999)
The Key to Peace
"Seek ye first the rule of God," the Master says. And after that? The key that one needs for one's peace is in the heart. There can be no personal freedom where there is not an initial personal surrender.
—Howard Thurman in
A Strange Freedom
The more we seek to understand "the incomparable riches" of the Grace of God, … the more conscious we become of the shallowness of our love for Him. That we ought to love Him, as we consider all He has done for us through His death on the Cross as propitiation for our sins, we are never in doubt, but whether we do love Him, in actual daily fact and experience, we may well begin to question. A deep yearning in our innermost being "to know Him more clearly, love Him more dearly and follow Him more nearly" is probably all to which we dare lay claim.
—Helen Roseveare in
Renewal or Revolution?
The church doesn't need Renewal. It needs revolution . …
Until we start thinking in terms of revolution instead of compromise, until we are willing to give up all the cultural pre-suppositions we have allowed to become the criteria for our thinking and doing, the Church will continue to pat itself on the back with token steps of Renewal.
—Mike Yaconelli in
Christianity (June '99)
Truth and Understanding
Love the truth before all, while feeling lively comprehension of the contemporary society in which we live.
—Pope John Paul II in
Fear Not: Thoughts on Living in Today's World
Copyright © 1999 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.