Quotes that have my attention recently
His attitude was that Christian is the greatest of all nouns—and the lamest of all adjectives.
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“Everything we tried is not working,” said Michael Emerson, the author of “Divided by Faith,” a seminal work on race relations within the evangelical church. “The election itself was the single most harmful event to the whole movement of reconciliation in at least the past 30 years,” he said. “It’s about to completely break apart.”
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What would it mean for Christians to give up that little piece of the American dream that says, “You are limitless”? Everything is not possible. The mighty kingdom of God is not yet here. What if rich did not have to mean wealthy, and whole did not have to mean healed? What if being people of “the gospel” meant that we are simple people with good news? God is here. We are loved. It is enough.
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Savage seems to see what he did to Jules as being the same as two unmarried adults having consensual sex: a common indiscretion that requires repentance but not jail time. The view that all sins are equivalent is called sin-leveling. It’s a problematic perspective because it only considers God’s moral law, not the damage on another person nor the breaking of civil laws. Applied to sex, sin-leveling sees rape as no different from premarital fooling around. The sin is between the person and God, God is the only one who needs to give a response, and if the sinner repents to God, he is forgiven, and the sin is forgotten.
But there are more possible wrongs to sex acts than just immorality. There are also sex acts that are unethical and sex acts that are illegal. The consequences for each are different.
Savage’s reflections on the incident, and the responses of all the other pastors over the years who knew about it and did not call the police or remove him from ministry, show how Christian leaders do not understand sex crimes and sexual ethic violations.
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Our knee jerk assumption is that holiness is the opposite of love.
That’s the working assumption I grew up with. Holiness was all about piety, discipline, and purity. Holiness separated you from people. It didn’t draw you closer to them.
In fact, holiness tempted you to be judgmental….
Holiness, we think, will make us into worse people. Because we think holiness is the opposite of love.
But is it?
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Thomas Merton, on one of his less restless days wrote: “It is enough to be, in an ordinary human mode, with one’s hunger and sleep, one’s cold and warmth, rising and going to bed. Putting on blankets and taking them off, making coffee and then drinking it. Defrosting the refrigerator, reading, meditating, working, praying. I live as my Fathers have lived on this earth, until eventually I die. Amen. There is no need to make an assertion of my life, especially so about it as mine, though doubtless it is not somebody else’s. I must learn to live so as to gradually forget program and artifice.”
Ordinary life is enough. There isn’t any need to make an assertion with our lives. Our preciousness and meaning lie within the preciousness and meaning of life itself, not in having to accomplish something special.