Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lectio Divina - Sixty-nine

Thomas Keating, The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living. New York: Continuum, 2007, p. 358.

The joy of Christmas is the intuition that all limitations to growth into higher consciousness have been overcome. The divine light cuts across all darkness, prejudice, preconceived ideas, prepackaged values, false expectations, phoniness and hypocrisy. It presents us with the truth. To act out of the truth is to make Christ grow not only in ourselves, but in others. Thus, the humdrum duties and events of daily live become sacramental, shot through with eternal implications.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lectio Divina - Sixty-eight

John Jay Chapman, quoted in W.H. Auden, A Certain World: A Commonplace Book. New York: Viking, 1970, pp 192-3.

The men and women who make the best boon companions seem to have given up hope of doing something else. They have, perhaps, tried to be poets or painters; they have tried to be actors, scientists and musicians. But some defect of talent or opportunity has cut them off from their pet ambition and has left them with leisure to take an interest in the lives of others. Your ambitious man is selfish. No matter how secret his ambition may be, it makes him keep his thoughts at home. But the heartbroken people -- if I may use the word in a mild benevolent sense -- the people whose wills are subdued to fate, give us consideration, recognition and welcome.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Lectio Divina - Sixty-seven

Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. New York: Image, 1968, pp. 156-7

In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness . . . My happiness could have taken form in the words: “Thank God, thank God that I am like other men, that I am only a man among others.”

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lectio Divina - Sixty-six

Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Novato, CA: New World Library, 1999, pp126-7.

When listening to another person, don’t just listen with your mind, listen with your whole body. Feel the energy field of your inner body as you listen. That takes attention away from thinking and creates a still space that enables you to truly listen without the mind interfering. You are giving the other person space -- space to be. It is the most precious gift you can give. Most people don’t know how to listen because the major part of their attention is taken up by thinking. They pay more attention to that than to what the other person is saying, and none at all to what really matters: the Being of the other person underneath the words and the mind.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lectio Divina - Sixty-five

From The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks. New York: HarperCollins, 1995, p. 260.

Which is worth more, a crowd of thousands,

or your own genuine solitude?

Freedom, or power over an entire nation?

A little while alone in your room

will prove more valuable than anything else

that could ever be given you.

From Thomas Merton, The Wisdom of the Desert, (New York: New Directions, 1960) p. 30.

A certain brother went to Abbot Moses in Scete and asked him for a good word. And the elder said to him: Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lectio Divina - Sixty-four

Meister Eckhart, quoted in Ann Belford Ulanov. The Unshuttered Heart: Opening Aliveness/Deadness in the Self. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007 p. 107

The more deeply we are our true selves, the less self is in us.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lectio Divina - Sixty-three

John Henry Newman, quoted in Christian Teachings on the Practice of Prayer From the Early Church to the Present, ed. Lorraine Kisly. Boston: New Seeds, 2006, p.130.

Thus self-knowledge is at the root of all real religious knowledge; and it is in vain -- worse than vain -- it is a deceit and a mischief, to think to understand the Christian doctrines as a matter of course, merely by being taught by books, or by attending sermons, or by any outward means, however excellent, taken by themselves. For it is in proportion as we search our hearts and understand our own nature, that we understand what is meant by an Infinite Governor and Judge; in proportion as we comprehend the nature of disobedience and our actual sinfulness, that we feel what is the blessing of the removal of sin, redemption, pardon, sanctification, which otherwise are mere words. God speaks to us primarily in our hearts. Self-knowledge is the key to the precepts and doctrines of Scripture. The very utmost any outward notices of religion can do, is to startle us and make us turn inward and search our hearts; and then, when we have experienced what it is to read ourselves, we shall profit by the doctrines of the Church and the Bible.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lectio Divina - Sixty-two

The Book of Common Prayer. New York: Seabury Press, 1979, p. 355.

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lectio Divina - Sixty-one

Ann & Barry Ulanov. Primary Speech: A Psychology of Prayer. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1982. p.92.

Intercessory prayer pulls us into the tow of God’s connectedness to everything. We are pulled into a current that shows us nothing is separated from anything else, no one from everyone else. We are in an ocean that flows under everything and through everyone. Not only do we discover the hungry parts of ourselves that we need to feed when we pray for the hungry persons of the world, but we discover the neglected parts of the world through praying for the neglected parts of ourselves. When we deal with the hating parts of ourselves, we see with sudden clarity how much hate exists in the people around us. When we pray for the suffering parts of ourselves, we are increasingly wounded by the suffering of those around us.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lectio Divina - Sixty

The New Zealand Prayer Book (San Francisco: HarperSan Francisco, 1989), 184.


it is night.

The night is for stillness.

Let us be in the presence of God.

It is night after a long day.

What has been done has been done

what has not been done has not been done;

let it be.

The night is dark.

Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives

rest in you.

The night is quiet.

Let the quietness of your peace enfold us.

all dear to us,

and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn.

Let us look expectantly to a new day,

new joys,

new possibilities.

In your name we pray.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lectio Divina - Fifty-nine

George A. Maloney, quoted in Christian Teachings on the Practice of Prayer From the Early Church to the Present, ed. Lorraine Kisly. Boston: New Seeds, 2006, p.136.

For a person who has begun the inner journey into the heart, true prayer should no longer be a thing to do, an activity before God. It should become more and more a state of standing before God’s loving presence, totally emptied of self, total gift to God. In complete nudity of spirit, in complete formlessness, without words, but with the “passionless passion” of the total true self, we grow daily in oneness with the triune God . . . Prayer of the heart becomes the unremitting consciousness of God’s abiding presence deep within us. It brings about the state of restfulness, tranquility, the quelling of all inordinate movements and desires, passions and thoughts within us.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lectio Divina - Fifty-eight

Thomas Keating. Open Mind, Open Heart. Continuum: New York, 1986.

Contemplative prayer is the world in which God can do anything. To move into that realm is the greatest adventure. It is to be open to the Infinite and hence to infinite possibilities. Our private, self-made worlds come to an end; a new world appears within and around us and the impossible becomes an everyday experience.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lectio Divina - Fifty-seven

Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. Boston: Shambhala, 1984, p. 20.

When you awaken your heart in this way, you find, to your surprise, that your heart is empty. You find that you are looking into outer space. What are you, who are you, where is your heart? If you really look, you won’t find anything tangible and solid. Of course, you might find something very solid if you have a grudge against someone or you have fallen possessively in love. But that is not awakened heart. If you search for awakened heart, if you put your hand through your rib cage and feel for it, there is nothing there except for tenderness. You feel sore and soft, and if you open your eyes to the rest of the world, you feel tremendous sadness. This kind of sadness doesn’t come from being mistreated. You don’t feel sad because someone has insulted you or because you feel impoverished. Rather, this experience of sadness is unconditioned. It occurs because your heart is completely exposed. There is no skin or tissue covering it; it is pure raw meat. Even if a tiny mosquito lands on it, you feel so touched. Your experience is raw and tender and so personal.

The genuine heart of sadness comes from feeling that your nonexistent heart is full. You would like to spill your heart’s blood, give your heart to others. For the warrior, this experience of sad and tender heart is what gives birth to fearlessness. Conventionally, being fearless means that you are not afraid or that, if someone hits you, you will hit him back. However, we are not talking about that street-fighter level of fearlessness. Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lectio Divina - Fifty-six

Thomas Merton, A Thomas Merton Reader. New York: Doubleday, 1974, p.240.

I know that many people are, or call themselves, “atheists” simply because they are repelled and offended by statements about God made in imaginary and metaphorical terms which they are not able to interpret and comprehend. They refuse these concepts of God, not because they despise God, but perhaps because they demand a notion of Him more perfect than they generally find: and because ordinary, figurative concepts of God could not satisfy them, they turn away and think that there are no other: or worse still, they refuse to listen to philosophy, on the ground that it is nothing but a web of meaningless words spun together for the justification of the same old hopeless falsehoods.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lectio Divina - Fifty-five

René Daumel, quoted in Parabola, Volume 34, No. 3, Fall 2009, p. 56.

Another way of putting it would be (without knowing Chinese) to propose this new translation of the first line of the Tao Te Ching: “A way that is entirely laid out, no, it is not the way.”  I told you that I have encountered in my life a true teaching.  One of the signs of its truth, for me, is that it never proposes an entirely prescribed path.  No, at every step the entire dilemma is revisited.  For me, nothing is resolved once and for all.  And what I have always loved in you is your refusal of a prearranged path, and that’s important to me because alone one can’t sustain such a position.  We must be a number of people to help each other, to awaken each other.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lectio Divina - Fifty-four

Chung Hyun Kyung in “Come, Holy Spirit - Renew the Whole Creation”, in
Signs of the Spirit: Official Report of the Seventh Assembly, Michael Kinnamon, ed. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1991, pp. 42-3.

Then what should we do when the spirit calls us? The first thing we should do is repent. While I was preparing for this reflection in Korea, I had a chance to spend some time with Christian grassroots women activists in Korea. I asked them if there was anything they wanted me to say to the Christians from around the world gathered in Canberra with the theme “Come, Holy Spirit - Renew the Whole Creation.” They told me: “Tell them they don’t have to spend too much energy to call the Spirit because the Spirit is already here with us. Don’t bother calling her all the time. She is busy working hard with us. The only problem is we do not have eyes to see and ears to hear the Spirit, as we are occupied with our greed. So tell them repent!” So sisters and brothers, I give you a “not-so-pleasant” greeting from my sisters, “Repent!” . . . Indeed repentance is the first step in any truthful prayer. Genuine repentance, metanoia, also means a radical change of direction in our individual and communal life. In order to feel the Holy Spirit, we have to turn ourselves to the direction of the wind of life, the direction the Holy Spirit blows.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lectio Divina - Fifty-three

Psalm 150:6

Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lectio Divina - Fifty-two

Mohandas Gandhi, quoted in Diana Eck, Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Benares.  Boston: Beacon Press, 1993, p. 219.

I hold that it is the duty of every cultured man or woman to read sympathetically the scriptures of the world.  If we are to respect others' religions as we would have them respect our own, a friendly study of the world's religions is a sacred duty.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lectio Divina - Fifty-one

Frank Ostaseski, Founder & Director Metta Institute, Five Precepts

The Fifth Precept: Cultivate Don’t-Know Mind

This describes a mind that’s open and receptive. A mind that’s not limited by agendas, roles and expectations. The great Zen teacher Suzuki Roshi, was fond of saying, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”

From this vantage point we realize that “not knowing is most intimate.” Understanding this we stay very close to the experience allowing the situation itself to inform our actions. We listen carefully to our own inner voice, sensing our urges, trusting our intuition. We learn to look with fresh eyes.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Lectio Divina - Fifty

Frank Ostaseski, Founder & Director Metta Institute, Five Precepts

The Fourth Precept:  Find a Place of Rest in the Middle of Things

We often think of rest as something that will come when everything else is complete, like when we go on a holiday or when our work is done.  We imagine that we can only find rest by changing the conditions of our life.  But it is possible to discover rest right in the middle of chaos.  It is experienced when we bring our full attention, without distraction, to this moment, to this activity.  This place of rest is always available.  We need only turn toward it.  It’s an aspect of us that’s never sick, is not born, and does not die.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lectio Divina - Forty-Nine

Frank Ostaseski, Founder & Director Metta Institute, Five Precepts

The Third Precept:  Don’t Wait

Patience is different than waiting.  When we wait, we are full of expectations.  When we’re waiting, we miss what this moment has to offer.  Worrying or strategizing about what the future holds for us, we miss the opportunities that are right in front of us.  Waiting for the moment of death, we miss so many moments of living.  Don’t wait.  If there’s someone you love, tell him or her that you love them.  Allow the precarious nature of this life to show you what’s most important, then enter fully.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lectio Divina - Forty-Eight

Frank Ostaseski, Founder & Director Metta Institute, Five Precepts

The Second Precept:  Bring Your Whole Self to the Experience

In the process of healing others and ourselves we open to both our joy and fear.  In the service of this healing we draw on our strength and helplessness, our wounds and passion to discover a meeting place with the other.  Professional warmth doesn’t heal.  It is not our expertise but the exploration of our own suffering that enables us to be of real assistance.  That’s what allows us to touch another human being’s pain with compassion instead of with fear and pity.  We have to invite it all in.  We can’t travel with others in territory that we haven’t explored ourselves.  It is the exploration of our own inner life that enables us to form an empathetic bridge to the other person.

Frank Ostaseski is a Zen chaplain who has developed five precepts as companions on the journey of accompanying the dying.  The precepts are also deeply meaningful in other aspects of life.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lectio Divina - Forty-Seven

Frank Ostaseski, Founder & Director Metta Institute, Five Precepts

The First Precept:  Welcome Everything.  Push Away Nothing

In welcoming everything, we don’t have to like what’s arising.  It’s actually not our job to approve or disapprove.  It’s our task to trust, to listen, and to pay careful attention to the changing experience.  At the deepest level, we are being asked to cultivate a kind of fearless receptivity.

This is a journey of continuous discovery in which we will always be entering new territory.  We have no idea how it will turn out, and it takes courage and flexibility.  We find a balance.  The journey is a mystery we need to live into, opening, risking, and forgiving constantly.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lectio Divina - Forty-Six

Luke 10:38-42, NRSV translation

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lectio Divina - Forty-Five

Augustine, Confessions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991, p.73

You alone are always present even to those who have taken themselves far from you. . . Let them turn, and at once you are there in their heart - in the heart of those who make confession to you and throw themselves upon you and weep on your breast after traveling many rough paths.  Where was I when I was seeking for you? You were there before me, but I had departed from myself.  I could not even find myself, much less you.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lectio Divina - Forty-Four

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet. New York: Vintage, 1986, p.88.
This is in the end the only kind of courage that is required of us: the courage to face the strangest, most unusual, most inexplicable experiences that can meet us. The fact that people have in this sense been cowardly has done infinite harm to life; the experiences that are called “apparitions,” the whole so-called “spirit world,” death, all these Things that are so closely related to us, have through our daily defensiveness been so entirely pushed out of life that the senses with which we might have been able to grasp them have atrophied. To say nothing of God. But the fear of the inexplicable has not only impoverished the reality of the individual; it has also narrowed the relationship between one human being and another, which has as it were been lifted out of the riverbed of infinite possibilities and set down in a fallow place on the bank, where nothing happens.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lectio Divina - Forty-Three

Audre Lorde, “Uses of the Erotic,” in Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde. Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press, 1984, 57-8.

We have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves, our deepest cravings. . . The fear of our desires keeps them suspect and indiscriminately powerful, for to suppress any truth is to give it strength beyond endurance. The fear that we cannot grow beyond whatever distortions we may find within ourselves keeps us docile and loyal and obedient, externally defined, and leads us to accept many facets of our oppression as women.

When we live outside ourselves, and by that I mean on external directives only rather than from our internal knowledge and needs, when we live away from those erotic guides from within ourselves, then our lives are limited by external and alien forms, and we conform to the needs of a structure that is not based on human need, let alone an individual’s. But when we begin to live from within outward, in touch with the power of the erotic within ourselves, and allowing that power to inform and illuminate our actions upon the world around us, then we begin to be responsible to ourselves in the deepest sense.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lectio Divina - Forty-two

Henri Nouwen, With Open Hands. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 1972, p.14.

The man invited to pray is asked to open his tightly clenched fists and to give up his last coin. But who wants to do that? A first prayer, therefore is often a painful prayer, because you discover you don’t want to let go. You hold fast to what is familiar, even if you aren’t proud of it.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lectio Divina - Forty-one

Teilhard de Chardin, quoted in The Oxford Book of Prayer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989, p.7.

Blessed be you, harsh matter, barren soil, stubborn rock: you who yield only to violence, you who force us to work if we would eat. Blessed be you, perilous matter, violent sea, untameable passion: you who unless we fetter you will devour us. Blessed be you, mighty matter, irresistible march of evolution, reality ever new-born; you who, by constantly shattering our mental categories, force us to go ever further and further in our pursuit of the truth. Blessed be you, universal matter, unmeasurable time, boundless ether, triple abyss of stars and atoms and generations: you who by overflowing and dissolving our narrow standards of measurement reveal to us the dimensions of God . . .

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lectio Divina - Forty

Andre Louf, in Christian Teachings on the Practice of Prayer From the Early Church to the Present, ed. Lorraine Kisly.  Boston: New Seeds, 2006, p.2.

Each and every method of prayer has but one objective: to find the heart and alert it.  It must be a form of interior alertness, watchfulness.  Jesus himself set “being awake” and “praying” side by side.  The phrase “be awake and pray” certainly comes from Jesus in person (Matt 26:41; Mark 13:33).  Only profound and quiet concentration can put us on the track of our heart and of the prayer within it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lectio Divina - Thirty-nine

Eugene H. Peterson, Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer.  San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1989, p.98.

Our hate needs to be prayed, not suppressed.  Hate is our emotional link with the spirituality of evil.  It is the volcanic eruption of outrage when the holiness of being, ours or another’s, has been violated.  It is also the ugliest and most dangerous of our emotions, the hair trigger on a loaded gun.  Embarrassed by the ugliness and fearful of the murderous, we commonly neither admit or pray our hate; we deny it and suppress it.  But if it is not admitted it can quickly and easily metamorphose into the evil that provokes it; and if it is not prayed we have lost an essential insight and energy in doing battle with evil.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lectio Divina - Thirty-eight

A Pygmy prayer, from Desmond Tutu, An African Prayer Book. New York: Doubleday, 1995, p.8.

In the beginning was God,
Today is God,
Tomorrow will be God.
Who can make an image of God?
He has no body.
He is the word which comes out of your mouth.
That word! It is no more,
It is past, and still it lives!
So is God.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lectio Divina - Thirty-seven

Anthony Bloom.  Beginning to Pray.  Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1970, p.15.

To meet God means to enter into the “cave of a tiger” - it is not a pussy cat you meet - it’s a tiger.  The realm of God is dangerous.  You must enter into it and not just seek information about it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lectio Divina - Thirty-six

Henri Nouwen. The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life. New York: Crossroad, 1999, p. 30.

It is God’s passionate pursuit of us that calls us to prayer. Prayer comes from God’s initiative, not ours. It might sound shocking, but it is biblical to say: God wants us more than we want God!

So who is more in need of our prayers: we or God? God is. Who wants to be heard most: we or God? God does. And who “suffers” more from our lack of prayer: we or God? I say it in awe but without fear: God does.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lectio Divina - Thirty-five

From The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks. New York: HarperCollins, 1995, p. 13.

Lo, I am with you always means when you look for God,

God is in the look of your eyes,

in the thought of looking, nearer to you than your self,

or things that have happened to you.

There’s no need to go outside.

Be melting snow.

Wash yourself of yourself.

A white flower grows in the quietness.

Let your tongue become that flower.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lectio Divina - Thirty-four

Seyyed Hossein Nasr. “The Wisdom of the Body” in Religion and the Order of Nature, Oxford University Press: New York, 1996.

As long as we consider the body as a mere machine, it is not possible to take seriously the religious understanding of the order of nature nor to live in harmony with it.  To rediscover the body as the theater of Divine Presence and manifestation of Divine Wisdom as well as an aspect of reality that is at once an intimate part of our being and a part of the natural order is to reestablish a bridge between ourselves and the world of nature beyond the merely physical and utilitarian.  To rediscover the body as the abode of the Spirit, worthy of Resurrection before the Lord, and intimate companion in the soul’s journey in this world, sacred in itself and in the life which permeates it, is to rediscover at the same time the sacredness of nature.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lectio Divina - Thirty-three

Max Picard. The World of Silence. Wichita, Kansas: Eighth Day Press, 2002, p.110.

Animals are creatures that lead silence through the world of man and language and are always putting silence down in front of man.  Many things that human words have upset are set at rest again by the silence of animals.  Animals move through the world of words like a caravan of silence  . . . A whole world, that of nature and that of animals, is filled with silence.  Nature and animals seem like protuberances of silence.  The silence of animals and the silence of nature would not be so great and noble if it were merely a failure of language to materialize.  Silence has been entrusted to the animals and to nature as something created for its own sake.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lectio Divina - Thirty-two

Nelson Mandela, quoted in Ann Belford Ulanov. The Unshuttered Heart: Opening Aliveness/Deadness in the Self. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007, pp. 75-76.

Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us . . . You are a child of God; your playing small doesn’t serve the world . . . We are born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just some of us, it is everyone and as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do so.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lectio Divina - Thirty-one

Thich Nhat Hanh. Living Buddha, Living Christ. New York: Riverhead Books, 1995, pp. 23-4.

Our true home is in the present moment. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment. Peace is all around us - in the world and in nature - and within us - in our bodies and our spirits. Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed. It is not a matter or faith; it is a matter of practice. We need only to bring our body and mind into the present moment, and we will touch what is refreshing, healing, and wondrous.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lectio Divina - Thirty

Paul Knitter, “New Possibilities for Interreligious Dialogue” in Beatrice Bruteau, ed., The Other Half of My Soul: Bede Griffiths and the Hindu-Christian Dialogue. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 1996, p.169.

The first commandment of Christ to Christians is not a “missionary mandate” to go forth and make disciples of all nations, but is, of course, to love one’s neighbors. Many people feel that there is a certain clash between this commandment and the missionary mandate. Previous attitudes towards and ways of approaching other faiths have not allowed Christians to properly love their non-Christian neighbors. What, after all, does love mean, but to respect someone, to honor them, to really listen with an authentic openness to what they are saying?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lectio Divina - Twenty-nine

Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy & Fairy Tale. New York: HarperCollins, 1977, 40-41.

The preacher is not called to be be an actor, a magician, in the pulpit. He is called to be himself. He is called to tell the truth as he has experienced it. He is called to be human, to be human, and that is calling enough for any man. If he does not make real to them the human experience of what it is to cry into the storm and receive no answer, to be sick at heart and find no healing, then he becomes the only one there who seems not to have had that experience because most surely under their bonnets and shawls and jackets, under their afros and ponytails, all the others there have had it whether they talk of it or not. As much as anything else, it is their experience of the absence of God that has brought them there in search of his presence, and if the preacher does not speak of that and to that, then he becomes like the captain of a ship who is the only one aboard who either does not know that the waves are twenty feet high and the decks awash or will not face up to it so that anything else he tries to say by way of hope and comfort and empowering becomes suspect on the basis of that one crucial ignorance or disingenuousness or cowardice or reluctance to speak in love any truths but the ones that people love to hear.