Chesterton and Balance

Taken from Orthodoxy:

“The modern latitudinarians speak, for instance, about authority in religion not only as if there were no reason for it, but as if there had never been any reason for it.  Apart from seeing its philosophical basis, they cannot even see its historical cause.  Religious authority has often, doubtless, been oppressive or unreasonable; just as every legal system (and especially our present one) has been callous and full of a cruel apathy.  It is rational to attack the police; nay, it is glorious.  But the modern critics of religious authority are like men who should attack the police without ever having heard of burglars.  For there is a great and possible peril to the human mind: a peril as practical as burglary.  Against it religious authority was reared, rightly or wrongly, as a barrier.  And against it something certainly must be reared as a barrier, if our race is to avoid ruin.

“That peril is that the human intellect is free to destroy itself.  Just as one generation could prevent the very existence of the next generation, by all entering a monastery or jumping into the sea, so one set of thinkers can in some degree prevent . . . → Read More: Chesterton and Balance

The Gospel as Relationship

Throughout the last two months this notion of the Gospel as Relationship has really consumed me. The idea was first kicked off when, while studying the 10 commandments, I had heard for the first time that some artist renderings of Moses with the tablets show three commandments on one tablet and the other seven on the other. It shows the delineation of the Law as commandments dealing with the relationship between man and God (the 3) and man with one another (the 7). While I could go on about how interesting the difference in number of commandments is, it really has driven home the Gospel as relationship.

Indeed this is what Jesus says when he is asked to explain the Law.  ”To love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.”  This amazing summation of the law is a testament to the Gospel as relationship. Jesus is making it clear that true humanity is recognizing oneself as a relational being. Therefore, living in a way that pleases God is equated to living in a way that honors, respects, and helps to keep relationships holy, pure, and well formed. This really is the summation . . . → Read More: The Gospel as Relationship

Birth

From the book of Jeremiah, 1:4-10:

4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying,

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

6 “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.

9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

My spiritual director keyed me in to this passage as I dwelt on the blessings God has given me, and whether I am wasting them.  She was trying to strengthen, I think, the sense of God’s presence and purpose in my life.  . . . → Read More: Birth

Spirit and Sports

It’s a proven fact that I would estimate 55% of NFL players, upon scoring a touchdown, will give some acknowledgment to God.

You get the fingers pointed skyward, the knee and a moment of stillness, the chest tap, and so on.  I think I’ve seen the “grenade launch” where the players forgot to throw the grenade, so I suppose that one was attributed to God.  They’re lucky the whole stadium didn’t blow up.

Anyway, I have no problem with this, and sometimes find it touching.  I realize these players, typically, won’t represent the depth of religious devotion that many religious, parents, and children demonstrate every day.

Yet, like life, the most impressive displays of religious devotion come from the valley.  (Here, by “impressive,” I mean something that makes and/or leaves an impression).

Growing up, I admired a friend of mine, Dave, who played every game as hard as he could.  He simply would never give up, and fought tooth and nail to stay in every contest.  (I’m not kidding about the nails.  I was scratched on several occasions).  His ferocity was a contrast to my more even demeanor, and I frequently wondered if I was lacking in spirit.

While at . . . → Read More: Spirit and Sports

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