"If I myself were an American citizen and a Christian and a theologian, then I would try to elaborate a theology of freedom -- a theology of freedom from, let us say, from any inferiority complex over against good old Europe from whence you all came, or your fathers. You do not need to have such an inferiority complex. That is what I have learned these weeks. You may also have freedom from a superiority complex, let us say, over against Asia and Africa. That's a complex without reason. Then I may add -- [your theology should also be marked by] freedom from fear of communism, Russia, inevitable nuclear warfare and generally speaking, from all the afore-mentioned principalities and powers. Freedom for which you would stand would be the freedom for -- I like to say a single word -- humanity. Being an American theologian, I would then look at the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbor. I have not seen that lady, except in pictures. Next week I shall see her in person. That lady needs certainly a little or, perhaps, a good bit of demythologization. Nevertheless, maybe she may also be seen and interpreted and understood as a symbol of a true theology, not of liberty, but of freedom. Well, it would be necessarily, a theology of freedom. Of that freedom to which the Son frees us [cf. Jn 8.36], and which as His gift, is the one real human freedom. My last question for this evening is this: Will such a specific American theology one day arise? I hope so." Karl Barth
Aus: K. Barth, Gespräche 1964-1968, hrsg. von E. Busch (Gesamtausgabe, Abt. IV), Zürich 1995, S.489, vgl. S.279.
I love this as it fits nicely into my passion for a theology of place.
"Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big."
How easily we forget that the church was founded by disciples who betrayed their master. None was willing to stand by Jesus as the religious and political authorities condemned him to death. At his moment of greatest need, the disciples fled in the darkness. The boldest of the lot, Peter, was the very one who cursed and denied him three times before the cock crew. It was for traitors that Jesus died." Philip Yancey, Source: Soul Survivor. Daily Dig, July 26, 2014
"I think evangelicalism is destined to die of its own success and it will go the way of mainstream Protestantism because there’s just—it depends far too much on charismatic pastors, and charisma will only take you so far. Evangelicalism is constantly under the burden of re-inventing the wheel and you just get tired. For example, I’m a big advocate of Morning Prayer. I love Morning Prayer. We do the same thing every morning. We don’t have to make it up. We know we’re going to say these prayers. We know we’re going to join in reading of the psalm. We’re going to have these Scripture readings. I mean, there’s much to be said for Christianity as repetition and I think evangelicalism doesn’t have enough repetition in a way that will form Christians to survive in a world that constantly tempts us to always think we have to do something new."
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children...This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."
Who Said This? A Republican or a Democrat or a Religious Leader?
If Obama said this, Republicans would continue to declare that he is exactly what they've labeled him to be - a liberal, idealogue, crazy, anti-American, etc. (And Democrats did the similar kinds of demonization to George W. Bush).
If a Religious leader said this, she/he would be ridiculed by the religious right who find it easy to pledge allegiance to the flag of the USA. (I will compare my citizenship to any religious zealot, I've never cheated on my taxes, I vote, I serve, I love being an American, I love my country).
Who Said This?
Republican president Dwight David Eisenhower made this statement in a Presidential address on April 16, 1953. Isn't the vision he shared in this quote in sync with God's mission to bring about restoration and a return to Shalom for humanity, the world and the entire cosmos?
I know that we live in a sinful, fallen and broken world where evil people desire to harm and subjugate but I also believe that followers of Jesus Christ must be willing to pick up their cross, walk in the way of the cross and stand up for peace, for the greater true, for the oppressed, for the marginalized, for immigrants, for the poor, for the mentally ill, for the persecuted, for minorities, for the left outs and stand up to the oppressors, the persecutors, war-mongers and the self-righteous religious idealogues.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:3-11
"I wonder what we Christians are known for in the world outside our churches. Are we known as critics, consumers, copiers, condemners of culture? I'm afraid so. Why aren't we known as cultivators-people who tend and nourish what is best in human culture, who do the hard and painstaking work to preserve the best of what people before us have done? Why aren't we known as creators-people who dare to think and do something that has never been thought or done before, something that makes the world more welcoming and thrilling and beautiful?" Andy Crouch
"Christians whose loyalty to the Prince of Peace puts them out of step with today’s nationalistic world, because they are willing to love their nation’s friends but not to hate their nation’s enemies, are not unrealistic dreamers who think that by their objections they will end all wars. On the contrary, it is the soldiers who think they can put an end to wars by preparing for just one more.
Christians love their enemies because God does so, and commands his followers to do so. That is the only reason, and that is enough." John Howard Yoder
Several days ago, I got an Advent Daily Dig featuring a quote that I can't quit thinking of. I've read it to a few people and asked them to guess who said this. Most people think of Pope Francis, which makes sense because he has us talking about the kind of issues that this quote addresses. We are talking about it because through his behavior he is pushing the conversation captured by the following quote to the forefront. The Pope has been called a Marxist. Jesus was called names also, it goes with the territory. So now, for the quote.
"Let everyone examine himself in the light of the Gospel and see hoLew far he is from Christ, and what is the character of his faith and love. There are many who are enkindled with dreamy devotion, and when they hear of the poverty of Christ, they are almost angry with the citizens of Bethlehem. They denounce their blindness and ingratitude, and think, if they had been there, they would have shown the Lord and his mother a more kindly service, and would not have permitted them to be treated so miserably. But they do not look by their side to see how many of their fellow humans need their help, and which they ignore in their misery. Who is there upon earth that has no poor, miserable, sick, erring ones around him? Why does he not exercise his love to those? Why does he not do to them as Christ has done to him?" Who said this? (The answer below)
Martin Luther, the Father of the Protestant Reformation
I receive the Daily Dig everyday. Yesterday featured a quote by Søren Kierkegaard.
This is official - Søren Kierkegaard scares me. He said, "Christ willed to be the socially insignificant one. The fact that he descended from heaven to take upon himself the form of a servant is not an accidental something which now is to be thrust into the background and forgotten. No, every true follower of Christ must express existentially the very same thing – that insignificance and offense are inseparable from being a Christian. As soon as the least bit of worldly advantage is gained by preaching or following Christ, then the fox is in the chicken house."
Not only does his convicting comments scare me... I'm also really jealous of the head of hair he sported. Damn you Søren.
This morning I read the following quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. The question, "Have I succeeded?", caught my attention. Sometimes I ponder the reality that 50 years after I die no one will remember who I am. Not trying to be morbid or depressing, it's just the truth.
Everyone is talking about Abraham Lincoln these days. Lincoln played a prominent role in President Obama's recent Inauguration. Hundreds of books have been written about him and a new one has just been released. Stephen Spielberg's recent movie about Abraham Lincoln will soon be winning multiple Oscars at the upcoming Academy Awards. Abraham Lincoln has been dead for nearly 150 years but almost everybody remembers him. Most would agree that he was a very successful person.
A century and a half years from now no one will remember me. So the question, "Have I succeeded?", caused me to ponder. My heart rate quickened as I read Ralph Waldo Emerson's quote. I felt affirmed with each statement he made. The weakest link for me was the "garden patch" comment but I have done a couple rounds of nurturing a flower garden, so I'll leave that in. Based on Ralph Waldo Emerson's opinion, yes, I think I have succeeded.
"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson