Stories, hopes and laughter

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Published in: on 10/24/2015 at 12:34  Leave a Comment  
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Looking to the Source

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There is but one good;
that is God.
Everything else is good
when it looks to Him
and bad when it turns
from Him.

–C. S. Lewis

The Light Giver

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Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”

If anyone has any light,
it comes from Him.
If anyone finds truth,
it comes from Him.
If anyone possesses wisdom,
it comes from Him.
If anyone encounters beauty,
it comes from Him.
If anyone experiences goodness,
it comes from Him.

— J.O.S.

Image: Lars van de Goor

Published in: on 06/23/2014 at 8:32  Leave a Comment  
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The problem of good

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We have spent centuries of philosophy trying to solve “the problem of evil,” yet I believe the much more confounding and astounding issue is the “problem of good.” How do we account for so much gratuitous and sheer goodness in this world? Tackling this problem would achieve much better results.

–Richard Rohr
Immortal Diamond

 

Not done in vain

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What you do in the Lord is not in vain. You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that’s about to roll over a cliff. You are not restoring a great painting that’s shortly going to be thrown on the fire. You are not planting roses in a garden that’s about to be dug up for a building site.

You are—strange though it may seem . . .
accomplishing something
that will become in due course
part of God’s new world.

Every act of love, gratitude, and kindness; every work of art or music inspired by the love of God and delight in the beauty of his creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read or to walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one’s fellow human beings and for that matter one’s fellow nonhuman creatures; and of course every prayer, all Spirit-led teaching, every deed that spreads the gospel, builds up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of Jesus honored in the world—all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make.

– N.T. Wright
Surprised by Hope

Truth, Goodness & God

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All other teachers have pointed beyond themselves to truth. Jesus pointed to Himself and said: “I am the truth.” And somehow or other we believe it; for if we could sit down and try to imagine a perfect illustration of abstract truth translated into life and action, we could not think for the life of us of a better illustration than Jesus of Nazareth.

A man lived two thousand years ago; and now when I think of truth, I do not add truth to truth to get Truth—I think of Jesus. When I say Truth, I think of Jesus. When I say Goodness, I think of Jesus. And when I say God, I think of Jesus. If I don’t, I miss Truth; I miss Goodness; I miss God.

–E. Stanley Jones
Mastery

He seeks to be found

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The reason we can hope to find God is that He is here, engaged all the time in finding us.

Every gleam of beauty
is a pull toward Him.

Every pulse of love is a tendril that draws us in His direction. Every verification of truth links the finite mind up into a Foundational Mind that undergirds us. Every deed of good will points toward a consummate Goodness which fulfills all our tiny adventures in faith. We can find Him because in Him we live and move and have our being.

–Rufus M. Jones
(1863-1948)

Made in heaven

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Every bit of love and beauty and truth that anyone ever experiences on earth is made in Heaven and is a participation in Heaven. For Heaven is God’s presence; and God is present in all goodness, all truth, and all beauty . . . In God all goodness, truth and beauty exist, coexist and meet . . . God is the point of it all.

–Peter J. Kreeft
Heaven: The Earth’s Deepest Longing

Published in: on 10/05/2013 at 17:49  Leave a Comment  
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Incomparable goodness

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“The Word became flesh” . . . His words and his deeds blended like the words and music of a song. He was so truthful that He was truth, so loving that He was love, so good that He was goodness, so morally beautiful that He was beauty, so living that He was life, so godlike that he was God.

–E. Stanley Jones

Myths, legends and the gospel

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On the evening of September 19, 1931, Lewis had a long discussion with one of his closest friends, J. R. R. Tolkien . . .

Lewis said that he could not see what meaning Christ’s life, death and resurrection could possibly have for him living 1900 years after the events. Tolkien replied that the gospel works in the same way that myths work. Lewis had no problem in being moved by myths and legends – they gave him a sense of joy and touched a chord of longing in his heart. But, ‘they are lies breathed through silver’ Lewis replied.

No, said Tolkien, they are not completely lies – rather, myths have elements of the truth within the distortions and unworthy outer husk they often wear.

Myths, said Tolkien, are echoes
or memories of the truth
that God had originally made known
to Adam and Eve, the ancestors
of the whole human race.

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There are in myths, memories of the un-fallen world, memories of paradise when the world was not stained by human rebellion but was characterized only by goodness and joy in all of life; there is a sense of the shame and tragedy of the brokenness of our present life; and there are hints of the promise and hope of redemption, of the setting right of all things. The Gospel is the true myth, the great fairy story.

In the Gospel of Christ
all the elements of truth in the pagan myths
find their fulfillment.

This conversation (it went on till 3:00 am) was a very significant turning point in Lewis’ conversion, for just a few days afterwards Lewis came to faith in Christ.

Jerram Barrs
Echoes of Eden
(emphasis added)

It’s worth fighting for

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Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.

Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.

― J.R.R. Tolkien
The Two Towers

An easy yoke and a light burden

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The Christian way is the natural way to live; therefore, it is the way of the easy yoke and the light burden. The idea that sin is natural and the Christian way unnatural is a paralysis upon the Christian movement. It is false. God made us “good”. We have made ourselves bad. But the good is good for us, and the bad is bad for us. To be a Christian is not hard—not to be a Christian is hard.

When you live against Christ, you are
living against the grain of the universe.
You are frustrated and unhappy.

Carlyle says: “Sin is, has been , and every shall be the parent of misery.” Conversely goodness is, has been and ever shall be the parent of happiness. To follow Christ is not to follow a law, imposed and unnatural; but it is to follow the law of life—the law of my life, your life, our lives.

You fulfil yourself when you follow Christ.
You frustrate yourself when you follow some other way.

I John 5:3 says: “His commandments are not burdensome.” Why? Because he puts nothing on us? He puts everything on us. He dumps the world and its troubles into our hearts. Then the burden is burdensome? No, for his burden is the same burden that wings are to a bird, sails are to a ship, love is to the heart.

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When I say to an audience just before lunchtime, “Go to lunch,” is that command burdensome? No for their stomachs say the same thing.

What Jesus commands
our inmost nature commends.
It isn’t hard to be a Christian;
it is hard not to be a Christian.

A man came . . . and said, “Mr. Jones I only know one verse of Scripture, but I know that one is true: “the way of the transgressor is hard.” The Christian way is “hard”? It is supernaturally natural—you find Christ and you find yourself; you do his will and his will turns out to be your highest interest. His yoke is easy and his burden is light—for his yoke is my yearning, his burden is my blessing. His will is my freedom.

–E. Stanley Jones
A Song of Ascents
(emphasis added)

A yearning for home

If we only had eyes to see and ears to hear and wits to understand, we would know that the Kingdom of God in the sense of holiness, goodness, beauty is as close as breathing and is crying out to born both within ourselves and within the world; we would know that the Kingdom of God is what we all of us hunger for above all other things even when we don’t know its name or realize that it’s what we’re starving to death for.

The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams
come from and our truest prayers.

We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know. We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength.

The Kingdom of God is where we belong.
It is home, and whether we realize it or not,
I think we are all of us homesick for it.

―Frederick Buechner
(emphasis added)

The miracle

The miracle is not . . .
having wealth or fame.
The miracle is having toes
and a tongue and fingers
and knees and a nose.

A passion for life

[T]here is nothing inherently wrong with the physical world and bodily life. Nothing in the world God created caused our alienation and provoked the groan of all creation. None of the groan we feel is from our essential existence in the world, but rather from our broken existence in the world.

The world is good. The world has been broken,
but full freedom is coming.

This should free us to rejoice in the present. The Spirit’s nearness does not causes us to despise the world but join in God’s profound love of it (cf. John 3.16).

… Jurgen Moltmann has said, “God’s blessing enhances vitality and does not quench the joy of living. The nearness of God makes this mortal life worth loving, not something to be despised.”

In the Spirit of the Resurrection we participate now in the renewal of life and rejoice in the vitality and passion for life He gives.

–Richard Liantonio

Does God enjoy flowers?

I know no-one (Thomas Traherne) in Christian writings who sees the shining Love of God so deeply in the actual world around us. He basically argues that when someone makes and gives a gift, that giver’s greatest happiness is to see the recipient enjoy it aright.

Nothing can make God happier than seeing us
delighting in His gifts and enjoying them
the way He Himself does.

Does God enjoy flowers?, birds? fresh air? colours? the sun? Traherne would say “Most certainly!!” and our greatest happiness is to enjoy them with Him, learning to see them as He does. Moreover, if I were the only human on earth, He would give them ALL to me, just as He does now. But I am even more blessed in the fact that He gives them to every other person — and also gives those persons to me to delight in and love! We are meant to be gifts to each other. A great over-flowing of Goodness!

–Wingfold

The primary heresy

Gnosticism was the PRIMARY heresy that the early church combated, precisely because from the beginning of the church it was the most destructive idea to authentic apostolic Christianity. This idea subtly continues in the church when we ascribe a bad or inferior status to the material world or specifically our bodies. This belief slowly, yet thoroughly deconstructs the meaning and power of apostolic doctrine in its belief of the goodness of God’s role as creator, his creation, the value of the life of the body and the renewal of the earth.

–Richard Liantonio

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