“. . . What are the spirits that bend and stunt each of us, that keep us from living fully upright and free? For some of us it might be past shame or grief, left untended until it lies in stagnant pools of anger and regret. Or it might be a critical spirit that makes razor-sharp cuts in an endless litany of put-downs. Maybe we are weighted by pride or continual comparison, losing our sense of self in the exhausting race to be thought better, or less, than others. Who would we be and what would we see if we could just stand again, balanced on our own two feet? What is our heart’s calling? Who are we meant to be? Maybe we have been stricken by the spirit of disconnection, unable to fully meet each other, unable to reach out to the one in need for fear of seeing our own vulnerability and pain mirrored in another’s eyes. What diminishing spirit bends you, leaves you misshapen, less than the whole person you long to be?”(Kayla McClurg in Season and Scripture: Luke, Ordinary Time C).
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“The abundance of God to our lives, our families and our ministries is not passively received or imposed and does not happen to us by chance, but is claimed and put into action by our active, intelligent pursuit of it. We must seek out ways to live and act in union with the flow of God’s kingdom life that should come through our relationship with Jesus” (Dallas Willard in The Great Omission).
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“The world is so much larger than I thought. I thought we went along paths–but it seems there are no paths. The going itself is the path” (C.S. Lewis in Perelandra).
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“. . . . of the dozens of glaringly obvious ways the gospel has been Americanized for our consumption perhaps the gospel of success is the most harmful. If the counterintuitive message of Jesus means anything at all it is that God seems to really enjoy making right things out of wrong, whole things out of partials, full things out of empty, live things out of dead. It is the way of life and freedom from death and loss. It is the subversive Way of Jesus.
Instead, what we hear from many pulpits is often Ayn Rand for Beginners baptized in Jesusy language to lend weight and credibility. We tend to prefer the smiley-faced let’s-add-Christianity-to-my-resume motivational speakers or the pro sports, Jesus-made-me-a-winner message than the humble-yourself-to-be-exalted, I-will-boast-in-my-weaknesses attitude so pervasive in the New Testament. . . .
And, although we enjoy two millennia of post-resurrection, post-Pentecost, post-canon experience, we still suffer from the same spiritual glaucoma that afflicted our forebears. Call it our own failure to learn from their failure that our failures, like theirs, are subsumed into the “success” of the One. . . .
In the gospel economy, we succeed only when we give up the belief that we need to do so, and the desire to do so. We succeed to the degree that we completely abandon our present definition of such and submit that to the greater success of life through death.
We spurn a Suffering Savior in favor of a Machiavellian one every bit as much as [our forebear] did. But, if we are willing, we will see that, in the risen Christ, our tombs of failure must succumb to the surprising success of resurrection. It will leave a watching world as delightfully baffled as it did the first breathless disciples staring into an empty hole in the rock where once lay the world’s greatest failure, now its Lord and God” (Robert Rife in Faith and Failure – Why We Still don’t Get It, a blog on Conversations website).