“There is nothing wrong with churches wanting to be culturally relevant. But are gimmicks going to bring young people back to church? Is that what people really hunger for? I think the younger generation sees through what is slick and glitzy. When it comes to church, I think they don’t want cool as much as they want real. . . . People do not come to church because worship is entertaining, trendy, or hip. They come because the gospel is real and true and life-changing” (Lou Lotz in Words of Hope, June, 2018).
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
“To become neighbours is to bridge the gap between people. As long as there is distance between us and we cannot look in each other’s eyes, all sorts of false ideas and images arise. We give them names, make jokes about them, cover them with our prejudices, and avoid direct contact. We think of them as enemies. We forget that they love as we love, care for their children as we care for ours, become sick and die as we do. We forget that they are our brothers and sisters and treat them as objects that can be destroyed at will. Only when we have the courage to cross the street and look in one another’s eyes can we see there that we are children of the same God and members of the same human family” (Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey).
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
“The first word of God is light, according to the Bible. This is in the opening paragraph. When we see the sun, it’s as if we see a divine word. All of creation is spoken into being in this way, and everything is called good. Over the course of time, the entire language of God reverberates across the universe. In the beginning, the first word(s) of God, the first revelation of the divine, is reality itself. The unfolding – aka, evolving – of the universe is God learning to speak. This is a profoundly sensitive worldview. Only a poet in love with creation, in love with nature, could have penned the opening chapter of Genesis. Only an experience of wonder could have given birth to such insight. The biblical storytellers were artists not scientists. Most of the biblical writers experienced and imagined a world where everything was alive with the presence of God” (Kent Dobson in Bitten by a Camel, Leaving Church, Finding God, pgs. 100-101).
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
“God created human beings in God’s own image, and we’ve returned the compliment, so to speak, by creating God in our image. In the end, we produced what was typically a small, clannish God. In America, God looks like Uncle Sam or Santa Claus, an exacting judge, or a win/lose business man—in each case, a white male, even though “God created humankind in God’s own image; male and female God created them” (see Genesis 1:27). Clearly God cannot be exclusively masculine. The Trinitarian God is anything but a ruling monarch or a solitary figurehead” (Richard Rohr in Daily Meditation for July 1, 2018).
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
“We must not let ourselves think for a second that becoming like Christ or loving like God loves is something that happens when we become a Christian. If we do, the long hard road of hypocrisy and despair awaits. Flourishing, becoming like Christ, is something that happens over a long, frustrating, rewarding, painful, and glorious period of time. Christlike character is only something we can grow towards. It’s not something we attain in an instant or something God pours in our lap. We don’t get it, we grow into it”
(Jonathan Bailey, jonathanrbailey.com)