From My Reading

“Miracle. It is badly identified when it is thought to mean that which we don’t understand.  That’s the popular way the word is used, but it’s not the Christian way. . . Miracle, through the biblical tradition, is not what we don’t understand but what is done for us that we can’t do for ourselves. Miracle is functional.  It’s what God does for us or does for us through other people that we can’t do for ourselves.  It’s possible you could understand it, but if you did, that wouldn’t make it stop being a miracle” (Eugene Peterson in Every Step an Arrival).

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“In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds” (Henri Nouwen).

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“Every day, I get closer to the brink of everything. We’re all headed that way, of course, even when we’re young, though  most of us are too busy with Important Matters to ponder our mortality. But when a serious illness or accident strikes, or someone dear to us dies- or we go to a class reunion and wonder who all those old people are – it becomes harder to ignore the drop-off that lies just over the end of our lives.

I’ll be nearly eighty when this book is published, so it shouldn’t surprise me that I can sometimes see the brink from here.  But it does.  I’m even more surprised by the fact that I like being old.

Age brings diminishments, but more than a few come with benefits.  I’ve lost the capacity for multitasking, but I’ve rediscovered the joy of doing one thing at a time.  My thinking has slowed a bit, but experience has made it deeper and richer.  I’m done with big and complex projects, but more aware of the loveliness of simple things: a talk with a friend, a walk in the woods, sunsets and sunrises, a night of good sleep.

I have fears, of course, always have and always will.  But as time lengthens like a shadow behind me and the time ahead dwindles, my overriding feeling is gratitude for the gift of life” (Parker Palmer in On the Brink of Everything, Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old).

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“Most of us can identify with the intoxicating feeling that comes when we are the center of attention. Solitude is a discipline that gets behind those feelings to who we are when we feel invisible and unrecognized. Who are we when productivity and recognition fall away and God is the only one watching us?” (Adele Ahlberg Calhoun in The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook).

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“When I asked an Indian pastor what the church in America might do to help spread God’s word in India, he replied, ‘Print it on bread.’ It is not God’s will that people go hungry. The gospel is never offered for as a substitute for the basic needs of human survival. Jesus longs to satisfy the multitude’s deeper, spiritual hunger, but he doesn’t ignore their physical hunger” (Lou Lotz in Words of Hope.)


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