“I wasn’t old enough (11) to realize that the knee-jerk repulsion I felt [about swimming in a pool with black people] was the inheritance passed down to me from literally hundreds of years of white people propagating and benefiting from this learned reaction to black bodies. They were impure, dirty, somehow threatening, a source of revulsion, a cause for fear — views forged in the crucible of a brutal chattel slavery system that spawned such feelings and attitudes in order to bolster and enforce it. I had absorbed – or Calvin would say, inherited as sin – these feelings, most of them still inarticulate, from the white world I inhabited. Despite my liberal upbringing they were pressed into my being with excoriating force. These days, we would call this kind of inheritance ‘unconscious bias.'”(Serene Jones in Call it Grace, Finding Meaning in a Fractured World).
“To be commanded to love God at all, let alone in the wilderness, is like being commanded to be well when we are sick, to sing for joy when we are dying of thirst, to run when our legs are broken. But this is the first and great commandment nonetheless. Even in the wilderness – es- pecially in the wilderness – you shall love him” (Frederick Buechner).
“Just as God cannot be ‘caught’ or ‘comprehended’ in any specific idea, concept, opinion, or conviction, he cannot be defined by any specific feeling or emotion either. God cannot be identified with a good affectionate feeling toward our neighbor, or with a sweet emotion of the heart or with ecstasies, movements of the body, or handling of snakes. God is not just our good inclinations, our fervor, our generosity, or our love. All these experiences of the heart may remind us of God’s presence, but their absence does not prove God’s absence. God is not only greater than our mind; he is also greater than our heart, and just as we have to avoid the temptation of adapting God to our small concepts we also have to avoid adapting him to our small feelings” (Henri Nouwen).
For many of us, the word “apocalypse” conjures thoughts of the rapture, fear, a vengeful God, and violent and exclusive religion. It is an overwhelming judgment on Western Christianity that it is drawn to such beliefs. But despite its misuse, I’m convinced the biblical meaning of apocalypse is a helpful and ultimately hopeful framework. A quick etymology of the word will help: kaluptein is the Greek word for “to cover” and apo means “un,” so apokaluptein means to uncover or unveil. While we primarily use the word “apocalypse” to mean to destroy or threaten, in its original context, apocalypse simply meant to reveal something new. The key is that in order to reveal something new, we have to get the old out of the way” (Richard Rohr in Daily Meditation, April 25, 2021).
Wholeness does not mean perfection; it means embracing brokenness as an integral part life (Parker J. Palmer)
“Immediately after Jesus was lifted out of the cool river water by John, God’s voice tore through the skies declaring: ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ (Mk 1:11). A miraculous affirmation of tenderness and love, one in which, I believe, is sung over each and every one of us. We’re all beloved children of God (1 John 3:1). But what’s the result of being loved by God? of having a divine father? The next verse in Mark’s gospel answers the question, “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness (Mk 1:12).” To be loved by God, to be his child, is to be driven into the wilderness, the place of preparation. For it’s only when we’re stripped of essentials, that we uncover the essential. It’s only when we venture into inhuman landscapes, that we find the terrain for becoming human” (Jonathan R. Bailey).
“I have decided to stick to love . . . Hate is too great a burden to bear” (The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King).