The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled.
.. Jesus told us, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27). He called us to a presence that is a broader and deeper kind of knowing than just cognitive thinking. Thinking knows things by objectifying them, capturing them as an object of knowledge. But presence knows things by refusing to objectify them; instead it shares in their very subjectivity. Presence allows full give and take, what Martin Buber (1878-1965) called the “I/Thou” relationship with things as opposed to the mere “I/it” relationship. Buber summed it up in his often-quoted phrase: “All real living is meeting.”
I don’t remember any of the churches I grew up in going overboard on the nationalistic fervor, even during the chilliest years of the latter stages of the Cold War
.. We were schooled on the importance of the Christian worldview—in opposition to postmodernism and other philosophical evils. Our teachers typically weren’t well-versed in philosophy, but they warned us zealously against moral relativism, situational ethics, and hypocrisy.
.. I was scared into the kingdom by one of those late-’70s “Left Behind” films. Nothing could be more important than to stand for the truth, even in the face of the anti-Christ’s persecution.
.. We ate apologetics books like communion wafers—and were about as nourished. What we learned was to argue, to corner our opponents in their intellectually unfurnished corners, defeating them with our theistic strength and consistency.
.. Because the pursuit of relevancy is the pursuit of influence, of power. And when power becomes your god, you’ll do as much biblical gymnastics as it takes to get it or keep it.
.. The younger generation now is basically a bunch of theological orphans
.. The opening dialogue is something I see reflected almost every day now in comment threads, news articles, and from friends and family on social media. Not about Democrats, though. Heavens, no. Democrats are still obliged to keep good character, and in fact, they cannot, as their very platform precludes it. Conservatives, however, may do as they like. Say what they want. Get away with almost anything. So long as their platform reads right.
.. A new poll in fact shows that white evangelicals are now the most likely constituency to believe “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” This is up from 30 percent in 2011 to a whopping 72 percent this year. And this is not because evangelicals suddenly decided to show some grace to politicians, because you don’t see this kind of consideration given to political opponents. There is really only one main explanation for this sizable jump in 2017 in the ability to look the other way. Ethics kinda seem situational all of a sudden.
We’ve been abandoned by our teachers. Our guides have left us without fathers. The men and women we looked up to have gone against everything they told us to believe in. We wonder if they ever really believed it themselves.
.. They are listening to more non-white evangelicals, because those folks have learned how to persevere from the margins for centuries.
.. These youngsters who have rejected your
- idolatrous politics, your
- nationalistic faith, your
- moral subjectivity, your
- fear of the alien and the stranger, your
gospel neglect will finally do you proud when they inherit your churches. If they can keep their heads on straight.