Monthly Archives: March 2010

Talk Like an Ass

A large part of free
Speech is allowing a man
To talk like an ass

A haiku by Rabbi Mark at the website Haik U Glenn Beck

Our Thoughtful and Considerate Faith

What we should be afraid of is being marginalized, not because of our thoughtful and considerate faith, but because we think it is somehow faithful to refuse to imagine we might be wrong in some of our assumptions or commitments.

Chaplain Mike at his blog Internet Monk on making sure Christians in society are marginalized for the right reasons and not the wrong ones.

Not because we are good, but because He is

The sinner who is ready to accept love as a gift from God is far closer to God than the “just” man who insists on being loved for his own merits.

One of the keys to real religious experience is the shattering realization that no matter how hateful we are to ourselves, we are not hateful to God. This realization helps us to understand the difference between our love and His. Our love is a need, His a gift. We need to see good in ourselves in order to love ourselves. He does not. He loves not because we are good, but because He is. But as long as we worship a God who is only a projection of ourselves, we fear a tremendous and insatiable power who needs to see goodness in us and who, for all the infinite clarity of His vision finds nothing but evil, and therefore insists upon revenge.

Thomas Merton; The New Man


A hymn by Sydney Carter written for us to sing in praise of our Creator such that it can be sung alongside any other creatures inhabiting this universe.

Every star shall sing a carol
Every creature high and low,
Come and praise the King of Heaven
By whatever name you know.

God above, man below
Holy is the name I know.

When the king of all creation
Had a cradle on the Earth,
Holy was the human body
And the day that gave him birth.

Who can tell how many crosses,
Still to come or long ago,
Crucify the king of heaven ?
Holy is the name I know.

Who can tell what other cradle
High above the Milky Way
Still may rock the king of heaven
On another Christmas Day ?

Every creature he will gather,
All shall know him for their own.
I will praise the son of Mary,
Brother of my blood and bone.

Every star and every planet,
Every creature high or low,
Sing the everlasting carol:
Holy is the name I know.

Copyright Stainer & Bell, Ltd.

Miracles, Doctrines, Etc.

If we can find ways to inspire people to treat others the same way they would want to be treated, I don’t think that is weak tea at all! But what for some people is the essence of Christianity – miracles, doctrines, etc. – for others is simply the decoration on the cup that the tea has long been served in, and while some shop around for cups that are as similar as possible to the older ones, others find nothing wrong in serving the same brew in a very different receptacle.

Response by James F. McGrath to comments by others that his article Why I Am A Christian was “weak tea.”

Faith They Have Cast Aside

When we pretend that we can simply leave the past behind and start anew we deceive ourselves: just look at the way China worshipped its ‘Communist emperor’ Mao with all the devotion and spectacle they offered to earlier ones. Even an atheist is in dialogue with the past, willingly or unwillingly. That is why (as Mary Doria Russell helpfully notes in one of her novels) atheists differ depending on what sort of faith they have cast aside.

From James F. McGrath in his post Why I am a Christian

Before They Finally Grieve You

There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship … is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.

Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you.

Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.

Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation.

Some meaningful slices of a graduation speech by David Foster Wallace excerpted at Hacking Christianity

Worrying About Tomorrow

You can destroy your now by worrying about tomorrow.

Janis Joplin

Who plants trees

Who plants trees although he knows he’ll never sit in their shadows has at least begun to recognize the sense of life.

Unattributed quote I saw online.

Pattern of Life

To simply live the way in which our culture teaches us to live – growing up, getting a job and credit cards, developing debts, buying a home and a couple of cars and settling into the practice of bourgeois comfort paired with bourgeois charity and family values – seems so far away from the pattern of life established by Jesus, Paul, the prophets and the Deuteronomic law that I am baffled that those who live this way find their inspiration in the Christian story … Observing God’s gift of gracious abundance, patterning ourselves upon the life and deeds of Jesus, and relying upon the empowering Spirit of Life, should lead us to engage in practices that our culture will consider to be risky, foolish, and even threatening.

Dan Oudshoorn in an article on