30 September 2013

Steep Yourself in His Personality Rather than Bottling a Sunbeam

…the teaching of Our Lord [Jesus Christ] Himself, in which there is no imperfection, is not given us in cut-and-dried, fool-proof, systematic fashion…He wrote no book. We have only reported sayings, most of them uttered in answer to questions, shaped by some degree by their context. And when we have collected them all we cannot reduce them to a system.

∞ He preaches but He does not lecture.
∞ He uses paradox, proverb, exaggeration, parable, irony; even…the “wisecrack.”
∞ He utters maxims which, like popular proverbs, if rigorously taken, may seem to contradict one another.

His teaching therefore cannot be grasped by the intellect alone, cannot be “got up” as if it were a “subject.” If we try to do that with it, we shall find Him the most elusive of teachers. He hardly ever gave a straight answer to a straight question. He will not be, in the way we want, “pinned down.”
The attempt is…like trying to bottle a sunbeam.

It may be indispensable that Our Lord’s teaching, by that elusiveness to our systematizing intellect should demand a response from the whole man..make(s) it so clear that there is no question on learning a subject but of steeping ourselves in a Personality, acquiring a new outlook and temper, breathing a new atmosphere, allowing Him, in His own way, to rebuild in us the defaced image of Himself.

Taken by a literalist, He [Christ] will always prove the most elusive of teachers. Systems cannot keep up with that darting illumination.

No net less wide than a man’s whole heart nor less fine of mesh than love, will hold the sacred Fish. 

 -CS Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, pp.112-119

22 September 2013

Lost And Found - George MacDonald

Lost And Found 


I missed him when the sun began to bend; 
I found him not when I had lost his rim; 
With many tears I went in search of him… 

And yet I found him—as I found the lark, 
A sound in fields I heard but could not mark; 
I found him nearest when I missed him most; 
I found him in my heart, a life in frost, 
A light I knew not till my soul was dark. 

George MacDonald

20 September 2013

God In Reality

We cannot worship the suffering God today and ignore Him tomorrow…
If we say or sing [praise to God], we commit ourselves, in love, to the work of making his love known to the world that still stands so sorely in need of it.
This is not the god the world wants. This is the God the world needs.

– NT Wright from Simply Christian

17 September 2013

The Impossiblity of Faith, Or Why Grace is Essential

“Faith is not an art. Faith is not an achievement. Faith is not a good work of which some may boast while others can excuse themselves with a shrug of the shoulders for not being capable of it.

It is a decisive insight of faith itself that all of us are incapable of faith in ourselves, whether we think of its preparation, beginning, continuation, or completion. 
In this respect believers understand unbelievers, skeptics, and atheists better than they understand themselves. 

Unlike unbelievers, they regard the impossibility of faith as necessary, not accidental ...” 

– Karl Barth

16 September 2013

St Bonaventure's Reminders

Do not assume that mere
Reading will suffice without fervor,
Speculation without devotion,
Investigation without admiration,
Observation without exaltation,
Industry without piety,
Knowledge without love,
Understanding without humility,
Study without divine grace.

~ St. Bonaventure (1221–1274)   
from The Journey of the Mind to God

14 September 2013

Grace-Full

You say grace before meals.
All right.
But I say grace before the play and opera,
And grace before the concert and pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
I am alive with the gusto of the Resurrection,
the marvel of truth,
And the thankful foresight of the coming King among us.
- GK Chesterton

11 September 2013

Seeking Refuge

In catastrophes we seek refuge.

If there had anywhere appeared in space
another place of refuge, where to flee,

our hearts had taken refuge in that place,
and not with Thee.

For we against creation’s bars had beat,
like prisoned eagles, through great worlds had sought
though but a foot of ground to plant our feet,
where Thou wert not.

And only when we found in earth and air,
in heaven or hell, that such might nowhere be—
that we could not flee from Thee anywhere,
we fled to Thee.

- Richard Chenevix Trench, Archbishop of Dublin (1807–1886)