Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Altars in the World - Barbara Brown Taylor

"We receive enlightenment only in promotion as we give ourselves more and more completely to God by humble submission and love. We do not first see, then act: we act, then see. And that is why the man who waits to see clearly, before he will believe, never starts on the journey." - Thomas Merton

"Most heresies come from espousing one opposite at the expense of another. Uncomfortable with paradox, Christians tend to tilt in one direction or the other, usually with disastrous consequences." - Philip Yancey in "Living with Furious Opposites" from "Christianity Today"

p. 6-7 "The problem is, many of the people in need of saving are in churches, and at least part of what they need saving from is the idea that God sees the world the same way they do. What if the gravel of the parking lot looks as promising to God as the floorboards of the church? What if a lost soul strikes God as more reachable than a lifelong believer? What if God can drop a ladder absolutely anywhere, with no regard for the religious standards developed by those who have made it their business to know the way to God?"

p. 44-45 "'Do this,' he said - not believe this but do this - 'in remembrance of me'... Duke ethicist Stanley Hauerwas [says]... Christianity 'is not a set of beliefs or doctrines one believes in order ot be a Christian... but rather Christianity is to have one's body shaped, one's habits determined, in such a way that the worship of God is unavoidable.' ... the last thing any of us need is more information about God. We need the practise of incarnation, by which God saves the lives of those whose intellectual assent has turned as dry as dust, who have run frighteningly low on the bread of life, who are dying to know more God in their bodies. Not more about God. More God."

p. 116 "In a world where the paid work that people do does not always feed their hearts, it seems important to leave open the possibility that our vocations may turn out to be the things we do for free."

p. 124 "I know you do not sleep well. It does not make any sense, since you are exhausted, but the fact is that it is very hard for your body to go from fifth gear to off just because you say so - at least not without a little pharmaceutical help. It is hard to watch the eleven o'clock news with your heart wide open, letting in the misery of neighbors near and far, and then sleep soundly through the night. It is hard to dream rejuvenating dreams or sink into those deep-sea delta brain waves when you keep waking up at three o'clock - what is it about that hour? - to think about how man y unanswered e-mails you have in your inbox, how much money you owe on your credit cards, or how odd your heartbeat sounds all of a sudden."

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