This Should Be Our First Clue

jaymes-morganFrom late Fuller Seminary professor Dr. Jaymes Morgan, in a talk to college students at Southern California’s Forest Home on September 2, 1968:

We claim to represent someone who exhausted his life with publicans and sinners, healing the sick and feeding the hungry. Our churches attract the people Jesus alienated and alienate the people Jesus attracted. This should be our first clue that something is wrong. We must affirm ourselves as called of God to meet human need. To restore broken relationships with God. To restore broken relationships with people. To save men [sic] from hunger, disease and poverty and a thousand miscarriages of justice. We have attracted an awful lot of people into the church under false pretenses. No wonder they don’t look like Christians. They didn’t have the terms explained to them at the beginning.

Meditating into the New Year

mainFrom the late Fr. John Main in The Present Christ: Further Steps in Meditation (1987):

Meditation is pure action that purifies all our other activities.  It is pure because it is selfless, wholly other-centered.  Most of our activities, our hopes and plans are carried out with a predominant concern for results, for their material worthwhileness.  At its worst this concern is mere self-interest, egoism at its most intense.  But any concern for results, for the fruit of action, betrays a possessiveness or attachment which disturbs the harmony of the energies deployed in the activity.  In meditating day by day, however, humbly and ordinarily, beginning our pilgrimage at the point we have received the gift of faith to begin, wherever that may be, we set out into the mystery of selfless, other-centered activity. We may indeed begin meditating with a superficial concern for results, trying to estimate if our investment of time and energy is justified by returns in knowledge or ‘extraordinary’ experience.  Perhaps anyone formed by our society is conditioned to begin in this way.  But the ordinary practice of meditation purifies us of this spiritual materialism, as we enter into the direct experience of Being, of pure action, we find all our other activities progressively, radically, purified of egoism.  To put this more simply–because meditation leads us into the experience ofl love at the center of our being, it makes us in our ordinary lives and relationships more loving persons.  Meditation teaches us what theology alone found not convince us of, that Being is Love.

Mass Civil Disobedience

mlkFrom Martin Luther King in his last book, The Trumpet of Conscience:

Nonviolent protest must now mature to a new level to correspond to heightened black impatience and stiffened white resistance.  This higher level is mass civil disobedience.  There must be more than a statement to a larger society.  There must be a force that interrupts its functioning at some key points.

Advent: When the Whole Framework is Shaken

delpFrom Alfred Delp, a German Jesuit priest and philosopher of the German Resistance. He was arrested, sentenced to death and executed by the Nazis in February 1945 (quoted in Bill Wylie Kellermann’s Seasons of Faith and Conscience: Kairos, Confession, Liturgy, 1991):

Advent is a time for rousing. Human beings are shaken to the very depths, so that they may wake up to the truth of themselves. The primary condition for a fruitful and rewarding Advent is renunciation, surrender…A shattering awakening; that is the necessary preliminary. Life only begins when the whole framework is shaken.

Mourning & Memory

francis-wellerSome highlights from Francis Weller’s recent article in Utne Reader “To and From the Soul’s Hall:”

We need to create circles of welcome in our lives in order to keep leaning into the world; to keep moving grief through our psyches and bodies, so we can taste the sweetness of life. Modern psychological theory utilizes the terms attunement and attachment. The language has become somewhat abstract and clinical, but what it means is that we require touch in body and soul to help us respond to difficult times with kindness and compassion and also to celebrate the sheer joy of being alive. We need these experiences to feel that we matter—quite literally—that we have matter and substance, that we take up space in the world. When we sense this, we feel that we are worthy of deep and lingering attention and that we can, in turn, offer our caring hearts to others in times of sorrow and pain. No matter who we are, we need the heartening touch of another. Even those of us who are introverted will, at times, require the devoted attention of a friend or a partner who can offer a sensitive ear to our tender woes. Continue reading