January 4, 2018

On the left corner of my desk there is a pile of articles, clippings and notes that I saved thinking I could use them in coming sermons. It is now time to recycle the 2017 pile and clear the way for my 2018 pile. Here are some of the quotes and thoughts that, though I never used them, are worth passing on.

“Jesus Christ called his disciples to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. Witnesses don’t make things happen, they testify to what they see.”
—M. Craig Barnes, Seminary President

“We are, as we always have been, dangerous creatures, the enemies of our own happiness. But the only help we have ever found for this, the only melioration is in mutual reverence.”
—Marilynne Robinson, Author

“I’ve never understood why certain Christians are so eager to turn the United States into a Christian country when their time would be so much better spent turning their churches into Christian churches.”
—Eric Elnes, Pastor

“Faith traditions have recognized that charity is more than simply the act of giving. It involves a deeper realization of the connections that bind us all. In giving, we receive. In loving without expectation of return, we learn what love is.”
—Mark Sappenfield, Editor

“Unanimity is disturbing to God. So is anonymity.”
—Shai Held, Rabbi

“Since 2015, at least 10 cities or municipal regions in California, Oregon and Washington have declared emergencies due to the rise of homelessness, a designation usually reserved for natural disasters.”
The Associated Press

“The One who called himself the Way cares more about means than ends.”
—Debie Thomas, Writer

“I don’t often participate in my religion but I know somewhere…deep inside…I’m still on the team.” —Bruce Springsteen, Singer
“Many churches have become too busy for their own good. They have so many activities, programs, events and services that they are wearing out their congregations.”
—Thom Rainer, Consultant

”Christians are much more likely than non-Christians to view poverty as the result of individual failings, especially white evangelicals.”
The Washington Post

“Progress is never permanent, will always be threatened, must be redoubled, restated and reimagined if it is to survive.”
—Zadie Smith, Novelist

“But failure and disappointment are at the heart of Christianity, just as they are basic to Christian experience. Reinhold Niebuhr (great ethicist of the 20th century) condemned those who tried to make a success story out of the cross.”
—Peter W. Marty, Pastor

“Whenever we think we have established the borders of God’s empowerment to ministry, the Holy Spirit sets up camp just beyond them.”
The Christian Century

“Further, for Christian interpreters of scripture, the fundamental claim which needs to be explored and interpreted is the claim that the Word became flesh, not that the Word became text.”
—David Bartlett, Pastor, Preacher, Scholar

Prayers for the year ahead,

Jim H.