Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pep talk

These two quotes should probably be printed at the front of every Bible study and on every church bulletin, tucked into the pocket of every Christian, carved over the doors to every church, and burned into the memory of every believer. Pursuing a life in Christ is not about getting one's ducks in a row but a matter of continual reawakening:

From "Jesus: A Meditation on His Stories and His Relationships with Women," by Andrew Greeley:
"We must begin a search for understanding some of the stories of Jesus with the realization that he is deliberately elusive, mysterious, enigmatic, paradoxical. Hence we will never finish our search. We will never understand him. He is a man of surprises, appropriate for one who claims to witness a God of surprises. This, when we think we at last have figured him out, truly understand him, and can sign him up for our cause, we find that he has slipped away. ... The Jesus we have shaped to fit our ideas, our needs, our fears, may be a very interesting and special person, but he is no longer Jesus. ...

"Those who followed him in Palestine a couple of millennia ago were fascinated by his stories. They had heard most of them before, but he insisted on ending the stories with a disturbing twist, a disconcerting finale. ... His good news indeed sounded good, perhaps too good to be true, but it didn't fit the expectations of his followers, even the closest followers. It disturbed them.

"If he doesn't disturb us, then he's not Jesus."

From "The Sacredness of Questioning Everything," by David Dark:
"C.S. Lewis once observed that while many people use art, only a very few receive it. ... We only receive art when we let it call our own lives into question.

"If the words of Jesus of Nazareth, for instance, strike us as comfortable and perfectly in tune with our own confident common sense, our likes and dislikes, our budgets, and our actions toward strangers and foreigners, the receiving the words of Jesus is probably not what we're doing. We may quote a verse, put it in a PowerPoint presentation, or even intone it loudly with an emotional, choked-up quiver, but if it doesn't scandalize or bother us, challenging our already-made-up minds, we aren't really receiving it. ...

"If we aren't reaching toward a fresh understanding of the world through the questions we ask, we remain pretty well zombified in the cold comfort of a dead religiousity. Fresh questions and new acts of imagination are our primary means to encounter love and liveliness, to discover integrity and authenticity. Without them, we're pretty much done for."

No comments:

Post a Comment