In seventeenth-century England, convinced meant proven guilty. It was a term used in the courtroom, similar to “convicted.” A person became a convinced Quaker after being shown the errors of his or her ears, admitting them, surrendering to God’s judgment, and becoming liberated for a new kind of life. The Light reveals all the internal thoughts, mental patterns, and fantasies that resist the work of God. Although it is painful to see one’s internal conflict, continuing to face the Light and to see what it reveals in one’s own mind, heart, and behavior allows God to refine, or melt away, the inner impediments to the Light. – Marcelle Martin, Our Life Is Love, p. 62
Do we focus on others’ vices to avoid looking at our own?
We are made worse when we look for the worst in others.
Here’s the paradox of the Benedict Option: if the church is going to be the blessing for the world that God means for it to be, then it is going to have to spend more time away from the world deepening its commitment to God, to scripture, to tradition, and to each other. We cannot give to the world what we do not have. We should engage with the world, but not at the expense of our fidelity and our sense of ourselves as a people set apart. We must somehow walk a path between the Christian fundamentalists who reject everything about the world and the accomodationists who love the world so much that they rationalize idol-worship for the sake of preserving their privileges. “Engaging the culture” must never become an excuse to burn a pinch of incense to Caesar. Winsomeness must never be a veil concealing our cowardice from ourselves. There must have been something about the daily lives of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Babylon that trained them spiritually so that when they …
The experience of God means strength for action. Love is always expressed in living deeds; to experience God is to experience his power as living love. Liberation from all unjust, loveless, and self-willed activity releases an abundance of powers that overflow in fruitful works of love. We experience the love of God inwardly, but it manifests itself outwardly. The more our faith increases in knowledge, experience, and strength, the more we will be compelled to do the works of love (Eph. 4:13). To experience God is to be overpowered by love. Today, the aftereffects of the Great War and the current state of society call for the kind of dedication that lives only in Christ – in the heart of the powerful God of Jesus Christ. Only a heart filled with the superior power of God’s love will be able to confront the pain and suffering around it. Only in the strength of an omnipotent God will we be able to carry the burden of historical responsibility laid on us, a burden beyond all human …
Can the Church again be a thermostat rather than a thermometer?
All of us once lived in the passions of our flesh.
Hatred often begins in a situation in which there is contact without fellowship, contact that is devoid of any of the primary overtures of warmth and fellow-feeling and genuineness. Of course, it must be borne in mind that there can be an abundance of sentimentality masquerading under the cloak of fellowship. It is easy to have fellowship on your own terms and to repudiate it if your terms are not acceptable. It is this kind of fellowship that one finds in the South between whites and Negroes . . . When we give to the concept a wider application, it is clear that much of modern life is so impersonal that there is always opportunity for the seeds of hatred to grow unmolested. Where there are contacts devoid of genuine fellowship, such contacts stand in immediate candidacy for hatred. -Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited
What is the word of the religion of Jesus to those who stand with their backs against the wall?