Tag Archives: Forgiveness

Cranky Beautiful Faith – A Scripture Index

The rowing team – on God’s misfits – Matthew 5 – On being called to preach through the death of a friend

God’s aunt – 1 Timothy 2, Esther –  On Wicca, going to seminary, and the reading of her parents when she came out that she was going to be a pastor (page 18)

La Femme Nadia – on working for the opposition – Romans 7 and her reaction to the Bible

Thanks Elca – Those who come late to the field – Matthew 20 – on her friend Ross being ordained as a gay pastor, the stereotype that pastors wives are school teachers

“Nadia, the thing that sucks is that every tie we draw a line between us and others, Jesus is always on the other side of it.”  (page 57)

It’s the fact that the trampy landowner couldn’t manage to keep out of the marketplace – the parable of the vineyard and God’s desire for more – Matthew 20

Hurricanes and Humiliation – 1 John 3 (page 59) – on being a hero to someone in need and actually being conned.

I didn’t call you for this truth bullshit – John 3 (page 69)

Clinical pastoral education – on being a hospital chaplain, “you have to stand there and be present to God” , what her parents used to say “Nadia, you could at least come and visit more often as we won’t be spending eternity together”  Luke 23 (page 78)

Eunuchs and Hermaphrodites – this one spoke to me about connection as we were being served in Wagamamas, I need the other (page 87) Acts 8 – the Ethiopian Eunuch (page 87)


I need the other – the Ethiopian Eunuch – Acts 8 – page 94

Whenever I am weak, I am strong (pastoral failure), 2 Corinthians 12 (page 99)

Pirate Christian – getting on with Pirate Pete who should be her enemy (Matthew 5) (page 108)

The Haitian Stations of the cross – Isaiah 62

Demons and snow angels – about the baptism of a man changing gender – Luke 4

Doormats and wrinkled vestments – Forgiveness of enemies – tells the story of the pastor who did the service for murderer Dylan Klebold and was put out of a job – Matthew 18 (page 144)

Ghosts in the kingdom of heaven – meeting a friend from the past, and her true identity – page 152

Dirty Fingernails – Mary meets Jesus on Easter morning – John 20

The wrong kind of different – Hebrews 13, showing hospitality to strangers (page 178)

He’s a fuck-up, but he’s our fuck-up (page 188), Mark 1


A few quotes from Karl Martin’s book “Stand.” (which reveals an extensive and well indexed reading history).

Today you are You, that is truer than true.  There is no alive who is Youer than you.  – Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to you.

‘But what about all the miracles?  The healints? Raising people from the dead?  Doesn’t that prove that Jesus was God?  You know, more than human?’

‘No, it proves that Jesus is truly human.’


(The Shack, William P Young).

…eye contact is the most intimacy two people can have = forget sex – because the optic nerve is technically an extension of the brain, and when tow people look ito each other’s eyes, it’s brain-to-brain.  (Douglas Coupland, Hey Nostradamus)

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Rooting Out Idols

Ultimate Training Camp

When Luther pinned the theses to the door at Wittenberg he said that repentance is a constant of the Christian life, not just when you did something wrong.  That was the mistake the Pharisees made when condemning the woman who poured oil on Jesus’ feet.  It was not that their mistake was worse – it was because they were not constant in their repentance.


There is a line from Rocky “I am going to go the distance because then I will know that I am not a bum” – the thing is that that thing is probably your god, the thing that you want to do, the thing that you say “if only I can just get that”.

You have to see the idols – you have to be like a soldier who knows where the enemy is and not give it polite names.  Seeing what is wrong is part of the solution.

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Tributes to Dallas Willard – Part 1

From a couple of articles here and here about Dallas Willard.

Quotes from the first, earlier profile, are here.  Quotes from the second article (a profile by John Ortberg) are here.

On the quest for truth:

“If you could find a better way, Jesus would be the first one to tell you to take it. And if you don’t believe that about him, you don’t have faith in him, because what you’re really saying is that he would encourage you to believe something that is false.”

On scientists and knowledge:
The idea that knowledge—and, of course, reality—is limited to that world is the single most destructive idea on the stage of life today.”

Checking in with God:

“Generally, what I find is that the ordinary people who come to church are basically running their lives on their own, utilizing ‘the arm of the flesh’—their natural abilities—to negotiate their way,” he says. “They believe there is a God and they need to check in with him. But they don’t have any sense that he is an active agent in their lives. As a result, they don’t become disciples of Jesus. They consume his merits and the services of the church. … Discipleship is no essential part of Christianity today.”

Instead of “trying to get people’s papers in order for heaven,” the church began concentrating on helping spiritually hungry people “pursue their life with God.”

In finding sympathy with Willard and John Paul II, it is noted from the Pope, “You are who you are, and not who you would be if the system were different.” (reacting to the hypocrisy required to survive in Communist Poland)

God has yet to bless anyone except where they actually are, and if we faithlessly discard situation after situation, moment after moment, as not being ‘right,’ we will simply have no place to receive his kingdom into our life. For those situations and moments are our life.” – Willard


Ministry is using the gifts that God has put inside of me

To do the work that God has put before me

To bless the people that God has put around me

Through the Spirit that God has within me


Ministry is that which is called, that which draws strength, which blesses others, which grows me.


The idea that Ortberg says that the Holy Spirit calls to something that only we have been given to do, and the tragedy of the gifts not being used.


Gifts are like carrots that the farmer has at the market at the end of the day, you either give them away or they go rotten.


We need to talk about Rewards, because Jesus spoke a lot about Rewards, and how they are given when we give of ourselves, and the joy of God saying to us “Well done.”


Nancy sat on the seat for the whole of this talk and she did not talk, and actually she found this quite comfortable, and she was able to think about a few other things that she needed to do, but actually she was called to get up out of the seat an serve.


Talks about the story of David Livingstone when he was a small boy in Blantyre, when the offering went around, not having any money, and being so inspired by what Christ had done for him that he put his whole self into the basket.


I think about this flawed man Livingstone with many problems, and with a legend that does not always tally with critical history, still being so much more because he put his whole self into the basket.

Mend The Gap – Chapter 7

From Velvet Elvis:

Imagine what happens when a young woman is raised in a Christian setting but hasn’t been taught that all things are hers and then goes to a university where she’s exposed to all sorts of new ideas and perspectives.  She takes classes in psychology and anthropology and biology and world history and her professors are people who’ve devoted themselves to their particular fields of study.  Ist it possible that in the course of lecturing on their field of interest, her professors will from time to time say things that are true?…What if she has been taught there’s not truth outside the Bible?  She’s now faced with this dilemma: believe the truth she’s learning or the Christian faith she was brought up with… (page 119)


On the commitment demanded of Mormon young people

They may only convert one person for every thousand doors they knock on, but it’s easy to esee why this kind of dedication has led to the numbers of Mormons in America increasing by over 100% in the last ten years.


In the UK many children from Muslim families return home from school each evening and straight away start two hours of Koran study.  Many Jewish children attend at least one evening a week of Torah instruction. (page 128)



The answer doesn’t lie in simply giving our congregations the right answers to difficult questions: ‘If someone asks you where dinosaurs fit into God’s plan, then this is what you need to say.” (page 120)


The Five Love Languages

Welcome to the real world

Key Words Love Obsession Commitment
Source The Five Love Languages
Author Gary Chapman
Page 31
Quote Welcome to the real world of marriage, where hairs are always on the sink and little white spots cover the mirror, where arguments center on which way the toilet paper comes off and whether the lid should be up or down. It is a world where shoes do not walk to the closet and drawers do not close themselves, where coats do not like hangers and socks go AWOL during laundry. In this world, a look can hurt and a word can crush. Intimate lovers can become enemies, and marriage a battlefield.

“In Love” is not love

Key Words Love Obsession Desire
Source The Five Love Languages
Author Gary Chapman
Page 33
Quote From M. Scott Peck

Dr. Peck concludes that the falling-in-love experience is not real love for three reasons:
1. Falling in love is not an act of will or conscious choice
2. Falling in love is not real because it is effortless
3. The one who is “in love” is not genuinely interested in fostering the personal growth of the other person. “If we have any purpose in mind when we fall in love it is to terminate our own loneliness and perhaps ensure this result through marriage.”

Chapman adds 
“Rational, volitional love is the kind of love to which the sages have always called us.”

How Long? Not Long


Truth crushed to earth will rise again.


How long?  Not Long!  Because no life can live forever.


How long?  Not long! Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne.  Yet that scaffold sways the future and behind the dim unknown standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch over his own.


How long?  Not Long!  Because the arc of the mortal universe is long but bends towards justice.  (Martin Luther King Jr, July 29th)


Those with whom Jesus identifies himself are regarded by society as misfits.  And yet Jesus is that person who is hungry; Jesus is that woman who is confused and naked.  Wouldn’t it be extraordinary if we all discovered that?  The face of the world would be changed.  We would then no longer want to compete in going up the ladder to meet God in the light, in the sun and in beauty, to be honoured because of our theological knowledge.  Or if we did want knowledge, it would be because we believe that our knowledge and theology are important only so long as they are used to serve and honour the poor.  (from August 3rd, Jean Vanier)

On Zeal

This is from Martin Allen:

Martin’s last letter focuses on the issue of zeal, in many ways because of the ordination vow relating to that word.

He quotes J.C. Ryle’s classic definition of the word:

“A zealous man in religion is pre-eminently a man of one thing.  He only sees one thing, he cares for one thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed up in one thing, and that one thing is to please God.  Whether he lives or whether he dies – whether he has health, or whether he has sickness – whether he is rich, or whether he is poor – whether he pleases man, or whether he gives offence – whether he is thought wise or whether he is thought foolish – whether he gets blame, or whether he gets praise – whether he gest honour or whether he gets shame – for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all.  He burns for one thing; and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God’s glory.”

Martin confesses his failings, and then also acknowledges that he has been given grace.  He says
“I have experience the “weekly miracle” every time! The miracle that is of having nothing to say and then to having everything to say about the glorious gospel of the blessed God.  Sheer miracles by the grace of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!

He also gives thanks for other things
2. Special pastoral relationships
3. Enthusiasm when knocking on doors and saying a good word for Jesus Christ to complete strangers
4. The supreme thrill of encountering God at the Wednesday evening prayer meeting.  My indescribable ache concerns many Christians who despite pleading with them, have missed out on this most glorious of all activities.
5. Seeing people convert to Christ
6. I have known the elemental wonder of the Glory of God made known in the church at Chryston during the hush of public services, in the warmth of Christlike fellowship and in the humble service of the godly.

The Life You’ve Always Wanted – Part 4

Appropriate smallness

  Key Words Humility Servant
  Source The Life youve always wanted
  Source Author Ortberg, John
  Location 107
  Quote Says a number of things about appropriately becoming a servant:

1. That it is in the nature of God to be God and therefore that means becoming a servant

We need to cut out the pride, because pride is comparative in nature and that prevents us from loving.

Don King “I never cease to amaze my own self – I say that humbly”

Also story of Mohammad Ali refusing to put on a seatbelt in a plane. Ali said “Superman don’t need no seatbelt” to which the hostess replied “Superman don’t need no plane.”

Humility is the decision to “let God be God” from Luther

How do we stop being the prodigal son without turning into the elder brother.

Foster writes
“Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service, and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving in hiddenness. The flesh whines against service but screams against hidden service. It strains and pulls for honour and recognition.”

Bonhoeffer talks about our competitive instinct:
“We know who it is that sows this thought in the Christian community. But perhaps we do not bear in mind enough that no Christian community ever comes together without this thought immediately emerging as a seed of discord. Thus at the very beginning of Christian fellowship there is engendered an invisible, often unconscious, life-and-death contest. “There arose a reasoning among them.”, this is enough to destroy a fellowship.

Ortberg writes
“God’s great holy joke about the Messiah complex is this. Every human being who has ever lived has suffered from it – except one. And he was the Messiah.”

Ortberg talks about the importance of:
1. The ministry of the mundane
2. The ministry of being interupted
3. Embracing our weaknesses and limitations
4. The ministry of “Holding your tongue.”
5. The ministry of “Bearing”

  References The hymn of Christ (Philippians 2)

Holding the tongue

  Key Words Community Speech Gossip
  Source The Life youve always wanted
  Source Author Ortberg, John
  Location 123
  Quote Bonhoeffer wrote
“Often we combat our evil thoughts most effectively if we absolutely refuse to allow them to be expressed in words… It must be a decisive rule of every Christian fellowship that each individual is prohibited from saying much that occurs to him.”

We say we are nothing

  Key Words Humility
  Source The Life youve always wanted
  Source Author Ortberg, John
  Location 124
  Quote Francis de sales writes
“We often say that we are nothing, that we are misery itself and the refuse of the world, but we would be very sorry if anyone took us at our word or told others that we are really such as we say … “We pretend to want to be last in the company and to be seated at the foot of the table, but it is with a view to moving more easily to the upper end. True humility does not make a show of itself and hardly speaks in a humble way. It only wants to conceal all other virtues but most of all it wants to conceal itself.”

To sin alone

  Key Words Sin Confession Community
  Source The Life youve always wanted
  Source Author Ortberg, John
  Location 127
  Quote Bonhoeffer wrote
“Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy… He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone.”

This Spirit Is Timeless Life

  Key Words Spiritual Training
  Source The Life youve always wanted
  Source Author Ortberg, John
  Location 152
  Quote As for me, I never lived, I was half dead, I was a rotting tree, until I reached the place where I wholly with utter honesty, resolved and then re-resolved that I would find God’s will, and I would do that will though every fiber in me said no, and I would win the battle in my thoughts. It was though some deep artesian well had been struck in my soul – Money, praise, poverty, opposition – these make no difference for they will all alike be forgotten in a thousand years, but this spirit which comes to a mind set upon continuous surrender, this spirit is timeless life.
  References Spiritual training (1 Timothy 4)

To whom do I belong

  Key Words Kingdom Allegiance Loyalty
  Source The Life youve always wanted
  Source Author Ortberg, John
  Location 158
  Quote Nouwen writes
“At issue here is the question: “To whom do I belong? To God or to the world?” Many of my daily preoccupations suggest that I belong more to the world than to God. A little criticism makes me angry, and a little rejection makes me depressed. A little praise raises my spirits and a little success excites me. Often I am like a small boat on the ocean completely at the mercy of the waves.”

Freedom with the critics

  Key Words Freedom Criticism
  Source The Life youve always wanted
  Source Author Ortberg, John
  Location 159
  Quote Smedes says
“One of the fine arts of gracious living is the art of living freely with our critics. When we have the grace to be free in the presence of those who judge our lives and evaluate our actions, we have Christian freedom.”

Growing up

  Key Words Criticism Praise
  Source The Life youve always wanted
  Source Author Ortberg, John
  Location 161
  Quote When you’re in your twenties, someone once wrote, you live to please other people. When you’re in your thirties you get tired of trying to please others so you get miffed with them for making you worry about it. When you’re in your forties you realise nobody was thinking about you anyway.

Discipline of secrecy

  Key Words Secrecy Service Humility
  Source The Life youve always wanted
  Source Author Ortberg, John
  Location 170
  Quote Ortberg talks about the discipline of secrecy, of ensuring that our actions are done for God and not for others.

He talks about us having treasures in heaven, but also says there is a reward on earth.

Acts of servanthood done to impress others loose their intrinsic power to help us enter the life of the kingdom.

The importance of developing a relationship with God alone is sensed in a saying by the desert fathers
“If you want to keep the fire hot, you must not open the door of the furnace too often.”

  References Doing things in secret (Matthew 6:1-24)