Tag Archives: Love

Love Your Neighbour

3/11/2013 – transcript here

Makes reference to book about Neighbouring, and the author (Dave Runyon – “The art of neighbouring”) who went to a mayor and asked “What does this city need?” and the answer was “Neighbours”.  Also noted that the city planners did not have a correlation between Christians being in the neighbourhood and increasing amounts of neighbourliness, and also that the Jesus spoke about loving our neighbour.  This is something that we need to bring together.

Relationship always trumps program.  The best thing is that we could start a neighbouring movement – isn’t there something in the Bible about neighbours. Continue reading

Wholehearted Signposts

Ten Guideposts for Wholehearted Living – Brene Brown

 

  1. Cultivating Authenticity – Letting go of what people think
  2. Cultivating Self-compassion – letting go of perfectionism
  3. Cultivating a resilient spirit – letting go of numbing and powerlessness
  4. Cultivating gratitude and joy – letting go of security and fear of the dark
  5. Cultivating intuition and trusting faith – letting go of the need for certainty
  6. Cultivating creativity – letting go of comparison
  7. Cultivating play and rest – letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
  8. Cultivating calm and Stillness – letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
  9. Cultivating meaningful work – letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”
  10. Cultivating laughter, song and dance – letting go of being cool and “Always in control

 

Duelling Desires

Great exposition of marriage in Ephesians 5: how this is about mutual love, how this would have been read in the context of the time, Youtube video of the woman with the nail in her head, the changing of overwhelming positive sentiment (the great reversal) that happens in love and the desire for the other to grow into the head, into Christ.

Made me want to improve my marriage radically

(23rd June, MPPC, Link is http://www.mppc.org/sites/default/files/transcripts/130623_jortberg%20(1).pdf)

Third Way – Part 4

Quotes of the month

Key Words Luxury Decadence Atheism Culture Mission Colonialism Crucifixion Passion
Source Third Way
Author
Page May 2004
Quote What you see on Footballer’s Wives is a world in which charity and fairness, generosity and a sense of perspective about yourself are all swept aside, – Archbishop of Canterbury on how ITV captured the ethics of a nation

I conclude that Pilate acted impartially throughout, although I cannot rule out the possibility that he was subconsciously influenced by thousands of people, led by the Jewish elders, shouting “Crucify him! Crucify Him!” – Private Eye competition to Huttonise history

When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said “Let us pray”. We closed our eyes and when we had opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. – Desmond Tutu

If someone lives in hell and he has a means of going to paradise he will accept it – Tamam Abdo, mother of a 16 year old who was stopped at a security checkpoint with and 18lb bom inside his vest

Fancis Wheen quotes Kipling:
He that hath a gospel
To loose upon Mankind,
Though he serve it itterly
Body, sould and mind
Though he go to Calvary
Daily for its gain
It is his disciple
Shall make his labour vain.

Quotes of the week

Key Words Glamour Forgiveness Fame Parenthood Patriotism Nation Families Father Son
Source Third Way
Author
Page April 2004
Quote If something is worth doing, it is worth overdoing – Justin Hawkins, front man of the Darkness

If you don’t learn from suffering its worthless. I think suffering hones the Spirit, I don’t think it makes you nicer – Actress Jane Lapotaire after her brain haemorrahage

I think I’m tired with love. I am exhausted with all the times I’ve had with love – Actress Diane Keaton

I thought awards were divisive and damaging until I got one and then they became strangely meaningful and real – Bill Nighy

When she had her tonsils out I had to be there – but not for this. The clinic told me it was confidential – the Mum who found out about her 15 year old daughter’s abortion by reading her diary

I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfill my duties and obligations as a British citizen -The new British citizenship pledge for immigrants

Anyone would think St Peter stands at the Pearly Gates with a tape measure – Anne Widdecombe on measure to curb obesity.

Maybe on my deathbed I’ll speak to him again. I’ll call him a bloody scab and then I’ll die – Former striking miner Ian Whyles on the son he’s not spoken to for 20 years.

I earn £100 a day for arthritis research. But I can charge £65 for servicing a fire which takes less than an hour – Dr Karl Gensberg swapping academia for gas fitting

I think it pushes one over the edge so that they see the enormity of that sacrifice – It’s very violent and if you don’t like it, don’t go. – Mel Gibson on The Passion Responding to US Jewish groups he also said “To be anti-Semitic is ot be unchrisitian and I’m not”

Never again will I have to endure another sermon from some sanctimonious God-botherer on the evils of violent cinema – Mark Kermode on the same film

God will forgive – that’s his Job – Catherine of Siena

The bullying of the poor

Key Words Poverty Justice
Source Third Way
Author Galloway, George
Page September 2005 20
Quote I cannot accept the levels of inequality that exist in our own country and, even more markedly, across the world. In the words of Mary Brooksbank, the Dundee jute woker who wrote in the 1930s:

Oh dear me, the world’s ill divided
Them that work the hardest
Are the least provided.

You can read an autocued and earn half a million pounds a year or you can spend your entire day with a water port on your head in Africa walking seven miles to and from a well in order to get dirty water to keep your family alive – though not for very long. And that I simply can’t accept.

War and terrorism

Key Words War Peace Violence Justice Poverty
Source Third Way
Author Ustinov, Peter
Page September 2005 20
Quote War is the terrorism of the rich and powerful,
and terrorism is the war of the poor and powerless.

Journey of faith

Key Words Journey Faith Conversion
Source Third Way
Author Third Way
Page 2005 Sep – p5
Quote Paul Vallely writes on the journey of faith
“All religion must contain three elements” according to von Hugel
“An institutional element to care for our infancy, when we need stories, structure, trust, stability, protection and discipline. A critical element for adolescence – when the critical faculty comes into play and we systematise, theorise and search for meaning; a time to impose, or discover an order, a consistency, a unity and an identity; a time when, as St Anselm wrote, faith seeks understanding. And the mystic element for our adulthood a time for working through our layers of inner consciousness, as we reach after the transcendent and the incommunicable whereof we cannot speak.”

Judgement and the hand of God

Key Words Disaster Suffering Tragedy Judgement
Source Third Way
Author Third Way
Page 2005 Sep p5
Quote The lifting of God’s hand of protection the implementation of His judgement of the Nation most responsible for endangering the land and people of Israel. – Stan Goodenough, columnist for Jerusalem Newswire, on Hurrican Katrina.

A direct “coming back on us” for what we did to Israel, a home for a home – Bridgett Magee, Louisiana resident, agrees.

Between the steeple and gargoyle

Key Words Pain Achievement Perfection Sin
Source Third Way
Author Higgins, Gareth
Page 2007
Quote Believing therefore that I needed to be perfect, I tried desparately to fight it. It was only when I found a friend who advised me that life is lived between the stepple and the gargoyle – the sacred and the profane – that I began to see that fighting with yourself in the cause of perfectionism is only a path to making you bleed. In effect, I was trying to amputate my own shadow.

I started to call my shadow Richard III (after the scene in the film with Laurence Olivier), and strangely enough that made him seem smaller already. I would have conversations with , asking him what he wanted, and didn’t he know that I’d already given enough of my life to him? I’d offer him a cup of tea, invite him to play if he wnted to. And if he didn’t, I’d begin to learn to ignore him.

Listening to music

Key Words Conscience Honesty Integrity Guilt
Source Third Way
Author Higgins, Gareth
Page 2007
Quote Frank Serpico, the New York cop immortalised on film by Al Pacino, was once asked why he had risked his life to denounce corrupt officers when he could have easily let sleeping dogs lie. He said, “Because if I didn’t, what kind of person would I be when I listen to a piece of music?” In other words, only total commitment to truth-telling allows us the peace of mind with which we can fathom beauty. It’s a tisk commitment in a devious society where an honest confession is as likely to lead to ostracism as widespread acclaim. But it remains the only kind of leadership I am willing to follow: one that is honest about its struggle and recognises the difference between temporal access and personal integrity.

God and ideas of God

Key Words God Theology Goodness
Source Third Way
Author Higgins, Gareth
Page 2007
Quote The notion that God is always better than our best ideas of God

God and angels

Key Words God Angels Belief Doctrine
Source Third Way
Author Wisniersak, Eva
Page 2007
Quote I don’t believe in God, but I do believe in angels. I think they were the ones who brought me back to safety.

Ewa Wisnierska, the German paraglider who was carried six miles high in a thunderstorm. She survived hailstones as big as tennis balls, temperatures as loas as -50 degrees C and oxygen deprivation

Finding someone to love

Key Words Love Need
Source Third Way
Author Allen, Lily
Page 2007
Quote It’s not surprise to me that 15 year old girls are deliberately getting pregnant, they just want someone to love.

Hitler and the devil

Key Words Evil Satan Demon
Source Third Way
Author Mailer, Norman
Page 2007
Quote Hitler exceeds human comprehension. For me the only answer is the existence of the devil… Hitler is the devil’s greatest feat against Jesus Christ.

Another mans religion

Key Words Tolerance Pluralism Religion
Source Third Way
Author Mencken, H L
Page 2007
Quote We must accept the other fellow’s religion but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart

Superman

Key Words Weakness Strength Hero
Source Third Way
Author
Page 2007
Quote Talked about the flawed analysis of saying “Jesus was the greatest hero of all”

In a letter from Matthew Vernon, St John’s Cathedral, Hong Kong
“Ironically, Christopher Reeves was a Christ-like person. Not when playing Superman so brilliantly, but after he broke his neck and was paralysed in a riding accident.”

Fashion and the good

Key Words Fashion Appearance Vanity
Source Third Way
Author Corner, Frances
Page September 2006
Quote Frances Corner, head of the London College of Fashion, on the appointment of its first chaplain
“Fashion should be able to make you feel good, and spirituality can have the same role.”

Worship and football

Key Words Football Sport Creation Worship Idolatry
Source Third Way
Author Smith, Delia
Page September 2006
Quote Footballers are not false idols. They are not like a piece of wood. People are worshipping God when they worship footballers because he is the creator of sport and football is his creation.
References Worshipping the creation (Romans 1)

Joy in Stevenson

Key Words Joy
Source Third Way
Author Chesterton, G.K.
Page September 2006- page 20
Quote Chesterton admired joy in others. For example he wrote about Robert Louis Stevenson, “gaiety was valuable to Stevenson precisely because is the most difficult of all the virtues … As most men have triumphantly maintained a level of sobriety, he maintained a level of exhiliration. He discovered the new ascetism of cheerfullness, which will prove a hundred times harder than the old ascetism of despair. He rode on the great galloping gift-horse of existence with the joy of a horseman at once dextrous and rekless, and did not, like so many more ambitious philosophers, nearly fall off in his desperate efforts to look the gift-horse in the mouth. He could enjoy trifles because to him there was no such thing as a trifle.”

The same article also spoke of the Spurgeon on sickness, “the greatest eartly blessing that God can give to any of us is health, with the exception of sickness, Sickness has frequently been of more use to the saints of God than health has.”

The Prince At The Prophet’s Door

Naaman The Leper

2 Kings 5:1-14

Mitzora

I want to teach you a word this morning, the word in Hebrew is Mitzora

It is one of the signs of our humanity, that nobody has it totally easy, in fact everyone has something that plagues them, that shames them, that perhaps they hide but in their dreams, in their innermost places, that thing creeps out.

That thing is Mitzora.

Some people have a big Mitzora that dominates all their thinking

Some people try to pretend very hard that they have no Mitzora

Some people are deluded thinking they have no Mitzora, but other around them see it

Some people have very elaborate stories, as to why they have Mitzora, but it is somebody else’s fault

Because inside they have another story “The Mitzora is my fault” and they want to drown out that story.

Naaman

Namaan is introduced here as “A prince of the army of the king of Aram.”

He was a man of rank, someone that had was given status.

He was a supervisor, a sergeant, a superintendent, he had rank.

“And he was a great man before his master and raised to great favour”

And not only had he rank, but he had justified that rank.

But people honoured that rank

And notice that word “raised”, lifted up.

And the list keeps going on here.  Because not only did he have rank, and not only did he earn celebrity status, but that most rare of things, he had some achievements which matched this.

So think of a mix, of Prince Charles, and David Beckham, and Simon Cowell;

Or for an older generation think of Prince Phillip, and Lord Mountbatten, and General Montgomery

“Because through Namaan, the Lord had given salvation/ victory to the Syrian forces”

And the words here, are the highest rank of esteem you get in the Old Testament for warriors.

Gabour, Chayil

He was hard has nails

I used to share a house with an ex-Marine called Matt,

And what Matt used to do was every day after work he would come home and do weights in his room

With dance music on, Robert Miles Children was his favourite

And he would be pumping away

And then he would knock on my door, and he would wait for me to open it and then say

“I am monstrous”

Gabor Hayil.

So commander,

Esteemed by his boss

And esteemed by the people

Given the Lord victory

A might man of valour

And then another word, that you do not expect in this list

Gbor Hayil

Mitzora

This is stunning word.

He is leprous.

It’s as if the all the work that has been done in the first part,

The victories, the esteem, the rank, the greatness, the heroicness, reduced

Mitzora

Leprous

To be leprous in those days did not only mean all the discomfort and disfigurement of the disease,

But it also meant exclusion

We remember the Gabor and the Hayil

What is your Mitzora.

Naaman

The story of Naaman, is the undoing of the Gabor, and the Hayil

So we can get to the Mitzora

And it begins with a little girl, who was captured in one of his raids on Israel,

Who works for his wife, saying “Oh that my Lord would go to the prophet in Israel and he would cure him of leprosy”.

Did you notice, not a boy, but a girl

Did you notice not only a girl, but a young girl

Not only a young girl, but a slave girl

Not only a slave girl, but a foreign slave girl

Has the word, that might help the prince, who is revered in his country.

And he who is high, has to trust the word of the one who is low.

Reaction of the king

So Naaman goes and tells his Lord the king – there is a lot of rank in this story,

Because he is still in the world of rank and of power

And the king sends him to the King of Israel

With 10 talents of silver, and 6,000 talents of gold

And a letter from the powerful King of Aram, to the not so powerful king of Israel

Verse 6.

“When you receive this letter, Behold, my servant Namaan, and you will gather in from him his leprosy.”

And this king, is terrified.  How will I do this he thinks.

Like powerful men often think, he thinks it is down to him.

But the prophet hears,

And he knows that the world is not decided by men in power, putting their money about.

He knows who the real king is.

And says, send the man round to my house, and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.

I love the confidence here that Elisha has in God,

So Naaman goes round to the prophets house.

With chariots and horses.

I want us to notice two things here.

The first is the rank that is going on.

The second is the large number of disasters that have got us to this point

Naaman gets Mitzora

Israel gets defeated

The slave girl gets captured

The king gets an impossible demand from a powerful man whom he cannot refuse

And this is something that happens over a number of years.

Diasasters.  But also God.

Rob Bell, an American preacher whom I admire greatly talks about his need of therapy to deal with his life

And how his life is a struggle, with different kinds of pain,

And how some things really destroy him, leave him defeated,

And his therapist has an old Hebrew phrase, which he gives him, and the phrase means

“The God who wastes nothing”

I like that,

“The God who wastes nothing”

The God who wastes not the deportation, the frightening humiliation

The mitzora.

And the other thing is to do with pride.

And the prophet notices God in both,

God who cleans Mitzora

And brings down pride.

At Elisha’s House

So Naaman goes to the house of the prophet

And the man here with all his rank standing out the door of the prophet

With his chariots and horses (not chariot and horse, chariots and horses)

And what does the prophet do,

He doesn’t even go out to meet the man.

This has never happened before.

No one shuts their door to Naaman,

But the prophet does

And he says this

“Go and wash in the Jordan seven times and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean”

And the Prince is furious, he says

“I thought you would come out

And stand, and call upon the name of the Lord, and put his hand over me

And gather in this leprousy

This Mitzora which has taunted and haunted me”

And you give me this,

And the racism starts to come out of Prince Naaman at this point

And he says are not the Abana and the Pharpar the rivers of Damascus better than this river,

And he turned away and went away in a rage

Which is what important people do when they don’t think people are bending to their every whim.

Pride And Disaster Meet Hope

So you have two disasters

You have the disaster of the general situation – the slave girl, the embarrassed king, the successful man with mitzora.

And you have the disaster of human pride – this river is no better than the rivers of Damascus, this man does not even come to his door.

And Naaman’s servants notice a third thing going on

Hope

What Naaman heard Elisha say was this

Go and wash in the Jordan seven times and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean”

What the servants of Naaman heard was this

“Go and wash in the Jordan seven times and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean

They go to Naaman, and say this is a great word.  Did he actually say to you

“Wash, and be clean”

The way they say it, no one had ever said this to Naaman any more

No one had ever dared to say, “Wash and be clean”

Hope had never come close to Naaman for years

And the prophet of God had uttered it.

Naaman is in real danger here, because he is in danger of letting hope be blotted out by pride.

But the servants say, forget your pride, head in the direction of hope.

The other night, with Stuart and Sheree we were having a conversation about the history of Protestantism.  Actually if truth be told, it was me going off on a bit of a rant.

Protestantism has many things it needs to repent of.

A kind of bitter, prideful self-righteous streak; which showed up in some of the anti-Catholic bigotry that I witnessed when I lived in Belfast, and has showed up in Scotland.

But at its heart, Protestantism was about this dynamic, pride giving way to hope.

Prior to Protestantism, which is normally dated to 1517, the date that Martin Luther pinned his 95 theses to the door of Palast Church in Wittenberg in Germany.

Prior to that point, the Church was in a mess,

One of the complaints was the way that you got to heaven had been misunderstood.

You got to heaven by being good, by being strict with yourself (Luther used to whip himself to be rid of a guilty conscience)

And by giving money to the Church in Rome,

People would give money for the souls of dead people, called Indulgences.

And this was a recipe for pride

Because people could boast about what they had done for God

I have whipped myself

I have prayed fervently

I have given much money for Mother Church.

But Luther’s discovery was that this pride did not give him any hope

Because the more he did, the more he sensed that he was far from the grandeur of God.

And then he encountered the gospel,

Which says we are justified, made right, by God’s gift,

Not by our gift to God, but by God’s gift to us.  Grace.

And in this is life.

And our pride, has to give way to hope.

Yes Namaan, you are a great man, and this man has not even come to your door

And you have come with ten talents of silver and 6,000 shekels of gold

And this man has not wanted any of it

And your country has conquered the land of Israel,

But all the victories and all the status, and all the money, has done nothing for your mitzora

But this man said “Wash and be clean.”

And the next words are so important, v14, so he went down.

And he washed and he was clean.

Final Twist

One final twist that Jesus gave to this story.

He pointed out that many at this time had Mitzora in Israel,

But the choice of God was odd,

He chose a racist, self-important, Israel conquering general to be the one who’s Mitzora would be deal with.

Jesus loved the outsider,

The one who would say “I’m not the religious type”
”The Church would fall in if I cam to one of your services.”

He provocatively chooses those who deserve it least to show that God works by grace, by favour,

And today we celebrate Sheree, that you have joined the people who like Naaman have discovered that God is generous to the most surprising people

And he loves to take the Mitzora, the sin, the things that hold us back

The things that give us shame

He loves to take the Mitzora away,

AMEN

The Importance of Strengths

In answer to the question, “What do you think will help you improve the most: knowing your strengths or knowing your weaknesses.”?

The majority of people answer this question by looking at your strengths.  Even the most strength focussed nation (America) answered 41% strengths.  Those most fixated on their weaknesses were those over 55.  Buckingham comments that this group has “probably acquired a measure of self-acceptance and realised the futility of trying to paper over the persistent cracks in their personality.).

Buckingham notes three fears: fear of weaknesses, fear of failure, fear of one’s true self.

We have a tremendous fear of weaknesses.  When parents were asked the question about a child returning home with A in English, A in Social studies, C in biology and F in Algebra, which subject would they spend the most amount of time speaking about.  71% focussed on the algebra and 6% talked about the English.

Martin Seligman, a psychologist, reviewed a papers in the field of psychology.  What they noted were 40,000 papers on the subject of depression, and forty on the subject of joy, happiness or fulfillment.

Buckingham says that we must remember that “casting a critical eye on our weaknesses and working hard to manage them, while sometimes necessary, will only help us prevent failure.  Carl Jung commented that “the power to do good when there is something that must be destroyed, dissolved or reduced, but it is capable only of harm when there is something to be built.”

Fear of failure.  The biggest fear of failure can be to do with those who have done everything to their strengths, have pushed themselves, and still they have failed.  Talks about the scene with Harold Abrahams who after everything says “what more do I have to do.”  We save our greatest scorn for those who have played to their strengths and still failed.  This could be because we don’t have a good idea of our strengths “If at first you don’t succeed, try again.  Then quit.  There is no point making a fool of yourself.”  Carl Jung says that “Fidelity to the law of your own being is… An act of high courage flung in the face of life.”  Not to look at our strengths is to live a second rate version of someone else’s life rather than to live a first rate version of our own.

Fear of one’s true self – sometimes we just take the good things that we do for granted.  This could be because we stick what we are good at into the wrong way of assessing what we do.  How we assess what we do is against the life of Jesus – not what is paid, or what is recognised, or appears at the front of a room.  What we do is measure ourselves against the life of Jesus (my bit at the end).

Reaching For The Invisible God – Part Two

Coverting the heathen

  Key Words Evangelism Predestination
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 44
  Quote Calvinists’ words to young William Carey
“Young man, when God pleases to convert the Heathen, He’ll do it without your help or mine”

The indecisive donkey

  Key Words Decisions Choices
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location  
  Quote IN A FAMOUS ALLEGORICAL dilemma, a fourteenth-century French monk told of a donkey who confronts two equally attractive, equally distant bales of hay. The animal stares, hesitates, stares some more, and eventually perishes because he has no logical justification for moving toward

The stars and the smoke

  Key Words Distraction Revelation Seeing God Presence Doubt
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 197
  Quote The burning of a little straw may hide the stars, but the stars outlast the smoke

Walking and running

  Key Words Suffering Doubt Complaint
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Claypool
  Location 200
  Quote Talks about the curious order of Isaiah, where we run and then we walk. After a period suffering, Claypool talks about how this might be important

Now I am sure that to those looking for the spectacular this may
sound insignificant indeed. Who wants to be slowed to a walk,
to creep along inch by inch, just barely above the threshold of con-
sciousness and not fainting? That may not sound like much of a
religious experience, but believe me, in the kind of darkness where
I have been, it is the only form of the promise that fits the situ-
ation. When there is no occasion to soar and no place to run,
and all you can do is trudge along step by step, to hear of a Help that will allow you to walk and not run is good news indeed

  References Running and walking (Isaiah 40)

The mysterious hiddenness of God

  Key Words  
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 201
  Quote Wonders about how God who is so powerful can be so hidden, how even a tree seems to have more power since it forces you to walk round it

How is it that God permeates the universe, that everything that
is comes from his hand, that every thought and emotion we have
has significance only in him, yet we are neither shaken nor
inflamed by the reality of his presence, but able to live as though
he did not exist? How is this truly satanic deceit possible?

Presence of God

  Key Words Presence Discipline Routine
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 204
  Quote William Law sets out a course of religious devotion which involves prayer at 6 (praise and thanksgiving), 9 (humility), 12 (intercession for others), 3 (conforming to the will of God), 6 (self examination and confession), bedtime (death)

Yancey says that at first this felt extreme until he remembered that faithful muslims pray 5 times a day and many computer users check their e-mail at least that often

  References Praying continuously (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Praise from the cess pit

  Key Words Suffering Prayer Cambodia Refinement Persecution
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 207
  Quote Yancey tells the story of a Cambodian Christian who told his story at a conference organised by Billy Graham in Manila

Under the Pol Pot regime he was held in a concentration camp. Believing that he had little time to live he wanted to spend time in prayer so that he could prepare for death

He says that even more than the harsh treatment from the gaurds, the torture and the starvation he resented not having time to talk to God

He noticed that the guards were having problems getting people to clean out the cesspits so he volunteered to do this.

Even in those stinking depths he was able to look up at the sky and praise God. This became for him a glorious time of communion

  References Blessed are the persecuted (Matthew 5:10-12)

Long for the longing

  Key Words Yearning Longing Prayer Hunger
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 208
  Quote Yancey quotes:

The soul must long for God in order to be set aflame by God’s love; but if the soul cannot yet feel this longing then it must long for the longing. To long for the longing is also from God.

  References Hunger for righteousness (Matthew 5:6)
Hunger like a deer (Psalms 42)
Hunger in a dry land (Psalms 63)

Ruin and changed

  Key Words Change Ruin Experiment
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 211
  Quote We would rather be ruined than changed

The disciplining of Arun Gandhi

  Key Words Discipline Love Freedom
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 226
  Quote Yancey tells the story of a time that Arun Gandhi (the Grandson of Mahatma) took is father’s car for too long, and then lied when giving an explanation to his Father.

When that Father realised what had happened (at this point the two of them were driving home) he asked to be allowed out of the car because he had failed as a parent and wanted to think about this.

The son then drove the car behind the father as he walked the six hour journey home.

  References Father disciplines his children (Hebrews 12:5-11)
The way of discipline (Proverbs 1)
The righteous slap (Psalms 141)

Being an adult

  Key Words Maturity Loss Responsbility Parent
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 235
  Quote Yancey talks about the growth we have into being parents. He makes a number of points

1. It seems like a completely thankless task but ultimately it is how we become ourselves

2. Often as we grow older, the pain gets worse, not better, but this is how we become saints

3. This gives us an insight into what it is to be God

4. This is a radical alternative to being a person of “self authority”. This means submitting to a higher authority

5. Before we are ready to give we must have received. To live in self-denial does not mean a denial of our gifts, it means a denial of status

  References Losing your life to gain it (John 12:23-25)
The shepherd lays down life for sheep (John 10:11)
Will you lay down your life for me (John 13:37-38)
This is how we know what love is (1 John 3:16)
Living for the benefit of others (1 John 3:17-TI.

The cries of the heart

  Key Words Service Love Others Weakness Friendship Companionship Parent Child
  Source Reaching for the Invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 236
  Quote Vanier says there are three cries from the heart.

There is the cry to be loved by a Father and Mother – and ultimately this may be met in God

There is the cry to be friends. This also may ultimately be found in God – who calls us friends

Then there is the cry to serve those weaker than ourselves. For many parenthood meets this need. For others this leads to a new vocation working with the marginalised and poor

Yancey then puts this into context with 1 John 3:16-18 which talks about love coming into action and helping those who have less.

He might have gone on to verse 19 where the suggestion is that when we behave in this way peace comes into our hearts and we know God with greater authenticity

  References I call you friends (John 15:14-15)
This is how we know what love is (1 John 3:16-20)

The ministry of absence

  Key Words Absence Pain Worship Desert Sacrament Communion Eucharist
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Nouwen, Henri
  Location 241
  Quote Nouwen describes the sacrament as the ministry of absence.

We eat bread, but not enough to take our hunger away; we drink wine, but not enough to take our thirst away; we read from a book but not enough to take our ignorance away. Around these “poor signs” we come together and celebrate.

What then do we celebrate?

The simple signs, which cannot satisfy all our desires, speak first of all of God’s absence. He has not yet returned, we are still on the road, still waiting, still hoping, still expecting, still longing-

The minister is not called to cheer people up but modestly to remind them that in the midst of pains and tribulations the first sign of the new life can be found and a joy can be experienced which is hidden in the midst of sadness.

Bernard’s spiritual growth

  Key Words Growth Discipline Maturity Love Discipleship
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 244
  Quote Yancey talks about the four stages of spiritual growth which are set out by Bernard of Clairvaux.

1. Loving ourselves for our sake

2. Loving God for our own sake

3. Loving God for God’s sake

4. Loving ourselves for our sake

Yancey then adds a fifth, keeping with the chapters theme that we grow when we love those who are weaker than ourselves

5. Loving others for God’s sake

This keeps theme with an earlier remark (page 239) that when a person “incurves” (Luther’s phrase) the less human she becomes. When a person reaches out beyond herself, the more she is enriched.

The fallen world

  Key Words Fall Paradise Lost Sin Imperfection Creation Redemption
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 249
  Quote Yancey deals with the fallenness of creation and redemption

1. He talks about the effects of the fall, how it has distorted that which is good

(page 252)
A lie warps truth, sexual immorality sullies the beauty of physical love, gluttony abuses food and drink

(page 254)
He tells the stories of Promotheus, Icarus and Pandora who delved into the realms of the Gods. This echoes our story of Adam and Eve who were tempted with the prospect of being like God

(page 254)
we master the atom and nearly obliterate ourselves; we learn the secrets of life and develop techniques to destroy the unborn and the aging, we unlock the genetic code and open a Pandora’s box of ethics, we tame the Great Plains and turn them into a dust bowl; harvest rain forests and create floods, harness internal combustion and melt the ice caps

2. He says that not all pain is bad and can cause us to take positive action (page 252)

3. That the world can be redeemed. It is this belief in a better place that has given Jews and Christians the energy to strive for so many things (page 256)

  References The Fall (Genesis 3:1-24)
The groaning of creation (Romans 8:22-25)

The devil cannot make pleasure

  Key Words Pleasure Devil Satan Temptation Evil
  Source Reaching for the Invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 252
  Quote From C.S. Lewis

[Pleasure] is his invention not ours. He made all our pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one

Uncontamintated Happiness

  Key Words Happiness Joy
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 254
  Quote It is not given to man to enjoy uncontaminated happiness.
  References Secret of contentment (Philippians 4:10-14)
Be joyful always (1 Thessalonians 5:16)

The sketches of God

  Key Words Creation Fall Redemption Failure Destruction
  Source Reaching for the invisible God
  Source Author Yancey
  Location 254
  Quote I feel more and more that we must not judge of God from this world, it’s just a study that didn’t come off. What can you do with a study that has gone wrong? – if you are fond of the artist you do not find too much to criticise – you hold your tongue. But you have a right to ask for something better

The study is ruined in so many ways. It is only a master who can make such a blunder. And perhaps that is the best consolation that we can have out of it. Since in that case we have a right to hope that we’ll see the same creative hand get even with itself.