Torture is Spiritual Depravity [QUOTE]


“Just as the persistence of torture is unnerving, so are the costs of torture incalculable. Torture corrupts. It corrupts everything and everyone it touches. It corrupts them profoundly and often irreversibly. There is a political level to this corruption, but the category of the political is not sufficient. Likewise, there is a moral level to it, but neither does the moral suffice to capture what is at stake. At its deepest level the corruption represented by torture is spiritual.

The category of the spiritual is descriptively required because, as many have observed, torture tends toward becoming an end in itself. That is the deepest horror. As if by some invisible yet inexorable force, torture seeks and creates domination for its own sake, even as it also seeks and creates cruelty for its own sake. It seeks and creates cruel dominion and wanton cruelty toward another in disregard of the other’s inherent dignity as a human being. …

When torture is conducted as an end in itself, and has therefore become demonic—when the purpose of power is power, and the purpose of cruelty is cruelty, when torture’s purpose is tyrannical subjugation and sadistic degradation—then the divinely given meaning of life is unspeakably distorted and destroyed. The relation of the torturer to the tortured, and of the tortured to the torturer, makes a travesty of the most basic relations given by heaven to earth. In so degrading the human being and human community, torture blasphemes against God, neighbor and self.”

–George Hunsinger

H/T Kait Dugan [Twitter/Facebook]

Advertisements

Chesterton on the Atheism of God on Good Friday [QUOTE]


When the world shook and the sun was wiped out of heaven, it was not at the crucifixion, but at the cry from the cross: the cry which confessed that God was forsaken of God. And now let the revolutionists choose a creed from all the creeds and a god from all the gods of the world, carefully weighing all the gods of inevitable recurrence and of unalterable power. They will not find another god who has himself been in revolt. Nay (the matter grows too difficult for human speech), but let the atheists themselves choose a god. They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist.

–from Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, as quoted by philosopher  Slavoj Zisek, in this article on “German Idealism & Christianity, from Hegel to Chesterton”.

Why go to church? Well, why get married? [QUOTE]


If someone asks me what is the use of going to church, what good does it do me, what do I get out of it, how do I answer these questions?

It is as though someone asks me what the use is of getting married, what good does it do me. If I answered such questions by saying, “Well, it is very useful to get married! You have someone to do the housework, the shopping, cook the meals, etc.,” it would clearly be a false view of marriage. No woman wants to be merely a housekeeper, kept because of her utility!

There is only one supreme reason for getting married—for love’s sake, for the other’s sake, for mutual love, self- giving, a longing for intimate communion, and sharing of everything.

So in Christian worship, we worship God for God’s sake; we come to Christ for Christ’s sake, motivated by love. An awareness of God’s holy love for us, revealed in Jesus Christ, awakens in us a longing for intimate communion—to know the love of the Father and to participate in the life and ministry of Christ.

Worship in the Bible is always presented to us as flowing from an awareness of who God is and what he has done: “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob . . . I have loved you and redeemed you . . . I will be your God and you will be my people. Therefore, this is how you will worship me.”

As we have seen, worship in the Bible is an ordinance of grace, a covenantal form of response to the God of grace, prescribed by God himself. This is supremely true of the New Testament understanding of worship, as the gift of participating through the Spirit in the incarnate Son’s communion with the Father and his mission from the Father to the world, in a life of wonderful communion.

— from James B. Torrance’s beautiful book Worship, Communion, and the Triune God of Grace (paragraph breaks added for clarity)

Crying Over Spilt Rilke [Re-Blog]


Ran across this quote and post. They are both so good. I am all the more persuaded I need to open up the copy of Letters that I have sitting on my shelf right now. It gets cut off in the excerpt above, but here’s the whole Rilke quote:

You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

The Narratician

“You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

I recently came across a used copy of Letters to a Young Poet, which I’ve been meaning to read for a long time now. As I was leafing through it in the book store, I noticed that there was…

View original post 537 more words

How the Church Can Win the Culture War [QUOTE]


The church is elected to responsibility, called to be the church to and for the world–not in order to save it or conquer it or even transform it, but to serve it by showing what redeemed human community and culture look like, as modeled by the One whose cultural work led him to the cross. In short, we’re sent out to be martyrs, witnesses of the Crucified One. In that way, we win by losing.

–James K.A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, & Cultural Formation

Chesterton on the Atheism of God on Good Friday [QUOTE] | Lent {10}


When the world shook and the sun was wiped out of heaven, it was not at the crucifixion, but at the cry from the cross: the cry which confessed that God was forsaken of God. And now let the revolutionists choose a creed from all the creeds and a god from all the gods of the world, carefully weighing all the gods of inevitable recurrence and of unalterable power. They will not find another god who has himself been in revolt. Nay (the matter grows too difficult for human speech), but let the atheists themselves choose a god. They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist.

–from Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, as quoted by philosopher  Slavoj Zisek, in this article on “German Idealism & Christianity, from Hegel to Chesterton” (via Micah Towery). Read the rest of this Lent series on “The Lamb Eternally Slain”

What the Gospel is not. [QUOTE]


“I believe the word gospel has been hijacked by what we believe about “personal salvation,” and the gospel itself has been reshaped to facilitate making “decisions.” The result of this hijacking is that the word gospel no longer means in our world what it originally meant to either Jesus or the apostles.”

— Scot McKnight, “The King Jesus Gospel

Amen. I’m so glad this book was written. So far, it’s pretty amazing. And on the Kindle, it’s currently only $3.99.

Posted from WordPress for Android on my Droid X

a beautiful quote on life & pain


One cannot cut the lines of experience out of one’s face, like the rotten bits in an apple; one has to carry them about in one’s face and know that one carries them; one sees them, as in a mirror, every day when one washes oneself, and cannot cut them out, they belong there. But all the same, it is a festive waiting, full of joy and sorrow and remembrance and good-bye for ever.

— from “Death of the Adversary” by Hans Keilson, our December book club selection for Staché

Posted from WordPress for Android on my Droid X

the cry of an anguished lover (may it be mine)


O my folly! The world of my plans, how narrow, and bare, and stale it is! And the world which breaks my plans, how living, and various, and wide, and glorious it is! And from every point in it a providence bears upon me, to make me the man you intend: here a claim, there a discipline, here love to cherish, there enmity to vanquish, and everywhere Christ.

“Be not anxious”, says Christ, not that he may make us careless, but that he may lift our faces out of the book of our calculations and sweep the cobwebs of self-obsession from our eyes. If I gave my attention to your handiwork, I should become your handiwork. Make me open to each thing and person in their turn, that I may not only love them, but be directed through the providences which speak in them.
Austin Farrer

sexuality & the church’s obsessions (a quote)


Another sobering finding is that while high-octane rhetoric has been devoted to the issue of same-sex marriage, an issue relevant to only a small faction of the U.S. population (the CDC reports about 2-3%, some figures are as low as 1.7%), huge shifts have taken place on attitudes toward sex before marriage—what the Bible calls fornication: “The best evidence is that the fraction of all Americans believing that premarital sex was ‘not wrong’ doubled from 24% to 47% in the four years between 1969 and 1973 and then drifted upward through the 1970s to 62% in 1982.” Today attitudes toward sexuality are the best indicator of church attendance. It appears that many in the church have taken their eye off a far more pervasive problem among a far larger number of Americans.

from this Cardus book review on Robert Putnan and David Campbell’s book American Grace: How Religion Dvides and Unites Us

sin, joy, desire, & maturity (encouragement from a friend)


I think the sense of our wants, when withal we have a restlessness and a sort of spiritual impatience under them, and can make a din, because we want Him whom our soul loveth, is that which maketh an open door to Christ: and when we think we are going backward, because we feel deadness, we are going forward; for the more sense the more life, and no sense argueth no life.

–Samuel Rutherford, The Loveliness of Christ

I was sent this quote by a dear friend who’s probably starting to get to know me better than I would like.  It really spoke to me.
Continue reading

just a little reminder of my life . . .


I was updating my Author page on this site tonight, and I was reminded once more of this quote that struck me so powerfully by poet Joe Weil.  It’s from a great interview posted on Patrol Magazine a while back.  I wrote about it when I originally first found it almost exactly a year ago.  It’s incredible and describes the nature and substance of my faith like no other set of words I have encountered before or since–coarse language and all.  I hope it speaks to you as well:

“I once described faith as something I got on my shoe and can’t kick or wash off. I’m stuck with it. My poems are the trespasses and blasphemies of a malpracticing Christian, one who can’t stop ogling an attractive leg, or wanting to be first, who is venial, foolish, seldom at peace, horny and lonely, and so far from the kingdom of God that his whole life becomes the theme of that distance, someone knowing he is in deep shit. It’s the perfect place to be, where you can’t fool yourself into thinking you’re on the right track… The only thing I have to offer God is my sins. I am interested in mercy when it appears in places where you would never expect it. I am interested in love that shovels shit against the tide. I am interested in grace… It is better to be annihilated and crushed by God, if you are in love with God, then it is to have no relationship at all. Better God smite you then merely be absent. God does not ‘tolerate’ me. God loves me.”

How do these words strike you?

A Coffee Gospel & the Beauty of Christ


mosaicThis is a snippet from an Easter Service by Erwin McManus of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles.  His coffee story pretty much sums up my life.  I love it.  The rest is a freebie.  Enjoy!

Let me know if the audio doesn’t work.  It’s about 9 minutes long, so if you have a few minutes to spare, take full advantage of it.

“Beauty: Easter Service” by Erwin McManus (click here for download)