an outlet of encouragement, explanation, and exhortation

Category: Quotes (Page 1 of 9)

Quaker Testimonies

I often read Johan Mauer’s fifth day commentaries on CanYouBelieve.me. Recently his writing included an excerpt listing “Quaker Testimonies” taken from the developing Faith and Practice of Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting. I found it refreshingly…. er, Quaker?

I mean that in contrast to the drift of many Friends groups toward generic American evangelicalism, abandoning testimonies historically valued by Friends. I’m not advocating a stance that ignores the times in which we live in favor of some idealized past. (Frankly, our past has never been ideal!)

However, these are testimonies that faithfully represent Jesus’ character and teachings that Friends have tried to seriously pursue and embody. They remain Jesus’ teaching and character; they are not obsolete! If we are to follow Him, we try to live these testimonies in an age of 21st technology and often violent global society where they remain relevant and necessary as the life to which Jesus calls.

But let me get to the testimonies! You can read the whole commentary by Johan here. The testimony portion that I want to highlight (by quoting) follows.

We understand the Quaker testimonies as a call:

  • to live simply and sustainably;
  • to seek nonviolent responses to conflict, and refuse participation in war and preparation for war;
  • to speak the truth and keep our promises;
  • to make common decisions based on our community’s practice of prayer and discernment rather than majority rule or force of personality;
  • to regard each other—and all people—with a commitment to equality and equity, rejecting all false distinctions based on social, cultural, or economic status;
  • in the wider world, to support, advocate, and initiate efforts toward peace, justice, care of Creation, and relief of suffering in ways that are consistent with these testimonies;
  • in all things, to put Love first.

As we set forth these values and commitments, we acknowledge that they are to some extent aspirational, not an inventory of our successes as of today.

Needing Christ

One thing I knew by this time: I needed Christ and not merely His religion… The Bible says that God does not wait for me to merit His love but heaps it upon me without my deserving it. It says also that there is neither male nor female in Christ… How good, how indescribably good! What good news for me a woman, a woman born in India among Brahmans who hold out no hope for me and the like of me! The Bible declares that Christ did not reserve this great salvation for a particular caste or sex.

Pandita Ramabai, An Honourable Heritage: The Pandita Ramabai Story in her Own Words (eBook: Community Christian Ministries, 2019), pp. 27, 28, 30-31.

Fulfilling, or “Filling Full” the Law and the Prophets

I thought this highlight from this week’s Bible Project playlist on the Sermon on the Mount was really helpful and captured an important concept – so helpful and important that I wanted to remember it and pass it on. So, here it is.

When read on its own, apart from the whole biblical story, biblical law often is misinterpreted, leading to religious-looking behaviors that allow ongoing contempt and hatred in our hearts. But Jesus and the apostles say that these commandments, taken together with the rest of the Hebrew Bible, are instructions that restore human beings’ love for one another. In this way, love _fills full_ the Law and the Prophets.

Bible Project

A Prayer for Meeting God, by Rich Villodas

On Monday, Rich Villodas posted a prayer he wrote on Twitter/X. I found it encouraging and helpful. This is the text of the prayer:

Lord, I’m here. I’ve come to meet with you.
I’d rather be somewhere else. I’d rather be doing something different.
But here I am.
Only you can awaken my heart to desire you. I can’t make it happen. But you can.
So here I am.
I sit here with a divided mind. But I long for singularity of heart.
So here I am.

–Rich Villodas, February 12, 2024

I hope you find it as helpful as I did. So I’m passing it on.

He has spoken to us by his son…

Recently, the Lectio 365 app included a paraphrase of Hebrews 1.1-3 in one of the daily morning devotions. For some reason, it struck me quite differently when personalized as they gave it. I thought I would share it and remember it. Below is the Lectio 365 personalized version of Hebrews 1.1-3 adapted from the New Living Translation.

Long ago I spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, I have spoken to you through my Son. I promised everything to the Son as an inheritance… The Son radiates my own glory and expresses my very character, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.

Hebrews 1.1-3 [NLT], adapted and personalized by Lectio 365

C.S. Lewis – “a living house”

Mere Christianity was one of the first non-fiction books I read by C.S. Lewis. As I recall, my first C.S. Lewis books were the Space Trilogy. I entered the C.S. Lewis world through Science Fiction! Next, I began to read his non-fiction, probably beginning with the Four Loves? Soon in my reading, I encountered Mere Christianity. I found such a compelling description of Christianity thoroughly refreshing.

Mere Christianity paperback

My copy was often loaned out to others and leafed through to find quotes for various writing projects while I was a college student. Soon, a replacement copy was needed. I think this was the replacement copy. It cost a what then seemed exhorbitant $1.45, plus tax! I thought that was kind of expensive at the time! I’m not sure this is my first replacement copy because I’ve given away so many copies over the years. Recently, I came across a quotation taken from Mere Christianity, which occasions this note. The quote is below.

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

C.S. LewisMere Christianity

C.S. Lewis. What a gift to the 20th century! And to me.

On the cyclical nature human moral behavior(?)

I’m not sure that my choice of the term “moral behavior” does justice to this rather rancid topic. However, I wanted to point to Alan Jacobs rather excellent brief analysis of the cycle of human reaction to being offended and to having behavior and speech restricted by the moral police. A quote:

Paul is the greatest of psychologists: he knows that human beings perfectly well understand legalism, which they rename “justice,” and perfectly well understand antinomianism, which they rename “freedom.” What we can’t understand is the grace of God

Alan Jacobs

Check out Alan Jacob’s brief and excellent essay here.

You don’t know who Alan Jacobs is? Read about him here.

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