According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Friday, July 1, 2011

Succeeding on Schedule


by Laura Ziesel
posted June 30, 2011

Old Clockphoto © 2010 William Warby | more info (via: Wylio)
Do you ever feel like you're racing the clock to achieve something in life? Marriage, children, tenure, educational degrees, buying a house, or paying off student loans: These are all things I think many of us think need to be "checked off" the list by a certain age.

To be honest, I felt like I was making good progress ticking things off my list: I had a job doing something I was passionate about right out of college; we got married in our mid-20s; Josh and I were paying off his student loans; we decided to pursue his doctorate degree. We were moving in the "right direction." But then, about a year ago, everything started to move in (what felt like) the wrong direction. For a few months, we were both jobless. Not only did we have to dip into emergency savings to live, but we started accumulating more student loans for Josh's grad school. I starting freelancing to pay the bills, putting my own career goals on hold.

I don't know about most of you, but when I hear the word ageism I think first of discrimination against the elderly. There is no doubt in my mind that care of the aging is one of the greatest weaknesses in modern American culture. But recently, I've realized that I've been ageist toward myself, applying the standard of age to judge how far I've come or how many years I have left to contribute to Kingdom work, my 401k, and my family.

At my amazing church's 55th birthday celebration in November 2010, our pastor, Jim Miller, preached a great sermon on Jacob's adoption of Joseph's sons in Genesis 48. In it, he reminds us that retirement is not a biblical doctrine. In talking to the elderly people in the audience, he challenged them to remember that their greatest contributions and experiences in life could still be awaiting them.

Jim gave the example of Peter Drucker. Jim said that he visited a library where Drucker's books are lined up chronologically, with Drucker's first books on the far left and his newest books on the far right. Apparently, if you put your finger on the shelf representing the break between the books Drucker wrote before age 65 and after age 65, two-thirds of his books would be to the right of your finger. That means that he only produced one-third of his written works before the age of 65. Moreover, his most defining and influential books were written after the age of 65.

Jim's intention was to encourage the older people in our congregation with that fact. But surprisingly, when I heard those stats, I felt convicted.

I feel as if I need to figure out how I'm going to contribute to the world and do it soon. (I think a lot of this is driven by the fact that my parents had two kids and a stable income by the time they were 26. In fact, I think they bought their first house at 26.) I see a ticking clock and I think, "Okay, I only have about 40 good years of work in me. I need to figure out what I'm doing soon so that I don't spend 10 of those years doing something wasteful."

But there is so much flawed thinking at work in this.

To begin, perhaps my greatest contribution to the world has already come and gone; perhaps I discipled a student who will go on to be the next Billy Graham, Gary Haugen, or Beth Moore. If that is true and my greatest contribution is over, then I am forced into admitting that I am not the best or final arbiter of why I'm here; because I certainly feel as if I've done very little. But in God's Kingdom, I don't even know how much I've done or not done. And I might not even know the fruit of my past labor until That Day.

Moreover, I am working under the assumption that I have about 80 years of life to work with. I see my clock ticking and I want to make the most with the next 54 years that I have. But, only God knows the length of my days. I could live to be 110 or I could die tomorrow. The reality that I cannot plan the future continues to be a hard lesson to learn.

So here, today, I am repenting of my self-centered, flesh-driven attempts to succeed on schedule. Lord Jesus, help me simply follow You one step at a time. Give me this day my daily bread and save the rest for later. I trust You with it all.

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