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
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - 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

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

R.E. Slater - Meditations




MEDITATIONS

by R.E. Slater


Around lie hearts wrecked by words,
Flunged houses of anxious flesh,
Torn asunder by worthless men,
Ruthless their arts of war.

Around lie worlds of noxious fears,
Each neighbor contentious the other,
Benighted by day, sleepless the night,
Led by mockers of wicked heart.

Crying anger, shouting injustice,
Very imposters purveying the same,
Slanders first, divisive always,
Bereft the ways of peace.

Tongues filling with darkest hells,
Angry mouths fiercer than lions,
Feet running tormented paths,
Hands daily given to insurrections.

Bleating lost sheep rallying their masters,
To voices spewing ridicule and scorn,
O'er paths of ruin, pastures most bitter,
Joyless testimonies to each evil day.

All who follow, will follow ruin,
All who strive, so strife will meet,
Abandoning wisdom, fools embraced,
Lands once plenty, now plenteous ruined.


R.E. Slater
May 12, 2020
Rev. May 14 & 21, 2020


@copyright R.E. Slater Publications
all rights reserved


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Remarks

I was meditating on contentiousness this morning... here's what I learned from reading bible verses on the subject:

"If you ever have listened to a contentious person their mouths follow their hearts rapidly speaking slander and destruction.
"They do not dwell on any one divisive soliloquy but move quickly from topic to topic sowing discontent.
"They argue without listening, stirring up new troubles every day.
"Their hearts are befouled, their lips speak war.
"They are unwise; whose paths lead to destruction; and all who follow will meet their ends."

Thus this morning's poem as a tribute lying heavy upon my heart knowing but harm comes from the hearts of the wicked.

R.E. Slater
May 12, 2020

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Verses on the Contentious Spirit
Here's what the Bible says to those who follow in the ways of strife


Psalm 120:7 - I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war.

Psalm 140:2 - ...Who devise evil things in their hearts; They continually stir up wars.

Proverbs 13:10 - Through insolence comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel.

Proverbs 15:18 - A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.

Proverbs 17:19 - He who loves transgression loves strife; He who raises his door seeks destruction.

Proverbs 18:6 - A fool’s lips bring strife, and his mouth calls for blows.

Proverbs 21:18 - The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, and the treacherous [stands] in the place of the upright.

Proverbs 21:19 - It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and vexing [man or] woman.

Proverbs 21:20 - There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man swallows it up.

Proverbs 25:24 - It is better to live in a corner of the roof than in a house shared with a contentious [man or] woman.

Proverbs 26:21 - Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

Habakkuk 1:3 - Why do You make me see iniquity, and cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises.

Galatians 5:15 - But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.



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8 Qualities of Shepherd-Leaders

by Dr. John B. MacDonald
February 12, 2016


Can we improve on servant-leadership? I propose shepherd-leadership.

One author points out that, in the Bible,

“the shepherd image is one of the few that is applied exclusively to leaders.”

No fewer than eight times in the Old Testament, God is portrayed as the shepherd of his people. In the Gospels, Jesus Christ is described as the good shepherd. There are no better teachers or models of leadership. 

What can we learn from a shepherd about becoming better leaders?

Here are at least eight qualities of true leaders we can learn from the good shepherd in John 10. Take a moment to become familiar with John 10:1-18:

John 10:1-18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Parable of the Good Shepherd
10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.
7 So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and [a]have it abundantly.
11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
Footnotes:John 10:10 Or have abundance

1. Boundaries. As I’ve written before, every relationship is defined and preserved by boundaries (See: “Leaders, Fools and Impostors”). Stepping over those boundaries damages or destroys the relationship.

A true leader will establish and maintain boundaries. For the shepherd there is a sheep pen within which only his sheep may gather (10:1-2).

For leaders in every area of life, there are appropriate ethical and moral boundaries that leaders need to establish and maintain for the benefit of those they lead.


2. Example. The shepherd “goes on ahead of [the sheep], and his sheep follow him” (10:3-4). 

Any true leader will lead by example. It is not a case of “do as I say, not as I do.” They are to be worthy models to follow. 


3. Trustworthy. Sheep follow the good shepherd “because they know his voice” (10:4). This was learned over time from the consistent and caring treatment of the shepherd toward the sheep.

A leader needs to cultivate a deep sense of trust from those he or she leads. This is a quality where one’s voice speaks volumes about the character and care of a leader. 


4. Provision. A shepherd provides good pasture (10:9). A sheep says of the shepherd (Psalm 23):

“I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters,

He restores my soul.”

True leaders provide for the needs of those they lead. For instance, they do not grind down their employees in unhealthy environments at less than livable wages. They do not fire them without caring about what happens to them. When it comes to a leadership choice, a person is more important than a profit.

A leader acts in a way that gives “life” to those he or she leads (10:10).


5. Sacrificial. Five times Jesus speaks about laying down his life for the sheep (10: 11, 15, 17-18). This shepherd chose personal sacrifice for the welfare of his sheep. 

So it is with true leaders. They willingly experience personal sacrifice for the benefit of those they lead. It’s not about the leader; it’s about those they lead. 


6. Invested. The shepherd has a personal stake in the well-being of the sheep. A hired hand will abandon them when the going gets tough or dangerous – for him, it’s only a job. The shepherd is invested in the sheep and sticks with them through thick and thin (10:12). 

So it is with true leaders. They are personally invested in those they lead. 


7. Relational. “I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (10:14). 

The true leader takes the time and energy to build solid and genuine relationships with those he or she leads. Those led are not viewed as mere employees, servants, or objects; each is known and treated as an “image of God.” 


8. Visionary. Jesus moved toward increasing the size of his flock – those who would become his genuine followers (10:16). 

True leaders have a vision for the future and move toward it.

These are a few qualities we can learn from a shepherd to become better leaders.

What can you add?