Wednesday, October 31, 2012

the same degree.

  "I know that nothing strengthens community like a common enemy.  I know that when religious people are feeling overwhelmed by a world with little use for their ancient truths, they can find new meaning by identifying a great evil to oppose.  I know that the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are especially vulnerable to the formation of "oppositional identity," both because the stories of their struggles with their enemies have been made sacred in their scriptures and because monotheists - one-true-God people - have never wasted much charity on those who do not acknowledge their one true God. 
   Here is a law as reliable as gravity:  the degree to which we believe our faith is what makes us human is the same degree to which we will question the humanity of those who do not share our faith.
  'We have just enough religion to make us hate one another,' Jonathan Swift once observed, 'but not enough to make us love one another.'  Because we are human, which is to say essentially self-interested, we are always looking for ways to add a little more authority to our causes, to come up with better reasons to fight for what we want than 'Because I want it, that's why.'  If we can convince ourselves that God wants it too - even if that means making God in our own image so we can deny the image of God in our enemies - then we are free to engage in combative piety.  We are free to harm others not for our own reasons but in the name of God, which allows us to feel holy about doing it instead of just plain bad.
   In his award-winning book, Exclusion & Embrace, Bosnian-born theologian Miroslav Volf says, 'it may not be too much to claim that the future of our world will depend on how we deal with identity and difference.' Citizens of the United States, which is presently the most religiously diverse nation on the face of the earth, would do well to pay attention to that claim.  As children of the covenant and inheritors of the gospel, we might also understand that we have the resources to do so."

-barbara brown taylor.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


"you are more than dust and bones.
you are spirit and power and image of God.
and you have been given today."

-shauna niequist.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012


"you say grace before meals.
all right.
but i say grace before the play and the opera,
and grace before the concert and pantomine,
and grace before i open a book,
and grace before sketching, painting,
swimming, fencing, boxing, watching, playing, dancing;
and grace before i dip the pen in the ink."

-gk chesterton.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


"the man who sweats under his mask, whose role makes him itch with discomfort, who hates the division in himself, is already beginning to be free." 

-thomas merton.