For me religion means living in constant exposure to the unconditional, open to something excessive, exceptional, unforeseeable, unprogramable, something slightly mad relative to the rationality of means-and-end thinking.
To lack the religion of which I speak is to allow the series of conditions to surround and submerge us. We would see no further than our noses, have a nose only for good investment, for making a profit, so that our lives would be consumed by consuming, swallowed up by winning, where everything has a price…
There are times when we try to measure and foresee, seeking some assurance about outcomes, and then there are things whose immeasurable mystery and obscurity bring us up short and give us pause. These are not actually different things, but different ways of living with things.
– Jack Caputo, Hoping Against Hope, 37
“An icon is an image for contemplating a reality that transcends the specific image; the image leads the mind, through the senses, to direct communion with the intelligibles. An idol is an image to which we are attached for the sake of the image per se. Obviously one and the same object can be an idol or an icon – our approach to it is what makes the difference.”
– Dante, Vita Nuova
“Your partner is not a god or goddess, but rather, as Tolkein says, a companion in shipwreck. If you think that falling in love will bring you ultimate fulfillment, you will be disappointed, and end up hurting more than just yourself. And the fault for that will be your own.”
– Rod Dreher, How Dante Can Save Your Life, 84.
“The Bible calls Lucifer the ‘morning star’ and tells of his rebellion against God, his fall from heaven, and exile into hell. Think of pride as a spiritual form of gravity. With Lucifer, the first rebel – that is, the first created being to choose his own will over God’s – his immense pride collapsed on itself and formed a black hole we call hell. All the souls in hell are small versions of black holes: they were so given over to gratifying themselves that love – symbolized by light – could barely escape the gravity of their egos.”
– Rod Dreher, How Dante Can Save Your Life, 68.
NT Wright says it this way: “Tell someone to do something, and you can change their life – for a day. Tell someone a story, and you change their life.”
There was a great quotation from Common Prayer on 7/21 that I wanted to capture, here.
“My experience has shown that when we welcome people from this world of anguish, brokenness and depression, and when they gradually discover that they are wanted and loved as they are and that they have a place, then we witness a real transformation – I would even say ‘resurrection.’ Their tense, angry, fearful, depressed body gradually becomes relaxed, peaceful and trusting. This show through the expression of the face and through all their flesh. As they discover a sense of belonging, that they are part of a ‘family,’ then the will to live begins to emerge. I do not believe it is of any value to push people into doing things unless this desire to live and to grow has begun to emerge.”
– Jean Vanier
“The Spirit of God leads downward. Downward in humility. Downward in service. Downward in solidarity. Downward in risk and grace. You used to strive to be cool, but the Spirit makes you warm. You used to strive to climb over others, but the Spirit leads you to wash their feet. You used to strive to fit in among the inner circle, but the Spirit dares you to be different on behalf of the outcasts and outsiders. You don’t find God at the top of the ladder. No, you find God through descent. There is a trapdoor at the bottom, and when you fall through it, you fall into God.
“It happened to Jesus. It will happen to you, too, if you follow the Spirit’s lead.”
Brian McLaren, We Make the Road by Walking, 234