20pluscommunitydigestion

There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

Archive for April, 2007

don’t laugh at his name…he could take you

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[fixed: the link mentioned below of one observer’s musings on the friendly scrum between John Piper and Udo about suffering.]

Udo Middelmann, a significant contributor to the work of L’Abri Fellowship, will be with us this Sunday (May 6th) **speaking on a rather provocative topic he wrote about in the last several years: what he calls the Islamization of Christianity. He argues that among Christians the thinking about suffering and God’s sovereignty has become more Islamic than Christian in recent years. The superabundance of suffering we see daily may lead some of us to believe that this is precisely how God wanted it–much like the sentiment portrayed among the Arabs in Lawrence of Arabia, a sentiment the film’s protagonist, T.E. Lawrence, vehemently opposes: Against the repeatedly pronounced notion that whatever is is Allah’s will–“it is written,” they say–Lawrence exasperatingly retorts, “Nothing is written until we write it!!”

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a blog with a conscience

for those who may seek too much from the internet, a clever comment–couched in a familar format:

if you feel a finger pointed in your direction, know that four other fingers are pointed back at me

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may we curry your favored attention?

Lindsay Stengle’s been to India, and, boy, has she captured some emblematic images.  Have a look!  (Thanks, Lindsay, for permission!)dsc_2367_2.png

And, if you haven’t seen The Namesake, may I offer my humble recommendation.  It is the story of a collision, of sorts, between Indian and Western cultures.  It is of course steeped in Hindu imagery, but I would argue there is a powerful moment (among many) that resonates, subtly but profoundly, with the Cross of our Lord.

the environment is certainly due greater respect than we give it, but…

acc-toilet-paper-holder.jpgThis may be a bit much, don’t you think?

beware of always outsourcing what is in your “job-description”

newt1vt5tuesap.jpgin moments like the tragedy we’re all hearing more and more about in Blacksburg, VA, it usually becomes the province of pastors and counselors to help people, if not to “make sense” of this, keep from entering into destructive patterns of bitterness, cynicism, fury, or isolation. But, while such types have had more training in helping people “cope,” I reject the notion that those not in those roles are any less responsible for helping people grieve, process, or come to terms with what’s happened.

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progress?

chesterton6.jpgwe assume that we’ve come so far in such a short amount of time; consider our advances in technology alone: breakthroughs in medicine, in crop science, in meterology, in engineering, in space exploration. In all those domains, obstacles to our survival and our ability to thrive have been dealt a serious, if not mortal, blow. And all that in a mere 100 years.

and yet, in another sense, we’ve progressed no further in 100 years. This quote from Chesterton is almost 100 years old. But consider how well it describes our current condition.

What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. Read the rest of this entry »

why retreat later this month?

104.jpgThomas Merton, when asked what the greatest spiritual disease we face today was, replied,

“Efficiency: From the monastery to the Pentagon the plant has to run…and there’s little time or energy left over after that to do anything else.”

Would you be so bold as to enter into a weekend, not without purpose, but one that entirely disregards efficiency? Be with us and Him. We’ll linger in the Psalter.

Rest isn’t merely the absence of activity; it’s the engagement with what’s most needed. Hope you’ll come for a little time to give to the one thing needed (Lk 10:42).