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Kallistos Ware on Suffering

Since God is love and God created the world as an act of love, and since God is personal, and personhood implies sharing – God does not remain indifferent to the sorrows of this fallen world. If I as a human being remain unaffected by another’s anguish, in what sense do I genuinely love him? Surely, then, God identifies himself with his creation in anguish.

It has been truly said that there was a cross in the heart of God before there was one planted outside Jerusalem; and though the cross of wood has been taken down, the cross in God’s heart still remains. It is the cross of pain and triumph- both together. and those who can believe this will find that joy is mingled with their cup of bitterness. They will share on a human level in the divine experience of victorious suffering.

– Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way, pp. 63-64

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Regent College students are spoiled!

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…the Holy Spirit empowers the work and witness of the Church. Luke, like Matthew (but for a different reason), entertains no dark doubts concerning the capacity of believers to do the will of God, nor does he wrestle with any complex issues of religious psychology. Repentance is required, to be sure, in order to receive God’s forgiveness and blessing (Acts 2:38). But where the Spirit is poured out on the Church, it sweeps the believers along as in a great river of obedience, praise, and mighty works. Empowered by the Spirit, the community can dare and hope great things, seeing visions, dreaming dreams, turning the world upside down. The idea that Acts sanctions a pallid and stultifying “early catholicism” can only have been promulgated by academics utterly oblivious to the lure of the Spirit’s power. This text is, if anything, an expression of “early pentecostalism”, not “early catholicism”. Preeminently, the Spirit energizes the community to bear witness in word and deed to the power of the Resurrection.

Richard Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, pp. 135

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“Psalm 81…leads us to contemplate first the idolatry of feelings, which is terribly destructive in subverting Christian worship. The pervasive notion that our self is what is most important and that what we get out of worship is what determines whether the worship service is a good one or not is a total reversal of what genuine worship truly is…

When we gather together with others for worship, the truths of God we celebrate can subvert the idolatry of our selves so that we can discover who our true self really is. Our true self is much larger than the way we happen to feel at the moment. If worship can easily be subverted by the contemporary culture of narcissism, then one gift of genuine worship is that it invites us to know God, to praise God, to sing for Joy, because no matter what’s going on in our lives, God is there.”

– Marva Dawn, Living in the Lamblight

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This is just too good to pass up:

U.S aggression has forced Mexicans into a life of hopelessness, drugs and underemployment.

Netanyahu Urges U.S. Return to 1845 Borders

Israeli PM calls for “just solution” to end the conflict.

Aboard Air Force Aleph (Reuters) – Speaking to reporters accompanying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his long flight to the United States tonight, Netanyahu spoke of the injustice and hardship Mexicans have endured since American forces annexed Texas in 1845. “Tens of thousands of ordinary Mexicans were driven out of their homes – the only homes they had known for centuries – and forced to live in poverty and squalor south of the border imposed by American aggression,” Netanyahu said. “The Israeli and Mexican people agree on this: This festering wound will never heal until America takes bold steps to return to the internationally accepted lines of 1845. Clearly the settlement activity that’s taken place in occupied Mexico since then is illegal. When I meet the President tomorrow I will tell him to halt all building activity in Texas immediately. Two lands for two peoples, yes, but not on land taken by force from Mexico,” the Prime Minister said.

Asked if his hard-line stance could hurt the U.S.-Israel relationship, Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s commitment to America’s security and the unshakeable friendship shared by the two countries, then added, “But who was it who said, part of friendship is being able to tell your friend the truth. The ball is now in Obama’s court.”

The full story is posted here.

Thanks to Fr. Stephen Smuts for posting the story (and lots of other good stuff).

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When God raised the crucified Jesus, this present age & its structures was exposed, illuminated, unmasked – but not destroyed. Cross & resurrection seen together mean both judgment & grace, both wrath & endless patience. God still upholds the structures; without them the world would collapse & human life would be unthinkable. But the structures lose their pretended absoluteness. Nothing now is absolute except God as he is known in Jesus Christ; everything else is relativized. That is the bottom line for Christian thinking & the starting point for Christian action in the affairs of the world.

Leslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society

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The list of issues on which Christians have disputed & divided is almost endless. One thinks for example of the sacraments…or of episcopacy and papal primacy, or church polity, or scripture, or spiritual renewal, or women’s ministry, or abortion, or human sexuality. In every case there have been those who have regarded the issue as definitive of Christianity.

To all of these, Paul in effect gives the same message: the fundamental issue is that of faith. Do you trust in God through Christ? Do you trust in God alone through Christ, or do you also require assent to other articles of faith? Then, in so doing, you are actually weakening faith, not defending it. You are beginning once again on that downward slope which puts trust in things on a par with, or even in place of, God alone.

– James DG Dunn, Romans (Daily Bible Commentary) pp. 163

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