Fruits that grow in Vulnerability

There is a great difference between successfulness and fruitfulness. Success comes from strength, control, and respectability. A successful person has the energy to create something, to keep control over its development, and to make it available in large quantities. Success brings many rewards and often fame. Fruits, however, come from weakness and vulnerability. And fruits are unique. A child is the fruit conceived in vulnerability, community is the fruit born through shared brokenness, and intimacy is the fruit that grows through touching one another’s wounds. Let’s remind one another that what brings us true joy is not successfulness but fruitfulness.
– Henri Nouwen from Bread for the Journey

simplicity–a recovery from the Christmas Season

“The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.”
-basil

Advent

I am reading Thomas Merton’s “The Sign of Jonas.” He wanted to avoid the task of writing–but it was forced upon him. I, on the other hand, can’t imagine anything else but writing, but no one is ordering my words onto the page.

  • A monastic soul without an order.
  • A love without a bride.
  • What do you do when you can’t tell your best friend his wife is a whore?
  • Recovering Christian.
  • Without an order
  • Covenant
  • Convent
  • Content

I watch lawyers arguing semantics that could bore a politician. No one has a point or is universally right. Someone loses no matter what happens and even the one with the “morally correct” position is acheiving her position on immoral grounds. There is no room for grace in this world. Grace is too offensive and no where near fair. I watch these lawyers argue, and all I think about are theologians–sitting in their offices in front of their books and computers–taking a position and studying their lives away to prove the otehr position wrong, no longer concerned with the lives directly affected by their tirades. They are content to be absorbed into the thick, shallow, meaninglesness of religion–oblivious to the hope they once found in the illogical grace of this man called Jesus, and the immeasurable truth of the creator, or the soothing peace of this spirit indwelling their very bodies. Somehow, this is not enough.

What does someone who no longer believes in theology, yet desperately believes Truth is a being who is intimately involved in every second of the world–what does this person write about? If it were not so cliche, I’d call it thology 2.0. But I don’t know if theology is a word worth redeeming. Theology is probably something that should die along with religion and right. I don’t mean just the words, but the very things the words represent. Only after those archane, draining, corrosive concepts have faded into history–only then might we be able to redeem the words which currently identify those concepts and give the words the meaning they deserve. Until then, I must learn to communicate without them.

This is not a theology. This is not about religion or being right. This is a story about a man who tries to recognize Truth. A monastic soul without a monastery within which to withdraw. Instead I must seek the face of Christ in the faces of friends and family and neighbors and strangers–people whose lives matter more than any religious event.

  • How does one become an oblate of the world?
  • My journal and my prayers must be my abbot.

A Franciscan blessings

Hess found
this blessing:

“May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

Amen.”

Prayer

We see today “a widening darkness between our lucky stars.” Clearly the planet will not forever endure our insults. It’s time for moral outrage. At the same time we must pray for grace to content against wrong without becoming wrongly contentious, grace to fight pretensions of national righteousness without personal self-righteousness. Such grace comes largely through those who will laugh and weep with us, those who will picket and pray with us, and those who will never let us forget the wonders and beauty of God’s creation.

[ via William Sloane Coffin’s Essay in “Walking with God in a Fragile World“. ]

Emerg[ent/ing] Church Burnout

People are getting burned out on the emerg[ent/ing] church, and I’m not all that surprised. (see google search and technorati search) Alan Creech, who seems to have sparked this discussion, cites these causes:

  • Revolutionary zeal
  • Idealism
  • Relational and theological isolation
  • Constant fighting with little apparent victory
  • Very very precious few “signers-on”
  • Too liquid, not nearly enough solidity
  • Same old crap, new packaging
  • Too many babies thrown out with the bathwater (and I’ve thrown some of them)
  • I don’t know what else

The only reason I’m not burned out on the emerg[ent/ing] church is that I never put that much stock in it in the first place. I believe the church has always been emerging, sometimes more quickly or more effectively than others, but anytime the katholikos church has engaged the culture and lived as Christ in the world, she has emerged. So, maybe the emerg[ent/ing] church is the same old crap, new packaging… on the other hand, it’s the same old Christ, new world.

For that reason, I can’t imagine being burned out on the missional church.

Your Last Dig

“The work is more important than the talking and the writing about the work.”
– Dorothy Day

“There have been enough words, enough sermons and books. What matters now is deeds.” – Emmy Arnold

Dear Reader:

We will no longer be publishing online, so this will be your last Daily Dig. This is only the beginning, not the end. We want to thank you for your friendship over the years, and look forward to meeting you face to face. Now the real contact can begin. We welcome you to drop by any of our communities any time to join us in our daily life and work.

The Bruderhof Communities have gone offline. Sometimes I feel like these quotes are speaking directly to me. Othertimes I feel like I’m still a student and thinking and developing more. I guess it’s time to pull out the and and put away the or.