Reconciliation

With Justice for All
John Perkins

Demanding our rights had not softened the white community as we hoped it would.  Instead, it had stiffened their opposition.  Lying there on my bed, I was able to see that confronting white people with hostility was only going to create a war.  If there was going to be any healing, it would have to take place in an atmosphere of love.  I had been trying to demand justice.  Now God was opening my eyes to a new and better strategy – seeking reconciliation.  I could not bring justice for other people.  As a Christian, my responsibility was to seek to be reconciled.  Then out of that reconciliation, justice would flow.

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Far Too Seriously

Making a Virtue of Vice
Frank Furedi

Of all the seven deadly sins, pride is the only one that has been completely rehabilitated. That is why pride is never diagnosed as a disease. The American sociologist Joel Best has observed that it is the absence of pride that constitutes a serious psychological problem. These days virtually every social and psychological problem is blamed on low self-esteem. The solution to poor educational performance, teenage pregnancy, anorexia, crime or homelessness is to raise the self-esteem of the victim. In our self-oriented world, society continually incites people to take themselves far too seriously.

Link: Complete Article

Personality

C.S. Lewis

The more I resist Him and try to live on my own, the more I become dominated by my own heredity and upbringing and surroundings and natural desires.  In fact what I so proudly call ‘Myself’ becomes merely the meeting place for trains of events which I never started and which I cannot stop.  What I call ‘My wishes’ become merely the desires thrown up by my physical organism or pumped into me by other men’s thoughts or even suggest to me by devils.  Eggs and alcohol and a good night’s sleep will be the real origins of what I flatter myself by regarding as my own highly personal and discriminating decision to make love to the girl opposite to me in the railway carriage.  Propaganda will be the real origin of what I regard as my own personal political ideas.  I am not, in my natural state, nearly so much of a person as I like to believe: most of what I call ‘me’ can be very easily explained.  It is when I turn to Christ, when I give myself up to His Personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.

At the beginning I said there were Personalities in God.  I will go further now.  There are no real personalities anywhere else.  Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self.  Sameness is to be found most among the most ‘natural’ men, not among those who surrender to Christ.  How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints.

It’s Worth the Price

Believing and Obeying Jesus Christ: The Urbana ’79 Compendium
Edited by John W. Alexander

Chapter 11: What Can One Person Do?
Elisabeth Elliot

Is there anybody here who knows God? You’d be glad to raise your hands this morning and be counted. But suppose your answer would send you off to the Gulag Archipelago? Suppose it meant the sacrifice of the most precious thing in your life? or a lion’s den? a blazing furnace? a shower of rocks? an Auca spear in your back? …

I would not be truthful if I did not admit that the price of knowing him, of putting faith in him and of understanding who he is has sometimes seemed high to me. I’ve often felt like St. Theresa who said to God, “If this is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!” But neither would I be a faithful witness if I did not also say that it’s worth the price – it’s infinitely worth the price – and that God will never fail you.

Premature Interpretation

Reading Biblical Narrative
J.P. Fokkelman

There are three important reasons, two negative and one positive, why it is sensible and productive always to ask the same question about every story or poem, inside and outside the Bible: how exactly has it been constructed?  The negative reasons dissuade us from giving a direct answer to the question: what does it say?…In our spontaneity, in our desire to know, or because of our need for certainty, we constantly run the risk – whether during our first or our thirtieth reading of the story – of thinking: I’ve got it!  So this is what the story is about!  In our naivety we fancy we have recognized what the text says, but what took place inside us is rather something like: we picked up a number of signals from the text and in our minds grouped these into a theme or point, without keeping an open mind for various signals not yet perceived.  In this way, we have formed a picture of the whole which tends to become fixed.  Such a reading, however, is only partial.  The theme or point that we think we have seen the first few times we read the story, threatens to harden and petrify, and then to control and above all limit all our later readings.  We often inflict the same fatal process of partial observation and premature interpretation on our fellow human beings.

Believe and Obey

Believing and Obeying Jesus Christ: The Urbana ’79 Compendium
Edited by John W. Alexander

Chapter 9: That I Might Believe and Obey
Billy Graham

Christ is asking you tonight to renounce your plans, your goals, your ambitions and your motives, and he asks you to put his plans first, make his goals your top priority. He asks that your ambitions and motives become his. In the New Testament the word Christian is used only three times (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16). On each of these occasions the idea of suffering and persecution is in the background. To serve Christ will cost you…

C. T. Studd said: “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him.” …

Jesus Christ has spoken to you. You could be on the verge of missing God’s great call to your life. If you answer yes, you are in obedience to him, and it brings a fulfillment, a joy and a peace in this life, and rewards in the life to come. If you say no, which is your privilege and right, it means to continue to wander and the wandering will get worse, the floundering will get worse, the questions will be harder and the answers will become more difficult. And at the end it will be judgment and eternity without God. It is my prayer that you will believe and obey.