Faith Meets World

Reflections on faith in a messed-up but beautiful world

Category: Quotes (Page 2 of 21)

Terrible freedom

And because God’s love is uncoercive and treasures our freedom – if above all he wants us to love him, then we must be left free not to love him – we are free to resist it, deny it, crucify it finally, which we do again and again. This is our terrible freedom, which love refuses to overpower so that, in this, the greatest of all powers, God’s power, is itself powerless.

— Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat

Changing our mind

Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity but to change the mind of humanity about God. […] Jesus’ death was not solving any cosmic problem whatsoever, but revealing to us our own human problem: that we fear, and we kill what we should love.

— Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond

Saving the world

[…] the mission of Christ extends far beyond the narrow spectrum of private spirituality and afterlife expectations. Jesus actually intends to save the world! And by world, I mean God’s good creation and God’s original intent for human society.

— Brian Zahnd, A Farewell To Mars

How to run the world

The problem is this: when we separate Jesus from his ideas for an alternative social structure, we inevitably succumb to the temptation to harness Jesus to our ideas — thus conferring upon our human political ideas an assumed divine endorsement. With little awareness of what we are doing, we find ourselves in collusion with the principalities and powers to keep the world in lockstep with the ancient choreography of violence, war, and death. We do this mostly unconsciously, but we do it. I’ve done it. And the result is that we reduce Jesus to being the savior who guarantees our reservation in heaven while using him to endorse our own ideas about how to run the world.

— Brian Zahnd, A Farewell To Mars

Absolute grace

Thunderously, inarguably, the Sermon on the Mount proves that before God we all stand on level ground: murderers and temper-throwers, adulterers and lusters, thieves and coveters. We are all desperate, and that is in fact the only state appropriate to a human being who wants to know God. Having fallen from the absolute Ideal, we have nowhere to land but in the safety net of absolute grace.

— Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew

Only one catch

The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you. There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you’ll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.

— Frederick Buechner, Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABCs of Faith

If this is not good news…

Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands (see Revelation 7:9), I shall see the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me that she could find no other employment to support her two-year-old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last ‘trick’, whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday school.

‘But how?’ we ask.

Then the voice says, ‘They have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’

There they are. There we are – the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life’s tribulations, but through it all clung to faith. 

My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace.

— Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up and Burnt Out

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