Category Archives: other people's words

Slow down

Lake

Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.

- Dallas Willard

In the spiritual life God chooses to try our patience first of all by His slowness. He is slow: we are swift and precipitate. It is because we are but for a time, and He has been for eternity. …

There is something greatly overawing in the extreme slowness of God. Let it overshadow our souls, but let it not disquiet them. We must wait for God, long, meekly, in the wind and wet, in the thunder and the lightning, in the cold and the dark.

Wait, and He will come. He never comes to those who do not wait. He does not go their road.

When He comes, go with Him, but go slowly, fall a little behind; when He quickens His pace, be sure of it, before you quicken yours. But when He slackens, slacken at once: and do not be slow only, but silent, very silent, for He is God.

- Frederick Faber

Going slow is difficult for me. Especially since I’ve learned what it means to put my faith into action, and I just want to do it. Especially in a church that’s committed to the work of justice and the renewal of our city, and there’s so much to do. Especially in a city where your value is often based on your activity.

But in these contexts, going slow, even stopping, and learning to listen are particularly important. Because it’d be real easy to think when you’re busy and active that it’s what you do  that matters, rather than who you are and who you are becoming.

Who you are and who you are becoming are far more important than what you do.

So …

  • Remember to sabbath.
  • Build your life on a foundation of love and devotion for God.
  • Spend time tending to your soul by spending time with God — quality time.
  • Make time for things that give you life — whether that’s with friends or on your own (or both).
  • Build in habits of rest and silence and solitude and prayer.

William Wilberforce, the great anti-slavery activist and parliamentarian — I’m guessing he was probably fairly busy — said,

Of all things, guard against neglecting God in the secret place of prayer.

Doing good is good. Doing good is important. But doing good won’t last long if we’re disconnected from God because we’ll constantly feel stretched thin, worn out, and burned out. We weren’t made just to do good. We were made to live with Godto do life with God (and part of that involves doing good).

And doing life with God means we have to move at God’s pace — James Houston wrote, “The speed of godliness is slow.” So slow down a little; don’t miss what God’s doing.

[Both quotes taken from John Ortberg's Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You.]

The truth about dishonesty

A fun animation to go along with Duke psychology and behavioral economics professor Dan Ariely’s talk, based on his book The Honest Truth about Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone–Especially Ourselves. Includes some fascinating insights into confession, forgiveness, and sin, as well as the financial crisis.

Denzel Washington preaches

Denzel gave a homily (my interpretation) to young aspiring actors the other day. Another reason to love this man!

To wit:

  • The desire in our hearts for things that are good is God’s proof to us, sent beforehand, to indicate that it is ours already.
  • Dreams without goals remain dreams and ultimately fuel disappointment.
  • Goals on the road to achievement cannot be achieved without discipline and consistency.
  • Put your shoes way under the bed at night so that you’ve got to get on your knees in the morning, and while you’re down there, thank God for grace and mercy and understanding.
  • If you just start thinking about all the things you’ve got to say thank you for, that’s plenty.
  • We each have a unique gift given so that we can touch and affect people.
  • You’ll never see a uHaul behind a hearse: it’s not how much you have; it’s what you do with what you have.

Preach, brother.

[Photo: BBC, 2010]

Don’t grumble

Philippians 2:12-16:

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” sounds so intense, so deep — the kind of thing where you’d ask yourself, “What does that even look like? Where would I even start?”

And then Paul follows immediately with “Do everything without grumbling or arguing so that you might be … children of God.” Which is tremendously simple — “That’s it?! Just don’t grumble??”

And that’s the mystery and wonder of the gospel: deep enough to get caught up in wonder and philosophical musings, and yet so practical and tangible. Our faith is never supposed to stay in the theoretical; and sometimes the practical implications are as simple as “Don’t grumble.”