As many of you know – I regularly partake of a publication called Critique. Please visit their website (click the word “Critique” in the previous sentence) and donate money to them so that I can keep receiving their publications cheap of charge. Why do I like Critique? I am lousy at unhurriedness, and the folks at Ransom Fellowship provoke me to slow down, listen, brew curiosity, percolate on the myriad of perspectives published via film, poetry, painting, woodcuts, books, music, etc., and wonder at the sovereign grace of God orchestrating – and operating amidst – all of it.
Last week I became the happy recipient of 2017 Issue #5! Here are a smattering of things I found intriguing and worth pondering in issue #5 – – – >
*We anticipate a future and make plans but never get past the present moment that slips away so quickly. St. Augustine often reflected on the nature of time – saying, “I am constantly finding clarity that is still mostly mysterious.” The vast majority of my life I’m missing-out on the present due to lack of interest in the mysterious, and because I seem to be bent toward chronic discontentment. Jeremiah Burroughs says, “Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit which freely submits to, and delights in, God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.” …I want more of that sweetness! Deep friendship with Jesus is The Way! …Knowing a quietly contented person and learning contentment within the flow of everyday life is what really shapes us. …It used to be that church buildings remained open during the day so that people could slip into the cool, still sanctuary to sit and pray and think. If I happened on someone “wasting time” like that today I would be tempted to ask if everything was okay. …Read Exodus 32:1 & imagine a leader making an entire nation wait – delaying because he wanted to spend more time with God. From the standpoint of modern leadership theory – it didn’t turn out well. The Israelites got impatient waiting for Moses, middle management was corrupted, and the entire enterprise lost focus. …Uncertain about what the future held, they forgot the past and misused the present. ::: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now,” Jesus said, “and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matthew 6:34). I cannot stop or slow the flow of future to present to past, but I can, apparently, ride the relentless passage of time with quiet contentment because the I AM for whom every moment is an eternal present has become my Abba!”
*Rules to live by: Be present. Honor Authorities. Be people of hope.
*Forgo the sense of guilt and frustration that beckons when you fail to meet people’s expectations. Return to basic hospitality and unhurried conversation.
*Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.” – William Faulkner
*Truth is far more widely expansive and far more deeply embedded in human reality than we can possibly imagine. The same could be said for goodness and beauty. The hidden universal language is the suppressed memory of the biblical narrative expressed in mankind’s potential and longing for love.
*Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
but a man of understanding remains silent.
*The discerning sets his face toward wisdom,
but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
*Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
*A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion.
*It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife,
but every fool will be quarreling.
*Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
for he will despise the good sense of your words.
*Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
*If a wise man has an argument with a fool,
the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
*A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
but a wise man quietly holds it back.
*For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
*For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
and her salvation as a burning torch.
*But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
*As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.
*If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
*Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
*But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?