Word collection

There is so much frantically spinning around in my head lately that I’m borrowing others’ words tonight to say it instead. Perhaps you’ve noticed — a decided lack of deep stream-of-consciousness writing substituted by the cute listicles my brain has become used to? I am a pacing lion. I am the bungee jumper on the edge of a cliff. At the risk of sounding too melodramatic, thought that’s never stopped me before, I find myself again holding one key and facing a thousand doors. (All of existence is a constant act of making choices, yes; just, right now, I’m hyper-aware.) The key will unlock any of them, and they all lead to the same place. But standing here in the hallway is the root of my anxiety.

Here are the words I’m hearing in the hallway. In many ways I feel more vulnerable giving you these humiliating (in the good way) words than if I were to shake out the contents of my journal to merely shock you. These are things I am wrestling with, somewhere I can tangibly feel in the pit of my stomach, and what I’m drawing hope from. I share it in case you need them, too.


 

If you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil. (James 4)

I would say that anyone who acts without paying attention to what he is doing is wasting his life. I’d go as far as to say that life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be to cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece. It takes us back to that marvellous page of Bergson, where he explains that man is confronted with the chaos of nature, and that, to a certain degree, it is given him to organise it. … I owe my greatest joys – as I imagine other people do to those moments when I’ve seized what was given and experienced it not superficially but profoundly. (Nadia Boulanger)

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. (Galatians 6)

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. (Matthew 13)

When you have the opportunity, as I do, to deal with people just setting out – most of them are twenty, some eighteen, others thirty, it doesn’t matter – you suddenly discover in some of them such a longing for life that you know they will do whatever they do with love, with a feeling of abundance which comes from desire. Everything is there. (Boulanger)

What I write, suggest and propose all of these wordings for, is to bring to light all of the beauty we see and witness with our own eyes… To feel and to focus on the love and amazement we experience in our own lives… To nurture those around us and to take care of our own intimate convictions… To tend to the things I think we are each most naturally and simplistically designed to do and to be. (Tribe Alive)

We must live in the city to serve all the peoples in it, not just our own tribe. We must lose our power to find our true power. Christianity will not be attractive enough to win influence except through sacrificial service to all people, regardless of their beliefs. (Tim Keller)

The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. (1st Corinthians 4)

Jesus called the Twelve to him, and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority and power to deal with the evil opposition. He sent them off with these instructions: “Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple. … If you’re not welcomed, not listened to, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.” Then they were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different; right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits. (Mark 6)

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. … Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear. … The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13)

Pay attention to what he talked about most: Compassion, healing, taking care of the widows and orphans, dealing out grace and mercy, overlooking tradition for the sake of love, and making people new. (Lauren Dubinsky)

Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all. Whoever believes and is baptized is saved; whoever refuses to believe is damned. These are some of the signs that will accompany believers: They will throw out demons in my name, they will speak in new tongues, they will take snakes in their hands, they will drink poison and not be hurt, they will lay hands on the sick and make them well. (Mark 16)

Change [regarding poverty or homelessness] is seldom the result of a light-bulb moment, brought about because the white people who love Jesus showed up in the neighborhood with Backyard Bible School. … Assume most people aren’t ready to make changes in their situation, and to recognize that when they are ready, they are most likely to reach out to people in their network of relationships for help. Therefore, the most certain way to be the person they seek help from is to be in their network of relationships. Working for change in this context means focusing not on fixing people, but walking next to them on a long, hard journey. It means being, first and foremost, commitment to the relationship, even when that is really, really hard. And it sometimes means loving people in advance, before they are able to love themselves. (Love Wins)

[We are] in the midst of a great cultural identity migration. … What started this flux? For more than a decade, we’ve lived with personal technologies — video games and social-media platforms — that have helped us create alternate or auxiliary personae. … Our reinventions feel gleeful and liberating — and tied to an essentially American optimism. After centuries of women living alongside men, and of the races living adjacent to one another, even if only notionally, our rigidly enforced gender and racial lines are finally breaking down. There’s a sense of fluidity and permissiveness and a smashing of binaries. We’re all becoming one another. Well, we are. And we’re not. … We’re a vertical nation moving horizontally. We’re daring to erase the segregating boundaries, to obliterate oppressive institutions, to get over ourselves. The transition should make us stronger — if it doesn’t kill us first. (NYTimes)

This is the first generation of young Americans that our government systematically disfavors and the first generation of Americans whose prospects are lower than those of their parents. … A country that betrays its young will never fully prosper. (Disinherited)

We need to take responsibility for our role in our delusions, buying into pop Christian culture instead of the Bible, believing the larger cultural claims that youth is the highest good. This isn’t an excuse for our poor responses to hardship or for not listening when someone tried to tell us truth. We must own our cynicism and bitterness against the church, even if we have accurately identified some real ways it contributed to the illusion that life would fall into perfectly into place for us. I’m calling us to suffer well, to realize we are not in ultimate control, although many of us have vast amounts of freedom and choices. … But we also need to grow new expectations, ones that wait for God to show up in ways we couldn’t imagine, to expect seasons of joy and grace in the midst of difficulties. We need courage to find new dreams when our old ones aren’t happening. (TGC)

In an “attention economy,” the goal of almost every website or app is to do whatever is takes to keep you looking at it, in order to sell more ads. Are we really clicking on a link because we want to or because it’s been designed to be irresistible? Most people don’t give this a lot of thought. (Co.Exist)

Media has always compromised user experience for advertising: that’s why magazine stories are abruptly continued on page 96, and why 30-minute sitcoms are really just 22 minutes long. Media companies put advertising in the path of your attention, and those interruptions are a valuable product. Your attention is a valuable product. (The Verge)

If you turn on a television set, you see in one minute that the goal of advertising is to create uninformed consumers making irrational choices. (Chomsky)

It’s really unfortunate that not knowing “how to adult” has become cool. Every time someone pays a bill on time, they post in celebration that they are, in fact, “adulting.” It’s sad for a number of reasons, beginning with the fact that we are so evidently ill-prepared for basic, day-to-day functions that they’re seen as accomplishments, and also that we perceive this elongated stasis of immaturity to be cute. (Bustle)

By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. (Hebrews 11)

We are often called to leave worldly connexions, interests, and comforts. If heirs of Abraham’s faith, we shall obey and go forth, though not knowing what may befall us; and we shall be found in the way of duty, looking for the performance of God’s promises. The trial of Abraham’s faith was, that he simply and fully obeyed the call of God. Faith can lay hold of blessings at a great distance; can make them present; can love them and rejoice in them, though strangers; as saints, whose home is heaven; as pilgrims, travelling toward their home. (Matthew Henry commentary)

If you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open. The Message he sent to the children of Israel—that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again—well, he’s doing it everywhere, among everyone. (Acts 10)

In order to have peace and joy, you must succeed in having peace within each of your steps.  Your steps are the most important thing.  They decide everything. In our daily lives, we usually feel pressured to move ahead.  We have to hurry.  We seldom ask ourselves where it is that we must hurry to. … Place your foot on the surface of the earth the way an emperor would place his seal on a royal decree. A royal decree can bring happiness or misery to people.  It can shower grace on them or it can ruin their lives.  Your steps can do the same.  If your steps are peaceful, the world will have peace.  If you can take one peaceful step, you can take two.  You can take one hundred and eight peaceful steps. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Much has been said about the “voice of depression.” It is a voice that speaks despairingly about the whole of one’s life no matter how good parts of it may be—a voice so loud and insistent that when it speaks, it is the only sound one can hear. I know that voice well. I have spent long days and nights listening to its deadly urgings. Less has been said about the life-giving fact that, as poet Theodore Roethke writes, “In a dark time, the eye begins to see.” During my sojourn on the dark side, it was hard to believe that my vision was growing sharper or to make sense of what I was seeing. And yet, as I slowly came back to life, I found that I had gained new clarity about myself, the community I depend on, and my call to reengage with its politics and relearn how to hold its tensions in a life-giving way. (Parker J. Palmer)

Masterpieces aren’t made in a day. There are stages and phases and layers, and if you try to rush the peach onto the blue, you just end up with mud. “Soul work is slow work,” a wise friend says, and the master Artist delights in each step of the process. “We who with unveiled faces all (already!) reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinithains 2:18) And we can be “confident of this, that he who began a good work in [us] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6) We are His masterpiece, continually being loved toward completion by the One who delights to claim us as His own and sign His name to us. (Hearing the Heartbeat)

You were created to live a life no one else can live. If you live a life dictated by someone else, then you were not necessary. And God does not create unnecessary things. (Dubinsky)

Let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet. (James 4)

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