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Prayer needs to carry with it the commitment of our whole being to bring about the just conditions that make prayer possible...
Don Postema, Space for God, p. 158-59
Resurrection, not progress, not evolution, not enlightenment, but what the word means, namely, a call from heaven to us: 'Rise up! You are dead, but I will give you life.'
Karl Barth, Jesus Victor, from A Chorus of Witnesses
'The writer must face the fact that ordinary lives are what most people live most of the time, and that the novel as a narration of the fantastic and the adventurous is really an escapist plot; that aesthetically the ordinary, the banal, is what you must deal with.'

John Updike, January 27, 2009
It is necessary to be disengaged from all we feel and do in order to walk with God in the duty of the present moment.
Jean-Pierre De Caussade, The Sacrament of the Present Moment, p. 15
“Unless the church of the West begins to understand this (mission as a permanent and instrinsic dimension of the church’s life, “The church exists by mission, just as fire exists by burning.”), and unless we develop a missionary theology, not just a theology of mission, we will not achieve more than merely patch up the church. We are in need of a missiological agenda for theology, not just a theological agenda for mission; for theology, rightly understood, has no reason to exist other than critically to accompany the missio Dei.”
David Bosch, p.32
The goal of the interpreter is not to seek to discern one conceptual unity within the book, or to reconstruct one consistent line of theological discourse throughout the dialogue, but rather to see how this literature was designed to function as a normative guide within a community of faith, which acknowledges its authority.
Brevard Childs, Intro. to OT as Scripture, p. 533
In the 'locus imperii' there is a desperate need for Christians to offer hope and reignite the fires of political imagination and social innovation.
Ched Myers, Who Will Roll Away the Stone? p. 33
Prayer is not just one of the many things people do in life, but rather 'the basic receptive attitude out of which all of life can receive new vitality.'
Dan Postema, Space for God, p. 92
There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing; Another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth.
Proverbs 13:7
The Kingdom that I seek
Is thine; so let the way
That leads to it be thine,
Else I must surely stray.
H. Bonar, 'Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord.'
“Bad news goes about in clogs, good news in stockinged feet.”
Welsh Proverb, quoted by Rich Stearns 'The Hole in Our Gospel'
...the knowledge of God consists not in frigid speculation, but carries worship along with it...
John Calvin, The Institutes, bk 1, ch 12
Bach's music is much more valuable proof of the existence of God than any of the theological proofs.
Vladimir Fetsmin, Russian Pianist, Newsweek, Aug. 1, 1994
...God, the Maker of the world, is manifested to us in Scripture, and his true character expounded, so as to save us from wandering up and down, as in a labyrinth, in search of some doubtful deity.
John Calvin, The Institutes, bk1, ch6
The definition of knowledge is not simply an affair of intelligence; it is an affair of the heart, in the biblical sense of heart as the center and source of the whole inner life in its full complex of thought, desire and moral decision.
John Courtney Murray, The Problem of God, p. 21

This book is an extended testimony of Richard Stearn’s move from CEO of a Fortune 500 company to the head of WV US. The testimony is dressed with various well-known quotes and statistics about Christianity and poverty. It is a fresh call for the evangelical church to take seriously the plight of the poor.
There was little in this book that I found to be new. Part 1 and 2 are generally restatements of popular evangelical theology and theologians (Rick Warren, John McArthur etc.) There is, however, an interesting “update” of the prayer of Jabez, in chapter 3. Stearns wants to include suffering for Christ as a possible answer of God to the prayer to “expand my territory”.
Part 3 begins with an interesting quote by John Berger. “The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of national scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied…but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.” However, there was not any way to follow up on this quote. Stearns then recites the horrors of poverty in our world. Part 4 is his critique of the church. It is welcome, but after working in a particular urban church for 7 years, it offers no real solutions. He is talking to white collar, suburban churches who simply need to reorder their priorities. Chapter 18 is interesting with its blunt title, “Putting the American Dream to Death”. However, the stuff of the chapter is no more than a slightly challenging stewardship sermon.
Part 5 is Stearn’s plan of action. Again, it is focused on churches who simply need a shift in priority. But I am also concerned about an underlying theology which says that we can change the world. For proper discipleship this must be tempered. Our acts are enacted prayers for the coming of the kingdom is much more Christian than “The whole gospel is a vision for ushering in God’s kingdom-now, not in some future time, and here, on earth, not in some distant heaven. What if two billion people embraced this vision of God’s transforming our world-through them? Imagine it.”(5)
I appreciate Stearn’s passion to call well-off American evangelical churches to a public, as well as a private, faith. Such a call, however, needs more than a shift in priorities. We really do need a shift in theology and in training for ministry. Thus, this read reinforces my commitment to my project.
Other quotes: “Bad news goes about in clogs, good news in stockinged feet.” Welsh proverb (161)
“How different our standard is from Christ’s. We ask how much a man gives. He asks how much a man keeps.” Andrew Murray (210)
“Action springs, not from thought, but from readiness for responsibility.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer (221)
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try spending a night in a closed room with a mosquito.” African saying (250)
“Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except there except those that sang best.” Henry Van Dyke (257)


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