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...He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and the needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me? declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 22:16
What narrowness of spiritual life we find in Frazer! And as a result: how impossible for him to understand a different way of life from the English one of his time!
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough, p. 5e
The church exists by mission, just as fire exists by burning.
Emil Brunner
...the knowledge of God which we are invited to cultivate is not that which, resting satisfied with empty speculation, only flutters in the brain, but a knowledge which will prove substantial and fruitful wherever it is duly perceived and rooted in the heart.
John Calvin, The Institutes, bk 1, ch 5
...it is clear that man cannot have practical intelligence unless he is good.
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1144a37
When men and women identify what are in fact their partial and particular causes too easily and too completely with the cause of some universal principle, they usually behave worse than they would otherwise do.
Alisdair MacIntyre, After Virture, p. 221
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 BBC.com, January 27, 2009
We moderns are accustomed to finding God in peace and beauty and silence. The Old Testament most often knows him present behind the violence and flow and clatter of everyday life.
Paul and Elizabeth Achtemeier, The OT Roots of Our Faith
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
Thorin Oakenshield, The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, p. 301
The church exists by mission, just as fire exists by burning.
Emil Brunner
Without charity, an evangelizing zeal will take on the guise of a will to power, a desire to universalize one's self-image.
Fabien Eboussi Boulaga-Christianity Without Fetishes, p. 68
“The verbal explanation, as it takes us from one verbal expression to another, in a sense gets us no further.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Blue Book, p1
Theology has become like a troll, which though wise is 'small and ugly, not risking itself to be seen in public.'
Ched Myers, Who Will Roll Away the Stone? p. xxii
The common thought is that this life hid with Christ in God is to be lived in the emotions, and consequently all the attention of the soul is directed toward them, and as they are satisfactory or otherwise, the soul rests or is troubled. Now, the truth is, that this life is not to be lived in the emotions at all, but in the will; and therefore, if only the will is kept steadfastly abiding in its center, God's will, the varying states of emotion do not in the least disturb or affect the reality of life.
Hannah Whitall Smith, The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, p. 57

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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