Friday, December 31, 2021
Where and what is the image of God?
Thought for the year
Little children, let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth. This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts in God’s presence. 1 John 3:17–19 CEB
A good thought to start the year. Love isn't a feeling; it's a verb.
See you next year!
Thursday, December 30, 2021
The starting point matters
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
But which god?
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Monday, December 27, 2021
Others may counter: The belief that man may have a share in eternal life is not only beyond proof; it is even presumptuous. Who could seriously maintain that members of the human species, a class of mammals, will attain eternity? What image of humanity is presupposed by the belief in immortality?
Indeed, man's hope for eternal life presupposes that there is something about man that is worthy of eternity, that has some affinity to what is divine, that is made in the likeness of the divine.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 367
Thursday, December 23, 2021
What is death?
Death is grim, harsh, cruel, a source of inﬁnite grief. Our ﬁrst reaction is consternation. We are stunned and distraught. Slowly, our sense of dismay is followed by a sense of mystery. Suddenly a whole life has veiled itself in secrecy. Our speech stops, our understanding fails. In the presence of death there is only silence, and a sense of awe.
Is death nothing but an obliteration, an absolute negation? The view of death is affected by our understanding of life. If life is sensed as a surprise, as a gift, defying explanation, then death ceases to be a radical, absolute negation of what life stands for. For both life and death are aspects of a greater mystery, the mystery of being, the mystery of creation. Over and above the preciousness of particular existence stands the marvel of its being related to the infinite mystery of being or creation.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 366
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
The wonder of it all!
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Worthy of adoration? Hardly!
Beyond the mystery is God.
The biblical man sees nature not in isolation but in relation to God. “At the beginning God created heaven and earth.” These few words set forth the contingency and absolute dependence of all of reality. What, then, is reality? To the Western man, it is a thing in itself; to the biblical man, it is a thing through God. Looking at a thing his eyes see not so much form, color, force, and motion as an act of God. It is a way of seeing which has fortunately not vanished from the world.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 361–62 (emphasis original)
Monday, December 20, 2021
Here and now
Saturday, December 18, 2021
Why do you brag about evil?
God’s faithful love lasts all day long.
2 Your tongue devises destruction:
it’s like a sharpened razor, causing deception.
3 You love evil more than good;
you love lying more than speaking what is right. Selah
4 You love all destructive words;
you love the deceiving tongue.
5 But God will take you down permanently;
he will snatch you up,
tear you out of your tent,
and uproot you from the land of the living! Selah
6 The righteous will see and be in awe;
they will laugh at those people:
7 “Look at them! They didn’t make God their refuge.
Instead, they trusted in their own great wealth.
They sought refuge in it—to their own destruction!” Ps 52 (CEB)
Let the reader understand!
Friday, December 17, 2021
The world and what we see
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Power, Loveliness, or Grandeur. Which will it be?
Signiﬁcantly, the theme of biblical poetry is not the charm or beauty of nature; it is the sublime aspect of nature which is constantly referred to.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 355–56 (emphasis original)
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Let's put first things first for a change
Thus the issue which must be discussed ﬁrst is not belief, ritual, or the religious experience but the source of these phenomena: the total situation of man; not what or how he experiences the supernatural, but why he experiences and accepts it. What necessitates religion in my life and yours.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 354
Tuesday, December 14, 2021
To dream in league with God
I've spent a good deal of time in this essay; I've probably posted two-thirds or more of it online. I hope it moved you as much as it has me. In my opinion, this essay shows Heschel at his best. He exemplifies the deep yearning of humanity for intimacy with God, yet he also reflects the hesitancy we feel to approach the throne of grace.
Because he wasn't a Christian, he didn't have the same assurances that Christians have, but I daresay he knew God better than most Christians do! We have the assurance that we can "boldly approach the throne of grace," as Hebrews puts it. Yet, we rarely do it. We're too enamored by the mere triffles of living in the twenty-first century post-modern, social media-saturated, materialistic (in the metaphysical as well as physical senses) world. We are practicing atheists.
May we repent and believe the good news of God's presence before it is too late!
Monday, December 13, 2021
What is prayer? (part 2)
Friday, December 10, 2021
What is prayer?
Thursday, December 09, 2021
The dignity of humanity
Wednesday, December 08, 2021
The folly of life
In keeping with yesterday's comment about why we don't pray, Heschel addresses it today. And truly, we have bartered our lives away for mere bobbles and trifles. Believing the lie that material wealth is a satisfactory substitute for spiritual wealth. Yet, God still calls us to participate in a life full of meaning when lived with him. Indeed, "Everyday things become sacred when prayed for to God."
Tuesday, December 07, 2021
Loneliness that leads to prayer
He sure pegged modern society, didn't he? We're surrounded by social media, yet we have a flood of loneliness and depression. But we won't turn to God in prayer. Why? Pride? Ignorance? Sense of unworthiness?
Yet, if we cast aside all those, we find that God welcomes us with open arms. That's Good News!
Monday, December 06, 2021
Saturday, December 04, 2021
Theologians in the modern period have fussed at length about the justification of their commitments. Hence, the long sections on divine revelation and authority of scripture that detain them at the beginning. As a result, God can become sidelined. We are so preoccupied with knowing how we know God that we cease to know God for ourselves.YMMV on the rest of the essay; it is interesting, but something I have to admit I'm not terribly interested in right now...