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Quotes From Some Books I’ve Been Reading

I always have several books going all at the same time. Some I plow through quickly. Some I never finish. Some I lay aside to pick up later.

51g94tKvIFL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Tim Otto writes about the significance of the controversy in the Church over same-gender sex: “The conflict around same-sex relationships can either cause further division within the church, or, by faith, we can see the struggle as our teacher. By bringing up questions about family, social relations, church unity, and politics, this debate can help us think well and live more deeply into the dream God has for us and the world. It can help us, as God’s little flock, receive the kingdom that God is offering with so much pleasure. And if that happens, it will mean more gospel, more good news for everyone.” From: Oriented to Faith: Transforming the Conflict over Gay Relationships.

Michael J. Quicke on preaching: “Preaching’s awesome task is about evoking an alternative community that lives for a different agenda — for God, for the wider community, and for the world. Preaching needs to be experienced as prophetic, transformational, incarnational, and diverse. Catalytic, life-changing preaching accomplishes deep outcomes in God’s purposes.” From: 360-Degree Preaching: Hearing, Speaking, and Living the Word.

Joel L. Watts reflects on prayer and the book of Revelation: “When we pray, we must not be so conceited as to think we are individuals. Indeed, we pray with the angels and the saints in heaven. In doing so we seek an earthly part of the heavenly worship.” From: Praying in God’s Theater: Meditations on the Book of Revelation.

41cG7PjZ3UL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Jeremy Gregory on the influence of the Enlightenment on John Wesley’s theology: “Conversely, central religious figures like Wesley fit well in an English Enlightenment framework, complicating the view of him as anti- or counter-Enlightenment. The lynchpin of Wesley’s theology was Arminianism and universal redemption – endlessly reiterated in his correspondence, his Journals, and his sermons. This was not only the dominant theology of the Church of England (again indicative of the fact that we need to understand Wesley as an Anglican), but its central premises can be understood as chiming in with the Enlightenment emphasis on optimism, human potential, perfectibility, and the essential equality of humankind. Wesley’s emphasis on evidence and experience can also be seen as echoing Enlightenment traits.” From: The Cambridge Companion to John Wesley.

51C20HAZu7L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_James K. A. Smith summarizes Charles Taylor’s view of secularization: “The emergence of the secular is also bound up with the production of a new option — the possibility of exclusive humanism as a viable social imaginary — a way of constructing meaning and significance without any reference to the divine or transcendence. So it wasn’t enough for us to stop believing in the gods; we also had to be able to imagine significance within an immanent frame, to imagine modes of meaning that did not depend on transcendence. This is why “subtraction stories” of the sort offered by secularization theory will always fall short. The secular is not simply a remainder; it is a sum, created by addition, a product of intellectual multiplication.” From: How (Not) to Be Secular.

Kent Eilers on Wolfhart Pannenberg’s theology of reconciliation with God: “For Pannenberg, Jesus is the “paradigm of all humanity,” who through his acceptance of death as the punishment for sin rescues fallen creatures from the penalty of death. Humans refuse the finitude of their existence and “demand to be the center and goal of all things” (Augustine’s amor sui). Their self-love is the reversal of the independence for which they were created, a relationship in which creatures look to God as the eternal God and depend on him, worshiping him and looking to him as the only true God. Rebelling against their finitude and rejecting the relationship of dependence that would enable fellowship with God (sin), humans became subject to death — alienation from God and the destiny of fellowship for which they were created.” From: Faithful to Save: Pannenberg on God’s Reconciling Action (T&T Clark Studies in Systematic Theology).

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “The will of God is not a system of rules which is established from the outset: it is something new and different in each different situation in life, and for this reason a man must ever new examine what the will of God may be. The heart, the understanding, observation and experience must all collaborate in this task. It is no longer a matter of man’s own knowledge of good and evil, but solely of the living will of God; our knowledge of God’s will is not something over which we ourselves dispose, but it depends solely on the grace of God, and this grace is and requires to be new every morning.” From: Ethics quoted by Tim Otto in Oriented to Faith: Transforming the Conflict over Gay Relationships.

41TYjUMcUeL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Carlo Carretto: “God does not hurry over things; time is his, not mine. And I, little creature, a man, have been called to be transformed into God by sharing his life. And what transforms me is the charity which he pours into my heart. Love transforms me slowly into God. But sin is still there, resisting this transformation, knowing how to, and actually saying “no” to love. Living in our selfishness means stopping at human limits and preventing our transformation into Divine Love. And until I am transformed, sharing the life of God, through love, I shall be of “this earth” and not of “that heaven.” Baptism has raised me to the supernatural state, but we must grow in this state, and the purpose of life is precisely that growth. And charity, or rather God’s love, is what transforms us.” From: Letters from the Desert.

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