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Heschel: Blame Religion for its Own Defeats

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Abraham Joshua Heschel

It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion – its message becomes meaningless.

— Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism

HT: Fr. Ted Bobosh.

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Some Quotes from the Internet

Robin-WilliamsHollywood publicist Michael Levine comments on the struggles of actor and comedian Robin Williams: “Very few people in this world reach the level of fame Robin Williams did and could understand the type of depression he dealt with…. There tends to be a lack of compassion — ‘So what, you’re famous’ — and it’s hard for people to then empathize. People like Robin often feel like they have to completely isolate themselves from the fishbowl they live in, and are so isolated they are afraid to ask for help.” Found here: Robin Williams worried about faltering career, struggled with survivor’s guilt, sources say.

Also: here is a list of quotes from Robin Williams: The Profound Quotes From Robin Williams That Helped Shape Our Generation. It includes the following: “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”

I also liked this brief video of clips of memorable moments in Robin Williams’ career: The Best Robin Williams Moments. (more…)

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G. A. Studdard Kennedy: Keep On Seeking!

G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929)

G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929)

The faculty of faith is not meant to kill the faculty of criticism and the instinct of curiosity, but rather to keep them keen and alive, and prevent them dying of despair. Faith is the mark of those who seek and keep on seeking, who ask and keep on asking, who knock and keep on knocking, until the door is opened. The passive, weak-kneed taking of everything on trust which is often presented as faith is a travesty of its truth. True faith is the most active, positive, and powerful of all virtues. It means that a man, having come into spiritual communion with that great personal Spirit Who lives and works behind the universe, can trust Him, and, trusting Him, can use all his powers of body, mind, and spirit to cooperate with Him in the great purpose of perfection; it means that the man of faith will be the man of science in its deepest, truest sense, and will never cease from asking questions, never cease from seeking for the reason that lies behind all mysteries.

— G. A. Studdert Kennedy , The Hardest Part (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919), p. 83-84.

Found on the Internet: here.

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T. C. Moore: Muslim Open Theists, Politics, T. F. Torrance, and Why the God-Man Matters

T. C. Moore

T. C. Moore

Guest blog by T. C. Moore. T. C. is the planting pastor of the New City Covenant Church in Boston, Massachusetts (a church plant of the Evangelical Covenant Church). He is also a part-time student at the Boston campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary — the Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME). You can find out more about his family here: About the Moore Family. T. C. blogs at: Theological Graffitti. You can also follow him on Twitter: @tc_moore.

He says about himself: “I began following Jesus at 16, shortly before my 17th birthday. Jesus rescued me from self-destruction, planted me in his family, and revealed my purpose to me. Following Jesus is about Love and Allegiance and Mission.”

This is an fascinating refelection on Islam, Open Theism and the theology of T. F Torrance. I don’t usually post on the topic of Open Theism because I’m quite non-committal on that topic, myself. I am a free-will Theist, and am strongly opposed to all forms of theological determinism — so I am sympathetic to Open Theism. I’m not convinced that one should lean too hard on any particular theory about the relationship of God to time — the nature of God and the nature of time are both unknowable. Nevertheless, I’m sure someone could claim that I should be an Open Theist given my commitment to free-will Theism.

Be that as it may (or may not), T. C.’s post is very interesting and well worth reading.


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What I Mean by Faith

People mean different things when they speak of “faith.” So it’s helpful to clarify. Here is what I mean when I talk about faith or the life of

As I understand it, faith in God (theism, I guess you’d say) is the belief that behind the world we see there is a Power of righteousness, mercy and justice. There is a benevolent, kind and good Creator. God is the reason there is something rather than nothing.

And, atheism would be the denial that any such being exists. The “why there is something rather than nothing” question remains unanswered. Further, in this view, we are here by (enormously unlikely) random chance and there really is no meaning or purpose to any of it. We create meanings where none exist.

I’m not meaning to speak of such an atheistic viewpoint disparagingly — not at all. I can see how a person could come to such a view. It does have a certain simplicity to it. And, to be honest, I can even sympathize with some of the atheist concerns about the dangers and pitfalls of religion. I know them very well. (Though I really think the late Christopher Hitchens was being naive in a way — it is world-views — godless ones included — that threaten to poison everything.) (more…)

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