Judgments That Are Not Sentences. Of Christendom.

  • Wearing a wedding dress to a battlefield—the summary of American Christendom.
  • A new world with the same sins following.
  • “New soil! Any need of that old Vine?”
  • Christendom: trying new hats, headless. The Church: never apart from Christ, not for a moment.
  • Being penetrated versus comprehending. Truth versus the lie. Revelation versus Gnosticism. Humility versus hubris. Victory versus vanity. Rest versus “rage, rage.”
  • All things for Christ or some things for Christendom. Absolute conflict.

Two Thoughts. Of “Discipleship.”

  • μαθητής is a learner. The fanciness of the word disciple, the favored translation, obscures the simplicity of μαθητής, makes a humble way of life into an elite title. But splitting hairs over words—learner versus disciple—is not upbuilding in this case. Of importance, rather, is calling attention to the concept’s progressiveness: Christ sent out the Eleven to make his people into learners, who are continually and progressively learning through his word, but not to make them into the learned, who have comprehended the great mysteries and forgotten why they first endeavored. Christ’s learner is not someone accomplished; his only accomplishment is his beginning, and even that was done by the Teacher’s power.
  • If you choose to call yourself a “disciple of Christ,” be aware that you are currently and actively under discipline, being disciplined. Not a champion, you have the humble position of an athlete-in-training. Not an expert, you have the humble position of sitting at the feet of wisdom. Not a master of the house, you have the humble position of a sojourner on the way to a home in the great palace of the King.

Two Clarifications. Of Christianity.

1. The whole Christian mind is comprehended in the thought of humiliation. All thoughts not defined and contained by it are anti-Christian, vaunting themselves against the Holy One, forsaking the appropriate fear and trembling before him—the fear and trembling that serves to steady us, through a kind of counterpoint, against the convulsions of this world’s dying kingdoms. If Mary had taken credit for the virgin birth in the way that so many “Christians” boast about the great ideas they have brought forth, would she not have been the most wretched among women!

2. Every step of the Christian walk is in repentance. Walking in repentance—which is a vast territory, not contained in any place, neither on this mountain nor on that—one will never leave the Way no matter where one’s steps fall. But advancing beyond repentance—which is also a narrow road that demands earnestness and attention in the midst of a wide world that is all flippancy and distraction—one’s way has become a new lawlessness, a path through nettle and prickers that, because of numbing presumptuousness, cannot be felt until they have drawn and drained every last drop of blood.

A Reflection. A Prayer. Of Bullies.

This fury I feel when I am bullied, it indicts me: we angry are, all of us, wishful bullies.

May my pride and strength be crushed, that I might learn to suffer as a righteous one and not to triumph through the bully’s wickedness. Cut out of me this bully fighting for his own life. Make me into the love that dies. And kill me, Lord, before I become my enemy. Amen.

A Meditation. Of Youth.

What is more beautiful than the young man who is vulnerable,
more lovely than the young woman who closes her eyes in the crowd!

A youth humbled in contrariety may begin on the holy way,
And contradiction makes the flippant take pause.

A Prayer.

Father in heaven, keep the thought of you from admixture in this mess of my mind.

Your kingdom is present, and I confess that your will has always been done in me just as it is in you.

Give me all I need to continue to grow in your will. Forgive me my sins and shortcomings, as I in humility do, must do, for others.

Stop me from tipping the scales to favor the temporal over the eternal, and lead me safely past my encounter with the evil one who rages against you. Amen.