“A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him.” (Isaiah11:1-2).
Our salvation comes from something small, tender, and vulnerable, something hardly noticeable. God, who is the Creator of the Universe, comes to us in smallness, weakness, and hiddenness.
I find this a hopeful message. Somehow, I keep expecting loud and impressive events to convince me and others of God’s saving power; but over and over again I am reminded that spectacles, power plays, and big events are the ways of the world. Our temptation is to be distracted by them and made blind to the “shoot that shall sprout from the stump.”
When I have no eyes for the small signs of God’s presence - the smile of a baby, the carefree play of children, the words of encouragement and gestures of love offered by friends - I will always remain tempted to despair.
The small child of Bethlehem, the unknown young man of Nazareth, the rejected preacher, the naked man on the cross, he asks for my full attention. The work of our salvation takes place in the midst of a world that continues to shout, scream, and overwhelm us with its claims and promises. But the promise is hidden in the shoot that sprouts from the stump, a shoot that hardly anyone notices.
“Frontiersmen were never afraid of poetry. It was Big Business with its fear of femininity, it was the eunuchoid clergy capitulating to vulgar masculinity that made religion and art sissy things.”—Humboldt, Humboldt’s Gift (via ascurrency)
“Upon occasion, reveal a harmless defect in your character. For the envious accuse the most perfect of sinning by having no sins. They become an Argus, all eyes for finding fault with excellence - it is their only consolation. Do not let envy burst with its own venom - affect some lapse in valor or intellect, so as to disarm it beforehand. You thus wave your red cape before the Horns of Envy, in order to save your immortality.”—Baltasar Gracian (via ascurrency)
“Do you not know that there comes a midnight hour when every one has to throw off his mask? Do you believe that life will always let itself be mocked? Do you think you can slip away a little before midnight in order to avoid this? Or are you not terrified by it? I have seen men in real life who so long deceived others that at last their true nature could not reveal itself… In every man there is something which to a certain degree prevents him from becoming perfectly transparent to himself; and this may be the case in so high a degree, he may be so inexplicably woven into relationships of life which extend far beyond himself that he almost cannot reveal himself. But he who cannot reveal himself cannot love, and he who cannot love is the most unhappy man of all.”—Either/Or — Søren Kierkegaard (via bratya-karamazovy)
“An author, whether good or bad, or between both, is an animal whom every body is privileged to attack: for though all are not able to write books, all conceive themselves able to judge them.”—Matthew Lewis (via writingquotes)
“Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the Lord.”—Leviticus 19:16a,17-18
“If you offer fasting with humility and with mercy, your bones, as Isaiah said, shall be fat, and you shall be like a well-watered garden (cf. Isa. 58:11). So, then, your soul shall grow fat and its virtues also by the spiritual richness of fasting, and your fruits shall be multiplied by the fertility of your mind, so that there may be in you the inebriation of soberness, like that cup of which the Prophet says: ‘Your cup which inebriates, how excellent it is’ (Ps. 23:5 LXX)!”—From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 461)
"Forget the ‘titles’ of Jesus, at least for a moment; forget the pseudo-orthodox attempts to make Jesus of Nazareth conscious of being the second person of the trinity; forget the arid reductionism that is the mirror image if would-be orthodoxy. Focus, instead, on a young Jewish prophet telling a story about YHWH returning to Zion as judge and redeemer, and then embodying it by riding into the city in tears, symbolising the Temple’s destruction and celebrating the final exodus. I propose, as matter of history, that Jesus if Nazareth was conscious of a vocation: a vocation given him by one he knew as ‘father’, to enact in himself what, in Israel’s scriptures, God had promised to accomplish all by himself. He would be the pillar of cloud and fire for the people of the new exodus. He would embody in himself the returning and redeeming action of the covenant God.”
Wright, N.T. ‘Jesus and the Victory of God’, pg.653, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1996.
John Hagee quoted in the Houston Chronicle newspaper in 1988 as stating:
"I’m not trying to convert the Jewish people to the Christian faith." "In fact, trying to convert Jews is a ‘waste of time,’ he said. ‘The Jewish person who has his roots in Judaism is not going to convert to Christianity. There is no form of Christian evangelism that has failed so miserably as evangelizing the Jewish people. They (already) have a faith structure.’ Everyone else, whether Buddhist or Baha’i, needs to believe in Jesus, he says. But not Jews. Jews already have a covenant with God that has never been replaced by Christianity." ("San Antonio fundamentalist battles anti-Semitism," Houston Chronicle, April 30, 1988, sec. 6, p. 1)
"There is one last thing, and that is I think Christians, on sex and gender, just need to lovingly challenge the culture to what has been called a wisdom contest. A wisdom contest is a proof in the pudding thing. You sit down and say, look, we have such radically different understandings of the purpose of sexuality and what gender is — so radical — that let’s agree to this. We’re going to create communities based on a couple of different assumptions about sex and gender. And let’s give it 30 years. Let’s just see what the outcomes of the children are. Let’s see how people feel about the relationships. Let’s just see. That’s it." -Timothy Keller
“I’ll use the Bebbington four plus one. Now, David Bebbington was a historian and a sociologist some years ago who tried to define evangelicalism and came up with these four characteristics.
I have never found the autograph of what he actually said, but because it keeps coming down through everybody else, this is my understanding of his four characteristics were the authority of the Bible — by that, I think it means the Bible trumps reason and experience. Secondly, the necessity of a conversion experience of some kind. Thirdly, salvation through faith in Christ’s work on the cross, not good works. Fourth, mission, the idea of activism, needing to take this message to the world.
And my fifth one I would add — even though it may be inherent, it may be implied, I would call it supernatural Christianity. Liberal Christianity tried to redo all of Christian doctrine in terms of naturalistic assumptions, no miracles. And I would say an evangelical conservative Protestant definitely believes in miracles, believes the resurrection really happened.”