Thoughts to Carry Into the New Year

From all of us at ESA, some thoughts as we begin 2019!

"What would it mean if, instead of trying to explain the gospel in terms of our modern scientific culture, we tried to explain our culture in terms of the gospel?"
Lesslie Newbigin

God is looking for people through whom he can do the impossible—what a pity that we plan only the things we can do ourselves.
– A.W. Tozer

"We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labor is to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake."
– C.S. Lewis

When we place our so-called "gift" on the offering plate, we are not giving God anything…[W]e are not giving God but God's own! We are merely getting our grubby little hands off what has always belonged to God. In short, we are not called to practice Christian giving, but Christian management and Christian distribution, and this applies not merely to what we "give" on Sundays, but to our total use of life as we manage this planet to the glory of God and for the good of all.
Harry N. Wendt

"When God is not confessed as the Lord of creation, either titanic man or deified gene takes the floor, with the result that both understanding and the world are distorted."
Colin Gunton

What does it matter to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?
– Mohandas K. Gandhi

Christian piety has all too often meant withdrawal from the world and from men—it has led to a sort of transcendent egoism and an unwillingness to share suffering. It has lacked human warmth. But the world has risen in protest against this form of piety, this arrogance, this indifference to the world?s sorrow. And only the living faith of the reborn can withstand this protest. Care for the needs of another human being, even bodily care: that is the essence of true piety. Bread for myself is a material question; but bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.
– Jacques Maritain

Lest my way of life sound puritanical or austere, I always emphasize that in the long run one can't satisfactorily say no to war, violence, and injustice unless one is simultaneously saying yes to life, love, and laughter. To what end do we work if, at the end of each day, we cannot find the strength to raise our eyes above the mud?
– David Dellinger

Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
– Kahlil Gibran

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also…I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him…I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid."
– Jesus

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