Irregular Theology

This is an important thing, which I have told many people, and which my father told me, and which his father told him. When you encounter another person, when you have dealings with anyone at all, it is as if a question is being put to you. So you must think, What is the Lord asking of me in this moment, in this situation? If you confront insult or antagonism, your first impulse will be to respond in kind. But if you think, as it were, This is an emissary sent from the Lord, and some benefit is intended for me, first of all the occasion to demonstrate my faithfulness, the chance to show that I do in some small degree participate in the grace that saved me, you are free to act otherwise than as circumstances would seem to dictate. You are free to act by your own lights. You are freed at the same time of the impulse to hate or resent that person. He would probably laugh at the thought that the Lord sent him to you for your benefit (and his), but that is the perfection of the disguise, his own ignorance of it.

— Marilynne Robinson, Gilead (via invicemsunt)


Death induces the sensual person to say: Let us eat and drink, because tomorrow we shall die – but this is sensuality’s cowardly lust for life, that contemptible order of things where one lives in order to eat and drink instead of eating and drinking in order to live.

— From Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions by Søren Kierkegaard (via kierkegaarddane)


That everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else. That this isn’t necessarily perverse. That there might not be angels, but there are people who might as well be angels. That God - unless you’re Charlton Heston, or unhinged, or both - speaks and acts entirely through the vehicle of human beings, if there is a God. That God might regard the issue of whether you believe there’s a God or not as fairly low on his/her/its list of things s/he/it’s interested in re you.

— Things you may learn in a substance-recovery halfway facility, from David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. (via unapologetic-book)


These other gods [Scripture refers to] are not strangers. The ancient world knew them well. Just to name the three most obvious: there are Mars, the god of war, Mammon, the god of money, and Aphrodite, the goddess of erotic love.

…. These ancient and well-known gods have not gone away, have not been banished upstairs, but are present and powerful—all the more so for being unrecognized. In what sense are they divine? The ancients would have no trouble answering that. First, those who worship gods become like them; their characters are formed as they imitate the object of worship and imbibe its inner essence. Second, worshipping them demands sacrifices, and those sacrifices are often human. You hardly need me to spell out the point. How many million children, born or indeed unborn, have been sacrificed on the altar of Aphrodite, denied a secure upbringing because the demands of erotic desire keep one or both parents on the move? How many million lives have been blighted by money, whether by not having it or, worse, by having too much of it? (And if you think you can’t have too much of it, that just shows how deeply Mammon worship has soaked into us.)

— NT Wright in Surprised by Scripture (via bethmaynard)


I may live for thirty years, or perhaps forty, or maybe just one day: therefore I have resolved to use this day, or whatever I have to say in these thirty years or whatever I have to say this one day I may have to live — I have resolved to use it in such a way that if not one day in my whole past life has been used well, this one by the help of God will be.

— From The Journals of Søren Kierkegaard  (via kierkegaarddane)


BASE RUNNING

August burns on and a quiet resin lifts from my skin.
The ruins of my body idling on the couch. Drunk again

or just resigned to erase another day with baseball
and sleep and paperbacks. You have left your earrings

and they weigh down the coffee table, big rings
nuzzling each other. I love being alone and watching

the rungs of a lean man edging off the bag into a lonely
spin towards second base. The days sometimes bend together

with nothing but sun stains, in through the windows
on my bare legs. Cigarettes. Missed Calls. The brain

is such a hapless animal. That praises the length
of each inning, of a ballgame. The length of the season.

The shapes the shadows make on the field. Snowy screen.
The slow trot of this sport—geometry on the TV.

— Russell Brakefield: Base Running (via swingingaxes)


To be chosen, to be elect, therefore does not mean that the elect are the saved and the rest are the lost. To be elect in Christ Jesus, and there is no other election, means to be incorporated into his mission to the world, to be the bearer of God’s saving purpose for his whole world, to be the sign and the agent and the firstfruit of his blessed kingdom which is for all.

— Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (via contrariansoul)