Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

It is no secret that Stephen Colbert is a devout Catholic, but in a just-posted profile at The New York Times writer Charles McGrath offers this glimpse:

In 1974, when Colbert was 10, his father, a doctor, and his brothers Peter and Paul, the two closest to him in age, died in a plane crash while flying to a prep school in New England.

“There’s a common explanation that profound sadness leads to someone’s becoming a comedian, but I’m not sure that’s a proven equation in my case,” he told me. “I’m not bitter about what happened to me as a child, and my mother was instrumental in keeping me from being so.”

He added, in a tone so humble and sincere that his character would never have used it: “She taught me to be grateful for my life regardless of what that entailed, and that’s directly related to the image of Christ on the cross and the example of sacrifice that he gave us. What she taught me is that the deliverance God offers you from pain is not no pain — it’s that the pain is actually a gift. What’s the option? God doesn’t really give you another choice.”

That’s as far as the discussion of faith goes in the article, leaving me curious to hear more.  For on-air expressions of Colbert’s faith, see here, here, and here.

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In each of our lives, grace tries to intrude continually, attempting to shape our story into an infinitesimal but uniquely valuable part of God’s story. God can certainly do very well without any one of us. That’s a message the Reformed heritage has proclaimed with vigor. But God also delights in each one of us.

When we ask what to do about Jesus, we are invited into an inner, transformative journey that allows the unique combination of DNA that shapes our being to be joined with the foundational movement of God’s love. This seeks to shape the world into the home of God’s glory. And for any one of us, that is a story worth telling.

— Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, “Rediscovering Jesus,” from Unexpected Destinations

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Shaping our world is never for a Christian a matter of going out arrogantly thinking we can just get on with the job, reorganizing the world according to some model that we have in mind. It is a matter of sharing and bearing the pain and puzzlement of the world so that the crucified love of God in Christ may be brought to bear healingly upon the world at exactly that point.

Because Jesus bore the cross uniquely for us, we do not have to purchase forgiveness again; it’s been done. But because, as he himself said, following him involves taking up the cross, we should expect, as the New Testament tells us repeatedly, that to build on his foundation will be to find the cross etched into the pattern of our life and work over and over again.

— N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus

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After all the buzz surrounding this past weekend’s non-Rapture, I remembered a story that a youth group leader shared with me back in my high school days. All I can remember is a rough paraphrase, but the message has stayed with me to this day:

A group of believers approached a famous theologian one day and asked him: “What would you do if you knew that Jesus was returning tomorrow?” He replied, “I would tend to my garden, just as I do every day.”

We don’t know the day or hour for a reason — tending to our gardens is more than enough of a challenge. Now, back to those weeds …

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It takes spiritual discipline to forgive others; it takes a different, though related, spiritual discipline to forgive myself, to echo within my own heart the glad and generous offer of forgiveness which God holds out to me and which, if I’m fortunate, my neighbor holds out to me as well.

Here, too, my sense of self-worth comes not from examining myself and discovering that I’m not so bad after all but from gazing at God’s love and discovering that nothing can stand between it and me. …

This astonished and grateful acceptance of the free grace and love of God is what some traditions have meant when they echoed Paul’s language about “justification by faith.”

— N.T. Wright, Evil and the Justice of God

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God does not compartmentalize our lives into religious and secular. Why do we? I want to insist on a continuity of language between the words we use in Bible studies and the words we use when we’re out fishing for rainbow trout.

I want to cultivate a sense of continuity between the prayers we offer to God and the conversations we have with the people we speak to and who speak to us. I want to nurture an awareness of the sanctity of words, the holy gift of language, regardless of whether it is directed vertically or horizontally.

Just as Jesus did.

— Eugene Peterson, Tell it Slant

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When we squander life on anything less than the God revealed in Jesus and made present in the Spirit, we miss out on life itself, resurrection life, the life of Jesus. …

Ephesians is a resurrection document. It trains us in understanding ourselves as saints, not saints in the sense of haloed exceptions to garden-variety Christians, but simply Christians who realize that Jesus’ resurrection places us in a position to live robustly in the world of the Holy, growing up in Christ, practicing resurrection. …

The Christian life was never intended to be a conventional, cautious, careful, tiptoeing-through-the-tulips way of life, avoiding moral mud puddles, staying out of trouble, and hopefully accumulating enough marks for good behavior to insure us a happy hereafter. And the church was never intended to be a subculture specializing in holiness, sanctification, or perfection. The Holy is not a specialist activity.

— Eugene Peterson, Practice Resurrection

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