Before we get to the round up of this week’s hazardous faith synchroblog below, I have a special offer to share if you buy Hazardous now (visit CLC, Amazon print, Kindle, or Barnes and Noble). From now until midnight (EST) on September 9th, you can e-mail me a copy or picture of your receipt from buying Hazardous (purchase can be any date before 9/13/12), and I’ll send you a private link to download a bunch of E-books.
Send the receipt to edcyzewski (at) gmail (dot) com
If you dig around the internet, you may be able to find a few of these E-books, but this puts them all in one place for a quick and simple download. Here’s the list:
Bible Study E-books
- Divided We Unite
- Study Guide: How to Study the New Testament Like a Pro
- Reflections on the Gospel of Mark
April Fools E-books
- The Lost Tweets of Jesus
- The NTV: Tweets of the Apostles
- Love Bites
- A Path to Publishing
- 2012 Festival of Faith and Writing Notes
Without further ado, let’s wrap up the Hazardous Faith synchroblog with a few quotes that stood out to me during the week. I read every post, but sometimes a bouncing baby in my arms prevented me from pulling a quote from every single post. I hope these inspire you as much as they inspired me.
There’s no blueprint for faithfully following Jesus. Derek and I told many of our own stories in Hazardous, but each writer in the synchroblog added a rich and enlightening angle on following Jesus. Thank you one and all for your contributions.
“Sometimes, I seek God’s voice when things get hard because I want God to give me a new direction, a new path. And of course, sometimes God does just that. My path, though, is usually the one I am on, that God has been telling me all along what it is to do, but sometimes I choose to slow down and listen in the hopes that I will find that I have an “out,” a place where I can escape and get new marching orders. Sometimes -as with Elijah – God plays along, giving me food and water to get me through. Then, when I choose to hear, God sends me right back the way I came, back to the path I had wanted to avoid.”
“One night I drive to Praise in the Park and yell, "what do I have going for me, God? Nothing!" I want to goad Him into action. A still small voice whispers, "you have Me. Let that be enough." Chastened, I relent. I wrestle. I cry. I try to let Him be enough.”
“God gave many other specific gifts through this one hazardous gift:
I know I am totally dependent on God—I have never been able to make his life work the way I wish it would.
I learned to pray—really.”
“Maybe I wasn’t meant for safe church. He knows I need pushes (I’m not exactly a thrill-seeker). I can too easily sit down in comfort when I need to be stepping out in faith. Need to be chasing grace. Need to be shadowing closer.”
“God taught me to turn to him in loneliness, not anyone or anything else. He showed me that a strong woman knows how to handle her business, but that asking for help was okay, too.”
“But we are not of those who have received and forgotten. We are running through the desert, strengthened by the knowledge that the same God who beckoned us to mountaintops in New York, in Colorado, and back again in Phoenix, will meet us at the summit.”
“It’s easy for the commendable pursuit of a surrendered and sacrificial life to slip into a certain spiritual stridency. Gratitude is overpowered by guilt. Works take priority over relationship (whether we admit it or not) and become an idol. Grace slips subtly, oh so subtly, into our own version of the law. And the abundant life Christ offers us is exchanged for a harsh spiritual asceticism, one that impresses people standing at a distance, but can leave those closest to us with a whopping case of spiritual freezer burn.”
“You cling to promises that are, quite often, wholly invisible, totally unfelt. You follow a Whisper that you can barely hear, and you trust that something is happening, even if it is too far beneath the surface for you to see one lousy ripple.”
“We can all be a safe place for “the least of these,” but it might be hazardous – messy, absurd, heartbreaking. But you never know – there might also be singing.”
“God is with me. Sometimes the most hazardous part of following God is the danger to my own stubborn ways.”
“Like anyone else, we don’t know what the future will bring. But our Father has taken such good care of us all these years, we trust Him with our future.”
“It seems my role was more about meeting the needs of my team members. The problems without clear resolution. The struggles that interfered with my life. The everyday pain of those around me.
This is why discipleship is so hazardous. Jesus asks us to do something difficult: live an integrated life.”
“On this morning, hands dripping with Murphy’s Oil Soap, I realize this church will never be an idol for me. It is only when I see Jesus here that I am able to love these walls.”
“It is one thing to give your life to God’s service, to say to God, ‘here am I, send me’, but it is the deeper and more costly sacrifice to say of your daughter, ‘here she is, send her.’”
“Community is the proving ground for discipleship. As the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, “Christ plays in ten thousand places,” and with so many people all with a bit of Jesus in them the church is the best way for followers of Jesus to learn who Jesus is and grow. This proving ground presents the challenge of unity in the reality of diversity.”
“In our sufferings, we have the awesome privilege of identifying with Jesus. Once we take up our cross we find hope.”
“I’m wrestling with the fact that as I choose to follow Jesus, I’m not really free. I’m not free to treat myself above others (family, friends and even total strangers). I’m not free to ignore the plight of…well anyone else.”
“I never heard God say anything to calm my fears or comfort me or correct my misunderstandings. There were no reassurances, no kind words, no words at all. Just the sense that he was patiently listening.”
“But in her doe eyed look, she knew enough to throw herself head first into life and trust that though she wouldn’t escape bad things, she’d be sustained.”
“The question is always the same, knowing what we know, that following Jesus can wreck your life in the best possible way, even though it may be painful–will you still follow Him?”
“Fear gave way to courage. And love. And joy. All of the things I thought that I had lost, I discovered as I allowed myself to be vulnerable again.”
“It is true this world is cracked and made for suffering. But it is also true that by suffering, we are made to heal what cracks we can.
God does not hate us, He simply loves us too much to fill our lives with ease.”
“I learned that this life is about something way bigger than me. And while I know that God loves me and does give me the desires of my heart, I also know that the culture of the Kingdom is nothing like the culture of this country.”
“I thought that it would be romantic, serving Jesus there on the North Side. Fresh off of a semester studying urban history and liberation theology, my starry eyes and bleeding heart were high to right wrongs and change the world.
As it turned out, crowded quarters and concrete weren’t romantic in the least.”
“The woman with the empty, growling, knotted stomach wants to make sure I’m not dying of hunger.
Each night, as I scrape leftovers into a Glad kitchen bag, Judith walks along a rocky, litter-strewn path toward the cyber-center. She wants to deliver the Good News to me, a woman with a two-car garage, a full pantry, five kinds of cereal, hot water, fluffy pillows on my bed, twenty pairs of shoes, and more, more, more.”
“So we keep searching, keep hoping, keep praying, and keep waiting. Because faith is worth it.”
“I didn’t receive motherhood as a gift, but held tight my grip on the illusion of what should have been.”
“I prayed and wrote letters to a stranger, longing to encourage and turn his heart to seeing the One who cherishes him no matter what. Prayed that if we ever came together, God would make him see some light in me. And how when our eyes met, I knew that flash of the Lord saying, behold how he sees Me in you… I will draw all men unto me when I am lifted up…”
“Winston Churchill said, ‘The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.’
I guess it can be the same for those of us of faith. You tend to find what you are looking for, and if you think Papa is looking out for you, then you start to see Him in the opportunities and the difficulties.”
“Isn’t that what the Christian life is like, too? That the majority of the time, it is hard. Dirt hard. We struggle to understand Jesus’s near impossible calling for us to simultaneously seek love and truth. We cover over our spiritual poverty with fancy new items and relationships, and for us introverts, books. We distance ourselves from those living in dire physical poverty both in our neighborhoods and around the world because it is hard. It’s hard to acknowledge privilege. And it’s even harder to relinquish it.”
“Because all these moments of sacrifice in the work we call ministry, they lay on the grassy knoll under a weathered cross. And when I look up from my place at His feet, I want to catch the tears dripping from his eyes in my cupped hand and remember how redemption feels. Redemption, it’s why I’ve never doubted Him.”
Thanks for being a part of the synchroblog as a reader, blogger, or both. It’s my hope that our book provided a helpful writing prompt as we consider what it means to follow Jesus.