chasmic difference

There is, namely, an infinite chasmic difference between God and man, and therefore it became clear in the situation of contemporaneity that to become a Christian (to be transformed into likeness with God) is, humanly speaking, an even greater torment and misery and pain than the greatest human torment, and in addition a crime in the eyes of one’s contemporaries. And so it will always prove to be if becoming a Christian truly comes to mean becoming contemporary with Christ. And if becoming a Christian does not come to mean this, then all this talk about becoming a Christian is futility and fancy and vanity…

Practice in Christianity

I have always liked the above quote from Practice in Christianity. Yes, SK is very Lutheran/Augustinian in it but I think it says something about God: God’s transcendence in being and his imminence in action (in Jesus). It is about the King and the Servant, and love, and surrender.

the moment

I have been thinking for this coming Sunday’s gospel, Luke 13:1-9. Yes, repentance and fruit. But is there something deeper happening? Is it about the eternal now of faith – the moment of choice? That reminded me of one of my favourite SK quotes:

God is present in the moment of choice, not in order to watch but in order to be chosen. Therefore, each person must choose. Terrible is the battle, in a person’s innermost being, between God and the world. The crowning risk involved lies in the pos­session of choice.

Kierkegaard

A number of great themes in the one quote: moment, choice, freedom, risk. All relate to faith. The moment of choice is that overwhelming point where the past is gone and the future is not yet. That moment between penitence and reward. It is the moment, the now, that is completely God’s and in which I must meet Jesus.

I like the image of God’s presence in the moment. Maybe that is contemporality – Jesus present in the moment of choice, ready to be chosen? But the point is: that moment is always the eternal now.

silence

I have two Merton quotes about silence I have been thinking about. Silence has been my solas for two weeks. While I have felt much more balanced and in control, I wonder if it is due to the periods of silence I have enjoyed.

In so many ways, I think, Jesus is an experience rather (God forbid) a doctrine, teaching, or idea. I think the same can be said of our meeting with other people – in the silence of presence they become an experience and not an object to be used or manipulated.


I think I like this one more for the insight – silence is necessary to understanding. We are often (yes, I!) more willing to make noise than stand in the silence.

… and followed him

This Sunday’s gospel reading, Luke 5:1-11, is about two topics: risk and discipleship. The reading moves from a crowd listening to an individual responding. It takes us from the risk of faith to the call of Jesus to follow Him. So two Kierkegaard quotes:

Without risk, no faith. Faith is just this, the contradiction between the infinite passion of inwardness and objective uncertainty. If I can grasp God objectively, then I do not have faith, but just because I cannot do this, I must have faith. If I wish to stay in my faith, I must take constant care to keep hold of the objective uncertainty, to be ‘on the 70,000 fathoms deep’ but still have faith.

And …

The difference between an admirer and a follower still remains, no matter where you are. The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. [They] always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, [they are] inexhaustible about how highly [they] prizes Christ, [they] renounce nothing, give up nothing, will not reconstruct [their] life, will not be what [they] admire, and will not let [their] life express what it is [they] supposedly admire.

objectivity?

Thus Christianity protests against all objectivity; it wants the subject to be infinitely concerned with itself.

Kierkegaard: Concluding Unscientific Postscript (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy).

So I have tried to read a little Kierkegaard every day. I admit that Fear and Trembling always gets me thinking (and desiring).

Yet I have also been reading Concluding Unscientific Postscript. And the above quote has struck me as something very relevant. In a world that elevates objectivity (and denigrates passion), what is the role of Christianity? Kierkegaard would say that it is this very paradoxical role that defines Christianity. Some within Christendom have adopted the objective approach and have created a dispassionate version of Christianity where reason is elevated over faith. In the process, humanity is reduced to being a “reasonable animal” and “me” is reduced to the sum of my parts.

I do not think we need to surrender objective truth. I am simply thinking that we cannot ignore the subject individual who related to the objective truth. But, I am no philosopher!

to be chosen

God is present in the moment of choice, not in order to watch but in order to be chosen. Therefore, each person must choose. Terrible is the battle, in a person’s innermost being, between God and the world. The crowning risk involved lies in the possession of choice.

Søren Kierkegaard

Does anyone have a source for the above quote?

no Christian

No, an illusion can never be destroyed directly, and only by indirect means can it be radically removed. If it is an illusion that all are Christians — and if there is anything to be done about it, it must be done indirectly, not by one who vociferously proclaims himself an extraordinary Christian, but by one who, better instructed, is ready to declare that he is not a Christian at all.

The Point Of View For My Work As An Author (1844)

SK continues to be an inspiration to me.

questioning

Spiritual guidance affirms the basic quest for meaning. It calls for the creation of space in which the validity of the questions does not depend on the availability of answers but on the questions’ capacity to open us to new perspectives and horizons. We must allow all the daily experiences of life—joy, loneliness, fear, anxiety, insecurity, doubt, ignorance, the need for affection, support, understanding, and the long cry for love—to be recognized as an essential part of the spiritual quest.

Nouwen, Spiritual Direction

I have been listening to Henry Nouwen’s book on spiritual direction. I have not read much by him so I am super impressed with this book. Especially as an audiobook that I can listen to while doing other things.

So I thought I would share the above. Questioning is important and very much part of the journey into Jesus.

love!

I like this quote. It sounds like something that SK would say. Or even Jesus! I have not read any Tolstoy but if that is a picture of him I like the beard and the hat!