compassion

 For people are willing enough to practice compassion and self-denial, willing enough to seek after wisdom etc., but they want to determine the criterion themselves, that it shall be to a certain degree. They do not wish to do away with all these glorious virtues; on the contrary, they want – at a cheap price – to have as comfortably as possible the appearance of and the reputation for practicing them. Therefore as soon as the true divine compassion appears in the world it is unconditionally the sacrifice. It comes out of compassion for people, and it is people who trample it down.

Practice in Christianity, 60 (Hong)

Compassion on my terms? Is that compassion or self-validation? Compassion is love in action – love for neighbour actualised.

I am dreading the Easter sermon farmed in legal terms – Jesus took the punishment for my sin. An angry God that needs to be satisfied – a holy distant God that is offended at my sin and fallenness so He sacrifices His own Son. Not the Loving Father who cries with me and feels my pain – who has compassion on my weakness and wants a relationship with me in His Son. A relationship that is truely human!

Anyway!

Kierkegaard and preaching

I would like to explore preaching in a modern context from a Kierkegaardian point of view, if I had the time. Most of the preaching I have heard is average at best, simple battle of authorities, or spoon feeding. The academic lecture explaining doctrine is my least favourite form of preaching! I once heard a preacher, in a parish setting, parse a greek verb during his sermon. And there is no need to explore every point of the text. I think Show, don’t tell is a good summary of the type of sermon I would like to hear.

Anyway, here is a Kierkegaard quote:

Thomas Merton

Today, 31 January, is Thomas Merton’s birthday. He would have turned 104. So here is a quote:

A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying [God]. It “consents,” so to speak, to [God’s] creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree.

New Seeds of Contemplation, 29

from SK’s Journal

Of what use would it be to me to discover a so-called objective truth, to work through the philosophical systems so that I could, if asked, make critical judgments about them, could point out the fallacies in each system; of what use would it be to me to be able to develop a theory of the state, getting details from various sources and combining them into a whole, and constructing a world I did not live in but merely held up for others to see; of what use would it be to me to be able to formulate the meaning of Christianity, to be able to explain many specific points — if it had no deeper meaning for me and for my life? And the better I was at it, the more I saw others appropriate the creations of my mind, the more tragic my situation would be, not unlike that of parents who in their poverty are forced to send their children out into the world and turn them over to the care of others. Of what use would it be to me for truth to stand before me, cold and naked, not caring whether or not I acknowledged it, making me uneasy rather than trustingly receptive. I certainly do not deny that I still accept an imperative of knowledge and that through it men may be influenced, but then it must come alive in me, and this is what I now recognize as the most important of all.