Three for Thursday


Sometimes it seems that our many words are more an expression of our doubt than our faith. It is as if we are not sure that God’s Spirit can touch the hearts of people: we have to help him out and with many words, convince others of his power. But it is precisely this wordy unbelief which quenches the fire.

Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart: Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry

To put it most simply, the evangelical ethos is activistic, populist, pragmatic, and utilitarian. It allows little space for broader or deeper intellectual effort because it is dominated by the urgencies of the moment.

Mark Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind

American religion is conspicuous for its messianically pretentious energy, its embarrassingly banal prose, and its impatiently hustling ambition.

Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor

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5 Responses to Three for Thursday

  1. Chris Sherman says:

    Well put.

    Now to teach the American church to drink beer and let the Word do its work.

  2. RubeRad says:

    Are these quotes meant to explain the quietness of the Outhouse of late?

  3. Chris Sherman says:

    Fewer words expressing a greater faith?

  4. todd says:

    More from Eugene Peterson

    Describe the “Americanization of spirituality.”

    Eugene Peterson: “Spirituality commodified into a technique or means for serving the American creed of “pursuit of happiness.” Spirituality functionalized to helping me meet my self-determined goals. It is a spirituality in which the ego pushes the Trinity to the sidelines and takes over center stage. Spirituality as a program that I and a few well-organized others can use to accomplish whatever cause or goal we agree upon — even when (especially when!) the goal is religious. It is spirituality used as an adjective to describe my life instead of the working of the Spirit in my life.”

    (Peterson has changed much since his earlier books, in very good ways, but he does list Barth as one of his his favorite theologians so one must be careful how much of Barth he has swallowed).

  5. Zrim says:

    Todd, I think it’s a basic requirement of a mainliner to list Barth that way. But when a guy is right, a guy is right.

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