Tuesday, April 10, 2012

excerpt from "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy"

I discovered later, and I'm still discovering right up to this moment, that it is only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith ... One must completely abandon any attempt to make something of oneself, whether it be a saint, or a converted sinner, or a churchman (a so-called priestly type!), a righteous man or an unrighteous one, a sick man or a healthy one. By this-worldiness I mean living unreservedly in life's duties, problems, successes and failures, experiences and perplexities. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world - watching with Christ in Gethsemane. That, I think, is faith [...] and that is how one becomes a man and a Christian. How can success make us arrogant, or failure lead us astray, when we share in God's sufferings through a life of this kind?

I think you see what I mean, even though I put it so briefly, I'm glad to have been able to learn this, and I know I've been able to do so only along the road that I've travelled. So I'm grateful for the past and present, and content with them...

May God in his mercy lead us through these times, but above all, may he lead us to himself ...

Good-bye. Keep well, and don't lose hope that we shall all meet again soon. I always think of you in faithfulness and gratitude.

Your Dietrich

Friday, April 6, 2012

as I continue growing & deepening awareness of

  • how easy it is to kill for diamonds in Sierra Leone
  • financial corruption among non profits in the US
  • taking advantage of a position in the US federal government to cater to one's personal interests
  • constant uncertainty of life without pain or suffering in northeastern Burma
  • a tribunal in Cambodia still trying war crimes 33 years later
  • why is there violence between North & South Sudan? oh right. conflict of selfish interests
  • the teenage girl yelling "calm the fuck down!" at the girl who got pushed into her while getting onto a crowded subway
  • commercials of organizations asking for support for world hunger/poverty are just a click away from sports, fashion shows, reality tv shows, and other forms of entertainment
  • married couples fighting over ...[drum roll please]....money. and no not because they don't have enough of it
  • unfounded slander
  • "Here's Kanye West's New Controversial 'Monster' Music Video Featuring 8 Dead Women" <= yes, a real headline.
  • etc...
the more I wonder ... so how badly backwards are we living and not realizing?

meanwhile the more my eyes open to this strange world I live in with these strange human tendencies the people around me and I have, the more I read the Gospel with utter amazement. And the more deeply I am moved with exhortations such as these
  • Bob Pierce once said, "Don't fail to do something just because you can't do everything."
  • Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. -Helen Keller
  • It's not what you believe that counts; it's what you believe enough to do.-Gary Gulbranson
  • When we become involved in people's lives, work to build relationships, walk with them through their sorrows and their joys, live with generosity toward others, love and care for them unconditionally, stand up for the defenseless, and pay particular attention to the poorest and most vulnerable, we are showing Christ's love to those around us, not just talking about it. These are the things that plant the seeds of the gospel in the human heart. -Richard Stearns

Thursday, March 1, 2012

i hate this

one of the most difficult things to practice is

  • responding to authority who claims s/he is Christian and holds many characteristics I have no respect for
  • treating staff under me with respect and NOT reflecting said authority's  characteristics 

Monday, December 26, 2011



Anger, bitterness, pride ... are so unfortunately contagious. And being someone who is naturally pessimistic (I have had to unlearn pessimism and learn the balance with optimism), it has been a huge challenge for me to practice grace the way the Gospel teaches it. It is so hard to love someone who has a hardened heart and is themselves a very unhappy person. And when this unhappy person makes you feel stupid whether they mean to or not? Even harder to love them and practice grace. It's a huge challenge to my identity as well - because if I were confident in who I am, I wouldn't be as phased by this, would I? But I am only human and I have been raised in a culture - in a world - where my identity is dictated by what others think of me.

And so it is only the Gospel that provides an alternative: the Gospel of the ultimate act of love and grace. Grace is the only avenue through which victims won't become perpetrators. It's the only way that forgiveness can be genuine and move forward in healing.

//

Without grace, Christianity is reduced to mere religion and is as hollow as the many Orthodox cathedrals and churches that, today, are little more than tourist attractions [...] I have often thought that before anyone can grasp the doctrine of saving grace, he must first experience grace in its more common form. Such experience tills the soil of the heart and prepares it for the divine. -Larry Alex Taunton

No one who is seriously wronged can "just forgive" the perpetrator. If you have been robbed of money, opportunity, or happiness, you can either make the wrongdoer pay it back or you can forgive. But when you forgive, that means you absorb the loss and the debt. You bear it yourself. All forgiveness, then, is costly. -Tim Keller

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with [Jesus] to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals - one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And [the soldiers] divided up his clothes by casting lots. -Luke (Luke 23:32-34)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Why is it that when a corrupt regime calls itself a democracy, we Americans see that it is not democracy but the people who are the problem (because we recognize what democracy is supposed to look like and we recognize that it is people who are screwing it up)

yet.

when it comes to Christianity, we don't say that it's the people who are the problem, but rather Christianity.

??

maybe it's because nobody knows what the Christian life style is supposed to look like. Actually, this is all illustrated through Jesus' life. If we truly understand the life Jesus led - I mean understand the context of everything in order to understand the meaning behind all he did? Well then, there is no way we cannot be transformed. And we will know what Christianity is supposed to look like. And only then would we be able to pick out the real Christians from the fake ones. And not demean the fake Christians, but rather recognize how difficult it is to lead a life like Jesus did, and lovingly pray for each other meanwhile knowing the people we ought to look up to.
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. [...] Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect [...] -Apostle Peter (1 Peter 3:8-9, 15)