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I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Good Quote about Grace and the spirituality of time


Have been reading a wonderful book by my friend Bonnie Thurston, written 10 years ago, but I'm just running across it now. It's called To To Everything a Season: A Spirituality of Time and offers many wise words about spiritual practices around time and how our attitudes toward time and our obsession with "busy-ness" create spiritual problems for us. Here is a quote from the book, one of the best expressions I've found of a Christian theology of grace:

Nothing I “do” ultimately assures my value. My value as a human being is already secured by God as the source of my creation and by Jesus Christ as the source of my salvation. I may choose to engage in “good works” – benevolence, charity, whatever – as a grateful response to these gifts, but there is absolutely nothing I can do to earn them. The bottom line is I don’t have to do anything; I just have to be, that is, to accept God’s gift of life and respond by grateful living. Why is it that this Christian ontology is so hard to accept? Could it be because the nature of God is so foreign to us? We do not deeply, existentially, understand that God is Love, that God loves us because that is God’s nature, not because we are smart or pretty or productive or “worthy” of such love. Because human love so rarely comes to us unconditionally, many of us have decided that God’s love never could either. We are wrong in this assumption, as the cross of Jesus Christ so clearly demonstrates.
(Bonnie Thurston, A Spirituality of Time, pp. 75-6)

3 comments:

  1. This paragraph is a short but good description of grace. It also seems to me that we may not consciously decide God's love is unconditional. Instead, we unconsciously accept human, conditional love as our own projection of what God is like. Even if we experience his free love at certain moments, our old view of life returns and we unkowingly find ourselves trying to match up to what we think God requires.

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  2. Thanks for this quote, Kathy. I spent a day last week with a friend who is going through an incredibly tough time. Burdening her further is the idea that she has not been good enough for God... I will send this to her.

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