Monday, September 8, 2014

Death and Life (Monday Morning in the Desert)

Words from a recent sermon by Victoria Osteen, the wife of famous preacher Joel Osteen, have circled around the internet the past few weeks, and have been picked apart by numerous other bloggers and commentators, so I apologize for jumping on that bandwagon.  (If you missed that story, the essence of her message was that we are to "do good for our own self" and not for God, because God just wants us to "be happy"

In a world where Christianity has all but been eradicated in Iraq, where ancient Christian communities have worshiped for nearly 2,000 years, and where journalists trying to cover events in that region are being captured and beheaded, those types of messages emanating from American Christianity must seem quite peculiar to the rest of the world, to say the least.   In the spirit of Martin Luther's commentary on the Eighth Commandment (the one about bearing false witness against our neighbor, according to the Lutheran/Catholic numbering of the Ten Commandments), I won't say more, except to just offer this quote from an anonymous Carthusian monk:

"Death to self and life in God are inseparably linked: the one without the other remains sterile." (From p. 43 of "The Prayer of Love and Silence".

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