’Gifted people often become more the focus than the gospel,’ Harris said. ‘But you can’t build a church around a personality. You get up and you preach a sermon and people walk away thinking what a great guy - and that’s a failure as a pastor. Our job is to proclaim Christ.’ — http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/22/%E2%80%9Cchristian-famous%E2%80%9D-pastor-quits-his-church-moves-to-asia/?sr=sharebar_facebook
Unwittingly, a wedge was driven between Christ and the church. In the worst -case scenario of modern evangelism, a person can be a Christian without an active life in the church. This approach to evangelism contributed to the privatization of faith, to a personal, me-oriented gospel that undercut the role of the church. — Robert E. Webber quoted by Gordon T. Smith in Transforming Conversion: Rethinking the Language and Contours of Christian Initiation
The Fall is not the occasion for the advent of desire, but rather the
distortion and misdirection of the creational structure of desire: or as
Bell puts it, the problem is ethical, not ontological: “Desire remains
positive, productive. Only now it finds joy in the wrong productions; it
takes pleasure in the wrong goods.” Redemption, then, is precisely the
reordering of desire to its creational aim by the Word who came to heal
desire. - The Community of the Word, Mark Husbands
Christ defines the church as “where two or three are gathered in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.” The church is a continuing event that is
being accomplished in history and through people. Her viability relates to
her authentic witness to the presence of her Lord; her maturation depends
on her responses to the Lord’s correction, direction, and call to serve
(Source: centolodigiani, via lifeafterquitting)
…why is it that only so few come to realize [these deep spiritual things]?
There are two simple reasons for that. First, we are so afraid of silence that we chase ourselves from one event to the next in order not to have to spend a moment alone with ourselves, in order not to have to look at ourselves in the mirror. We know that those times when we have to be alone are often the most comfortless and fruitless of times for us. But we are not only afraid of ourselves and of self-discovery, we are much more afraid of God – that he may disturb us and discover who we really are, that he may take us with him into his solitude and deal with us according to his will. We are afraid of such lonely, awful encounters with God, and we avoid them, so that he may not suddenly come too near to us. It would be too dreadful to have to face God directly, to have to answer to him. Our smiles would have to disappear; for once something would have to be taken seriously, and we are not used to that. This anxiety is a mark of our times; we live in fear that we may suddenly find ourselves before the Eternal.
That is one reason. The other is that we are too indolent in our religious life. Perhaps we once made a start, but how soon we went to sleep again. We say we are not in the mood, and since religion is a matter of mood, we must wait until it overtakes us. And then we wait and wait for years, perhaps to the end of our lives until we once again are in the mood for religion. There is a great deception behind all of this. We may regard religion as a matter of moods if we wish, but God is not determined by our moods; one does not wait until overtaken by a feeling to encounter him. The person who waits upon moods is impoverished. If the painter only wanted to paint when in the mood for it, he would not get very far. In religion, as in art and science, along with the times of high excitement, there are times of sober work and practice. We must practice our communication with God, otherwise we will not find the right tone, the right word, the right language, when God surprises us with his presence. We must learn the language of God, carefully learn it, work hard at it, so that we will be able to speak to him. Prayer must be practiced. It is a fatal error to confuse religion with sentimentality. Religion is work which a human being can do. How miserable to be content with saying, “I am not religiously inclined,” when there is a God who wants to have us as his own. It is simply an evasion. Certainly, it will be harder for one person than for another, but we may be sure that no one can advance without work. This is why even our silence before God takes practice and work; it takes daily fortitude to expose ourselves to God’s Word and to allow ourselves to be judged by it; it requires daily renewal as we rejoice in the love of God. — Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. 1986. Meditating On The Word. Pages 60-61.