I must say that I am still passionately pro-life, I just have a much more holistic sense of what it means to be for life, knowing that life does not just begin at conception and end at birth, and that if I am going to discourage abortion, I had better be ready to adopt some babies and care for some mothers. (p. 44)
Perhaps the devil is just as likely to wear a three-piece suit as to have horns and a pitchfork. And perhaps the angels look more like the bums in the alley than like feathered white babies. (p. 50)
I learned more about God from the tears of homeless mothers than any systematic theology ever taught me. (p. 51)
I guess God can use the mafia, but I would like God to use the church. (p. 63)
We were not interested in a Christianity that offered these families only mansions and streets of golds in heaven when all they wanted was a bed for their kids now. And many Christians had an extra one. (p. 64)
I remember hearing about an old comic strip back in the days of St. Ed's. Two guys are talking to each other, and one of them says he has a question for God. He wants to ask why God allows all of this poverty and war and suffering to exist in the world. And his friend says, "Well, why don't you ask?" The fellow shakes his head and says he's scared. When his friend asks why, he mutters, "I'm scared God will ask me the same question." (p. 65)
Over and over, when I ask God why all of these injustices are allowed to exist in the world, I can feel the Spirit whisper to me, "You tell me why we allow this to happen. You are my body, my hands, my feet." (p. 65)
We shall do even greater things because the love that lived in the radical Christ now lives within millions of ordinary radicals all over the planet. (p. 85)
I heard one of the teaching pastors at Willow Creek speak on the rich young ruler text that Rich (Mullins) had talked about in Wheaton's chapel. The teaching pastor had said, "now this doesn't mean you have to go sell your rollerblades and golf clubs," and he went on to "contextualize" the teaching to show that we just need to be careful not to make idols of our things. I wasn't so sure about that. Jesus doesn't tell the man to be a better steward, or to treat his workers fairly, or not to make money an idol. He tells this highly educated and devoutly religious young man that he lacks one thing: giving up everything he owns to give the poor. (p. 103)
And I think that's what our world is desperately in need of - lovers, people who are building deep, genuine relationships with fellow strugglers along the way, and who actually know the faces of the people behind the issues they are concerned about.
Mother Theresa always said, "Calcuttas are everywhere if only we have eyes to see. Find your Calcutta.”
We do need to be born again, since Jesus said that to a guy named Nicodemus. But if you tell me I have to be born again to enter the Kingdom of God, I can tell you that you have to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to one guy, too. But I guess that's why God invented highlighers, so we can highlight the parts we like and ignore the rest.
There are some things to die for but none to kill for.
“I asked participants who claimed to be "strong followers of Jesus" whether Jesus spent time with the poor. Nearly 80 percent said yes. Later in the survey, I sneaked in another question, I asked this same group of strong followers whether they spent time with the poor, and less than 2 percent said they did. I learned a powerful lesson: We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy of the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.
Only Jesus would be crazy enough to suggest that if you want to become the greatest, you should become the least. Only Jesus would declare God's blessing on the po0r rather than on the rich and would insist that it's not enough to just love your friends. I just began to wonder if anybody still believed Jesus meant those things he said.
For even if the whole world believed in resurrection, little would change until we began to practice it. We can believe in CPR, but people will remain dead until someone breathes new life into them. And we can tell the world that there is life after death, but the world really seems to be wondering if there is life before death.
The more I get to know Jesus, the more trouble he seems to get me into
And that’s when things get messy. When people begin moving beyond charity and toward justice and solidarity with the poor and oppressed, as Jesus did, they get in trouble. Once we are actually friends with the folks in struggle, we start to ask why people are poor, which is never as popular as giving to charity. One of my friends has a shirt marked with the words of late Catholic bishop Dom Helder Camara: “When I fed the hungry, they called me a saint. When I asked why people are hungry, they called me a communist.” Charity wins awards and applause but joining the poor gets you killed. People do not get crucified for living out of love that disrupts the social order that calls forth a new world. People are not crucified for helping poor people. People are crucified for joining them.