Sometimes it’s hard to wade through all the words on the Web and find the treasures among the trash.
Let me help you.
I’ve read some great posts lately that challenge and encourage and inspire me. My hope is that they’d do the same for you.
Here are five posts (and some excerpts from their posts) you should take time to read this weekend.
1. When Love is the Last Thing You Feel by Alison McLennan. I was touched by these words that challenged me to keep loving when it’s hard.
“Which is the greater sacrifice: to keep a vow when keeping it is a pleasure, or to keep a vow when keeping it takes everything you have?”
I don’t know, in God’s economy, if one is greater than the other. Certainly it is a divine gift to love with ease, to take pleasure in our work, to pour ourselves out for others and find joy in serving.
But what about when we don’t? Is it any less of a gift to labor in those things?
2. #scotus and other stuff by Erika Morrison. (the life artist) Ever disagreed with someone about a controversial issue? Yeah, here’s a good guideline for how to survive that as friends.
So this is my guideline for myself, take it or leave it; adjust and tweak if you so desire: Pray down low. Don’t move until you’ve changed. Suspend your assumptions and walk yourself to the inside of someone else’s skin and story. See that everyone is carrying the weight of their own history; an entire world riding piggy on their backs and everyone is fighting their own battles, wearing their own scars, bleeding from their own wounds, pushing through their own struggles. And move those real live people from the coldness of your cranium to the beating place between your ribs bones and share food and communion there. Look into each other’s soul-windows and watch the Messiah materialize in the image they bear. Hold hands and hug for dear life – all we’ve got is each other. And maybe from this place of kindness and safety, thoughts and convictions can be mutually shared without scathe or savagery or “you’re stupid” words.
3. I hate this day by J.J. Landis. Written in the wake of a local tragedy, J.J. is frank about how our efforts to comfort fall short.
I know in my head what I believe about how the world works. I know we’re fallen and sin screws us up. I know people die, but seriously, it really sucks.
4. Why I Don’t Believe in Grace Anymore by Dr. Kelly Flanagan. Hands-down, when Kelly writes something, I want to read it. This is one of two he wrote recently that I could have recommended.
This is the brilliance of grace: it welcomes our darkness into the light and does nothing to it, knowing that it doesn’t have to, because darkness thrives on hiddenness, and it’s at the mercy of the light. Light drives out darkness, not the other way around.
When we no longer have to push our darkness back down beneath layers of shame our darkness doesn’t stand a chance.
5. Independence by Heather B. Armstrong (dooce). (Warning: This post contains pictures taken inside brothels in Southeast Asia. They are appropriately shocking, but I don’t want them to come as a surprise.) Yes, it’s an uncomfortable subject and it’s hard to talk about and look at, but that’s one reason I’m so glad there are bloggers out there like her who do their part to shine a light on this perverse evil.
Often when we think of that freedom we immediately go to thoughts of our right to free speech, to peaceably assemble, the free exercise of religion and the right to bear arms. I would guess that rarely do we seriously reflect on some of the very basic privileges afforded to us as well: the ability to leave our rooms and homes, the ability to live with our families and the years spent watching them grow, freedom from having to sell our bodies for sex.
What would you add to this list?