Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices (The Ancient Practices )

and somehow, the more we would face our own demons of pride, greed, and lust, the more gentle and kind we would become toward others, the less judgmental, the less harsh, the more empathetic, because we realize as never before that everyone is pitched in an invisible inner battle, and the battle isn’t easy for anyone.

Comfort and power can become great enemies of true spirituality, which explains why we often say that the prophets come not only to comfort the afflicted, but also to afflict the comfortable.

[Fasting is] a way of making sure we haven't let the rhythms of the everyday put us to sleep, a way to make sure that our habits have not become addictions...

I had to face the possibility that the art of living in the way of Jesus was no longer carried on in a holistic way by any single tradition.

I'm raising the question of whether focusing on the afterlife beyond history can unintentionally but tragically lead to the abandonment of this earth and this life.

In other words, when the community of faith gathers, its purpose is to equip its members for a life of love and good deeds when the community scatters.

Jesus called disciples so He could send them out as apostles. They were called together to learn so they could be sent out to teach and serve.

My concern is that by making heaven after this life the destination of our way, we are spiritually forming people who run away from fire, disease, and the violence of our world.

Our choice, it seems, is whether we will let our past and present sufferings be sufficient to soften and break us, or whether we will resist and harden ourselves so even more suffering is required.

People have no idea how strong a pull sex, money, and power have on them until they try to resist their pull.

So if God is forgotten, we want to join God in being forgotten. So if God is rejected and opposed and misunderstood and misrepresented, we want to suffer each indignity and sorrow with God.

Some people--and I pray I will be one of them--never forget what it was like, which enables them to mentor people of any age.

[Spiritual] Practices are not for know-it-alls. Practices are for those who feel the need for change, growth, development, learning. Practices are for disciples.

Spiritual practices are ways of becoming awake and staying awake to God.

...the kind of person who wants to participate in the healing of the world is very different from the kind of person who wants to leave this world behind so she can go to a better one.

The life-and-death question for each of our churches and denominations may boil down to this: are we a club for the elite who pretend to have arrived or a school for disciples who are still on the way?

These special holidays give rise to various liturgical calendars that suggest we should mark our days not only with the cycles of the moon and seasons, but also with occasions to tell our children the stories of our faith community's past so that this past will have a future, and so that our ancient way and its practices will be rediscovered and renewed every year.

Through study we welcome the light of God into our minds.

Trying to stop people from learning, sharing, and loving is a losing game because it means working against God and the plotline of God's universe.

...what today throws at you will force you to become better or bitter for tomorrow; it will push you toward breakdown or breakthrough...

When any sector of the church stops learning, God simply overflows the structures that are in the way and works outside them with those willing to learn.

When would-be reformers arise, they are rejected as heretics, turncoats, troublemakers, disturbers of the peace, traitors, and enemies.