The idea that words cannot always say everything has been written about extensively – as Friedrich Nietzsche said:
Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon the absolute truth.
No doubt the best book we’ve read that covers the subject is ‘Through The Language Glass‘ by Guy Deutscher, which goes a long way to explaining and understanding these loopholes – the gaps which mean there are leftover words without translations, and concepts that cannot be properly explained across cultures.
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In The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis penned a lesson on the danger of holding one’s heart too tightly. He writes:
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
“At a certain point, you just kind of say to yourself, “Okay, this clearly isn’t my cup of tea, but its existence doesn’t make my own cup of tea any less delicious. So whatever.” And the world becomes an infinitely more magical place to live in.”
January 5th 2012
She had one extra ticket.
For a movie screening in downtown Manhattan. She kept one for herself. And she offered the extra one to me.
I said yes.
I met Leah at the corner of Houston and E
At approximately 7:15 pm. “It’s called Sunshine Cinemas” she said. “I’m jumping on the subway now, and I’ll see you soon.”
She was perfectly on time. She usually was. And I trailed in 2 minutes too late. Like I usually did. She handed me my free ticket when she saw me. And also a voucher that…
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““If you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.””
– C.S. Lewis
I know there’s a moment when the preacher says something you can relate to — “Maybe you’re the guy struggling today with porn, drugs, drinking, punching small animals, and racing police officers, and you hate evangelism and Bible-reading and prayer just as much as I do!” —
— so we totally nod along, BUT: relatability is not an excuse for lukewarm living. It’s not permission to sit on the sidelines.
A sigh of relief is not a sigh of excuse.
On one end, guilt-fear-and-shame are lazy preacher tactics that cripple us into fear-based faith, which isn’t sustainable. Guilt has me staring at me. But on the other end, half a grace has me staring right through God.
Sometimes what we perceive as grace is really watered-down reactionary Gospel, or it’s the preacher simply having a catharsis of his own demons to feel better about his past.
So we wouldn’t want…
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“Come, let us return to the L ord . He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the L ord ! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”