“Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you. And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought you there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which you made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The lovely things kept me far from you, though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all. You called and cried out loud and shattered my blindness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness. You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours.”
– St. Augustine, Confessions
Header Image: “The conversion of St. Augustine” by Fra Angelico
“Words without deeds are empty, but deeds without words are dumb. It is stupid to set them against each other. It is, for example, stupid to say, ‘The one thing that matters is to go everywhere and preach the gospel; all other activities such as schools and hospitals and programs for social action are at best merely auxiliary and at worst irrelevant.’ Why should people believe our preaching that the kingdom of God has come near in Jesus if they see no sign that anything is happening as a result, if they can see no evidence that disease and ignorance and cruelty and injustice are being challenged and overcome? Why should they believe our words if there is nothing happening to authenticate them?”
– Lesslie Newbigin, Signs Amid The Rubble (via Chris Schutte)
“If you confess that the world once was beautiful, but by the curse has become undone, and by a final catastrophe is to pass to its full state of glory, excelling even the beautiful of paradise, then art has the mystical task of reminding us in its productions of the beautiful that was lost and of anticipating its perfect coming luster.”
– Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism
Header Image: “The Garden of Eden” by Thomas Cole (c.1828)
I’ve said it before, but Jayakumar Christian is one of my enduring heroes. His now out-of-print book, God of the Empty-Handed, transformed the way I think about the interplay between poverty, power, and the kingdom of God. Then I met him in person, and I learned even more about the stewardship of power on account of his humility and graciousness in a time and place that, to my mind, would have warranted the opposite.
While Jayakumar isn’t a household name by any stretch, a lot of folks were introduced to him by Andy Crouch in the pages of Playing God. Indeed, the title itself comes from this humble hero of ours. “The poor are poor,” Jayakumar told Andy, “because someone else is trying to play God in their lives.”
I thought some of you might be interested in this talk Jayakumar gave earlier this year at the International Society for Urban Mission Summit in Kuala Lumpur, which covers a lot of the material found in his book—and in Andy’s, for that matter!
Photo via Baylor Lariat