BREAKFAST LINKS 12/31/12:
Karen Spears Zacharias, Patheos/Karen Spears Zacharias: “I read recently that in tribal villages it is the wails of the mourning that alerts others in the village when someone has died. People in this country don’t give over much to wailing. We are conditioned to think that such mourning is unbecoming. I blame the damn Yankees who burned Atlanta. Perhaps you blame the Puritans? Whatever. The wails of my sister, head down on Mama’s lap, are what I will recall forever more about Mama’s dying day. And I will never ever again be able to think of Jesus upon that cross without hearing the sounds of Mama’s suffering.
“By late afternoon, the breathing that we had thought so labored in the morning sounded like a diesel truck moving up a steep grade. Mama’s forehead and face were pinched in pain. Nothing we did eased it. So Frank, Linda and I gathered around Mama’s bed and prayed for God to hasten her death, to show all of us a mercy.
“Deep, deep rattling breaths. And then nothing. Complete and utter silence. Linda looked at me. I looked at her. Then we both looked at Mama. She was still breathing. Her shoulders still moving but Mama was breathing quietly as a newborn baby. In and out. In and out. And then she opened her eyes and Linda cried out, “She dying.”
“We both cried out, “We love you, Mama.”
Frank Viola, Patheos/Frank Viola: “To protect his own ego and reputation, he was trying to turn the people he knew against a group of blood-washed, blood-bought, precious followers of Jesus and against one of its members.
“Throughout the years, I’ve watched Christians engage in gossip and slander, not ever realizing the damage they were doing. Some, in fact, would even preface their tale-bearing with the words, “This isn’t gossip because I experienced it” or “the person who told me this experienced it themselves so it’s not gossip.”
“That’s like saying, “I just slit someone’s throat in cold blood while they were sleeping. But it isn’t murder because . . .” The flesh is quite skilled at self justification.
Paul Louis Metzger, Patheos/Uncommon God, Common Good: “Entitlement thinking is a classless thing. It cheapens the people who demand special privileges and things they do not deserve.
“In contrast to the entitlement thinking so prevalent in our culture, God’s grace makes people grateful. Those who are not grateful have not truly experienced God’s grace.
“Grace and gratitude change the conversation. Rich and poor and everyone in between move beyond entitlement thinking when grace is in our hearts, our homes, and in the public square. Together we become a people with a whole lot of class who redistribute our wealth freely because of our shared need.”
Leah Libresco via Tim Dalrymple, Patheos/Philosophical Fragments: ““Javert loves God, in his own way, because Divine Law is the source of order in the world. For Javert, the absense of mercy is the greatest mercy of all, because it allows Javert to perfectly understand the world around him. Grace is a miracle, a dirty word, a motion to suspend the rules.
““Mercy unmoors the moral stars Javert navigates by, and, as an agent of the Law, he needs some kind of unfailing light to steer by. The more precisely he understands the world, the less margin for error he needs to leave.
“After all, if the moral universe is as mechanical as Javert dreams, he can save himself through his own efforts. If the rules are fixed and known, then all he has to do is follow them. If there are no miracles and no mercy, then everything is within Javert’s understanding, and his mastery is only limited by his self-control. God sets the rules, and Javert gets to play a fair game.”