Why do people in church seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the Absolute? … Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us to where we can never return.”
—Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters (New York: Harper & Row, 1982), pp. 40-41.
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Our question should be this. Do Christians really understand what they are doing when they pray for God’s kingdom to come? Do many really understand what God will bring when this happens? Its not enough to pray for God’s kingdom to arrive, we must be sober in our understanding of what will happen (through prayer and the reading of his word) when it gets here. Most importantly, its important to be an active part of his kingdom here on Earth so when he does come, we will be ready.
Don’t know if you’re still monitoring this – several years later! Came across your work recently via Jonathan Pageau, and have been listening in. Then I went looking for this quote, and Lo!
I’m an Anglican pastor in NZ – this weekend it’s a baptism and Genesis 22 . . . NZ is obsessed with safety which makes Faith difficult and highly domesticated. Lots of Christians thanking ‘god’ for our PM . . . and not asking the difficult questions re for example your own country, or Italy, or the UK (my own ‘home’)
Thinking of preaching along the lines of ‘if you want to be safe, you’re in the wrong place’. None of us get out of this alive, it’s all a question of how soon we die to the idea that we do 🙂
Anyway thanks for your stuff. Really enjoy your sermon dry runs, recently started doing the same thing coincidentally.
Blessings in Christ (whether or not you see this 🙂 )
Eric Kyte! You stayed in my house! Rev. Tim McKenzie
Tim McKenzie! Indeed I did 🙂 Where are you now? Do you follow Paul’s vlogs? Or like me were you looking up the Dillard quote?