where words are clarified

Two believers in conflict about their doctrines are concerned with the execution of divine will, not with a fleeting personal agreement. For the man who is so related to his faith that he is able to die or slay for it there can be no realm where the law of the faith ceases to hold. It is laid on him to help truth to victory, he does not let himself be misled by sentiments. The man holding a different, that is false, belief must be converted, or at least instructed … The thesis of religious disputation cannot be allowed to “go.”

[In contrast, I have only this confession] We expect a theophany of which we know nothing but the place, and the place is called community. In the public catacombs of this expectation there is no single God’s word which can be clearly known and advocated, but the words delivered are clarified for us in our human situation of being turned toward one another. There is no obedience to the coming one without loyalty to his creature. To have experienced this is our way.

  • Martin Buber, Between Man and Man

[inspired by Englewood Review of Books and their celebration of the birthday of Martin Buber]

on reading the bible “toward love”

As a training ground, the Bible shows the things that God loves and the things that repel Him. Caring for those who are weak and broken is high on the list in both testaments. Doing this with kindness and mercy instead of arrogance and judgment are also important. Working humbly with Him in order to develop our own lives allows Him to enrich our experience immeasurably. And reaching out to care, in whatever ways we are good at. fills life with meaning and with joy….

I have had countless experiences of reading the Bible and suddenly knowing that I have been treating others badly by insisting on my own way. I get lost in a story and the next thing I know, a conflict with someone at home or at work plays out before my mind and I realize that I acted or spoke selfishly. Then my heart softens and I often, not always, find a way to build a bridge to the other person.

– Peter Fitch (from his recently released, Learning to Interpret Toward Love
that “describes his own story of gradually realizing that this truth would lead to a new way of seeing and accepting people with different sexuality.”)