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A Testament of Devotion

16 April, 2004 10:49 AM

This morning I read A Testament of Devotion by Thomas Kelly. It's only a short book - a collection of his writings from the 1930's - 1940's but I found it to be extremely powerful and rather beautifully written.

The overall thrust of his writing is about entering into a deeper inner experience of the Divine rather than just having a surface level experience. He argues that it is out of this deep experience of God that true community with other believers and a powerful social concern emerges.

A few quotes captured my attention which I'll allow to stand alone below.

Whilst there are one or two things in this collection of writings that I would love to see expanded upon and one or two things that I'm not sure I completely agree with - I have to say that this little book is one of the best and most refreshing reads I've had in years. Despite it's brevity there is loads to chew on in it and it has left me thirsting for two things - firstly some more writings of Thomas Kelly and secondly (and more importantly) a deeper understanding and experience of my Creator.

Here's a couple of taster quotes:

'If you don't realize the revolutionary explosiveness of this proposal you don't understand what I mean. This is something wholly different from mild, conventional religion that, with respectable skirts held back by dainty fingers, anxiously tries to fish the world out of the mud hole of its own selfishness. Our churches, our meeting houses are full of such respectable and amiable people.... Religion as a dull habit is not that for which Christ lived and died.' p25

'Instead of being the active, hurrying church worker and the anxious, careful planner of shrewd moves towards the good life, we become pliant creatures, less brittle, less obstinately rational. The energizing, dynamic center if not in us but in the Divine Presence in which we share.

Religion is not our concern; it is God's concern. The sooner we stop thinking we are the energetic operators of religion and discover that God is at work, as the Aggressor, the Invader, the Initiator, so much the sooner do we discover that our task is to call people to be still and know, listen, hearken in the quiet invitation to the subtle promptings of the Divine....

"Behold I stand at the door and knock," but too many well-intentioned people are so preoccupied with the clatter of effort to do something for God that they don't hear Him asking that He might do something through them. p58-59

Comments

Page:

"...Religion as a dull habit is not that for which Christ lived and died..." Amen to that! So true and so sad, or if it's not dull and boring it's hyped and superficial. I'm sure Jesus didn't live and die for that either. Thanks Darren.

Paul » 17 April, 2004 4:56 PM

Yes - thank you for sharing that.

Justin Baeder » 19 April, 2004 8:13 AM

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