Love and Fire - House of Temptation

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Since nobody could read my books, they could not impress anyone, and since most of them never went to school, my twenty years at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard did not provide a significant introduction. My considerable ecumenical experience proved even less valuable. Not able to use any of the skills that had proved so practical in the past was a real source of anxiety.

Be tempted to fall in love!

I was suddenly faced with my naked self, open for affirmations and rejections, hugs and punches, smiles and tears, all dependent simply on how I was perceived at the moment. In a way, it seemed as though I was starting my life all over again. Relationships, connections, reputations could no longer be counted on. This experience was and, in many ways, is still the most important experience of my new life because it forced me to rediscover my true identity.

House of Temptation (Love and Fire, #1) by Miranda J. Fox

These broken, wounded and completely unpretentious people forced me to let go of my relevant self—the self that can do things, show things, prove things, build thing—and forced me to reclaim that unadorned self in which I am completely vulnerable, open to receive and give love regardless of any accomplishments. I am telling you all this because I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her vulnerable self.

Oh, how I wished I could do that! Are we not called to do something that makes people realize that we do make a difference in their lives? Beneath all the great accomplishments of our time there is a deep current of despair.


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While efficiency and control are the great aspirations of our society, the loneliness, isolation, lack of friendship and intimacy, broken relationships, boredom, feelings of emptiness and depression, and deep sense of uselessness fill the hearts of millions of people in our success-oriented world.

It is here that the need for a new Christian leadership becomes clear. The leader of the future will be one who dares to claim his irrelevance in the contemporary world as a divine vocation that allows him or her to enter into a deeper solidarity with the anguish underlying all the glitter of success and bring the light of Jesus there.

Do you love me? Contemplative prayer keeps us home, rooted and safe, even when we are on the road. It is not enough for Christian leaders of the future to be moral people, well trained, eager to help their fellow humans, and able to respond creatively to the burning issues of their time. All of that is very valuable and important, but it is not the heart of Christian leadership.


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It was the experience of shared ministry. I was educated in a seminary that made me believe that ministry was essentially an individual affair. I had to be well-trained and well-formed, and after six years of training and formation, I was considered well-equipped to preach, administer the sacraments, counsel, and run a parish. I was made to feel like a man sent on a long, long hike with a huge backpack containing all the things necessary to help the people I would meet on the road. Questions had answers, problems had solutions and pains had their medicines. Just be sure that you know with which one of the three you are dealing.

Over the years I realized that things were not as simple as that, but my basic individualistic approach to ministry did not change. When I became a teacher I was even more encouraged to do my own thing. I could choose my own subject, my own method, and sometimes, even my own students.

Nobody would even question my way of doing things. And when I left the classroom, I was completely free to do whatever I saw fit. After all, everyone has the right to live his private life! Living in a community with very wounded people, I came to see that I had lived most of my life as a tightrope artist trying to walk on a high, thin cable from one tower to the other, always waiting for the applause when I had not fallen off and broken my leg. The second temptation to which Jesus was exposed was precisely the temptation to do something spectacular, something that could win him great applause.

He did not come to prove himself. Not too many of us have a vast repertoire of skills to be proud of, but most of us feel that if we have anything at all to show, it is something that we have to do solo.

You could say that many of us feel like failed tightrope walkers who discovered the we do not have the power to draw thousands of people, that we could not make many conversions—that we were not as popular with the youth, the young adults, or the elderly as we had hoped, and that we were not as able to respond to the needs of our people as we had expected. But most of us still feel that, ideally, we should have been able to do it all and do it successfully.

Stardom and individual heroism, which are such obvious aspects of our competitive society, are not at all alien to the Church. There too the dominant image is that of the self-made man or woman who can do it all alone. Having said this, we are faced with the question: What discipline is required for the future leader to overcome the temptation of individual heroism? I would like to propose the discipline of confession and forgiveness.

The Personal is Historical

Just as future leaders must be mystics deeply steeped in contemplative prayer, so also must the be persons always willing to confess their own brokenness and ask for forgiveness from those to whom they minister. The reason for this is that they do not know how to live the truth of the Incarnation. They separate themselves from their own concrete community, try to deal with their needs by ignoring them or satisfying them in distant or anonymous places, and then experience an increasing split between their own most private inner world and the good news they announce.

Temptation

When spirituality becomes spiritualization, life in the body becomes carnality. Confession and forgiveness are exactly the disciplines by which spiritualization and carnality can be avoided and true incarnation lives. Through confession, the dark powers are taken out of their carnal isolation, brought into the light and made visible to the community. Whitfield left Motown soon afterward, and started his own label, Whitfield Records , which released several hits from Rose Royce.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Temptations. Retrieved March 15, — via robertchristgau. Australian Chart Book — GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved April 14, Roppongi , Tokyo : Oricon Entertainment.

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