Tag Archives: Craig Greenfield

The Deepening Quality of Suffering (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 10)


“No soul will ever grow deep in the spiritual life unless God works in that soul by means of the dark night.”

This is a line from the famous poem called, The Dark Night of the Soul, which Saint John of the Cross wrote from his ten-by-six feet prison cell in which he was imprisoned for his faith. They fed him bread, water and scraps of salt fish, and brought him out to lash him publicly at least once a week. Through his sufferings, instead of waning, his passion for Christ, grew deeper.

I offer this as another piece of advice about one may go deeper in their life in Jesus.

To go deeper we have to be willing to suffer well

Recently my forty-fifth spiritual birthday came and went. On August 20, 1972 I gave as much of what I knew of myself to as much of God as I knew of him. Frankly, at that point I knew very little about myself and much much less about him. Since then, with the Spirit’s help, I’ve learned a few more things about the both of us. Much of which has come kicking and screaming, put more subtly, through trial and error. Continue reading


James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) James 5:1-6

classism image 2

Here we are finally in the last chapter of James making a slow descent toward the runway to land this thing. We’ll be taking just the first half of chapter 5 today and finishing up next time.

As I’ve been saying all along, James’ letter addresses and undresses classism, the idea and lifestyle that one human is better than another based on external factors, like economics and social standing. You can’t be the kind of Christian that James, to say nothing of his half-brother Jesus, approve of, and at the same time, judge the relative worth of other humans based on their socioeconomic success or race or any external factor.

As in previous posts, I’ll be whetting your appetite with some hors d’oeuvres from my podcast on these verses from James 5. Please listen to the brief-ish audio and share it with someone you love!

A final word to you arrogant rich: Take some lessons in lament. You’ll need buckets for the tears when the crash comes upon you. Your money is corrupt and your fine clothes stink. Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut, destroying your life from within. You thought you were piling up wealth. What you’ve piled up is judgment.” The Message Bible

“Making a killing” to describe a good financial deal in stock market or real estate market is an interesting colloquialism, don’t you think? Who or what is being “killed” and who benefitted from the killing? Continue reading

How Jesus Feeds the Hungry (Part 2 of 2)


quote-you-pray-for-the-hungry-then-you-feed-them-that-s-how-prayer-works-pope-francis-81-13-03In Part 1 I introduced some thoughts, based on the familiar story of Jesus’ feeding of the 5000, about what I consider to be his typical way of feeding hungry people. The disciples wanted him to “send them away!” but fortunately he had a better idea, which I believe was more than unique to that one day’s good work, but a pattern for how he often goes about providing food enough for all to eat. Last time I said:

He begins with the little we have, multiplies it and uses us as distributors, and we consume it together in community.

Let’s take a look at the second and third of these. Continue reading

How Jesus Feeds the Hungry (Part 1 of 2)


quote-you-pray-for-the-hungry-then-you-feed-them-that-s-how-prayer-works-pope-francis-81-13-03Besides the resurrection, I bet you don’t know which of Jesus’ miracles made it into all four gospels!

OK, my title gave it away, but would you have guessed it if I had called it “Jewish Boy Loses His Lunch” or “Give All You Got and Get More Than You Had” or something of that sort?

So, why did the Spirit single out this particular miracle of feeding the multitude from a little boy’s lunch for so much press? The incident definitely infers a lot about Jesus and what he can do. That’s the customary Sunday School lesson from this text. The Christological and supernatural implications aside, I’d like to narrow this particular conversation down to his choice to use the human agency in that particular miracle. Continue reading

The Subversive’s Seldom Sung Song


note1Without cheating by scrolling down name this song let’s see how quickly you can identify this famous piece of poetry by only using this list of clues:

  • The song was written by a famous female
  • She is not commonly thought of as a songwriter or poet
  • 17th Century Japanese Christians quietly sang the words of the song as fellow Christians were being burnt at the stake.
  • During the British colonial rule of India, it was forbidden to sing this song in churches.
  • In the 1930s Franco banned it throughout Mexico.
  • The junta in Argentina forbade the song after the Mothers of the Disappeared displayed its words on placards in the capital plaza.
  • Gandhi requested that this song be read in all the places where the British flag was being lowered on the final day of imperial rule in India.
  • During the 1980s, the governments of Guatemala and El Salvador prohibited any public recitation of the song.
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer proclaimed it as “the most passionate, the wildest, most revolutionary Advent hymn ever sung.”
  • Now I’m giving it away when I reveal that it is the longest recorded set of words spoken by any woman in the New Testament. (Guessed it yet?)
  • Oh, did I mention that the songwriter was pregnant when she wrote it (at a very young age I might add)? (If that didn’t do it, the last clue will!)
  • This was the first Christmas carol ever composed!

Continue reading