A Very Abbreviated Breviary

7 Feb

‘A Breviary of Christian Virtue’ was the subtitle of this year’s Institute of Biblical Studies held this past weekend.  I was able to make the middle sections on Saturday where Dr. Cornelius Plantinga spoke about compassion and humility.  Dr. Plantinga is a wonderfully thoughtful speaker.  The overarching theme was on dying to self and rising in Christ; how to cultivate and clothe ourselves in the virtues. Dr. P is also an advocate of humorous self irony. His first statement Saturday morning: “I am from Michigan.  I know how to experience gloom and how to cause it.”

Some others:

On Compassion: “A reason to read great literature is that it can trigger compassion and justice in the reader.” “Compassion by itself, without insight, common sense, and prudence leads to trouble.”  “Compassion is not the only emotion.  Nor should it be when there are difficult decisions to be made.” “Patience is having a large capacity for absorbing irritants without them getting to you.”

On Humility: “The habits of highly humble people: 1- accept ordinary human deficiencies with good humor and good will

2-ask lots of questions because that is the way to gain wisdom

3- typically wait for an invitation to talk about themselves

4-are good receivers; receives good things from God and others with open, grateful heart and are willing to feel grateful and indebted, not cynical or comparing

5- does not try to make children over in own image or treat children as projects or own inventions, lets God have responsibility for that child

6-full of good humor and irony about self; an antidote to stuffiness is laughter

7-own their own sins; humbleness of mind; grieve over their own sin and trust God to take it away”

“To have the mind of Christ is to have the mind of a servant but owe nothing to tyrants or the arrogant, either foreign or domestic.”  “We do not serve others well when we submit to them and what they need is resistance.” “We want our children to grow and we ache when they do so.” “Self-respect and humility are a pair.”  “Humility is a species of wisdom; the knowledge of God and God’s world and the practical knack of fitting ones self into it.”


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