Brene Brown talks about learning about having a strong back and a soft front from Joan Halifax. The strong back is self-respect, strength, and courage. The soft front is openness and vulnerability. She quotes Joan Halifax:
“All too often our so-called strength comes from fear, not love. Instead of having a strong back, many of us have a defended front, shielding a weak spine. In other words, we walk around brittle and defensive, trying to conceal our lack of confidence. If we strengthen our backs, metaphorically speaking, and develop a spine that’s flexible but sturdy, then we can risk having a front that’s soft and open.”
The Christian is able to:
love without thinking,
taste deeply without needing permission,
embrace enemies without needing reward,
abandon the self into God.
Christians are active contemplatives who are profoundly inactive at the center.
They hyphenate their living between being and doing—embracing all that both contain.
- Based on Paul Jones, The Art of Spiritual Direction
I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
- Ephesians 4:1-6
The beatitudes must be taken all together as descriptors of the way Jesus himself lives on earth and calls us to live, not as separate blessings for different personality types. To hunger and thirst after justice, to mourn over all that goes wrong, to make peace and endure persecution for seeking justice, to purify the heart and show mercy—all these not only cleanse our eyes to see God and enter God’s gracious rule but grow us toward the “meekness” our first parents surrendered when they began to separate their use of earth from God’s purposes…. The “meek,” as the Greek word praus suggests, are not weak but have their power under control. They know their true place in God’s purpose.
- Robert Corin Morris, “An Altar of Earth,” Weavings