Cheryl's Reviews > God Laughs and Plays: Churchless Sermons in Response to the Preachments of the Fundamentalist Right

God Laughs and Plays by David James Duncan
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Oct 15, 11

bookshelves: life-changers

A fantastic book, very respectful to christianity while expressing such beauty about the ways we love god or what we perceive as the divine or holy, and while he felt the holy in nature as a child, and I found it as an adult, he writes from his heart to mine. he writes that he cherishes all names for god, all gods from every religion, and every religion, as well as people, trees, rivers, etc. Because his heart is by nature inclusive, and how can he not? amen, my friend.

"[There is a] kind of all-embracing universality evident in Mother Teresa’s prayer: “May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.” Not just fellow nuns, Catholics, Calcuttans, Indians. The whole world. It gives me pause to realize that, were such a prayer said by me and answered by God, I would afterward possess a heart so open that even hate-driven zealots would fall inside...
My sense of the world as a gift, my sense of a grace operative in this world despite its terrors, propels me to allow the world to open my heart still wider, even if the openness comes by breaking—for I have seen the whole world fall into a few hearts, and nothing has ever struck me as more beautiful."
David James Duncan


"Religious laws, in all the major religious traditions, have both a letter and a spirit, As I understand the words and example of Jesus, the spirit of the law is all-important whereas the letter, while useful… becomes lifeless and deadly without it. In accord with this distinction a yearning to worship on wilderness ridges or beside rivers rather than in churches could legitimately be called evangelical… if your words or deeds harmonize with the example of Jesus, you are evangelical in spirit whether you claim to be or not. When the non-Christian Ambrose Bierce wrote, “War is the means by which Americans learn geography,” his words are aimed at the same antiwar end as “Blessed are the peacemakers."

"The fundamentalists of every faith remain blind to the truth that the “sigh within the prayer is the same in the heart of the Christian, the Muslim, and the Jew.” I have seen this unity with my eyes, heard it with my ears, felt it with all my being."


"To every Armageddonist, every earth lover must keep saying with all the sincerity and affection we can muster, “May God make this world as beautiful to you as it has been to me.”

“No man can think of God himself. It is therefore my wish to leave everything that I can think and choose for my love the thing that I cannot think.” Anon

"the only unfailing guide I’ve ever found through the innumerable blind alleys of my life as a writer, man, husband, father, citizen, steward, or believer, is the love burning in my hear. for me, prayer is about one thing: making contact with that love. though it burns in there like a candle flame, hot, bright, beautiful, love’s flame is so fragile… keeping one’s love burning, and living in accord with that burning: this, to me, is prayer."

"There were a couple of occasions in India when I was twenty that felt to me like going out with a thimble in your hand, hoping to catch a drop of rain, and having the ocean land on your head. These experiences convinced me that there is an absolute love that pervades everything."

"As surely as I feel love and need for food and water, I feel love and need for God. But these feelings have nothing to do with Supramundane Males planning torments for those who don't abide by neocon "moral values." I hold the evangelical truth of our situation to be that contemporary politicized fundamentalists, including first and foremost those aimed at Empire and Armageddon, need us non-fundamentalists, mystics, ecosystem activists, unprogrammable artists, agnostic humanitarians, incorrigible writers, truth-telling musicians, incorruptible scientists, organic gardeners, slow food farmers, gay restaurateurs, wilderness visionaries, pagan preachers of sustainability, compassion-driven entrepreneurs, heartbroken Muslims, grief-stricken children, loving believers, loving disbelievers, peace-marching millions, and the One who loves us all in such a huge way that it is not going too far to say: they need us for their salvation."

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Quotes Cheryl Liked

David James Duncan
“Religious laws, in all the major religious traditions, have both a letter and a spirit. As I understand the words and example of Jesus, the spirit of the law is all-important whereas the letter, while useful… becomes lifeless and deadly without it. In accord with this distinction a yearning to worship on wilderness ridges or beside rivers rather than in churches could legitimately be called evangelical… if your words or deeds harmonize with the example of Jesus, you are evangelical in spirit whether you claim to be or not. When the non-Christian Ambrose Bierce wrote, “War is the means by which Americans learn geography,” his words are aimed at the same antiwar end as “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
David James Duncan, God Laughs & Plays; Churchless Sermons in Response to the Preachments of the Fundamentalist Right

David James Duncan
“The fundamentalists of every faith remain blind to the truth that the “sigh within the prayer is the same in the heart of the Christian, the Muslim, and the Jew.” I have seen this unity with my eyes, heard it with my ears, felt it with all my being.”
David James Duncan, God Laughs & Plays; Churchless Sermons in Response to the Preachments of the Fundamentalist Right

David James Duncan
“To every Armageddonist, every earth lover must keep saying with all the sincerity and affection we can muster, “May God make this world as beautiful to you as it has been to me.”
David James Duncan, God Laughs & Plays; Churchless Sermons in Response to the Preachments of the Fundamentalist Right

David James Duncan
“the only unfailing guide I’ve ever found through the innumerable blind alleys of my life as a writer, man, husband, father, citizen, steward, or believer, is the love burning in my heart. for me, prayer is about one thing: making contact with that love. though it burns in there like a candle flame, hot, bright, beautiful, love’s flame is so fragile… keeping one’s love burning, and living in accord with that burning: this, to me, is prayer.”
David James Duncan, God Laughs & Plays; Churchless Sermons in Response to the Preachments of the Fundamentalist Right

David James Duncan
“There were a couple of occasions in India when I was twenty that felt to me like going out with a thimble in your hand, hoping to catch a drop of rain, and having the ocean land on your head. These experiences convinced me that there is an absolute love that pervades everything.”
David James Duncan, God Laughs & Plays; Churchless Sermons in Response to the Preachments of the Fundamentalist Right

David James Duncan
“As surely as I feel love and need for food and water, I feel love and need for God. But these feelings have nothing to do with Supramundane Males planning torments for those who don't abide by neocon "moral values." I hold the evangelical truth of our situation to be that contemporary politicized fundamentalists, including first and foremost those aimed at Empire and Armageddon, need us non-fundamentalists, mystics, ecosystem activists, unprogrammable artists, agnostic humanitarians, incorrigible writers, truth-telling musicians, incorruptible scientists, organic gardeners, slow food farmers, gay restaurateurs, wilderness visionaries, pagan preachers of sustainability, compassion-driven entrepreneurs, heartbroken Muslims, grief-stricken children, loving believers, loving disbelievers, peace-marching millions, and the One who loves us all in such a huge way that it is not going too far to say: they need us for their salvation.”
David James Duncan, God Laughs & Plays; Churchless Sermons in Response to the Preachments of the Fundamentalist Right


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