Monday, November 19, 2007


Elizabeth O'Connor's books aren't readily available on bookstore shelves these days. Too bad, because her perspective and expression of Christian witness in urban America are incredibly relevant. Call to Commitment and Journey Inward, Journey Outward (1968, Harper & Row) are among the books I frequently recommend. Learn more about Elizabeth O'Connor, her work with the Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C., and access her books. The following excerpt comes from Journey Inward, Journey Outward:

PRIMARY TASK. “The primary task and mission of the Christian is to call forth the gifts of others. The reason people have resisted the Gospel is that we have gone out to make people good, to help them do their duty, to impose new burdens on them, rather than calling forth the gift which is the essence of the person himself.”

TO BE AND DO. “We are to let others know that God is for them and that they can ‘be.’ They can be what in their deepest hearts they know that they were intended to be, they can do what they were meant to do. As Christians we are heralds of these good things.”

OUR OWN GIFTS. “We begin by exercising our own gifts. The person who is having the time of his life doing what he is doing has a way of calling forth the deeps of another. Such a person is Good News. He is not saying the good news. He IS the Good News. He is the embodiment of the freedom of the new humanity. The person who exercises his own gift in freedom can allow the Holy Spirit to do in others what He wants to do."

PROPHETIC WORD. “The discovery of the real self is the way to the treasure hidden in a field. The gift a person brings to another is the gift of himself. Talents are the expression of this self. It is the way the self is sent into the world to use the materials of the world, and to be the bearer of the spirit of God, and -- paradoxically -- it is the way the self not only remains behind, but is catapulted into the future, for in the creative act the new breaks forth, and the prophetic word is heard.”

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