Lilian Daniel quote

“The civil rights movement didn’t happen because people felt lucky. The hungry don’t get fed, the homeless don’t get sheltered, and the world doesn’t change because people who are doing okay feel lucky. We need more. As the scripture today tells us, “In accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.”

"We can’t sit back and simply feel gratitude, or feel lucky. No, as Christians we expect more, way more, like a new heaven and a new earth, and because we follow Jesus, we better expect to be involved in making it happen, alongside other people. Gratitude is a biblically commended attitude. Feeling lucky is another religion altogether, one that says the gods pick one teenager to live in the suburbs of the richest nation on earth and another teenager to starve. In a worldview of luck, righteousness is really not at home. But at some point the worldview of luck just doesn’t pan out. At some point you realize that this isn’t enough, and you long for something as outrageous as a new heaven and a new earth. At some point, if you think about it at all, that person with the self-made religion will use his God-given brain and the wisdom of hard experiences and start to ask angry and provocative questions about this spirituality of status quo.

“Who are you, God of sunsets and rainbows and bunnies and chain e-mails about sweet friends? Who are you, cheap God of self-satisfaction and isolation? Who are you, God of the beautiful and the physically fit? Who are you, God of the spiritual but not religious? Who are you, God of the lucky, chief priest of the religion of gratitude? Who are you, and are you even worth knowing? Who are you, God whom I invent?

"Is there, could there be, a more interesting God who invented me?”I’m not against gratitude, any more than I am against finding God in a sunset or a child’s eyes. Those are all good things, along with puppies, rainbows, great vacations, and birthdays. But here’s the thing—none of that constitutes a religion, and I actually believe, contrary to popular wisdom, that in an age of spiritual people who are not religious, we need religion, and its dearest expression to this particular religious Christian person, the church.”

~Lilian Daniels, excerpted from page 118 of “When spiritual but not religious, is not enough”

This book is the current topic of my church study group “The Beyonders” meeting every Tuesday at 10 a.m. There is open and rich discussion from all who wish to share diverse viewpoints but there is no proselytizing, and never any fees, nor are donations accepted.

No matter who you are and no matter where you are in this journey of life, you are welcome here: The United Church of Christ in Simi Valley, 370 Royal Avenue, 93065


Deborah Sampson wanted so much to fight in the Revolutionary War that in 1781, she disguised herself as a man and enlisted under the name of Robert Shurtlieff. She saw action in a variety of engagements and was wounded in the left groin, extracting the bullet herself in order to avoid the attention of a doctor. She was honorably discharged in 1783, later married and had a family. In 1792, she petitioned the Massachusetts Legislature for back pay and received it. After her death, her husband petitioned for pay as the spouse of a soldier. In a most remarkable action for that time in our country’s history, his petition was granted.“

~Jill S. Tietjen

Jill S. Tietjen 150704 The Evening Tribune