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I have been thinking about the quote that I shared in a blog recently from Theodore Roosevelt: entering the arena… daring greatly. (The full quote is available at )

The quote has caused me to reflect on some memories, and it has become clearer that when I have entered the arena, it has been a transforming experience, a spiritual experience.

Hard choices

‘Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem’ (Luke 9:51)
As I write today, we enter the season of Lent. We begin a journey to Jerusalem with Jesus, which he instigated with a resolute decision, ‘Jesus set his face.’

This was a hard choice, and it is not immediately apparent why Jesus took it.

According to Luke, in Galilee where Jesus began his ministry, it prospered. The locals were receptive to his message. He formed a movement of willing volunteers, who were inspired by his teaching about the coming kingdom of God.

In the arena, daring greatly

It is not the critics who count, not those who point out how the strong stumble, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again… and who knows at the worst that, if they fail, at least they failed while daring greatly. Their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Jesus must be weeping

‘If you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.’ (Matt. 18:6)

The recent revelation from the Royal Commission that 20% of those in religious orders have allegedly abused children defies comprehension. Albeit briefly, drowning them with a great millstone comes to mind.


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