Saturday, December 26, 2009


G. K. CHESTERTON: "Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul. Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labour by which all things live."

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Lord of daily life

This quote is a little late in the year, but potent all the same.

To predispose our mind to welcome the Lord who, as we say in the Creed, one day will come to judge the living and the dead, we must learn to recognize him as present in the events of daily life. Therefore, Advent is, so to speak, an intense training that directs us decisively toward him who already came, who will come, and who comes continuously.

- Pope John Paul II

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jesus: King of the World

If Jesus is the true King of all the world, whose kingdom redefines power and glory so that they are now seen in the manger, on the cross, and in the garden, then to pray "Thy kingdom come" from the Lord's Prayer is to ask that this kingdom, this power, and this glory may be seen in all the world. It is not enough, though it is the essential starting point, that we submit in our own lives to God's alternative kingdom-vision; we must pray and work for the vision to come in reality, with the rulers of this world being confronted with the claims of their rightful King.

N. T. Wright
"The Most Dangerous Baby" from Christianity Today

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Maya Angelou

I find it interesting that the meanest life, the poorest existence, is attributed to God's will, but as human beings become more affluent, as their living standard and style begin to ascend the material scale, God descends the scale of responsibility at commensurate speed.

- Maya Angelou
from her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rollo May

Commitment is healthiest when it is not without doubt, but in spite of doubt. To believe fully and at the same moment to have doubts is not at all a contradiction: [rather] it presupposes a greater respect for truth, an awareness that truth always goes beyond anything that can be said or done at any given moment…”

Rollo May, in The Courage to Create

Saturday, December 19, 2009


The creation is not in any sense independent of the Creator, the result of a primal creative act long over and done with, but is the continuous, constant participation of all creatures in the being of God.

- Wendell Berry, from his essay Christianity and the Survival of Creation

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Barbara Brown Taylor

When it comes down to being a provider of God's love, there is really only one provider, who sends us out with nothing at all and with everything we need: healing, forgiveness, restoration, resurrection. Those are the only things we really have to share with the world, which is just as well, since they are the only things the world really needs.

- Barbara Brown Taylor, from her book Bread of Angels

I haven't read this book by Taylor, but her more autobiographical one, Leaving Church, has some very good things in it. This quote is similar to the one I've put on another blog today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Marilyn McEntyre

I have come to believe that saying yes to Christ means saying yes to seeking truth--truth that will set us and others free, and consenting to act on that truth when we find it. For me, this has meant that even though I haven't given away all my possessions or abandoned my car, I have begun to cultivate new habits of awareness and action--to ask about economic and agricultural and political processes, to consider what I'm supporting when I vote, buy, or travel. It has meant evaluating my moral choices not only in terms of whether I personally lie, cheat, steal, or play fair, but also how the systems that I inhabit function, for whose benefit, and at whose cost.

Marilyn McEntyre
"Consenting to Consciousness" in Zealous Love

Susanna Wesley

May I be careful to have my mind in order when I take upon myself the honour to speak to the sovereign Lord of the universe, remembering that upon the temper of my soul depends, in very great measure, my success.

- Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, the founders of Methodism (1669-1742)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Brian McLaren

“… It is the societal map of greed, lust, arrogance, fear, racism, domination, oppression, revenge, and injustice that [Jesus] wants to redraw. He wants his disciples to move mountains of injustice and make new rivers of creativity and compassion flow. He wants them to uproot the fruitless fig tree of dual-narrative religion and plant in its place a spiritual vineyard of joy and transformation. He wants his followers to do the impossible: to label as unacceptable, unnatural, and changeable a world where homeless children beg outside the sprawling estates of the super-rich … a world that could tithe its weapons budget and so feed, clothe, and shelter the poor…. Faith brings God’s creative power into our global crises, so the impossible first becomes possible and then inevitable for those who believe.”

McLaren, Everything Must Change, 300-301


The ache for friends is the one ache that did not come from sin.... God made us in such a way that we cannot experience paradise without friends.

Tim Keller
"Spiritual Friendship" from Redeemer Presbyterian Church

The link above leads to a page where you can listen to the mp3 of this sermon.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Subjugating the will

However high be your endeavors, unless you renounce and subjugate your own will -- unless you forget yourself and all that pertains to yourself -- not one step will you advance on the road to perfection.

St. John of the Cross,
Spanish mystic, friar, and priest (1542-1591)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Alan Roxburgh

Why this Western infatuation with the Dalai Lama? For [Andy] Lemey [writing in Macleans] it’s because the Dalai Lama’s persona solves a specifically Western problem. He puts it this way: In the 19th century the shared religious values that once permeated civilization began a ‘long withdrawing roar’... Any religion one adopts now is merely one possibility among many, a reality that drains each of its explanatory value and force. An infatuation with the Dalai Lama is the Goldilocks solution for a culture that finds its traditional religion too hot and atheism too cold. His exoticism marks him as authentic, and subjecting his teaching to critical scrutiny is beside the point, as there is never any chance we are going to engage his teachings seriously enough to be challenged by them. We instead want to bask in his distant spiritual glow.

Alan Roxburgh, in a blog post, 29.11.09 on the Roxburgh Missional Network.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


"Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.…

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), Seek That Which Is Above,1986

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Stephen Jay Gould

I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.

- Stephen Jay Gould, American evolutionary biologist (1941-2002)

This is an interesting quote from Gould, who is perhaps better known for being his promotion of evolution in biology.