Sunday, 14 January 2018

THE WISDOM OF EXPERIENCE

'...because my mother in particular took a lively part in church affairs, I never from my earliest age assumed that churchgoers were becessarily morally superior to other people, since experience showed me they were not.' 
PD James, Time to be in Earnest: A Fragment of Autobiography, p.87. 

THE TRAGEDY OF NOT GRASPING GRACE

'For now he knew that though God might save every other man, Gib Dawe He could not save. Once he had seen his sin as a thing that clung close as his shadow clung to his heels; now he knew that it was the very stuff of his soul. Never could he, a leaking bucket not to be mended, retain God's saving Grace, however freely outpoured. Never could he, that heavy lump of sin, do any other than sink, and sink again, however often Christ, walking on the waves, should stretch His hand to lift and bring him safe. 
He did not know that though the bucket be leaky it matters not at all when it is deep in the deep sea, and the water both without it and within. He did not know, because he was too proud to know, that a man must endure to sink, and sink again, but always crying upon God, never for shame ceasing to cry, until the day when he shall find himself lifted by the bland swell of that power, inward, secret, as little to be known as to be doubted, the power of omnipotent grace in tranquil irresistible operation.' 
HFM Prescott, The Man on a Donkey, p.710. 

WHAT IS A GOD?

'What does it mean to have a god? What is God? my answer is: A god is whatever a person looks to for all good things and runs to for help in trouble.' 
Martin Luther in Brian S Rosner, Known by God, p.62. 

DON'T BE TRUE TO YOURSELF

'If you are true to "yourself", you will end up a complete mess. The challenge is to take the "self" you find within, and to choose wisely which impulses and desires to follow, and which ones to resist.' 
Tom Wright in Brian S Rosner, Known by God: A Biblical Theology of Personal Identity, p.25. 

Sunday, 7 January 2018

A BABY

'...a new being, a microcosm, like a mirror to catch and reflect the universe and the Maker of the universe..' 
HFM Prescott, The Man on a Donkey, p.35. 

TEMPTATION

'Some people undergo their heaviest temptations at the beginning of their conversion; some towards the end of their course; others are greatly troubled all their lives; while there are some whose temptations are but light. This is in accordance with the wisdom and justice of God's ordinance, who weighs the condition and merits of every man, and disposes all things for the salvation of those whom He chooses.' 
Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, p.41. 

BEST PRESENTS

'One of the best presents anyone can give you is the name of a writer whose books they believe will be "you" - and they are. Someone you would almost certainly never have found for yourself. They expand your horizons, they enrich you, they lead you forward, they chime with truths you already know and confirm them, they share new truths of their own with you.'
Susan Hill, Jacob's Room is Full of Books: A Year of Reading, p.247. 

Sunday, 31 December 2017

TOP BOOKS OF 2017

In, yet again, no particular order (other than the rough order I read them in):

  • Glynn Harrison, A Better Story: God, Sex & Human Flourishing
  • Roger Deakin, Notes from Walnut Tree Farm 
  • Peter Hedges, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
  • Thomas Savage, The Power of the Dog 
  • Tim Winton, The Boy Behind the Curtain
  • Peter Scazzero, The Emotionally Healthy Leader
  • Barbara Pym, Crampton Hodnet
  • Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary
  • Andy Angel, Intimate Jesus: The Sexuality of God Incarnate
  • Alan Jacobs, How to Think: A Guide for the Perplexed

Saturday, 23 December 2017

DIFFERENT TYPES OF DOUBT

'...the Bible's view of doubt is wonderfully nuanced. In many circles, skepticism and doubt are considered an absolute, unmitigated good. On the other hand, in a lot of conservative and traditional religious circles, any and all questioning or doubting is thought to be bad. If you are in a church youth group and you have questions about the Bible, the youth leader may mark at you, "You shouldn't doubt! You have to have faith." 
What you have in the Bible is neither view. There is a kind of doubt that is the sign of a closed mind, and there is a kind of doubt that is the sign of an open mind. Some doubt seeks answers, and some doubt is a defense against the possibility of answers. There are people like Mary who are open to the truth and are willing to relinquish sovereignty over their lives if they can be shown that the truth is other than they thought. And there are those like Zechariah who use doubts as a way of staying in control of their lives and keeping their minds closed. What kind of doubt do you have?'
Timothy Keller. Hidden Christmas, p.83.  

WHAT HUMANS NEED TO SURVIVE

'It's been said that to survive all we need is food, clothing, shelter, and a healthy feeling of superiority over our fellow mortals. Alas, probably true.' 
Mark Edmundson, Why Write? p.31.