Thursday, 25 December 2008


'...they treat each other with that unexplained reserve of people who have been together in the same place for quite a while but have never really taken to each other.'
Ferdinand Mount, Cold Cream: My Early Life and Other Mistakes, p.88.


'But just as she believed that somewhere outside the track of time, where past and future merged into an Eternal Present, there was another world, the world of Ultimate Reality, so too she must hope that somewhere in that other world there was a place for Vyne where its spirit still lived together with its creators.'
Phyllis Eleanor Sandeman, Tresure on Earth, p. 112.


'Its true that I've driven through a number of red lights on occasion, but on the other hand I've stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten credit for it.'
Glenn Gould in Katie Hafner, A Romance on Three Legs, p.177.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008



'This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future's
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.

And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect

Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.'

UA Fanthorpe, Selected Poems, p.66.


'The deepest motive for our sanctification, for holy living and good works, is not our pyschology, not how I "feel" about God and Jesus. Nor is it even our faith. Rather, that profoundest of motives is the resurrection power of Christ, the new creation we are and have already been made part of in Christ by his Spirit.'
Richard B Gaffin Jr, By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation, p. 78.


'We need more Christians who will lead lives of repentance, for repentance always challenges pride. If you're coming to God daily to confess to him how much you have sinned, you will find it hard to pretend that you are holier than everybody else. You'll find it hard to put on airs, to pose as the perfect Christian. When others accuse you of sin, you won't immediately jump to defend yourself, as if of course you could never do wrong and any accusation must be a misunderstanding. Rather, when someone accuses you of sin, you'll respond by thinking there is a high probability that the accusation is true...'
John Frame, Salvation Belongs to the Lord, p.199.


'Scripture cannot imagine anyone believing in Christ who wants at the same time to cling to his sin.'
John Frame, Salvation Belongs to the Lord, p.198.

Monday, 22 December 2008


'Sin is willful rejection of fellowship with God, by refusing to acknowledge him as creator and to live out of thankful dependence on him (Rom. 1:19-21a); it is a deep-seated recoil against the creator-creature relationship.'
Richard B Gaffin Jr., By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation, p.30.


'Human nature is universally imbued with a desire for liberty, and a hatred of servitude.'
Julius Caesar in Tom Holland, Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic, p.xxix.

Sunday, 21 December 2008


'The wind and the rain recognized Jesus' voice. (They had heard it before, of course - it was the same voice that made them, in the very beginning). They listened to Jesus and they did what he said.'
Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible, p.242.

Friday, 19 December 2008


' our day Jesus might have framed the story as the parable of the good homosexual New Ager.'
Tom Hovestol, Extreme Righteousness, p.57.


'Warning Light #1: A Contemptuous View of Others.
Warning Light # 2: A Shallow Sense of Forgiveness.
Warning Light # 3: A Wrong Sense of Grace and Fairness.
Warning Light #4: An Unhealthy View of Failure.'
Tom Hovestol, Extreme Righteousness, p.50-53.


'The Pharisees are spiritual mirrors divinely given to us to reflect the condition of our hearts. What would we look like physically if we had no mirrors? We would be oblivious to our disheveled appearance. Eventually we would become convinced, simply out of ignorance of reality, that we looked good, when, in fact, we do not. We need to look at the spiritual mirror of the Pharisees and see ourselves.'
Tom Hovestol, Extreme Righteousness, p.45.


'To me the finest text of Scripture on parenting is the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15). Here a father, whose sons are both wayward, demonstates wise parenting. We are prone to identify only the younger sons as "prodigal." We are quick to see blatant rebellion and label it as sin. But if our children don't break the rules and maintain an active presence in the church, we are satisfied. We think we have done our job. The parable reminds us that there is a more sinister sin of the heart than active rebellion, passive rebellion.'
Tom Hovestol, Extreme Righteousness, p.43.


'The simple truth is that people can be good and be wrong. Early in my religious life I acquired the notion that those who believed Christ's truth were good and those who ignored or rejected it were bad. But life is not that simple. Sometimes those who hold to truth are scoundrels and those who affirm error are saintly. One can hold steadfastly to a system of half-truths and subtle distortions and still live a moral life. There is not a necessary connection between truth and apparent morality.'
Tom Hovestol, Extreme Righteousness, p.37.


'I almost could have mouthed the words of the apostle Paul (Philippians 3:4-6): "If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I have far more: circumcised the eighth day [churched from birth], of the nation of Israel [born in a Christian home in 'Christian America'], of the tribe of Benjamin [conservative, evangelical, fundamental], a Hebrew of Hebrews [a Christian's Christian]." As Paul was a Pharisee, I was also learned, disciplined, and devout. Like Paul I was zealous, having volunteered for Christian service at home and abroad. Paul wrote, "As for the righteousness which is in the Law, [I am] found blamless"; as far as people could see, I too lived an exemplary life.'
Tom Hovestol, Extreme Righteousness, p.12.

Monday, 15 December 2008


'Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than truth itself.'
Irenaeus in Timothy George, Galatians (New American Commentary), p.103.

Thursday, 11 December 2008


'For just as the banner of an army is the sure sign by which one can know what kind of lord and army has taken to the field, so too the gospel is the sure sign by which one knows where Christ and his armies are encamped.'
Martin Luther in Alister E. McGrath, Reformation Thought, p.190.


'Superficial views of sin inevitably tend towards superficial views of the redemptive work of Christ.'
W.H. Griffith Thomas, Principles of Theology: An Introduction to the Thirty Nine Articles, p.174.

Monday, 8 December 2008


'There are two basic narrative identities at work among professing Christians. The first is what I call the moral performance narrative identity. These are people who in their heart of hearts say, I obey therefore I am accepted by God. The second is what I will call the grace narrative identity. This basic operating principle is, I am accepted by God through Christ; therefore I obey.'
Timothy Keller, Christianity Today (December 2008), p.52.


'Humility is so shy. If you begin talking about it, it leaves.'
Timothy Keller, Christianity Today (December 2008), p.51.

Thursday, 4 December 2008


'In the valley of suffering, despair and bitterness are brewed. But there also character is made. The valley of suffering is the vale of soul-making.'
Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son, p.97.


'Love in our world is suffering love. Some do not suffer much, though, for they do not love much. Suffering is for the loving. If I hadn't loved him, there wouldn't be this agony.
This, said Jesus, is the command of the Holy One: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." In commanding us to love, God invites us to suffer.'
Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son, p.89.


'Who then are the mourners? The mourners are those who have caught a glimpse of God's new day, who ache with all their being for that day's coming, and who break out into tears when confronted with its absence. They are the ones who realize that in God's realm of peace there is no one blind and who ache whenever they see someone unseeing. They are the ones who realize that in God's realm there is no one hungry and who ache whenever they see someone starving. They are the ones who realize that in God's realm there is no one falsely accused and who ache whenever they see someone imprisoned unjustly. They are the ones who realize that in God's realm there is no one who fails to see God and who ache whenever they see someone unbelieving. They are the ones who realize that in God's realm there is no one who suffers oppression and who ache whenever they see someone beat down. They are the ones who realize that in God's realm there is no one without dignity and who ache whenever they see someone treated with indignity. They are the ones who realize that in God's realm of peace there is neither death nor tears and who ache whenever they see someone crying tears over death. The mourners are aching visionaries.'
Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son, p.85.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008


'Death is the great leveller, so our writers have always told us. Of course they are right. But they have neglected to mention the uniqueness of each death - and the solitude of suffering which accompanies that uniqueness. We say, "I know how you're feeling." But we don't.'
Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son, p.25.


'It's so wrong, so profoundly wrong, for a child to die before its parents. It's hard enough to bury our parents. But that we expect. Our parents belong to our past, our children belong to our future. We do not visualize our future without them. How can I bury my son, my future, one of the next in line? He was meant to bury me!'
Nicholas Wolsterstorff, Lament for a Son, p.16.


'We took him too much for granted. Perhaps we all take each other too much for granted. The routines of life distract us; our own pursuits make us oblivious; our anxieties and sorrows, unmindful. The beauties of the familiar go unremarked. We do not treasure each other enough.'
Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son, p.13.

Sunday, 30 November 2008


'The Jesus of the New Testament has at least one advantage over the Jesus of modern reconstruction - He is real. He is not a manufactured figure suitable as a point of support for ethical maxims, but a genuine Person whom a man can love. Men have loved Him through all the Christian centuries. And the strange thing is that despite all the efforts to remove Him from the pages of history, there are those who love Him still.'
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, p.116.


'...language is truthful, not when the meaning attached to the words by the speaker, but when the meaning intended to be produced in the mind of the particular person addressed, is in accordance with the facts.'
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, p.112.


'The New Testament without the miracles would be far easier to believe. But the trouble is, it would not be worth believing.'
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, p.103.


'The fundamental fault of the modern Church is that she is busily engaged in an absolutely impossible task - she is busily engaged in calling the righteous to repentance...Even our Lord did not call the righteous to repentance, and probably we shall be no more successful than he.'
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, p.68.


'In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner.'
Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Graham Beynon, Mirror, Mirror: Discover your true indentity in Christ, p.131.


'...glorious ruins...'
Francis Schaeffer in Graham Beynon, Mirror, Mirror: Discovering your true identity in Christ, p.67.


'I know that have cause to be humble and yet I do not know one half of that cause. I know I am proud and yet I do not know half of that pride.'
Robert Murray M'Cheyne in Graham Beynon, Mirror, Mirror: Discover your true identity in Christ, p.63.


'Remember Jesus' harshest words were for those who tended to think well of themselves and had forgotten the sin inside them, and his warmest words were for those who recognized that sin and were honest about it.'
Graham Beynon, Mirror, Mirror: Discover your true identity in Christ, p.62.


'Some people hold up their hands in holy horror at even hearing that so and so has such a problem. But if they knew how sympathetic the Lord is to the affliction, and how he stands ready to use it when it is given to him, they might be shocked out of their self-righteousness.
Jesus is far more daring in what he does and whom he employs than many exceedingly pious souls dare to believe. Perhaps that's why hypocrites don't like to get too near him. He's a shocker.'
William Still, 'A Pastoral Perspective on Our Fallen Sexuality' in David Searle (Ed.), Truth and Love, p.64.


'I have known those who were faced with extreme temptation to 'unnatural sin' who so resolutely refused to succumb to what fatally attracted them but which they knew was wrong, that I was astonished. But on reflection, I knew why their aesthetic, pastoral, and preaching gifts were signally used of God. That very drive, which could have ruined them was used, when transmogrified into an instrument of God, as the means of saving and blessing many.'
William Still, 'A Pastoral Perspective on Our Fallen Sexuality' in David Searle (Ed.), Truth and Love, p.63.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008


'Here is found the most fundamental difference between liberalism and Christianity - liberalism is altogether in the imperative mood, while Christianity begins with a triumphant indicative; liberalism appeals to man's will, while Christianity announces, first, a gracious act of God.'
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, p.47.


'The movement designated as "liberalism" is regarded as "liberal" only by its friends; to its opponents it seems to involve a narrow ignoring of many relevant facts.'
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, p.2.


'The type of religion which rejoices in the pious sound of traditional phrases regardless of their meanings, or shrinks from "controversial" matters, will never stand amid the shocks of life.'
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, p. 1.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


'Our ability to measure and appportion time affords an almost endless source of comfort.'
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road, p.213.

Monday, 24 November 2008


'Then the fight went out of control. It quivered their arms and legs and wrenched their faces into shapes of hatred, it urged them harder and deeper into each other's weakest points, showing them cunning ways around each other's strongholds and quick chances to switch tactics, feint, and strike again. In the space of a gasp for breath it sent their memories racing back over the years for old weapons to rip the scabs off old wounds; it went on and on.'
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road, p.27.

Friday, 21 November 2008


'We are forever drawing up indictments against the past, then refusing to let it testify on its own behalf - it is so very guilty, after all.'
Marilynne Robinson, 'Marguerite of Navarre' in The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought, p.182.


'For at least a century we have diverted ourselves with the fact that it is possible to translate whole constellations of ideas into terms inappropriate to them. And when, thus transformed, they seem odd or foolish, we have acted as if we had exposed their true nature - in its essence, the alligator was always a handbag. We have alienated ourselves from our history by systematically refusing it the kind of understanding that would make it intelligible to us, until we are no longer capable of understanding it.'
Marilynne Robinson, 'Marguerite de Navarre' in The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought, p.181.

Thursday, 20 November 2008


'But I say: we ought to embrace the whole human race without exception in a single feeling of love; here there is no distinction between barbarian and Greek, worthy and unworthy, friend and enemy, since all should be contemplated in God, not in themselves. When we turn aside from such contemplation, it is no wonder we become entangled in many errors. Therefore, if we rightly direct our love, we must first turn our eyes not to man, the sight of whom would more often engender hate than love, but to God, who bids us extend to all men the love we bear to him, that this may be an unchanging principle: Whatever the character of the man, we must yet love him because we love God.'
John Calvin in Marilynne Robinson, 'Puritans and Prigs' in The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought, p.172.


'I have not yet found a Puritan whose Calvinism was so decayed or so poorly comprehended that he or she would say to another soul, I am within the circle of the elect and you are outside it.'
Marilynne Robinson, 'Puritans and Prigs' in The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought, p.169.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


'A great many of us, in the face of recent experience, have arrived with a jolt at the archaic-sounding conclusion that morality was the glue holding society together, just when we were in the middle of proving that it was a repressive system to be blamed for all our ills.'
Marilynne Robinson, 'Puritans and Prigs' in The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought, p.159.

Monday, 17 November 2008


'Everything God wanted to say to the whole world - in a person.'
Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible, p.169.

Saturday, 15 November 2008


'This world is not simply a theater for individual conversion narratives, to be discarded at the end when we all go to heaven. No, the ultimate purpose of Jesus is not only individual salvation and pardon for sins but also the renewal of this world, the end of disease, poverty, injustice, violence, suffering and death.'
Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, p.110.


'If you are filled with shame and guilt, you do not merely need to believe in the abstract concept of God's mercy. You must sense, on the palate of the heart, as it were, the sweeteness of his mercy. Then you will know that you are accepted.'
Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, p.109.


'Our pleasure and our duty,
though opposite before,
since we have seen his beauty
are joined to part no more.'
John Newton in Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, p.88.


'To find God we must repent of the things we have done wrong, but if that is all you do, you may remain just an elder brother. To truly become Christians we must also repent of the reasons we ever did anything right. Pharisees only repent of their sins, but Christians repent for the very roots of their righteousness too. We must learn to repent of the sin under all our other sins and under all our righteousness - the sin of seeking to be our own Savior and Lord.'
Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, p.78.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


'Jesus's teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishoners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did.'
Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, p.15.

Saturday, 8 November 2008


'Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord's Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.'
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, p.134.


'...mental health is based on a certain degree of tension, the tension between what one has already achieved and what one still ought to accomplish, or the gap between what one is and what one should become. Such a tension is inherent in the human being and therefore is indispensable to mental well-being.'
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, p.104.


'I remember two cases of would-be suicide, which bore a striking similarity to each other. Both men had talked of their intentions to commit suicide. Both used the typical argument - they had nothing more to expect from life. In both cases it was a question of getting them to realize that life was still expecting something from them; something in the future was expected of them.'
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, p.79.


'...there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.'
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, p.78.


'The prisoner who had lost faith in the future - his future - was doomed. With his loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and became subject to mental and physical decay.'
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, p.74.


'It is a peculiarity of mankind that he can only live by looking to the future.'
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, p.73.

Friday, 7 November 2008


'If there is meaning in life at all, there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life is incomplete.
The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity - even under the most difficult circumstances - to add a deeper meaning to his life.'
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, p.67.


'Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way - an honorable way - in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment.'
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, p.37.

Thursday, 6 November 2008


'Don't aim at success - the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself.'
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, p.xiv.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


'This is the double delight of joy. We enjoy what God has given us, and there is a bond - a knowing smile - that we share with him as we participate in his joy. True joy comes as when we learn to enjoy the things that God enjoys.'
Edward T. Welch, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, p.270.


'If you are hopeless, there may be many contributors, but two are certain. First you have placed your hope in something other than God - a person, money, personal reputation - and it has let you down. Second, you may understand that Jesus conquered death, but you live as though he is still in the grave. All hopelesness is ultimately a denial of the resurrection.'
Edward T. Welch, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, p.253.


'...aching visionaries...'
Nicholas Wolterstorff in Edward T. Welch, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, p.250.

Monday, 3 November 2008


'One of the many unique features of God's ways is that we all shift back and forth between our roles as physician and patient.'
Edward T. Welch, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, p.223.

Saturday, 1 November 2008


'...a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.'
Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible, p.36.


'...brothers condescend to their sisters. It is a sign of affection.'
Marilynne Robinson, Home, p.51.


'...parsing the broken heart of humankind and praising the loving heart of Christ...'
Marilynne Robinson, Home, p.50.


'...adolescence was a matter of watching unremarakable features drift off axis very slightly, of watching the nose knuckle just a little and the jaw go just a bit out off square.'
Marilynne Robinson, Home, p.41.

Monday, 20 October 2008


'Anger is as basic to our condition as bipedal locomotion and opposable thumbs. If you are a person with a mind and emotions, you will find anger.
To make this search even more important, remember that angers hides. The angry person is always the last person to know that he or she is angry.'
Edward T. Welch, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, p.154.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


'Isn't it true that suffering reveals us? While prosperity allows us to hide, hardships peel off masks we didn't even know we were wearing. During the better times, we can be happy, unafraid, confident and optimistic, but the lean years reveal the best and worst in us. Put a dozen relatively like-minded people into the same crisis and you will see a dozen different responses. Some are heroes, others are cowards. Some are leaders, others are followers. Some are optimists, others despair. Some shake their fists at God, others quietly submit. You don't really know who you are until you have gone through suffering. We can measure our spiritual growth by the way we behave under pressure.'
Edward T. Welch, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, p.134.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


'In the worst of times, there is still more cause to complain of a an evil heart than of an evil world.'
Robert Fleming in Edward T. Welch, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, p.76.


'Hell was abolished around the same time that abortion was legalized and the death penalty was done away with. It would not be surprising to peer into an old Hansard from the middle 1960s and find that the House of Commons had quietly passed the Infernal Regions (Closure) Act one unseasonably hot Friday afternoon when the Scottish MPs were all away. A beaming Roy Jenkins would have found parliamentary time for it, as part of his efforts to make Britain a more "civilized" society. Like so many similar reforms, making Satan redundant was or appeared to be a change whose time had come. After all, nobody went to Hell any more, did they?'
Peter Hitchens, The Abolition of Britain, p.107.

Sunday, 12 October 2008


The challenge for us is to think as God thinks. In other words, our present thinking must be turned upside-down. We once thought that suffering was to be avoided at all costs; now we must understand that the path to becoming more like Jesus goes through hardship, and it is much better than the path of brief and superficial comfort without Jesus. When we understand this grand purpose, we discover that suffering does not oppose love; it is a result of it (Heb. 12:8). We are under the mistaken impression that divine love cannot coexist with human pain. Such thinking is one of Satan's most effective strategies.'
Edward T. Welch, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, p.70.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008


'No sin is necessarily connected with sorrow of heart, for Jesus Christ our Lord once said, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death." There was no sin in Him, and consequently none in His deep depression.'
Charles Spurgeon in Edward T. Welch, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, p.32.


'Depression is a form of suffering that can't be reduced to one universal cause. This means that family and friends can't rush in armed with THE answer. Instead, they must be willing to postpone swearing allegiance to a particular theory, and take time to know the depressed person and work together with him or her. What we do know is that depression is painful and, if you have never experienced it, hard to understand.'
Edward T. Welch, Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, p.14.

Monday, 6 October 2008


'All the real argument about religion turns on the question of whether a man who was born upside down can tell when he comes right way up. The primary paradox of Christianity is that the ordinary condition of man is not his sane or sensible condition; that the normal itself is an abnormality. That is the inmost philosophy of the Fall.'
GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p.117.


'Somehow or other an extraordinary idea has arisen that the the disbelievers in miracles consider them coldly and fairly, while believers in miracles accept them only in connection with some dogma. The fact is quite the other way. The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them.'
GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p.111.

Friday, 3 October 2008


'Aravis also had many quarrels (and, I'm afraid, even fights) with Cor, but they always made it up again; so that years later, when they were grown up, they were so used to quarrelling and making it up again that they got married so as to go doing it more conveniently.'
CS Lewis, The Horse and His Boy, p.201 of The Complete Chronicles of Narnia.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008


'I have known people who protested against religious education with arguments against any education, saying that the child's mind must grow freely or that the old must not teach the young.'
GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p.103.


'It is a good exercise to try for once in a way to express any opinion one holds in words of one syllable. If you say "the social utility of the indeterminate sentence is recognised by all criminologists as a part of our sociological evolution towards a more humane and scientific view of punishment," you can go on talking like that for hours with hardly a movement of the grey matter inside your skull. But if you begin "I wish Jones to go to gaol and Brown to say when Jones shall come out," you will discover, with a thrill of horror, that you are obliged to think. The long words are not the hard words, it is the short words that are hard.'
GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p.91.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008


'If our faith comments on government at all, its comment must be this - that the man should rule who does not think that he can rule... we must take the crown in our hands, and go hunting in dry places and dark corners of the earth until we find the one man who feels himself unable to wear it... we have not got to crown the exceptional man who knows he can rule. Rather we must crown the much more exceptional man who knows he can't.'
GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p.87.


'...I must be prepared for the moral fall of any man in any position at any moment; especially for my fall from my position at this moment.'
GK Cheserton, Orthodoxy, p.87.


'The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate. This gives to the typically Christian pleasure in this earth a strange touch of lightness that is almost frivolity. Nature was a solemn mother to worshippers of Isis and Cybele. Nature was a solemn mother to Wordsworth or to Emerson. But nature is not solemn to Francis of Assisi or to George Herbert. Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister: a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved.'
GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p.82.


'There is a vital objection to the advice merely to grin and bear it. The objection is that if you merely bear it, you do not grin.'
GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p.74.

Saturday, 27 September 2008


'And the King says, "Look! God and his children are together again. No more running away. Or hiding. No more crying or being lonely or afraid. No more being sick or dying. Because all those things are gone. Yes, they're gone forever. Everything sad has come untrue. And see - I have wiped every tear from every eye."'
Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible, p.347.

Saturday, 20 September 2008


‘...if some small mistake were made in doctrine, huge blunders might be made in human happiness.’
GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p.73.


‘And the more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.’
GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p.69,


'An imbecile habit has arisen in modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in one age but cannot be held in another. Some dogma, we are told, was credible in the twelfth century, but is not credible in the twentieth. You might as well say that a certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesdays. You might as well say of a view of the cosmos that it was suitable to half-past three, but not suitable to half-past four. What a man can believe depends upon his philosophy, not upon the clock or the century. If a man believes in unalterable natural law, he cannot believe in any miracle in any age. If a man believes in a will behind law, he can believe in any miracle in any age.'
GK Chesteron, Orthodoxy, p.53.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


'I have been accustomed to call this book, I think not inappropriately, "An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;" for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to the life all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated.'
John Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Psalms, xxxvii.

Monday, 15 September 2008


'Just as one generation could prevent the very existence of the next generation, by all entering a monastery or jumping into the sea, so one set of thinkers can in some degree prevent further thinking by teaching the next generation that there is no validity in any human thought.'
GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p.20.


'But what we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed.'
GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p.19.

Sunday, 14 September 2008


'Beware of the argument "the church gave the Bible (and therefore the Bible can never give us grounds for criticising the Church)'. It is perfectly possible to accept B on the authority of A and yet regard B as a higher authority than A. It happens when I recommend a book to a pupil. I first sent him to the book, but, having gone to it, he knows (for I've told him) that the author knows more about the subject than I.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.) in The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.1307.


'Perhaps, however, the most important thing is to keep on: not to be discouraged however often one yields to the temptation, but always to pick yourself up again and ask forgiveness. In reviewing your sins don't either exaggerate or minimise them. Call them by their ordinary names and try to see them as you wd. see the same faults in somebody else - no special blackening or whitewashing ... Of course there are other helps which are mere commonsense. We must learn by experience to avoid either trains of thought or social situations which for us (not necessarily for everyone) lead to temptations. Like motoring - don't wait till the last moment before you put on the brakes but put them on, gently and quietly, while the danger is still a good way off.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.1285.

Thursday, 11 September 2008


'People talk as if grief were just a feeling - as if it weren't the continually renewed shock of setting out again and again on familiar roads and being brought up short by the grim frontier post that now blocks them.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.1102.

Sunday, 31 August 2008


'The trial did not create the evil: it merely brought out what was there already, unoticed and unfelt, like a torpid adder. Then the heart's deep fountains were broken up, and streams of pollution came rushing out, black as Hell ... Even so it is with the saints still. God chastens them that He may draw forth the evil that is lying concealed and unsuspected within ... When calamity breaks over them like a tempest, then the hidden evils of their heart awakes.'
Horatius Bonar in Tim Chester, You Can Change, p.160.


'A child will play happily in her own little world. But as soon as she senses danger, she'll look around for a parent. This is how it should be for the child of God. As soon as we sense danger, we should look up to our heavenly Father for help.'
Tim Chester, You Can Change, p.156.

Saturday, 30 August 2008


'In Greek mythology, the Sirens would sing enchanting songs drawing sailors irresistably towards the rocks and certain shipwreck. Odysseus filled his crew's ears with wax and had them tie him to the mast. This is like the approach of legalism. We bind ourselves up with laws and disciplines in a vain attempt to resist temptation. Orpheus, on the other hand, played such beautiful music on his harp that his sailors ignored the Siren song. This is the way of faith. The grace of the gospel sings a far more glorious song than the enticements of sin, if only we have faith to hear its music.'
Tim Chester, You Can Change, p. 64.


'We are more able to stop the sun in its course or make rivers run uphill as by our own skill and power to rule and order our hearts.'
John Flavel in Tim Chester, You Can Change, p.47.


'The good things even of this world are far too good ever to be reached by imagination. Even the common orange you know: no-one cd. have imagined it before he tasted it. How much less Heaven.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.778.


'I think what one has to remember when people "hurt" one is that in 99 cases of 100 they intended to hurt v. much less, or not at all, and are often quite unconscious of the whole thing. I've learned this from the cases in which I was the "hurter". When I have been really wicked & angry, and meant to be nasty, the other party never cared or even didn't notice. On the other hand, when I have found out afterwards that I had deeply hurt someone, it has nearly always been unconscious on my part.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.775.


'Isn't the spiritual value of having to accept money just this, that it makes palpable the total dependence in which we always live anyway? For if you were what is called "independent" (i.e. living on inherited wealth) every bit you put into your mouth and every stitch on your back wd. be coming from the sweat and skills of others while you (as a person) wd. not really be doing anyhthing in return. It took me a long time to see this - tho', heaven knows, with the Cross before our eyes we have little excuse to forget our insolvency.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.) in The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.761.


'The true exercise of imagination, in my view, is (a) To help us to understand other people (b) To respond to, and some of us, to produce art. But it has also a bad use: to provide for us, in shadowy form, a substitute for the virtues, successses, distinctions etc. which ought to be sought outside in the real world - e.g. picturing all I'd if I were rich instead of working and saving. Masturbation involves this abuse of imagination in erotic matters (which I think bad in itself) and thereby encourages a similar abuse of it in all spheres. After all the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little, dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.759.


'For me the real evil of masturbation wd. be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against him ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is alwys adored, always the perfect lover: no demand is made on his own unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end they become merely the medium through which he is increasingly adores himself.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.758.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


'Now no feeling can be relied upon to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go.'
CS Lewis, Mere Christianity, p.92.


'Isn't duty only a second-best to keep one going until one learns to like the thing, and then it is a duty no more?'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol.III, p.685.


'For it is a dreadful truth that the state of (as you say) "having to depend solely on God" is what we all dread most. And of course that just shows how very much, how almost exclusively, we have been depending on things. The trouble goes far back into our lives and is now so deeply ingrained, we will not turn to Him as long as he leaves us anything else to turn to. I suppose all one can say is that it was bound to come. In the hour of death and the day of judgement, what else shall we have? Perhaps when those moments come, they will feel happiest who have been forced (however unwillingly) to begin practicing it here on earth. It is good of Him to force us: but dear me, how hard to feel that is good at the time.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.679.

Sunday, 3 August 2008


'I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chattered all the way,
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne'er a word said she;
But oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me.'
Robert Browning Hamilton

Wednesday, 30 July 2008


'Once upon a time, a very long time ago now, about last Friday...'
AA Milne, Winnie the Pooh, p.2.


'But Laurence can't really love Aslan more than Jesus, even if feels that is what he is doing. For the things he loves Aslan for doing or saying are simply the things Jesus really did and said. So that when Laurence thinks he is loving Aslan, he is really loving Jesus: and perhaps loving Him more than he ever did before.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.603.


'I don't think that I ever got much from reading things about Him. Perhaps, in a queer way, I got most from reading the Apocryphal Gospels ... For there you find things attributed to Him that couldn't be true. You even find wise & beautiful sayings which nevertheless just don't ring true. And have you noticed - reading the true sayings in the real Gospels - how hardly one of them cd. have been guessed in advance?'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.584.

Monday, 21 July 2008


'Yes, I know one doesn't even want to be cured of one's pride because it gives pleasure. But the pleasure of pride is like the pleasure of scratching. If there is an itch one does want to scratch: but it is so much nicer to have neither the itch nor the scratch. As long as we have the itch of self-regard we shall want the pleasure of self-approval: but the happiest moments are those when we forget our precious selves and have neither, but have everything else (God, our fellow human-beings, animals, the garden & the sky) instead.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.429.


'I have now perceived (what I always suspected from memories of our childhood) that the way to a child's heart is quite simple: treat them with seriousness & ordinary civility - they ask no more. What they can't stand (quite rightly) is the common adult assumption that everything they say shd. be twisted into a kind of jocularity.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.390.


'You see, I don't think that age matters so much as people think. Parts of me are still 12 and I think other parts were already 50 when I was 12 ...'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.362.


'The two things one must NOT do are (a) To believe, on the strength of Scripture or on any other evidence, that God is any way evil. (In Him is no darkness at all.) (b) To wipe off the slate any passage which seems to show that He is. Behind that apparently shocking passage, be sure, there lurks some great truth which you don't understand. If one ever does come to understand it, one will see that [He] is good and just and gracious in ways we never dreamed of.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.356.


'... Adjectives which are a direct command to the reader to feel a certain emotion are no use. In vain we tell him that a thing was horrible, beautiful or mysterious. We must so present it that he exclaims horrible! beautiful! or mysterious!'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.344.

Sunday, 20 July 2008


'I am rather sick of the modern assumption that, for all events, 'WE', the people, are never responsible: it is always our rulers, or ancestors, or parents, or education, or anybody but precious 'US', WE are apparently perfect and blameless. Don't you believe it!'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.333.


'... Christian teachers in secular schools may, I sometimes think, do more good precisely because they are not allowed to give religious instruction in class. At least I think that, as a child, I shd. have been very allured and impressed by the discovery - which must be made when questions are asked - that the teacher believed firmly in a whole mass of things he wasn't allowed to teach! Let them give us the charm of mystery if they please.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.332.

Saturday, 19 July 2008


'As long as one knows one is proud one is safe from the worse form of pride.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.191.


'When people object, as you do, that if Jesus was God as well as Man, then He had an unfair advantage which deprives Him for them of all value, it seems to me as if a man struggling in the water shd refuse a rope thrown him by another who had one foot on the bank, saying "Oh but you have an unfair advantage"; it is because of that advantage that He can help.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.143.


'Or say there are two kinds of love: we love wise & kind & beautiful people because we need them, but we love (or try to love) stupid & disagreeable people because they need us. This second kind of love is the more divine, because that is how God loves us: not because we are lovable but because He is love, not because He needs to receive but because He delights to give.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.119.


'He gnashed a teeth or two. He was a red-headed chap, and my experience of the red-headed is that you can always expect high blood pressure from them in times of stress. The first Queen Elizabeth had red hair, and look what she did to Mary Queen of Scots.'
PG Wodehouse, Aunts Aren't Gentlemen, p.8.

Friday, 18 July 2008


'Your worse days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace.'
Jerry Bridges in Andrew Farmer, The Rich Single Life, p.25.


'Prize the advantages you enjoy: know the value of them. Esteem them as highly when you have them, as others do when they have lost them. Pray constantly and fervently for this very thing: that God would teach you to set a due value on them. And let it be a matter of daily thanksgiving to God, that he has made you a partaker of these benefits. Indeed, the more full and explicit you are herein, the more sensible you will be of the cause you have to be thankful; the more lively conviction you will have of the greatness of the blessing.'
John Wesley in Andrew Farmer, The Rich Single Life, p.11.

Thursday, 17 July 2008


'Precious Bible! what a treasure
Does the Word of God afford!
All I want for life or pleasure
Food and medicine, shield and sword;
Let the world account me poor
Christ and this, I need no more.'
John Newton in Christoper Ash, Bible Delight, p.87.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008


'I really think that in our days it is the 'undogmatic' & 'liberal' people who call themselves Christians that are the most arrogant & intolerant. I expect justice & even courtesy from many Atheists ... from Modernists, I have come to take bitterness and rancour as a matter of course.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.112.

Monday, 14 July 2008


'I'm glad you liked 'The Lion'. A number of mothers, and still more, schoolmistresses, have decided that it is likely to frighten children, so it is not selling very well. But the real children like it, and I am astonished how some very young ones seem to understand it. I think it frightens some adults, but very few children ...'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.93.


'I do get that sudden feeling that the whole thing is hocus pocus and it now worries me hardly at all. Surely the mechanism is quite simple? Sceptical, incredulous, materialistic ruts have been deeply engraved in out thought, perhaps even in our physical brains by all our earlier lives. At the slightest jerk our thought will flow down those old ruts. And notice when these jerks come. Usually at the precise moment when we might receive Grace. And if you were a devil would you not give the jerk just at these moments? I think that all Christians have found that he is v. active near the altar or on the eve of conversion: worldly anxieties, physical discomforts, lascivious fancies, doubt, are often poured in at such junctures ... But Grace is not frustrated. One gets more by pressing steadily on through these interruptions than on occasions when it all goes smoothly ...'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.93.


'It is hard on God really. To how few of us He dare send happiness becuase He knows we will forget Him if He gave us any sort of nice things for the moment ... '
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.93.


'Indeed the best thing about happiness itself is that it liberates you from thinking about happiness - as the greatest pleasure that money can give us is to make it unecessary to think about money.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.93.

Sunday, 13 July 2008


' ... Equality of Opportunity in practice means ruthless Competition during those very years which, I can't help feeling, nature meant to be free and frolicsome. Can it be good, from the age of 10 to the age of 23, to be always preparing for an exam, and always knowing that your whole worldly future depends on it: and not only knowing it, but perpetually reminded of it by your parents and masters? Is this the way to breed a nation of people in psychological, moral, and spiritual health? (N.B. Boys are now taught to regard Ambition as a virtue. I think we shall find that up to the XVIIIth Century, and back into Pagan times, all moralists regarded it as a vice and dealt with it accordingly).'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol III, p.17.


'And so this quality of the Bible draws us wonderfully into relationship. I read it. I want to grasp it, to gain insight, to understand. But I cannot do that simply by sitting there with it in front of me, studying it. It is his book, and the key to unlock it is in his hands. And therefore my desire to understand it leads me to the Keeper of the key. The very nature of the Bible draws me into loving dependence upon him.'
Christopher Ash, Bible Delight, p. 53.

Saturday, 12 July 2008


'Piglet looked up, and looked away again. And he felt so Foolish and Uncomfortable that he had almost decided to run away to Sea and be a Sailor, when suddenly he saw something.'
AA Milne, The House at Pooh Corner, p.50.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


'Sometimes I consider myself there as a stone before a carver, whereof he is to make a statue; presenting myself thus to God, I desire Him to form His perfect image in my soul, and make me entirely like Himself.'
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, p.21.


'We must know before we can love. In order to know God, we must often think of Him; and when we come to love Him, we shall then also think of Him often, for our hearts will be with our treasure.'
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, p. 32.


'I consider myself as the most wretched of men, full of sores and corruption, and who has committed all sorts of crimes against his King; touched with a sensible regret, I confess to him all my wickedness, I ask his forgiveness, I abandon myself in His hands that He may do what he pleases with me. The King, full of mercy and goodness, very far from chastising me, embraces me with love, makes me eat at His table, serves me with His own hands, gives me the key of His treasures; He converses and delights Himself with me incessantly, in a thousand and a thousand ways, and treats me in all respects as His favorite.'
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, p.21.


'"What I did not know - I was a young man - is that there are two kinds of love. The kind that starts off big and slowly wears away, that seems you can never use it up and then one day it is finished. And the kind that you don't notice at first, but which adds a little bit to itself every day, like an oyster makes a pearl, grain by grain, a jewel from the sand."'
Monica Ali, Brick Lane, p. 430.


' ... running away from bees is like running away from sorrows. You bring them with you.'
David Thomson, Woodbrook, p.133.


'When two people meet and take to each other, they start gradually to uncover one another's past, and the slower the process the deeper the friendship becomes. It is like falling in love, without the torment, and although you do not find each other layer by layer in the archaeologists' way, you see after months or years a whole being who contains his past and present merged with the lives of his forebears. You see the whole of him and he sees you, the present surface always near and the layers of the past melted into one.'
David Thomson, Woodbrook, p.10.


'Wilberforce's pursuit of a broad and uplifting vision of society elevates him far above the general rank of politicians. But the fact that he managed to live according to his own principles, and constantly reflect his own beliefs in his own character, is his crowning glory. It may be easier to disdain money and give much of it away if you inherit a large amout of it, but few people born in that position actually do so. It is easy to think that a Member of Parliament can resist all temptations of seeking high office if he has a great cause as an alternative, but it is still a rare event. Wilberforce exercised a genuine and remarkable self-discipline, and managed to do so while maintaining an optimistic and vivacious disposition. His conduct as a husband, father or elected representative is hard to fault. His generosity to those who came to him in need of help became an outstanding example of the virtues he called for in others. He showed how a political career can be conducted differently, pursuing long-term objectives deeply rooted in certain principles, strengthened in his indifference to holding power by his understanding of its transitory nature. As a result, he defied the axiom that political careers necessarily end in failure, going to the grave fulfilled by the knowledge of what he had helped to do, while those politicians to whom power alone is important decline in their old age into bitterness and despair.'
William Hague, William Hague, p.515.


'He kindled at the very sight of books.'
J Hartford quoted in William Hague, William Wilberforce, 205.


'I recall an abiding sense of religious responsibility, a self-sacrificing energy and works of mercy, an Evangelistic zeal, an aloofness from the world, and a level of saintliness in daily life as I do not expect again to see realised on earth. Everything down to the minutest detail of action and speech were considered with reference to eternity.'
GWE Russell quoted in William Hague, William Wilberforce, p.93.


'My grand objection to the religious system still held by many who declare them orthodox Churchmen ... is, that it tends to render Xtianity so much a system of prohibitions rather than privilege and hopes, and thus the injunction to rejoice so strongly enforced in the New Testament is practically neglected, and Religion is made to wear a forbidding and gloomy air and not one of peace and hope and joy.'
William Wilberforce quoted in William Hague, William Wilberforce, p. 100.


'"Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger."
"That is because you are older, little one," answered he.
"Not because you are?"
"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."'
CS Lewis, Prince Caspian, p.124.


'Lucy shuddered and nodded. When they had sat down she said: "Such a horrible idea has come into my head, Su."
"What's that?"
"Wouldn't it be dreadful if some day, in our own world, at home, men started going wild inside, like the animals here, and still looked like men, so that you'd never know which were which?"'
CS Lewis, Prince Caspian, p.107.

Friday, 27 June 2008


'Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be "healing." A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to "get through it," rise to the occasion, exhibit the "strength" that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We antcipate needing to steel ourselves for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind or narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.'
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking, p.188.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


'Suppose someone you love were to say to you, "I don't trust you. I don't believe you love me and will care for me." What an affront that would be to you! Yet that is what we are saying to God by our anxiety.'
Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, p. 64.

Monday, 23 June 2008


‘Then Aslan turned to them and said: “You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be.”
Lucy said, “We’re so afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often.”
“No fear of that,” said Asan. “Have you not guessed?”
Their hearts leapt and a wild hope rose within them.
“There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning"
And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no-one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.’
CS Lewis, The Last Battle, p. 524 (in The Complete Chronicles of Narnia)


''ve no idea how good an old joke sounds when you take it out again after a rest of five or six hundred years...'
CS Lewis, The Last Battle, p.523 (in The Complete Chronicles of Narnia).

Monday, 16 June 2008


'Holiness is nothing but the implanting, writing and realising of the gospel in our souls.'
John Owen in Edward T. Welch, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, p. 155.


' are some questions that can reveal the heart:
  • What do you truly want?
  • What is your purpose in life?
  • What or whom do you really love?
  • When do you get most sad or depressed?
  • When do you get hopeless?
  • What do you get most excited about?
  • What brings you the most pleasure?
  • What is your dream?
  • How would you like to be remembered?
  • What do you especially want to avoid?'
Edward T. Welch, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, p.130.

Thursday, 12 June 2008


'When did we last see a successful movie which portrayed a contented bachelor or spinster?'
Christopher Ash, Married for God, p.41.


'It is too easy for Christians to think of marriage as a discipleship-free zone. So that outside of marriage we talk about sacrifice, taking up our cross and so on. But inside marriage we just talk about how to communicate better, how to be more intimate, how to have better sex, how to be happy. One speaker in a church debate spoke of her desire for her sons to find "a marriage of openness, intimacy, sexual fulfilment and the pursit of personal significance." Instead we should want marriages that serve God. If they are sexually and personally fufilled, well and good. But if they do not serve God, no amount of personal fufilment will make them right.'
Christopher Ash, Married for God, p.40.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008


'The primary mistake that I have made in bringing people into leadership has been a failure to recognize that character is revealed in the details of [a] person's life. It is too easy to be blinded by gifts. Simply because someone is an able Bible teacher, for example, does not mean that he will be a godly leader. We need to look for integrity. Does he keep his promises? Is he committed to people? Does he care for his family?'
Tim Chester & Steve Timmis, Total Church, p.192.

Sunday, 8 June 2008


'This was most true of Mr. Wilberforce's hour of daily exercise. Who that ever joined him in it cannot see him as he walked around his garden at Highwood? Now in animated and even playful conversation, and then drawing from his copious pockets a Psalter, a Horace, a Shakespeare, a Cowper, and reading, and reciting, or refreshing passages; and then catching a long-stored flower leaves as the wind blew them from a page, or standing before a favourite gum cistus to repair the loss. The he would point out the harmony of the tints, the beauty of the of the pencilling, the perfection of the colouring, and run up into all these ascriptions praise to the Almighty which were ever welling forth from his ever grateful heart. He loved flowers with all the simple delight of childhood. He would hover from bed to bed over his favourites; and when he came in, even from his shortest walk, deposited a few that he had gathered, safe in his room before joining the breakfast table.
Often he would say as he enjoyed their fragrance, "How good is God to us! What should we think of a friend who had furnished us with a magnificent house and all we needed, and then coming in to see that all has been provided according to his wishes, should be hurt to find that no scents had been placed in the rooms? Yet so has God dealth with us. Surely flowers are the smile of his goodness."'
The Life of William Wiberforce (1838) in Kevin Belmonte (Ed.), 365 Days with William Wilberforce, 25 January.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008


'Love to God dispenses men to see his hand in everything; to own him as the governor of the world, and the director of providence; and to acknowledge his disposal in everything that takes place. And the fact that the hand of God is a great deal more concerned in all that happens to us than the treatment of men is, should lead us, in a great measure, not to think of things as from men, but to have respect to them chiefly as from God - as ordered by his love and wisdom, even when their immediate source may be the malice or heedlessness of a fellow-man,. And if we indeed consider and feel that they are from the hand of God, then we shall be disposed meekly to receive and quietly to submit to them, and to own that the greatest injuries received from men are justly and even kindly ordered of God, and so be far from any ruffle or tumult of mind on account of them.'
Jonathan Edwards in Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Total Church, p.128.


'One of the reasons we have middle-class churches that are failing to reach working-class people is that we have middle-class leaders. And we have middle-class leaders because our expectations of what constitutes leadership and our training methods are middle-class. Indeed working-class people only really get into leadership by effectively becoming middle-classs.'
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Total Church, p.117.

Monday, 2 June 2008


'People want a form of evangelism they can stick in their schedule, switch off and go home from. Jesus calls us to a lifestyle of love.'
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Total Church, p.55.


'An identity that I construct for myself is far removed from an identity I receive by grace. Churches are full of people trying to earn their identity or prove their worth. As a result we lack assurance or contentment, or put others down to bolster our own self-perception, or are dependent on the approval of others, or are self-righteous or vulnerable to any circumstance that prevents us from fulfilling our ministry. But the key defining relationship for Christians is our relationship with God. Who am I? I am a child of God, the bride of his Son and the dwelling place of his Spirit. And that identity is given to me by grace.'
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Total Church, p.38.


'If sin is not our core problem, the gospel itself - the thing of first importance - is marginalized. The good news that Jesus proclaimed and offered is that there is forgiveness of sins, not through our own attempts to please God, but by placing our confidence in Jesus himself, in his death and resurrection. If sin is not our primary problem, the the gospel of Jesus is no longer the most important event in all human history.'
Edward T. Welch, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, p.21.

Sunday, 1 June 2008


'"Her name on earth was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green."
"She seems to be ... well a person of great importance?"
"Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard it said that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things." ...
"And who are all these young men and women on each side?"
"They are her sons and daughters."
"She must have had a very large family, Sir."
"Every young man or boy that met her became her son - even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter."
"Isn't that a bit hard on their own parents?"
"No. There are those who steal other people's children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more."'
CS Lewis, The Great Divorce, p.98.

Friday, 30 May 2008


'...Five Kinds of Hard Things that can change your world:
  • things that take you outside your comfort zone - taking risks to grow
  • things that go beyond what's expected or required - pursuing excellence
  • things that are too big to accomplish alone - dreaming and daring big
  • things that don't earn an immediate payoff - being faithful and choosing integrity
  • things that go against the cultural norm - taking a stand for what is right'
Alex & Brett Harris, Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations, p.212.

Monday, 26 May 2008


'...don't seek to know God apart from his Word or read the Word without realizing that you are in the presence of God...Say to the Lord from your heart, "Speak, Lord, for your servant hears." If you get into the habit of taking the Word for granted, it will harden you rather than bless you. Since the Word is powerful it never leaves you the same. It will leave you either better off or worse off.'
John Frame, Salvation Belongs to the Lord, p.50.

Friday, 16 May 2008


'In this life there is always a sadness in perfection; we feel that we are made for it, and yet we cannot make it stay.'
Peter Jensen, At the Heart of the Universe, p.15.


‘”…the danger with hatred is, once you start on it, you get a hundred times more than you bargained for. Once you start, you can’t stop. I don’t know anything harder to control than hating. Easier to kick drinking than to master hatred. And that is saying something.”’
Philip Roth, The Human Stain, p.328.


‘A little child is easily affected with grief at temporal evils, and his heart melted, and falls a weeping. Thus tender is the heart of a Christian with regard to sin. A little child is easily afrightened at the appearance of outward evils, or anything that threatens its hurt. So is a Christian apt to be alarmed at the appearance of moral evil, and anything that threatens the hurt of the soul. A little child, when it meets enemies, of fierce beasts, is not apt to trust in its own strength, but flies to its parents for refuge. So a saint is not self-confident in engaging spiritual enemies, but flies to Christ. A little child is apt to be suspicious of evil in places of danger, afraid in the dark, afraid when left alone, or far from home. So is the a saint apt to be sensible of his spiritual dangers, jealous of himself, full of fear when he can’t see his way plain before him, afraid to be left alone, and to be at a distance from God...A little child is apt to be afraid of superiors, and to dread their anger, and tremble at their frowns and threatening. So is a true saint respect to God...A little child approaches superiors with awe. So do the saints approach God with holy awe and reverence.’
Jonathan Edwards in Sam Storms, Signs of the Spirit: An Interpretation of Jonathan Edwards’ Religious Affeactions, p.128.

Thursday, 8 May 2008


'This happened on December 30, 2003. That may seem a while ago but it won't when it happens to you.
And it will happen to you. The details will be different, but it will happen to you.
That's what I'm here to tell you.
You see me on this stage, you sit next to me at dinner, you know what happened to me.
You don't want to think it could happen to you.'
Joan Didion, Year of Magical Thinking (Play)

Sunday, 4 May 2008


'The moment one asks onself "Do I believe?" all belief seems to go. I think this is because one is trying to turn round and look at something which is there to be used and work from - trying to take out one's eyes instead of keeping them in the right place and seeing with them. I find that it happens about other matters as well as faith. In my experience only v.robust pleasures will stand the question, "Am I really enjoying this?" Or attention - the moment I begin thinking about my attention (to a book or a lecture) I have ipso facto ceased attending. St. Paul speaks of "Faith actualised in Love". And "the heart is deceitful"; you know better than I how very unreliable introspection is.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol II, p.983.

Saturday, 3 May 2008


'Of course it is very difficult to keep God only before one for more than a few seconds. Our minds are in ruins before we bring them to Him & the rebuilding is gradual. It may help to practice concentration on other objects twice a week quite apart from one's prayer: i.e. sit down looking at some physical object (say, a flower) and try for a few seconds to attend exclusively to it, quietly (never impatiently) rejecting the train of thought & imagination wh. keep starting up.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol. II, p.826.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008


'In the light of the New Creation all miracles are like snowdrops - anticipations of the full spring and high summer wh. is slowly coming over the whole wintry field of space and time.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), The Collected Letters of CS Lewis Vol II, p.649.

Saturday, 26 April 2008


' ...if a desired human quality does not seem to be coming naturally then the answer may be to stop fretting about how we might get it and instead ask what things we would do if we already had it; and then do them.'
Matthew Parris, Chance Witness, p.50.


'We cannot be known in isolation from our youth. It is then we felt most keenly, hoped most fervently, feared most anxiously, learned most quickly, absorbed most deeply, and took it all to heart. Prejudices and convictions, ambitions and tastes were rooted then. This is when our blind-spots were formed and also our sensitivities; our determination to see the world in certain ways.'
Matthew Parris, Chance Witness, p.xviii.

Friday, 25 April 2008


'"But who is Aslan? Do you know him?"
"Well - he knows me," said Edmund.'
CS Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, p.327 (in The Complete Chronicles of Narnia)


'"You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve," said Aslan. "And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth."'
CS Lewis, Prince Caspian, p.284 (in The Complete Chronicles of Narnia)

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


'Boasting is the response of pride to success. Self-pity is the response of pride to suffering. Boasting says, "I deserve admiration because I have achieved so much." Self-pity says, "I deserve admiration because I have sacrificed so much." Boasting is the voice of pride in the heart of the strong. Self-pity is the voice of pride in the heart of the weak. Boasting sounds self-sufficient. Self-pity sounds self-sacrificing. The reason self-pity does not look like pride is that it appears to be needy. But the need arises from a wounded ego, and the desire is not really for others to see them as helpless but heroes. The need that self-pity feels does not come from a sense of unworthiness but from a sense of unrecognized worthiness. It is the response of unapplauded pride.'
John Piper, What Jesus Demands from the World, p.126.

Monday, 21 April 2008


'It is part of the nature of a strong erotic passion - as distinct from a transient fit of appetite - that it makes more towering promises than any other emotion. No doubt all our desires make promises, but not so impressively. To be in love involves the almost irresistable conviction that one will go on being in love until one dies, and that possession of the beloved will confer, not merely frequent ecstacies, but settled, fruitful, deep-rooted, life-long happiness. Hence all seems to be at stake. If we miss this chance we shall have lived in vain. At the very thought of such doom we sink into fathomless depths of self-pity.'
CS Lewis, "We have no 'right to happiness'" in God in the Dock, p.106.


'When I was a youngster, all the progressive people were saying, "Why all this prudery? Let us treat sex just as we treat all our impulses." I was simple-minded enough to believe that they meant what they said. I have since discovered that they meant exactly the oposite. They meant that sex was to be treated as no other impulse has been treated by civilised people. All the others, we admit, have to be bridled. Absolute obedience to your instinct for self-preservation is what we call cowardice; to your acquisitive impulse, avarice. Even sleep must be resisted if you're a sentry. But every unkindness and breach of faith seems to be condoned provided that the object aimed at is "four bare legs in a bed"'
CS Lewis, "We have no 'right to happiness'" in God in the Dock, p.105.

Sunday, 20 April 2008


'"Well, Miss Matty! Men will be men. Every mother's son of them wishes to be considered Samson and Solomon rolled into one - too strong ever to be beaten or discomforted - too wise ever to be outwitted. If you will notice, they have always forseen events, though they never tell one for one's warning before the events happen; my father was a man, and I know the sex pretty well."'
Miss Pole in Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford and other stories, p.117.

Friday, 18 April 2008


'Theology makes a difference. It is the infrastructure of our lives. Build it poorly and the building will eventually collapse in ruins. Build it well and you will be prepared for anything.'
Edward T. Welch, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, p.xvi.


'Keep always before your mind the greatness of your calling, that is to say, these two things: the immensity of the task before you, the infinitude of the resources at your disposal.'
BB Warfield, The Religious Life of Theological Students


'I will grant that, on the whole, churchgoers might be weaker psychologically and morally than non-churchgoers. That should be no more surprising than the fact that people sitting in a doctor's office are on the whole sicker than those who are not there. Churches rightly draw a higher proportion of needy people. They also have a great number of people whose lives have been completely turned around and filled by the joy of Christ.'
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, p.236.


'Now what happens if you eliminate anything from the Bible that offends your sensibility and crosses you will? If you pick and choose what you want to believe and reject the rest, how will you ever have a God who can contradict you? You won't! You'll have a Stepford God! A God, essentially, of your own making, and not a God with whom you can have a relationship and genuine interaction. Only if your God can say things that outrage you and make you struggle (as in a real friendship or marriage!) will you know that you have gotten hold of a real God and not a figment of your imagination. So an authoritative Bible is not the enemy of a personal relationship with God. It is the precondition of it.'
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, p.114.


'We modern people think of miracles as the suspension of the natural order, but Jesus meant them to be the restoration of the natural order. The Bible tells us that God did not originally make the world to have disease, hunger, and death in it. Jesus has come to redeem where it is wrong and heal the world where it is broken. His miracles are not just proofs that he has power but also wonderful foretastes of what he is going to do with that power. Jesus' miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts that the world we all want is coming.'
Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, p.96.

Friday, 11 April 2008


'In the meantime, as one has learnt to swim only by acting on the assent in the teeth of all instinctive convinction, so we shall proceed to faith only by acting as if we had it. Adapting a passage in the Imitation one can say "What would I do now if I had full assurance that there was only a temporary trough", and having got the answer, go and do it.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), Collected Letters Volume II, p.507.


'I know all about the despair of overcoming chronic temptations. It is not serious provided self-offended petulance, annoyance at breaking records, impatience etc doesn't get the upper hand. No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be v. muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, & the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one's temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the v. sign of His presence.'
CS Lewis in Walter Hooper (Ed.), Collected Letters Volume II, p. 507.

Thursday, 10 April 2008


'I don't believe in The Problem of Pain as people discuss it in religion classes. At that level there is no problem, only a debate toy. The problem of pain I believe in is the pain that happens to one person at a time. Pain is a much more serious problem when it is reduced to proper, personal size. God did not send an earthquake to Guatemala; rather, Pedro, who lives there, lost his wife in an earthquake and seeks the purpose of God in the event.'
Thomas E. Scmidt, Straight or Narrow?, p.176.