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.