Tuesday, 31 January 2012


'Membership in our community is not extended only to the pre-perfected. We are not an exclusive country club that allows in only the brightest and the best. The Church is a hospital for sinners; when you go there you should expect to encounter the broken, the defeated, the unholy, the lost. If you encounter only the stern and the upright, with their tight lips and their virtues dangling like medals from their chests, you've gone to the wrong place.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.174.

Monday, 30 January 2012


'The practice of chastity demonstrates that one actually possesses what one promises to give. To refrain from sex before marriage is a very concrete, difficult, and therefore valuable, proof that the other person is not merely an object of lust, that sexuality has been subordinated to the will.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.147.

Friday, 27 January 2012


'We want to be known. We desperately want for someone to look into the dark reccesses of our soul and love us anyway. We want, also, to know. There is a tremendous comfort in realizing that we are part of the same humanity, saddled with the same diseases, the same lusts, the same crosses. To know, and to be known, to be understood, and to understand ourselves in the light of another person. To see the boundaries of subjectivity and know that there is something out there, beyond the self, something more than just a void. Another person. "Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone."'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.134.


'Loneliness is not simply a matter of being alone; it is a matter of being unknown. The unshakeable desire of the human heart is to know and be known.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.133.


'The great sorrow of humanity is loneliness. This single suffering is greater than all of the other possible sufferings that man has ever been forced to endure (except, perhaps for meaninglessness). Tremendous waves of overwhelming pain can be borne willingly if you know that the result is going to be a new human being, a new remedy to this illness. Cancer is lightened by a circle of people who love and understand. People are able to overcome the most tremedous evils by pulling together, suffering together. Indeed, terrible trials can be made easy, even enjoyed, if they are undertaken in common.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.133.

Thursday, 26 January 2012


'I prop myself up with pillows and watch his elegant foot as he dozes, knowing I could reach it if I lifted my hand. I want Jimmy to like me. I want to be like Jimmy, or I want to be Jimmy. Or I want to touch Jimmy.'
Ryan Van Meter, If You Knew Then What I Know Now, p.20.


'Marriage is a kind of insanity. It is the same sort of insanity that drives mountain-climbers to endure the seemingly undendurable in order to conquer the pristine peak of a sharp-toothed monster of rock and ice. You cannot do this if you believe in defeat. If while you are standing at the bottom of the mountain, you already have in your mind the conditions under which you are going to abandon the project and go home, you will, without a doubt, end up abandoning it.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.121.


'It is because of, and not in spite of, the tensions between the sexes that marriage works. Masculinity and femininity each have their vices and their strengths. The difficulty when you have two women or two men together is that they understand each other too well, and are thus inclined more to excuse than forgive. That frank bafflement which inevitably sets in, in any heterosexual relationship ("Why on earth would he do that? I just don't understand...") never set in throughout all of the years that my girlfriend and I were together - naturally enough. We were both women, and we chose each other because we seemed to be particularly compatible women.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.117.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


'...love gives food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, help to the destitute, friendship to the lonely, comfort to the sad, provided always that these gifts are tokens of the giving of the self. For it is possible to give food, money, time and energy, and yet somehow withold oneself. But Christ gave himself. Though rich, he became poor, in order to make us rich.'
John Stott, The Cross of Christ, p.338.


'Who am I? What is my "self"? The answer is that I am a Jekyll and Hyde, a mixed-up kid, having both dignity, because I was created and have been re-created in the image of God, and depravity because I still have a fallen and rebellious nature. I am both noble and ignoble, beautiful and ugly, good and bad, upright and twisted, image and child of God, and yet sometimes yielding obsequious homage to the devil from whose clutches Christ has rescued me. My true self is what I am by creation, which Christ came to redeem, and by calling. My false self is what I am by the Fall, which Christ came to destroy.' 
John Stott, The Cross of Christ, p.330.


'My worth is what I am worth to God; and that is a marvellous great deal, for Christ died for me.'
William Temple in John Stott, The Cross of Christ, p.326.

Monday, 23 January 2012


'Love: not a rising tide of bodily fluids and hormones, a psychological mess to be cleared up by YM questionairres about "Is it the Real Thing?" Love: an act of will, a gift given without reservation and, in a sense, irrationally. Philosophical gobbledygook about "rathionally self-interested morality" holds no sway in the courts of love. Love is madness. It is not the stupid, drippy, half-imbecilic madness that oozes off the screen in a romantic comedy. That sort of madness is far too sane for love. No, love is the sort of madness that makes people declare that they are going to fly to the moon, or build massive coral castles for their "sweet sixteen." To declare that you love another human being is to drop yourself off the edge into the mythic stream of reality, to consent to be carried along through unmapped realms, smashed against the rocks, shipwrecked, cast up gasping on alien beaches, and then rushed off to float through halcyon seas under a sky as broad as heaven. Once you have done it, there is no returning. You can swim against the current, lug yourself up onto the beach, and wander off, bruised and disheveled, hoping that somewhere over the rainbow there is another, gentler river, but you will never make it back to that state of innocence from which you undertook the journey in the first place.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.101.  


'The body is a gift, given to man by God. It is the means by which man receives all other gifts. It is a gift which man may give to another or, receive from another. It is the gift which, when given, creates another body, another gift, and so on and so forth, through an entire anthropological economy built up on donation and self-giving love.'  
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.97.

Sunday, 22 January 2012


'Sex is not a more or less irrelevant toy. It is a life-making technology; an intense form of interpersonal communication; a tool for joining together disparate human persons into one; a transcender of subjectivity. It is a work of art, full of symbol and purpose, created by the highest of all Artists, and then given to humanity as a gift, in order to allow us to participate in the transmission and creation of our own species. It is not a bit of biological flotsam to be disposed of how we will.
Many people - particularly the sex-experts - do not believe this. It doesn't matter. If you think that an atomic generator is a neat toy, and that all the people saying it requires proper "saefty precautions" are just party-poopers, you can expect to die of radiation poisoning sooner or later. It desn't matter if you can come up with a clever argument, or a really neat joke, or a radically new sexual position to express your feelings about the matter. Reality is hopelessly intractable; she will not bend herself out of shape to fit your paradigm or conform herself pleasantly to human delusions - even if it can be statistically proven that those delusions are shared by 90% of the American people.
This is why truth - particularly truth about humanity, sexuality, and the body - is necessary. These are things of which we are made, fundamental components of our human being. We ought to figure out what they are for. The alternative is to muck around until we are completely broken, and, for the sake of a quick thrill, reduce ourselves to rubble and human scrap.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.93.  


'If you think that you have discovered the true meaning of everything by discovering that there is no meaning, or that there is something intently clever about the idea of sticking together bits and bobs in a haphazard way to create "art" that doesn't say a thing, you're in for a bit of a shock. This isn't "new" or "cutting edge" or "avante-garde": it's just the philosophy that cockroaches developed long before your ancestors dragged themsleves out of the slime. Gussying it up in big words doesn't make it any more penetrating or original.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.92.


'The great social experiment of the sexual revolution - an experiment performed on an entire population without controls, and without reasonable safety precautions - has been a horrible failure. If it were a hair-care product or a aerosol cheese spray, the FFA would have pulled it from the shelves, and the companies responsible for releasing it in the first place would be facing bankruptcy class-actioon suits. And yet here we are, fifty years in, blithely swallowing the same mental sewage, calling if "freedom" and "love" and wondering why we're all dying of depression, stress, and loneliness.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.80.

Friday, 20 January 2012


'The truth is that sexuality is a fundamentally personal and subjective; it has to do with the heart of the individual much more than with any objective, measurable data.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.77.


'...the universal human project of serving as psychotherapists to one's aquaintances - a process generally called "friendship."'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.68.


'I have very little doubt that as we excavate the genetic matrix underlying the human body, we will discover that many faults and vices have a genetic origin. That violence, perhaps even spousal abuse, is genetically programmed into certain people and not into others. That alcoholism has a genetic basis. Even that innocent personality quirks, like the desire to be constantly chweing on something (a wad of tobacco, a stick of gum, a piece of paper) is coded into the sequence of amino acids that somehow adds up to you and me. Does this mean that we are therefore to live our lives constantly under the iron boot of genetic dictatorship? Not at all.
St. Paul told us this specifically: "For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would...And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passiosn and desires." (Gal. 5:17.24).
Christ's crucifixion was a victory over the flesh; Christ, like very human being, had an inborn, genetically determined desire not to be tortured and put to death on a cross. He coudl have chosen to aviod it: both Caiaphas and Pilate gave Him ample opportunity to deny His divinity, declaim His Kingdom, and save His life. He did not. Why? Because there is something in a human being which is stronger than the genetic code.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.65.

Thursday, 19 January 2012


'Wherever She has been consumed with Pharasaical self-righteousness, She has been pruned away. Christ, who has always been merciful with sexual sinners, corrupt minor officials, and ignorant minor fishermen from the sticks, had no use for the supercilious and sanctimonious. He still has no use for them today. Christians who wish to do His will must stop picking at the splinters in their neighbours' eyes. Stop. Take one good look in the mirror. It won't take long. A log is hard to ignore.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.47.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


'Sex education in the church might begin by seeking to cultivate a deep awareness on the indwelling presence of God. An authentic reverence for the reality of the Holy Spirit's presence in our bodies might facilitate the recovery of the Bible's powerful categories of holiness and purity as meaningful norms for our sexual practices.'
Richard B Hays, First Corinthians, p.108.


'Being a teenager is difficult - so much so that most societies have never asked this of their children.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity, p.31.


'...at the end of the day, the purpose of the media is not to inform or enlighten, but to deliver the appropriate messages to the appropriate camps so that everyone has a clear notion of the who enemy is, and where they are supposed to go to fight.'
Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism, p.28.

Monday, 16 January 2012


'Joy is always related to Jesus. There is no Christian joy that doesn't come from knowing him, worshipping him and finding hope in him.'
Marcus Honeysett, Finding Joy, p.78.

Saturday, 14 January 2012


'If we do not imagine the future how can we believe it to exist?'
John Cheever, Journals, p.97.

Thursday, 12 January 2012


'Faith is receiving. Faith is trusting God to do for you as he has promised. It isn't what we do. When you receive a birthday present you don't commend yourself because of the excellent way you receive it. Your act of receiving doesn't contribute anything to the present or the kindness of the giver. The same is true with faith...'
Marcus Honeysett, Finding Joy, p.24.


'When Paul uses the word "rejoice" in Romans 5 and elsewhere, we could translate it as "enjoy", "take enjoyment in" or "delight in". We don't use the word "joy" very much today, but we do use the word "enjoy".'
Marcus Honeysett, Finding Joy, p.22.


'Christian joy is the experience of gladness or happiness, not in plans or possessions or people, but in God.'
Marcus Honeysett, Finding Joy: A radical rediscovery of grace, p.13.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


'We are not to regard the cross as defeat and the resurrection as victory. Rather, the cross was the victory won, and the resurrection [w]as [that] victory endorsed, proclaimed and demonstrated.'
John Stott, The Cross of Christ, p.274.

Monday, 9 January 2012


'The excessive value the Western world has placed on individualism fosters a psychological tendency to associate singleness with living alone. This is a tendency the church should resist. Christian singleness is not a denial of the underlying principle of Genesis 2:18, that it is not good to be alone. Neither Jesus nor Paul as single men was devoid of relationships. On the contrary, their relationships flourished in both number and depth by the freedom and flexibility their singleness afforded them.'
Barry Danylak, Redeeming Singleness, p.215.  


'...Christian marriage is a testimony of the utterly faithful and unchanging love of God for his people in a permanent covenant relationship with him. Christian singleness is a testimony to the complete sufficiency of Christ for the present age and gives visible witness to the hope of our eternal inheritance yet to come; and Christian sexuality is an expression of the exclusive unity and oneness of the marriage relationship.'
Barry Danylak, Redeeming Singleness: How the storyline of Scripture affirms the single life, p.214.

Thursday, 5 January 2012


'...courage is fear that has said its prayers...'
Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies, p.239.


'...families are definitely the training ground for forgiveness. At some point you pardon the people in your family for being stuck together in all their weirdness, and when you can do that, you can learn to pardon anyone. Even yourself, eventually. It's like learning to drive on an old car with a tricky transmission: if you can master shifting gears on that, you can learn to drive anything.'
Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies, p.220.


'...I believe that when all is said and done, all you can do is to show up for someone in a crisis, which seems so inadequate. But then when you do, it can radically change everything. Your there-ness, your stepping into a scared parent's line of vision, can be life giving, because often everyone else is hiding - especially, in the beginning, the parents. So you come to keep them company when it feels like the whole world is falling apart, and your being there says that just for this moment, this one tiny piece of the world is OK, or is at least better.'
Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies, p.164.


'I started to feel like a tired, wired little kid at a birthday party who has had way too much sugar, who is in all ways on overload, but still finds herself blindfolded and spun around for a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, and then pushed more or less in the direction of the wall with the donkey on it. But I was so turned around, so lost and overwhelmed and stressed that I couldn't even remember where the wall with the donkey was - or even in what direction it might be found. So I couldn't take one step forward without there being a chance that I was actually walking further away from it. And it took me a while to remember that for me, the wall with the donkey on it is Jesus.'
Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies, p.149.


'I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. It can be received gladly or grudgingly, in big gulps or in tiny tastes, like a deer at the salt. I gobbled it, licked it, held it down between my little hooves.'  


'...grace is having a commitment to - or at least an acceptance of - being ineffective and foolish.'
Anne Lammot, Traveling Mercies, p.142.


'Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.'
Eugene O'Neill in Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies, p.112.

Monday, 2 January 2012


'It's funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some inner toolbox, full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty old tools - friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty - and said, Do your best with these, they will have to do. And mostly, against all odds, they're enough.'
Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies, p.103.


'Here are the two best prayers I know: "Help me, help me, help me," and "Thank you, thank you, thank you."'
Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies, p.82.


'All those years I fell for the great palace lie that grief should be gotten over as quickly as possible and as privately. But what I've discovered since is that the lifelong fear of grief keeps us in a barren, isolated place and that only grieving can heal grief; the passage of time will lessen the acuteness, but time alone, without the direct experience of grief will not heal it.'
Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies, p.68.


'When she was about seven, her best friend got lost one day. The little girl ran up and down the streets of the big town town where she lived, but she couldn't find a single landmark. She was very frightened. Finally a policeman stopped to help her. He put her in the passenger seat of his car, and they drove around until she finally saw her church. She pointed it out to the policeman, and then she told him firmly, "You can let me out now. This is my church, and I can always find my way home from here." 
And that is why I have stayed so close to mine - because no matter how bad I am feeling, how lost or lonely or frightened, when I see the faces of the people at my church, and hear their tawny voices, I can always find my way home.'
Anne Lamott, Travleing Mercies, p.55.


'...the praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards...'
JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, p.709.


'My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers from what seemed like one safe place to another. Like lily pads, round and green, these places summoned and then held me up while I grew. Each prepared me for the next leaf on which I would land, and in this way I moved across the swamp of doubt and fear.'
Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, p.3.