Friday, 26 July 2013


'Ever since God declared that it was "not good" for Adam to be alone, human beings have being living alongside one another, sharing life together. I need other people in my life. I need them to offload to after a bad day; I need them to work alongside me in ministry; I need them to share a bottle of wine with me as we put the world to rights; I need them to point out to me the parts of my character that need working on; I need them to celebrate with me when good things happen; I need them to spend my days off and holidays with; I need them to give me a hug and tell me everything's going to be OK.'
Kate Wharton, Single-Minded, p.173. 

Thursday, 25 July 2013


'Joy is not gush. Joy is not mere jolly-ness. Joy is perfect acquiescence - acceptance, rest - in God's will, whatever comes. And that is so, only for the soul that delights in God.' 
Amy Carmichael in Kate Wharton, Single-Minded, p.80. 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


'I've never once heard a church leader say, "What we could do with in our church is a few more single people."' 
Kate Wharton, Single-Minded: Being single, whole and living life to the full, p.29. 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


'Chastity demands personal and total commitment. It requires a brave, patient and tenacious decision to go against the social and intellectual tide, to face the double burden of an loneliness that having no partner implies. It must be embraced, not simply tolerated. It entails the proactive - and in our emotionally starving age - prophetic attempt to refound community. Where there are difficulties in finding love and affection, they can be addressed. Chastity is not itself the issue. Chastity clarifies what the real issues are, both in self and society.' 
Jenny Taylor, A Wild Constraint, p.156. 


'To be chaste is to embrace the fullness of our creativity and our Christian discipleship, and to refocus them. What is essential is a changed perception of oneself and one's meaning - and for that there is no alternative to a daily reckoning with oneself. Chastity is a form of poverty that is foundational to spiritual growth. It is an aridity that cleanses the doors of perception and helps one begin to see God and his purposes.' 
Jenny Taylor, A Wild Constraint, p.145. 

Monday, 22 July 2013


'True community implies difference. A group of identikit people is not a community, it is a regiment.' 
Jenny Taylor, A Wild Constraint, p.69.

Friday, 19 July 2013


'Over the last century, in the pursuit of happiness, a trade-off has taken place between the cultural goods and safety of civilization and the pleasures of individual sexual licence. And we have called it science. We have deemed it obligatory to put up with a degree of sexual anarchy in the name of a spurious account of mental health, against the evidence of history, even though it endangers our very lives in community.
Modern people, particularly the young, are caught between peer-driven, scientistically legitimated and educationally imperatives of sexual activity - and the truth of their real feelings. What they feel does not match what they're being told to feel - but instead of trusting their feelings, they disavow those feelings, believing them still to be attached to values they are taught to believe are outmoded, patriarchal and very dangerous. Those values are Christian.' 
Jenny Taylor, A Wild Constraint, p.37. 

Thursday, 18 July 2013


'Chastity properly understood is an attitude that anticipates grace; that accepts there is a time and a place for all things. Learning how to wait well is the secret of maturity and satisfaction, even if it's for a lifetime.' 
Jenny Taylor, Wild Constraint: The Case for Chastity, p.4. 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


'Anyone who cannot obey God's command to obey the Sabbath is a slave, even a self-imposed one. Your own heart, or our materialistic culture, or an exploitative organization, or all of the above, will be abusing you if you don't have the ability to be disciplined in your practice of the Sabbath. Sabbath is therefore a declaration of our freedom. It means you are not a slave - not to your culture's expectations, your family's hopes, your medical school's demands, not even to your own insecurities. It is important that you learn to speak this truth to yourself with a note of triumph - otherwise you will feel guilty for taking time off, or you will be unable to truly unplug.' 
Timothy Keller, Every Good Endeavour, p.236. 


'...Christians are never as good as their right beliefs should make them and non-Christians are never as bad as their wrong beliefs should make them...' 
Timothy Keller, Every Good Endeavour, p.197. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


'Our children must know the genuineness of our own spiritual lives, not because we parade our sanctity before them, but because they see the reality of grace. Some say that parents should never be seen to disagree in front of children...which is an excellent thing if the parents never disagree. But if marriage is like most marriages are, it is not the absence of conflict but the resolution of conflict which demonstrates grace. It is not hiding away our sin, as though a cross word or selfish act never occurs within the relationship, but it is the working out of grace in the lives of two sinners. Our children know that we are sinners, and need to know that we  know that we are sinners, and that we know that they know we are sinners...and that nevertheless the grace of God has broken into our lives to save us.'  
Mark Ashton, 'God's gift of parenting' in The Briefing No.406 (July-August 2013),  p.33.

Friday, 12 July 2013


'If the Victorian era represents the repression of sexual desire, then the era of the hookup is about the repression of romantic feeling, love, and sexual desire too., in favor of greater access to sex - sex for the sake of sex. Women and men both learn to shove their desires deep down into a dark place, to be revealed to no one. They learn to be ashamed if they long for love, and embarrassed if they fail to uphold the social contract of hookup culture and do not happen to enjoy no-strings attached sex that much. 
The further irony of hookup culture is that, while being sexually active is the norm for students, the sex itself becomes unmechanical as a result of so much repression of emotion. College, ideally, is supposed to function as a time in life when people get to let go of repression; it's supposed to open them up to the world, not shut them down to it; it's supposed to encourage them to become who they are meant to become, not teach them to hide that self; and, most of all, college is supposed to empower them to find their voices and speak up, not learn that the voices bubbling up inside them are shameful. That a culture that has come to dominate so many colleges and universities thwarts those ideals among its students - and within an aspect of their lives that is so central, intimate, and identity-shaping as sex - is unacceptable.' 
Donna Freitas, The End of Sex, p.181. 


'Our view of men and masculinity in America is not only deeply flawed and misleading but disastrous for the psyches of young men. It interferes with their ability to mature and develop emotionally as well as to express emotion, to have healthy and fulfilling relationships and sex lives, to communicate emotional pain when they experience it, to feel empathy, and to do all these things without believing that by doing so, they are imperiling their standing as men.  Women experience glass ceilings just about every...way they try to move, but men also face an emotional glass ceiling. We ask that they repress their feelings surrounding their own vulnerabilities and need for love, respect, and relationship so intensely that we've convinced them that to express such feeling is to have somehow failed as men; that to express such feeling not only makes them look bad in front of other men, but in front of women too. And we do all of this on college campuses, where we imagine that students will open up and grow into who they really are. Within hookup culture, no one really wins, but perhaps men loose most of all.'
Donna Freitas, The End of Sex, p.114. 


'The stereotype that men are animals and will act like animals until a woman civilizes them is not only exploited in popular and broader media. It's also the kind of rigid view of gender common to evangelical books that give advice about dating, purity, courtship, and marriage to teens and young adults. Much of this literature teaches young men that they are naturally sexual predators. One guide by a Christian author tells young men that the "ultimate test of your manhood" is to"1) Think clearly,. 2) About sex." The presumption is that, when it comes to sex, men's brains stop working, and all sorts of idiotic, unfeeling, hurtful, and jerkish behaviour ensues - and than men can't help this. In the most successful manual in this genre, Every Young Man's Battle: Strategies for Victory in the Real World of Sexual Temptation, authors Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker employ war metaphors in their discussions of men and sex, speaking of all men as sex addicts who need to be taught how to cope with their "addictive sexual cravings." For a young man not to feel such constant lust for women the second they hit puberty is the equivalent to failing one's masculinity.
From all directions young men are taught that they want sex far more than young women do, and that part of their job - part of what it means to be a man - is to either continually battle to deny themselves any indulgence in sex (the Christian view) or to trick women into having sex, even if this requires lying to them (the secular view). What we don't see much in our culture is an intelligent gender critique for men, by men, on the movie, TV, sex and porn industries.' 
Donna Freitas, The End of Sex, p.99. 


'Rather than looking at people right in front of us, we look at our phones, preferring to touch a screen rather than the hand of a partner. Instead of engaging in conversation with those sitting next to us, we text, email, and chat with people nowhere near our bodies. We have become more excited about interacting with the various technological devices at our disposal than about developing relationships with real people, even our own children.' 
Donna Freitas, The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture Is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy, p.7. 


'Nearly everything that has happened to me has happened by surprise. All the important things have happened by surprise. And whatever has been happening usually has already happened before I had time to expect it. The world doesn't stop because you are in love or mourning or in need of time to think. And so when I have thought I was in my story or in charge of it, I really have been on the edge of it, carried along. Is this because we are in an eternal story that is happening partly in time?' 
Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow, p.322. 


'...the mercy of the world is time. Time does not stop for love, but it does not stop for death and grief, either. After death and grief that (it seems) ought to have stopped the world, the world goes on. More things happen. And some of the things that happen are good.' 
Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow, p.296. 


'...a marriage, in bringing two people into each other's presence, must include loneliness and error. I imagined a moment when the husband and wife realize that their marriage includes their faults, that they do not perfect each other, and that in making their marriage they also fail it and must carry to the grave things they cannot give away.' 
Wendell Barry, Jayber Crow, p.193. 


'I had always made it a rule of thumb that there were no real secrets in Port William, but now I knew that this was not so. It was the secrets between people that got out. The secrets that people knew alone were the ones that were kept, the knowledge too painful or too dear to speak of. If so urging a thing as I now knew was known only to me, then what must other people know that they had never told? I felt a strange new respect for the heads I barbered. I knew that the dead carried with them out of this world things that they could not give away.' 
Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow, p.192. 


'Some of the best things I have ever thought of I have thought of during bad sermons.' 
Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow, p.162. 


'...religion that scorned the beauty and goodness of this world was a puzzle to me. To begin with, I didn't think anybody believed it. I still don't think so. Those world-condemning sermons were preached to people who, on Sunday mornings, would be wearing their prettiest clothes. Even the old widows in their dark dresses would be pleasing to look at. By dressing up on the one day when most of them had the leisure to do it, they signified their wish to present themselves to one another and to Heaven looking their best. The people whop heard these sermons loved good crops, good gardens, good livestock and work animals and dogs; they loved flowers and the shade of trees, and laughter and music; some of them could make you a fair speed on the pleasures of a good drink of water or a patch of wild raspberries. While the wickedness of the flesh was preached from the pulpit, the young husbands and wives and courting couples sat thigh to thigh, full of yearning and joy, and the old people thought of the beauty of children. And when church was over they would go home to Heavenly dinners of fried chicken, it might be, and creamed new potatoes and creamed new peas and hot biscuits and and butter and cherry pie and sweet milk and buttermilk. And the preacher and his family would always be invited to eat with somebody and they would always go, and the preacher, having just foresworn on behalf of everybody the joys of the flesh, would eat with unconsecrated relish.' 
Wendell Berry, Jayber Berry, p.161. 


'I took to studying the ones of my teachers who were also preachers, and also the preachers that came to speak in chapel and at various exercises. In most of them I saw the old division of body and soul that I had known at The Good Shepherd. The same rift ran through everything at Pigeonville College, the only difference was that I was able to see it more clearly, and to wonder at it. Everything bad was laid on the body, and everything good was credited to the soul. It sacred me a little when I realized that I saw it the other way around. If the soul and body really were divided, then it seemed to me that the worst sins - hatred and anger and self-righteousness and even greed and lust - came  from the soul. But there preachers I'm talking about all thought that the soul could do no wrong, but always had its face washed and its pants on and was in agony over having to associate with the flesh and the world. And yet these same people believed in the resurrection of the body.' 
Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow, p.49. 


'Telling a story is like reaching into a granary full of wheat and drawing out a handful. There is always more to tell than can be told.'  
Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow, p.29. 


'Back there at the beginning, as I see now, my life was all time and almost no memory. Though I knew early of death, it still seemed to be something that happened only to other people, and I stood in an unending river of time that would go on making the same changes and the same returns forever.
And now, nearing the end, I see that my life is almost entirely memory and very little time. Toward the end of my life at Squires Landing I began to understand that whenever death happened, it happened to me. That is knowledge that takes a long time to wear in. Finally it wears in. Finally I realized and fully accepted that one day I would belong entirely to memory, and it would then not be my memory that I belonged to.'
Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow, p.24.  


'...his memory was a sloppy housekeeper, and had trouble concentrating on one thing at a time.' 
Wallace Stegner, Recapitulation, p.86. 


'....that single miserable evening, with its hatred of him, its loyalty to her, and its self-pity for himself all intact, hung in his head as unalterable as a room that disappears when a switch is touched, and appears again the the moment the switch is turned back on. He hadn't turned on the light in that room for years but there it still was, implacable.' 
Wallace Stegner, Recapitulation, p.50. 


'What a....wiring job a man was! How enduring were the circuits stamped into a boy when he was dizzy with hormones and as vulnerable to experience as dry blotting paper to water! Push the right button and you floodlighted him like the temple. Push another and you got the whole son et lumiere.'
Wallace Stegner, Recapitulation, p.26.