Friday, 31 October 2014


'Christians, particularly in the Western world, have for a long time been divided between "epistles people" and "gospels people." The "epistles people" have thought of Christianity primarily in terms of Jesus's death and resurrection "saving us from our sins." The "gospels people" have thought primarily about in terms of following Jesus in feeding the hungry, helping the poor, and so on. The "epistles people" have found it difficult to give a clear account of what was going on in Jesus's kingdom-announcement and his call to his followers to be "perfect." The "gospels people" - or perhaps we should say the "beginning-of-the-gospels people," since the line of thought they embrace usually screens out the last few chapters - have often found it difficult to explain why the Jesus who was doing those remarkable things had to die, and die so soon. They have often found it difficult, in consequence, to relate to the central themes of Pauline theology. 
This either/or split does no justice, in fact, to either the epistles or the gospels. Still less does it do justice to Jesus himself.' 
Tom Wright, Virtue Reborn, p.96. 


'Jesus is in fact inviting his hearers to something much more radical: an anticipation of what we might call eschatalogical authenticity. Yes, there will be a time when God's people will serve and love him, and live out the genuine humanness of what the ancient Law had spoken, "naturally" and from the heart. But this will be a God-given "second nature," a new way of being human. And you can begin to practice this now, difficult though it will be, because Jesus is here, inaugurating God's kingdom. It won't happen "automatically," precisely because God wants you to be, as we might put it, humans rather than puppets. You will have to think about it, to struggle with it, to pray for grace and strength; but this is at least now within reach. You can't collapse the whole question of "how to believe" into the command "It must come naturally; otherwise it isn't authentic." Jesus puts it the other way around: he says, in effect, "Follow me, and the authenticity will begin to happen." The authenticity that really matters is living in accordance with the genuine human being God is calling you to become. What the ancient Law really wanted - genuine human life, reflecting God's glory into the world - will start to appear.' 
Tom Wright, Virtue Reborn, p.93. 


'An epistolary romance, after all, is often a romance between two people who bear no resemblance to either person...'
David James Duncan, The Brothers K, p.448. 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


'Virtually all the trouble that the best, and most talented pastors get into comes from not following the Way of the Cross....Sexual sin gets the press, but ego sin kills the church.' 
David Hansen in Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.158. 


'At the heart of the pastoral office is the suffering of the pastor, even as Christ came as the suffering servant who was obedient to the point of death.' 
Scott Haffemann in Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.157. 


'A true Christian pastor will be one who can dare say to his people: "Follow me, as I am following Jesus." That is a terrible test for any pastor. A true pastor must have such a relation with Jesus and with his people that he follows Jesus and they follow him.' 
Lesslie Newbigin in Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.155. 


'...the church's task is to make more Jesus-people: people united to him who begin to look like him.' 
Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.139. 


'Christ, the master of the mint, came along to stamp the coins afresh.' 
Augustine of Hippo in Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.137. 


'The Messiahs's suffering did not provide bread and education for Africa's poor, leadership training for Latin American churches, evangelists for pagan North America, companionship for the rejected or families for the orphans and the lonely. Jesus' death and resurrection were God's great Word to us, but they did not do the hard work of translating the Bible into ten thousand languages. The church's suffering and self-sacrifice, with a million crosses modeled after his cross, meet these needs and more as we imitate the infinitely greater sacrifice and suffering of Jesus.' 
Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.135. 


'The purpose of doctrine is to ensure that those who bear Christ's name walk in Christ's way.' 
Kevin Vanhoozer in Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.131. 

Monday, 27 October 2014


'The Holy Spirit is God's present-tense guarantee that in due time he will deliver the full restoration for which his people are waiting.' 
Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.111. 


'...apprenticing with Jesus to be human again...'
Zack Eswine in Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.83. 

Sunday, 26 October 2014


'The good news is that God has gone to work as a true human, from the incarnation to his triumphant return. The blast zone of his work is the church and the whole of the new creation, where God establishes his kingdom with renewed godlike humans enthroned as royalty according to his original design.' 
Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.68. 


'The great drama in Scripture revolves around the question, when will humans be the rulers God intended them to be?' 
Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.63. 


' God's plan humanity saves itself. For muddy images mired in sin and misery, into the depths of humanity's tragedy and Israel's carnage, God sent a true human, the perfect participant in God's work and God's story. 
Jesus came to share or clay and restore our royalty. He is the human who brings humanity back to God and the world back to humanity.' 
Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.57. 


'For many evangelicals, the only significance of image-bearing is that murder and abortion are wrong. They have lost sight of the dignity God gave their work when he made it (after a fashion) his own work and enabled our thoughts and deeds to reflect his own. As a result, it is very easy to accept God's love for us on a spiritual level and ignore God's involvement and delight in everyday life, laughing or love-making. Many Christians do not believe that their activities - whether parenting or preaching, pastoring or partying - are important, that they have been done "in him" (Acts 17:28) and that God enjoys them. We struggle to affirm the good our unbelieving friends sometimes accomplish, such as great works of art, wise governance and acts of moral goodness. As Luther's comments on vocation suggest, we must learn to see ourselves as God's agents in tasks as humble as milking a cow and labors as spectacular as composing a masterful symphony.' 
Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.55. 


'Unless Christians are taught that God's work and human work are compatible, they often believe that in any given thought or action either God is at work or humans are, but never both. This dualistic approach can create confusion and even despair as Christians wrestle with sanctification, discipleship and mission. Many Christians believe than any use of their own mind or strength to accomplish a task means they have not worked in the Lord's strength. As a result, these believers have little vision for living life as God's agents, working for his kingdom and for his glory in their vocations, families, witness and relationship with God.
But the God-given ability to imitate makes humans participants in God's own mission. Thinking rightly about both our roles as participants in God's mission on the one hand and God's role in our efforts on the other encourages us and feds our fruitfulness. We discover that this message produces postures of restful reliance and radical effort. It simultaneously leads to security and striving, quiet confidence and courageous action.' 
Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.49. 

Saturday, 25 October 2014


'It is often said that the Bible represents God anthropomorphically (i.e., as a human being). More accurately, a human being is theomorphic, made like God so that God can communicate himself to people. He gave people ears to show that he hears the cry of the afflicted and eyes to show that he sees the plight of the pitiful (Ps.94:9).' 
Bruce Waltke in Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.39. 


'Beliefs are always dangerous things. One of the hidden dangers in theology is that beliefs often come in pairs, like two sides of the coin, which can lead to error if we focus on one to the exclusion of the other: the divinity and the humanity of the Son of God, divine transcendence and immanence, divine sovereignty and human responsibility, grace and judgment. Throughout its history the church has had to learn and relearn that believers are sinners and saints all at once. We can fall into the pits of lawlessness and legalism; we can find ourselves trapped in the deep caves of hedonism or asceticism. The challenge is holding two notions together at the same time. The moment we get one idea nailed down, we must be aware of privileging that idea to the extent that we downplay or ignore a parallel concept that might keep our theology from going off rails.' 
Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.25. 


'Homer attributed human properties to the gods; I would prefer to attribute divine properties to us humans.' 
Herman Bavinck in Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ, p.19. 


'Jesus is not only friend of sinners but also prophetic nemesis of the wicked.' 
Richard B Hays in Jason B Hood, Imitating God in Christ: Recapturing a Biblical Pattern, p.14. 

Monday, 20 October 2014


'Whatever post of honor or influence we may be placed in, we should show that, in it, we are solicitous for the good of the public, so that the world may be better for our living in it, and that, when we are gone, it may be said of us, as it was so nobly said of David (Acts 13:6), that we "served our generation by the will of God."' 
Jonathan Edwards in Matt Perman, What's Best Next, p.303. 


'I must confess equally boldly that my own solid hopes for the well-being of my country depend, not so much on her navies and armies, nor on the wisdom of her rules, nor on the spirit of her people, as on the persuasion that she still contains many who love and obey the Gospel of Christ. I believe that their prayers may yet prevail.' 
William Wilberforce in Matt Perman, What's Best Next, p.303. 

Friday, 17 October 2014


'God is the only multitasker.'
Matt Perman, What Best Next, p.242.

Thursday, 16 October 2014


'She meant to ask him sometime how praying is different from worrying.' 
Marilynne Robinson, Lila, p.234. 


'Things happen for reasons that are hidden from us, utterly hidden for as long as we think they must proceed from what has come before, our guilt or our deserving, rather than coming to us from a future that God in his freedom offers to us.' 
Marilynne Robinson, Lila, p.222. 


'She knew there were words so terrible you heard them with your whole body. Guilty.' 
Marilynne Robinson, Lila, p.110. 


'"Maybe you don't have to think about hell because probly nobody you know going to end up there."'
Marilynne Robinson, Lila, p.102. 


'The best thing about church was that when she sat in the last pew there was no one looking at her. She could come a little late and leave a little early. when she wanted to. She could listen to the sermon and the singing. People might wonder why she was there, but they never asked.' 
Marilynne Robinson, Lila, p.36. 

Monday, 13 October 2014


'Refrain tonight;
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence; the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either curb the devil, or throw him out,
With wondrous potency.'
William Shakespeare (Hamlet) in Tom Wright, Virtue Reborn, p.53. 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


'If you are selfish and make yourself and your own private interest your idol, God will leave you to yourself, and let you promote your own interests as well as you can. 
But if you do not selfishly seek your own, but do seek the things that are Jesus Christ's, and the things of your fellow human beings, then God will make your interest and happiness his own charge, and he is infinitely more able to provide and promote it than you are. The resources of the universe move at his bidding, and he can easily command them all to observe your welfare. 
So that, not to seek your own, in the selfish sense, is the best way of seeking your own in a better sense. It is the directest course you can take to secure your highest happiness.'  
Jonathan Edwards in Matt Perman, What's Best Next, p.100. 


'Slack work is a form of vandalism...Slack work is like vandalism because it makes life harder for people.' 
Matt Perman, What's Best Next, pp.98. 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


'You don't want to be the one to plan your whole life, because God does a better job than you ever will.'
Matt Perman, What's Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done, p.57.