Monday, 30 March 2015


'Without ever exactly putting his mind to it, he's come to believe that loss is the standard trajectory. Something new appears in the world - a baby, say, or a car or a house, or an individual shows some special talent - with luck and huge expenditures of soul and effort you might keep the project stoked for a while, but eventually, ultimately, it's going down. This is a truth so brutally self-evident that he can't fathom why it's not more widely perceived, hence his contempt for the usual public shock and outrage when a particular situation goes to hell.' 
Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, p.11. 


'Everyone worries, everyone feels at least a little bit doomed basically all the time, even the richest, most successful, most secure among us live in perpetually anxious states of barely hanging on. Desperation's just part of being human, so when relief comes in whatever form, as knights in shining armor, say, or digitized eagles swooping down on the slopes or Mordor, of the U.S. cavalry charging out out of yonder blue, that's a powerful trigger in the human psyche. Validation, redemption, life snatched from the jaws of death, all very powerful stuff. Powerful.' 
Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, p.6. 

Saturday, 28 March 2015


'At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.' 
Flannery O'Connor, 'Novelist and Believer' in Mystery & Mannersp.159. 


'It makes a great difference to the look of a novel whether its author believes that the world came late into being and continues to come by a creative act of God, or whether he believes that the world and ourselves are the product of a cosmic accident. It makes a great difference to his novel whether he believes that we are created in God's image, or whether he believes we create God in our own. It makes a great difference whether he believes our wills are free, or bound like those of the other animals.' 
Flannery O'Connor, 'Novelist and Believer' in Mystery & Mannersp.156. 


'The Judaeo-Christian tradition has formed us in the west; we are bound to it by ties which may often be invisible, but which are there nevertheless. It has formed the shape of our secularism; it has formed even the shape of modern atheism.'
Flannery O'Connor, 'Novelist and Believer' in Mystery & Manners, p.155. 

Thursday, 26 March 2015


'It is when the individual's faith is weak, not when it is strong, that he will be afraid of an honest fictional representation of life; and where there is a tendency to compartmentalize the spiritual and make it resident in a certain type of life only, the supernatural is apt gradually to be lost. Fiction, made according to its own laws, is an antidote to such a tendency, for it renews our knowledge that we live in the mystery from which we draw our abstractions.' 
Flannery O'Connor, 'The Church and the Fiction Writer' in Mystery and Manners, p.146. 


' essentially sentimental, for it leaves out the connection of sex with its hard purpose, and so far disconnects it from its meaning in life as to make it simply an experience for its own sake.' 
Flannery O'Connor, 'The Church and the Fiction Writer' in Mystery and Manners, p.148. 


'The Catholic writer, insofar as he has the mind of the Church, will feel life from the standpoint of the central Christian mystery: that it has, for all its horror, been found by God to be worth dying for. But this should enlarge, not narrow, his field of vision.'
Flannery O'Connor, 'The Church and the Fiction Writer' in Mystery and Manners, p.146. 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


'If prohibitions against same-sex relationships on the basis of biblical injunctions are to be sustained as part of Christian discipleship and are not to be viewed warily as the inscrutable commands of a distant deity, some effort has to be made to show what human good they serve. Why is this the way of love? What glimpses of human fulfillment does it point to? If perhaps it is for some wider good of society for which I as an individual may have to sacrifice myself, what is that wider good, and why does it demand this sacrifice? If it is for my good, what good might that be, or is it simply the satisfaction of knowing that I have lives in accordance with God's standards? And what purposes of the God of love might be behind God's standards? Even if it is dangerous to use the love command to short-circuit the detailed task of moral discernment, love is the sum of the law, and it does lay on us that constraint to begin to indicate what kind of human good is waited on by prohibiting same-sex relationships.' 
Robert Song, Covenant and Calling, p.78. 


'Love is constantly in danger not of fulfilling the law, but of forgetting it; while the law frequently constrains our desires, it does so precisely because it maps out the shape of our love.'
Robert Song, Covenant and Calling, p.78. 

Monday, 23 March 2015


'Away vain world, bewitcher of my heart!
My sorrow shows, my sin makes me to smart!
Yet will I not despair, but to my God repair,
He has mercy ay, therefore will I pray.
He has mercy ay and loves me
Though by his humbling hand he proves me.

Once more away, shows loth the world to leave,
Bids oft adieu with it that holds me slave.
Loth am I to forgo this sweet alluring foe.
Since thy ways are vain, Shall I thee retain?
Since Thy ways are vain, I quite thee.
Thy pleasures shall no more delight me.

What shall I say? Are all my pleasures past?
Shall worldly joys now take their leave at last?
Yea, Christ, these earthly toys shall turn in heavenly joys.
Let the world be gone, I’ll love Christ alone!
Let the world be gone, I care not.
Christ is my love alone, I fear not.'

Alexander Montgomerie


'The country parson is full of all knowledge. They say it is an ill mason that refuseth any stone; and that there is no knowledge, but in a skilful hand serves either positively as it is, or else to illustrate some other knowledge. He condescends even to the knowledge of tillage and pasturage, and makes great use of them in teaching, because people by what they understand are best led to what they understand not.' 
George Herbert, 'The Country Parson' in The Complete English Works, p.200.


'...if we in the contemporary Church have a need now, one might say that it is to recover the significance of authentic celibacy. Against the heritage of Protestant ideals of the family, against post- and sub-Freudian assumptions about the necessity of a healthy sex life for psychological wholeness, against the late modern capitalist consumerization of sexuality, a renewed understanding of the theological significance of celibacy and vowed singleness is surely essential to the Church's truthful witness.' 
Robert Song, Covenant and Calling, p.22.


'The miracle of procreation is a reflection of the miracle of creation, a participation by created beings, in a way appropriate to created beings, in the original gift of creation itself.'
Robert Song, Covenant and Calling: Towards a Theology of Same-Sex Relationships, p.13. 

Saturday, 14 March 2015


'...government is the family business of God.'
Dave Landrum in Guy Brandon, Votewise 2015: Making a difference at the ballot box and beyond, p.vii. 

Friday, 13 March 2015


'...why go to church? Answer: Because church is who you are. Church is the most concrete expression of your union with Christ. Church is not about you. Sure, the church service you could pull together with a fast internet connection and a warm cup of milk at home would be pretty sweet, but it wouldn't fit the Bible's picture of church because it wouldn't involve you blessing the body of Christ with the particular gift(s) has given you. And it is as we fulfil that role of blessing the body that we learn most deeply what it is to be connected to Christ - to be his.' 
Rory Shiner, One Forever, p.73. 


'Anyone who is to find Christ must first find the church. How could anyone know where Christ is and what faith is in him unless he knew where his believers are?' 
Martin Luther in Rory Shiner, One Forever, p.65. 


'When men can live and plod on in their profession, and not be able to say when they had any living sense of the love of God or the privileges which we have in the blood of Christ. I know not what they can have to keep them from falling into snares.' 
John Owen in Rory Shiner, One Forever, p.59. 


'Justification is one of the great joy factories of the Christian life. When there is no joy (cf. Gal 4:15), it is often a telltale sign that we have lost our gras[ on this doctrine. The suspicion that characterized our relationship with God before we knew him in Christ starts to creep back in and take over.' 
Rory Shiner, One Forever, p.48. 


'As long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value to us.' 
John Calvin in Rory Shiner, One Forever, p.46. 


'...what does it actually mean to be in Christ? Let me try an analogy. Imagine yourself at the airport, about to board a plane. The plane is on its way to, let's say, beautiful Perth. You're at the airport. There's you. There's the plane. It's going to Perth. And my question is: What relationship do you need to have with the plane? 
Would it help, for example, to be under the plane? To submit yourself to the plane's eminent authority in the whole flying-to-Perth caper?
Would it help to be inspired by the plane? You go to the airport, you watch it take off, and you whisper to yourself, "One day, I could do that too..."? 
What about following the plane? You know the plane is going to Perth, and so it stands to reason that if you note of the direction it goes, and pursue it as fast as your little legs will carry you, you too will end up in Perth. 
Of course, the key relationship you need with the plane is not to be under it, behind it or inspired by it. You need to be in it. 
Why? Because by being in the plane, what happens to the plane will also happen to you.'
Rory Shiner, One Forever, p.34. 


'...Paul is so at home with this "in Christ" phrase that he uses it reflexively...'
Rory Shiner, One Forever, p.31. 


'The formless and empty world of Genesis 1:2 - something that had unity of uniformity - becomes, under God's hand, a diverse unity. It is made good by each part being made different. Over the six days, it becomes a world where things aren't so much like each other as they are for each other. Like a wonderful machine, a complex ecosystem or a human body, the parts all fit each other.' 
Rory Shiner, One Forever: The Transforming Power of Being in Christ, p.17. 


'Since the beginning of his consciousness he has felt over and around him the regard of that fellowship of kinsmen and friends, watching him, warning him, correcting him, teasing him, instructing him, not so much because of any ambition they have for him as because of where he comes from and because in him they see, come back again, traits and features of dead men and women they loved.' 
Wendell Berry, The Memory of Old Jack, p.107. 


'...the quarrel had the same real subject as all their quarrels: the failure of each of them to be what the other desired.' 
Wendell Berry, The Memory of Old Jack, p.88. 


'He watches the five proven men, whom he loves with the satisfaction of thorough knowledge and long trust, praising and blessing them in his mind. He watches them with pleasure so keen it is almost pain.' 
Wendell Berry, The Memory of Old Jack, p.85. 


' was an act of will...'
Annie Dillard, The Maytrees, p.161. 


'Did anyone actually like adult social life? Ping-Pong brought laughter as respectable entertainment did not. He and Deary wasted their many-paned dining room on dinner parties instead of ongoing games and music.' 
Annie Dillard, The Maytrees, p.102. 


'Until you have a baby, her mother had said, you don't know what love is! Her mother volunteered this on the day of Lou's one and only wedding. - Oh, Lou wanted to say, go soak your head. After Lou brought forth Petie, she at once recalled her mother's words, forgave, and endorsed them.' 
Annie Dillard, The Maytrees, p.40. 


'If you were a prehistoric Aleut and your wife or husband died, your people braced your joints for grief. That is, they lashed hide bindings around your knees, ankles, elbows, shoulders and hips. You could still move, barely, as if swaddled. Otherwise, the Aleuts said, in your grief you would go to pieces just as the skeleton would go to pieces. You would fall apart.'  
Annie Dillard, The Maytrees, p.40. 


'...her face was his eyes' home...'
Annie Dillard, The Maytrees, p.37. 


'...a sort of friendship recognized by the police...'
Robert Louis Stevenson in Annie Dillard, The Maytrees, p.9. 


'Falling in love, like having a baby, rubs against the current of our lives: separation, loss, and death. That is the joy of them.' 
Annie Dillard, The Maytrees, p.4. 

Thursday, 5 March 2015


'Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control.' 
Sam Harris in Krish Kandiah, Paradoxology, p.230. 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015


'"I still prefer to believe that sex is a substitute for religion and that the young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God..."' 
Bruce Marshall, The World, the Flesh and Father Smith,  p.108. 


' do Christians seek to reconcile the existence of suffering and God's apparent passivity? Unlike atheists, we believe that the inevitable question "Why?" is in fact crucial evidence that we intrinsically believe things don't happen by chance, that someone is in control and that that things don't have to be this way. It seems counter-intuitive initially, but when we ask the question "Why?" we actually reveal that w believe there is a God, and not just any God, but a God who could and should be powerful enough to make things different, and who might care enough to want to both answer our question and make things better. The question "Why?" reveals that none of us can escape the paradox that we believe in a powerful and loving God, albeit we don't understand how we can reconcile this with a broken world replete with injustice and suffering.' 
Krish Kandiah, Paradoxology, p.94. 

Monday, 2 March 2015


'It is no accident that the first time the question "Where are you?" appears in the Bible, it was not from people looking from God, but from God, looking for his people.' 
Krish Kandiah, Paradoxology, p.58. 


'Paradoxically, even God himself experienced the absence of God - Jesus, the Son of God himself, cried in despair from the cross: "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?"'
Krish Kandiah, Paradoxology, p.37.