Sunday, 29 May 2016


'We can ask and ask but we can't have again what once seemed ours for ever - the way things looked, that church alone in the fields, a bed on a belfry floor, a remembered voice, the touch of a hand, a loved face. They've gone and you can only wait for the pain to pass.' 
JL Carr, A Month in the Country, p.85. 


'Every week that passes, you can bet your life that, somewhere in this land, there's a first-class row bubbling up about what someone wants in and someone else wants out of a village church.' 
JL Carr, A Month in the Country, p.27. 

Friday, 27 May 2016


'Our church culture inadvertently communicates that preachers can talk publicly about sin, and a men's group convened to deal with pornography can talk about it, but as a general rule, it is impolite to talk about sin one to one.' 
Edward T Welch, Side by Side, p.133. 

Monday, 23 May 2016


'Spiritual power feels like a struggle, or weakness, or neediness, or desperation. It is simply "I need Jesus," which is the most powerful thing we can say.' 
Edward T Welch, Side by Side: Walking with others in wisdom and love, p.45. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2016


'Idleness is not just a vacation, and indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.' 
Tim Kreider in Cal Newport, Deep Work, p.143. 


'If you want to win the war for attention, don't try to say "no"  to the trivial distractions you find on the information smorgasbord; try to say "yes" to the subject that arouses a terrifying longing, and let the terrifying longing crowd out everything else.' 
David Brooks in Cal Newport, Deep Work, p.137. 

Monday, 16 May 2016


'Like fingers pointing to the moon, other diverse disciplines from anthropology to education, behavioral economics to family counselling, similarly suggest that the skillful management of attention in the sine qua non of the good life and the key to virtually every aspect of your experience.' 
Winifred Gallagher in Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, p.77. 

Tuesday, 10 May 2016


'Take every word as spoken to yourselves. When the word thunders against sin, think thus: "God means my sins;" when it presseth on any duty, "God intends me in this." Many put off Scripture from themselves, as if it only concerned those who lived in the time when it was written; but if you intend to profit by the word, bring it home to yourselves: a medicine will not no good, unless it can be applied.' 
Thomas Watson in David Mathis, Habits of Grace, p.62. 


'The reason we come away so cold from reading the word is, because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation.' 
Thomas Watson in David Mathis, Habits of Grace, p.58. 


'We were made to meditate. God designed us with the capacity to pause and ponder. He means for us to not just hear him, not only to read quickly over what he says, but to reflect on what he says and knead it into our hearts. 
It is a distinctively human trait to stop and consider, to chew on something with the teeth of our minds and hearts, to roll some reality around in our thoughts and press it deeply into our feelings, to look from different angles and seek to get a better sense of its significance.' 
David Mathis, Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines, p.55.

Sunday, 8 May 2016


'Just after I first got ill, and while I was waiting for my prostrate operation, I was wearing my urinary tract externally, in an arrangement featuring a catheter plus a hefty plastic bag taped to my leg. Or anyway it was hefty when it was full. One night the bag broke and suddenly the floor was awash with amber piss. I signaled the night nurse, who told me to stop apologizing. (In such circumstances, I have found, one tends to apologize for one's mere existence.) She set about mopping it up. She had a deformed body, with limbs all the wrong lengths. Life could never have been easy for her. But now she was making the end of life easier for me. It was a night to remember, and I haven't forgotten it for a second. I can only hope that the sum total of my writings has been as useful to the world as her kindness, but I doubt that this is so.'  
Clive James, Latest Readings, p.176. 


' is always fatal, I have found, when you have something of your own to write, to get too close to someone else's music. It gets into your lungs like secondary smoking.'
Clive James, Latest Readings, p.164. 


'We are often told that the next generation of lierati won't have private libraries: everything will be in the computer. It's a rational solution, but that's probably what's wrong with it. Being book crazy is an aspect of love, and therefore scarcely rational at all.'
Clive James, Latest Readings, p.122. 


'Feminism is an ideology, and like any other ideology it can easily transmute a necessary perception into an indulgent madness.' 
Clive James, Latest Readings, p.112.

Thursday, 5 May 2016


'Yes, we face difficult times, every generation of the church does. But we also face unprecedented opportunities, as cultural Christianity falls all around us. Many of our neighbors around us will burned over by the unkept, and unkeepable, promises of the sexual revolution and of Faustian individualism. Short term, these things will ravage communities and families and churches. But long-term, they will leave people wanting. And so we need to be ready for those who -like the woman at the well in Samaria - need to hear of living water that alone can satisfy. We must labor to preserve something ancient, something ever new, not just for us, and not just for our children, but for our future brothers and sisters in Christ, many of whom hate us right now. Many of them may one day lead us by the power of the Spirit that calls to life that which was dead. In that, we are no different from any other era.' 
Russell Moore, Onward, p.216. 


'The next Jonathan Edwards might be the man driving in front of you with the Darwin Fish bumper decal. The next Charles Wesley might be a misogynistic. profanity-spewing hip-hop artist right now. The next Charles Spurgeon might be managing an abortion clinic right now. The next Mother Theresa might be a heroin-addicted porn star right now. The next Augustine of Hippo might be a sexually promiscuous cult member right now, just like, come to think of it the first Augustine of Hippo was.' 
Russell Moore, Onward, p.215. 


'Lord, save me from the sins of my tongue and the flaws of character that fuel them. Make my words honest (by taking away my fear), few (by taking away my self-importance), wise (by taking away my thoughtlessness), and kind (by taking away my indifference and irritability), Amen.'
Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller, My Rock, My Refuge: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms, p.125.  

Tuesday, 3 May 2016


'Sometimes church leaders will ask me to tell them how they can engage of controversial issues, usually related to the Sexual Revolution, without appearing mean or evil. I always respond that I can't do that. If they stand for biblical principles, and if they call people to repentance, they will indeed seem to be mean, and bigoted and evil. Jesus told us to expect this. "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master," he said. "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they malign those of his household." (Matt.10:24-25). The issue is whether we actually are mean or evil. That's what we can control. 
Moreover, a convictional kindness means a doubling of one's potential criticizers. Those who don't like the gospel call to repentance will resent the conviction, and those who don't like the gospel drive to mission will resent the kindness.' 
Russell Moore, Onward, p.196. 


'The devil is normal. The ways of the devil are not what the witch-hunters suppose, some preternatural and recognizably dark power. The devil's power is to leave us where we are, under the sentence of accusation, hiding behind whatever we can find - ideology, philosophy, religion, morality, pleasure, success, or whatever - to keep us from paying attention to where we are going. The devil's way is the "course of this world" (Eph.2:1-2). In this fallen world, the devil is normal: it's the gospel that is strange. 
Believers are no longer "captured" by the devil, meaning that his accusing power is defanged by the forgiveness of sins that comes through the gospel. And yet, we are consistently wrestling with our inner satanists, as we struggle to submit to the lordship of Christ, which still seems strange even to us. The line between light and darkness doesn't line up by party affiliation or by moral values, but right through every one of our hearts and souls.' 
Russell Moore, Onward, p.193. 

Sunday, 1 May 2016


'If we the sovereignty of God, then we believe that we are not born at this time, and in this culture, by accident. If we belong to Christ, then this is our assigned mission field. To rail against the culture is to say to God that we are entitled to a better mission filed than the one he has given us. At the same time, if we simply dissolve into the culture around us, or refuse to leave untroubled the questions the questions the culture deems too sensitive to ask, we are not on mission at all.' 
Russell Moore, Onward, p.181. 


'Despite the promise of women's empowerment, the Sexual Revolution has given us the reverse. Is it really an advance for women that the average adolescent male has seen a kaleidoscope of images of women sexually exploited and humiliated in pornography? Is it really empowerment to have more and more woman economically at the mercy of men who leave them and their children, with no legal recourse? The adolescent girls facing the pressure to perform sex acts on her boyfriend, or lose him, what is this but the brutal patriarchy of a Bronze Age warlord? All of these things empower men to pursue a Darwinian fantasy of the predatory alpha-male in search of nothing but power, prestige, and the next orgasm. That's that's not exactly a revolution.'  
Russell Moore, Onward, p.171. 


'In some ways, the culture has indeed revolutionized, but even in these ways the revolution is more of a step backward, to old heresies made new by technological and economic tools rather than a move into a brave, new world. The debates over the the definition of marriage, for example, and the malleability of gender are rooted in very old (and biblically mistaken) concepts of a fundamental disconnect between the self as "soul" from the body. The priority of sexual expression as essential to wholeness and well-being is similarly rooted in an almost sacred view of the orgasm as a kind of ecstatic spirituality.' 
Russell Moore, Onward, p.171. 


'The state may tolerate a vague, generic, nonthreatening religion, but there is, as one Revolutionary-era preacher put it, "nothing more obnoxious to an established religion than the gospel of Jesus Christ." In the fullness of time, a spiritually-empowered Caesar will decide that gospel preaching shouldn't happen, if it disturbs the commerce of the silversmiths of Artemis (Acts 19:21-41), and it always does. The kind of religion the state, any state, will support will always be a "God and country" civil religion that supports the agenda of the politicians.'
Russell Moore, Onward, p.149. 


'A religion that needs state power to enforce obedience to its beliefs is a religion that has lost confidence in the power of its Deity.' 
Russell Moore, Onward, p.145.