Monday, 31 October 2016


'Older farmers I knew used to be fond of saying, "I can't tell you how to do that, but I can put you where you can learn." There is such a thing, then, as incommunicable knowledge, knowledge that comes only by experience and by association.' 
Wendell Berry, 'Local Knowledge in the Age of Information' in The Way of Ignorance, p.125. 


'Since the end of World War II, the economic, technological and social forces of industrialism have pretty thoroughly disintegrated the rural communities of the United States and, I believe, of other parts of the world also, inducing in them a "mobility" that has boiled over in the cities, disintegrating them as well.' 
Wendell Berry, 'Local Knowledge in the Age of Information' in The Way of Ignorance, p.115. 


'All of us who are committed to saving things of value have been in what Wes Jackson calls "the ain't-it-awful conversation," in which we recite the current litany of outrages. We have been in that conversation, and, if we have brought to it a modicum of sanity, we have recognized sooner or later the need to get out of it. The logical end of the aint-it-awful conversation, as of the life devoted merely to opposition, is despair. People quit having any fun, they begin to talk about the "inevitability" of what they are against, and they give up. Mere opposition finally blinds us to the good of the things we are trying to save. And it divides us hopelessly from our opponents, who no doubt are caricaturing us while we are demonizing them. We lose, in short, the sense of shared humanity that would permit us to say even to our worst enemies, "We are working, after all, in your interest and your children's. Ours is a common effort, for the common good. Come and join us."' 
Wendell Berry, 'The Purpose of a Coherent Community' in The Way of Ignorance, p.74. 


'The most insistent and formidable concern of agriculture, wherever it is taken seriously, is the distinct individuality of every farm, every field on every farm, every farm family, and every creature on every farm. Farming becomes a high art when farmers know and respect in their work the distinct individuality of their place and the neighborhood of creatures that lives there.' 
Wendell Berry, 'Imagination in Place' in The Way of Ignorance, p.45. 


'Conservative individualism strongly supports "family values" and abominates lust. But it does not dissociate itself from the profits accruing from the exercise of lust (and, in fact, of the other six deadly sins), which it encourages in its advertisements. The "conservatives" of our day understand pride, lust, envy, anger, covetousness, gluttony, and sloth as virtues when they lead to profit or to political power. Only as unprofitable or unauthorized personal indulgences do they rank as sins, imperiling salvation of the soul, family values, and national security. 
Liberal individualism, on the contrary, understands sin as a private matter. It strongly supports protecting "the environment," which is that part of the world which surrounds, at a safe distance, the privately-owned body. "The environment" does not include the economic landscape of agriculture and forestry or their human communities, and it does not include the privately-owned bodies of other people - all of which appear to have been bequeathed in fee simple to the corporate individualists. 
Conservative rugged individualists and liberal rugged individualists believe alike that they should be "free" to get as much as they can of whatever they want. Their major difference is that they want (some of the time) different sorts of things.'
Wendell Berry, 'Rugged Individualism' in The Way of Ignorance and other essays, p.10. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2016


'...reading the Bible is not fundamentally a comprehension exercise. Interpretation should serve only to lead us to an encounter with God as he actually presents himself to us in Scripture.' 
Timothy Ward, Words of Life, p.175. 


' preaching the Spirit speaks through a Spirit-given Word, by means of a Spirit-formed preacher to a Spirit-indwelt people. At every point the preacher is hemmed in by the work and life of the Spirit.' 
Timothy Ward, Words of Life, p.169. 


'...sola scriptura, in its proper formulation as found in the thinking of the mainstream Protestant Reformers, is not what many of its modern critics or defenders imagine it is. It does not deny the necessity of traditions of biblical interpretation, credal formulations of biblical faith, and inherited church practices that help to express and pass on the faith. Rather it ensures that all those traditions serve Scripture, the supreme authority, rather than compete with it. Sola Scriptura  means "Scripture supreme"' 
Timothy Ward, Words of Life, p.151. 

Monday, 24 October 2016


'If indeed the flesh possesses no useful function, why did Christ heal it?' 
Justin Martyr in Charlie Cleverly, The Song of Songs, p.222.  

Sunday, 23 October 2016


'The authority of Scripture is a statement about what God did in authoring Scripture, and about how he continues to act in relation to Scripture.' 
Timothy Ward, Words of Life, p.128. 


'The phrase "the authority of Scripture" must be understood to be shorthand for the "the authority of God as he speaks through Scripture". To speak about the authority of Scripture is really to say more about God, and about the ways he chooses to act and speak in the world, than it is to say something directly about Scripture itself. The authority of Scripture is dependent entirely on the authority of God, and comes about only because of what God has chosen to do in presenting himself to us through Scripture as a God we can know and trust.' 
Timothy Ward, Words of Life, p.128. 


'...when the winding up of the chapter comes perhaps we shall see that our sins committed have been the means of saving us from other sins that would have been our ruin. Many believers would have grown too proud to be borne with if some infirmity had not plucked the plume from their helmets and made them mourn with brokenness of heart before God. God can bring good out of evil by his overwhelming grace, while on the other hand our good works have often puffed us up and led us into pride...' 
Charles Spurgeon in Charlie Cleverly, The Song of Songs, p.217. 

Monday, 17 October 2016


' encounter the words of Scripture is to encounter God in action.'
Timothy Ward, Words of Life, p.48. 


'Whatever else may be true of human language, it is quite reasonable to suppose that it has the ability to speak truly of God, both because it was given to us by a God who speaks within himself as eternally three speaking persons, and also because our possession of language as made in God's image, is analogous to God's communicative capacity. Our language can be made by God to speak truthfully of him because our language has its origin in him and in some ways is like his own. The fall makes this much more problematic, of course, but sin does not erase humanity as the image of God, and thus does not destroy the capacity of human language to speak truly of God.' 
Timothy Ward, Words of Life: Scripture as the living and active word of God, p.34. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016


'Where does courage come from? Primarily it comes from wanting something more than your own safety.' 
Timothy Keller, My Rock; My Refuge, p.285.  

Sunday, 9 October 2016


'intimacy       which means knowing
the exact taste of someone's else's
sleep in their mouth on waking'
Andrew McMillan, physical, p.32. 


'While we may have a simple plan for our life - to be happy, prosperous, successful and at peace - what God wants is for us to learn to trust him deeply and against the odds. Trouble comes for us when these two programmes are going in opposite directions, for God's is stronger and he will prevail.' 
Charlie Cleverly, Song of Songs, p.180. 

Monday, 3 October 2016


'Very soon the shadow will give way to the Reality. The partial will pass into the Perfect. The foretaste will lead to the Banquet. The troubled path will end in Paradise. A hundred candle-lit evenings will come to their consummation in the marriage supper of the Lamb. And this momentary marriage will be swallowed up by Life. Christ will be all and in all. And the purpose of marriage will be complete.' 
John Piper in Charlie Cleverly, The Song of Songs, p.154. 


'He is a jewel more worth than a thousand worlds, as all know who have him. Get him, and get all; miss him and miss all... The soul can crave nothing. nor wish for anything, but which is to be found in this Portion. He is light to enlighten the soul, wisdom to counsel the soul, power to support the soul, goodness to supply the soul, mercy to pardon the soul, beauty to delight the soul, glory to ravish the soul, and fullness to fill the soul.' 
Thomas Brooks in Charlie Cleverly, The Song of Songs, p.120.