Sunday, 31 January 2016


'We need to treasure male and female bodies as good and loved by God, and we need to do so without assigning sinful meanings to these bodies. I suspect that the seemingly desperate need some Christians seem to have to say what it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman, is born of a quasi-Gnostic refusal to value bodies as such. What if we just let bodies be enough?' 
Beth Felker Jones, Faithful, p.34. 


'The way Christians do - and don't - have sex is anchored in the deepest truth about reality, and it witnesses to the reality of a God who loves and is faithful to his people. More than that, Christian sexual ethics reflect reality because they make sense of the kind of creatures God made us to be, and so those sexual ethics offer us a way to really flourish as human beings.' 
Beth Felker Jones, Faithful: A Theology of Sex, p.17.

Saturday, 30 January 2016


'One of the things we treasure in a friend is that he should get us and see us in the proportions that truly exist.'
Edmund White, My Lives, p.351.


'I think I have some of the qualities necessary in a friend - tenacity, a large capacity for acceptance, curiosity, a genuine pleasure in other people's happiness.'
Edmund White,  My Lives, p.337.


'It seems to me that two men can never achieve the degree of tongue-and-groove intimacy of a man and a woman. Two men can be best friends, but that's a comfortable arrangement compared to a biological fit - or is it just the reciprocal role-playing? - of a man and a woman.'
Edmund White, My Lives, p.165.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016


'Faith alone justifies but a justified person with faith alone would be a monstrosity which never exists in the kingdom of grace. Faith works itself out through love (cf.Gal. 5:6). And faith without works is dead (cf.James  2:17-20).' 
John Murray, Redemption, p.124. 


'...the commanding insistence of the Scripture is that in justification it is the righteousness of God which is revealed from faith to faith, and therefore a righteousness which is contrasted not only with human unrighteousness but with human righteousness. It is righteousness which is divine in quality.' 
John Murray, Redemption: Accomplished and Applied, p.120. 

Tuesday, 26 January 2016


'...there is a kind of subtle balance. In all earthly relationships, the man represents God more obviously than does the woman: in active transcendancy, in keeping an objective distance, in leadership and work. But we realize at once that it is the women who best represents humanity in its relationship with God: in the face-to-face relationship with the LORD, every human being, male or female, must accept a feminine position, existing from him and for him, receiving and bearing the seed of his word, receiving and bearing the name he gives. And the "three things" that remain, faith, hope and love (I Cor. 13:13), have they not all a feminine fragrance? Well did the Creator weigh the respective advantages of the male and female. The scales are less unequal; than is supposed. Each one of us, man and woman, finds it easier to live one dimension of the human portion, being as the image of God; one represents him, one corresponds to him.' 
Henri Blocher, In the Beginning: The Opening Chapters of Genesis, p.104. 

Friday, 22 January 2016


'Intriguingly, the human social institution we call marriage was in Yaweh's mind before the creation of the world and was devised as a divine pedagogical tool to teach human creatures what human history is all about.' 
Dennis F Kinlaw, Let's Start with Jesus: A New Way of doing Theology, p.62. 


'...what men are for. Do they serve any useful function these days? They impregnate the woman. Later, they might occasionally send money over. What else could fathers be? It wasn't a question Dad had to ask himself. Being a father wasn't a question then. He was there to impose himself, to guide, to exert discipline, and enjoy his children. We had to appreciate who he was, and see things as he did. If we grew up to be like him, only better qualified, we would be lucky.' 
Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy, p.115. 


'The dream, or nightmare, of the happy family, haunts us all; it is one of the few Utopian ideas we have, these days.' 
Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy, p.101. 


'Odd how the needs of children seem so often to coincide exactly with the opinions of their parents.' 
Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy, p.73. 

Thursday, 21 January 2016


'The Christian life can only be learned, like a language, in conversation with others.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.235. 


'The church is one of the few remaining social spaces where people can come together with the express intention of forming loving friendships without the constant pressure of sexual connection. As Christian ministers, we can play an influential role within this dynamic by encouraging genuine communities of friendship in practice. Part of our task is to ask whether we are promoting social spaces and ministry contexts in which people's fundamental needs for relational intimacy are being met, as well as opportunities for people to express their affective (social) sexuality in line with its divine purpose.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.234. 


'One weakness in common approaches to discipleship is that we treat different areas of life as separate compartments - like discrete software packages to be downloaded. We are tempted to deal with sexuality and relationships through specialist courses or seasonal sermons. Yet the Christian vision of sexuality will only seep into people's imaginations if it is constantly connected to our worship and faith. Our sexuality is an essential part of our spirituality, and it should be an integral theme in our regular teaching and worship. Teachers need to keep the Christian vision of sexuality before people - to continually re-envision them - much as a hot element keeps a pot on a roiling boil. To give the Christian vision power in people's lives, they need to regularly describe, communicate, and affirm the nature of the Christian life and to connect this vision with every aspect of life.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.230. 


'As moderns with individualism in our bones, we need to be jarred by what Paul is doing here, He does not just use the idea of family as a romantic metaphor to add rhetorical force to his teaching, but he concretely builds the practical life of his churches around the dynamics of a real and different type of family. The community of faith regularly eats together, meets in homes, provides for each other's practical needs, pools complementary gifts that build each other up, and celebrates and grieves together. It is only within this sort of community that we can learn to enter into and sustain committed and loving relationships - to grow into maturity.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.219. 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016


'I can, when I am in the mood, make her laugh, particularly at herself, which is a kind of love, because something in her has been recognized.' 
Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy, p.31. 


'After a certain age sex can never be casual. I couldn't ask for so little. To lay your hand on another person's body, or to put your mouth against another's - what a commitment that is! To choose someone is to uncover a whole life. And it is to invite them to uncover you.' 
Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy, p.20. 


'Surely the ultimate freedom is to choose, to dispense with freedom for the obligations that tie one to life - to get involved.' 
Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy, p.13. 


'Hurting someone is an act of reluctant intimacy.' 
Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy, p.4. 


'...words are actions and they make things happen. Once they are out you cannot put them back.'
Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy, p.4.  


'In light of our culture's conviction that covenantal sacrificial love is a sort of "category error," the church requires mature living examples - storytellers who themselves personify the story - who resists the fatalistic narrative through their own faithful relationships and sexual integrity. The Christian vision of human flourishing is most clearly expressed by those people's lives that are bent toward God. It is not enough for pastors to simply teach Christian truth; they need to show  what the Christian story looks like. A leader's sexual life is not his or her private business.'
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.206. 


'...public testimony of God;s work in our lives should be a regular and central part of the church's common worship. An honest account of someone's personal journey, including the struggles, uncertainties, and successes, provides hope for those listening as well as a narrative map of how God works out his restoration in human lives. Furthermore, testimony acts as a form of confession, a uniquely Christian idea in which sin is brought into the open and shown to be redeemable within the gospel story. This sort of testimonial confession is only for the sake of the speaker but also plays an important redemptive-formative role within the gathered community; it runs counter to the pervasive secular narrative that trains us to manage and edit our personal stories, hiding weaknesses and any other signs of failure from public view.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.204. 

Monday, 18 January 2016


'The heart is where we encounter the most resistance to Christ's lordship over our lives. It is the heart more than the mind that clings to idols and false loves. The mind can be reeducated with good teaching and consistent preaching, but the heart stubbornly and secretly chooses its own way. Only when we get to this essential part of the self, its command-and-control center, can Christian formation push down deep roots.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.187. 


'Sadly, some influential voices within the modern church have been tempted to define Christian "love" as neutral soil into which we can plant whatever we choose. Giving his support to same-sex marriage, for instance, former pastor Rob Bell draws on Genesis 2 to explain that we need more love, more monogamy, more fidelity, and so on. When asked if he is "for same-sex marriage," he replied, "I am for marriage." Yet Genesis 2 is a strange text to use for such an assertion, forming as it does the cornerstone of Christian sexual anthropology. It shows that intimacy within heterosexual marriage is purposeful or teleological (it can bear new life), normative (it expresses God's intended design for sexual relationships), and comprehensive (the complementary natures and bodies of men and women in marriage are a reflection of God.). 
Bell's theological innovation replants Eden with a new moral ecology. Yet Christian love, as brought to life in scripture, is a flourishing garden with defined walls and keen discernment regarding what we cultivate and which fruit we taste. Even more so, following our retreat from Eden, there is a presumption that what we should cultivate is not what naturally grows within us. Indeed, our deepest desires are likely to lead us astray, and it took nothing less that God-in-the-flesh to reverse that destructive dynamic. It is strange, then, that parts of the church have been so eager in recent years to bless almost any form of sexual expression provided it is given and received with genuine feeling and continuity. This development is a reflection of the modern authentic self rather than the genuine Christian self. It demonstrates why Christian desire must be trained within the boundaries of Christian truth.'
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.177. 


'...the most common weakness in Christians' sexual lives is not failing to know what to do but failing to want to do it.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.166. 

Sunday, 17 January 2016


'...the greater part of sexuality is "affective" or "social" sexuality. Affective sexuality describes our fundamental need for relational, rather than strictly sexual, intimacy across a broad range of nurturing friendships. The challenge for Christian identity and daily living is to express our sexual energy in line with this divine purpose, thereby resisting our culture's misdirection of sexual desire into desire for sex or consumer goods. We need this deep range of deep and diverse relationships - with parents, friends, and elders - to properly affirm our personhood and sexuality. These networks of connections are important for single and married people alike.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.158. 


'The fundamental principle underlying Scripture's preservation of sex within marriage is that there is no such thing as real sex outside marriage.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.155. 

Saturday, 16 January 2016


'The way I write my novels can best be described as imagining that I'm going into the kitchen to fry a couple of eggs and then find myself cooking up a banquet. Starting with very simple things, they then word-associate themselves with further things until I'm up and running and eager to find out the nest surprise, the next hour, the next day or the next week.'
Ray Bradbury, Farewell Summer, p.163. 


'"Just once, though" said Tom, "I'd like one thing. An ice cream cone so big you could just keep eatin' and there isn't any end and you just go on bein' happy with it forever. Wow!"
"There's no such ice cream cone." 
"Just one thing like that is all I ask," said Tom. "One vacation that never had a last day. Or one matinee with Buck Jones, boy, just ridin' along forever, bangin', and Indians fallin' like pop bottles. Gimme just one thing with no tail-end and I'd go crazy."'
Ray Bradbury, Farewell Summer, p.125. 


'Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You've got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it. It's like boats. You keep your motor on so you can steer with the current. And when you hear the sound of the waterfall coming nearer and nearer, tidy up the boat, put on your best tie and hat, and smoke a cigar right up till the moment you go over. That's a triumph. Don't argue with the cataract.'
Ray Bradbury, Farewell Summer, p.113.


'Grandpa's library was a fine dark place bricked with books. so anything could happen there and always did. All you had to do was pull a book from the shelf and open it and suddenly the darkness was not so dark anymore.'
Ray Bradbury, Farewell Summer, p.62.

Thursday, 14 January 2016


'We think about Scripture's teaching on sexuality as a "list of rules" rather than as a coherent picture of the "good life." If Christian instruction about sexuality is just a moral code, then we are tempted to question why these rules are so important. But those who hold this perspective lose sight of the fact that these are not just rules. The Christian vision of sexuality is the gracious provision of a loving God who invites us into a life of flourishing via participation in his own character, the relationships within the Trinity, the reality of the kingdom of heaven as it takes shape on earth.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.126. 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016


'Despite our culture's easy acceptance of pornography, a growing tide of researchers, counselors, neuroscientists, pastors, and other professionals are ringing alarm bells on the basis of the devastating effects of pornography they see in their clinics, churches, and research studies. Some describe it as the "new tobacco." Just as most people considered smoking benign before the mid-1960s, there is a similar disconnect between scientific research and popular perspectives regarding the influence of pornography.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.105. 

Friday, 8 January 2016


'Consumerism trains us to acquire, consume, and move on, with novelty as our guiding impulse. The sad reality, though, is that we what we do with things, we will inevitably do with people.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.80. 


'As with all idolatries, consumerism is a corruption of something good. As divine image-bearers, we are drawn to beauty. When rightly oriented, beautiful things reveal something about God's own forms and character and so point us toward the kingdom beyond.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.77. 


'...we also need to teach the essential crisis that lies at the heart of marriage. The task of weaving together two different stories, personalities, and family backgrounds is costly work that we cannot take lightly. Children, although a blessing and gift, provide even stiffer challenges. If marriage is like an earthquake that shakes our world, then the demands of young children are more like a city-leveling tsunami. We need to stand firmly on both feet, then, in our approach to and teaching about marriage. Marriage is a gift, but it's also a crisis.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.71. 


'As we have abandoned extended families and larger social organizations such as the church as our primary communities, we have simultaneously replaced them with smaller affinity groups, such as the gym, work colleagues, wine clubs, niche or single generation churches, and even marriages. They can all become "lifestyle enclaves."
These small voluntary associations enable us to us to pick and choose our own values, allowing us to reconcile the contradictory desires for autonomy and community. In other words, we choose to be with people we like, people we are comfortable with...people like us.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.66. 

Thursday, 7 January 2016


'....the modern self seeks authenticity via the shortcut of attempting to make peace with ourselves rather than making peace with God and allowing him to change us.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.50. 


'Christian tradition emphasizes courage and perseverance in the face of suffering, but even within the church, seeking happiness and avoiding emotional pain have become our higher virtues. Yet this impossible foundation for Christian sexuality and relationships must be challenged. Allowing emotional authenticity to guide us in our long-term relationships is like trusting ourselves to the schizophrenic Gollum - sometimes loyal and sometimes treacherous but ultimately bent on our destruction. Christian marriage has a different genetic makeup, built upon covenant and imaging  Jesus's love for the church. We are called not only to seek deep friendship, intimacy, and companionship but also to give ourselves in faithful love.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.49. 


'Whereas Christianity views personal transformation as a necessary and reliable platform for relationships, the modern script of "authenticity" sees personal change as an inherent threat to relationships and vice versa. Young people often describe a dualism in how they sees their lives across time. There twenties are seen as the time for discovery and change, with their thirties the decade for stability and settling down: now is for "self," and later is for "others." It is a mystery, though how this transition is meant to take place. It is akin to the Olympic hopeful who decides to leave training until the event itself.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.47. 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016


'Focusing on discipleship in the area of not just about checking a box in a program of spiritual formation or helping Christians to live happier lives. It is important precisely because the whole purpose and target of the gospel is reconciled relationships. Good relationships within the community of faith are about living our future destiny now. Romantic relationships are an important area of focus because in these relationships we are called to commit ourselves most fully and sacrificially - and yet it is here where we run into such trouble. We cannot afford to let sexual and relational formation remain a secondary concern within the church, one that we deal with in the occasional sermon or specialist course. Sustaining faithful relationships and encouraging the ability to live disciplined sexual lives may be one of the most influential missional tasks of the contemporary church as we witness to the kingdom of God in the midst of a sexually confused and relationally fatalistic culture. This should make equipping men and women to live whole and healed lives in the area of sexuality and relationships a key priority and passion for Christian leaders.' 
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.24. 


'The common approach of teaching people to living according to Scripture, without giving due attention to the formative influence of our cultural context, unwittingly and ironically succumbs to the modern illusion that we can choose our own reality, largely free from external influences. This myopic approach to cultural formation runs the risk of incorporating secular assumptions about human identity into our models of discipleship. Although this may be intentional, it undermines the formation of mature Christians who are able to sustain sexual practices that are faithful to the Christian vision of life. Basically, our inability to perceive the influence of cultural misinformation is undermining the power the power of the Christian gospel to guide and form people so they can walk its pathway to sexual maturity.'
Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex, p.22.  


'Come with me on a thought experiment for a moment. Let us assume for the sake of argument that the priority of Christian leaders and pastors is to encourage and bring about, by every mean possible, the steady growth, maturity and integrity of those in their care. Now let's assume that these leaders are also able to categorize and prioritize the obstacles and challenges that these disciples face in their normal lives. Perhaps they could loosely rank each issue on the basis of its frequency: for instance, "faced every day," "once per week," and so on. Perhaps they could further categorize each issues on the grounds of its severity, such as "ability to resist or resolve this issue from 1 to 10." To complete out thought experiment, the leaders might rank how much time and attention they give to each issue within the teaching and discipleship of the church: for instance, "focus by the church from 1 to 10."
Now it's time for me to place my poorly disguised cards on the table. Surely we can affirm the assumptions described above: that the goal of Christian leaders is indeed to pursue growing maturity within their churches, and that they can also understand and rank the issues that Christians are facing in their everyday experiences. My strong suspicion is that issues relating to sexuality and relationships, for young Christians in particular, would appear right at the top of these lists as the most frequent and the most severe. And yet these same issues would most likely rank near the bottom of our lists regarding the amount of focus wee give these challenges within the church. Why is that?' Jonathan Grant, Divine Sex: A Compelling Vision for Christian Relationships in a Hypersexualized Age, p.19. 


'...the consequence of sin is that you have to to trample on other people.'
Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter, p.230. 


'...I hold on to the cross with all my strength - one must cling to it like a kitten hanging on to a plank when it falls into the sea.' 
Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter, p.36.