Friday, 29 September 2017


'There is no tribunal so magnificent, no throne so stately, no show of triumph so distinguished, no chariot so elevated as is the gibbet on which Christ has subdued death and the devil and trodden them under his feet.' 
John Calvin in Michael Green, I Believe in Satan's Downfall, p.94. 

Thursday, 28 September 2017


'Pride is a strange illness - it makes everyone sick but the one who has it.'
John Wesley White in Michael Green, I Believe in Satan's Downfall, p.68. 


'It is true that temptation given into is harder to combat next time, but temptation resisted does not necessarily mean that things become easier next time: it may simply mean that we become exposed to a stronger degree of temptation than before. That is how, I think, we should assess the true magnitude of Jesus' achievement. I used to think that because he never sinned, it must somehow have been easier for him. I now appreciate that whereas I never get the full blast of temptation - I fall before it gets that far - he did face that without yielding and he did so time after time. The rope that stands the test of repeated jolts is stronger than one which parts under the strain.'
Michael Green, I Believe in Satan's Downfall, p.62. 


'One of the principles of warfare is to study the enemy. Thousands of millions of pounds are spent annually by world governments in studying potential enemies. And yet Christians give very little thought to the nature and characteristics of the actual Enemy they face.' 
Michael Green, I Believe in Satan's Downfall, p.48. 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017


'Doubt about the existence of a malign focus of evil is to be found, by and large, only in Christian lands. It is only where the victory of Christ is so well known, only where the defeat of the devil is so celebrated, that doubts are expressed. If he exists, it must please him mightily to have his existence denied by the only people who know his inherent weakness, and are aware of the act of Christ on Calvary that spelt his doom. Were he better known he would be more hated, more resisted, more defeated in the lives of Christians. So it suits him admirably for them to slumber in the bland assurance that he does not exist.' 
Michael Green, I Believe in Satan's Downfall, p.17. 

Monday, 25 September 2017


'We have got so beyond those things for which language was initially contrived, that, unless we use extreme caution, we cannot speak, unless we speak exceeding unintelligibly, without literally contradicting ourselves - Coroll. No wonder therefore, that the high and abstract mysteries of the Deity, the prime and most abstract of all beings, imply so many seeming contradictions.' 
Jonathan Edwards in Marilynne Robinson, The Givenness of Things, p.89. 

Sunday, 24 September 2017


' intimacy confident of absolute possession...'
Garth Greenwell, What Belongs to You, p.34. 


'Christian holiness is not a free-floating goodness removed from the world, a few feet above the ground. It is specific and, in some sense, tailored to who we particularly are. We grow in holiness in the honing of our specific vocation. We can't be holy in the abstract. Instead we become a holy blacksmith or a holy mother or a holy physician or a holy systems analyst. We seek God in and through our particular vocation and place in life.
Each kind of work is therefore its own kind of craft that must be developed over time, both for our own sanctification and for the good of the community. As we seek to do our work well and hone our craft, we are developed and honed in our work. Our task is not to somehow inject God into our work but to join God i the work he is already doing in and through our vocational lives. Therefore, holiness itself is something like a craft - not an abstract state to which we ascend but an earthly wisdom and love that is part and parcel of how we spend our day.' 
Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary, p. 94. 


'I have a very strong sense that we are only on this planet for a short length of time. Religious people might think it goes on after death. My feeling is that if that is the case, it would be nice if just one person came back and let us know it was all fine, all confirmed. Of all the billions who have died, if just one of them could come through the clouds and say, you know, "It's me, Jeanine, it's brilliant, there's a really good spa," that would be great.' 
Eddie Izzard in The Week (23 September 2017), p.10. 

Thursday, 21 September 2017


'The evangelical quest for a particular emotional experience in worship and the capitalistic quest for anonymous, cheap canned goods have something in common. Both are mostly concerned with what I can get for myself as as an individual consumer. 
But the economy of the Eucharist call me to a life of self-emptying worship.' 
Tish Harrison Warren, Life of the Ordinary, p.72. 


' say grace before a meal is among the highest and most honest expressions of our humanity....Here, around the table and before witnesses, we testify to the experience of life as a precious gift to be received and given again. We acknowledge that we do not and cannot live alone but are beneficiaries of the kindness and mysteries of grace upon grace.' 
Norman Wirzba in Tish Harrison Warner, Liturgy of the Ordinary, p.65. 


'Repentance is not usually a moment wrought in high drama. It is the steady drumbeat of a life in Christ and, therefore, a day in Christ.'
Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary, p.57.  

Wednesday, 20 September 2017


'Sexual sin is a scandal in the Scriptures not because the apostles were blushing prigs - they were, in reality, a rather salty bunch - or because the body is dirty or evil, but because our skin and muscles and feet and hands are more sacred than any communion chalice or baptismal font. Ignoring Scripture's teaching about the proper use of the body and using our bodies for our own false worship is a misuse of the sacred akin to suing consecrated bread and wine in a Wiccan goddess ceremony.' 
Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary, p.45. 


'The kind of spiritual life and disciplines needed to sustain the Christian life are quiet, repetitive and ordinary. I often want to skip the boring, daily stuff to get to the thrill of an edgy faith. But it's in the dailiness of the Christian faith - the making of the bed, the doing of the dishes, the praying for our enemies, the reading of the Bible, the quiet, the smell - that God's transformation takes root and grows.' 
Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary, p.36. 


'...when we gaze at the richness of the gospel and find them dull and uninteresting, it's actually we who have been hollowed out. We have lost our capacity to see wonders where true wonders lie. We must be formed as people who are capable of appreciating goodness, truth and beauty.' 
Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary, p.34. 


'...Push as hard as the age that pushes against you.'
Flannery O'Connor in Tish Harrison, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life, p.29. 

Friday, 15 September 2017


'It is not uncommon for those who are respectful of Christianity and eager to rescue some part of it from the assaults of rational skepticism to say Jesus was a great man, and no more than a man. A teacher, a martyr to intolerance, from whom we might learn compassion. He is defined in terms of an equivalence, his mystery anchored to what is assumed to be a known value. But what is man? What does it mean to say, as the Gospel writers say and insist, that Jesus was indeed a human being? What we are remains a very open question. Perhaps some part of divine purpose in the Incarnation of this Son of Man was and is to help us to a true definition.' 
Marilynne Robinson, The Givenness of Things, p.257. 


'The fact, or at least the degree, of human exceptionalism is often disputed. In some quarters it is considered modest and seemly for us to take our place among the animals, conceptually speaking - to acknowledge finally the bonds of kinship evolution implies. Yet, in view of history with regard to the animals, not to mention our history with one another, it seems fair to wonder if the beasts, given a voice in the matter, would not feel a bit insulted by our intrusion.' 
Marilynne Robinson, The Givenness of Things, p.256. 


'The Incarnation is, by itself, the great fact that gives every act and saying of Jesus the character of revelation.' 
Marilynne Robinson, The Givenness of Things, p.249.  

Thursday, 14 September 2017


'Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore!'
Henry Ward Beecher in Anne Fadiman, Ex Libris,  p.150. 


'What man who really loves his books...delegates to any other human being, as long there is breath in his body, the office of inducting them into their homes?' 
WE Gladstone in Anne Fadiman, Ex Libris, p.145. 


'There must be writers whose parents owned no books, and who were taken under the wing of a neighbor or teacher or librarian, but I have never met one. My daughter is seven, and some of the other second-grade parents complain that their children don't read for pleasure. When I visit their homes, the children's rooms are crammed with expensive books, but the parents' rooms are empty. Those children do not see their parents reading as I did every day of my childhood. By contrast, when I walk into an apartment with books of the shelves, books on the bedside tables, boos on the floor, and books on the toilet tank, then I know what I would see if I opened the door that says PRIVATE - GROWNUPS KEEP OUT: a child sprawled on the bed, reading.' 
Anne Fadiman, Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, p.126. 

Monday, 11 September 2017


'...unbelief is not a lack of faith or trust. It is the refusal to believe God. It leads inevitably to a turning away from God in a deliberate act of rejection.' 
William L Lane, Hebrews 1-8, p.86. 

Friday, 8 September 2017


'Yes, this was the Church of England, his flock, thought Mr. Latimer, a collection of old women, widows and spinsters, and one young man not quite right in the head.'
Barbara Pym, Crampton Hodnet, p.86.

Thursday, 7 September 2017


'....the concept of intimacy has been, like so many other social goods, cannibalized by sexuality.' 
Nate Collins, All But Invisible, p.157. 


'The distrust that evangelical culture expresses toward deep friendship with those to whom we might experience attraction is a sign that it tends to regard sexual purity as the summum honum, or the highest good. This "purity culture" operates at a perpetual DEFCON 1 level, and regards any potential threats to sexual purity as existential danger. It exacerbates the problem of the sexualization of personhood by reducing the relational value of others to the extent that they might be a potential threat to sexual purity. The other side of the coin is also true; purity culture diminishes human personhood to the extent that it conditions people to view themselves as intrinsically sexual beings who are always on the verge of impurity.' 
Nate Collins, All But Invisible: Exploring Identity Questions at the Intersection of Faith, Gender & Sexuality, p.152.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017


'...a crucified saviour who willingly embraces weakness in the incarnation and on the cross can only be properly passed on by servants who willingly accept weakness and vulnerability.'  
Julian Hardyman, The Joy of Service, p.41. 


'I still frequently sit down for that pre-service prayer time and feel that if everyone knew how empty and conflicted I am inside, they'd march me off to the creche so I could start all over again. I come back from a summer holiday and genuinely wonder how on earth I will find the energy that different bits of my job scream for if they are to be done even half-effectively. And I still find myself seeing folk with different problems and thinking I just don't know what or even how to share their pain.' 
Julian Hardyman, The Joy of Service, p.34. 


'For me to want the benefits of the cross without its demands is not just rude, it's impossible. Not an option. Ministry without a cross is not ministry.' 
Julian Hardyman, The Joy of Service, p.29.