'Life with God is not like a motorbike, where we are in control of the power and direction. But neither is it like a raft, where we just sit back and are carried along. It's like sailing. While we can't control the most important thing - the wind that makes us move - that doesn't mean there is nothing left for us to do. We have to draw the sail to catch the wind. We must labor to be brought near.'
'As the beauty of the divine nature primarily consist in God's holiness, so does the beauty of divine things. Herein consists the beauty of the saints, that they are saints, or holy ones: it is the moral image of God in them, which is their beauty; and that is their holiness.'
Jonathan Edwards in Rankin Wilbourne, Union with Christ, p.178.
'...our self is not obliterated by our union with Christ; our self is fully realized. God the Creator clearly delights in our unique particularity. From sunsets to snowflakes, he makes endless variations of beautiful things for the sheer joy of it.He never repeats himself and never runs out of ideas.'
'The Christian doctrine of sin proves to be a remarkable resource in helping us understand ourselves, but it's intelligible only against the background of a profound Christian optimism about the created potential of humanity. The caricatures of Christianity paint it as pessimistic and life denying. But in fact, Christianity is the true humanism. We are royal masterpieces, yet we are marred. The glorious image of God in us needs to be restored, and it is worth the effort of restoration.
'Against the prevailing mindset of our day - you are what you make yourself - union with Christ tells you that you can discover your real self only in relation to the One who made you. You are not, you cannot be, self-made. Union with Christ tells that you can only understand who are you are in communion with God and others. And that is a wildly countercultural claim.'
'As an odd sort of proof that no amount of scientific or technological advance can eradicate our sense of the supernatural, look at the number of movies and television shows today that contain supernatural or spiritual themes. No sooner does one area of our culture try to convince us nothing exists beyond the visible world than another stream rushes into fill the void.'
'The church is in desperate need of a way to express the grace of the gospel and the demand of the gospel in a way that enhances both without canceling either. If you have ever asked these questions, union with Christ is your answer.'
'...becoming a Christian means more than believing Christ did certain things for you long ago. It means that Christ joins his life to yours in such an intimate and comprehensive way that the prevailing metaphor for this union in the Bible is marriage (Eph. 5:32). It's a metaphor, but it's not only a metaphor because the Holy Spirit, the bond of this connection, it is not metaphorical. The Holy Spirit is real, which means if you are "in Christ," Christ has truly made himself one with you.'
Rankin Wilbourne, Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God, p.71.
'We often use "care" or "carer" for people who would once have thought that what they were doing in say, looking after incapacitated relatives, was a duty. To call the act of changing someone's soiled underclothing an act of caring can make you feel as if you should be doing it because you want to do it, whereas the idea that you're doing it because it's your duty makes it more impersonal and therefore - to my mind, anyway - a lighter burden. It leaves you free to dislike what you are doing while still feeling you are doing the right thing in doing it.'
John Lanchester in Jennifer Senior, All Joy and No Fun, p.248.
'...liberalism is not a partisan claim for the universal authority of a particular morality, but the search for terms of coexistence between different moralities. In this alternative view, liberalism has to do with handling the conflicts of cultures that will always be different, not founding a universal civilization.'
'There is nothing more telling, nothing more revealing of one's character and history and taste, than one's reaction to other people's excess. Tell me which kinds of excess fascinate you, tell me which kinds of excess appal you and I will tell you who you are. This would be one, excessive, way of putting it. Or one could more sensibly say: notice which excesses you are drawn to (and there is, of course, an excess of excesses to choose from now - road rage, fundamentalism, self-improvement, shopping), the ones you can;'t stop complaining about, the ones that make you speak out, or the ones that just give you some kind of secret, perhaps slightly embarrassing pleasure, and try to work out what about them is so compelling.'
'Books connect you to others. It sounds trite but it is true. You are kept company by characters, by a story and by the consciousness - held literally in the hand, seemingly entire - that wrote the book. They all speak to you now across time and space, a commonality of minds, a sharing of experience, a proffering of thoughts and philosophies effortlessly spanning dimensions that would otherwise defeat all such efforts. They are insurmountable proof that the bundle of flaws, fancies, idiocies, instincts, anxieties and aptitudes that is you is neither unique or alone.'