Monday, 31 December 2018


In the order I enjoyed them: 

  • HFM Prescott, The Man on a Donkey 
  • Brad & Drew Harper, Space at the Table: Conversations Between an Evangelical Theologian and His Gay Son
  • Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ  
  • John Bew, Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee
  • George Eliot, Adam Bede 
  • John D Inazu, Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference 
  • Rankin Wilbourne, Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God 
  • Thomas Savage, The Sheep Queen: A Novel 
  • Hermione Lee, Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life 
  • Karen Swallow Prior, On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books 

Sunday, 23 December 2018


'"We all live in the hands of God."
"I tell myself that every time I'm really frightened. Unfortunately that's the only time I do think it."' 
William Maxwell, 'The French Scarecrow' in Over By the River and other stories, p.122. 

Saturday, 15 December 2018


'Without deemphasisizing the value of the Bible in knowing my calling, I have come to understand an even more basic place in which God's will for me has been communicated. That is in the givens of my being. My temperament, my personality, my abilities, and my interests and passions all say something about who I was called to be, not simply who I am. If I really believe that I was created by God and invited to find my place in his kingdom, I have to take seriously what God had already revealed about who I am.' 
David G Benner, The Gidt of Being Yourself, p.92. 


'Some Christians base their identity on being a sinner. I think they have it wrong - or only half right. You are not simply a sinner; you are a deeply loved sinner. And there is all the difference in the world between the two.' 
David G Benner, The Gift of Being Yourself, p.60. 

Sunday, 9 December 2018


' know oneself is, above all, to know what one lacks. It is to measure oneself against Truth, and not the other way around.' 
Flannery O'Connor, 'The Fiction Writer & His Country' in Mystery & Manners, p.35. 


'When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax a little and use more normal means of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock - to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures.' 
Flannery O'Connor, 'The Fiction Writer & His Country' in Manners & Mystery, p.34. 


'Once, when asked by a student at a lecture, "Miss O'Connor, why do you write?" she answered, "Because I am good at it." At first glance, this reply might seem conceited or proud. But the truth is that knowing what we are good at and what we are not, doing what we are supposed to do, and not what we aren't, being what we are supposed to be and not what we aren't, is the essence of true humility.' 
Karen Swallow Prior, On Reading Well, p.236. 


'Kind comes from the same root from which we get the word kin. To be kind, then, is to treat someone like they are family. To possess the virtue of kindness is to be in the habit of treating all people as if they were family.' 
Karen Swallow Prior, On Reading Well, p.207. 


'Lust derives from a feeling of lack, and nothing feels more lacking than a sense of isolation. It is probably not coincidental that the technology that makes pornopraphy omnipresent is the very technology that is isolating human beings from one another more and more and generating greater loneliness.' 
Karen Swallow Prior, On Reading Well, p.173. 


'...the paradox of the extra-marital affair, confirmed by research: had the time, attention, and emotion spent on the affair been invested in the marriage instead, the affair may never have occured.' 
Karen Swallow Prior, On Reading Well, p.169. 


'Chastity is not the same as virginity or celibacy. Within Christianity, it is something both married and single people are called to. The person who is raped is not guilty of being unchaste. On the other hand, the consumer of pornography is. Chastity, most simply, is fidelity.' 
Karen Swallow Prior, On Reading Well, p.161. 


'There is no tyranny like the tyranny of a desire that draws us away from God.' 
Karen Swallow Prior, On Reading Well, p.145. 


'What matters to us, beyond mere existence, is the explicit confirmation: It is good that you exist; how wonderful that you are! In other words, what we need over and above sheer existence is: to be loved by another person.' 
Josef Pieper in Karen Swallow Prior, On Reading Well, p.141. 


'...hope leads one to consider oneself within the context of one's story, stretching it forward to its best possible ending.' 
Karen Swallow Prior, On Reading Well, p.135. 


'Some years ago, I noticed amid the grading of many papers (the plight of every English professor) how often the positive feedback I wrote on my students' work consisted simply of the comment "good." I contemplated varying that word with others. But then I realized that good is the best word. (It is certainly easy to write!). Once in a while, the world excellent might be warranted. But not often. We live in a society so obsessed with "the best" that good is seldom good enough. But good is good.  it is very good. It is the way God characterized his own creation in Genesis.' 
Karen Swallow Prior, On Reading Well, p.131. 


'...despair is often rooted in unrealistic expectations or idealism, the kind of thinking that inevitably brings disappointment. People quit relationships, jobs, and churches over unmet expectations, often expectations that were never fair or realistic in the first place.' 
Karen Swallow Prior, On Reading Well, p.125. 


' you seek books that you will enjoy reading, demand ones that make demands on you: books with sentences so exquisitely crafted that they must be reread, familiar words used in fresh ways, new words so evocative that you are compelled to look them up, and images and ideas so arresting that they return to you unbidden for days to come.'  
Karen Swallow Prior, On Reading Well, p.17. 


'Since therefore the knowledge of and survey of vice is in this world so necessary to the constituting of human virtue, and the scanning or error to the confirmation of truth, how can we more safely, and with less danger, scout into the region of sin and falsity than by reading all manner of tractates and hearing all manner of reason? And this  is the benefit which may be had of books promiscuously read.'  
John Milton in Karen Swallow Prior, Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books, p.15. 

Saturday, 8 December 2018


' has struck me that, in his grace and compassion, our heavenly Father allows us to practise what it is like to die faithfully, to die as a believer and follower of Christ, every single night of our lives. You know precisely what it feels like to die in Christ: it is like falling asleep. I have tried to imagine that feeling of being exhausted and drained after a long and gruelling day, and then, at long last, your head touches that soft pillow. And all you have to do is give way to sleep, because you know you are safe, secure and protected. Falling asleep is not something strange and terrifying; it is an experience that our heavenly Father gives us in advance so that we need not be fearful.' 
John Wyatt, Dying Well, p.122.