'Only animals live entirely in the Here and Now. Only nature knows niether memory nor history. But man - let me offer you a definition - is a storytelling animal. Wherever he goes he wants to leave behind not a chaotic wake, not an empty space, but the comfortable marker-buoys and trail-signs of stories.'
Graham Swift in J Todd Billings, Rejoicing in Lament, p.97.
'Somehow, in a way we are inclined to find offensive, God has to get his boots muddy and, it seems, to get his hands bloody, to put the world back to rights. If we declare, as so many have done, that we would rather it not be so, we face a counter question: Which bit of dry, clean ground are we standing on that we should pronounce on the matter with such certainty?'
Tom Wright in J Todd Billings, Rejoicing in Lament, p.87.
'It is the word of God alone which can first and effectively cheer the heart of any sinner. There is no true or solid peace to be enjoyed in the world except in the way of reposing upon the promises of God.'
John Calvin in J Todd Billings, Rejoicing in Lament, p.47.
'...in my view the biblical "answer" to the speculative problem of evil is this (drum roll, please): we don't have an answer. It's not that the Bible hasn't addressed the question so that we as humans are left with a shoulder-shrugging: "I don't know." The Bible has addressed the question, and God's response - as in the book of Job - is that humans don't have an answer to the problem of evil, and we shouldn't claim to have one. It should remain an open question, one that we continue to ask in prayer and in our lives in response to the world's suffering.'
J Todd Billings, Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestlng with Incurable Cancer & Life in Christ, p.21.
'...it was the same as with all people who are not exactly rich, but who want to resemble the rich, and for that reason only resemble each other: damasks, ebony, flowers, carpets, and bronzes, dark and gleaming - all that all people of a certain kind acquire in order to resemble people of a certain kind.'
Leo Tolstoy, 'The Death of Ivan Ilyich' in The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories, p.57.
'...faith is a form of imagination, because to have faith means that is one is living as though it is true that Jesus is Lord, that salvation has been won and that the kingdom is both present and future. Faith is not merely a form of assent to certain doctrines; it is much more a form of trusting, or actually living in, a new reality that God has amde. There is a sense in which faith is a form of make-believe; it means living as though everything that God says is true and has come about. In worship one acts as if it were true, but with the belief that it really is so. Imagination is central to faith and a playful attitude lies at the heart of worship, and it is these capacities that enable the believer to transcend the immediate world and experience the new. Play and imagination are central to religious experience.'
'A life of Christian ministry. service, sacrifice and worship that does not embody, as part of it, the joy and delight of a playful relationship with God will become a duty bound and moralistic life that will have difficulty in developing a close, intimate relationship with the one who is our chief and best Friend. This is because a playful attitude lies at the heart of all close relationships. The absence of this kind of relationship has meant burnout for far too many Christians. Just as in everyday life work without play makes one dull, in the Christian life service without a playful relationship with God leads to spiritual dullness.'
'...eschatological thinking that follows a biblical mode of thought really means allowing the final events, the end purpose of all things, to influence one's understanding of all preceding doctrines and events, including the form of the present life of the believer.'
Brian Edgar, The God Who Plays: A Playful Approach to Theology and Spirituality, p.5.