Sunday, 27 October 2019


'In the wake of the affair, Rabih, adopts a different view of the purpose of marriage. As a younger man he thought of it as a consecration of a special set of feelings: tenderness, desire, enthusiasm, longing. However, he now understands that it is also, and just as importantly, an institution, one which is meant to stand fast from year to year without reference to every passing change in the emotions of its participants. It has its justification in more stable and enduring phenomena than feelings: in an original act of commitment impervious to later revisions and, more notably, in children, a class of beings constitutionally uninterested in the daily satisfactions of those who created them.' 
Alain de Botton, The Course of Love, p.182. 


'Sexual desire is driven by a wish to establish closeness - and is hence contingent on a pre-existing sense of distance, which it is a perpetually distinctive pleasure and relief to bridge.' 
Alain de Botton, The Course of Love, p.137. 


'...the progress of the human race is at every turn stymied by an ingrained resistance to being rushed to conclusions. We are held back by an inherent interest in re-exploring entire chapters in the back catalogue of our species' idiocies - and to wasting a good part of life finding out for ourselves what has already been extensively and painfully charted by others.' 
Alain de Botton, The Course of Love, p.126. 

Monday, 21 October 2019


'If we keep our churches, homes, and bodies bereft of art (or, alas, bereft of good art), we are saying something about what we hold to be Kingdom values - and what we are saying is heretical, namely, that God doesn't care about beauty.' 
John G Stackhouse Jr., Why You're Here, p.99. 


'...Christians who narrow their understanding and practice of mission to evangelism alone end up being less effective in that evangelism precisely because what they are witnessing to, exemplifying, and acting out is a much-reduced gospel, an important but thin slice of the abundant Kingdom life. Proclamation of the Gospel is an essential of both Christian mission and Christian life, but it is not the totality of either. When it becomes the only mode of Christian service to God, the message being proclaimed becomes less attractive because it is less vital and less evident in those proclaiming it. How do we expect people to be attracted to a society of people who live only to convert other people to their society? We will be better evangelists if we do not concentrate all of our energies on evangelism.' 
John G Stackhouse Jr. Why You're Here p.97. 

Sunday, 20 October 2019


'In the whole known universe we are the only species that takes responsibility for the others; the only species that demonstrates the slightest interest in naming, tending, and conserving the others; that indeed is accountable for the stewardship of the others; and the only species that feels guilt (however fitfully and hypocritically) when its stewardship fails.' 
Andy Crouch in John G Stackhouse Jr., Why You're Here: Ethics for the Real World, p.23. 

Friday, 18 October 2019


'Marriage: a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don't know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive of and have carefully omitted to investigate.' 
Alain de Botton, The Course of Love, p.43. 


'To a shameful extent, the charm of marriage boils down to how unpleasant it is to be alone. This isn't necessarily our faults as individuals. Society as a whole appears determined to render the single state as nettlesome and depressing as possible: once the freewheeling days of school and university are over, company and warmth become dispiritingly  hard to find; social life starts to resolve oppressively around couples; there's no one left to call and hang out with. It hardly surprising, then, if when we find someone half decent, we might cling.' 
Alain de Botton, The Course of Love, p.39.


' is a search for completion.'
Alain de Botton, The Course of Love  p.16.


'For me, reading was never an antisocial activity. It was deeply social. It was the most profound kind of socialising there was. A deep connection to the imagination of another human being. A way to connect without many filters society normally demands...
Reading isn't important because it helps to get you a job. It's important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you're given. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape.'
Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet, p.257.


'Nothing is ever enough.
I have always been addicted to something. That something changes but the sense of need doesn't.'
Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet, p.233.


'Imagine if were heading for a quiet walk in the forest and someone came up to you. 
"Where are you going?" she asks.
"I'm going to the forest," you tell her.
"Wow," she gasps, stepping back. 
"Wow what?"
And then a tear forms in her eye. She places a hand on your shoulder. "You're so brave."
"Am I?"
"So incredibly brave. An inspiration, in fact."
And you would gulp, and go pale, and be permanently put off going into the forest.'
Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet, p.207.


'We are ruled by the clock. By the light bulb. By the glowing smartphone. By the insatiable feeling we are encouraged to have. The feeling of this is never enough. Our happiness is just around the corner. A single purchase, or interaction, or click, away. Waiting, glowing, like the light at the end of the tunnel that we can never quite reach.'
Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet, p.143.

Monday, 14 October 2019


'One frustration with anxiety is that it is often hard find a reason behind it. There may be no visible threat and yet you can feel utterly terrified. It's all intense suspense, no action. It's like Jaws without the shark.' 
Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet, p.21. 

Thursday, 10 October 2019


'Attachment to the God of heaven manifests itself in an absence of attachment to the things of earth.' 
Darrell L Bock, Luke 9:51-24:53: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, p.1168. 

Monday, 7 October 2019


'Books and flowers are invincible beautifiers. I have often used them to make horrible surroundings habitable.' 
Keith Douglas, Alamein to Zem Zem, p.98. 


'To be sexual - to be male or female - means to be incomplete as an isolated individual. For as isolated individuals we are unable to reflect the fullness of humanity and thus the fullness of the divine image. We see the other who is sexually different from us, and as this occurs we are reminded of our own incompleteness. 
The fullness of humanness, therefore, is reflected only in community. As a result, our existence as sexual beings gives rise to the desire to enter into community, and thereby to actualize our design as human individuals. Sexuality, then, is an expression of our nature as social beings. We are not isolated entities existing to ourselves; nor are we the source of our fulfillment. On the contrary, we derive fulfillment beyond ourselves. This need to find fulfillment beyond ourselves is the dynamic that leads to the desire to develop relationships with others and ultimately with God. 
This dynamic is present in a person's life regardless of marital status. Married persons have entered into this intimate bond as a result of their sexuality. But the drive toward bonding as an expression of human sexuality is operative in the single life as well, albeit in a less formal way. Just as bonding is a dynamic of the single life, so also this drive to bond with others n community is an expression of our fundamental sexuality, a sexuality that goes deeper than body parts, potential roles in reproduction, and genital acts.'  
Stanley J Grenz, Sexual Ethics: An Evangelical Perspective,  p.193. 

Sunday, 6 October 2019


'...all ideas are dangerous - dangerous because ideas can only lead to action and where the action leads no man can say. And dangerous in this respect: that confronted with the impossibility of remaining faithful to one's beliefs, and the equal impossibility of becoming free of them, one can be driven to the most inhuman excesses.' 
James Baldwin, 'Stranger in the Village' in Notes of a Native Son, p.175. 


'No one, after all, can be liked whose human weight and complexity cannot be, or has not been, admitted.' 
James Baldwin, 'Stranger in the Village' in Notes of a Native Son, p.185.