'In the flattened world of our disenchanted age, self-expression and the unfettered satisfaction of desires are the highest goods. The chief sins are a failure to be true to oneself (i.e., hypocrisy) and a failure to be tolerant (i.e., judgmentalism). Christians exhibit both sins in spades.'
'In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.'
CS Lewis in Paul M Gould, Cultural Apologetics, p.112.
'...the best explanation for why we make architecture and jokes, sculptures and gardens, stories and mythical creatures is because we bear the image of God who is the master creator, comedian, and storyteller.'
'The path of return to God lies through creation itself...Cultural apologetics involves cultivating spiritual perception, recognizing that creation itself offers glimpses of the divine. Even more, creation ushers us into God's presence as we learn to see God in and through all that he lovingly has made.'
Paul M Gould, Cultural Apologetics: Renewing the Christian Voice, Conscience, and Imagination in a Disenchanted World, p.83.
'"I know that God has forgiven me, but I do not feel it inside." Why? The problem usually lies in the fact that, in spite of God's certain forgiveness these individuals have not forgiven themselves. The sin they have committed has been so great an offence to their self-image, their self-love has been so deeply hurt, that they are incapable of forgiving themselves. This especially occurs in cases where the sin is sexual immorality. If there has been a genuine confession, but the person still feels guilty, we are probably facing a psychological problem. The inability to forgive oneself is an issue more related to our self-image than our faith; the obstacle is not in our relationship with God but in the relationship with ourselves.'
'...the necessary requisite for us to be able to approach others adequately is a healthy concept of personal identity. The development of intimacy in relationships will depend upon the security that one has in oneself. The more unsure a person is, the more relational conflicts the person will have. The poorer the person's self-image, the greater the difficulty in becoming close to others. Deep down, people who have relational problems with others have not learned to relate well to themselves. They are in conflict with others because of the conflict with themselves.
The result of all of this will be problems in having an intimate relationship with God. They will find it difficult to trust in God because it is difficult for them to trust in themselves.'
'It is difficult for us to understand it, and it even surprises us, but God does want to be with us. The Lord is delighted when his children seek him. God is self-sufficient, he has need of nothing; nonetheless, he takes great pleasure in our relationship with him, in our prayers.'
'Prayer enables us to rebuild the very foundations of our existence, and gives back to a person the true purpose of their life: relationship with God. It provides an authentic self-fulfillment because it restores free and constant dialogue, that intimate fellowship with our Creator. Prayer is the vehicle that allows us to meet our deepest need, our thirst for God.'
Pablo Martinez, Praying with the Grain: How Your Personality Affects The Way You Pray, p.96.
'...all of the successful, happy gay couples I know, the ones who show an enviable depth of emotional commitment have one thing in common, and that is that they look for, and find, sex outside their loving relationship. This is a fact of gay life. I do not think that this vitiates the quality of their commitment in any way whatsoever. It merely suggests what is obvious about gay men - and therefore, of men in general, since gay culture is nothing if not a laboratory in which to see what masculinity does without the restraints imposed by women: that sex for men is, finally, separable from affect.'
'What is it like when two men have sex? In a way, it is like the experience of Tiresias; this is the real reason why gay men are uncanny, why the idea of gay men is disruptive and uncomfortable. All straight man who have engaged in the physical act of love know what it is like to penetrate a partner during intercourse, to be inside the other, all women who have had intercourse know what it is like to be penetrated, to have the other inside oneself. But the gay man, in the very moment that he is either penetrating his partner or being penetrated by him, know exactly what his partner is feeling and experiencing even as he himself has his own experience of exactly the opposite, the complementary act. Sex between men dissolves otherness into sameness, men into de, in a perfect suspension: there is nothing the partner doesn't know about the other. If the emotional aim of intercourse is a total knowing of the other, gay sex may be, in its way, perfect, because in it a total knowledge of the other's experience is, finally, possible. But since the object of that knowledge is already wholly know to each of the parties, the act is also, in a way, redundant. Perhaps it is for this reason that so many of us keep seeking repetition, as if depth were impossible.'
Daniel Mendelsohn, The Elusive Embrace: Desire and the Riddle of Identity, p.73.
'...if I were trapped in that cage again nothing would keep me from my goal, however fearful its prospects, however hopeless the odds, I would search the earth for surgeons, I would bribe barbers or abortionists, I would take a knife and do it myself, without fear, without qualms, without a second thought.'
'...I do not for a moment regret the act of change. I could see no other way, and it has made me happy. In this I am one of the lucky few. There are people of many kinds who have set out on the same path, and by and large they are among the unhappiest people on the face of the earth.'
'Living Christianly is not complicated, though it is profound (and exceedingly difficult). The simplicity flows from the fact that everything commanded comes down to loving God and neighbor, while everything forbidden can be traced back to the worship of false gods, which places some other god before the Lord.'
James M Hamilton Jr. Work and our Labor in the Lord, p.74.
'I love all beauteous things,
I seek and adore them;
God hath no better praise,
And man in his hasty days
Is honoured for them.' Robert Bridges, from 'I love all beauteous things' in A Choice of Bridges's Verse, p.55.
'Victimhood rather than stoicism or heroism has become something eagerly publicized, even sought after, in our culture. To be a victim is in some way to have won, or at least to have got a head start in the great oppression race of life. At the root of this curious development is one of the most important and mistaken judgments of the social justice movements: that oppressed people (or people who can claim to be oppressed) are in some way better than others, that there is some decency, purity, or goodness which comes from being part of such a group. In fact, suffering in and of itself does not make someone a better person. A gay, female, black or trans person may be as dishonest, deceitful and rude as anyone else.'
'...the end point of trans advocates is irreversible and life-altering. People expressing concern or urging caution in regard to transsexualism may not be "denying the existence of trans people" or claiming that they should be treated as second-class citizens, let alone (the most catastrophizing claim of all) causing trans people to commit suicide. They may simply be urging caution about something which has not remotely been worked out yet - and which is irreversible.'
'Every age before this one has performed or permitted acts that to us are morally stupefying. So unless we have any reason to think we are any more reasonable, morally better or wiser than at any time in the past, it is reasonable to assume there will be some things we are presently doing - possibly while flushed with moral virtue - that our descendant will whistle through through their teeth at, and say "What the hell were they thinking?" It is worth wondering what the blind spots of our age might be. What might we be doing that will be regarded by succeeding generations in the same way we now look down on the slave trade or using Victorian children as chimney sweeps.'
'...is our age able to forgive? Since everybody errs in the course of their life there must be - in any healthy person or society - some capacity to be forgiven. Part of forgiveness is the ability to forget. And yet the internet will never forget. Everything can always be summoned up afresh by new people.'