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This is where I store the quotes that I collect.  As of 25/6/2004, I've decided that they're of more value somewhere where at least in theory, they may be stumbled upon by all who come upon this page, rather than on my computer where they can't be read.  Consequently, I've decided to put all of my collection on the Wiki for the perusal of all.  Periodically, I do make minor purges.  I try and develop and nuance my theological ideas as I'm informed by further reading, and I'd like to think that that nuance is reflected in the quotes.  Occasionally, I remove quotes that assume Christian opponents rather than Christian interlocuters.  However, I add much faster than I delete.  As the body has grown, I've been able to have less control over them.  They are a kind of living body of theology, like... well, you know.  I do not want to collect dead texts, but I would like the saints, through the quotes, to gather and shape readers towards a common oration.  The quotes do sometimes seem to disagree amongst themselves.  I like to leave them wrestling with one another in the hope that they might learn to agree, kind of like Anglicans.  I hope you find these quotes frequently challenging, and hopefully comforting.  I wonder whether reading some of these may be a kind of training in how to read the Bible through the eyes of the Church.  If you don't find some of them hard to read, then you're probably not reading rightly.

If you email me, you'll often find I tag them on to the bottom of the emails that I send.  I have taken a few from the CQOD website (Christian Quotation of the Day).  I've taken others from books or sermons that I've read (although I don't think I've quoted enough to infringe copyright).  A few I've taken by rooting through other peoples' quote collections.  Some come from articles on the web that I've bookmarked on the URL page.  Some of them are bits of song lyric that struck me for some reason or other.  A few have been spoken by some of you when you thought I might not be listening.  (If anybody does see anything that infringes copyright, let me know, and I'll remove it.)

I want to categorise all of the quotes eventually.  The categories are inadequate.  There is no easy or obvious divide between knowledge and wisdom, between God and revelation, between theology and worship or between ethics and the Church.  They are false constructs.  Although you might feel as I do, that categorisation does violence to the quotes, it does make it easier to find them.  Finding a quote is almost as good as quoting it.  When I find one, I think of it as finding a diamond in a charity shop, a coin in a forest or an offering of friendship in a lonely corner of the world.  There is an art to summing up what you want to say in a couple of lines and having that be beautiful enough to be worth saying again.  I realise that often I've de-contextualised the quotes.  Recontextualisation is a way of revealing a meaning beyond the author's intention.  Many of them won't make sense unless you read them from the point of view of somebody who loves the Church, and I hope that they might act as stained glass in such respect.  There is something that is quite fragmentary about quotes anyway.  It may be part of their nature - they are quotes after all, and not books.  I think that in such broken, post-modern and disparate times, they suit us.  It often seems quite difficult to get up early, let alone to have solved the problems of the world before breakfast.  I hope that these will be a gift to everybody and received in a similar way to the book of Proverbs.

The Brand New Sparkly Quotes section is so that quotes get a quick airing before they are categorised.

[If anybody wondered, I'm slowly going back attributing not just the author, but the text and page reference if I have it so that the reader has more idea of the context and where to read further if desired.]

Brand New Sparkly Quotes:

"Let’s face it. We’re undone by each other. And if we’re not, we’re missing something. This seems so clearly the case with grief, but it can be so only because it was already the case with desire. One does not always stay intact. One may want to, or manage to for a while, but despite one’s best efforts, one is undone, in the face of the other, by the touch, by the scent, by the feel, by the prospect of the touch, by the memory of the feel. And so, when we speak about “my sexuality” or “my gender,” as we do and as we must, we nevertheless mean something complicated that is partially concealed by our usage. As a mode of relation, neither gender nor sexuality is precisely a possession, but, rather, is a mode of being dispossessed, a way of  being for another or by virtue of another." Judith Butler

"I don’t go to church to have my needs met. I go to church to have my needs changed. The Gospel of Jesus Christ will never meet your needs, but brothers and sisters watch out. Because it WILL change your needs. And that is about the most beautiful thing I can tell you.” Lillian Daniel

"In a little country, scarcely three poets are born in any one generation, but there are plenty of clergymen, many more than can obtain appointments. The trouble is not that Christianity is not voiced (thus the trouble is not that there are not enough pastors) but that it is voiced in such a way that the majority think it utterly inconsequential." Soren Kierkegaard (The Sickness Unto Death)

"I think most forms of lust today are really forms of greed... I think that the church, if it could just begin to start asking, 'what would the church need to look like in order that we're able to see how the power of greed shapes our lives?'...  Concentrating on very grounded issues like greed is a way to start calling into question some very fundamental economic relations that now dominate our lives.  The problem is that we're now morally obligated to be greedy in order to make the economies grow... It's not like I've got some better alternative.  What I want to do is produce better people." 
Stanley Hauerwas - http://podcast.ulcc.ac.uk/accounts/kings/Social_Science/Milbank_Hauerwas_Bretherton.mp3

"You really haven't lived til you've seen grace dressed in drag."
Andrea Gibson - blog

"This is for "no" becoming "yes", for fear becoming trust, for saying "I love you" to people who will never say it to us.  For scraping away the rust, and remembering how to shine."
Andrea Gibson (poem "Say Yes")

"This is for the man who showed me, the hardest thing about having nothing is having nothing to give, who said the only reason to live, is to give ourselves away so this is for the day we'll quit our jobs and work for something real.  And for the ones who've already begun songs that sound something like, people turning their porch lights on and calling the homeless back home.  This is for all the shit we own.  And for the day we'll learn how much we have when we learn to give that shit away.  This is for doubt becoming faith, for falling from grace and climbing back up.  For trading our silver platter for something that matters, like the gold that shines from our hands when we hold each other.  This is for your grandmother..."
Andrea Gibson (poem "Say Yes")

"...make the life of the church your own so much that if the church is rotten there’ll be no one to blame but you."
Sam Wells - http://www.chapel.duke.edu/documents/sermons/2009/090823.pdf

"Lent is a place of vulnerability. Whenever we catch that kind of vision of what it is to which God is inviting us, it is uncomfortable, and we might want not to go there — because it would make us feel vulnerable. We become aware of just how very much we love the easier way. We become aware of what the life of discipleship might mean, and we wonder about our resolve to live it. They are difficult issues to face, but they must be faced if we are to persevere in the journey with Christ."  Rev'd Ray Williamson - 1st Sunday in Lent - http://www.stphilipsoconnor.org.au/sermons/01March2009_RW.html

"Where practices do not epitomize and transmit inequality, it will usually be up to the individual to choose whether or not to follow them, and coercion may render the practice unjust.  Choice does not, however, suffice to render an outcome just: there are circumstances in which a chosen practice remains unjust, and this is because practices are inherently social and this do not depend on individuals' choices."  Clare Chambers (Sex, Culture and Justice, p39)

"Faith doesn't try and give you an alternative theory about the mechanics of the world; it invites you to take a step further, beyond the nuts and bolts, even beyond the Big Bang, to imagine an activity so unrestricted, so supremely itself, that it depends on nothing and is constantly pouring itself out so that the reality we know depends on it.  Creation isn't a theory about how things started; as St Thomas Aquinas said, it's a way of seeing everything in relation to God." Rowan Williams (Tokens of Trust, p37)

"No, I'm delighted that liberal theologians do their best to do what Pio Nono said shouldn't be done -- try to accommodate Christianity to modern science, modern culture, and democratic society. If I were a fundamentalist Christian, I'd be appalled by the wishy-washiness of their version of the Christian faith. But since I am a non-believer who is frightened of the barbarity of many fundamentalist Christians (e.g., their homophobia), I welcome theological liberalism. Maybe liberal theologians will eventually produce a version of Christianity so wishy-washy that nobody will be interested in being a Christian any more..."
Richard Rorty [1] Link broken.

"Doctors of arts, medicine, law and philosophy, can be made by the pope, the emperor, and the universities; but be quite sure that no one can make a doctor of Holy Scripture save only the Holy Ghost from heaven, as Christ says in John vi: 'They must all be taught of God himself.'  Now the Holy Ghost does not ask after red or brown robes, or what is showy, nor whether a man is young or old, lay or clerical, monastic or secular, virgin or married. Inedeed, He once spake by an ass against the prophet that rode on it.  Would God we were worthy that such doctors be given us..."
Martin Luther (An d. chr. Adel deutch. Nation v. d. chr. Standes Besserung, 1520)

"Dogmatics does not presuppose that it is our destiny to believe as Christians, but rather that our destiny not to do so is not final, and therefore that we shall not be disobedient to the heavenly voice. (Ac.26.19)"
Karl Barth (p18 TT Clark - Church Dogmatics I.1)

"Christian people who have no children ought to educate orphans, whether youths or virgins, and adopt them as their own children, and love them yet more."
The Ethiopic Didascalia (p98, Tr. J.M. Harden)

"You don’t close yourself off from anything. The beauty of the church is that for two thousand years, it’s seen everything. No matter what’s going on at this moment in time, everyone’s pulling their hair out saying, 'The sky is falling; it’s all going to shit.' But we’ve been here before and the church has been here before. And the beauty of the church is that in the Catholic sensibility there is a response to everything. And there’s always this faith, not in this sort of verbose manifestation of it, but this kind of spirit. That backdrop of sensibility. The beauty of the church is that it rejoices in humanity and doesn’t shy away from it, doesn’t run from it. It is sensual in every way. It is not a puritanical thing. Not this draconian recoiling from the world."
Rocco Palmo (Interview on Busted Halo)

"What is needed is an insistence on the profound pointlessness of education - on education as an end in itself. As a culture, we are not averse to pointless activities - we gladly pay money to play video games, watch movies, listen to music and browse the Internet. Few of us consider that such things make us better citizens or better prepare us for jobs, and yet we pour huge amounts of money into them, simply based on their inherent satisfaction. Rigorous intellectual labor is simply satisfying, in itself. We should be willing to pay for it based solely on that, without recourse to some further goal."
Adam Kotsko (Education as Useless, blog post 21/6/06)

"If the task of Christology is perceived from the perspective of an approach 'from above' or 'from below', from the historical Jesus or from the Christus praesens or from the being or the significance of Christ this is already an abstraction from the life of the Christian community where christological confession has its immedicate context.  By approaching the task of reflective Christology from the life of the Christian community where Christ is acclaimed, professed and proclaimed Christology starts from within the community which sees itself as part of the divine economy in that it celebrates the trinitarian being of God as the condition for its own being and acknowledges its participation in the life of the triune God by grace in its witness and eucharistic practice."
Christoph Schwobel ("Trinitarian Theology Today", p138)

"Cynics always say no. But saying "yes" begins things. Saying "yes" is how things grow. Saying "yes" leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say "yes.""
Stephen Colbert (Commencement Address at Knox College, 3/6/06)

"You are about to start the greatest improvisation of all with no script.  No idea what’s going to happen, often with people and places you have never seen before. And you are not in control. So say "yes".  Now will saying "yes" get you in trouble at times? Will saying "yes" lead you to doing some foolish things? Yes it will.  But don’t be afraid to be a fool.  Remember, you cannot be both young and wise."
Stephen Colbert (Commencement Address at Knox College, 3/6/06)

"We need to reject the desire to identify only with those who are sinless. How could the Church have excluded sinners from her ranks? It is for their salvation that Jesus took flesh, died and rose again. We must therefore learn to live Christian penance with sincerity. By practising it, we confess individual sins in union with others, before them and before God."
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 28/5/06)

"The faithful expect only one thing from priests: that they be specialists in promoting the encounter between man and God. The priest is not asked to be an expert in economics, construction or politics. He is expected to be an expert in the spiritual life."
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 28/5/06)

"If you can't die anymore because you're already dead, then it doesn't matter... The gift of faith enables us to say 'oh yes' we can live in the same space as you.  If you're having difficulty living in the same space as us, we'll try and make it easier for you.  We understand that we ourselves have been in places where we were very narrow, where we were very fragile.  But now we've died and we're no longer narrow and fragile, so we can start to live without that narrowness and that fragility, which means start to create a church, half of which is already singing praises around the alter in heaven now...  Starting now... And furthermore, we can embody this towards you.  We don't need to do this, but we can work out fun ways of embodying forgiveness.  We've got time actually."
James Alison (Book, "Faith Beyond Resentment: Fragments Catholic and Gay")

"The saints were saints as they were completely human as they lived in union with God. However, the martyrs were often those who lived with the saints."
Fr James Martin (Book, "My Life with the Saints")

"It is necessary to learn day by day that I do not possess my life for myself. Day by day, I must learn to abandon myself; to put myself at the disposition of that thing for which He, the Lord, needs me for at that moment, even if there are other things which seem nicer-looking and important."
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 7/5/06)

"There is no standing ground, no place of inquiry, no way to engage in the practices of advancing, evaluating, accepting and rejecting reasoned argument apart from that which is provided by some particular tradition or other."
Alastair MacIntyre? (Whose Justice?  Which Rationality?, p350)

"Most of the time when we say, ‘I love you’, it means, you fit into my interests."
Stanley Hauerwas (Talk at Duke Youth Academy 15/7/2005)

"The purpose of worship is to constitute the Church, precisely to bring what is ‘private’ into the new life, to transform it into what belongs to the Church, ie, shared with all in Christ."
Alexander Schmemann (Introduction to Liturgical Theology, p16-27)

"Next time you come to the Eucharist one Sunday, and later that day you speak to a friend and they say, 'How was church this morning?', you may reply, 'Oh, it made me free for friendship with God and others; it give me everything I need to be God’s companion; it brought me face to face with the cross of Christ; and it was a prefigurement of heaven on earth: otherwise, nothing special, I suppose.'"
Sam Wells (Sermon, April 13 2006)

"We shouldn’t expect our Eucharists to be cozy and comfortable, tasteful and sentimental. If our Church is in turmoil, our campus in distress, our personal life in tatters and our national politics in disgrace, we may share the Eucharist in good company, for such was the situation on the night of that first Thursday."
Sam Wells (Sermon, April 13 2006)

"Most people know that sexual intimacy is in some ways frightening for them; most know that it is quite simply the place where they begin to be taught whatever maturity they have."
Rowan Williams (Talk "On The Body's grace", 1989)

"In their behaviour, Christians are always meant to show love – not as a feeling for each other but as a habit of seeing each other as God sees human beings. So love means readiness to forgive injuries and not to be self-righteous; it means being ready to give all we have for each other’s welfare or healing; it means justice – treating everyone as equally God’s creature, equally entitled to respect and service. Some think that Christian love is a ‘soft’ and vague thing; but if it does not include justice, it is meaningless."
Rowan Williams (23/11/05, Lecture at Islamic University in Pakistan)

"Temptation means trying to have the big story, walking with God, without the stories that make up the big story – participation in an accountable community, friendship with the poor, and challenge to the powerful.  Temptation is wanting to have all the benefits of Christian faith without any of the costs... Temptation is trying to have God without Jesus."
Sam Wells (Sermon, 5/3/06)

"Even if someone says something which is clearly unorthodox, my first reaction must be to see what truth they are trying to say rather than immediately condemn their error."
Timothy Radcliffe O.P (In "What is the point in being a Christian?)

"We may presume that God will continue to call both homosexuals and heterosexuals to the priesthood because the Church needs the gifts of both."
Timothy Radcliffe O.P (Article in Tablet, "Can gays be priests?")

"Celibacy is not just a matter of not having sex. It is a way of admiring a person for their humanity, maybe even for their beauty."
Timothy Radcliffe O.P

"One of our deepest needs is to be at home."
Timothy Radcliffe O.P. (Sermon, 28/3/04)

"I do not wish to imply that God the Son could not, absolutely speaking, have become incarnate by a non-virginal conception, any more than I should wish to deny that God might, absolutely speaking, have redeemed mankind without becoming incarnate at all; it is always unwise to place limits to the power of God. What we can see is that both an incarnation and a virginal conception were thoroughly appropriate to the needs and circumstances of the case and were more "natural", in the sense of more appropriate, than the alternatives... In practice, denial of the virginal conception or inability to see its relevance almost always goes with an inadequate understanding of the Incarnation and of the Christian religion in general."
E. L. Mascall

"The Christian should participate in social and political efforts in order to have an influence in the work, not with the hope of making a paradise (of the earth), but simply to make it more tolerable -- not to diminish the opposition between this world and the Kingdom of God, but simply to modify the opposition between the disorder of this world and the order of preservation that God wants it to have -- not to bring in the Kingdom of God, but so that the Gospel might be proclaimed in order that all men might truly hear the good news."
Jacques Ellul {Christianity as politic}

"'Books,' said St. Augustine after his conversion, 'could not teach me charity.' We still keep on thinking they can. We do not realize ... the utter distinctness of God and the things of God. Psychology of religion can not teach us prayer, and ethics cannot teach us love. Only Christ can do that, and He teaches by the direct method, in and among the circumstances of life.  He does not mind about our being comfortable.  He wants us to be strong, able to tackle life and be Christians, be apostles in life, so we must be trained by the ups and downs, the rough-and-tumble of life.  Team games are compulsory in the school of Divine Love -- there is no getting into a corner with a nice, spiritual book."
Evelyn Underhill (Written in "Light of Christ") {Loving God / Wisdom}

Every person is a missionary, now and forever, for good or for evil, whether they intend or design it or not. One may be a blot radiating dark influence outward to the very circumference of society, or one may be a blessing spreading benediction over the length and breadth of the world. But a blank one cannot be: there are no moral blanks; there are no neutral characters.
Thomas Chalmers (Language amended, Ed.) {Mission / Evangelism / Evangelisation}

"We may just be ready to begin describing the truly revolutionary time when a happy "attack" upon Christendom has finally freed theological ethics from the need to be a handbook for the police."
Mark D. Jordan

"It is possible for one who fasts not to be rewarded for his fasting. How? When indeed we abstain from foods, but do not abstain from iniquities; when we do not eat meat, but gnaw to pieces the homes of the poor; when we do not become drunkards with wine, but we become drunkards with evil pleasures; when we abstain all the day, but all the night we spend in unchastened shows. Then what is the benefit of abstention from foods, when on the one hand you deprive your body of a selected food, but on the other offer yourself unlawful food?"
St John Chrysostom

"It will take some time for people... to be able to say "I just don’t know what’s right here, but let’s try and help each other out of the hole". So, let us be gentle! Ethics is very much to do with how we extend mercy to the fearful, just as we have found ourselves the recipients of mercy at a time when we have been frightened, tortured, annihilated by the voices which told us how evil we were."
James Alison (Presentation 12/2/06, "Is it Ethical to be Catholic?")

"I have learned to sit back, look at [certain] assaults, giggle, and be aware that God is much bigger, more powerful, more gentle and more trustworthy than my heart, and that I shouldn’t take myself so seriously as to think that I could really get in God’s way very effectively or for very long."
James Alison (Presentation 12/2/06, "Is it Ethical to be Catholic?")

Image: 46 "Ideology is what you have when you don’t have faith. When you are not aware that there is Another, bigger than us, who is holding all of us in his hand through the upheaval and that ultimately we are safe, there is room, we can be wrong, and we can learn to get it right; when you are not aware of that, then you are frightened of disagreement and what you need to do is to produce a unanimity of opinion, of ideology, you need to get everyone to agree, and have those who are in, in, and those who are out, out."
James Alison (Presentation 12/2/06, "Is it Ethical to be Catholic?")

"Ecumenical unity is not to be thought of along the lines of the fusion of worldwide megacorporations.  Rather, Christians are called by God to be united in their faith in Jesus, in the sacraments, in the proclamation of the Gospel and in striving for holiness.  By committing themselves to holiness and to unity in the fundamental truths of Christianity, Christians will come closer to full unity than they ever could hope to do by planning corporate mergers."
Cardinal Walter Kasper (January 2006, Ushaw speech) {unity}

"Openly questioning the way the world works and challenging the power of the powerful is not an activity customarily rewarded."
Dale Spender {Challenging comfortable Christianity}

"So the importance of Jesus’ resurrection is not that it somehow proves there is life after death in a general sort of way. What it proves is that God keeps his promises: the commitment of God the Father to Jesus his beloved son is absolute and eternal; so the cross does not separate Father and Son, and life is restored on the far side of the cross, life that both is and isn’t like the ordinary physical life Jesus had in Galilee. And the divine promise Jesus, God among us, makes to his friends, the promise of mercy and renewal, is absolute; not even the unfaithfulness of the disciples can destroy it."
Archbishop Rowan Williams

"I do not wish to be a king; I am not anxious to be rich; I decline military command; I detest fornication; I am not impelled by an insatiable love of gain to go to sea; I do not contend for chaplets; I am free from a mad thirst for fame; I despise death; I am superior to every kind of disease; grief does not consume my soul."
Tatian "Address to the Greeks."
Spoken like a true Stoic! -- Xarak

"People often pity Christianity, [saying] 'God needs men'.  Christianity doesn’t need us.  You don’t need to worry about Christianity.  You have to worry about us.  Period."
René Girard (Conference 9/10/2004)

"I exaggerate.  Exaggeration is needed when most people are asleep and don’t want to see the relevance of our religious texts."
René Girard (Conference 9/10/2004)


"Being Catholic for me has meant discovering myself on the inside of something where God and many wonderful people are doing things for me long before I can manage to do anything minimally presentable for others."
James Alison (Presentation 12/2/06, "Is it Ethical to be Catholic?")

"Why does any of us become Catholic and remain Catholic? Well, ultimately, because it is God’s way of giving us Eternal life, God’s own life."
James Alison (Presentation 12/2/06, "Is it Ethical to be Catholic?")

Image: 46 "When some people disagree with the 'church,' it is the church which should change, not the individual.  But the church is given to change us, to be the place where Christ will change us. If this is lost, then the church has no reason for being except as a place to celebrate significant moments with poetic texts and to gather people for social projects... One should never speak of the church without speaking of Christ."
Cardinal Francis George (Letter written to Commonweal for article, 16/1/04)

"Medieval Christians were required to tithe - donate a full ten percent of their incomes - to the church, with one-quarter of the tithe going to the bishop, the poor, the clergy, and the parish respectively....  This was also the church that provided sanctuary for the endangered folks who took refuge within its walls.  It was the church that insisted that the poor did not have to fast as much as the rich.  It was the church that provided the poor with social services - including free food and free hospitalization.  For a long time the church was the only source of education."
Tim Unsworth (Book, "Upon This Rock", 1991 p13)

"Who, in good faith, can say that she or he is colonised?  Who - with an African archconservative sitting on the throne of an almost pagan cathedral in New York, amid the silencing liberal rhetoric of "different contexts," as promises to deploy evangelical ground troops to the Church of Satan mix with assurances of "universal salvation" from three bishops looking disturbingly like one another's warrant chiefs - can say anything at all?"
Mary-Jane Rubenstein

"I can't bring answers... If I thought I knew where to go from here, I wouldn't have the right to come and say it, because that wouldn't have been believer's church process.  Part of what it means to be the believer's church is to believe that there are answers that we don't have yet.  And that we get them, not by inviting someone from twelve miles down the road to talk from a distant history, but by working together at specimens, symbols, celebration, studies that say what we can say even though we know that we don't yet know it. That stated hope is all I intend to offer. The rest is for you."
John Howard Yoder

"The church has become an isolated reservation for people who have specialized religious needs."
Hendrick Kraemer

"The church is unique in that it is so able to cut across age boundaries and social-status boundaries. When one loves the Lord Jesus Christ and sincerely seeks to follow Him, then one quite by surprise comes upon a community that he did not know existed, a community that is experienced within the heart; and when this community is found, nothing is ever quite the same again."
Gerald J. Jud

Image: 46 "We ought not to forget that the whole Church, quite as much as any part of it, exists for the sole reason of finally becoming superfluous. Of heaven St. John the Divine said, "I saw no temple therein.""
Howard A. Johnson

"There are many things which a person can do alone, but being a Christian is not one of them. As the Christian life is, above all things, a state of union with Christ, and of union of his followers with one another, love of the brethren is inseparable from love of God.  Resentment toward any human being cannot exist in the same heart with love to God. The personal relationship to Christ can only be realized when one has "come to himself" as a member of His Body, the Christian fellowship."
William T. Ham

"When everything is said and done, everything the church says and does is done because God matters.  Moreover God, I believe, insists on using the church even in our unfaithfulness."
Stanley Hauerwas "In Good Company"

"The Church seems to have lost heart somewhat, has allowed the old assurance and enthusiasm to cool below the temperature at which big things get done, is always whimpering and complaining about something, has developed a foolish trick of gathering into corners in discouraged groups and bleating disconsolately that God seems to be strangely little in our day, the very mood that so maddened the Hebrew prophets that they itched to lay violent hands upon their countrymen, and literally shake it out of them.  We Church people have become so prone to loud and abusive self-depreciation that the thing amounts to a disease... and though these doleful spirits are not altogether serious, the world is listening, and takes us, not unnaturally, at our own dismal and unflattering valuation."
A. J. Gossip

"A conversion is incomplete if it does not leave one with an intense social consciousness, if it does not fill one with a sense of overwhelming responsibility for the world. It has been said... truly that the Church exists for those outside of itself. The Church must never be in any sense a little huddle of pious people, shutting their doors against the world, lost in prayer and praise, connoisseurs of preaching and liturgy, busy mutually congratulating themselves on the excellence of their Christian experience."
William Barclay, In the Hands of God

"The disorder of secularism is perhaps nowhere more apparent in our contemporary Church than in the extent to which we have permitted the order of the world to creep into the order of the Church... That it should carry out its mission to the men in the middle classes of capitalist society is doubtless a part of the Church's order; but that the mission should result in the formation of a middle-class church which defends the secular outlook and interests of that class is an evident corruption."
H. Richard Niebuhr

"The Church has no mission of its own. All we can have by ourselves is a club or a debating society; and our only hope, left to ourselves, is to win as many members for our own club and away from other clubs as we can. And whatever this is, it is not Mission.  Mission belongs to God.  The Mission was His from the beginning; it is His; it will always be His."
Stephen F. Bayne, Jr

Image: 46 Image: 46 "It is difficult to convince a modern Christian that to be the life of the world, the Church must not 'keep smiling' at the world, putting the 'All Welcome' signs on the churches, and adjusting its language to that of the best seller.  The beginning of the Christian life - of the life in the Church - is humility, obedience, and discipline."
Alexander Schmemann


Image: 46 Image: 46 "We feel that other churches must accept, as the pre-conditions of fellowship, such changes as will bring them into conformity with ourselves in matters which we regard as essential, and that a failure to insist on this will involve compromise in regard to what is essential to the Church's being. But for precisely the same reason, we cannot admit a demand from others for any changes in ourselves which would seem to imply a denial that we already possess the esse of the Church."
Lesslie Newbigin

"The Churches belong together in the Church.  What that may mean for our ecclesiastical groupings we do not know.  We have not discovered the kind of outward manifestation which God wills that we shall give to that inner unity. But we must seek it."
Hugh Martin

"Even the Bible itself is interpreted and understood in various ways, and so always becomes the center of sectarianism. Just in the same way, dogmas and creeds cannot bring Christian unity, because human minds are not so uniformly created that they can unite in a single dogma or creed.  Even our understanding of Christ Himself cannot be the basis of unity, because He is too big to be understood by any one person or group, and therefore our limited understandings do not always coincide.  One emphasizes this point about Christ, another that; and this again becomes the cause of divisions. If we will only take our fellowship with Christ as the center of Christian faith, all Christians will realize their oneness... All our fellowship, however varied, is with the same Lord, and the same Saviour is our one Head. "
Kokichi Kurosaki

Image: 46 "It is common to hear churchmen speak as though they did not really regard Christian unity as a serious question this side of the End.  This is a disastrous illusion."
Lesslie Newbigin

"Although we have different ways of worshipping and doing things, we have only one God. So how can we claim to have... "Good News" unless people can see in us that Jesus Christ is breaking down barriers and bringing us together?"
Albert Braithwaite

Image: 46 "Oh the days when I drew lines around my faith to keep you out, to keep me in, to keep it safe. / Oh the sense of my own self-entitlement to say who’s wrong, who won’t belong, or cannot stay. / Because somebody somewhere decided we’d be better off divided. / And somehow, despite the damage done He says 'come'".
Nichole Nordeman

"Unity becomes finally unintelligible and unworthwhile when it itself ceases to be a theological category. Staying together is pointless unless it is staying together because of the Body of Christ. I think it worth working at structures in Anglicanism that don't either commit us to a meaningless structural uniformity or leave us in mutual isolation. I suspect that those who speak of new alignments and new patterns, of the weakening of territorial jurisdiction and the like, are seeing the situation pretty accurately. I don't expect the next few years to be anything other than messy as far as all this is concerned. The question is not whether we can avoid mess, but whether we can hang on to common convictions about divine grace and initiative."
Archbishop Rowan Williams


"Jesus makes no guarantees that being peacemakers will actually result in peace. Instead it implies quite the opposite. The more we strive for peace the more oppression we are likely to face."
Nekeisha Alexis-Manners

"We believe that a pregnant virgin was chosen to give birth to the Son of an invisible and infinite being.  Without knowing anything about his life between ages 12 and 30, we accept that God's Son never wronged a single human being—because the bible, a book that is riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions, says so.  To top it all off, God's Son was not only killed and resurrected, He also visited friends, had dinner and showcased his wounds before shuttling up to heaven — literally.  One would hardly call these occurrences practical much less believable.  Yet despite the fact that our faith is filled with the unexplainable, Christians still find it hard to believe that we are to be peaceful because its 'unrealistic'."
Nekeisha Alexis-Manners

"To say you're nonviolent is not some position of self-righteousness--you kill and I don't.  It's rather to make your life available to others in a way that they can help you discover ways you're implicated in violence that you hadn't even noticed."
Stanley Hauerwas

"Big words like 'peace and 'justice', slogans the church adopts under the presumption that, even if people do not know what 'Jesus Christ is Lord' means, they will know what peace and justice means, are words awaiting content. The church really does not know what these words mean apart from the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth.... It is Jesus' story that gives content to our faith, and teaches us to be suspicious of any political slogan that does not need God to make itself credible."
Stanley Hauerwas & William Willimon

Image: 46 "It is when pacifism travels not as witness, but as an attempt to secure power and control by means of argument that the conflict between medium and message tends to appear." Chris K. Huebner

"The world is going mad in mutual bloodshed. And murder, which is considered a crime when people commit it singly, is transformed into a virtue when they do it en masse. The offenders acquire impunity by increasing their ravaging."
Cyprian of Carthage on war (3rd Century)

"...Christian pacifism which has a theological basis in the character of God and the work of Jesus Christ is one in which the calculating link between our obedience and ultimate efficacy has been broken, since the triumph of God comes through the resurrection and not through effective sovereignty or assured survival."
John Howard Yoder

"Christians often tend to focus on being united with Christ in his resurrection, forgetting that we are also united with him in his death. What could that mean if it does not mean that Christians must be ready to die, indeed have their children die, rather than betray the Gospel?  Any love not transformed by the love of God cannot help but be the source of the violence we perpetrate on one another in the name of justice.  Such a love may appear harsh and dreadful from the perspective of the world, but Christians believe such a love is life-giving not life-denying."
Stanley Hauerwas

"Of course living a life of nonviolence may be harsh.  Certainly you have to imagine, and perhaps even face, that you will have to watch the innocent suffer and even die for your convictions.  But that is no different from those that claim they would fight a just war.  After all, the just warrior is committed to avoiding any direct attack on noncombatants, which might well mean that more people will die because the just warrior refuses to do an evil that a good may come."
Stanley Hauerwas

"Pacifists are often challenged after an event like September 11 with the question, “Well, what alternative do you have to bombing Afghanistan?” Such a question assumes that pacifists must have an alternative foreign policy. My only response is I do not have a foreign policy. I have something better—a church constituted by people who would rather die than kill."
Stanley Hauerwas

Image: 46 "One of my favorite epigrams is that Christians are not nonviolent because we believe our nonviolence is a strategy to rid the world of war, even though, of course, we want to make the world less violent.  But rather, Christians are nonviolent in a world of war because we cannot image anything else as faithful followers of Christ."
Stanley Hauerwas

"Mary, queen of peace, is close to the women of our day because of her motherhood, her example of openness to others' needs and her witness of suffering. Mary lived with a deep sense of responsibility the plan which God willed to carry out in her for the salvation of all humanity. When she was made aware of the miracle which God had worked in her by making her the mother of his incarnate Son, her first thought was to visit her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth in order to help her. That meeting gave Mary the chance to express, in the marvelous canticle of the Magnificat (Lk. 1:46-55), her gratitude to God who, with her and through her, had begun a new creation, a new history."
John Paul II, "Women: Teachers of Peace"

"I urge everyone to reflect on the critical importance of the role of women in the family and in society, and to heed the yearning for peace which they express in words and deeds and, at times of greatest tragedy, by the silent eloquence of their grief."
John Paul II "Women: Teachers of Peace"

"The editors of the magazine First Things assert that “those who in principle oppose the use of military force have no legitimate part in the discussion about how military force should be used.”  They make this assertion because according to them the only form of pacifism that is defensible requires the disavowal by the pacifist of any political relevance. That is not the kind of pacifism I represent.  I am a pacifist because I think nonviolence is the necessary condition for a politics not based on death.  A politics that is not determined by the fear of death means no strong distinction can be drawn between politics and military force."
Stanley Hauerwas

"...in all the human societies we have ever reviewed, in every age and every state, there has seldom if ever been a shortage of eager young males prepared to kill and die to preserve the security, comfort and prejudices of their elders, and what you call heroism is just an expression of this simple fact;  there is never a scarcity of idiots."
Diziet Sma to Cheradenine Zakalwe from 'Use of Weapons' by Iain M Banks

"...at least when it comes to Christianity, the cure against religiously induced or legitimized violence is not less religion, but, in a carefully qualified sense, more religion." 
Miroslav Volf

Liturgy (the work of the assembly) & Worship:

"I know that this "just there" quality, the ex opere operato nature of the sacraments, has often enough led us into a generalised attitude of the presumption of grace, and for that reason we typically spend far less time preparing our liturgies, give far less responsibility to proper musicians to organize real singing, spend far less time training preachers actually to know and love the Gospel text and preach from it, than we have any right to do. Yet this casual certainty of the complete dependability of the self-giving of God to us, the knowledge that however much we screw up, it is not our show, but someone else’s, seems to me to be a quite extraordinary gift, and one which I associate with real faith."
James Alison

"It is a mistake to suppose that there can be religion which is all interior, with no rules, no liturgy, no external signs of inward states.  As with society, so with religion, external form is the condition of its existence.  As the heirs of the Evangelical tradition we have been brought up to suspect formality and to look for spontaneous expressions...  As a social animal, man is a ritual animal.  If ritual is suppressed in one form it crops up in others, more strongly the more intense the social interaction."
Mary Douglas (p62, Purity & Danger)

"The first article of Christian faith is that man has one and only one true object of worship. There is one Holy God, creator of heaven and earth. He is Lord of all life. To Him we are beholden for our life in all its meaning and its hope.  Monotheism for the Christian means that anything else which is put in the place of our loyalty to God is an idol... Values there are in abundance, interests, plans, programs, loyalties to family and nation.  But these are not gods; they do not save us; they are not holy in themselves."
Daniel Day Williams

"But what is worship? What ought to result from it? What is the point and peak and heart and centre of it? Is it the offering we bring to God of praise and adoration, of thanksgiving and sacrifice, our praise, our sacrifice to Him?  That has its place, not legitimate only, but imperative. And yet to put that in the foreground is to make the service fundamentally man-centered and subjective, which, face to face with God, is surely almost unthinkably unseemly. Or is the ideal we should hold before us that other extreme, so ardently pressed on us these days, that, face to face with the Lord God Almighty, High and Holy, it is for us to forget ourselves and -- leaving behind our petty little human joys and needs and sins and risings above thanksgiving and petition and confession -- to lose ourselves in an awed adoration of God's naked and essential being, blessing and praising Him, not even for what he has done for us, and been for us, but for what, in Himself, He is.  To me, that seems not an advance, but a pathetic throw-back to the primitive of Brahmanism. We shall not learn to know God better, nor how to worship Him more worthily, by careful rubbing out from memory every wonder of Christ's revelation of Him.  The redeemed in Heaven crying continually, "Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood," give, say the scriptures, an adoration which, in depth and fullness, no angel of them all can ever equal. Yet even then, we have not reached the centre. For when we worship, we are in God's presence, and it is what He says and does to us that is the all-important thing, not what we say and do toward Him. Since He is here and speaking to us, face to face, it is for us, in a hush of spirit, to listen for and to His voice, reproving counseling, encouraging, revealing His most blessed will for us; and, with diligence, to set about immediate obedience.  This and this, upon which He has laid His hand, must go; and this and this to which He calls us must be at once begun.  And here and now I start to it.  That is the heart of worship, its very core and essence."
A. J. Gossip

"We must be ready, indeed eager, to see God's Name being hallowed outside the Church as well as inside. It may be that today the philosopher is honouring the Name af God when he insists that we should know what we mean when we utter our religious language and that we should be ready to have that meaning tested. It may be that other philosophers hallow the Name when they refuse to allow us to withdraw it to some supernatural realm, but insist on wrestling with the unknown God in the agony and joy of existence, crying with Jacob, "Tell me, I pray thee, thy Name."  And is not the scientist honouring the Name when he patiently and obediently follows where the evidence leads?  Or the social scientist when he asks us to understand what is before we begin pronouncing what ought to be?  God does not spend all His time in Church."
Howard Hewlett Clark


"We can be relaxed about Jesus in the Eucharist, because we know that he is there... And this means that we don’t have to work ourselves up into knots of appropriate feeling, or self-consciousness, or liturgical perfection in order to "get it right", because the real "getting it right" is being done by someone else, and the most we can do is to be more or less appropriate in the respectfulness and gratitude of our response."
James Alison

"I know that serving the eucharist every Sunday will not necessarily make the church more faithful, but at least God in 1 Corinthians 11 promised to kill us if we do it unworthily.  I assume that as long as the church (at least "mainstream Protestantism") is dying, we might as well die for the right reasons.  If members of the church are sick or dying for celebrating unworthily, it might at least indicate that God is still using us for God's savalation."
Stanley Hauerwas "In Good Company"

"Every single time a sacrament is celebrated, God takes action, there and then -- does something, not on Calvary, but in that church. And what He does is to come to each soul partaking in the Sacrament and to assure it that He stands to the best and biggest of His promises and to the fullness of His grace in Christ... de-universalizes the Scriptures and individualizes them... as if they covered no other but referred to you and me alone. We may be cold and dead and unresponsive.  None the less, something happens in the Sacrament. For God stands to His side of the Covenant, whether we stand to ours or not.
A. J. Gossip

"Holy Orders is a vocation from God; it is not a profession which we enter expecting an advance, or some sort of recognition as a right after so many years of work. But it is rather the giving up of self into the hands of God, without stint and without reserve, and letting Him set the work. It is the recognition of the fact that God has many kinds of work to be done, and that the best paid are not always the most honourable. To enter or exercise the ministry with a view to preferment is like marrying for money and not for love."
Edwin C. Newbolt

"In instituting the mass, Christ also instituted the priesthood, and in offering the mass the priest acts as a minister of Christ and as a minister of the church.  This left room to distinguish between the offerer of the cross and the offerer of the mass.  The priest was said to act in the power of Christ, because of the institution of the priesthood by him, but the offerer whom he was thought to represent was the church..."
David Power "The Sacrifice We Offer"


"...the first step towards a new preaching of the gospel is to face the abyss between the culture of our time and the language of the gospel.  We must be touched by the doubts and incomprehension of our contemporaries... Faced with doubts and puzzlement, the temptation is to have a quick and easy answer.  We may be so afraid to really let the puzzlement touch us that we do not really listen."
Timothy Radcliffe

"Our congregations include young people struggling with their hormones and the teachings of the Church, married couples wrestling with crises of love, the divorced, people facing retirement, gay people feeling on the edge of the Church, sick and dying people. Does their pain and happiness find some space in our words?"
Timothy Radcliffe


"Theology is a peculiarly beautiful discipline. Indeed, we can confidently say that it is the most beautiful of all disciplines.  To find academic study distasteful is the mark of the Philistine. It is an extreme form of Philistinism to find, or to be able to find, theology distasteful. The theologian who labours without joy is not a theologian at all. Sulky faces, morose thoughts and boring ways of speaking are intolerable in this field."
Karl Barth

"At least as a theologian I do not have the burden of being "a thinker" – that is, someone who, philosopher-like, comes up with strong positions that bear the stamp of individual genius.  Rather, it is my task to take what I have been given by friends, living and dead, some Christians and some not, to help the church be faithful to the adventure called God’s Kingdom."
Stanley Hauerwas "Dispatches from the Front" {Theology}

"Insofar as theology is an attempt to define and clarify intellectual positions, it is apt to lead to discussion, to differences of opinion, even to controversy, and hence to be divisive. And this has had a strong tendency to dampen serious discussion of theological issues in most groups, and hence to strengthen the general anti-intellectual bias..."
Sidney E. Mead

"In the Church of Jesus Christ there can and should be no non-theologians."
Karl Barth

"The churches talk about medical ethics, we talk about accountability, we talk about forgiveness, we talk about authority, but we have ceased to talk about the theological foundations of all these things, since we are frightened of not being relevant and persuasive.  We sing our songs to the world's tunes."
Peter Jensen

"Theological work can be done only in the indissoluble unity of prayer and study. Prayer without study would be empty. Study without prayer would be blind."
Karl Barth

"...any account of truthfulness as well as the rationality of theological convictions cannot be considered apart from worship.  Through worship we not only come to know God, but we are changed by our knowledge of God, morally and also rationally.  Once theology is liturgically shaped.  We may hope to recover theology as a tradition-determined craft in contradiction to the ahistorical accounts of truth and rationality so characteristic of modernity."
Stanley Hauerwas "In Good Company"

"There is a lot of profit for all of us in keeping down the heat until we’ve tried to maximise the light and before we’re too quick off the mark with colourful forms of disparagement.  We’d do well to explore the issues and then it may be that there are more possibilities of seeing matters of mutual ground.  There may be more to it all than delineating trench warfare..."
Anthony Baxter

"While lay theologians in the Church remain in a minority, they are certainly on the increase.  There are a variety of possible explanations for this phenomenon...  For all their increasing numbers, however, there is is no great clarity about how lay theologians fit into the life of the church.  This of course may simply be a reflection of the fact that with very few notable exceptions, in centuries gone by there have been no lay theologians in the Church.  More likely, it may be that the hierarchy finds it difficult to fit the lay theologian into its understanding of ecclesiastical discipline, particularly since so far most of those teaching roles to which the possession of a canonical mission can be most securely linked seem mostly reserved to the clergy.  And, while the Vatican would clearly prefer to be heeded in its stipulation that the canonical mission is necessary to all who teach theology within any kind of Catholic institution of higher learning whatsoever, it has to settle for the moment for a distinction between those who teach with a canonical mission and those who engage in theology as "personal research".  Such a distinction is confusing and invidious.  Either the theologian holds a canonical mission, it seems to say, in which case he (or she?) is an official spokesperson for the Catholic tradition, or the theologian does not, in which case he or she is an unofficial, amateur, theological hobbyist."
Paul Lakeland

Scripture / Its interpretation:

"There would be no Bible today were it not for the Catholic Church, and all those who have a Bible have it because the Church of Rome preserved it for them. All non-Catholics who use the Bible must of necessity trust the decision of the Catholic Church in the fourth century that these are the inspired works of God. Otherwise, without this guarantee they surely have plenty of room for doubt and great cause for grave suspicion."
Fr Joseph McCarthy?

Image: 46 Image: 46 "For the searching and right understanding of the Scriptures there is need of a good life and pure soul, and for Christian virtue to guide the mind to grasp, so far as human nature can, the truth concerning God the Word.  One cannot possibly understand the teaching of the saints unless one has a pure mind and is trying to imitate their life."
St. Athanasius

Image: 46 "I certainly believe that God uses the Scripture to help keep the Church faithful, but I do not believe, in the Church's current circumstance, that each person in the Church thereby is given the right to interpret the Scripture.  Such a presumption derives from the corrupt egalitarian politics of democratic regimes, not from the politics of the Church."
Stanley Hauerwas

"The fact that people are tempted to abuse Scripture by calling upon it to support whatever they believe is one of the reasons it is inappropriate most of the time to think that the primary theological debate is about whether the biblical text is authoritative or not.  Too many people are affirming its authority by claiming its support for interpretations which a more adequate hermeneutic will reject.  The theologian's task is more often to defend the text against a wrong claim to its authority rather than to affirm in some timeless and case-free way that it has authority."
John Howard Yoder

Image: 46 In questions of this sort there are two things to be observed. First, that the truth of the Scriptures be inviolably maintained. Secondly, since Scripture doth admit of diverse interpretations, that no one cling to any particular exposition with such pertinacity that, if what he supposed to be the teaching of Scripture should afterward turn out to be clearly false, he should nevertheless still presume to put it forward, lest thereby the sacred Scriptures should be exposed to the derision of unbelievers and the way of salvation should be closed to them."
Thomas Aquinas

"[If] there be any difference among professed believers as to the sense of Scripture, it is their duty to tolerate such difference in each other, until God shall have revealed the truth to all."
John Milton

"Not only the young Christian but also the adult Christian will complain that the Scripture reading is often too long for him, and that much therein he does not understand.  To this it must be said that, for the mature Christian, every Scripture reading will be "too long", even the shortest one, [for] the Scripture is a whole, and every word, every sentence, possesses such multiple relationships with the whole that it is impossible always to keep the whole in view when listening to details.  It becomes apparent, therefore, that the whole of Scripture, and hence every passage in it as well, far surpasses our understanding.  It is good for us to be daily reminded of this fact."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Image: 46 "Fundamentalism and biblical criticism seek to depoliticise the interpretation of Scripture on the grounds that the text has an objective meaning.  The result for both is repoliticization of Scripture by giving unchecked power to some interpreters without such power being justified."
Stanley Hauerwas

"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point."
Martin Luther

"In most parts of the Bible, everything is implicitly or explicitly introduced with "Thus saith the Lord". It is... not merely a sacred book but a book so remorselessly and continuously sacred that it does not invite -- it excludes or repels -- the merely aesthetic approach.  You can read it as literature only by a tour de force... It demands incessantly to be taken on its own terms: it will not continue to give literary delight very long, except to those who go to it for something quite different. I predict that it will in the future be read, as it always has been read, almost exclusively by Christians."
C. S. Lewis

"Sad, indeed, would the whole matter be if the Bible had told us everything God meant us to believe. But herein is the Bible greatly wronged. It nowhere lays claim to be regarded as the Word, the Way, the Truth. The Bible leads us to Jesus, the inexhaustible, the ever-unfolding Revelation of God. It is Christ "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge", not the Bible, save as leading to Him."
George Macdonald

"The scandal of the Bible does not lie so much in its claim to record the Word of God, as in its insistence that the Word of God is to be heard in a particular historical happening, in a particular locality -- and only there. To put it in a provocative manner: the Bible is theology. It is historical theology. It can reveal its meaning only to those who regard it as the Word of God, and are able to preserve a strict confidence in the universal significance of particular historical occasions."
E. S. Hoskyns

"It is for Christ's sake that we believe in the Scriptures, but it is not for the Scriptures' sake that we believe in Christ."
Martin Luther

"Our Christian experience must agree with the Bible. We will be taught by the Bible and fed by the Bible. But we do not believe in Christ because He is in the Bible: we believe in the Bible because Christ is in us."
Claxton Monro

"The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home."
St. Augustine

Belief / Practice / Salvation / Sanctification:

"We all have to rise in the end, not just one or two who were smart enough, had will enough for their own salvation, but all the halt, the maimed and the blind of us which is most of us."
Maureen Duffy

"I think it more important to read the text of Susanna and the elder correctly, even though it seems an idle occupation, than to look at the news on TV or watch what the politicians are doing to save us because it seems whatever they do, they make the situation worse."
René Girard (Conference 9/10/2004)

"Insofar as we are loyal to our sinful selves, we quite rationally fear that our identities as persons will not survive redemptive change."
R. R. Reno

"...it has been fashionable in urban theological circles for some time now, including in Mennonite circles, to criticize believers who mistake ethnic heritage and practices for faith. Even here at this conference I heard several speakers refer to the often-cited distinction between a fondness for Warenickje and belief in God. This is not a distinction that would have made sense to us in the villages, where we would have scoffed at such a bloodless and disembodied idea of faith and identity: if belief is not a cultural practice that shapes the physical daily lives of a community in profoundly structural and also aesthetically moving ways, then what is it, a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal."
di brandt, "The Poet and the Wild City,"

"Christ did not throw about that great word Salvation. But once, in the heart of an angry crowd, their enthusiasm soured suddenly into a growling muttering. He applied it confidently to a man who, under the inspiration of His friendship, had broken with his sorry past and his old selfish, unclean ways, and was doing what he could to put things right. Now that, He said, is what I call a saved man. Very solemnly He tells us that on the Day of Judgement we shall not be asked the questions we are expecting, but others that will puzzle and startle us. Those folk on the left hand were, as far as we hear, respectable folk; their business books were straight, their home life was kindly, they themselves were clean-living men and women: nothing whatever is laid to their charge excepting this, that they lived in a world needing their help and were too absorbed in something -- what it was, we are not told; it may have been their souls -- to give what aid they could.
A. J. Gossip

Image: 46 "I have little use for the current fascination with individual salvation in either its conservative or liberal guises.  Such accounts of salvation assume that God has done something for each person which may find expression in the church.  I do not assume that salvation is first and foremost about my life having "meaning" or insuring "my" eternal destiny.  Rather, salvation is being engrafted into practices that save us from those powers that would rule our lives making it impossible for us to truly worship God."
Stanley Hauerwas "In Good Company"

"What we Christians have lost is just how radical our practices are, since they are meant to free us from the excitement of war and the lies so characteristic of the world.  The difficulty is that the church, for some quite understandable reasons, is constantly tempted to imitate the false politics of the world for its own life."
Stanley Hauerwas "In Good Company"

"I believe that you can reach the point where there is no longer any difference between developing the habit of pretending to believe and developing the habit of believing."
Umberto Eco -- Foucault's Pendulum

Image: 46 "You will not stroll into Christlikeness with your hands in your pockets, shoving the door open with a careless shoulder. This is no hobby for one's leisure moments, taken up at intervals when we have nothing much to do, and put down and forgotten when our life grows full and interesting... It takes all one's strength, and all one's heart, and all one's mind, and all one's soul, given freely and recklessly and without restraint. This is a business for adventurous spirits; others would shrink out of it. And so Christ had a way of pulling up would-be recruits with sobering and disconcerting questions, of meeting applicants -- breathless and panting in their eagerness -- by asking them if they really thought they had the grit, the stamina, the gallantry, required. For many, He explained, begin, but quickly become cowed, and slink away, leaving a thing unfinished as a pathetic monument of their own lack of courage and of staying power."
A. J. Gossip

"To confess that we are finite is not equivalent to the recognition that we are creatures.  For creaturehood draws on a determinative narrative of God as creator that requires more significant knowledge of our humanity than simply that we are finite. For both the notions of creature and sinner require that we find ourselves constituted by narratives that we did not create... The very notion that our lives can be recognized as lives only as we find ourselves constituted by a determinative narrative that has been given to us rather than created by us, is antithetical to the very spirit of modernity.  But that is but an indication of why it is necessary that this narrative be carried by a body of people who have the skills to give them critical distance on the world."
Stanley Hauerwas

"Our calling is not primarily to be holy women, but to work for God and for others with Him. Our holiness is an effect, not a cause; as long as our eyes are on our own personal whiteness as an end in itself, the thing breaks down. God can do nothing while my interest is in my personal character--He will take care of this if I obey His call. In learning to love God and people as He commanded us to do, obviously your sanctification cannot but come, but not as an end in itself."
Florence Allshorn

Image: 46 "By the quality of our inner lives I do not mean something characterized by ferocious intensity and strain. I mean rather such a humble and genial devotedness as we find in the most loving of the saints. I mean the quality which makes contagious Christians, makes people catch the love of God from you."
Evelyn Underhill

Challenging "comfortable" Christianity:

"The symbol of the New Testament and the Christian Church is a cross, which stands for a love faithful despite physical agony and rejection by the world. No amount of air-conditioning and pew-cushioning in the suburban church can cover over the hard truth that the Christian life... is a narrow way of suffering; that discipleship is costly: that, for the faithful, there is always a cross to be carried.  No one can understand Christianity to its depths who comes to it to enjoy it as a pleasant weekend diversion."
W. Waldo Beach

"Much of today's Christianity is almost completely earthbound, and the words of Jesus about what follows this life are scarcely studied at all. This, I believe, is partly due to man's enormous technical successes, which make him feel master of the human situation. But it is also partly due to our scholars and experts. By the time they have finished with their dissection of the New Testament and with their explaining away as "myth" all that they find disquieting or unacceptable to the modern mind, the Christian way of life is little more than humanism with a slight tinge of religion."
J. B. Phillips, Ring of Truth

Image: 46 Image: 46 "What exactly has Christ done for you? What is there in your life that needs Christ to explain it, and that, apart from Him, simply could not have been there at all? If there is nothing, then your religion is a sheer futility. But then that is your fault, not Jesus Christ's.  For, when we open the New Testament, it is to come upon whole companies of excited people, their faces all aglow, their hearts dazed and bewildered by the immensity of their own good fortune. Apparently they find it difficult to think of anything but this amazing happening that has befallen them; quite certainly they cannot keep from laying almost violent hands on every chance passer-by, and pouring out yet once again the whole astounding story. And always, as we listen, they keep throwing up their hands as if in sheer despair, telling us it is hopeless, that it breaks through language, that it won't describe, that until a man has known Christ for himself he can have no idea of the enormous difference He makes. It is as when a woman gives a man her heart; or when a little one is born to very you; or when, after long lean years of pain and greyness, health comes back. You cannot really describe that; you cannot put it into words, not adequately. Only, the whole world is different, and life gloriously new. Well, it is like that, they say."
A. J. Gossip

"Oh, Brethren, it is sickening work to think of your cushioned seats, your chants, your anthems, your choirs, your organs, your gowns, and your bands, and I know not what besides, all made to be instruments of religious luxury, if not of pious dissipation, while ye need far more to be stirred up and incited to holy ardor for the propagation of the truth as it is in Jesus."
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

The Christian faith, if accepted, drives a wedge between its own adherents and the disciples of every other philosophy or religion, however lofty or soaring. And they will not see this; they will tell you that really your views and theirs are the same thing, and only differ in words, which, if only you were a little more highly trained, you would understand. Even among Christ's nominal servants there are many who think a little good-will is all that is needed to bridge the gulf -- a little amiability and mutual explanation, a more careful use of phrases, would soon accommodate Christianity to fashionable modes of speaking and thinking, and destroy all causes of provocation. So they would. But they would destroy also its one inalienable attraction: that of being... a wonder, and a beauty, and a terror -- no dull and drab system of thought, no mere symbolic idealism.
John Neville Figgis

"The most dangerous man in the world is the contemplative who is guided by nobody. He trusts his own visions. He obeys the attractions of an interior voice but will not listen to other men. He identifies the will of God with anything that makes him feel, within his own heart, a big, warm, sweet interior glow.  The sweeter and the warmer the feeling is, the more he is convinced of his own infallibility."
Thomas Merton

Image: 46 "We have all been inoculated with Christianity, and are never likely to take it seriously now! You put some of the virus of some dreadful illness into a man's arm, and there is a little itchiness, some scratchiness, a slight discomfort--disagreeable, no doubt, but not the fever of the real disease, the turning and the tossing, and the ebbing strength.  And we have all been inoculated with Christianity, more or less. We are on Christ's side, we wish him well, we hope that He will win, and we are even prepared to do something for Him, provided, of course, that He is reasonable, and does not make too much of an upset among our cozy comforts and our customary ways.  But there is not the passion of zeal, and the burning enthusiasm, and the eagerness of self-sacrifice, of the real faith that changes character and wins the world."
A. J. Gossip

"There is in St. Paul's definite, soul-stirring assertion of the wrath of God and the reality of the judgment at hand, a truth more profound than any that underlies our somewhat enfeebled ideas of universal benevolence and the determined progress of the race.  There is something more true in his denunciation of idolatry as sin than in our denial that it is possible for a man to worship an idol, or in our suggestion that all idolatry is only a road to spiritual worship of the one true God..."
Roland Allen

Questionning "we've all of the answers" Christianity:

"Most Christians are affected far more than they know by the standards and methods of the surrounding world. In these days when power and size and speed are almost universally admired, it seems to me particularly important to study afresh the "weakness", the "smallness of entry", and the "slowness" of God as He begins His vast work of reconstructing His disordered world."
J. B. Phillips

Image: 46 Image: 46 "Jeremiah refutes the popular, modern notion that the end of religion is an integrated personality, freed of its fears, its doubts, and its frustrations...We have no evidence that his internal struggle was ever ended, although the passing years no doubt brought an increasing acceptance of destiny... The summons of faith is neither to an integrated personality nor to the laying-by of all questions, but to the dedication of personality - with all its fears and questions - to its duty and destiny under God."
John Bright

"Whence comes this idea that if what we are doing is fun, it can't be God's will? The God who made giraffes, a baby's fingernails, a puppy's tail, a crooknecked squash, the bobwhite's call, and a young girl's giggle, has a sense of humor. Make no mistake about that."
Catherine Marshall

Image: 46 "There is no need for peculiar conditions in order to grow in the spiritual life, for the pressure of God's Spirit is present everywhere and at all times. Our environment itself -- our home and our job -- is the medium through which we experience His moulding action and His besetting love."
Evelyn Underhill


Imitating / Knowing Christ:

"He enters by the door who enters by Christ, who imitates the suffering of Christ, who is acquainted with the humility of Christ so as to feel and know that, if God became man for us, men should not think themselves God, but men. He who, being man, wishes to appear God, does not imitate Him who, being God, became man. Thou art not bid to think less of thyself than thou art, but to know what thou art."
St. Augustine

"The union of the Christian with Christ which makes a man a Christian is their conjunction in which each has his own independence, uniqueness and activity. In this way it is, of course, their true, total and indissoluble union: true and not ideal; total and not merely psychical and intellectual; indissoluble and not just transitory."
Karl Barth

"One of the burdens of youth ministry is that youth are always staring at you. They are always looking at you, and that is exactly what they should be doing. There is none of the liberal "Hey, people, I am going to lay out a few ideas here on the table.  None of them is mine necessarily, and you do not have to accept any of them to pass the class. Just roam around here and take what you want." There is none of that, which is also a way of being dishonest and manipulative. No, Paul knows it is the nature of the Gospel that it demands to be embodied, and if it is not embodied, it is false. It is only interesting because people are living and dying by it. So imitation is part of it, and that is part of the burden of being called to this ministry - to let your life be exposed to their searing gaze."
William Willimon

"I would very earnestly ask you to check your conception of Christ, the image of Him which as a Christian you hold in your mind, with the actual revealed Person who can be seen and studied in action in the pages of the Gospels.  It may be of some value to hold in our minds a bundle of assorted ideals to influence and control our conduct.  But surely we need to be very careful before we give that "bundle" the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God."
J. B. Phillips

"You cannot escape Christ, do what You will. You reject His divinity, but, so doing, you have not evaded Him. If He is a man just like us, then obviously you must be a man like Him. "
A. J. Gossip

Image: 46 "If we once accept the doctrine of the Incarnation, we must surely be very cautious in suggesting that any circumstance in the culture of first-century Palestine was a hampering or distorting influence upon His teaching.  Do we suppose that the scene of God's earthly life was selected at random? -- that some other scene would have served better?"
C. S. Lewis, The World's Last Night

The Gospel:

"If you ask one of the crucial theological questions - why was Jesus killed? -- the answer isn't "because God wants us to love one another." Why in the hell would anyone kill Jesus for that?  That's stupid.  It's not even interesting.  Why did he get killed?  Because he challenged the powers that be.  The church is a political institution calling people to be an alternative to the world.  That's what the cross is about."
Stanley Hauerwas

"This was the fullness of time, when Christ Jesus did come, that the Messiah should come. It was so to the Jews, and it was so to the Gentiles too... Christ hath excommunicated no nation, no shire, no house, no man; He gives none of His ministers leave to say to any man, thou art not redeemed; He gives no wounded or afflicted conscience leave to say to itself, I am not redeemed."
John Donne

"Enough with the psychobabble, there is only on prescription for happiness and it is in taking up our own cross and following Jesus."
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

"Is it unfair to suggest that, in some of us at least, [Christianity] hasn't fully worked so far simply because, at the pinch, at the decisive moment, we don't want it to work or ourselves to be lifted up above the failings and disloyalties we find so alluring, but rather to be enabled to continue them without the ugly consequences of so doing, to have the inexorable laws of life bent aside in our favour, so that we can squeeze through and escape, without reaping what we have sown; because, as we misunderstand it, the whole point of the good news our Lord brings is the (to us) gladsome announcement that God is happily much more morally indifferent than our consciences had thought, and is not going to make a fuss about our sins and such-like trivial peccadilloes, but will surely let us off -- because, in fact, we have not grasped that the core and essence of the Gospel... is its tremendous and glorious revelation of how deadly is God's hatred of sin, so that He cannot stand having it in the same universe as Himself, and will go any length, and will pay any price, and will make any sacrifice, to master and abolish it, is set upon so doing in our hearts, thank God, as elsewhere."
A. J. Gossip


"We have to lose Christ if we are to find him again, astonishingly alive and unexpectedly close. We have to let him go, be desolate, grieve for his absence, so that we may discover God closer to us than we could ever have imagined. If we do not go through that experience, then we will be stuck in a childish and infantile relationship with God. It belongs to our formation that we may become disorientated, like Mary confused in the garden, not knowing what is happening. Otherwise we can never be surprised by a new intimacy with the Risen Lord. And it must happen again and again as the angler reels us in. The lost Lord appears and speaks to her, and then tells her to let him go again: "Do not cling to me"."
Timothy Radcliffe O.P.

University / Arguing / Studying:

Image: 46 "I am sometimes tempted to think that nowhere is the myth of the golden age more embodied than in those historical disciplines that dominate current theological curriculums.  The assumption that we should if we could get back to the "original language or meaning," or discover "what the first hearers heard," sometimes implies that at one time someone got it right.  History done in the objectivist mode often turns out to be the expression of mythological assumptions quite foreign to Christian practice."
Stanley Hauerwas "In Good Company"

"There have always been those who preferred the Torah of certitude from the scribe or the freshness of word from the prophet or the hunch of counsel from the wise.  Always in Israel, these folks had to listen to each other and be reminded that not any one of them could author the entire tradition.  It is the invitation of canon to educators that we should have a varied repertoire of both mode and substance, and that we should have a keen sense of which season requires which part of the canon."
Walter Brueggemann

"...if the task of the university is remotely about the formation of people to want to know their world more truthfully – even if that knowledge means the possibility of conflict – then I do not see how any course that matters can avoid trying to change students’ lives."
Stanley Hauerwas "Dispatches from the Front"

"I have the game of academia down, in its basic points; at this point, it's a matter of building up a sufficient resume that people will believe I am good at it. I have no doubt whatsoever that I could make a career out of it... But - for example - how much do you forgive? I don't know. I really don't even know what it would look like to forgive. I know how to manipulate social circumstances so that on a certain level, there appears to be no problem, so that things function smoothly - but I don't know... And dissecting yet another text in order to produce a text of my own that will conform with the canons of professionality within certain circles of "philosophical" and "theological" discourse doesn't seem like any kind of answer - it doesn't seem like it would help anything, anything at all, even a little bit."
Adam Kotsko

"We can come to know other men and ideas by thought and by study; not so with the Church.  We will understand the Church only if we live in her and cultivate her in us.  Only then will we have the necessary competence to study her."  Peter Riga

"It is a rare campus indeed where the Christian universe of discourse is the shared basis of allegiance and the common currency of intellectual exchange. More likely, the Christian faith is an archaic facade, a bit of Victorian fretwork on the front of the house, of which polite note is made at Commencement, but not the common premise of teaching and research and learning."
W. Waldo Beach

"The secular university is scandalized by the claims of revelation. Those who have, for whatever historical reasons, become seekers-on-principle, cannot tolerate the allegation that truth is a gift. To have to receive offends those who have determined to take."
Louis Mackey

Image: 46 "Argument does not deny but confirms one's faith in the good will of one's interlocutor: to fail to engage one in argument, when it is not simple squeamishness, is often the grossest sign of disrespect, and a missed opportunity to forge a consensus that might enrich the lives of everyone involved."
Michael J. Quirk

"...to be able to have an argument at all is a significant moral achievement, for it presupposes some common understanding of the goods at issue."
William Cavanaugh

Image: 46 "Beginning a conversation does not require suspending all our previous beliefs or agreeing to appeal only to premises that would be accepted by any "sane" person. Indeed, genuinely suspending all one's own beliefs--trying to wipe the slate clean--seems itself a recipe for insanity."
William C. Placher

Image: 46 "If we are honest, we freely admit that the Christian system involves difficulties; but so does every other system. No thoughtful person gives up a position merely because he finds difficulties in it; he does not abandon it until he is able to find other and alternative systems with fewer difficulties... I learned from my professors of philosophy... that, while philosophy might not provide me with a watertight intellectual defense of the Christian faith, it would, if used aright, help me to reveal the weakness of its enemies. By careful analysis it is possible to see that there are glaring weaknesses and non-sequiturs in atheism, naturalism, positivism, scientism, and psychologism. The Christian must be a fighter, for he is always under attack. The Church will not be as strong as it ought to be until each local pastor uses his precious freedom from outside employment in order to become a scholarly participant in the intellectual struggle of our day and generation."
Elton Trueblood

"A university exists, let us say, to create 'public people' - people who, whatever their specialism, are committed not only to reasoned argument (itself a question-begging ideal, you might say, in an intellectually pluralist world), but to a responsibility to the ideal of rational governance and rational public discourse. A student at the university may be working at Modern Languages, Biochemistry, Business Studies or Media Studies; but, so the history of universities might suggest to us, he or she ought above all to be developing a vigorous sense of good argument and of the risks in the public sphere of shoddy and manipulative language, a sense of the importance and the vulnerability of reasoned conversation for a just common life. They should be developing a sceptical eye for the demagogue, the columnist, the campaigning obsessive, for those who dogmatise beyond their proper skills – and so yes, of course, for the preacher too."
Archbishop Rowan Williams

"What the Church has to say to the university, then, is perhaps this. Don't be afraid of assuming that your task is to equip people to take authority... And don't be afraid of encouraging in whatever way is available the calling both to scientific research and to public service – administration and politics and social care; law and medicine, those ancient and persistent elements in the pattern of public life; the service, in one calling or another of the Body of Christ."
Archbishop Rowan Williams

"And the Church, committed as it is to the honour of human beings called by God into a royal priesthood, will continue – please God – its own rational conversation with the academy, probing its long view, the context of its labours for rationality. A university prepared to train its members for the service of the common good and to entertain the questioning of religious vision and commitment is one that remains worthy of its benefactors - and deserving still of public and private benevolence."
Archbishop Rowan Williams

"My Bible doesn’t say: 'Study so that you can make a lot of money.' My Bible says: 'Study to show yourselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.'"
Tony Campolo

Learning / Knowledge:

"[Christians], at their best, know that often they don't know. They do not have all the answers. They do not have God in their pocket. We cannot answer every question that any bright boy in the back row might ask. We have only light enough to walk by."
Howard A. Johnson

"Since I am offered Kantian liberty without the guidance of education of my judgement, I will be perfectly manipulated: absolutely controlled in my importance choices (for the exploitative outlet for sub-standard coffee for example, or the exploitative lifestyle website, that some poor individual imagines they have freely invented), within this allowed a measure of predetermined indifferent laxity (a shot of this or that sickly flavour to disguise the third-rate coffee-blend, the sub-choice of lifestyle that gives me the illusion of interacting with the Internet...).  Liberalism always depended upon the principle that the inalienable private possession is in principle inalienable: it is your just becuase you can sell it or give it away.  But now, everything is entirely possessed as inalienable and already enacted in its constitutive possible alienability all at once.  I release immediately to all who care to look my website choice: I advertise to others and market-brand my own image, clutching my polystyrene coffee-holder."
John Milbank

Image: 46 "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes."
Desiderius Erasmus

"The hour has come for educators, sociologists and citizens to reverse their steps, to see that if the self is to be really happy, it must be disciplined, pruned, denied and negated by itself. No better law for inner peace has ever been given than that of the Divine Savior: 'If any one will come after Me, let him take up his cross daily and follow Me' (Luke 9: 23)." Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

"We may with complete detachment study and form a judgement upon a religion, but we cannot maintain our detachment if the subject of our inquiry proves to be God Himself."
J. B. Phillips

"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."
Thomas à Kempis

"For I seek not to understand in order that I may believe; but I believe in order that I may understand, for I believe for this reason: that unless I believe, I cannot understand."
Anselm of Canterbury

Intellect-Modernism / Reason / Aesthetics:

"Some there are who presume so far on their wits that they think themselves capable of measuring the whole nature of things by their intellect, in that they esteem all things true which they see, and false which they see not. Accordingly, in order that man's mind might be freed from this presumption, and seek the truth humbly, it was necessary that certain things far surpassing his intellect should be proposed to man by God."
Thomas Aquinas

"...where [Newman] tends to see legend, fable and superstition as the features of popular religion, it might be more accurate to think of this as a form of religion characterised by ritual, symbol, gesture, story, devotional practices and unforced piety. This kind of religion is normally not produced by religious cultures which are book-centred and hostile to imagery, but it does flourish in styles of religion open to the visual and the sacramental, to emotion and our bodily nature. (Deep down, in matters of faith, we are all peasants, but the conventions of religious discourse don’t let us acknowledge this.)"
John McDade? SJ

"A basic trouble is that most Churches limit themselves unnecessarily by addressing their message almost exclusively to those who are open to religious impression through the intellect, whereas ... there are at least four other gateways -- the emotions, the imagination, the aesthetic feeling, and the will -- through which they can be reached."
A. J. Gossip

"Faith is illuminative, not operative; it does not force obedience, though it increases responsibility; it heightens guilt, but it does not prevent sin. The will is the source of action."
Cardinal John Henry Newman

Men and women...start with the a priori conviction that the resurrection of Christ would constitute such an incredible event that it could not be accepted or believed without scientific demonstration of an irrefutable nature. But it is idle to demand proof of this sort for any event in history.  Historical evidence, from its very nature, can never amount to more than a very high degree of probability."
J. N. D. Anderson

"Karl Barth will often and rightly say that textually the resurrection happened to, is a predicate of, Jesus, not to the disciples, and he will go on to say that there is no reason to think something nonhistorical just because it is in principle not accessible to scientific historical inquiry. In what sense, then, is the resurrection, like the crucifixion, historical? To consign the resurrection to the category of myth is a typical species of modern laziness or a typically lazy modernism."
Hans Frei, Types of Christian Theology, ed. by G. Hunsinger and W. C. Placher, 90-91


"When the Church proclaims God's revelation, it dos not speak on the basis of a view of the reality of the world and of man, however deep and believing; it does not give an exegesis of these events and powers, form and truths, but bound to its commission, and made free by the promise received with it, it reads and explains the Word which is called Jesus Christ and therefore the book which bears witness to Him."
(Karl Barth CD, II, i, pp. 172ff)

"Jesus does not present himself as the supreme instance of something universally intelligible, under whose concept the way of the disciples might also be subsumed.  Rather does he call others on a way which is at first without analogy, a way which can only be elucidated through him, so that he can make available of himself, that is, on the basis of his finished work on the Cross, access to his own person."
Hans urs Von Balthasar "Mysterium Paschale"


"The "home" from which Christians offer hospitality, God’s household or oikos, reflects an economy that differs from our market economy, which operates on assumptions of scarcity and savings. God’s oikos rather rests on the assumption of superabundance, one in which there is no need to hoard and save."
Elizabeth Newman (Accepting Our Lives as Gift: Hospitality and Post-Critical Ethics, p66)

"Wealth, which leads men the wrong way so often, [should be] seen less for its own qualities than for the human misery it stands for. The large rooms of which you are so proud are in fact your shame. They are big enough to hold crowds -- and also big enough to shut out the voice of the poor! ... The poor man cries before your house, and you pay no attention. There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there, confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering."
St. Ambrose of Milan

"I love poverty because He loved it. I love riches because they afford me the means of helping the very poor. I keep faith with everybody; I do not render evil to those who wrong me, but I wish them a situation like mine, in which I receive neither good nor evil from men. I try to be just, true, sincere, and faithful to all men; I have a tender heart for those to whom God has more closely united me; and whether I am alone, or seen by people, I do all my actions in the sight of God, who must judge them, and to whom I have consecrated them all."
Blaise Pascal

"Picture God as saying to you, "My son, why is it that day by day you rise, and pray, and genuflect, and even strike the ground with your forehead, nay sometimes even shed tears, while you say to Me: 'My Father, give me wealth!' If I were to give it to you, you would think yourself of some importance, you would fancy that you had gained something very great. Because you asked for it, you have it. But take care to make good use of it. Before you had it, you were humble; now that you have begun to be rich you despise the poor. What kind of a good is that which only makes you worse? For worse you are, since you were bad already. And that it would make you worse you knew not; hence you asked it of Me. I gave it to you, and I proved you; you have found -- and you have found out! Ask of Me better things than these, greater things than these. Ask of Me spiritual things. Ask of Me Myself!""
St. Augustine

"...today I call you to conversion. You are concerned too much about material things and little about spiritual ones. Open your hearts and start again to work more on your personal conversion. Decide everyday to dedicate time to God and to prayer until prayer becomes a joyful meeting with God for you. Only in this way will your life have meaning and with joy you will contemplate eternal life..."
Visionary of Medjugorje, April 25th, 2000

"So we say to God: Give us bread.  Not delicacies or riches, nor magnificent purple robes, golden ornaments, and precious stones, or silver dishes.  Nor do we ask Him for landed estates, or military commands, or political leadership.  We pray neither for herds of horses and oxen or other cattle in great numbers, nor for a host of slaves.  We do not say, give us a prominent position in assemblies or monuments and statues raised to us, nor silken robes and musicians at meals, nor any other thing by which the soul is estranged from the thought of God and higher things; no - but only bread!"
St. Gregory of Nyssa

"But you go on business to the Indies and venture out upon strange seas; you go on a voyage every year only to bring back flavourings for your food, without realizing that... [it] is above all a good conscience which makes the bread tasty because it is eaten in justice..."
St. Gregory of Nyssa

"A certain exploiter of... others says to me, 'I am not like that rich man. I give love feasts, I send food to the prisoners in jail, I clothe the naked, I take in strangers'. Do you really think that you are giving?... You fool... If he shall go into eternal fire to whom Christ will say, 'When naked you did not clothe me,' what place in eternal fire is reserved for him to whom Christ shall say, 'I was clothed and you stripped me bare?'"
St. Augustine

"Nothing is baser, nothing is more cruel than the interest that comes from lending. For such a lender trades on other persons' calamities, draws profit from the distress of others, and demands wages for kindness, as though he were afraid to seem merciful. Under the mask of kindness he digs deeper their grave of poverty; when he stretches forth his hand to help, he pushes them down"
St. John Chrysostom

"When someone strips a man of his clothes we call him a thief. And one who might clothe the naked and does not -- should he not be given the same name? The bread in your board belongs to the hungry: the cloak in your wardrobe belongs to the naked, the shoes you let rot belong to the barefoot; the money in your vaults belongs to the destitute."
St. Basil

Image: 46 "If there is an urgent and clear need, so urgent and clear that it is evident that an immediate response must be made on the basis of what is available... then a person may legitimately supply his need from the property of someone else, whether openly or secretly. Strictly speaking, such a case is not theft or robbery."
St. Thomas Aquinas

"Wealth and riches, that is, an estate above what sufficeth our real occasions and necessities, is in no other sense a 'blessing' than as it is an opportunity put into our hands, by the providence of God, of doing more good."
John Tillotson

Mission / Evangelism / Evangelisation:

"One who receives this Word, and by it salvation, receives along with it the duty of passing this Word on... Where there is no mission, there is no Church, and where there is neither Church nor mission, there is no faith."
Emil Brunner

"Evangelism is not an activity at all. It is rather an attitude of mind behind all Christian activity. Evangelism is not a list of certain things done, but the spirit in which they are done. That is precisely why it cannot be organized. It is perhaps best described as an attitude of mind towards God and the world -- an attitude which the Church must recover if she is to be true to her Lord, and to seize hold of the present opportunity."
Bryan S. W. Green

Poetry / Hymns:

Image: 46 Image: 46 O thou, who at thy Eucharist didst pray
that all thy Church might be for ever one,
grant us at every Eucharist to say
with longing heart and soul, "thy will be done."
O may we all one Bread, one Body be,
through this blest Sacrament of unity.
William Harry Turton

"Firmly I believe and truly
God is Three, and God is One;
and I next acknowledge duly
manhood taken by the Son."
John Henry Newman, 1865

"Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
should I not love thee well,
not for the sake of winning heaven,
nor any fear of hell;
not with the hope of gaining aught,
not seeking a reward;
but as thyself hast loved me,
O ever loving Lord!"
Edward Caswall, 1849

"Oh God I love thee, I love thee--
Not out of hope of heaven for me
Nor fearing not to love and be
In the everlasting burning" 
Gerard Manley Hopkins

"For the love of God is broader
than the measure of man's mind.
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
But we make his love too narrow
by false limits of our own;
and we magnify its strictness
with a zeal he will not own."
Frederick W. Faber

"Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see,
And what I do in anything
To do it as for Thee."
George Herbert

"Yet can I mark how stars above
Simper and shine,
As having keys unto Thy love,
While poor I pine."
George Herbert

Image: 46"No music so can touch the ear,
No news is heard of such sweet cheer,
Thought half so dear there is not one
As Jesus God the Father's Son"
Gerard Manley Hopkins

He was the Word that spake it;
He took the bread and brake it;
And what that Word did make it
I do believe, and take it.
John Donne

"I love my God, but with no love of mine
For I have none to give;
I love Thee, Lord, but all that love is Thine,
For by Thy life I live.
I am as nothing, and rejoice to be
Emptied and lost and swallowed up in Thee."
Mme. Guyon

Image: 46"Come Love, come Lord, and that long day
For which I languish, come away.
When this dry soul those eyes shall see
And drink the unseal'd source of Thee,
When glory's sun faith's shades shall chase,
Then for Thy veil give me Thy face. "
Richard Crashaw

"It was the sight of Thy dear cross
First weaned my soul from earthly things;
And taught me to esteem as dross
The mirth of fools, and pomp of kings."
William Cowper

"Our feet are slow where Thine are fast;
Thy kiss of grace meets lips of stone;
And we admit Thy love at last
To hearts that have none of their own."
Robert MacColl? Adams

"Drop, drop, slow tears,
And bathe those beauteous feet,
Which brought from heav’n
The news and Prince of Peace."
Phineas Fletcher

"Lord, as You look on such eclectic prayer,
Such very now liturgic elegance
With its proponents all quite blind to where
It self-creates less happy circumstance,
Hold tight and tenderly within Your care
Little fat girls who won’t be asked to dance."
Mary Margaret Milbrath (First Things Aug/Sep? 2003, re. liturgical dance)


Image: 46 "In response to the privilege of being the mother of God, Mary did not say that God was in the process of helping everyone to come to a harmonious, understanding lifestyle of tolerance for difference. She said this:
'He has shown the strength of his arm; he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.'"
Adam Kotsko

"Hail, O Mary, full of grace,
daughter true of David's race!
Thou, of women first and best,
art beyond all others blessed."
Gilbert White

"Gifts of heaven she has given, 
Noble Lady, to our race. 
She, the Queen, who decks her subjects 
With the light of God's own grace."
(From hymn "Daily daily sing to Mary")

"Sing in songs of peace unending, 
Sing the world's majestic Queen 
Weary not nor faint in telling. 
All the gifts she gives to men."
(From hymn "Daily daily sing to Mary")


"False ideas may be refuted indeed by argument, but by true ideas alone are they expelled."
John Henry Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua

Image: 46 "What is worst of all is to advocate Christianity, not because it is true, but because it might prove useful..."
T. S. Eliot

Image: 46 Image: 46 "True it is that every man willingly followeth his own bent, and is the more inclined to those who agree with him.  But if Christ is amongst us, then it is necessary that we sometimes yield up our own opinion for the sake of peace.  Who is so wise as to have a perfect knowledge of all things?  Therefore trust not too much to thine own opinion, but be ready also to hear the opinion of others.  Though thine own opinion be good, yet if for the love of God thou foregoest it, and followest that of another, thou shalt the more profit thereby."
Thomas à Kempis

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
C. S. Lewis


"You are a man, not God; you are human, not an angel. How can you expect to remain always in a constant state of virtue, when this was not possible even for an angel of heaven, nor for the first man in the Garden?"
Thomas à Kempis

Image: 46 "Browning ... tells us that what won him for Christ was this, that while others tried to soothe his angry conscience, and kept urging that, really, things were not nearly so bad as he was making out, Christ looked him in the eyes and told him bluntly that he was a desperate sinner, worse, much worse, even than he realized. And that, queerly enough as you might think, the man was not discomfited but heartened.  Here at last, he felt, is one who understands and knows the facts.  And since His desperate diagnosis is so accurate, may not His optimism also justify itself even in me.  Well does He know what is in human nature, and yet, knowing the worst, He still has confident hope."
A. J. Gossip

"Of all the spirits, I believe the spirit of judging is the worst, and it has had the rule of me, I cannot tell you how dreadfully and how long... This, I find has more hindered my progress in love and gentleness than all things else. I never knew what the words, "Judge not that ye be not judged," meant before; now they seem to me some of the most awful, necessary, and beautiful in the whole Word of God."
F. D. Maurice

"If I am afraid to speak the truth lest I lose affection or lest the one concerned should say, "You do not understand," or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness, if I put my own good name before the other’s highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love."
Amy Carmichael

Image: 46"If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the Cross, I know nothing of Calvary love."
Amy Carmichael

"We cannot learn that we are sinners unless we are forced to confess our sins to other people in the church.  Indeed, it is not possible to learn to be a sinner without a confession and reconciliation. For it is one thing to confess our sin in general, but it is quite another to confess our sin to one in the church whom we may well have wronged and to seek reconciliation. Without such confessions, however, I suspect that we cannot be church at all." 
Stanley Hauerwas

"It is not experience of life but experience of the Cross that makes one a worthy hearer of confessions.  The most experienced psychologist or observer of human nature knows infinitely less of the human heart than the simplest Christian who lives beneath the Cross of Jesus. The greatest psychological insight, ability, and experience cannot grasp this one thing: what sin is.  Worldly wisdom knows what distress and weakness and failure are, but it does not know the godlessness of men.  And so it also does not know that man is destroyed only by his sin and can be healed only by forgiveness.  Only the Christian knows this.  In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother, I can dare to be a sinner."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

"Any such distinction between disreputable and respectable sins... Jesus Christ absolutely refuses to allow. In His eyes avarice, pride, refusal to forgive, hypocrisy, are at least as bad as fornication or adultery or violence."
Charles Gore in "Christ and Society"


"In an age in which there is an outburst of enthusiasm for things spiritual, it may come as a shock to admit that Christianity is very materialistic. Our goal is not to fill you with enough spiritual hot air that you float a foot above the earth. Our goal is to teach you to pray in such a way that material matters such as politics and bread will be for you spiritual matters."
Stanley Hauerwas & William Willimon

"I do a great wrong in His sight, when I beseech Him that He will hear my prayer, which as I give utterance to it I do not hear myself. I entreat Him that He will think of me; but I regard neither myself nor Him. Nay, what is worse, turning over corrupt and evil thoughts in mine heart, I thrust a dreadful offensiveness into His presence."
Bernard of Clairvaux

"The childish idea that prayer is a handle by which we can take hold of God and obtain whatever we desire, leads to easy disillusionment with both what we had thought to be God and what we had thought to be prayer."
Robert L. Short

"We must try to keep the mind in tranquility.  For just as the eye which constantly shifts its gaze, now turning to the right or to the left, now incessantly peering up or down, cannot see distinctly what lies before it, but the sight must be fixed firmly on the object in view if one would make his vision of it clear; so too man's mind when distracted by his countless worldy cares cannot focus itself distinctly on the truth."
St. Basil the Great

"For the first two or three years after my conversion, I used to ask for specific things.  Now I ask for God."
Sadhu Sundar Singh

"The most perfect way of seeking God, and the most suitable order, is not for us to attempt with bold curiosity to penetrate to the investigation of His essence, which we ought more to adore than meticulously to search out, but for us to contemplate Him in His works, whereby He renders Himself near and familiar to us, and in some manner communicates Himself."
John Calvin

Image: 46 "We can do nothing, we say sometimes, we can only pray.  That, we feel, is a terribly precarious second-best. So long as we can fuss and work and rush about, so long as we can lend a hand, we have some hope; but if we have to fall back upon God -- ah, then things must be critical indeed!"
A. J. Gossip

"We Christians must simplify our lives or lose untold treasures on earth and in eternity. Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible. The need for solitude and quietness was never greater than it is today."
A. W. Tozer

"In short, we do not believe in God, become humble and then learn to pray, but in learning to pray we humbly discover we cannot do other than believe in God."
Stanley Hauerwas

"Prayer is request. The essence of request, as distinct from compulsion, is that it may or may not be granted.  Invariable "success" in prayer would not prove the Christian doctrine at all. It would prove something more like magic -- a power in certain human beings to control, or compel, the course of nature."
C. S. Lewis

"You can also offer your prayers, obedience, and endurance of dryness to Our Lord, for the good of other souls, and then you have practiced intercession.  Never mind if it all seems for the time very second-hand.  The less you get out of it, the nearer it approaches to being something worth offering; and the humiliation of not being able to feel as devout as we want to be, is excellent for most of us."
Evelyn Underhill

"Remember, Lord, the people who stand around and those who for good reason are absent, and have mercy on them and on us according to the abundance of your mercy.  Fill their storehouses with all good things, preserve their marriages in peace and concord; nourish the infants, instruct the youth, strengthen the old; comfort the faintheareted, gather the scattered, bring back the wanderers and join them to your holy, catholic, and apostolic Church; set free those who are troubled by unclean spirits, sail with those that sail, journey with those that journey; defend the widows, protect the orphans, rescue the captives, heal the sick.  Be mindful, O God, of those who face trial, those in the mines, in exile, in bitter slavery, in all tribulation, necessity, and affliction; of all who need your great compassion, those who love us, those who hate us, and those whom commanded us, though unworthy, to pray for them."
Byzantine anaphora of St. Basil

Loving God / Wisdom:

"Loving my brother is not just a pleasant warm emotion, but an intellectual discipline. I have to restrain myself from dismissing what my brother has said as nonsense before I have heard what he is saying. It is the mental asceticism of opening one's mind to an unexpected insight. It will involve learning to be silent, not just while I wait for him to stop speaking, but so that I may hear him. I must still the defensive objections, the urge to stop him before he says another word. I must be quiet and listen."
Timothy Radcliffe O.P.

"The famous saying ‘God is love’, it is generally assumed, means that God is like our immediate emotional indulgence, not that the meaning of love ought to have something of the ‘otherness’ and terror of God."
Charles Walter Stansby Williams

"What doth it profit thee to enter into deep discussions concerning the Holy Trinity, if thou lack humility, and be thus displeasing to the Trinity?  For verily it is not deep words that make a man holy and upright; it is a good life which maketh a man dear to God.  I had rather feel contrition than be skillful in the definition thereof.  If thou knewest the whole Bible, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what should this profit thee without the love and grace of God?"
Thomas à Kempis

"A man can not be "friends with" God on any other terms than complete obedience to Him, and that includes being "friends with" his fellow man. Christ stated emphatically that it was quite impossible, in the nature of things, for a man to be at peace with God and at variance with his neighbour. This disquieting fact is often hushed up, but it is undeniable that Christ said it, and the truth of it is enshrined in the petition for forgiveness in the "Lord's Prayer.""
J. B. Phillips

"It behoves thee to love God wisely; and that may thou not do but if thou be wise. Thou art wise when thou art poor, without desire of this world, and despisest thyself for the love of Jesus Christ; and expendeth all thy wit and all thy might in His service. Whoso will love wisely, it behoves him to love lasting things lastingly, and passing things passingly; so that his heart be set and fastened on nothing but in God."
Richard Rolle

"Assuredly there is but one way in which to achieve what is not merely difficult but utterly against human nature: to love those who hate us, to repay their evil deeds with benefits, to return blessings for reproaches.  It is that we remember not to consider men's evil intention but to look upon the image of God in them, which cancels and effaces their transgressions, and with its beauty and dignity allures us to love and
embrace them."
John Calvin

"But as for me, straightaway a fire was kindled in my soul, and a passionate desire possessed me for the prophets, and for those great men who are the friends of Christ.  And as I weighed his words within me I found that this alone was philosophy, and philosophy safe and serviceable."
Justin Martyr

"To the Christian, love is the works of love.  To say that love is a feeling or anything of the kind is really an un-Christian conception of love.  That is the aesthetic definition and therefore fits the erotic and everything of that nature.  But to the Christian, love is the works of love.  Christ's love was not an inner feeling, a full heart and what-not: it was the work of love which was his life."
Søren Kierkegaard, Journals

Our Triune God:

"It is no strain of metaphor to say that the love of God and the wrath of God are the same thing, described from opposite points of view. How we shall experience it depends upon the way we shall come up against it: God does not change; it is man's moral state that changes. The wrath of God is a figure of speech to denote God's unchanging opposition to sin; it is His righteous love operating to destroy evil. It is not evil that will have the last word, but good; not sorrow, but joy; not hate, but love."
R. J. Campbell

Justice / Sacrifice:

"The relentless government policy of the Eighties to subvert every institution that stood between the state and the individual - whether they be trade unions, universities, local councils, churches or, ultimately, despite the rhetoric, the family itself, has made the systematic development of human virtues nearly impossible. To put it generally, a society in which 'the free market' has been elevated from simply meaning a sensible way of producing and distributing certain goods to being some kind of god presiding over human lives, provides an overall climate more hospitable to the development of such a vice as avarice than of such a virtue as justice."
Herbert McCabe? (The Independent, Faith and Reason, 27 March 1993)

"You have to become adults - adults in the real sense.  You have to become adults and stop this sacrificial business.  If you don’t do it, it will be the end of the world.  Your means will become such.  You’re going to become so intelligent, and so capable of discovering the laws of the universe that you’re going to destroy yourself."
René Girard (Conference 9/10/2004)

"When our Lord began his ministry he announced a manifesto, far more comprehensive, thoroughgoing, and revolutionary than any socialism, which spoke of the good news to the poor, release for prisoners, and recovery of sight to the blind. The Church must learn to stand solidly behind all efforts to bring fuller life to people."
John W. Sadiq

Christianity begins to fall down as soon as the idea of our going up in Christ’s ascension – the movement of sacrifice – begins to be replaced by His going down.  And this is exactly where we are today; it is always a bringing Him down into ordinary life, and this we say will solve our social problems.  The Church must go down to the ghettos, into the world in all its reality.  But to save the world from social injustices, the need first of all is not so much to go down to its miseries, as to have a few witnesses in this world to the possible ascension.”
Alexander Schmemann

"The sacrifice to end sacrifices was made by God through the sacrifice of his son, and the ending of sacrifice means that we don't continue to sacrifice other people to make the world come out all right.  Justice has been done.  We've been given all the time in the world to announce that God would not have God's kingdom wrought through violence.  That's good news. It's hard news, but it's good news."
Stanley Hauerwas "Interview in Sojourners"

"It was not as though Augustine was unable to imagine a human being living a celibate life, any more than the rich young man in the Gospels was unable to imagine selling all his possessions. The world has plenty of examples which show that it is possible to be human and celibate or poor. Rather, the problem for Augustine and the rich young man was personal: How can I be celibate, how can I be poor, without dying to my current projects, loyalties, and commitments? And if I do so die, then will I even be myself anymore? Once again, this is a problem of atonement."
R. R. Reno

"...people every single day embrace varying kinds of sacrifice - slow or fast, honored or humiliating - and if you want anything resembling a functioning culture (let alone a Catholic one) you need people who can say that "It hurts" isn't an argument.  Every functioning culture relies on a core of people who can accept that life, or God, or whatever they believe in, will ask them to do things they would never have believed possible; and they do them. Every day. Policemen and policemen's wives; soldiers and soldiers' husbands; saints and martyrs; pregnant women in desperate circumstances; everyone who suffers and whose suffering would be eased by just a little wrong action, just a small palliative sin."
Eve Tushnet "http://eve-tushnet.blogspot.com/2005_12_01_archive.html"


"For an Aristotelean, virtues are established dispositions that are acquired with difficulty (or, as Aquinas would add, given by divine grace) by which our personality or 'self' is formed such that we are mature enough freely to decide on good action for its own sake and for our own."
Herbert McCabe? (The Independent, Faith and Reason, 27 March 1993)

"Every virtue is a form of obedience to God. Every evil word or act is a form of rebellion against Him. This may not be clear at first; but, if we think patiently, we shall find that it is true.  Why were you angry? You will probably find that it was because you were not willing to accept the world as God has made it, or because you were not willing to leave it to God to deal with the people that He has made."
Stephen Neill, The Christian Character

"When an occasion of practicing some virtue offered, he addressed himself to God, saying, "Lord, I cannot do this unless Thou enablest me"; and... then he received strength more than sufficient.  When he had failed in his duty, he simply confessed his fault, saying to God, "I shall never do otherwise if Thou leavest me to myself; it is Thou who must hinder my falling, and mend what is amiss." After this, he gave himself no further uneasiness about it."
Joseph de Beaufort, "The Character of Brother Lawrence"

"To make the improving of our own character our central aim is hardly the highest kind of goodness. True goodness forgets itself and goes out to do the right thing for no other reason than that it is right."
Lesslie Newbigin

Promoting life:

"And even in our time, we must say no to the abundantly dominant culture of death, expressed in drugs, in escapism from reality, in what is illusory, in false happiness revealed in deceit, fraud, injustice, scorn of the other, of solidarity, of care for the poor and suffering, revealed in a sexuality which becomes purely enjoyment without ties, which makes man an object so that he is no longer a person but becomes a commodity, a thing. To this pomp of a superficial life which is only an instrument of death, let us say no. The Christian yes then was a great yes to life and it is still so in our time."
Benedict XVI

Image: 46 "We react so often with panic and hostility to the presence of persons and cultures who are different and blame them for our own dysfunctions. We maintain a ludicrous confidence in technology to solve the environmental problems it has itself intensified because we can’t believe that our capacity to generate wealth and comfort for ourselves is anything other than infinite. We fantasise about a state of security so complete that nothing and no-one will ever threaten us. We need to hear that all this is really the denial of death – that it is what Paul elsewhere calls ‘the works of the flesh’, the closing up of ourselves in the face of a reality we can’t fully control."
Archbishop Rowan Williams


"Our business is to love what God would have us do.  He wills our vocation as it is: let us love that, and not trifle away our time in hankering after other people's vocation."
François de Sales

"But there are also dangers in the Jonah approach to vocation. Slothful neglect of God's gifts and how they might serve the needs of the world can lead to sinful disregard for God's will. Why wait for a shipwreck and being swallowed by a huge fish before heeding God's call? Sometime students are paralyzed by confusion about the many options that seem open to them. It is as though they are in the center of a circle with doors to nine corridors. Instead of opening one of them and walking down it to see whether it's a dead end, they spin round and round wondering which door will be "the" right choice, their calling. A passive approach based on the Jonah story can encourage this kind of paralysis. If you think you have to know with absolute certainty that this is the job God is calling you to do, or that this is the person God wants you to marry, it is likely that you are never going to make the decision. It is better to open a door and see where the corridor leads, all the while being open to where it may lead."
Douglas J. Schuurman

On Making Difficult Decisions:

"I took this step, for both sides a very grave one, after a long testing of the certainty I had reached through prayer that I was being called by God to certain definite tasks in the Church... So, for me, the step taken means an application of Christian obedience to God, who at any time has the right to call a man not only out of his physical home or his marriage, but also from his chosen spiritual home in a religious order, so that he can use him for his purposes within the Church."
Hans Urs von-Balthasar (re. leaving the Jesuit order)

Catholicism / Anglicanism / Protestantism - because, after all, there is only one Jesus Christ:

"I have very strong Catholic sympathies: I believe there is nothing more important than the unity of the Church. But what that means is that Christians can move from one church to another church and have some confidence that they're worshipping the same God." Stanley Hauerwas in "Q&A with Stanley Hauerwas" by Tim Funk ( http://brandon.multics.org/library/Hauerwas/charlotte.html )

"Hauerwas may not believe in Protestantism as such, but he remains Protestant as long as Protestant churches are necessary to remind the Catholic Church that it is not yet what it is called to be." 
William Cavanaugh

"With few exceptions, the results of Catholic catechesis over the past forty years have been dismal. We Catholics, both laity and clergy, are all too often abysmally ignorant of our own Tradition. For more than two generations now, we have been robbed of the fullness of Catholicism, which is our birthright. With a few thankful exceptions, our collective acquaintance with Scripture is piecemeal, our knowledge of Tradition is pathetic, our hymns are embarrassing, our religious art is ugly, our churches look like U.N. meditation chapels, our ethics are slipshod, and our aesthetic and spiritual sensibilities are so far from being sublime that they almost look ridiculous."
Dr. Philip Blosser

"I do not know whether I am Protestant or Catholic... I have not tried to hide the ambiguous character of my ecclesial stance, but rather I have tried to turn it into a resource for service for Protestant and Catholic alike.  God knows what God is doing by making some of us ecclesially homeless, but at least my homelessness has made it possible as well as necessary for me to learn from other Christians."
Stanley Hauerwas "In Good Company"

Friendship, sex & family:

"That we can claim one another as friends even before we know one another well needs to be explained.  Thomas Aquinas claimed that our ultimate destiny is to be made friends with God - a view that obviously challenges the superficial understanding of friendship that assumes friends 'like' one another."
Stanley Hauerwas & Michael Budde

"Precisely because gay and lesbian couples cannot be married legally, their commitments shine as a form of testimony to covenant rather than contract. They exercise fidelity and steadfastness in the face of enormous social pressures to do otherwise. The courage to exercise covenant in the face of opposition is a bestowing of God's grace among us; the Church should not stifle but encourage and rejoice in such covenants. In so doing, the Church witnesses to the fundamental covenantal character of human life and to what is most central to Christian tradition."
Karen Lebacqz

"Our Lady’s love for her queer children, one of the best kept but also best known, secrets of the Church, is something which no amount of ecclesiastical homophobia can vanquish."
James Alison

"In Baptism, the child is inserted in the company of friends who will never abandon him, in life and in death.  This company is the family of God which bears the promise of eternity within.  A company which will accompany him always, even in days of suffering, in the dark valley of life, giving him consolation, comfort and light.  This family gives him eternal life.  It indicates the right direction, offers the consolation, comfort and love of God even in the dark valley and on the threshold of death, it gives friendship, life.  This company, absolutely trustworthy, never abandons."
Benedict XVI

Christianity as politic:

[See footnote 1]
Image: 46 "Church and world are not two compartments under separate legislation or two institutions with contradictory assignments, but two levels of the pertinence of the same Lordship.  The people of God is called to be today what the world is called to be ultimately... The difference between church and state or between a faithful and an unfaithful church is not that one is political and the other not, but that they are political in different ways."
John Howard Yoder

"As far as personal rights are concerned, there is an urgent need to achieve real equality in every area: equal pay for equal work, protection for working mothers, fairness in career advancements, equality of spouses with regard to family rights and the recognition of everything that is part of the rights and duties of citizens in a democratic State."
Pope John Paul II

"It would be possible to debate in an abstract way whether in principle the effort to make the vision of a Christianized civilisation operate is desireable or not.  Christians of the "main stream" traditions would tend to respond in the affirmative; those of the Free Church tradition would have their doubts.  But such a debate is useless and unnecessary at this point, since the lesson of history is clearly that, even if such an aim were desirable in the abstract, it is not now an available option.  Even if it were a good thing, the time is past when it could be attempted with any hope of success."
John Howard Yoder (The Racial Revelation in Theological Perspective - Unpublished)

"A further sociological outworking of the merging of church and society is that the basic social and moral decisions are made by those in charge, namely the rulers, and are therefore always socially conservative.  The function of social creativity is left to the rebels who, since they rebel against the system of which religion has become an integral part, also are rebelling against religion.  Instead of being driven by faith into every new and higher form of creativity, the new and creative people are obliged to think of themselves as being "opposed to religion;" at the same time any newly creative impulses which do nevertheless arise out of the central experiences of the church are partitioned out of the political order, since the body of Christianized society has other organs for dealing with political concerns and politics is not the place of the church."
John Howard Yoder (The Racial Revelation in Theological Perspective - Unpublished)

"I had a desire to find some way to be political, and I had a disgust with the kind of politics that seemed to be available. One good model is through Christian and Judaic traditions, where love means, in a way, a constitution of the community.  Premodern notions of love have this political character.  As it has gained in sentimentality, love has lost its political efficacy.  That’s one project.  It seems to me a summation of various things that interest me to think of politics as a project of love."
Michael Hardt (short version)

"I'm not really sure about motivations anymore, but there's a certain narrative I've convinced myself of... I had a desire to find some way to be political, and I had a disgust with the kind of politics that seemed to be available. My various academic choices, even as a student, were perhaps often misguided choices to find a satisfying way to have a political life ... We would like to make love a properly political concept.  One good model is through Christian and Judaic traditions, where love means, in a way, a constitution of the community.  Premodern notions of love have this political character.  As it has gained in sentimentality, love has lost its political efficacy.  That’s one project.  It seems to me a summation of various things that interest me to think of politics as a project of love."
Michael Hardt

"God is not said to create or institute or ordain the powers that be, but to order them, to put them in order... to tell them where they belong, what is their place."
John Howard Yoder

"What do I do? I am socialising two homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judaeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia that God willed from the beginning of Creation."
Peggy Campolo

Image: 46 "We often have to explain to young people why study is useful.  It's pointless telling them that it's for the sake of knowledge, if they don't care about knowledge.  Nor is there any point in telling kids that an educated peson gets through life better than an ignoramus, because they can always point to some genius who, from their standpoint, leads a wretched life.  And so the only answer is that the exercise of knowledge creates relationships, continuity and emotional attachments.  It introduces us to parents other than our biological ones.  It allows us to live longer, because we don't just remember our own life but also those of others.  It creates an unbroken thread that runs from our adolesence (and sometimes from infancy) to the present day.  And all this is very beautiful."
Umberto Eco (Guardian 04/04/04)

"You say: 'You can’t tell a child what to do. You can’t tell a child what to be.' Hogwash!! Everybody else is telling your kid what to do. Everybody else is telling your kid what to be. Does the peer group tell the kid what to do, what to be? Does television tell the kid what to do or what to be? Everybody is telling your kid what to do or what to be – except you!"
Tony Campolo

"There may be some faiths that detach the individual believer from concern about earthly matters, who strive to rise above outward, visible concerns such as swords and shields, wine and bread, politics and power. Christianity is not one of those religions. We want you, body and soul."
Stanley Hauerwas & William Willimon

"Your kid may rebel, you say. 'He will rebel if you try to force your kid, he will rebel.' Of course the kid will rebel. That’s what kids do for a living! That’s their thing – they rebel! Your job as a parent is to carefully define for them what it is they are supposed to rebel against."
Tony Campolo

Women (not decided if I approve of this as a sectional heading yet!!!

"The greater participation of women in public life should be advocated because it is a good in its own right. Of course we can hope that women in public life will make positive contributions, and we can hope that they might bring a different perspective to public life, but both genders are suspectible to power, greed, and other kinds of sin."  Jennifer (Scandal of Particularity Blog) [Comment on the collaboration of men and women Vatican document]

"When women are able fully to share their gifts with the whole community, the very way in which society understands and organizes itself is improved, and comes to reflect in a better way the substantial unity of the human family.  Here we see the most important condition for the consolidation of authentic peace.  The growing presence of women in social, economic and political life at the local, national and international levels is thus a very positive development."
John Paul II, "Women: Teachers of Peace"

"To this great, immense feminine "tradition" humanity owes a debt which can never be repaid. Yet how many women have been and continue to be valued more for their physical appearance than for their skill, their professionalism, their intellectual abilities, their deep sensitivity; in a word, the very dignity of their being!"
Pope John Paul II

"Nor can we fail, in the name of the respect due to the human person, to condemn the widespread hedonistic and commercial culture which encourages the systematic exploitation of sexuality and corrupts even very young girls into letting their bodies be used for profit."
Pope John Paul II

"...I cannot fail to express my admiration for those women of good will who have devoted their lives to defending the dignity of womanhood by fighting for their basic social, economic and political rights, demonstrating courageous initiative at a time when this was considered extremely inappropriate, the sign of a lack of femininity, a manifestation of exhibitionism, and even a sin!"
Pope John Paul II

"...when one looks at the great process of women's liberation, "the journey has been a difficult and complicated one and, at times, not without its share of mistakes. But it has been substantially a positive one, even if it is still unfinished, due to the many obstacles which, in various parts of the world, still prevent women from being acknowledged, respected, and appreciated in their own special dignity."
Pope John Paul II

"Wherever the work of education is called for, we can note that women are ever ready and willing to give themselves generously to others, especially in serving the weakest and most defenceless. In this work they exhibit a kind of affective, cultural and spiritual motherhood which has inestimable value for the development of individuals and the future of society."
Pope John Paul II

"When we consider the "iconic" complementarity of male and female roles, two of the Church's essential dimensions are seen in a clearer light: the "Marian" principle and the Apostolic-Petrine principle..."
Pope John Paul II
[Just so as readers know, I have a real problem with some of the implications intended by and surrounding this quote.  But one never knows if the Pope may turn out to be saying something lasting.  So this is here in order that you may consider it, and know that I struggle with how to make sense of it as an Anglican.]


"Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God, and the one most helpful to us."
Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Image: 46 Image: 46 "You may take away from us, if you will, every external ceremony; you may take away altars, and super-altars, and lights, and incense, and vestments; you may take away, if you will, the eastward position; you may take away every possible ceremony; and you may command us to celebrate at the altar... without any external symbolism whatsoever; you may give us the most barren of all observances, and we will submit to you. If this Church commands us to have no ceremonies, we will obey. But, gentlemen, the very moment any one says we shall not adore our Lord present in the Eucharist, then from a thousand hearts will come the answer, as of those bidden to go into exile, “Let me die in my own country and be buried by the grave of my father and my mother!” To adore Christ’s person in His Sacrament, is the inalienable privilege of every Christian and Catholic heart.  How we do it, the way we do it, the ceremonies with which we do it, are utterly, utterly indifferent; the thing itself is what we plead for."
Fr James de Koven

Dying or Learning to die well

"Tell me how you die and I will tell you who you are."
Octavio Paz

"The author should die once he has finished writing.  So as not to trouble the path of the text."
Umberto Eco -- Postscript to The Name of the Rose (1984)

"Our critical day is not the very day of our death, but the whole course of our life; I thank him, that prays for me when my bell tolls; but I thank him much more, that catechizes me, or preaches to me, or instructs me how to live."
John Donne

Happiness / Joy:

"The happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy, has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth ... I therefore invite you every day to seek the Lord, who wants nothing more than for you to be truly happy. Foster an intense and constant relationship with him in prayer and, when possible, find suitable moments in your day to be alone in his company.  If you do not know how to pray, ask him to teach you, and ask your heavenly Mother to pray with you and for you."
Pope Benedict XVI

"When we thus live wholly unto God, God is wholly ours and we are then happy in all the happiness of God; for by uniting with Him in heart, and will, and spirit, we are united to all that He is and has in Himself.  This is the purity and perfection of life that we pray for in the Lord's Prayer, that God's kingdom may come and His will be done in us, as it is in Heaven.  And this we may be sure is not only necessary, but attainable by us, or our Saviour would not have made it a part of our daily prayer."
William Law

"There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other."
St. Augustine

"Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of good wine."
St. Thomas Aquinas

"The greatest of all pleasures consists in the contemplation of truth."
St. Thomas Aquinas

Dar Williams - (I don't know why I like these, but I do.) / Random Lyrics:

"And like the woods where I would creep, it's a secret I can keep/
Except when I'm tired, except when I'm being caught off guard/
I've had a lonesome awful day, the conversation finds its way/
To catching fire-flies out in the backyard./
And I tell the man I'm with about the other life I lived."
Dar Williams"

"So now we're at a club, you watch the woman dancing, she is drunk,
She is smiling and she's falling in a slow descending funk,
And the whole bar is loud and proud and everybody's trying, yeah.
You play the artist, saying, "Is it how she moves, or how she looks?"
I say it's loneliness suspended to our own like grappling hooks
And as long as she's got noise, she's fine.
But I could teach her how I learned to dance when the music's ended."
Dar Williams

"And you can't deny this room will keep you warm.
You can look out of your window at the storm,
But you watch the phone and hope it rings,
You'll take her any way she sings,
Or how she calls, the beauty of the rain
Is how it falls, how it falls, how it falls."
Dar Williams

"The closest thing to God that I have heard
is when I knew I did not have the final word.
You say the world has lost its love
I say embrace what it's made of..."
Dar Williams

"We were the music 'cause we had a song we could sing..."
Waylon Jennings

"I used to walk through this world
Cautious and oh so serious
Till the life I was living
Was merely a near death experience
But I changed my story
When I finally saw
Where I was wasn't where it was at
And now I'm alive, I let Destiny drive
And I'm stretching out in the back
If I lose my job - I'll sleep till noon
If the news is bad - I'll watch cartoons
And if my house burns down
I'll have lots more room
And a much better view of the moon"
Jamie Anderson

Uncategorised Quotes - Need categorising:

"It is often forgotten that (dictionaries) are skilful repositories, put together well after the languages they define.  The roots of language are irrational and of a magical nature."
-Jorge Luis Borges, Prologue to "El otro, el mismo." {Language}
[Spanish speakers - ought the words "repertorios artificiosos" in the prologue be better translated skilful or artificial repositories?  http://www.literatura.us/borges/elotro.html ]

"Evangelicalism cannot be susceptible to a market economy to try to attract people on the grounds that 'we have what you've been looking for.'  Traditional Christianity [and I would add Biblical Christianity] says, 'Outside of Christ and the church, you don't have the slightest idea what you're looking for. That's why you need us to reshape your desires.'"
Stanley Hauerwas

"If you're living rightly, you'll be getting into trouble constantly."
Fr Paul Byron

"Angel is the name of their office, not their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is spirit; if you seek the name of their office, it is angel; from what they are, spirit, from what they do, angel."
St Augustine

"The desire to rule is the mother of all heresies."
St. John Chrysostom

"Some people tell us that you cannot change human nature.  If that be so, we had better give up Christianity for good.  For that is precisely what it sets out to do.  If it does not do that, it has no more real power than any good system or morals.  "If any man be in Christ he is a new creation."  He is so changed that everything else is changed.  A man who has been in vital contact with Jesus Christ is so different that he comes to live in a different world.  The whole world around him vibrates with a new challenge and suggestion; everything has a new look about it; everything has a new meaning."
James Reid "In Touch with Christ" p167

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those, who in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality."

"If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider "not spiritual work" I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interest and exciting, then I know nothing of Calvary love."
Amy Carmichael

"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried."
G. K. Chesterton

"'Twas an unhappy Division that has been made between Faith and Works; though in my Intellect I may divide them, just as in the Candle I know there is both Light and Heat. But yet, put out the Candle, and they are both gone."
John Selden

"You go to your saint and find God working and manifest in him. He got near to God by some saint of his that went before him, or that stood beside him, in whom he saw the divine presence. That saint again lighted his fire at some flame before him; and so the power of the sainthoods animates and fills the world."
Phillips Brooks

"As I do no good action here, merely for the interpretation of good men, though that be one good and justifiable reason of my good actions: so I must do nothing for my salvation hereafter, merely for the love I bear to mine own soul, though that also be one good and justifiable reason of that action; but the primary reason in both, as well as the actions that establish a good name, as the actions that establish eternal life, must be the glory of God."
John Donne

"Religion is not ours till we live by it, till it is the Religion of our thoughts, words, and actions, till it goes with us into every place, sits uppermost on every occasion, and forms and governs our hopes and fears, our cares and pleasures."
William Law

"If our faith is not relevant to our daily life in the world and in the parish, then it is no use; and if we cannot be Christians in our work, in the neighborhood, in our political decisions, then we had better stop being Christians. A piety reserved for Sundays is no message for this age."
Douglas Rhymes

"If the heart is devoted to the mirage of the world, to the creature instead of the Creator, the disciple is lost... However urgently Jesus may call us, His call fails to find access to our hearts. Our hearts are closed, for they have already been given to another."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"To the mind to whom the axioms of reason are not self-evident, they cannot be proven. So also in the case of faith: for the mind that is not enlightened by faith, the evidence of faith is ridiculous.  But for the man whose eyes have been enlightened by the Spirit, faith has its proper evidence, though different from that of reason.  The only sufficient ground of faith is the authority of God Himself as he addresses me in His Word."
Paul K. Jewett

"When a prominent scientist comes out strongly for religion, all the churches thank Heaven and take courage, as though it were the highest possible compliment to God to have Eddington believe in Him. Science has become the arbiter of this generation's thought, until to call even a prophet and a seer 'scientific' is to cap the climax of praise."
Harry Emerson Fosdick

"We think of supernaturalism when faith is mentioned, but the naturalistic description of the world also operates on assumptions that require a faith as robust as does the most soaring mysticism.  A psychiatrist, for instance, who points out to you that you believe in God the Father because you need a father, or that you became a missionary to expiate your guilt feelings, may be quite correct, but he has not touched on the prior question as to whether there is, in fact, a cosmic father figure who is the archetype of all other fathers, or whether there is an evangel worth spending your life promulgating."
Thomas Howard

"This wide and generous spirit of love, not the religious egotist's longing to get away from the world to God, is the fruit of true self-oblation; for a soul totally possessed by God is a soul totally possessed by Charity."
Evelyn Underhill

"Life is not long enough for a religion of inferences; we shall never have done beginning, if we determine to begin with proof. We shall ever be laying our foundations; we shall turn theology into evidences, and divines into textuaries... Life is for action. If we insist on proofs for everything, we shall never come to action: to act you must assume, and that assumption is faith."
John Henry Newman

"The radical failure in so-called religion is that its way is from man to God.  Starting with man, it seeks to rise to God; and there is no road that way."
J. Arundel Chapman, The Theology of Karl Barth

"Victorious living does not mean freedom from temptation, nor does it mean freedom from mistakes.  We are personalities in the making, limited, and grappling with things too high for us.  Obviously we, at very best, will make many mistakes, but these mistakes need not be sins. Our actions are the results of our intentions and our intelligence. Our intentions may be very good, but, because the intelligence is limited, the action may turn out to be a mistake -- a mistake, but not necessarily a sin, for sin comes out of a wrong intention.  And therefore the action carries a sense of incompleteness and frustration, but not of guilt.  Victorious living does not mean perfect living in the sense of living without flaw, but it does mean adequate living, and that can be consistent with many mistakes."
E. Stanley Jones, Victorious Living

"Everybody is caught by something. Christians, I say, are special, because we can name what we are subservient to."
William Willimon

"I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us."
Umberto Eco -- Foucault's Pendulum

"Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses.  If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat, the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden."
C. S. Lewis "The Weight of Glory"


"Another possible source of guidance for teenagers is television, but television's message has always been that the need for truth, wisdom and world peace pales by comparison with the need for a toothpaste that offers whiter teeth *and* fresher breath."
Dave Barry


Footnote 1:
It might just be better to stick these quotes in the category of "Church", but there's a sense in which some Christian politics is about the coming of the Kingdom of God, and the kind of existence that might be practiced by those who are not sacramentally linked to the Church.  These quotes are an attempt at the recognition of the reign of God in the world...  It's kind of a section about being Kingdom as family and being parents through being Christian.  But it's supposed to be the recognition that such politics are worked out in a way as to affect everybody else, to affect what goes on in the University and in the workplace and in the pre-school and in the home. I want to say finally that I see potential for the powers that be to be ordered through the presence of God's people in the world.  And that's why the categories are getting messy - there is no way that I can speak of the Kingdom without speaking of the Church, or the world without speaking of the Kingdom, or the reception of children by all, without speaking of the multiple cities into which they are born...  This is, eventually, the formation of an objection to Hans Urs Von Balthasar when he claims that theological politics are not something that should interest women or old men [need to find reference].  I fail to understand how, even if people are not outwardly interested in politics, they can affect dis-interest in the way that all of our children are brought up.  Politics is not about "affairs of State", as though "State" is some entity that indifferently constitutes us.  Politics, I'd say must be about affairs of the Body, and how we thus treat the bodies of the small and weak and disposessed who comprise our Body.  To write anybody out of interest in politics might come close to making their confession of those politics meaningless "Though we are many, we are one body...".  I think it's a failure to confess a wide enough conception of politics.  To deny people interest in and access to politics is to question their bodiliness and to attempt to write their bodies out of the City.  But that can't be done... Can I link here with the hymn "There is a green hill far away, without a city wall"?  For it is the failure to have the City wall which mean that I write in a way that forces me to highlight what politics is by the appending of the word "relational".  Ultimately, "affairs of State" is the question "State of affairs?" to which an answer is demanded.

Notes to self re. quotes or otherwise:

(This http://www.ptev.org/interview.aspx?iid=5 also has interesting critique of Hauerwas' here:
"Yoder and Hauerwas, like Badcock, contribute to an ecclesiocentric (church-centered) view of the Christian life that finally prevents Christians from experiencing their life in the world as vocational. I don't want to remove a sense of vocation from the life of the churches; rather, I want to bring that same sense of God's call and purpose into the life of the world. Behind my differences with Yoder and Hauerwas are different understandings of what it means to be the church, how redemption relates to the broader realm of creation, the normative bearing of the example of Christ for the Christian life, and more.") 

(Notice here, how Schuurman jumps from criticising Y&H for a church-centred view of Xian life, so that Xians perhaps are unable to see the work of the HS in the world to criticising their view of what it means to be the church.  This is fruitful criticism, and seems as good as some of Robin Gill's criticisms in "(C) going and Xian ethics").

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