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Quotations 2015

January 16, 2015

Q05 Charity to the Deserving is not charity, it is justice. G. K. Chesterton  

awakening is the recognition that there are planes of consciousness and that you exist on all of them. You are limiting self incredibly to define yourself only in terms of the physical/psychological planes, as if they were absolutely real. So it’s an awakening into the relative reality of the world you thought was absolutely real. It’s awakening to realize you’re in a prison you’ve created by your own thoughts—that your conceptual definitions of reality are imprisoning you from what reality is, which is something that has no concept. Ram Dass  

Walter Brueggemann: a church too concerned with the inner life is prey to right wingers who tell it not to stray into politics. BUT a church concerned with politics to the exclusion of becomes prey to left wing extremists…. because there is far more about money than about private morality in the bible, no church should write a report on homosexuality unless it has first written about capitalism. based on Calvin is that the Bible does not serve as an absolute of faith.” Rather, the Bible is itself still open beyond all settled ….in Unfamiliarity, a deep, radical “Otherwise” Walter Brueggemann

Adream is a scripture, and many scriptures are nothing but dreams. Umberto Eco Hillel: ‘If not now, when?’

Hillel: “He who does not increase his knowledge, decreases it.” “The devil frequently fills our thoughts with great schemes, so that instead of putting our hands to what work we can do to serve our Lord, we may rest satisfied with wishing to perform impossibilities.”

“It is quite important to withdraw from all unnecessary cares and business, as far as compatible with the duties of one’s state of life, in order to enter the second mansion.” Teresa of Avila  

The idea of following your passion implies that you must find an activity, idea, person, or even a thing that you love above everything else, and build a life around it. It promises endless satisfaction and everlasting joy. ….How would you feel if I tell you today that the way to happiness is choosing one single meal and eat that for the rest of your life, every day, until the moment you die? The first misconception about “following your passion” is the fact that the idea is posed as a permanent decision, when this could not be furthest from the truth….The way to a fulfilled life is finding the thing on this planet that you love above everything else and do that for as long as it makes you feel good, knowing and understanding that it could change at any given moment and that this is alright. Think about “following your passion” as an changing road and I am sure is going to be a lot easier to identify what you are passionate about today. Julio Lara “A truth that is acquired from others only clings to us as a limb added to the body, or a false tooth, or wax nose. A truth we have acquired by our own mental exertions is like our natural limbs, which really belong to us.” Schopenhauer  

We were at a crossroads that many churches at the end of Christendom have had to face. Would we continue on as a chaplaincy supporting the present members until their death? Or would we face this death, which after all is so entwined with the story of Jesus, and share in the larger mission of Christ by living out the gospel in our changing neighbourhood? in Jonathan Clark’s blog

He is not to be found, “among long-dead dogmas, in old decaying fears and hurts, in the guilts and resentments we inhabit like a coffin.” (from Looking in the Wrong Places by Kathy Galloway)

OUR HIGHEST TRUTHS – A.J. BALFOUR Our highest truths are but half truths. Think not to settle down in any truth. Make use of it as a tent in which to pass a summer night, But build no house on it, or it will be your tomb. When first you have an inkling of its insufficiency and begin to descry a counter-truth looming up beyond, then weep not but give thanks. It is the Lord’s voice whispering, “Take up thy bed and walk.”

“White Evangelical Christians (in USA) are the group least likely to support politicians or policies that reflect the actual teachings of Jesus….. Before attempting an answer, allow a quick clarification. Evangelicals don’t exactly hate Jesus — as we’ve provocatively asserted in the title of this piece. They do love him dearly. But not because of what he tried to teach humanity. Rather, Evangelicals love Jesus for what he does for them. Through his magical grace, and by shedding his precious blood, Jesus saves Evangelicals from everlasting torture in hell, and guarantees them a premium, luxury villa in heaven. For this, and this only, they love him. They can’t stop thanking him. And yet, as for Jesus himself — his core values of peace, his core teachings of social justice, his core commandments of goodwill — most Evangelicals seem to have nothing but disdain”. Phil Zuckerman  

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away”. From a sticker on a London bike  

Lovers are the ones who know most about God; the theologian must listen to them Hans Urs von Balthasar  

“What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.” ~ Hans Urs Von Balthasar  

“Take no thought of the harvest, But only of proper sowing”. T. S. Eliot

engaged intellectuals (in contrast to academic intellectuals who, Gramsci sug­gested, do their work in a social vacuum and with minimal commitment to social transformation). “It often happens, as a matter of fact, that so called “pious souls” take their “spiritual life” with a wrong kind of seriousness.” ― Thomas Merton – Spiritual Direction And Meditation

“The distinctive characteristic of religious meditation is that it is a search for truth which springs from love and which seeks to possess the truth not only by knowledge but also by love.” ― Thomas Merton – Spiritual Direction And Meditation

The seventeenth-century Benedictine mystic, Dom Augustine Baker, who fought a determined battle for the interior liberty of contemplative souls in an age ridden by autocratic directors, has the following to say on the subject: “The director is not to teach his own way, nor indeed any determinate way of prayer, but to instruct his disciples how they may themselves find out the way proper for them. . . . In a word, he is only God’s usher, and must lead souls in God’s way, and not his own.” – Thomas Merton – Spiritual Direction And Meditation

“Hurry ruins saints as well as artists.” – Thomas Merton – Seeds of Contemplation  

Faith means believing in advance what only makes sense in reverse. Philip Yancey

and I should like to ask you, as best I can, dear Sir, to be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms, like books written in a foreign tongue. Do not now strive to uncover answers: they cannot be given you because you have not been able to live them. And what matters is to live everything. Live the questions for now. Perhaps then you will gradually, without noticing it, live your way into the answer, one distant day in the future. Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. Harriet Tubman

There is nothing like a dream to create the future. Victor Hugo

Nothing happens unless we first dream. Carl Sandberg

To understand the heart and mind or a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to. Khalil Gibran

Dream the impossible, seek the unknown, and achieve greatness. Nikhil Saluja  

The American theologian M. Eugene Boring writes of the crowd: ‘They have all of the notes and none of the music.’ In respect of our Christian faith — to what extent do we too have the right notes, but miss the – music? we can’t choose where we come from but we can choose where we go from there. The Perks of Being a Wallflower  

Ironically, I’ve heard dozens of sermons about keeping my legs and my cleavage out of sight, but not one about ensuring my jewelry was not acquired through unjust or exploitative trade practices—which would be much more in keeping with biblical teachings on modesty. Rachel Held Evans

(The Greek word translated “modesty” here is kosmios. Derived from kosmos (the universe), it signifies orderliness, self-control and appropriateness. It appears only twice in the New Testament, and interestingly, its second usage refers specifically to men (1 Timothy 3:2). In fact, nearly all of the Bible’s instructions regarding modest clothing refer not to sexuality, but rather materialism (Isaiah 3:16-23, 1 Timothy 2:9-12, 1 Peter 3:3). Writers in both the Old Testament and New Testament express grave concern when the people of God flaunt their wealth by buying expensive clothes and jewelry while many of their neighbors suffered in poverty…. When Jesus warns that “everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” he uses the same word found in the Ten Commandments to refer to a person who “covets” his neighbor’s property. Lust takes attraction and turns it into the coveting of a woman’s body as though it were property…. Jewish writers often warned of women as dangerous because they could invite lust (as in Sirach 25:21; Ps. Sol. 16:7-8), but Jesus placed the responsibility for lust on the person doing the lusting.”

Look on the Invocation not so much as prayer emptied of thoughts, but as prayer filled with the Beloved; Let it be, in the richest sense of the word, a prayer of affection—although not of a self-induced emotional excitement. Kallistos Ware  

‘Comprehensiveness,’ the bishops said in one section of their report, ‘demands agreement on fundamentals, while tolerating disagreement on matters in which Christians may differ without feeling the necessity of breaking com­munion. In the mind of an Anglican, comprehensiveness is not compromise. Nor is it to bargain one truth for another. It is not a sophisticated word for syncretism. Rather it implies that the apprehension of truth is a growing thing: we only gradually succeed in “knowing the truth”. Lambeth Conference 1968.

‘Speak out, condemn, denounce” is what is expected,’ he said. ‘But the throne of Jesus is a mercy-seat. It stands firm against all the vileness of the world but it stands also for compassion. The way of Jesus means reverencing people whether they belong to our party or not. The strategy of Jesus means changing lives with love. That is a hard way – and people tend to want it only in theory. The cry is “the Church must give a firm lead.” Yes, it must a firm lead against rigid thinking, a judging temper of mind, a disposition to oversimplify the difficult and complex problems. If the Church gives Jesus Christ’s sort of lead it will not be popular. It may even be despised for failing to grasp the power which is offered to it in the confusions and fears of our contemporaries. But it will be a church not only close to the mind of Jesus; it will find itself constantly pushing back the frontiers of the “possible.’ Robert Runcie 1980 enthronement sermon  

God’s love for us is as excessive as rain falling forever on the ocean. And the entire outpouring of words and gestures, stories and songs, and objects we offer in re­sponse keeps flooding forth, pooling, eddying, and re­combining over centuries like the river of life, haunting each hidden corner, flowing to sanctify every niche of ev­ery place we recognize as the city of God. Sarah Miles  

It is not necessary to be always thinking directly of God. Indeed, it is not possible. Sometimes, of course, we ought to, and can do this, but at other times we must give our minds to what we are doing, even if it is playing and amusement. We may, of course, commit the chief periods of our time and of our occupation to God by a short prayer, as we do before and after meals, and before reading the Bible. So also before any study, and after any study, and such a word of prayer to bless our games that they may be innocent and refreshing to us, and those with whom we play. In this way we can carry out the words “I have set God always before me,” and adopt the motto, “Laborare est orare (to work is to pray)”. A brief prayer is also possible during work and play, but in the main you should be satisfied with commending your work or play to God, and then yourself into it heartily. Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln, 1910

Christians still keep the sabbath, so the Lutheran Service Book says ‘Put aside the work you do, so that God may work in you’. Paul Kennedy

 THERE IS NOTHING in this world which does not belong to Christ, no human activity which is irrelevant to the Kingdom of Christ.’ Gerry W. Hughes

 God has become more mysterious, yet more real, familiar, and more attractive; the Scriptures are no longer time-bound, but speak to the present, a message which is not reserved to a chosen few, because God’s Covenant is offered to every human being’. Gerry W. Hughes

‘If religion was something for the heart only, a matter merely of personal feeling and devotion, I would have nothing to complain of, but for me it had always been of absolute necessity to have an instructed mind: without that, religion could not be a thing of the will, which it must be if it is to endure’. Caryll Houselander

 You cannot go home across the same river more than once. Heraclitus of Wolfe

 Scarce as truth is, the supply is always in excess of the demand G B Shaw

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. Harry S Truman

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. Marcus Aurelius

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

God not only enjoys us, but God wants us to enjoy being ourselves too. Ewan Kelly

The path to the Father’s house usually begins in the pigsty. Graham Tomlin

One of the great lessons of Good Friday is that we must be prepared to let people down Ann Widdecombe

 to allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence . . . The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace…It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful. Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

 If it’s obvious, it’s obviously wrong. Joe Granville (1923-2013)

 I believe that the wish to please God does in fact please God. Thomas Merton

 Don’t get rid of my devils or my angels will go too. W. H. Auden

Custom without truth is the antiquity of error. Cyprian

 People on sinking ships do not complain of distractions during their prayer. Herbert McCabe

 Catholicism was most attractive when it was “hesitant and stutters” (as he said when commemorating Charles Gore in Westminster Abbey in 1972) Owen Chadwick

Every yes is a no. When you say, “Yes, I will be at that soup kitchen” you are also saying “No, I won’t be visiting mum in hospital.” If you say, “Yes I will spend every night with church people and in church programmes” you are saying “no” to bearing witness to Jesus among your work friends and social network. So consider the “no” in your “yes”. “Yes, I will stay up all night talking to this person” might also mean, “no, I will not be a pleasant person to live with tomorrow.”

Of course, the person to whom you say no won’t always know your circumstances. The people at the soup kitchen don’t know your mum is sick. The pastor desperately trying to get the new programme off the ground doesn’t know that all your meaningful relationships with unbelievers are withering on the vine. Don’t worry about it — God knows, and he loves you to death. Play, as they say, to the gallery of One.

the purpose of church (as in, the event of church, the church gathered) is to act (as my friend describes it) as Basecamp. It is where we go to spur one another on in our service. The older liturgies preserved something of this. The service does not begin with the words “come in here to love and serve the Lord” but ends with the minister saying: “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” Rory Shiner

‘God cannot speak to you if you are not actually there’, Rowan Williams

“The wish to pray is a prayer in itself.” Geroges Bernanos

Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; rather, seek what they sought. Gautama Buddha

In the Upanishads, God is described as “Thou Before Whom All Words Recoil.”

Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you. Your ideas mature gradually – let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

 Why, when God’s world is so big, did you fall asleep in a prison of all places? Jelabeddia leteati

 Travel is easily the most pleasurable way to do this, since it is almost impossible to leave home without making a wrong turn somewhere. When I do, I stop to ask someone where I am in­stead of pulling over to consult my map. I know this is easier for women than it is for men. (Why does it take thousands of sperm to fertilize a single egg? Because the sperm refuse to stop and ask for directions.) I also know plenty of women who hate to ask for help, which makes this an equal-opportunity is to give up on the sufficiency of your own re is to admit that you are lost, and maybe even to be in no hurry to be found. B. Taylor

 there are none so blind as those who are certain that they see it all! Yet, the requirement is not so much that we should see it all, at least not all at once, otherwise we should be blinded—”Teach me as best my soul can bear” (Wesley).

A being is free only when it can determine and limit its activity. Karl Barth

God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by subtracting. Meister Eckhart

Our calling is not primarily to be holy, but to work for God and for others with Him. Charles Simeon

 Instead of education, education, education it should be theology, theology, theology. Dr Taj Hargey

a failed large church (“a satsuma is not a failed orange”). Ven Geoff Miller, Archdeacon of Northumberland

All the good that you will do will come not from you but from the fact that you have allowed yourself, in the obedience of faith, to be used by God’s love. Think of this more and gradually you will be free from the need to prove yourself, and you can be more open to the power that will work through you without your knowing it. Thomas Merton

 The Gospels as a whole mention the Kingdom 119 times and the Church only three times.

Sleepwalking on the inside is something we all do, when  life seems boring, or painful, or too demanding, or when we don’t like the person we’re with, or when we’re anxious or worried, or just wish we were somewhere else.
We switch off, disappear on the inside, perhaps numb out in front of the TV or computer screen, have a drink, fantasise about the future, romanticise the past – and fall asleep to the present moment. It’s possible to sleep through an awful lot of life. Which is why we need periodic wake up calls that say: “This is your life! Wake up Stop sleeping through it. Dave Tomlinson

“The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything,” William Magee, Bishop of Peterborough in the 19th century

I can’t resist mentioning here something I heard many years ago from a distinguished senior bishop of the Church of England who had been brought up in a very strict Protestant sect. When he began to study the Bible seriously as a teenager and to read 1 Corinthians, he was surprised to discover that the Church of the Bible was apparently full of greedy, lecherous, drunken, disreputable characters, who needed the stern words of St Paul to bring them into line. And having recognized the nature of the biblical Church, he duly decided to join the Church of England . . . Not a completely serious defence of the C of E, perhaps. But it underlines the point that what matters about the Church is less our achievement than God’s gift. Rowan Williams

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