Category Archives: quotes

monday’s measured words

Isn’t it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity. Vaclav Havel

And perhaps in accepting the absurdity of it all we find truth in the simple things, grace in the naive and hope in the mundane.

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paroles mesurées de lundi

On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions.  Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke?  Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it?  The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning.  It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets.  Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews.  For the sleeping God may wake someday and take offense, or the waking God may draw us out to where we can never return.

Annie Dillard.    

 

This has been tumbling around my heads for days.  An obstacle that keeps tripping me up: and I stumble over and around it.  It has disorientated me and kept me up at night.  The remedy to an undiagnosed illness; the solution to an unsolvable problem. 

I am not sure I want either option. A sleeping God or a waking God.

A sleeping God can’t hear me or see me.

A waking God is expectant and wary.

But the truth remains – I do not, and cannot, understand the power I so effortlessly summon.  I do not and cannot understand this God I presume to love and worship.  I try, of course, but my options are limited. 

I expect this God to be merciful and just and gracious.

I find that he is distant and faceless and too big – which is not as frustrating or as hopeless as it sounds.  It just is. 

I would be lying if I said that I longed for the day that the waking God unleashed his power.  What would that look like?  Would I survive it?   

I ask, cover my eyes and count to 10…do I dare peek? 

I don’t see anything.  I don’t hear anything.

And then there is a warm, gentle, breathe on the back of my neck.

I close my eyes. 

For now, this is enough.


quotes to simmer by (it is going to be 43C here tomorrow…)

Pludek: You see, Berta?  Instead of a total victory one time or a total defeat another, he prefers to win a little and lose a little each time.                                                                                                                                                                                                           Mrs Pludek: Such a player will always stay in the game.

The Garden Party by Vaclav Havel, Act 1, Scene 1

Week after week, we witness the same miracle: that God, for reasons unfathomable, refrains from blowing our dancing bear act to smithereens.  Week after week Christ washes the disciples’ dirty feet, handles their very toes, and repeats, It is all right – believe it or not – to be people.

Annie Dillard


joyeux noel III

 

 

 

 

 

 

(traditional Italian Christmas cake)

Fredrick Buechner on Christmas…

It seems to me one of the miracles of the Christian faith is that the feast of Christmas survives what we have done to it — all the hoopla, clap-trap, commercialism and all the rest of it that I don’t even need to go into because everybody knows what it is. Yet, somehow it does survive. This extraordinary moment when the whole year slows down and you point to this unimaginable event where God somehow became made flesh. It is so cataclysmic; it is so extraordinary; we try to make it habitable; we try to make it cosy; we make crèches and we sing Christmas carols. At best, it can be touching and real. At its worst it can be cheap and banal. What often occurs to me about Christmas is that if it is really true, if the word really became flesh, if the mystery behind all that really took the form of a human life, this vulnerable, tiny human life whose skull you could have crushed with one hand, then there must have been extraordinary anguish and intergalactic struggle to have this extraordinary thing come to pass. It wasn’t an easy thing to happen. There is a kind of terror about Christmas, a kind of holiness and awesomeness about Christmas that we tend to forget. The resurrection and the life came down and tasted the bitterness of death.

One Christmas Eve, exhausted, about to go to bed having put all the presents under the tree, I remembered that our neighbour had asked us to feed his sheep every day he was gone. The snow was falling — this was in Vermont – my brother and I went down the hill to feed the sheep. We went into the barn and we got the bales of hay. We took them out into the sheep shed, cut the string, turned on the forty-watt bulb and began scattering the hay. The sheep came bumbling up, getting close to it. With the smell of the hay, the smell of the sheep and the snow coming down, all of a sudden I realized where I was. I was in the manger and I almost missed it.

I was in this holy place and I might not even have seen it. I happened to see it. It seems to me that in a way, you could say that the world itself is a manger where God is continually being born into our lives, into the things that happen to us. Most of the time, if you are like me, you are looking the other way.


joyeux noel II

OK – so I couldn’t really just leave a Christmas post like the one below by itself, even for me that seems a tad unbalanced! 

The other day I overheard my 4-year-old say the following to my 2-year-old,

‘I have to tell you about Jesus.  Jesus is cool’.  (She then went on to say, ‘This dinosaur has feet’, so I have no grand ideas that she is the next Billy Graham).  

It was a lovely to hear her talk about Jesus with such familiarity.  In fact, it made me slightly nostalgic for times when my understanding of Jesus was so simple and Christmas was purely a time to celebrate how ‘cool’ Jesus is in all his truth and grace. 

Last year around this time I was involved in putting together a little Christmas celebration and I gathered together a selection of quotes on Christmas which we read and discussed.  So I thought in the spirit of Christmas or in the spirit of trying to get to the true spirit of Christmas I would post some of those quotes.   

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Christmas…

We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.

The Grinch (Dr Seuss) on Christmas…

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.”


…or fredrick

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Weep all the tears you have in you to weep, because whatever may happen next, this has happened. Something precious and irreplaceable has come to an end and something in you has come to an end with it.

 Fredrick Buechner


when i have no words, there is always clive

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God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pain.

CS Lewis