Archive for the ‘Quotable’ Category

Chesterton at His Quotable Best

January 1, 2008

The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.

G.K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles

Chesterton at His Quirkiest Best

January 1, 2008

It is a thousand to one that the reader is looking at something that he has never seen: that is, never realised.  He could not write an essay on such a post or wall:  he does not know what the post or wall mean. He could not even write the synopsis of an essay; as “The Bed-Post; Its Significance–Security Essential to Idea of Sleep–Night Felt as Infinite–Need of Monumental Architecture,” and so on.  He could not sketch in outline his theoretic attitude towards window-blinds, even in the form of a summary. “The Window-Blind–Its Analogy to the Curtain and Veil–Is Modesty Natural?–Worship of and Avoidance of the Sun, etc., etc.”  None of us think enough of these things on which the eye rests.  But don’t let us let the eye rest. Why should the eye be so lazy?  Let us exercise the eye until it learns to see startling facts that run across the landscape as plain as a painted fence.  Let us be ocular athletes.

G.K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles

God Crowns None But Well-Tried Wrestlers

December 16, 2007

There is, indeed no ambiguity in the words here used by Moses; but I do not agree with others respecting their meaning; for other interpreters take the seed for Christ, without controversy; as if it were said, that some one would arise from the seed of the woman who should wound the serpent’s head. Gladly would I give my suffrage in support of their opinion, but that I regard the word seed as too violently distorted by them; for who will concede that a collective noun is to be understood of one man only? Further, as the perpetuity of the contest is noted, so victory is promised to the human race through a continual succession of ages. I explain, therefore, the seed to mean the posterity of the woman generally. But since experience teaches that not all the sons of Adam by far, arise as conquerors of the devil, we must necessarily come to one head, that we may find to whom the victory belongs. So Paul, from the seed of Abraham, leads us to Christ; because many were degenerate sons, and a considerable part adulterous, through infidelity; whence it follows that the unity of the body flows from the head. Wherefore, the sense will be (in my judgment) that the human race, which Satan was endeavoring to oppress, would at length be victorious. In the meantime, we must keep in mind that method of conquering which the Scripture describes. Satan has, in all ages, led the sons of men “captive at his will”, and, to this day, retains his lamentable triumph over them, and for that reason is called the prince of the world, (John 12:31.) But because one stronger than he has descended from heaven, who will subdue him, hence it comes to pass that, in the same manner, the whole Church of God, under its Head, will gloriously exult over him. To this the declaration of Paul refers,

“The Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly,” (Romans 16:20.)

By which words he signifies that the power of bruising Satan is imparted to faithful men, and thus the blessing is the common property of the whole Church; but he, at the same time, admonishes us, that it only has its commencement in this world; because God crowns none but well-tried wrestlers.

John Calvin, from his commentary on Genesis 3:15

What Is Man? Homo Adorans

November 16, 2007

The significant thing about life in the Garden is that man is to name things. . . . Now, in the Bible a name is infinitely more than a means to distinguish one thing from another. It reveals the very essence of a thing, or rather its essence as God’s gift. To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it, to know it as coming from God and to know its place and function within the cosmos created by God.

To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it. And in the Bible to bless God is not a “religious” or a “cultic” act, but the very way of life. God blessed the world, blessed man, blessed the seventh day (that is, time), and this means that He filled all that exists with His love and goodness, made all this “very good.” So the only natural (and not “supernatural”) reaction of man, to whom God gave this blessed and sanctified world, is to bless God in return, to thank Him, to see the world as God sees it and – in this act of gratitude and adoration – to know, name and possess the world. All rational, spiritual and other qualities of man, distinguishing him from other creatures, have their focus and ultimate fulfillment in this capacity to bless God, to know, so to speak, the meaning of the thirst and hunger that constitutes his life. “Homo sapiens.” “homo faber” … yes, but first of all, “homo adorans.” The first, the basic definition of man is that he is the priest. He stands in the center of the world and unifies it in his act of blessing God, of both receiving the world from God and offering it to God–and by filling the world with his eucharist, he transforms his life, the one that he receives from the world, into life in God, into communion with Him.

Alexander Schmemann, from For the Life of the World

Editors Needed…

September 2, 2007

… but only after we get a chuckle.

Hat Tip to Dale Courtney

From the Associated Press:

Clinton, Edwards butt heads

You can’t pay for coverage like that.

 al sends

Working Through Stuff

August 19, 2007

A week ago we had the right reverend James B. Jordan in the pulpit of Providence Community Church.   It is normal for us to have a time of discussion about the sermon after the worship service and Reverend Jordan led that discussion as well.  We were having audio problems that day and neither the sermon or his discussion are available at this time.  I would like to get some discussion on one thing Rev. Jordan said though so here it is…

His sermon was on the use of symbolism in the bible and how we, as western Christians, have difficulty thinking in those categories.  It was quite interesting and gave me much to think about.  The discussion that followed challenged my thinking about one particular event in the Genesis creation/fall account.

What was the first sin in the garden?  I know that Adam represented all of mankind with his sin but in what way did Eve sin before Adam?  In particular was Eve sinning when she said, ” “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'” 

Here was Rev. Jordan’s take on the issue:  Eve learned the commandment from Adam.  She was his helper and worked with Adam to flesh out obedience to the command of God.  The phrase “nor shall you touch it” was simply applied theology (my term not Rev. Jordan’s).  She issued a good commentary on the law and it was not an adding to the Word of God.

I had never heard that interpretation before though I have since found that Calvin held to something not much different: 

“When she says, God has forbidden them to eat or to touch, some suppose the second word to be added for the purpose of charging God with too great severity, because he prohibited them even from the touch. But I rather understand that she hitherto remained in obedience, and expressed her pious disposition by anxiously observing the precept of God; only, in proclaiming the punishment, she begins to give ways by inserting the adverb “perhaps,” when God has certainly pronounced, “Ye shall die the death.””

And Matthew Henry as well:

“It was an instance of her resolution that she adhered to the command, and faithfully repeated it, as of unquestionable certainty: “God hath said, I am confident he hath said it, You shall not eat of the fruit of this tree;” and that which she adds, Neither shall you touch it, seems to have been with a good intention, not (as some think) tacitly to reflect upon the command as too strict (Touch not, taste not and handle not), but to make a fence about it: “We must not eat, therefore we will not touch. It is forbidden in the highest degree, and the authority of the prohibition is sacred to us.””

I am just curious about two things:  1)  Am I the only one who was taught that Eve sinned in “adding to the Word of God?”  2)  Is there a reformed teacher that holds that Eve sinned in this area?

This is not a like discovering election for the first time or anything; but I am wondering what else I don’t know…

al sends

The Real Fall and God’s Decisive Action

June 28, 2007

The “original” sin is not primarily that man has “disobeyed” God; the sin is that he ceased to be hungry for Him and for Him alone, ceased to see his whole life depending on the whole world as a sacrament of communion with God. The sin was not that man neglected his religious duties. The sin was that he thought of God in terms of religion, i.e., opposing Him to life. The only real fall of man is his non-eucharistic life in a non-eucharistic world. The fall is not that he preferred world to God, distorted the balance between the spiritual and material, but that he made the world material, whereas he was to have transformed it into “life in God,” filled with meaning and spirit. . . .

But it is the Christian gospel that God did not leave man in his exile, in the predicament of confused longing. He had created man “after his own heart” and for Himself, and man has struggled for freedom to find the answer to the mysterious hunger in him. In this scene of radical unfulfillment God acted decisively: into the darkness where man was groping toward paradise, He sent light. . . . The light God sent was His Son . . .

from For the Life of the World by Alexander Schmemann

I Think I’m Crunchy

May 29, 2007

“It seems to crunchy cons that most Americans are so busy bargain shopping or bed hopping, or talking about their shopping and screwing selves, that they’re missing the point of life. Sex and commerce are fine things, but man cannot live by Viagra and Dow Jones alone. A life led collecting things and experiences in pursuit of happiness is not necessarily a bad life, but it is not a good life either. Too often, the Democrats act like the Party of Lust, and the Republicans the Party of Greed” (p. 12).

Rod Dreher, Crunchy Cons

Meme

May 26, 2007

    Instructions:
1.    Grab the nearest book.
2.    Open it to page 161.
3.    Find the fifth full sentence.
4.    Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions.
5.    Don’t search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.
My result:

“Just prior to and during his retirement, Wilberforce was castigated in verse by Lord Byron.”  Hero for Humanity: A Biography of William Wilberforce by Kevin Belmont

If you are interested post your results in the comments section.

al sends

Five Worldview Questions

February 9, 2007

1. Who are we? We are the people of God in Christ, indwelt by the Spirit. We are the renewed Israel, the people of the new covenant. We are those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead. And this defines us over against those who worship other gods, and other lords.
2. Where are we? We are in God’s good creation — citizens now not of a particular country so much as of the world that God is going to make, where we shall share the rule of the Lord Jesus. We are living, as it were, in a house that is being rebuilt around us, though there is yet to come a final moment of on a scale hitherto unimaginable. We are part of the Jewish movement designed by God to spread to the ends of the earth. Our location is defined not by Caesar’s empire but by God’s creation and covenant.
3. What’s wrong? Though Jesus’ resurrection has ushered in the new creation, we live between that event and the redemption still awaited by ourselves and the rest of the world; and, since most of the world still does not acknowledge Jesus as Lord, we are persecuted. We ourselves, too, are not yet perfect, but live in the tension between what we are already, in Christ and by the Spirit, and what we shall be when Jesus appears again and when his work in us is complete. Caesar still rules the world, despite Jesus’ enthronement as its rightful Lord.
4. What’s the solution? The work of the Spirit, in the present and the future, will put into practice, for us and for the whole cosmos, what has been accomplished in Christ. God will put the world to rights, achieving at last what Caesar claimed to have done.
5. What time is it? We live in the overlap of the ages: the age to come has already broken in in Jesus, but the present age still continues… [N]obody knows when, Jesus will reappear, when God finally remakes the cosmos. The Roman world is tottering; only God’s kingdom will last.

from “Paul and Caesar: A New Reading of Romans” by N.T. Wright