Saturday, March 16, 2019

Risk in the Church

A church which pitches its tents without constantly looking out for new horizons, which does not continually strike camp, is being untrue to its calling…[We must] play down our longing for certainty, accept what is risky, and live by improvisation and experiment.

                                                                -Hans Küng – The Church

Tuesday, March 12, 2019


Every man who thinks and lives by thought must have his own skepticism, that which stops at the question, that which ends in denial, or that which leads to faith and which is somehow integrated into the faith which transcends it.

                                         -T.S. Eliot, Intro to Pascal's Pensées

Monday, March 11, 2019

An Old Idea

Missionary work is not a side show of the church, to be sustained by the gifts of a minority who are sufficiently interested. It is the main artery which is essential to the life of the body and to the strength of the heart. Nor may this missionary activity be confined to the regions beyond. Paganism is not limited to heathen lands. It is present in every community, and may be found among those who maintain an external standard of goodness yet are pagan at heart. Conversion may need to begin within the church itself, through the renewal of a living Christian experience. But the real test of that renewal will be in the recovery of the evangelical passion. A living church must be quipped for adventurous service. Like the individual Christian, it can keep its life only by losing it.

                                                                      -The Interpreter's Bible 1953, ref I Cor 10

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Red Hill Mining Town

We'll scorch the earth
Set fire to the sky
And we stooped so low
To reach so high
                                      -U2 (Red Hill Mining Town,  
                                                                                     The Joshua Tree)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019


Where there is nothing sacred, there is nothing.

                                                                              -Phillip Rieff, My Life among the Deathworks

Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Search

On the one hand, the accumulated writings of the greatest minds of the last three thousand years is available for the first time to anyone with a smart phone. However, due to the massive mound of such writing and the work it takes to sort through, most are as unlikely to dig in as if there were still old walls of language, space, time, and the like to limit them.

On the other hand, this has not stopped the world’s billions from dropping in their own universal approach to truth for everyone to see in the form of the latest attention-getting cat video.

And so, in the modern world, meaning is so much more commonly sought in cat videos than in researching the sages.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


The sort of cheerful nihilism so dominant in post-modernism could only take root in the flabby, comfortable West, where one can play around with everything, including God, justice, marriage, society, truth, and so on, without having to worry about the consequences.

                                                                  -Bartholomew and Goheen, Christian Philosophy

Monday, February 18, 2019

Difficult to Locate

A purely secularist, opposed-to-all-religion position takes it to have been established that all religious doctrines yet offered have been shown to be false, and it is quite willing to infer that any doctrinal replacements will suffer a similar fate. Since the great work in which it was shown that all religious doctrines are false is uncommonly hard to locate—it is hard to think of any barely plausible candidates—pure secularism possesses an unfounded optimism about its status and prospects.

                                                                                           -Keith Yandell, Religious Experience

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


The human mind has sufficient resources to explain away any evidence that runs counter to what it is anxious to believe.

                                                       -George Schlesinger, on Miracles

Monday, February 11, 2019

Preaching and Living

(A congregation) will give you leave to preach against their sins, and to talk as much as you will for godliness in the pulpit, if you will but let them alone afterwards, and be friendly and merry with them when you have done, and talk as they do, and live as they and be indifferent with them in your conversation.  For they take the pulpit to be but a stage; a place where preachers must show themselves, and play their parts; where you have liberty for an hour to say what you list; and what you say they regard not, if you show them not, by saying it personally to their faces, that you were in good earnest, and did indeed mean them.
                                                -Richard Baxter, Puritan Preacher, 1615-1691

Wednesday, February 6, 2019



Before God can use a man greatly, He must wound him deeply

                                                           -Oswald Chambers

Friday, February 1, 2019

God of the Gaps

Isaac Newton and others who think of explanations of natural processes that refer to God and those that refer to natural causes as being on the same plane and interchangeable actually cause needless conflicts between science and religion, for it means that God and some natural causes are rivals for the same place in an account of a natural process. As science progresses and finds a natural account where before it had none, God, who had been used to fill the gap, is pushed out. It then looks as though science has discredited belief in God and suggests that belief in a deity developed in more primitive times, but as our knowledge grew, we saw our mistake and corrected it by giving up belief in God. Newton thus did a great disservice when he put God in to his accounts wherever there was a gap in the science of the day. As science progressed, God was pushed out of place after place into which Newton and others had put him.
                               -Allen and Springsted, Philosophy for Understanding Theology