“Ladies and gentlemen, if you care for your community, your town, your Night Vale like I do, you will arm yourselves. You will rally your neighbors to militia. You will point fingers at those who do not wish to fight and have them rounded up into pens. This is no time for the weak. We are at a presumptive war with a projected enemy whom we cannot yet see, or even be certain of, but who are probably bloodthirsty giants.”—Welcome to Night Vale (14.The Man in the Tan Jacket)
“I think all three ghosts - Pompey’s, Arcita’s, and Troilus’s - laughed for the same reason, laughed at the littleness of all those things that had seemed so important before they died; as we laugh, on waking, at the trifles or absurdities that loomed so large in our dreams.”—C. S. Lewis, The Discarded Image
“The important thing is for us to enter into the Church—to unite ourselves with our fellow men, with the joys and sorrows of each and everyone, to feel that they are our own, to pray for everyone, to have care for their salvation, to forget about ourselves, to do everything for them just as Christ did for us. In the Church we become one unfortunate, suffering and sinful soul. No one should wish to be saved alone without all others being save. It is a mistake for someone to pray for himself, that he himself may be saved. We must love others and pray that no soul be lost, that all may enter into the Church. That is what counts.”—St. Porphyrios (via gospelofthekingdom)
“There is an inviolable connection between the way we treat the Earth, the way we treat people, and the way we worship God.”—Patriarch Bartholomew’s message to the gathered leaders at the Religions for the Earth conference (via locusimperium)
“I can see why a plenteously contented, drowsily complacent, temperamentally incurious atheist might find it comforting - even a little luxurious - to imagine that belief in God is no more than belief in some magical invisible friend who lives beyond the clouds, or in some ghostly cosmic mechanic invoked to explain gaps in current scientific knowledge. But I also like to think that the truly reflective atheist would prefer not to win all his or her rhetorical victories against childish caricatures.”—David Bentley Hart, The Experience of God (2013)
It is true that morality has been often enough a way of ducking hard political questions by reducing them to the personal. In the so-called war against terrorism, for example, the word “evil” really means: Don’t look for a political explanation. It is a wonderfully time-saving device. If terrorists are simply Satanic, then you do not need to investigate what lies behind their atrocious acts of violence. You can ignore the plight of the Palestinian people, or of those Arabs who have suffered under squalid right-wing autocracies supported by the West for its own selfish, oil-hungry purposes.
The word “evil” transfers the question from this mundane realm to a sinisterly metaphysical one. You cannot acknowledge that the terrible crimes which terrorists commit have a purpose behind them, since to ascribe purposes to such people is to recognize them as rational creatures, however desperately wrongheaded. It is easier to caricature your enemy as a bunch of blood-crazed beasts – a deeply dangerous move, since to defeat an opponent you have first to understand him. The British tabloid press may have seen the IRA as gorillas rather than guerrillas, savages with no rationale for their actions, but British Intelligence knew better. They understood that Republican murders and massacres were not without a purpose. Indeed, to label your enemy as mad is to let him, morally speaking, off the hook, absolving him of responsibility for his crimes.
“The citizen of the city of God, Augustine emphasizes, will always find herself thrown into a situation of being a resident alien in some outpost of the earthly city. This demands neither a positive or sanguine stance vis-à-vis the earthly city nor a fundamentally dismissive stance with respect to political society. Rather, the first political impetus is one of calculated ambivalence and cultivated aloofness tempered by ad hoc evaluations about selective collaborations for the common good. It’s not just a question of whether to be resident aliens, but how.”—James K. A. Smith, Church against state? Resident Aliens at 25
“But I’d already learned to respond to most challenges and catastrophes by saying not, “God is trying to tell me something,” like pain is a code, but, “There is a way to serve God in every situation.” Suffering can be offered up for others; it can change us, make us more humble or more loving; it’s an opportunity to trust in God; when the suffering is a result of societal crimes and “structural sin” it can be an opportunity to fight for justice. These are all ways of serving God through pain. I don’t know if it’s best to think of these acts as revealing the meaning which was always embedded by God in our suffering, or as imbuing our suffering with meaning by imbuing it with love.”—Eve Tushnet, God Is Working His Purpose Out (via triadic)
“The Internet threatens final confirmation of Adorno and Horkheimer’s dictum that the culture industry allows the “freedom to choose what is always the same.” Champions of online life promised a utopia of infinite availability: a “long tail” of perpetually in-stock products would revive interest in non-mainstream culture. One need not have read Astra Taylor and other critics to sense that this utopia has been slow in arriving. Culture appears more monolithic than ever, with a few gigantic corporations—Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon—presiding over unprecedented monopolies. Internet discourse has become tighter, more coercive. Search engines guide you away from peculiar words. (“Did you mean . . . ?”) Headlines have an authoritarian bark (“This Map of Planes in the Air Right Now Will Blow Your Mind”). “Most Read” lists at the top of Web sites imply that you should read the same stories everyone else is reading. Technology conspires with populism to create an ideologically vacant dictatorship of likes.”—Pop Culture and Power
“If the ultimate aim of education in the liberal arts is to draw us out of ourselves, to teach us the language of praise and gratitude, then Jimmie attained it in worship. Education in the liberal arts — if we can still find it in our world — is one important path to finding one’s soul. But it is neither the only nor even the most suitable path for many people. Were we really to absorb this truth, we could stop pretending that the liberal arts are important frosting on the cake of an education that is in fact designed for other purposes. In so doing, we might free the liberal arts to set us free.”—Who Needs a Liberal Education? (via ayjay)
“Do not say, ‘this happened by chance, while this came to be of itself.’ In all that exists there is nothing disorderly, nothing indefinite, nothing without purpose, nothing by chance … How many hairs are on your head? God will not forget one of them. Do you see how nothing, even the smallest thing, escapes the gaze of God?”—St. Basil the Great (via invicemsunt)
Don Quixote is a slightly ridiculous character, but he is also a gentleman worthy of our respect, and sometimes our pity, but he is always lovable. And this is the same sensation we get from the image of Dr. Johnson, given to us by Boswell, with his grotesque appearance, his long arms, his slovenly appearance. But he is lovable.
….Now, in the same way that we have seen how Johnson is similar to Don Quixote, we have to think that just as Sancho is the companion Quixote sometimes treats badly, we see Boswell in that same relation to Dr. Johnson: a sometimes stupid and loyal companion.
Revolutionaries readily sacrifice living people to achieve the glorious future. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs, they tell us, but while the eggs are surely broken, the omelet is never made. If people are sacrificed for an ever-receding goal, Herzen argues, then sacrifice is all there will ever be. The greatest tyranny results from the attempt to abolish it altogether. In the book’s most quoted passage, the skeptic asks:
If progress is the end, for whom are we working?… Do you truly wish to condemn all human beings alive today to the sad role of … wretched galley slaves, up to their knees in mud, dragging a barge filled with some mysterious treasure and with the humble words “progress in the future” inscribed on its bows?… This alone should serve as a warning to people: An end that is infinitely remote is not an end, but, if you like, a trap; an end must be nearer — it ought to be, at the very least, the laborer’s wage, or pleasure in the work done.
Each present moment, and each human life, is precious in itself, not just as a means to some exalted goal. This is a lesson revolutionaries never seem to learn.
“To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to love in such a way that one’s life would make no sense if God did not exist”—Cardinal Suhard (via paulstead)
“To commit to love is fundamentally to commit to a life beyond dualism. That’s why love is so sacred in a culture of domination, because it simply begins to erode your dualisms: dualisms of black and white, male and female, right and wrong.”—
“Fathers and mothers have lost the idea that the highest aspiration they might have for their children is for them to be wise … specialized competence and success are all that they can imagine.”—Allan Bloom (1930- 1992) American Academic and Author (via philosophicalconservatism)
“Things may appear to go badly for the church, this way or that. There may be real reverses, tragedies, and disasters. And yet the God who has revealed himself in and through Jesus remains sovereign, and his purpose is going ahead whatever the authorities from without, or various controversies from within, may do to try to stop it.”—N.T. Wright, “Acts for Everyone” (via pastorjdallen)
“'The Church is not a thing like the Athenaeum Club,' he cried.' If the Athenaeum Club lost all its members, the Athenaeum Club would dissolve and cease to exist. But when we belong to the Church we belong to something which is outside all of us which is outside everything you talk about, outside the Cardinals and the Pope. They belong to it, but it does not belong to them. If we all fell dead suddenly, the Church would still somehow exist in God.'”—G.K. Chesterton in The Ball and the Cross (via gkchestertonquote)
“The Reformation was an attempt to put the Bible at the heart of the Church again—not to give it into the hands of private readers. The Bible was to be seen as a public document, the charter of the Church’s life; all believers should have access to it because all would need to know the common language of the Church and the standards by which the Church argued about theology and behaviour. The huge Bibles that were chained up in English churches in the sixteenth century were there as a sign of this. It was only as the rapid development of cheap printing advanced that the Bible as a single affordable volume came to be within everyone’s reach as something for individuals to possess and study in private. The leaders of the Reformation would have been surprised to be associated with any move to encourage anyone and everyone to form their own conclusions about the Bible. For them, it was once again a text to be struggled with in the context of prayer and shared reflection.”—
Rowan Williams, Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief