Classic and contemporary excerpts

Taking Proper Aim

Shooting above people’s heads doesn’t mean you have superior ammunition—it means you are a lousy shot. Without a sense of love and acceptance, people rarely respond with the kind of commitment that builds for ministry.

Oscar Handlin, quoted in Context

Legitimacy As Abnormality

In the mass-media age, journalism is more than the transmission of neutral information: It traffics in the kind of information and spectacle calculated to embarrass Western leaders.… But the media don’t confine themselves to embarrassing politicians: They also work to create shame about Western history, traditions, and institutions.… Not only our vices but our virtues and values are eligible for assault. Old sexual mores come under fire as much as segregation laws. Christianity is represented as dogmatic, obtuse, repressive: The Pope too is convicted of “gaffes.” Bizarre phenomena like lesbian nuns are treated not as screwballs but as legitimate protestors against onerous restrictions. Every malcontent, no matter how disoriented, becomes a victim.

—The National Review (May 17, 1985)

Mutual Love And Discipleship

Most of us when hearing or using the word disciple are likely to be reminded of the biblical Apostles. Their deepest wish was to emulate Christ. They made him their guide not just because they believed in his teachings but because of their love for him and his love for them. Without such mutual love the Master’s teaching and example, convincing though they were, would never have persuaded the disciples to change their lives and beliefs as radically as they did.

Bruno Bettelheim, The Atlantic Monthly (Nov. 1985)

What We Don’T Know Can Hurt

There is always one fact more in every life of which we know ...

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