As when medical men examine an illness, and ascertain that it is fatal, they make this pronouncement, “He will die, he will not get over this,” so from the moment of a man’s birth, it may be said, “He will not get over this.”
—Augustine of Hippo in a
sermon (47, 3: NPNF VI:412)
A while ago it was announced that a church in [the Anglican bishop of London’s] diocese, St. Mark’s in Mayfair, was being declared “redundant,” and that a secular use—probably a restaurant—was contemplated The local well-heeled and highly articulate residents were appalled at this sacrilege, and they appealed to the bishop to stop it. His reply was suave and devastating: had they been in the habit of attending the church in question, the issue would never have arisen.
—Kenneth Slack in
The Christian Century
(Nov. 5, 1986)
If we refuse to take the risk of being vulnerable, we are already half-dead. If you are half-dead, you don’t have to starve with the people of Ethiopia. You don’t have to share the terrible living conditions of old people struggling to exist on dwindling, inadequate social-security payments in our overcrowded, hostile cities. You don’t have to smell the stench of filth and disease and hunger in the favelas and barrios.
We are not all called to go to El Salvador, or Moscow, or Calcutta, or even the slums of New York. But none of us will escape the moment when we have to decide whether to withdraw, to play it safe, or to act on what we prayerfully believe to be right.
—Madeleine L’Engle in
A Stone for a Pillow
Trivial pursuit in church
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