Forces for good

In reading the Scriptures I find a great moral power. Therein am I made aware of two great forces for good in human experience: the fear of God and the grace of God. Without the fear of God I should not stop at doing evil; the fear of God restrains from evil. Without the grace of God I should have no desire to approach positive goodness. The one is a deterrent from evil; the other an encouragement to good.

—Jim Elliot in

The Journals of Jim Elliot

Freedom costs

Freedom is not free. If only Christians were as quick to act upon their responsibilities as they are quick to assert freedom. The tortures and agonies through which this generation is only the latest to go represent the inevitable judgment upon people and nations that refuse to live by the law of love. I think Christians should stop blaming God for being absent when they themselves are not present. They should stop blaming God for all the ills of the world as if humanity had really been endlessly laboring to cure them.

—William Sloane Coffin, “The Good News About the Brokenhearted Christian Blues,” in U.S. Catholic (Aug. 1986)

Positive peace

A sentiment that Martin Luther King was fond of:

“True peace is not merely the absence of some negative force, tension or war, it is the presence of some positive force, justice, good will, brotherhood.”

—Quoted in Current Policy

No. 857 (U.S. Dept. of State,

Bureau of Public Affairs)

Knowing and unknowing

A fourteenth-century monk told his disciple that God could never be seen or known: “The most godly knowing of God is that which is known by unknowing.” A cloud of unknowing, he said, hangs between man and God. In that cloud he must look ...

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