God the Master Technician

Even as pianos need constant tuning and regulating—not only when young and raw, but all through their careers of being used for brilliant concerts—so people who are being used as “instruments of righteousness”—or, in other words, living creative, fruitful lives—need constant refreshing, “tuning.” It came into my mind that receiving God’s strength in our weakness as we call out to Him for help is very similar to a piano receiving new brilliance when the hammers are made harder with the proper juice or made softer and more mellow with some pricks of the needle-like instrument. Our “Master Technician,” God, knows just what we need so that we are at times more “brilliant” for something we need to do, or more “mellow” or “soft” for other compositions we need to have come through us!

—Edith Schaeffer in Forever Music

Listening hearts

I am uneasy when comedians ridicule the idea of hearing from God.… I am even more concerned that believing Christians will buy into the ridicule and thereby miss the wonderful relationship with their living Lord.

The story is told that Joan of Arc was mocked with, “She says she hears God’s voice; why, I don’t hear His voice!” Joan replied, “Don’t you wish you did?”

—Virginia Law Shell in Good News (Nov./Dec. 1987)

“We has met the enemy and it is us!”

Twenty years ago, the question: “Does television shape our culture or merely reflect it?” held considerable interest for many scholars and social critics. The questions have largely disappeared as television has gradually become our culture.

—Patrick Michele, quoted in Media & Values (Summer/Fall 1987)

Trusting can be scary

Our need to be in charge of ourselves, others, and situations often makes our relationship with Christ life’s biggest power struggle. We are reluctant to relinquish our control and allow Him to run our lives. We may believe in Him and be active in the church and Christian causes, but trusting Him as Lord of everything in life can be scary. Even though we pray about our challenges and problems, all too often what we really want is strength to accomplish what we’ve already decided is best for ourselves and others.

Meanwhile we press on with our own priorities and plans. We remain the scriptwriter, casting director, choreographer, and producer of the drama of our own lives, in which we are the star performer.

—Lloyd Ogilvie in 12 Steps to Living Without Fear

Common denominator

Liberal democracy in a pluralistic society is an endless but fruitless search for the lowest common denominator that can serve as society’s moral bond. The more pluralistic the society, however, the more difficult it is to find a common denominator.

Let us try to explain the problem crudely and oversimply, but not entirely inaccurately. We did away with state churches in this country so that all Protestants could feel at home in it. We de-Protestantized the country so that Catholics, too, could feel at home in it. We have dechristianized the country to make Jews feel welcome, then dereligionized it so that atheists and agnostics may feel equally welcome. Now we are demoralizing the country so that deviants from accepted moral norms will not feel excluded. The lowest common denominator, we have discovered, is like the horizon, always approached but never reached.

—Francis Canavan, S.J., in Catholic Eye (Nov. 18, 1987)


Perfect obedience would be perfect happiness if only we had perfect confidence in the power we were obeying.

—Hannah Whitall Smith in The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life

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