The New Morality

There’s a kind of mirror system of morality in evil. People don’t say, as they more or less do in Shakespeare, “I’m by nature bad.” They say: “I had to do this; it was necessary. I didn’t start it, but nobody’s going to play me for a sucker.”

E. L. Doctorow in U.S. News & World Report (Mar. 6, 1989)

Capturing The Real Criminal

No man’s really any good till he knows how bad he is, or might be; till he’s realized exactly how much right he has to all this snobbery, and sneering, and talking about “criminals,” as if they were apes in a forest ten thousand miles away … till he’s squeezed out of his soul the last drop of the oil of the Pharisees; till his only hope is somehow or other to have captured one criminal, and kept him safe and sane under his own hat.

G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown, quoted by J. I. Packer in Lord, I Want to Be a Christian

The New Village Atheists

TV journalists are, by tone of voice and facial expression, the village atheists of our time. They apparently can’t comprehend that the religious faith of ordinary people is quite independent of the virtue of those who preach it.

Andrew M. Greeley in TV Guide (July 9, 1988)

Lost Value

The joy of sacrificial giving to the Lord’s work is one value easily lost in the presence of prosperity. I regularly saw my parents give beyond what was comfortable for them. I don’t know how frequently my children see me give sacrificially to God’s kingdom. Proverbs 3:9 tells us to honor the Lord with our “substance.” We normally give to God from our surplus, but He desires our substance. There is a difference.

Larry L. Kiser in the Fundamentalist Journal (March 1989)

Placing Blame

It may not be your fault for being down, but it’s got to be your fault for not getting up.

Steve Davis, volunteer at the Chicago Christian Industrial League (Chicago Tribune, Dec. 26, 1986)

No Earthly Satisfaction

God has set Eternity in our heart, and man’s infinite capacity cannot be filled or satisfied with the things of time and sense.

F. B. Meyer in Our Daily Walk

Mastercard Mentality

Christians, of all people, should understand that the MasterCard mentality is not the way to master life. The pattern Jesus established was one of deferring desires—not because the fulfillment of desire is wrong, but because “my time has not yet come.” Most of us think our time has come five minutes after the desire first pops into our minds.

Joel Belz in World (May 11, 1987)

Beyond Alcoholism

There are various kinds of drunkenness. Holy Scripture speaks of those who “are drunken, but not with wine.” There is the drunkenness of pride, of anger, and of vengeance: and there is another kind altogether, of zeal and fervor. It was with this latter that the apostles were filled when they received the Holy Spirit.

François Fénelon in Spiritual Letters to Women

“Cross”—Or Sin?

There are many queer ideas about cross bearing. I recall a man once saying to me, “I have a fierce temper, but I suppose that is my cross!”

“My friend,” I said to him (lovingly, I hope!), “That is not your cross. It is your wife’s cross, but it is your sin!”

Alan Redpath in Victorious Christian Faith

Pure Contentment

He that is down needs fear no fall;

He that is low, no pride;

He that is humble, ever shall

Have God to be his guide.

I am content with what I have,

Little be it, or much;

And, Lord, contentment still I crave,

Because Thou savest such.

John Bunyan, quoted in Anthology of Jesus

No Way To Live

To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.

Thomas Merton in No Man Is an Island

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