Heavenly Wrestling Match

When we visualize God as being up in heaven, and heaven as being apart from earth, we lose the immediacy of God as part of the story, part of our being, as intimate as was the angel who wrestled all night with Jacob and changed his story forever. God was not something apart from Creation or apart from daily life. God was there, marvelously, terribly there.…

Angels often appear when they are least expected; that’s one of the wonders of angels. But if an angel chooses to wrestle with you, you are going to recognize it, like it or not. And then, perhaps, you may demand a blessing, and receive.

Madeleine L’Engle in A Stone for a Pillow

Peace Initiative?

Beat your enemies into plowshares.

Button for sale at Chicago’s Peace Museum

Of Hotdogs And French Cuisine

Just like do’s-and-don’tsism, liturgism comes in two varieties: high and low.… If you’re from Bumpkin Ridge you may need a different strategy than genuflections and incense. It’s the old favorite hymns that make you feel the religion in your heart.… And it’s not the priest crossing himself that makes you feel religious, but the thump of his fist on the pulpit, and the song leader flingin’ his arms every which way. If there isn’t enough arms-flingin’ and Bible-thumping, the Holy Spirit just doesn’t grip on you.… If the high liturgy was a French dinner, this is a hotdog and a Coke.

Robert Roberts in the Reformed Journal (Feb. 1987)

Vision Over View

Two men looked out from prison bars.

One saw mud, one saw stars.

In the pursuit of the fullness of human life, everything depends on this frame of reference, this habitual outlook, this basic vision which I have of myself, others, life, the world, and God. What we see is what we get.

Fr. John Powell in Through Seasons of the Heart

What A Party!

Death is the supreme festival on the road to freedom.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, quoted in The Martyred Christian, by Joan Winmill Brown

God Just Doesn’T Matter

According to the teaching of our Lord, what is wrong with the world is precisely that it does not believe in God. Yet it is clear that the unbelief which he so bitterly deplored was not an intellectual persuasion of God’s-non-existence. Those whom he rebuked for their lack of faith were not men who denied God with the top of their minds, but men who, while apparently incapable of doubting him with the top of their minds, lived as though he did not exist.

John Baillie in Our Knowledge of God


Thank You God That You see armies march a sparrow fall hear atom’s blast a baby’s cry smell volcano’s flow a man’s sweat feel contour of mountains a little lump taste ocean’s salt my tears.

Joseph Bayly in psalms of My Life; calligraphy by Tim Botts

Dangerous Confusion

It sounds terribly spiritual to say “God led me,” but I am always suspicious of a person who implies that he has a personal pipeline to God. When no one else senses that what the person suggests is the will of God, then we had better be careful. God has been blamed for the most outlandish things by people who have confused their own inverted pride with God’s will.

Paul E. Little in a sermon, “Affirming the Will of God” (Great Sermons of the 20th Century, compiled by Peter F. Gunther)

Masterpieces Don’T Lie

Serious critics sometimes argue that the standards in art are always relative, but all artistic masterpieces give them the lie.

John Gardner in The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers

Bad Examples

Today, everybody and his brother (and lover and agent) claim to be Christians. When I was a kid, God may not have gotten the recognition he merits, but today he gets more publicity than he deserves. People used to hide their light under a bushel; today it would be good if some had the sense not to share their testimony.

Wayne Joosse in The Reformed Journal (April 1989)

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