Classic and contemporary excerpts

Civil persuasion

[C]ivility, which I take to be a strong virtue and not simply wimpishness, requires that we not try to cram our beliefs down anybody’s throats, whether we be Christian or non-Christian or even anti-Christian. But that we all try to articulate as persuasively as we can, what it is that we believe, of course in the hope that others will be persuaded.

Richard John Neuhaus in Rutherford magazine

(Feb. 1993)

Happiness now

People seem to believe that they have an inalienable right to be happy—“I want what I want and I want it now.” No one wants to wait for anything and, for the most part, no one has to anymore. Waiting is interpreted as pain.… People walk into my office and say they are Christians, but I see no difference except that they want to be happy and now expect God to make it so. The problem is that, in this country, you can have what you want when you want it most of the time.… People like the fact that they can buy a 50-foot tree and instantly plant it in their yard. Why on earth would anyone want to wait on relationships or wait on God?

Psychologist Kim Hall,

interviewed in The Door

(Sept.–Oct. 1992)

The groaning creation

[I]n order to proclaim the greenness of Christianity we do not need any new doctrines or theology. We need simply to return with a new eye and new attention to the Scriptures—to the prophets and psalmists of the Old Testament who proclaim God’s continuing concern for all his creation; to the Gospel writers who portray Jesus as the man who communes with the wild beasts and who stills the storm; to St Paul who writes of the cosmic mission of Christ and who sums up the Christian approach to nature in that wonderful passage in his epistle to the Romans in which ...

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