Classic and contemporary excerpts.

Health measurement

Twice it has been my privilege to introduce [quadraplegic] Joni Eareckson.… Each time I have ventured to predict that her message would show her to be the healthiest person in the building—a prediction which, so far as I could judge, came true both times.

J. I. Packer in Rediscovering Holiness

Wanting what’s right

When we have the feeling that on some occasion we have disobeyed God, it simply means that for a time we have ceased to desire obedience.

Simone Weil in Waiting for God

Counterfeit virtue

The more excellent something is the more likely it will be imitated. There are many false diamonds and rubies, but who goes about making counterfeit pebbles? However, the more excellent things are the more difficult it is to imitate them in their essential character and intrinsic virtues. Yet the more variable the imitations be, the more skill and subtlety will be used in making them an exact imitation. So it is with Christian virtues and graces. The devil and men’s own deceitful hearts tend to imitate those things that have the highest value. So no graces are more counterfeited than love and humility. For these are the virtues where the beauty of a true Christian is seen most clearly.

—Jonathan Edwards in Religious Affections

How long is too long?

I do not think we should use television as the measurer of all attention spans. I have heard people of all ages listen for hours as a speaker or two gives them stories, harangues, and marching orders for their various causes. And they listen for every word. Could it be that the attention span problem for sermons is that the setting is too much like a television-viewing setting that calls for passivity? If the church became a movement again, and if we felt a life-and-death urgency about getting the message out and getting it right, we would probably not be discussing how long we should go on.

Martin E. Marty in Context (Sept. 15, 1992)

Deficient vocabulary

The words holiness and sanctification are not prominent in much of Protestant theology. We have tended to speak of justification without a commensurate emphasis on sanctification.…

Holiness means that one belongs wholly to God. This is also the meaning of sanctification, being set apart as God’s own possession. When this begins internally, with the heart, the transformation becomes something that affects the total person.

Myron S. Augsburger in The Christ-Shaped Conscience

Doers, not just hearers

Let not thy Word, O Lord, become a judgment upon us, that we hear it and do it not, that we know it and love it not, that we believe it and obey it not.

Attributed to Thomas à Kempis

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