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, ...

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