I believe I am not mistaken in saying that Christianity is a demanding and serious religion. When it is delivered as easy and amusing, it is another kind of religion altogether.

- Nell Postman in

"Amusing Ourselves to Death"


Seek to live with such lucidity that the clarity of your motives becomes a lens which projects the image of Christ upon the screens of others' lives.

- David Augsburger in

"Witness Is Withness"


Samuel Laeuchli argues that "art threatens individuals because it tends to unveil experiences which they have not been able to digest." Put more directly, art takes the lid off the horror of censored experiences. In this sense, art is prophetic to the core. It reveals what seeks to remain hidden, especially those sinister powers of deception, prejudice, resentment, grievances, racism, sexism, etc., which require darkness and anonymity in order to remain viable.

Dorothee Soelle reports that the first time she heard Bach's St. Matthew Passion in 1946, just after the Nazi collapse, the chorus, "His Blood Be Ours and on Our Children" was omitted. Why? The "final solution" carried out in the Holocaust was so close to the populace … that they could not bear to hear Bach's art. … Art ripped the lid off the horror of censored experience. Modify the art. Maintain a peace that is no peace. Do to the art what has always been done to the prophets: kill it, distort it, exile it.

- C. John Weborgin

"The Covenant Companion" (July 1986)


There is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future—that community asks for and gets chaos. Crime, violence, unrest, disorder—most particularly the furious, unrestrained lashing out at the whole social structure—that is not only to be expected; it is very near to inevitable.

- Daniel Patrick Moynihan in

"Family and Nation" (1965); quoted in "Policy Review" (Fall 1993)


Bishop Stephen Neill was fond of observing, "We all have some dying to do. Jesus showed us how it should be done."

- Quoted by Michael Green in

"Good News" (July/August 1994)


I got a letter from a sappy woman a while back—she knew I was sappy too, which is to say a life-long Democrat. She was pregnant, and she wanted to know if I thought it was a mistake to bring a little baby into a world as troubled as this one is. And I replied, what made being alive almost worthwhile for me was the saints I met. They could be almost anywhere. By saints I meant people who behaved decently and honorably in societies which were so often obscene. Our own society is very frequently obscene. Perhaps many of us … regardless of our ages or power or wealth, can be saints for her child to meet.

- Kurt Vonnegut in

USA Today's Opinion Line (June 8, 1994)


If we are sure of our God we are free to laugh at ourselves, and artists have helped heal with laughter—from Moliere's comedies poking fun at the human condition, to Aristophanes' hilarity at our bewilderedly mixed emotions, to some of Bach's mirth-filled and even slightly bawdy secular cantatas. Its all part of what helps keep us in proportion; we can best take ourselves seriously if we are free to laugh at ourselves, and to enjoy the laughter of God and his angels. As William Temple remarked, "It is a great mistake to think that God is chiefly interested in religion."

- Madeleine L'Engle in

Walking on Water

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