Repentance is not a popular word these days, but I believe that any of us recognize it when it strikes us in the gut. Repentance is coming to our senses, seeing, suddenly, what we've done that we might not have done, or recognizeing … that the problem is not in what we do but in what we become.

—Kathleen Norris in
The Cloister Walk

There is something wonderful about a beaten-up heavily marked, tattered Bible. Madeleine Delbrel, the French Catholic activist who lived a little more than a generation ago, stuffed her Bible with snapshots, clippings, ticket stubs, postcards and other detritus to remind her that she was praying in the world of people and events. She called these scraps "icons of humanity" that prompted one to celebrate the "liturgy of life."

—Lawrence S. Cunningham in
America, "Praying the Psalms"

When you look at our history, it is no wonder that spirituality is so often treated with suspicion, and not infrrequently with outright hostility. For in actual practice spirituality very often develops into neurosis, degenerates into selfishness, becomes pretentious, turns violent. How does this happen? The short answer is that it happens when we step outside the Gospel story and take ourselves as the basic and authoritative text for our spirituality; we begin exegeting ourselves as a sacred text … True spirituality, Christian spirituality, takes attention off of ourselves and focuses it on another, on Jesus.

—Eugene H. Peterson in
Subversive Spirituality

The longer one lives, the more one realizes that everything depends upon chance, and the harder it is to believe that this omnipotent factor in human affairs arises simply from the blind interplay of events. Chance, Fortune, Luck, Destiny, Fate, Providence, seem to me only different ways of expressing the same thing, to wit, that a man's own contribution to his life story is continually dominated by an external superior power.

—Winston Churchill in
Winston S. Churchil: Thoughts and Adventures

We have a real problem in this country when it comes to values. We have become the kind of societies that civilized countries used to send missionaries to.

—William Bennett, interviewed on the
MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour

A closed mind is a sign of hidden doubt.

—Harold DeWold in
Theology of the Living Church

First put yourself at peace, and then you may the better make others be at peace. A peaceful and patient man is of more profit to himself and to others, too, than a learned man who has no peace.

—Thomas a Kempis in
The Imitation of Christ

Many people confuse the conviction of sin with such feelings as inferiority, lack of self-confidence and so on. Yet whoever observes people closely can see that these feeling and the conviction of sin are not only different from each other but incertain regards are mutually exclusive.

A diffuse and vague guilt feeling kills the personality, whereas the conviction of sin gives life to the personality. The former depends on people, on public opinion, while the latter depends on God.

—Paul Tournier in
Escape from Loneliness

Whatever injury wicked men-in-power inflict upon good men is to regarded … as a test for the good man's virtues. Thus, a good man, though a slave, is free; but a wicked man, though a king, is a slave. For, a wicked man serves not just one master, but, what's worse, as many masters as he has vices. For, it is in reference to vice that the Holy Scripture says: "For by whom a man is overcome, of the same also he is the slave" (2 Peter 2:19).

—Saint Augustine in
The City of God

We live in a world full of people struggling to be, or at least to appear strong, in order not to be weak; and we follow a gospel which says that when I am weak, then I am strong. And this gospel is the only thing that brings healing.

—N.T. Wright in
For All God's Worth

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