Religious Mothers Day Quotes

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Live or die, but don't poison everything... Well, death's been here for a long time -- it has a hell of a lot to do with hell and suspicion of the eye and the religious objects and how I mourned them when they were made obscene by my dwarf-heart's doodle. The chief ingredient is mutilation. And mud, day after day, mud like a ritual, and the baby on the platter, cooked but still human, cooked also with little maggots, sewn onto it maybe by somebody's mother, the damn bitch! Even so, I kept right on going on, a sort of human statement, lugging myself as if I were a sawed-off body in the trunk, the steamer trunk. This became perjury of the soul. It became an outright lie and even though I dressed the body it was still naked, still killed. It was caught in the first place at birth, like a fish. But I play it, dressed it up, dressed it up like somebody's doll. Is life something you play? And all the time wanting to get rid of it? And further, everyone yelling at you to shut up. And no wonder! People don't like to be told that you're sick and then be forced to watch you come down with the hammer. Today life opened inside me like an egg and there inside after considerable digging I found the answer. What a bargain! There was the sun, her yolk moving feverishly, tumbling her prize -- and you realize she does this daily! I'd known she was a purifier but I hadn't thought she was solid, hadn't known she was an answer. God! It's a dream, lovers sprouting in the yard like celery stalks and better, a husband straight as a redwood, two daughters, two sea urchings, picking roses off my hackles. If I'm on fire they dance around it and cook marshmallows. And if I'm ice they simply skate on me in little ballet costumes. Here, all along, thinking I was a killer, anointing myself daily with my little poisons. But no. I'm an empress. I wear an apron. My typewriter writes. It didn't break the way it warned. Even crazy, I'm as nice as a chocolate bar. Even with the witches' gymnastics they trust my incalculable city, my corruptible bed. O dearest three, I make a soft reply. The witch comes on and you paint her pink. I come with kisses in my hood and the sun, the smart one, rolling in my arms. So I say Live and turn my shadow three times round to feed our puppies as they come, the eight Dalmatians we didn't drown, despite the warnings: The abort! The destroy! Despite the pails of water that waited, to drown them, to pull them down like stones, they came, each one headfirst, blowing bubbles the color of cataract-blue and fumbling for the tiny tits. Just last week, eight Dalmatians, 3/4 of a lb., lined up like cord wood each like a birch tree. I promise to love more if they come, because in spite of cruelty and the stuffed railroad cars for the ovens, I am not what I expected. Not an Eichmann. The poison just didn't take. So I won't hang around in my hospital shift, repeating The Black Mass and all of it. I say Live, Live because of the sun, the dream, the excitable gift.
Anne Sexton (The Complete Poems)
She would always feel this wild girl was the truest of any of the people she had already been: adored daughter, bourgeois priss, rebel, runaway, dope-fiend San Francisco hippie; or all the people she would later be: mother, nurse, religious fanatic, prematurely old woman. Vivienne was a human onion, and when I came home at twenty eight years old on the day the monster died, I was afraid that the Baptist freak she had peeled down to was her true, acrid, tear-inducing core.
Lauren Groff
The choice for devoted Latter-day Saint women is not just to simply go forward and try to be happy and create a fulfilling life. As women of covenant our goal is to go forward and develop stron testimonies and nurturing and caring hearts that will prepare us for our roles as mothers in eternity. With that end in mind, I determined to go on happily, to become 'anxiously engaged in a good cause' (D&C 58:27), and to believe that the rest would take care of itself.
Kristen McMain Oaks (A Single Voice)
On the first day of November last year, sacred to many religious calendars but especially the Celtic, I went for a walk among bare oaks and birch. Nothing much was going on. Scarlet sumac had passed and the bees were dead. The pond had slicked overnight into that shiny and deceptive glaze of delusion, first ice. It made me remember sakes and conjure a vision of myself skimming backward on one foot, the other extended; the arms become wings. Minnesota girls know that this is not a difficult maneuver if one's limber and practices even a little after school before the boys claim the rink for hockey. I think I can still do it - one thinks many foolish things when November's bright sun skips over the entrancing first freeze. A flock of sparrows reels through the air looking more like a flying net than seventy conscious birds, a black veil thrown on the wind. When one sparrow dodges, the whole net swerves, dips: one mind. Am I part of anything like that? Maybe not. The last few years of my life have been characterized by stripping away, one by one, loves and communities that sustain the soul. A young colleague, new to my English department, recently asked me who I hang around with at school. "Nobody," I had to say, feeling briefly ashamed. This solitude is one of the surprises of middle age, especially if one's youth has been rich in love and friendship and children. If you do your job right, children leave home; few communities can stand an individual's most pitiful, amateur truth telling. So the soul must stand in her own meager feathers and learn to fly - or simply take hopeful jumps into the wind. In the Christian calendar, November 1 is the Feast of All Saints, a day honoring not only those who are known and recognized as enlightened souls, but more especially the unknowns, saints who walk beside us unrecognized down the millennia. In Buddhism, we honor the bodhisattvas - saints - who refuse enlightenment and return willingly to the wheel of karma to help other beings. Similarly, in Judaism, anonymous holy men pray the world from its well-merited destruction. We never know who is walking beside us, who is our spiritual teacher. That one - who annoys you so - pretends for a day that he's the one, your personal Obi Wan Kenobi. The first of November is a splendid, subversive holiday. Imagine a hectic procession of revelers - the half-mad bag lady; a mumbling, scarred janitor whose ravaged face made the children turn away; the austere, unsmiling mother superior who seemed with great focus and clarity to do harm; a haunted music teacher, survivor of Auschwitz. I bring them before my mind's eye, these old firends of my soul, awakening to dance their day. Crazy saints; but who knows what was home in the heart? This is the feast of those who tried to take the path, so clumsily that no one knew or notice, the feast, indeed, of most of us. It's an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: "nothing special," as Buddhists say, meaning "everything." Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral. All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.
Mary Rose O'Reilley (The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd)
If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea; If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb; And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
Joseph Smith Jr. (The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: Containing the Revelations Given to Joseph Smith ... With Some ... Successors in the Presidency of the Church)
Good is to be found neither in the sermons of religious teachers and prophets, nor in the teachings of sociologists and popular leaders, nor in the ethical systems of philosophers... And yet ordinary people bear love in their hearts, are naturally full of love and pity for any living thing. At the end of the day's work they prefer the warmth of the hearth to a bonfire in the public square. Yes, as well as this terrible Good with a capital 'G', there is everyday human kindness. The kindness of an old woman carrying a piece of bread to a prisoner, the kindness of a soldier allowing a wounded enemy to drink from his water-flask, the kindness of youth towards age, the kindness of a peasant hiding an old Jew in his loft. The kindness of a prison guard who risks his own liberty to pass on letters written by a prisoner not to his ideological comrades, but to his wife and mother. The private kindness of one individual towards another; a petty, thoughtless kindness; an unwitnessed kindness. Something we could call senseless kindness. A kindness outside any system of social or religious good. But if we think about it, we realize that this private, senseless, incidental kindness is in fact eternal. It is extended to everything living, even to a mouse, even to a bent branch that a man straightens as he walks by. Even at the most terrible times, through all the mad acts carried out in the name of Universal Good and the glory of States, times when people were tossed about like branches in the wind, filling ditches and gullies like stones in an avalanche – even then this senseless, pathetic kindness remained scattered throughout life like atoms of radium.
Vasily Grossman (Life and Fate)
I knew a young fellow once, who was studying to play the bagpipes, and you would be surprised at the amount of opposition he had to contend with. Why, not even from the members of his own family did he receive what you could call active encouragement. His father was dead against the business from the beginning, and spoke quite unfeelingly on the subject. My friend used to get up early in the morning to practise, but he had to give that plan up, because of his sister. She was somewhat religiously inclined, and she said it seemed such an awful thing to begin the day like that. So he sat up at night instead, and played after the family had gone to bed, but that did not do, as it got the house such a bad name. People, going home late, would stop outside to listen, and then put it about all over the town, the next morning, that a fearful murder had been committed at Mr. Jefferson's the night before; and would describe how they had heard the victim's shrieks and the brutal oaths and curses of the murderer, followed by the prayer for mercy, and the last dying gurgle of the corpse. So they let him practise in the day-time, in the back-kitchen with all the doors shut; but his more successful passages could generally be heard in the sitting-room, in spite of these precautions, and would affect his mother almost to tears. She said it put her in mind of her poor father (he had been swallowed by a shark, poor man, while bathing off the coast of New Guinea - where the connection came in, she could not explain). Then they knocked up a little place for him at the bottom of the garden, about quarter of a mile from the house, and made him take the machine down there when he wanted to work it; and sometimes a visitor would come to the house who knew nothing of the matter, and they would forget to tell him all about it, and caution him, and he would go out for a stroll round the garden and suddenly get within earshot of those bagpipes, without being prepared for it, or knowing what it was. If he were a man of strong mind, it only gave him fits; but a person of mere average intellect it usually sent mad.
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat (Three Men, #1))
There is a bench in the back of my garden shaded by Virginia creeper, climbing roses, and a white pine where I sit early in the morning and watch the action. Light blue bells of a dwarf campanula drift over the rock garden just before my eyes. Behind it, a three-foot stand of aconite is flowering now, each dark blue cowl-like corolla bowed for worship or intrigue: thus its common name, monkshood. Next to the aconite, black madonna lilies with their seductive Easter scent are just coming into bloom. At the back of the garden, a hollow log, used in its glory days for a base to split kindling, now spills white cascade petunias and lobelia. I can't get enough of watching the bees and trying to imagine how they experience the abundance of, say, a blue campanula blosssom, the dizzy light pulsing, every fiber of being immersed in the flower. ... Last night, after a day in the garden, I asked Robin to explain (again) photosynthesis to me. I can't take in this business of _eating light_ and turning it into stem and thorn and flower... I would not call this meditation, sitting in the back garden. Maybe I would call it eating light. Mystical traditions recognize two kinds of practice: _apophatic mysticism_, which is the dark surrender of Zen, the Via Negativa of John of the Cross, and _kataphatic mysticism_, less well defined: an openhearted surrender to the beauty of creation. Maybe Francis of Assissi was, on the whole, a kataphatic mystic, as was Thérèse of Lisieux in her exuberant momemnts: but the fact is, kataphatic mysticism has low status in religious circles. Francis and Thérèse were made, really made, any mother superior will let you know, in the dark nights of their lives: no more of this throwing off your clothes and singing songs and babbling about the shelter of God's arms. When I was twelve and had my first menstrual period, my grandmother took me aside and said, 'Now your childhood is over. You will never really be happy again.' That is pretty much how some spiritual directors treat the transition from kataphatic to apophatic mysticism. But, I'm sorry, I'm going to sit here every day the sun shines and eat this light. Hung in the bell of desire.
Mary Rose O'Reilley (The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd)
Now if I'd seen him, really there, really alive, it'd be in me like a fever. If I thought there was some god who really did care two hoots about people, who watched 'em like a father and cared for 'em like a mother . . . well, you wouldn't catch me saying things like 'there are two sides to every question' and 'we must respect other people's beliefs.' You wouldn't find me being gen'rally nice in the hope that it'd all turn out right in the end, not if that flame was burning in me like an unforgivin' sword. And I did say burnin', Mister Oats, 'cos that's what it'd be. You say that you people don't burn folk and sacrifice people anymore, but that's what true faith would mean, y'see. Sacrificin' your own life, one day at a time, to the flame, declarin' the truth of it, workin' for it, breathin' the soul of it . . . That's religion. Anything else is . . . is just bein' nice. And just a way of keepin' in touch with the neighbors. "Anyway, that's what I'd be, if I really believed. And I don't think that's fashionable right now, 'cos it seems that if you sees evil you have to wring you rhands and say 'oh deary me, we must debate this.' That my two penn'orth, Mister Oats.
Terry Pratchett (Carpe Jugulum (Discworld, #23; Witches, #6))
My parents constantly drummed into me the importance of judging people as individuals. There was no more grievous sin at our household than a racial slur or other evidence of religious or racial intolerance. A lot of it, I think, was because my dad had learned what discrimination was like firsthand. He’d grown up in an era when some stores still had signs at their door saying, NO DOGS OR IRISHMEN ALLOWED. When my brother and I were growing up, there were still ugly tumors of racial bigotry in much of America, including the corner of Illinois where we lived. At our one local movie theater, blacks and whites had to sit apart—the blacks in the balcony. My mother and father urged my brother and me to bring home our black playmates, to consider them equals, and to respect the religious views of our friends, whatever they were. My brother’s best friend was black, and when they went to the movies, Neil sat with him in the balcony. My mother always taught us: “Treat thy neighbor as you would want your neighbor to treat you,” and “Judge everyone by how they act, not what they are.” Once my father checked into a hotel during a shoe-selling trip and a clerk told him: “You’ll like it here, Mr. Reagan, we don’t permit a Jew in the place.” My father, who told us the story later, said he looked at the clerk angrily and picked up his suitcase and left. “I’m a Catholic,” he said. “If it’s come to the point where you won’t take Jews, then some day you won’t take me either.” Because it was the only hotel in town, he spent the night in his car during a winter blizzard and I think it may have led to his first heart attack.
Ronald Reagan (An American Life: The Autobiography)
Oh, they never look at anything that folks like we can understand," the carter continued, by way of passing the time. "On'y foreign tongues used in the days of the Tower of Babel, when no two families spoke alike. They read that sort of thing as fast as a night-hawk will whir. 'Tis all learning there—nothing but learning, except religion. And that's learning too, for I never could understand it. Yes, 'tis a serious-minded place. Not but there's wenches in the streets o' nights… You know, I suppose, that they raise pa'sons there like radishes in a bed? And though it do take—how many years, Bob?—five years to turn a lirruping hobble-de-hoy chap into a solemn preaching man with no corrupt passions, they'll do it, if it can be done, and polish un off like the workmen they be, and turn un out wi' a long face, and a long black coat and waistcoat, and a religious collar and hat, same as they used to wear in the Scriptures, so that his own mother wouldn't know un sometimes. … There, 'tis their business, like anybody else's.
Thomas Hardy (Jude the Obscure)
A BRAVE AND STARTLING TRUTH We, this people, on a small and lonely planet Traveling through casual space Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns To a destination where all signs tell us It is possible and imperative that we learn A brave and startling truth And when we come to it To the day of peacemaking When we release our fingers From fists of hostility And allow the pure air to cool our palms When we come to it When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean When battlefields and coliseum No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters Up with the bruised and bloody grass To lie in identical plots in foreign soil When the rapacious storming of the churches The screaming racket in the temples have ceased When the pennants are waving gaily When the banners of the world tremble Stoutly in the good, clean breeze When we come to it When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders And children dress their dolls in flags of truce When land mines of death have been removed And the aged can walk into evenings of peace When religious ritual is not perfumed By the incense of burning flesh And childhood dreams are not kicked awake By nightmares of abuse When we come to it Then we will confess that not the Pyramids With their stones set in mysterious perfection Nor the Gardens of Babylon Hanging as eternal beauty In our collective memory Not the Grand Canyon Kindled into delicious color By Western sunsets Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji Stretching to the Rising Sun Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor, Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores These are not the only wonders of the world When we come to it We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace We, this people on this mote of matter In whose mouths abide cankerous words Which challenge our very existence Yet out of those same mouths Come songs of such exquisite sweetness That the heart falters in its labor And the body is quieted into awe We, this people, on this small and drifting planet Whose hands can strike with such abandon That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness That the haughty neck is happy to bow And the proud back is glad to bend Out of such chaos, of such contradiction We learn that we are neither devils nor divines When we come to it We, this people, on this wayward, floating body Created on this earth, of this earth Have the power to fashion for this earth A climate where every man and every woman Can live freely without sanctimonious piety Without crippling fear When we come to it We must confess that we are the possible We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world That is when, and only when We come to it.
Maya Angelou (A Brave and Startling Truth)
My mother is very religious. She's one of those old ladies that spends her life in the church. She just prays and prays, day and night. We have a very different idea of what religion is. She doesn't understand what my work is about, why I want to make changes in the way we live. She thinks we should be thankful for the little we have and leave well enough alone. I suppose she thinks that if she prays enough, God will come down from the sky with a plate of beans for her to eat. But I don't think that God say, 'Go to church and pray all day and everything will be fine.' No. For me God says, 'Go out and make the changes that need to be made, and I'll be there to help you.' [p. 30]
Elvia Alvarado (Don't Be Afraid, Gringo)
turning Joseph’s religious curses into ridicule, baiting me, and doing just what her father hated most—showing how her pretended insolence, which he thought real, had more power over Heathcliff than his kindness: how the boy would do her bidding in anything, and his only when it suited his own inclination.  After behaving as badly as possible all day, she sometimes came fondling to make it up at night.  ‘Nay, Cathy,’ the old man would say, ‘I cannot love thee, thou’rt worse than thy brother.  Go, say thy prayers, child, and ask God’s pardon.  I doubt thy mother and I must rue that we ever reared thee!’  That made her cry, at first; and then being repulsed continually hardened her, and she laughed if I told her to say she was sorry for her faults, and beg to be forgiven.
Emily Brontë (Wuthering Heights)
Let me start with this: I am an apostate. I have lied. I have cheated. I have done things in my life that I am not proud of, including but not limited to: • falling in love with a married man nineteen years ago • being selfish and self-centered • fighting with virtually everyone I have ever known (via hateful emails, texts, and spoken words) • physically threatening people (from parking ticket meter maids to parents who hit their kids in public) • not showing up at funerals of people I loved (because I don’t deal well with death) • being, on occasion, a horrible daughter, mother, sister, aunt, stepmother, wife (this list goes on and on). The same goes for every single person in my family: • My husband, also a serial cheater, sold drugs when he was young. • My mother was a self-admitted slut in her younger days (we’re talking the 1960s, before she got married). • My dad sold cocaine (and committed various other crimes), and then served time at Rikers Island. Why am I revealing all this? Because after the Church of Scientology gets hold of this book, it may well spend an obscene amount of money running ads, creating websites, and trotting out celebrities to make public statements that their religious beliefs are being attacked—all in an attempt to discredit me by disparaging my reputation and that of anyone close to me. So let me save them some money. There is no shortage of people who would be willing to say “Leah can be an asshole”—my own mother can attest to that. And if I am all these things the church may claim, then isn’t it also accurate to say that in the end, thirty-plus years of dedication, millions of dollars spent, and countless hours of study and
Leah Remini (Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology)
At the heart of the Seven Principles approach is the simple truth that happy marriages are based on a deep friendship. By this I mean a mutual respect for and enjoyment of each other’s company. These couples tend to know each other intimately—they are well versed in each other’s likes, dislikes, personality quirks, hopes, and dreams. They have an abiding regard for each other and express this fondness not just in the big ways but through small gestures day in and day out. Take the case of hardworking Nathaniel, who is employed by an import business and works very long hours. In another marriage, his schedule might be a major liability. But he and his wife, Olivia, have found ways to stay connected. They talk or text frequently throughout the day. When she has a doctor’s appointment, he remembers to call to see how it went. When he has a meeting with an important client, she’ll check in to see how it fared. When they have chicken for dinner, she gives him drumsticks because she knows he likes them best. When he makes blueberry pancakes for the kids on Saturday morning, he’ll leave the blueberries out of hers because he knows she doesn’t like them. Although he’s not religious, he accompanies her to church each Sunday because it’s important to her. And although she’s not crazy about spending a lot of time with their relatives, she has pursued a friendship with Nathaniel’s mother and sisters because family matters so much to him.
John M. Gottman (The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert)
Of all the stupid and destructive products of 1960s-style liberation politics, the effective abolition of marriage (and hence of family, properly understood) will, in the end, turn out to be the worst. And spare me your banal self-justifications: “I divorced my child’s mother, but I’m a good father!” “I was never married to my child’s father, but I’m a good mother.” I’m sure you think you are. You aren’t. Statistically speaking, your domestic situation is about as healthy for your children as would be your picking up a drug habit. (Yes, yes, I’m sure that you are the special-snowflake exception to the rule. One of these days, a three-legged horse might win the Kentucky Derby, too.) The numbers are the numbers. Strange thing: Wildly different philosophical and religious orientations all point to the same central fact of human life. In Genesis, it’s “male and female he created them.” In Plato, we spend our lives seeking the lost half of ourselves from which we were separated by the gods. In good ol’ Darwinian terms, the getting of healthy offspring is the very purpose of life itself. We parted ways with the chimps a few eons ago, and somewhere along the way we developed habits and institutions that helped us to connect our libidos with one of our most useful and uniquely human traits: the ability to engage in long-term planning, even beyond our own lives. And then, around 1964, we said: “To Hell with it, let’s just be chimps.” And here we are.
Kevin D. Williamson
It must be disheartening work learning a musical instrument. You would think that Society, for its own sake, would do all it could to assist a man to acquire the art of playing a musical instrument. But it doesn’t! I knew a young fellow once, who was studying to play the bagpipes, and you would be surprised at the amount of opposition he had to contend with. Why, not even from the members of his own family did he receive what you could call active encouragement. His father was dead against the business from the beginning, and spoke quite unfeelingly on the subject. My friend used to get up early in the morning to practise, but he had to give that plan up, because of his sister. She was somewhat religiously inclined, and she said it seemed such an awful thing to begin the day like that. So he sat up at night instead, and played after the family had gone to bed, but that did not do, as it got the house such a bad name. People, going home late, would stop outside to listen, and then put it about all over the town, the next morning, that a fearful murder had been committed at Mr. Jefferson’s the night before; and would describe how they had heard the victim’s shrieks and the brutal oaths and curses of the murderer, followed by the prayer for mercy, and the last dying gurgle of the corpse. So they let him practise in the day-time, in the back-kitchen with all the doors shut; but his more successful passages could generally be heard in the sitting-room, in spite of these precautions, and would affect his mother almost to tears. She said it put her in mind of her poor father (he had been swallowed by a shark, poor man, while bathing off the coast of New Guinea — where the connection came in, she could not explain). Then they knocked up a little place for him at the bottom of the garden, about quarter of a mile from the house, and made him take the machine down there when he wanted to work it; and sometimes a visitor would come to the house who knew nothing of the matter, and they would forget to tell him all about it, and caution him, and he would go out for a stroll round the garden and suddenly get within earshot of those bagpipes, without being prepared for it, or knowing what it was. If he were a man of strong mind, it only gave him fits; but a person of mere average intellect it usually sent mad. There is, it must be confessed, something very sad about the early efforts of an amateur in bagpipes.
Various (100 Eternal Masterpieces of Literature [volume 2])
Life within a Templar house was designed where possible to resemble that of a Cistercian monastery. Meals were communal and to be eaten in near silence, while a reading was given from the Bible. The rule accepted that the elaborate sign language monks used to ask for necessities while eating might not be known to Templar recruits, in which case "quietly and privately you should ask for what you need at table, with all humility and submission." Equal rations of food and wine were to be given to each brother and leftovers would be distributed to the poor. The numerous fast days of the Church calendar were to be observed, but allowances would be made for the needs of fighting men: meat was to be served three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Should the schedule of annual fast days interrupt this rhythm, rations would be increased to make up for lost sustenance as soon as the fasting period was over. It was recognized that the Templars were killers. "This armed company of knights may kill the enemies of the cross without stated the rule, neatly summing up the conclusion of centuries of experimental Christian philosophy, which had concluded that slaying humans who happened to be "unbelieving pagans" and "the enemies of the son of the Virgin Mary" was an act worthy of divine praise and not damnation. Otherwise, the Templars were expected to live in pious self-denial. Three horses were permitted to each knight, along with one squire whom "the brother shall not beat." Hunting with hawks—a favorite pastime of warriors throughout Christendom—was forbidden, as was hunting with dogs. only beasts Templars were permitted to kill were the mountain lions of the Holy Land. They were forbidden even to be in the company of hunting men, for the reason that "it is fitting for every religious man to go simply and humbly without laughing or talking too much." Banned, too, was the company of women, which the rule scorned as "a dangerous thing, for by it the old devil has led man from the straight path to paradise the flower of chastity is always [to be] maintained among you.... For this reason none Of you may presume to kiss a woman' be it widow, young girl, mother, sister, aunt or any other.... The Knighthood of Christ should avoid at all costs the embraces of women, by which men have perished many times." Although married men were permitted to join the order, they were not allowed to wear the white cloak and wives were not supposed to join their husbands in Templar houses.
Dan Jones (The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors)
The same lesson can be learned from one of the most widely read books in history: the Bible. What is the Bible “about”? Different people will of course answer that question differently. But we could all agree the Bible contains perhaps the most influential set of rules in human history: the Ten Commandments. They became the foundation of not only the Judeo-Christian tradition but of many societies at large. So surely most of us can recite the Ten Commandments front to back, back to front, and every way in between, right? All right then, go ahead and name the Ten Commandments. We’ll give you a minute to jog your memory . . . . . . . . . . . . Okay, here they are:        1. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage.        2. You shall have no other gods before Me.        3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.        4. Remember the Sabbath day, to make it holy.        5. Honor your father and your mother.        6. You shall not murder.        7. You shall not commit adultery.        8. You shall not steal.        9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.       10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, nor your neighbor’s wife . . . nor any thing that is your neighbor’s. How did you do? Probably not so well. But don’t worry—most people don’t. A recent survey found that only 14 percent of U.S. adults could recall all Ten Commandments; only 71 percent could name even one commandment. (The three best-remembered commandments were numbers 6, 8, and 10—murder, stealing, and coveting—while number 2, forbidding false gods, was in last place.) Maybe, you’re thinking, this says less about biblical rules than how bad our memories are. But consider this: in the same survey, 25 percent of the respondents could name the seven principal ingredients of a Big Mac, while 35 percent could name all six kids from The Brady Bunch. If we have such a hard time recalling the most famous set of rules from perhaps the most famous book in history, what do we remember from the Bible? The stories. We remember that Eve fed Adam a forbidden apple and that one of their sons, Cain, murdered the other, Abel. We remember that Moses parted the Red Sea in order to lead the Israelites out of slavery. We remember that Abraham was instructed to sacrifice his own son on a mountain—and we even remember that King Solomon settled a maternity dispute by threatening to slice a baby in half. These are the stories we tell again and again and again, even those of us who aren’t remotely “religious.” Why? Because they stick with us; they move us; they persuade us to consider the constancy and frailties of the human experience in a way that mere rules cannot.
Steven D. Levitt (Think Like a Freak)
During the conversation she [7th-GGM, Anna Maria Hoepflinger Floerl] also talked about the guidance with which God had provided her when they started to expel the Salzburgers. She was born in the state of Bavaria and brought up in ignorance by her seriously erring mother and some relatives. However, when God recognized that He could save her soul, He saw to it that among the twelve journeyman of a papal masterbuilder from Salzburg who worked on a church in Bavaria, there was a Lutheran journeyman, called “the Lutheran,” about whose religion strange things were said. Because he got room and board at the house of her cousin, for whom she worked, she was very much aware of his Christian behavior. And, since she noticed great peace, nonconformance to the world, and diligent prayer and intercession as well as sympathy and tears when he saw the bound Evangelical Salzburgers being led past him, she had the deep desire to talk to this man secretly about his and her religious faith. One evening God arranged for her cousin to be busy with the soldiers who were accompanying the Salzburgers on their way across Bavaria, while the servants were in the tavern. She grasped this opportunity to make this knowledgeable man, who was experienced in Christianity, teach her the Evangelical truth for three hours; upon her request, he also sent her a good book, namely the Schaitberger, in a small well-secured barrel. In it, they eagerly read for three consecutive weeks at night about the Evangelical truth and her previous misunderstandings. Because the people concluded from her overall behavior, especially her absence from monthly confession, observance of brotherhood meetings, participation in pilgrimages, and telling a rosary, that she might have suspicious books, they waylaid her, took the book away from her, and threatened her with jail and death unless she stayed away from this heresy. At the priest’s instigation, her mother, in particular, behaved very badly. Finally God gave her the courage to leave, although she knew neither the way nor the area. A woman potter, also a secret Lutheran, referred her to her very close kinswoman in Austria; but there she was advised in confidence that she was to go to Salzburg rather than to pretend, in violation of her conscience, because here they searched very much after Evangelical people and books. Since the journeyman bricklayer had given her instructions on how to get to the Goldeck jurisdiction and, there, to a Lutheran family, she traveled there without a passport, like a poor abandoned sheep, in the name of God, who was her leader and guide, and she was well received. However, because the Evangelical people were being expelled at that time, she was summoned to appear before the authorities and was threatened that, if she stayed with these Evangelical people, she would enjoy neither God’s care nor any favor from the people in the Empire, but would die a horrible death. Nevertheless, she said that she would go with them regardless of what might happen to her. She preferred all misery and even death itself to renouncing God, her Savior, and the Evangelical truth. She did not start with good days, but with misery and death, as the bricklayer had told her earlier while assuring her of God’s help.
Johann Martin Boltzius
Robert Askins Brings ‘Hand to God’ to Broadway Chad Batka for The New York Times Robert Askins at the Booth Theater, where his play “Hand to God” opens on Tuesday. By MICHAEL PAULSON The conceit is zany: In a church basement, a group of adolescents gathers (mostly at the insistence of their parents) to make puppets that will spread the Christian message, but one of the puppets turns out to be more demonic than divine. The result — a dark comedy with the can-puppets-really-do-that raunchiness of “Avenue Q” and can-people-really-say-that outrageousness of “The Book of Mormon” — is “Hand to God,” a new play that is among the more improbable entrants in the packed competition for Broadway audiences over the next few weeks. Given the irreverence of some of the material — at one point stuffed animals are mutilated in ways that replicate the torments of Catholic martyrs — it is perhaps not a surprise to discover that the play’s author, Robert Askins, was nicknamed “Dirty Rob” as an undergraduate at Baylor, a Baptist-affiliated university where the sexual explicitness and violence of his early scripts raised eyebrows. But Mr. Askins had also been a lone male soloist in the children’s choir at St. John Lutheran of Cypress, Tex. — a child who discovered early that singing was a way to make the stern church ladies smile. His earliest performances were in a deeply religious world, and his writings since then have been a complex reaction to that upbringing. “It’s kind of frustrating in life to be like, ‘I’m a playwright,’ and watch people’s face fall, because they associate plays with phenomenally dull, didactic, poetic grad-schoolery, where everything takes too long and tediously explores the beauty in ourselves,” he said in a recent interview. “It’s not church, even though it feels like church a lot when we go these days.” The journey to Broadway, where “Hand to God” opens on Tuesday at the Booth Theater, still seems unlikely to Mr. Askins, 34, who works as a bartender in Brooklyn and says he can’t afford to see Broadway shows, despite his newfound prominence. He seems simultaneously enthralled by and contemptuous of contemporary theater, the world in which he has chosen to make his life; during a walk from the Cobble Hill coffee shop where he sometimes writes to the Park Slope restaurant where he tends bar, he quoted Nietzsche and Derrida, described himself as “deeply weird,” and swore like, well, a satanic sock-puppet. “If there were no laughs in the show, I’d think there was something wrong with him,” said the actor Steven Boyer, who won raves in earlier “Hand to God” productions as Jason, a grief-stricken adolescent with a meek demeanor and an angry-puppet pal. “But anybody who is able to write about such serious stuff and be as hilarious as it is, I’m not worried about their mental health.” Mr. Askins’s interest in the performing arts began when he was a boy attending rural Texas churches affiliated with the conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod denomination; he recalls the worshipers as “deeply conservative, old farm folks, stone-faced, pride and suffering, and the only time anybody ever really livened up was when the children’s choir would perform.” “My grandmother had a cross-stitch that said, ‘God respects me when I work, but he loves me when I sing,’ and so I got into that,” he said. “For somebody who enjoys performance, that was the way in.” The church also had a puppet ministry — an effort to teach children about the Bible by use of puppets — and when Mr. Askins’s mother, a nurse, began running the program, he enlisted to help. He would perform shows for other children at preschools and vacation Bible camps. “The shows are wacky, but it was fun,” he said. “They’re badly written attempts to bring children to Jesus.” Not all of his formative encounters with puppets were positive. Particularly scarring: D
Why are They Converting to Islam? - Op-Eds - Arutz Sheva One of the things that worries the West is the fact that hundreds and maybe even thousands of young Europeans are converting to Islam, and some of them are joining terror groups and ISIS and returning to promote Jihad against the society in which they were born, raised and educated. The security problem posed by these young people is a serious one, because if they hide their cultural identity, it is extremely difficult for Western security forces to identify them and their evil intentions. This article will attempt to clarify the reasons that impel these young people to convert to Islam and join terrorist organizations. The sources for this article are recordings made by the converts themselves, and the words they used, written here, are for the most part unedited direct quotations. Muslim migration to Europe, America and Australia gain added significance in that young people born in these countries are exposed to Islam as an alternative to the culture in which they were raised. Many of the converts are convinced that Islam is a religion of peace, love, affection and friendship, based on the generous hospitality and warm welcome they receive from the Moslem friends in their new social milieu. In many instances, a young person born into an individualistic, cold and alienating society finds that Muslim society provides  – at college, university or  community center – a warm embrace, a good word, encouragement and help, things that are lacking in the society from which he stems. The phenomenon is most striking in the case of those who grew up in dysfunctional families or divorced homes, whose parents are alcoholics, drug addicts, violent and abusive, or parents who take advantage of their offspring and did not give their children a suitable emotional framework and model for building a normative, productive life. The convert sees his step as a mature one based on the right of an individual to determine his own religious and cultural identity, even if the family and society he is abandoning disagree. Sometimes converting to Islam is a form of parental rebellion. Often, the convert is spurned by his family and surrounding society for his decision, but the hostility felt towards Islam by his former environment actually results in his having more confidence in the need for his conversion. Anything said against conversion to Islam is interpreted as unjustified racism and baseless Islamophobia. The Islamic convert is told by Muslims that Islam respects the prophets of its mother religions, Judaism and Christianity, is in favor of faith in He Who dwells on High, believes in the Day of Judgment, in reward and punishment, good deeds and avoiding evil. He is convinced that Islam is a legitimate religion as valid as Judaism and Christianity, so if his parents are Jewish or Christian, why can't he become Muslim? He sees a good many positive and productive Muslims who benefit their society and its economy, who have integrated into the environment in which he was raised, so why not emulate them? Most Muslims are not terrorists, so neither he nor anyone should find his joining them in the least problematic. Converts to Islam report that reading the Koran and uttering the prayers add a spiritual meaning to their lives after years of intellectual stagnation, spiritual vacuum and sinking into a materialistic and hedonistic lifestyle. They describe the switch to Islam in terms of waking up from a bad dream, as if it is a rite of passage from their inane teenage years. Their feeling is that the Islamic religion has put order into their lives, granted them a measuring stick to assess themselves and their behavior, and defined which actions are allowed and which are forbidden, as opposed to their "former" society, which couldn't or wouldn't lay down rules. They are willing to accept the limitations Islamic law places on Muslims, thereby "putting order into their lives" after "a life of in
Hope is the assurance of positive expectations.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Think Great: Be Great! (Beautiful Quotes, #1))
He stood tall, so sure, and so successful. He stood tall, able to inspire, and so resourceful.
Eddie Johnson (Reaching For Celestial Heights: Black / African American Poet - Includes poems for Mother’s & Father’s Day, also religious & love poetry)
Over the past five years, I’ve said my best prayers every night, haven’t missed a night, though I gotta admit, if it wouldn’t break my mother’s heart, I’d probably have stopped a year ago. I mean, praying to be free of Hiskott only makes me expect to be free soon, and then when the prayer’s never answered, you feel even worse, and you wonder what’s the point. I’m not criticizing God, if that’s what you think, because nobody knows why God does things or how He thinks, and He’s humongously smarter than any of us, even smarter than Ed. They say He works in mysterious ways, which is for sure true. What I’m saying is, maybe the whole praying business is a human idea, maybe God never asked us to do it. Yeah, all right, He wants us to like Him, and He wants us to respect Him, so we’ll live right and do good. But God is good—right?—and to be really good you’ve got to have humility, we all know that, so then if God is the best of the best, then He’s also the humblest of the humble. Right? So maybe it embarrasses Him to be praised like around the clock, to be called great and mighty all the time. And maybe it makes Him a little bit nuts the way we’re always asking Him to solve our problems instead of even trying to solve them ourselves, which He made us so we could do. Anyway, so after almost giving up on prayer, and being pretty darned sure that God is too humble to sit around all day listening to us praise Him and beg Him, the funny thing is, I’m praying like crazy for Oddie. I guess I’m hopeless.
Dean Koontz (Dean Koontz 3 Books Collection Set)
She had done it. A photo, one simple photo, had brought her back through time and closer to her goal. She thought of Alice, that once nameless girl who now had a name. The little orphan with no father or mother, tossed about from hospital to convent, without bonds, points of reference, anything. Raised in the coldness of a religious institution: prayer at mealtimes, household chores, nights in the dormitory, an austere existence geared toward order and obedience to God. What future could she have had after such disastrous beginnings? How had she grown up? What had happened in that room with the rabbits? From the bottom of her heart, Lucie hoped she would soon have the answers to these questions. All those thoughts, all those faces that tormented her day and night, had to stop. Alice had to reveal her secrets.
Franck Thilliez (Syndrome E)
Buchanan tried to whip the devil out of me. “Find your tongue, lad!” Forgive this regression, but the man hated English. He may have hated everything by then, including me, but he was uncommon prickly when it came to English. You could tell by the way he bullied it. “The bastarde English,” the old man roared. “The verie whoore of a tongue.” We did our best to mimic him note for note, gesture for gesture. He hated that, too. The verie whoore. Old Greek before Breakfast Latin by Noon himself. The point is, what English I had was beaten or twisted into me. We were orphaned and crowned before we could speak or take our first step. No father. No mother. Too many uncles. Hounds for baying. Buchanan was the most religious of my keepers, and the unkindest of spirits among them. We have been told the young queen of Scots was once his student, and that he loved her. Just before giving her over to wreckage, methinks. Pious frauds. Their wicked Jesus. Then occasion smil’d. We were thirteen. The affection of Esme Stuart was one thing, lavished, as it was, so liberally upon us, but the music of his voice was another. We empowered our cousin, gave him name, station, a new sense of gravity, height, and reach, all the toys of privilege. We were told he spoke our mother’s French, the way it flutters about your neck like a small bird. But it was his English that moved us. For the first time, there was kindness in it, charity, heat and light. We didn’t know language could do such things, that could charm with such violence, make such a disturbance in us. Our cousin was our excess, our vice, our great transgression according to some, treason according to others. They came one night and stole him from us, that is, from me. They tore me out of his arms, called me wanton. Better that bairns should weepe, they said. Barking curs. We never saw our cousin again and were never the same after. But the charm was wound up. If we say we can taste words, we are not trying to be clever. And we are an insatiable king. Try now, if you can, to understand the nature of our thoughts touching the translation, its want of a poet. We will consult with Sir Francis. He is closer to the man, some say, than a brother. English is mistress between them. There, Bacon says, is empire. There, a great Britain. Where it is dull, where the glow . . . gleam . . . where the gleam of Majestie is absent or mute . . . When occasion smiles again, we will send for the man, Shakespere. Majestie has left its print on his art. After that hideous Scottish play, his best, darkest, and most complicated characters are . . . us. Lear. Antony. Othello. Fools all. All. The English language must be the best that is in us . . . We are but names, titles, antiquities, forgotten speeches, an accident of blood and historical memory. Aye . . . but this marvelously unexceptional little man. No more of this. By the unfortunate title of this history we must, it seems, prepare ourselves for a tragedy. Some will escape. Some will not. For bully Ben can never suffer a true rival. He killed an actor once for botching his lines. Actors. Southampton waits in our chambers. We will let him. First, to our thoughts. Only then to our Lord of Southampton.
David Teems (I RIDDE MY SOULE OF THEE AT LASTE: The Final Days of William Shakespere Including the Accounte of His Cruelle and Pitielesse Murder by Friend Fellow Poet ... Ben Jonson. (ASK FOR ME TOMORROW Book 1))
What did our Blessed Mother think as she heard Pilate pronounce the sentence of death upon her Son?  What did she think when the religious leaders and agitators within the crowds gave their strong vocal consent?  Perhaps, as she continued to ponder these words, “His blood be upon us and upon our children,” she would have transformed that statement into her deepest prayer.
John Paul Thomas (40 Days at the Foot of the Cross: A Gaze of Love from the Heart of Our Blessed Mother)
The most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history is the transportation of ten million human beings out of the dark beauty of their mother continent into the new-found Eldorado of the West. They descended into Hell; and in the third century they arose from the dead, in the finest effort to achieve democracy for the working millions which this world had ever seen. It was a tragedy that beggared the Greek; it was an upheaval of humanity like the Reformation and the French Revolution. Yet we are blind and led by the blind. We discern in it no part of our labor movement; no part of our industrial triumph; no part of our religious experience. Before the dumb eyes of ten generations of ten million children, it is made mockery of and spit upon; a degradation of the eternal mother; a sneer at human effort; with aspiration and art deliberately and elaborately distorted. And why? Because in a day when the human mind aspired to a science of human action, a history and psychology of the mighty effort of the mightiest century, we fell under the leadership of those who would compromise with truth in the past in order to make peace in the present and guide policy in the future. —W. E. B. DU BOIS, Black Reconstruction in America, 1935
Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow)
to remember this in a country that has long been mesmerized by the romantic figure of ‘the renouncer’, even before the Buddha came along.6 My mother, however, was spot on in recognizing ‘my third stage melancholy’. During my second stage, I had felt as though I was waking up each morning, going to work, and feeding my family—only to repeat it the following day, as my children would after me and their children after them. What was the point of it all? Now in my third stage, I wanted to find a better way to live. Meanwhile, my friends and acquaintances were incredulous. ‘So, what is this I hear about wanting to go away to read old books?’ one asked me at a dinner party. ‘Don’t tell me you are going to turn religious on us!’ exclaimed another. My wife began to explain my idea of an ‘academic holiday’ to some of the guests, who reciprocated with suitable looks of sympathy. ‘Tell us, what books are you planning to read?’ asked a retired civil servant. A self-proclaimed ‘leftist and secularist’, who had once been a favourite of former prime minister Indira Gandhi, he had the gruff, domineering accent of an English aristocrat, not surprising in a former civil servant of the old school. I admitted reluctantly that I had been thinking of reading the Mahabharata, the Manusmriti, the Kathopanishad perhaps, and ... ‘Good Lord, man!’ he exclaimed. ‘You haven’t turned saffron, have you?’ The remark upset me. Saffron is, of course, the colour of Hindu right-wing nationalism, and I wondered what sort of secularism is it that regards the reading of Sanskrit texts as a political act. I was disturbed that I had to fear the intolerance of my ‘secular’ friends as much as the bigotry of the Hindu Right, which had become a force in Indian politics over the past two decades with the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Gurcharan Das (The Difficulty of Being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma)
Fortune, we are told, is a blind and fickle foster-mother, who showers her gifts at random upon her nurslings. But we do her a grave injustice if we believe such an accusation. Trace a man's career from his cradle to his grave and mark how Fortune has treated him. You will find that when he is once dead she can for the most part be vindicated from the charge of any but very superficial fickleness. Her blindness is the merest fable; she can espy her favourites long before they are born. We are as days and have had our parents for our yesterdays, but through all the fair weather of a clear parental sky the eye of Fortune can discern the coming storm, and she laughs as she places her favourites it may be in a London alley or those whom she is resolved to ruin in kings' palaces. Seldom does she relent towards those whom she has suckled unkindly and seldom does she completely fail a favoured nursling. Was George Pontifex one of Fortune's favoured nurslings or not? On the whole I should say that he was not, for he did not consider himself so; he was too religious to consider Fortune a deity at all; he took whatever she gave and never thanked her, being firmly convinced that whatever he got to his own advantage was of his own getting. And so it was, after Fortune had made him able to get it. "Nos te, nos facimus, Fortuna, deam," exclaimed the poet. "It is we who make thee, Fortune, a goddess"; and so it is, after Fortune has made us able to make her. The poet says nothing as to the making of the "nos." Perhaps some men are independent of antecedents and surroundings and have an initial force within themselves which is in no way due to causation; but this is supposed to be a difficult question and it may be as well to avoid it. Let it suffice that George Pontifex did not consider himself fortunate, and he who does not consider himself fortunate is unfortunate.
Samuel Butler (The Way of All Flesh)
Without taking use of ox or man, Or of creature as Mary desired, Without spinning thread of silk or of satin, Without sowing, without harrowing, without reaping, Without rowing, without games, without fishing, Without going to the hunting hill, Without trimming arrows on the Lord's Day, Without cleaning byre, without threshing corn, Without kiln, without mill on the Lord's Day. Whosoever would keep the Lord's Day, Even would it be to him and lasting, From setting of sun on Saturday Till rising of sun on Monday.17 Beltaine remained the central festival in the cycle of the agricultural pastoral year, the season of light, the time of growth. It was then that the sheep and cattle would be driven up to the summer pastures, the “shielings” in Scotland, the “hafods” in Wales. This was a virtual migration since these might be six or eight or even twelve or fourteen miles away, and it often meant crossing land that was rough and rugged or full of swamps, even sometimes having to swim across channels or rivers. The procession included the men carrying spades, ropes, and other things that might be needed to repair their summer huts, while the women carried the bedding, meal, and dairy utensils. As they went, there were songs to be sung on the journey, a dedicatory hymn to the Trinity and to the most familiar of the saints, Michael, Bride, and Columba, respectively the protector, the woman who knew about dairies, the guardian of their cattle—and, of course, to Mary herself, who on this occasion they address as mother of the White Lamb: Valiant Michael of the white steeds, Who subdued the Dragon of blood, For love of God, for pains of Mary's Son, Spread
Esther de Waal (The Celtic Way of Prayer: The Recovery of the Religious Imagination)
After Giles Palot was burned to death, Sylvie’s mother went into a depression. For Sylvie this was the most shocking of the traumas she suffered, more seismic than Pierre’s betrayal, even sadder than her father’s execution. In Sylvie’s mind, her mother was a rock that could never crumble, the foundation of her life. Isabelle had put salve on her childish injuries, fed her when she was hungry, and calmed her father’s volcanic temper. But now Isabelle was helpless. She sat in a chair all day. If Sylvie lit a fire, Isabelle would look at it; if Sylvie prepared food, Isabelle would eat it mechanically; if Sylvie did not help her get dressed, Isabelle would spend all day in her underclothes. Giles’s fate had been sealed when a stack of newly printed sheets for Bibles in French had been found in the shop. The sheets were ready to be cut into pages and bound into volumes, after which they would have been taken to the secret warehouse in the rue du Mur. But there had not been time to finish them. So Giles was guilty, not just of heresy but of promoting heresy. There had been no mercy for him. In the eyes of the church, the Bible was the most dangerous of all banned books—especially translated into French or English, with marginal notes explaining how certain passages proved the correctness of Protestant teaching. Priests said that ordinary people were unable to rightly interpret God’s word, and needed guidance. Protestants said the Bible opened men’s eyes to the errors of the priesthood. Both sides saw reading the Bible as the central issue of the religious conflict that had swept Europe.
Ken Follett (A Column of Fire)
Pat sat on the garden bench until dawn came over the Hill of the Mist. The day had begun in a pale windless morning . . . the day on which mother was to go. Would she ever return? That old hymn she had hated . . . "change and decay in all around I see." Change was what she had always dreaded. "Oh, Thou who changest not abide with me." It was not a hateful hymn after all . . . it was a hymn to be loved. How wonderful to feel that there was something that never changed . . . a Power under and above and around on which you could depend. Peace seemed to flow into her.
L.M. Montgomery (Pat of Silver Bush)
A memoir in which the author shares his impressive journey of emigrating to the United States to escape a difficult life in an impoverished Nigerian village. Born into an extremely poor family in Nigeria, ‘Deji Ayoade had early memories of wanting to come to America to do better for himself. For years, he dreamed about having a bright future in the United States. At seven, he promised his mother that one day he would be a doctor in America and take her and his siblings away from their dangerous and impoverished existence. By the age of thirty-three, ‘Deji had been in the United States for five years and was living his dream. He had earned a master’s degree, married and had a child, been recruited into the Navy, and become a US citizen. He makes good on the promise to his mother and brings her, his sister, and his sister’s baby to the United States. UNDERGROUND: A Memoir of Hope, Faith, and the American Dream is a well-structured, compelling memoir written by a determined man with big dreams, ambitious goals, and the strength to never lose sight of where he is headed. Commitment, intelligence, and drive contribute to his fulfilling what he deems to be his purpose in life. His accomplishments in the armed services are nothing short of admirable. Ayoade draws readers into the 1980s culture of the poorer regions of Nigeria with vivid descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells of areas in which they lived. His credible recreation of scenes reveals insight into the civilization that had considerable influence on him. Family dynamics also play a significant role in Ayoade’s life. His recollection of his father’s contradictory behaviors both confuse and enlighten him. His fond memories of his grandmother—the family member he trusted the most—are heartfelt and touching. While coming to the United States offers many positive experiences for Ayoade, it doesn’t come without problems, and one that the author talks about with deep emotion and candidness is racism. Thoughtful in the way he acknowledges possible differences of perspectives, he describes how it feels to be looked at differently. One scene in particular demonstrates just how prejudiced and insensitive people can be when it comes to racial biases. Ayoade writes from the heart with emotion and honesty that demonstrate his passion for what he does in life. His ability to weave together a cohesive story from so many disparate fragments is remarkable. His religious faith and commitment to never-ending improvement for himself are inspiring and a basis for being a role model for others. UNDERGROUND: A Memoir of Hope, Faith, and the American Dream–author ‘Deji Ayoade’s reflections on overcoming enormous obstacles and emigrating from Nigeria to the United States–is candid, heartwarming, and inspirational.
When the waiter left, I asked Xuan, “Have you ever wondered about God? Or religions other than your own?” “Most of my family is Buddhist. Growing up, every year my grandparents on my mother’s side organized a chaoshan jinxiang—what I think you know as a pilgrimage. We’d go to the city’s most important religious site, Miaofengshan, or the Mountain of the Wondrous Peak, which is considered one of the five holy mountains that match cardinal directions in geomancy. They still go yearly to pay their respects to the mountain and to present incense. Honestly, I’ve only stepped foot into one church in my life, and that was with my nǎi nai.” I knew nǎi nai meant “grandmother” in Chinese. “You did?” I asked, a little surprised. He’d never mentioned that. “Yeah,” he nodded. “I used to spend weekends at her house. She had a lot of paintings of Jesus, and a beautiful jade rosary. When I was young, she took me to a Catholic church, and I remember watching her as she asked God for several things and lit prayer candles. Nǎi nai believed a church was a place where dreams were realized. She told me to tell God my wishes and He would grant them. I remember what I said to her when she told me to make a wish.” Xuan offered an indulgent half smile. “Where is God, huh? Look around us. Look at all the bad things that happen in this world. God isn’t a genie, and a church isn’t a place for wishes to be granted. It’s a place for the lonely, sick, weak, and broken. It’s a place people go to not feel alone. But my nǎi nai still went back, every Sunday.” I continued watching Xuan, not quite sure where this conversation was going. I patiently waited for him to make his point. “I didn’t make any wishes that day. I had never made a wish or spoken to God until the night of the mudslide. But I remember, in Colombia, looking out onto the road and seeing your vehicle trapped, and silently I prayed. I’ll believe in you. So please... . save her. If you let her live, I’ll happily give up the rest of the time I have left alive. Take me and let Cassie live.
Kayla Cunningham (Fated to Love You (Chasing the Comet Book 1))
The political policies that make life so difficult for single moms—lack of subsidized childcare, weakened child support enforcement, antiabortion laws, and loss of government assistance—find support from the Religious Right. The family model and social norms touted by complementarians stigmatize single mothers, adding emotional and psychological burdens to the financial ones. When conservative churches lament the “broken family” in order to push their congregants toward the godly model of the “traditional family,” they are not building up the sanctity of the family; they are stigmatizing those families who need their support and encouragement the most. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, God’s people are called to care for the widow and the orphan. We see it in the laws from the Torah, in the prophets’ admonitions against Israel and Judah, and in the model that Jesus sets for us in his interactions with women and children in his context. Families with single mothers are the widows and orphans of our day, and yet they experience a great deal of suffering because of the politics of the Religious Right and the disdain and disregard of many conservative Christians. The result of this idolatry (idolatry of “traditional” family and values) is a heavier burden laid on the backs of our modern-day widows. This is not just scapegoating—it is a lamentable reversal of what the Bible teaches us to do.
Jennifer Garcia Bashaw (Scapegoats: The Gospel through the Eyes of Victims)
Above all, you will ascertain the state of the Christian population, in number and in spiritual fervor as well as the correctness of its religious practice, from the Rogations to All-Saints' Day and Christmas; the state of their morals will require your particular attention. You will investigate if wives are faithful to their husbands, and whether the husbands stay within the bounds of acceptable debauchery; or if, instead of limiting themselves to fornicating with their neighbors' wives and maidens, they do it with their own daughters or mothers, or even go so far as to engage in sodomy in the winter months.
Bernard du Boucheron (The Voyage of the Short Serpent)
(Mother Teresa) said one must have great love to take up her cross every day and follow in faith her Beloved Jesus. Only such love can make the life possible. Attraction for the religious life is not sufficient. Any girl who comes “to seek peace” is to be carefully and seriously tested, as is one who “loves solitude”. Aptitude also was rated far below the supreme test of love and determination to strive for perfection. Aptitude, or general fitness for the life, is absolutely necessary, but aptitude without a personal love of Our Lord is not sufficient. … And she always added that a person who chooses marriage is not by any means barred from the life of Christian perfection, for there are many saints in the kitchens, factories and offices of the world. Not all the contemplatives are found in the cloister; among the priests and nuns engaged in the active apostolate, there are contemplatives and there are contemplatives in the world.
Mother Catherine Thomas (My Beloved: The Story of a Carmelite Nun)
In the good old days, every man’s son, born in wedlock, was brought up not in the chamber of some hireling nurse, but in his mother’s lap, and at her knee. And that mother could have no higher praise than that she managed the house and gave herself to her children . . . In the presence of such a one no base word could be uttered without grave offence, and no wrong deed done. Religiously and with the utmost diligence she regulated not only the serious tasks of her youthful charges, but their recreations also and their games. It was
Adrian Goldsworthy (Augustus: First Emperor of Rome)
Enthusiastic expressions of conversion abounded in the Burned-over District and, depending on the denomination, were encouraged and expected. Revival meetings, at which ministers exhorted sinners to convert and change their ways, became the scene of shouts and whispers, shakings and quakings, hand clapping and singing, speaking in tongues and falling down in trances. Women joined men in exuberant prayer. Smaller religious groups, including the Shakers and the Community of the Publick Universal Friend, also established sites for their members in western New York. Jemima Wilkinson, a woman known as the Publick Universal Friend, like Mother Ann Lee of the Shakers was believed by her followers to embody a divine spirit. Of more enduring significance than the Friend, in the 1820s an entirely new religion was born in Palmyra, New York, a town only ten miles from Hydesville, when the young visionary Joseph Smith claimed to discover two golden tablets on a hilltop near his home. The angel Moroni, Smith reported, had sent the tablets, which contained new revelations. Although no one except Smith ever saw the tablets, his assertions and teachings led to the formation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the members of which are popularly known today as Mormons.
Barbara Weisberg (Talking to the Dead: Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism)
The Faith of Jimmy Carter Carter grew up in the Southern Baptist Church that had dominated many parts of the South since the Civil War. As a child, he regularly attended Sunday school, worship services, and the Royal Ambassadors, an organization for young boys that focused on missions, at the Baptist church in Plains, Georgia. At age eleven, Carter publicly professed his faith in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord, was baptized, and joined the church. Thereafter, he participated faithfully in the Baptist Young People’s Union. Carter’s religious convictions and social attitudes were strongly shaped by his mother, Lillian. In 1958, Carter was ordained as a deacon, the governing office in Southern Baptist congregations, and he ushered, led public prayers, and preached lay sermons at his home church. His failure to win the Democratic nomination for governor in 1966 prompted Carter to reassess his faith. Challenged by a sermon entitled ‘‘If You Were Arrested for Being a Christian, Would There Be Enough Evidence to Convict You?’’ and conversations with his sister, evangelist Ruth Carter Stapleton, he vowed to make serving Christ and others his primary aim. During the 1966 governor’s race, he had spent sixteen to eighteen hours a day trying to convince Georgians to vote for him. ‘‘The comparison struck me,’’ Carter wrote, ‘‘300,000 visits for myself in three months, and 140 visits for God [to witness to others] in fourteen years!’’ Carter soon experienced a more intimate relationship with Christ and inner peace. He read the Bible ‘‘with new interest’’ and concluded that he had been a Pharisee. He went on witnessing missions, attended several religious conferences, and oversaw the showing of a Billy Graham film in Americus, Georgia.
Gary Scott Smith (Faith and the Presidency From George Washington to George W. Bush)
He was making up for it now, even if only to himself, because he still felt impelled to put on a good face for the world, it seemed bad manners to do otherwise. 'If you can't say something nice.', his mother had tutored him, 'then don't say anything at all.' The hair was real. Crystal had no idea who it had once belonged to. She'd worried it might have come from a corpse but her hairdresser said, 'Nah, from a temple in India. The women shave their heads for some kind of religious thing and the monks sell it.' That's how Crystal referred to it - 'Got your head stuck in a book again, Harry?' It would be funny if his head did actually get stuck in a book. Her heart wasn't shattered, just cracked, although cracked was bad enough. "Are you Mrs Bragg?' Reggie asked. "Maybe," the woman said. Well, you either are or you aren't. Reggie thought. You're not Schrodinger's cat. What do you call a nest of lesbians? A dyke eyrie. "Great,' she said, so he knew she wasn't listening. An increasing number of people, Jackson had noticed lately, were not listening to him. Dogs, you know, stay by their master's side after they've died. Fido, Hachiko, Ruswrap, Old Shep, Squeak, Spot. There was a list on Wikipedia. I am the repository of useless knowledge. Jackson had never really seen the point of existential angst. if you didn't like something you changed it and if you couldn't change it you sucked it up and soldiered on, one foot after the other. ('Remind me not to come to you for therapy,' Julia said.) This was better, Jackson thought, all he had to do was utilize the lyrics from country songs, they contained better advice than anything he could conjure up himself. Best to avoid Hank, though - 'I'm so lonesome I could cry. I'll never get out of this world alive. I don't care if tomorrow never comes. Poor old Hank, not good mental fodder of a man who had just tried to jump off a cliff. 'Diaeresis - the two little dots above the "e", its not an umlaut. Reggie thought if a day would ever goes by when she is not disappointed in people. "Jesus Christ, Crystal,' he said, dropping the baseball bat and pulling off his shoes, prepare to jump in and save Tommy. So he could kill him later.
Kate Atkinson (Big Sky (Jackson Brodie, #5))
It reminds me of an article I read about “deaths of despair” in the United States in the nineties. The paper tracked the rise in suicides, overdoses, liver disease from alcohol abuse, and the like in white middle-class Americans. They found the rise directly correlated to a decline in religious participation. Without a God to lean on, without your confusing days being written in the stars with purpose and direction, without God having a plan for you and your measly life, many people fall into hopelessness. Human beings need to believe that their strange lives have cosmic meaning.
Jedidiah Jenkins (Mother, Nature: A 5,000-Mile Journey to Discover if a Mother and Son Can Survive Their Differences)
As much as I loved church, the idea of a nine-hour slog, from mixed church to white church to black church then doubling back to white church again, was just too much to contemplate. It was bad enough in a car, but taking public transport would be twice as long and twice as hard. When the Volkswagen refused to start, inside my head I was praying, Please say we’ll just stay home. Please say we’ll just stay home. Then I glanced over to see the determined look on my mother’s face, her jaw set, and I knew I had a long day ahead of me. “Come,” she said. “We’re going to catch minibuses.” — My mother is as stubborn as she is religious. Once her mind’s made up, that’s it. Indeed, obstacles that would normally lead a person to change their plans, like a car breaking down, only made her more determined to forge ahead.
Trevor Noah (Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood)
We are ethnically Chinese—one of the ethnic and religious minority groups that face discrimination in Malaysia. When my father was a kid, his uncle, mother, and eldest sister were living in Kuala Lumpur when a race riot broke out, and hundreds of Chinese people were massacred. His sister left her office barely in time to find a safe house in a Chinese neighborhood, where the family hid for days—a friend with connections with the police had to bring them food so they wouldn’t go hungry.
Stephanie Foo (What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma)
Like most people in Connecticut in those days, I was brought up to attend church regularly on Sunday, and long before I could read I was a prominent scholar in the Sunday school. My good mother taught me my lessons in the New Testament and the Catechism, and my every effort was directed to win one of those “Rewards of Merit,” which promised to pay the bearer one mill, so that ten of these prizes amounted to one cent, and one hundred of them, which might be won by faithful assiduity every Sunday for two years, would buy a Sunday school book worth ten cents. Such were the magnificent rewards held out to the religious ambition of youth.
P.T. Barnum (Struggles and Triumphs: or, Forty Years' Recollections of P. T. Barnum)
My mother was a religious woman. That’s how I know that on the sixth day, both man and serpent were created. You know—the snake that eventually convinced Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit and got them kicked out of the Garden of Eden forever? That’s why the number six represents both man and the evil that weakens him.
Freida McFadden (One by One)
I could hear talking, singing, shouting, crying, and other sounds, and I noticed everybody wore different clothes on that day. Men and women with fine clothes were going down there, and soon two or three men wearing long black coats passed me and followed the crowd. Everybody respected those fellows, and I decided they were the medicine men. I resolved to see what was going on down there, so I slipped through the bushes and watched them. I saw one of the men whom I thought was a medicine man get up and read something out of a book; occasionally he would look at his congregation and then up, and I wondered why he did not smoke; then I concluded it was a council of war, but there were too many squaws there for that. The audience rose and sang, then they all got down on their knees and covered up their faces; some groaned while others wept, and one man mumbled a lot of words; then they all got up and sang a song. The medicine man came to the front and went through a long talk and gesticulations and everybody watched him. The sober-looking man with the long coat mumbled something at first, but gradually grew louder and began singing off his speech, while the tear drops trickled down his cheeks and his face wore a sad expression. His audience seemed to lean forward and drink in every word he said. He kept talking and all the people arose and commingled their voices in a mighty chorus, while the melodious strains floated on the zephyr breeze and reached my ears and seemed as a balm to the aching pains of my breaking heart. Then shouts of laughter, shrill screams, merry faces, sad-eyed spectators, some shouted, others rushed to the center and began dancing, shaking hands and general confusion reigned supreme. It was a sure-enough old fashion Methodist shouting meeting, but of course I did not know this. I thought it must be a new kind of a war dance, rain dance or some kind of a religious ceremony, so I rushed in, gave the Comanche yell, cleared several benches and landed in the midst of the revival. My manner of worship did not suit those white people and they stampeded, leaving me “monarch of all I surveyed.” I gave a few more whoops and a little dance anyway, and looked around to see what had become of all the council, and I saw the big medicine man tearing along with his coat tails flapping as he headed for my mother’s home. My people never permitted me to go to another Methodist revival until I could understand English and knew how to behave myself. True, I broke up the meeting that day, but I was just as earnest, just as fervent, just as candid and sincere as the most sanctified among them, only my mode did not conform to their theories. I have seen just as much earnestness and less hypocrisy among the Indians in their worship as I ever have seen since I came among the whites.
Herman Lehmann (Nine Years Among the Indians)
Of course, even that day may come. The idea of mandatory contraception has been bruited about at the state level for drug-abusing or welfare-abusing mothers; and it is not hard to imagine that with the federal government counting on Obamacare cost savings from contraception that it could become as mandatory as having health insurance. And if gay marriage really is a civil right, how long will the federal government allow churches to opt out from respecting it? Obama’s supposed respect for the integrity of religious “sacraments” isn’t worth taking seriously. Under the nanny state of the left, nothing remains “private” for long. Should Obama win a second term, one can imagine his friends at Planned Parenthood calling for forcible sterilizations to “save costs” and gay groups calling for “hate crime” fines to be levied on Catholic priests who refuse to bless gay unions. Already in Canada and Western Europe, nonconformists can be dragged before judges for harboring the “wrong” thoughts. The French actress Brigitte Bardot has been “tried” several times for criticizing Islam. So was the late author Oriana Fallaci, who stood trial in Italy for “defaming Islam.” Do not kid yourselves: it could happen here. In a second term, the Obama administration will bring that day much closer.
Phyllis Schlafly (No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom)
One day one of the girls, Felt, says to the group: You know how they say rich people have red heels? You have, in fact, always heard this growing up: that poor people have dusty, gray heels, and rich people have smooth, moisturized heels, red with health. You have a tendency to hide your feet, even though you've always rubbed cream into them religiously so they won't look like your mother's heels, desert-cracked. Well, I have a trick, Fely says, showing all of you her smooth, impossibly red heels. You just put merthiolate on it! Not iodine, that makes it orange. Merthiolate is the secret! After that, all of you take to staining your heels with the liquid antiseptic. From then on, you love wearing slingbacks, mules, cropped trousers. Years later, even as an adult nurse in California, sometimes you'll still put merthiolate on your heels.
Elaine Castillo (America Is Not the Heart)
DOC    Yes, you want to study hard, Marie, learn to be a fine artist some day. Paint lots of beautiful pictures. I remember a picture my mother had over the mantelpiece at home, a picture of a cathedral in a sunset, one of those big cathedrals in Europe somewhere. Made you feel religious just to look at it.
William Inge (Picnic plus 3)
Various musicians consented here and there to give the young boy lessons, but in 1781, Ludwig officially became the pupil of Christian Gottlob Neefe, the new court organist. This relationship opened up Ludwig’s first great responsibility in 1782, when Neefe temporarily traveled elsewhere, leaving his duties as organist for religious services to Ludwig. The boy had to play twice every day for the Catholic masses in addition to other special services. In 1783, the busy Neefe also asked Ludwig to take his place in playing the harpsichord (another instrument similar to a piano) for rehearsals of the court orchestra. Neefe had stretched Ludwig’s capabilities by requiring him to practice the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Now Ludwig would have to read and play a variety of complicated musical pieces, further expanding his musical education. In addition, Beethoven began producing noteworthy compositions of his own. It was not until 1784, however, that Ludwig was officially appointed as Neefe’s assistant as court organist and finally began receiving a small salary. At last, he could help to financially support his family with his music, the purpose toward which his father had groomed him practically from babyhood. In 1787, at 16 years of age, Beethoven was sent to Vienna, Austria, to study under the musical master, Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart. It is not known whether he was able to receive lessons from Mozart, though some say that he was instructed by him in musical composition. Unfortunately, Beethoven’s mother became seriously ill with tuberculosis, and he had to hurry home from Vienna to say goodbye before her death at 40 years of age.
Hourly History (Ludwig van Beethoven: A Life From Beginning to End (Composer Biographies))
But how close is his apodictic tone to that of Pastor Rick Warren, who presided over ecumenical services at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, and who writes, “God was thinking of you long before you ever thought of him. He planned it before you existed, without your input. You may choose your career, your spouse, your hobbies, and many other parts of your life, but you don’t get to choose your purpose.”2 According to Warren, you are part of God’s plan. You were in his mind long before you or even your parents were born. He chose not only the day you were born but the exact DNA that needed to be coupled through your parents’ sexual intercourse. It is not clear how wide a berth Warren gives to free will. Clearly, he gives some, as he suggests that if you don’t let Jesus into your heart as your personal savior—an act of free will—then you will burn eternally in hell, which is certainly not part of God’s master plan, but your own doing. On the other hand, he tells us that God chose your genetic composition. But if your mother chose your father, or if your father chose your mother—and most people would agree that they have some role in whom they mate with—then how does God decide your genetic composition? It looks like, from a logical standpoint anyway, if your parents had free will enough to choose their religious persuasion, they also had free will enough to sleep together, and therefore your genetic composition owes as much to their mundane choice as it does to divine matchmaking.
Dorion Sagan (Cosmic Apprentice: Dispatches from the Edges of Science)