Short Godly Quotes

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I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it." (Letter to Étienne Noël Damilaville, May 16, 1767)
Voltaire
There are no coincidences in life. What person that wandered in and out of your life was there for some purpose, even if they caused you harm. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense the short periods of time we get with people, or the outcomes from their choices. However, if you turn it over to God he promises that you will see the big picture in the hereafter. Nothing is too small to be a mistake.
Shannon L. Alder
I'm a godmother, that's a great thing to be, a godmother. She calls me god for short, that's cute, I taught her that.
Ellen DeGeneres
Elend smiled. "Oh, come on. You have to admit that you're unusual, Vin. You're like some strange mixture of a noblewoman, a street urchin, and a cat. Plus, you've mangaged - in our short three years together - to kill not only my god, but my father, my brother, and my fiancée. That's kind of like a homicidal hat trick.
Brandon Sanderson (The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3))
I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms.
Albert Einstein
My arms are too short to box with God.
Johnny Cash
God help us -- for art is long, and life so short.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust, First Part)
She started walking toward me and perfect white teeth caught her full bottom lip between them. I’d fantasized about those lips way too many times. She’d barely covered up her long tanned legs with a pair of shorts that made me want to go to church this Sunday just to thank God for creating her.
Abbi Glines (The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1))
My God. Is there some unwritten law that you guys have to be giants? (Amanda) What can I say? Artemis likes her Dark-Hunters tall. Short men need not apply. (Acheron)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Night Pleasures (Dark-Hunter #1))
And when your soul, the flame, the spark, meets with the divine fuel that is so pure and so strong, it results in immense enlightenment: the enlightenment of God. Light upon light, Noorun Alaa Noor.
Zain Hashmi (A Blessed Olive Tree: A Spiritual Journey in Twenty Short Stories)
I don't think God gives a shit if we have a dog or if a woman wears shorts. I think He gives a shit whether you're a good person.
John Green (An Abundance of Katherines)
Ô, Wanderess, Wanderess When did you feel your most euphoric kiss? Was I the source of your greatest bliss?
Roman Payne
Language is my whore, my mistress, my wife, my pen-friend, my check-out girl. Language is a complimentary moist lemon-scented cleansing square or handy freshen-up wipette. Language is the breath of God, the dew on a fresh apple, it's the soft rain of dust that falls into a shaft of morning sun when you pull from an old bookshelf a forgotten volume of erotic diaries; language is the faint scent of urine on a pair of boxer shorts, it's a half-remembered childhood birthday party, a creak on the stair, a spluttering match held to a frosted pane, the warm wet, trusting touch of a leaking nappy, the hulk of a charred Panzer, the underside of a granite boulder, the first downy growth on the upper lip of a Mediterranean girl, cobwebs long since overrun by an old Wellington boot.
Stephen Fry
Fight for us, O God, that we not drift numb and blind and foolish into vain and empty excitements. Life is too short, too precious, too painful to waste on worldly bubbles that burst. Heaven is too great, hell is too horrible, eternity is too long that we should putter around on the porch of eternity.
John Piper
Girls get screwed. Not that kind of screwed, what I mean is, they're always on the short end of things. The way things work, how guys feel great, but make girls feel cheap for doing exactly what they beg for. The way they get to play you, all the while claiming they love you and making you believe it's true. The way it's okay to gift their heart one day, a backhand the next, to move on to the apricot when the peach blushes and bruises. These things make me believe God's a man after all.
Ellen Hopkins (Crank (Crank, #1))
I'd like to repeat the advice that I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, Ron, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty. And so, Ron, in short, get out of Salton City and hit the Road. I guarantee you will be very glad you did. But I fear that you will ignore my advice. You think that I am stubborn, but you are even more stubborn than me. You had a wonderful chance on your drive back to see one of the greatest sights on earth, the Grand Canyon, something every American should see at least once in his life. But for some reason incomprehensible to me you wanted nothing but to bolt for home as quickly as possible, right back to the same situation which you see day after day after day. I fear you will follow this same inclination in the future and thus fail to discover all the wonderful things that God has placed around us to discover. Don't settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon. You are still going to live a long time, Ron, and it would be a shame if you did not take the opportunity to revolutionize your life and move into an entirely new realm of experience. You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living. My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this new kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.
Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild)
For crying out loud, stop comparing and start living! And you'll be happier with your life, I guarantee. This is crucial: the most difficult thing in the world is to be who you are not. Pretending and trying to be someone else is the official pastime of the human race. And the easiest thing in the world is to be yourself. Be happy. Live! There must be a reason why God made you tall or short or fat or thin or bumpy all over. Love who you are!
Bo Sánchez (You Have The Power to Create Love: Take Another Step on the Simple Path to Happiness)
I choose you," he said very softly, "Max." Then his hard, rough hand tenderly cuppoed my chin, and suddenly his mouth was on mine, and every synapse in my brain shorted out. We had kissed a couple of times before, but this was different. This time, I squelched my immediate, overwhelming desire to run away screaming. I closed my eyes and put my arms around him despite my fear. Then somehow we slid sideways so we were lying in the cool sand. I was holding him fiercely, and he was kissing me fiercely, and it was...just so, so intensely good. Once I got past my usual, gut-wrenching terror, there was a long, sweet slide into mindlessness, when all I felt was Fang, and all I heard was his breathing, and all I could think was "Oh, God, I want to do this all the time.
James Patterson (Max (Maximum Ride, #5))
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches. May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty. When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer. Guide her, protect her When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age. Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit. May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers. Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait. O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed. And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it. And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
We got off at the next exit, quietly, and, switching drivers, we walked in front of the car. We met and I held him, my hands balled into tight fists around his shoulders, and he wrapped his short arms around me and squeezed tight, so that I felt the heaves of his chest as we realized over and over again that we were still alive. I realized it in waves and we held on to each other crying and I thought, 'God we must look so lame,' but it doesn't matter when you have just now realized, all the time later, that you are still alive.
John Green (Looking for Alaska)
Your religion assumes that people are children and need a boogeyman so they'll behave. You want people to believe in God so they'll obey the law. That's the only means that occurs to you: a strict secular police force, and the threat of punishment by an all-seeing God for whatever the police overlook. You sell human beings short.
Carl Sagan (Contact)
We don’t ask why God chose as his prophet a stutterer with a public speaking phobia. But we should. The book of Exodus is short on explication, but its stories suggest that introversion plays yin to the yang of extroversion; that the medium is not always the message; and that people followed Moses because his words were thoughtful, not because he spoke them well.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
Here in Manto's own words that he wanted to mark his grave with: "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful Here lies Saadat Hasan Manto and with him lie buried all the secrets and mysteries of the art of short-story writing.... Under tons of earth he lies, still wondering who among the two is greater short-story writer: God or He.
Saadat Hasan Manto
God is eagerly waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as he always has. But he can't if you don't pray, and he can't if you don't dream. In short, he can't if you don't believe.
Jeffrey R. Holland
God rewards those who seek Him. Not those who seek doctrine of religion or systems or creeds. Many settle for these lesser passions, but the reward goes to those who settle for nothing less than Jesus himself. And what is the reward? What awaits those who seek Jesus? Nothing short of the heart of Jesus.
Max Lucado (Just Like Jesus: Learning to Have a Heart Like His)
Our lips were for each other and our eyes were full of dreams. We knew nothing of travel and we knew nothing of loss. Ours was a world of eternal spring, until the summer came.
Roman Payne (Hope and Despair)
She'd barely covered up her long, tan legs in a pair of shorts that made me want to go to church on Sunday just to thank God for creating her. - Beau
Abbi Glines (The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1))
God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future--to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities. God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can't if you don't pray, and He can't if you don't dream. In short, He can't if you don't believe.
Jeffrey R. Holland
Time is too swift for those who fear, too long for those who wait, too short for those who finally find peace, but for those who love, time is eternal. For nothing is ever lost that God wants you to find.
Shannon L. Alder
Oh my God. She literally shorted out the train because she was horny… She’s an icon
Casey McQuiston (One Last Stop)
Sonny pulled Lucky up short and swung around to face Fennrys. "I'm not afraid to die. I just don't want to die surprised. And I swear to all the gods, if the last thought that goes through my mind is 'What the hell was that?' I will hunt you down in the afterlife and punch you in the face throughout eternity.
Lesley Livingston (Darklight (Wondrous Strange, #2))
In many cases, our need to wonder about or be told what God wants in a certain situation is nothing short of a clear indication of how little we are engaged in His work.
Dallas Willard (Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God)
You've managed-- in our short three years together-- to kill not only my god, but my father, my brother, and my fiance. That's kind of like a homicidal hat trick. It's a strange foundation for a relationship, wouldn't you say?
Brandon Sanderson (The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3))
You may think you’re getting the short end of the stick, but when it’s all said and done, God will make sure that you don’t lose anything truly valuable. Moreover, He’ll make sure you get your just reward. Your responsibility is to remain calm and peaceable even when those around you are not.
Joel Osteen (Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential)
And you are? (Xypher) Pissed off. You wrecked my car, shoved me around, and are a complete and utter dickhead! (Simone) Dear God, what a mouthful – your mom must have really wanted a son. Mind if I call you ‘Pissed’ for short? The rest of that is just too much to say every time I want your attention. (Xypher)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dream Chaser (Dark-Hunter, #13; Dream-Hunter, #3))
The great news is that God knows everything about you, both good and bad, and He still loves you and values you unconditionally. God does not always approve of our behavior. He is not pleased when we go against his will, and when we do, we always suffer the consequences and have to work with Him to correct our thoughts, words, actions, or attitudes. And while you should work to improve in the areas where you fall short, nothing you do will ever cause God to love you less…or more. His love is a constant you can depend on.
Joel Osteen (Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential)
I’m not laughing.” I was actually crying. “And please don’t laugh at me now, but I think the reason it’s so hard for me to get over this guy is because I seriously believed David was my soul mate. ”He probably was. Your problem is you don’t understand what that word means. People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it. Your problem is, you just can’t let this one go. It’s over, Groceries. David’s purpose was to shake you up, drive you out of your marriage that you needed to leave, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light could get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you had to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master and beat it. That was his job, and he did great, but now it’s over. Problem is, you can’t accept that his relationship had a real short shelf life. You’re like a dog at the dump, baby – you’re just lickin’ at the empty tin can, trying to get more nutrition out of it. And if you’re not careful, that can’s gonna get stuck on your snout forever and make your life miserable. So drop it.“But I love him.” “So love him.” “But I miss him.” “So miss him. Send him some love and light every time you think about him, then drop it. You’re just afraid to let go of the last bits of David because then you’ll be really alone, and Liz Gilbert is scared to death of what will happen if she’s really alone. But here’s what you gotta understand, Groceries. If you clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using right now to obsess about this guy, you’ll have a vacuum there, an open spot – a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with the doorway? It will rush in – God will rush in – and fill you with more love than you ever dreamed. So stop using David to block that door. Let it go.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Yes," I said, "for the love of God!
Edgar Allan Poe (The Cask of Amontillado - an Edgar Allan Poe Short Story)
I once asked a Jesuit preist what was the best short prayer he knew. He said "Fuck it." as in "Fuck it, it's in Gods hands.
Anthony Hopkins
I understand that some people find God after misfortune, although this seems to me even more ridiculous than finding Him in good times. 'God smote me. He must love me.' It's like not wanting a romantic relationship until a member of the opposite sex punches you in the face. My 'miraculous survival' will not change my opinion that Heaven is an idea constructed by man to help him cope with the fact that life on earth is both brutally short, and paradoxically, far too long.
Andrew Davidson (The Gargoyle)
Ten feet from the car, a man stepped directly into our path. We came to a screeching halt, and I jerked Lissa back by her arm. It was him, the guy I’d seen across the street watching me. He was older than us, maybe mid-twenties, and as tall as I’d figured, probably six-six or six-seven. And under different circumstances–say, when he wasn’t holding up our desperate escape–I would have thought he was hot. Shoulder-length brown hair, tied back in a short ponytail. Dark brown eyes. A long brown coat–a duster, I thought it was called. But his hotness was irrelevant now. He was only an obstacle keeping Lissa and me away from the car and our freedom. The footsteps behind us slowed, and I knew our pursuers had caught up. Off to the sides, I detected more movement, more people closing in. God. They’d almost sent a dozen guardians to retrieve us. I couldn’t believe it. The queen herself didn’t travel with that many.
Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1))
I wondered how it could be that people could love God and hate one another.
Julie Orringer (How to Breathe Underwater)
Leo cried, "Hold on! Let's have some manners here. Can I at least find out who has the honor of destroying me?" "I am Cal!" the ox grunted. He looked very proud of himself, like he'd taken a long time to memorize that sentence. "That's short for Calais," the love god said. "Sadly, my brother cannot say words with more than two syllables--" "Pizza! Hockey! Destroy!" Cal offered. "--which includes his own name," the love god finished. "I am Cal," Cal repeated. "And this is Zethes! My brother!" "Wow," Leo said. "That was almost three sentences, man! Way to go." Cal grunted, obviously pleased with himself. "Stupid buffoon," his brother grumbled. "They make fun of you. But no matter. I am Zethes, which is short for Zethes. And the lady there--" He winked at piper, but the wink was more like a facial seizure. "She can call me anything she likes. Perhaps she would like to have dinner with a famous demigod before we must destroy you?
Rick Riordan (The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1))
Kid, let me tell you something. Most people spend their short time in this world less than half alive. They wander through their days in a haze of responsibility and resentment. Something happens to them not long after they're born. They get conflicted about what they want and start worshiping the wrong gods. Should. Mercy. Equality. Altruism. There's nothing you should do. Do what you want. Mercy isn't Nature's way. She's an equal opportunity killer. We aren't born the same. Some are stronger, faster. Never apologize for it. Altruism is an impossible concept. There's no action you can make that doesn't spring from how you want to feel about yourself.
Karen Marie Moning (Iced (Fever, #6))
No matter how many precautions we take, none of us are truly in control. Only God can claim that kind of authority. All we can do is use the good sense he provides and trust him to guide us.
Karen Witemeyer (Short-Straw Bride (Archer Brothers, #1))
..she began to stand around the gate and expect things. What things? She didn't know exactly. Her breath was gusty and short. She knew things that nobody ever told her. For instance, the words of the trees and the wind. .. She knew the world was a stallion rolling in the blue pasture of ether. She knew that God tore down the old world every evening and built a new one by sun-up. It was wonderful to see it take form with the sun and emerge from the gray dust of its making.
Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God)
A thump thump thump noise that was so unfamiliar, and yet I couldn't quite place it. But I knew it. It was---"Mmm-hmmm," Monica murmured, just as Wes came view into the path. He was running, his pace quick and steady. He was in shorts, his shirt off, staring ahead as he passed. His back was tan and gleaming with sweat. God god!" she said finally, fanning her face with her hand, "I've seen it a million times but it just never gets old. Never.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
Kronos became the Titan of time. He couldn’t pop around the time stream like Doctor Who or anything, but he could occasionally make time slow down or speed up. Whenever you’re in an incredibly boring lecture that seems to take forever, blame Kronos. Or when your weekend is way too short, that’s Kronos’s fault, too.
Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson's Greek Gods)
Halt?" said Gilan, realization dawning. "You're not seasick are you?" No," Halt said shortly, not trusting himself beyond one syllable. Probably need a bite if breakfast to settle your stomach," Svengal said helpfully. "Gte something solid inside you." Had...breakfast." This time Halt managed three syllables-but with some difficulty, Svengal affected no notice. Cabbage is god. Especially pickled cabbage. Sits on the gut nicely," he said. "Goes well with a nice piece of greasy bacon. You should try that if you..." But before he could finish, Halt lurched toward the ship's rail and hung over it. Dreaful noises were torn from him. Svengal, still affecting a look of innocence, turned to Gilan, hands spread and eyes wide. What it the world is he looking for? Has he lost something, do you think?
John Flanagan (Erak's Ransom (Ranger's Apprentice, #7))
Humility is not a one time lesson that comes when you have lost everything. It is a daily reminder of how far we have come, yet still short of who we can be through HIS guidance. Blessed is the soul that can recognize that he isn’t moving mountains, but God is for him.
Shannon L. Alder
None of us will become perfect in a day or a month or a year. We will not accomplish it in lifetime, but we can begin now, starting with our more obvious weaknesses and gradually converting them to strengths as we go forward with our lives. this quest may be a long one: in fact, it will be lifelong. It may be fraught with many mistakes, with falling down and getting back up again. And it will take much effort. But we must not sell ourselves short. We must make a little extra effort. We would be wise to kneel before our God in supplication. He will help us. He will bless us. He will comfort and sustain us. He will help us to do more, and be more, than we can ever accomplish or be on our own.
Gordon B. Hinckley
Thank you“ might be the hardest word to say. We may wonder, what can be so castrating about embracing gratitude? Some think it causes fear of loss, while it unleashes indistinct anxiety of losing independence or self-control. Gratefulness might come down to an undying struggle against oblivion. It could amount to a lasting burden for maintaining the infallibility of their memory. In short, for some, thankfulness is a box of Pandora. ("Thank God for the Belgian chocolate ")
Erik Pevernagie
Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved. As we remember that “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God,” (Mosiah 2:17) we will not find ourselves in the unenviable position of Jacob Marley’s ghost, who spoke to Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s immortal "Christmas Carol." Marley spoke sadly of opportunities lost. Said he: 'Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!' Marley added: 'Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode? Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!' Fortunately, as we know, Ebenezer Scrooge changed his life for the better. I love his line, 'I am not the man I was.' Why is Dickens’ "Christmas Carol" so popular? Why is it ever new? I personally feel it is inspired of God. It brings out the best within human nature. It gives hope. It motivates change. We can turn from the paths which would lead us down and, with a song in our hearts, follow a star and walk toward the light. We can quicken our step, bolster our courage, and bask in the sunlight of truth. We can hear more clearly the laughter of little children. We can dry the tear of the weeping. We can comfort the dying by sharing the promise of eternal life. If we lift one weary hand which hangs down, if we bring peace to one struggling soul, if we give as did the Master, we can—by showing the way—become a guiding star for some lost mariner.
Thomas S. Monson
Evening,” Zane greeted quietly, voice still dark with sleep. He yawned and ran his hand through his hair. The short curls were riotous. “I’m hungry.” “Ugh,” Ty groaned sleepily. “God, you’re worse than a date,” he muttered. “I have to feed you, too?
Abigail Roux (Cut & Run (Cut & Run, #1))
In using all means, seek God alone. In and through every outward thing, look only to the power of His Spirit, and the merits of His Son. Beware you do not get stuck in the work itself; if you do, it is all lost labor. Nothing short of God can satisfy your soul. Therefore, fix on Him in all, through all, and above all...Remember also to use all means as means-as ordained, not for their own sake...
John Wesley (How To Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer)
Another reason to watch him avidly for he might pull himself out of the pool, his whole body slick and those shorts plastered on him was not a sight to see. It was a sight to prove there was a God and that God might just be Tate.
Kristen Ashley (Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain, #2))
We all get old. We all get wrinkles. Life is short. Eat that pizza. Drink that wine. Shut down that bully eejit who tortures you.
L.J. Shen (Angry God (All Saints High, #3))
We deserve some respect. You deserve some respect. You are important to other people, as much as to yourself. You have some vital role to play in the unfolding destiny of the world. You are, therefore, morally obliged to take care of yourself. You should take care of, help and be good to yourself the same way you would take care of, help and be good to someone you loved and valued. You may therefore have to conduct yourself habitually in a manner that allows you some respect for your own Being—and fair enough. But every person is deeply flawed. Everyone falls short of the glory of God. If that stark fact meant, however, that we had no responsibility to care, for ourselves as much as others, everyone would be brutally punished all the time. That would not be good. That would make the shortcomings of the world, which can make everyone who thinks honestly question the very propriety of the world, worse in every way. That simply cannot be the proper path forward.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
I look at everything. God gave me eyes and I look at women and men and subway excavations and moving pictures and the little flowers of the field. I casually inspect the universe.
Irwin Shaw (Short Stories of Irwin Shaw)
As to the gods, I have no means of knowing either that they exist or do not exist. For many are the obstacles that impede knowledge, both the obscurity of the question and the shortness of human life.
Diogenes Laërtius
But when they made love he was offended by her eyes. They behaved as though they belonged to someone else. Someone watching. Looking out of the window at the sea. At a boat in the river. Or a passerby in the mist in a hat. He was exasperated because he didn't know what that look meant. He put it somewhere between indifference and despair. He didn’t know that in some places, like the country that Rahel came from, various kinds of despair competed for primacy. And that personal despair could never be desperate enough. That something happened when personal turmoil dropped by at the wayside shrine of the vast, violent, circling, driving, ridiculous, insane, unfeasible, public turmoil of a nation. That Big God howled like a hot wind, and demanded obeisance. Then Small God (cozy and contained, private and limited) came away cauterized, laughing numbly at his own temerity. Inured by the confirmation of his own inconsequence, he became resilient and truly indifferent. Nothing mattered much. Nothing much mattered. And the less it mattered, the less it mattered. It was never important enough. Because Worse Things had happened. In the country that she came from, poised forever between the terror of war and the horror of peace, Worse Things kept happening. So Small God laughed a hollow laugh, and skipped away cheerfully. Like a rich boy in shorts. He whistled, kicked stones. The source of his brittle elation was the relative smallness of his misfortune. He climbed into people’s eyes and became an exasperating expression.
Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)
Morality is more than possible without God, it is entirely independent of him.
Julian Baggini (Atheism: A Very Short Introduction)
If you have money, power, and status today, it is due to the century and place in which you were born, to your talents and capacities and health, none of which you earned. In short, all your resources are in the end the gift of God.
Timothy J. Keller (Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just)
He said he loved me,” she whispered. Daniel swallowed, and he had the strangest sensation, almost a premonition of what it must like to be a parent. Someday, God willing, he’d have a daughter, and that daughter would look like the woman standing in front of him, and if ever she looked at him with that bewildered expression, whispering, “He said he loved me . . .” Nothing short of murder would be an acceptable response.
Julia Quinn (A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith Quartet #2))
You're so critical. Oh, God, I'd do anything for you to stop blaming me for every little thing that goes wrong. Love me for who I am. Love Shelley for who she is. Stop focusing on the bad stuff because life is just too damn short.
Simone Elkeles (Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1))
Life is too short to be anything but happy. So kiss slowly. Love deeply. Forgive quickly. Take chances and never have regrets. Forget the past but remember what it taught you.
Abhysheq Shukla (KISS Life "Life is what you make it")
Do you know why Satan is so angry all the time? Because whenever he works a particularly clever bit of mischief God uses it to serve his own Rigteous purposes." "So God uses wicked people as his tools?" "God gives us the freedom to to do great evil, if we choose, then He uses his own freedom to create goodness out of that evil, for that is what He chooses." "So, in the long run, God always wins?" "Yes, in the short run though it can be uncomfortable.
Orson Scott Card (Ender's Shadow (The Shadow Series, #1))
Life is too short to be anything but real with the cast of characters God has placed in the story of your life. Love well, laugh often, and find your life in Christ. Don't hide away or be a follower. Be the wonderful unique person God made you to be, and know that your purpose will always be best when defined by your faith in him
Karen Kingsbury (Unlocked)
He's really sweet, actually." "I don't think we're talking about the same Sed. Sedric Lionheart. Tall guy. Broad shoulders. Blue eyes. Short black hair. Body befitting a Greek god. Sings. La la la la.
Olivia Cunning (Rock Hard (Sinners on Tour, #2))
In the view of infinity, any defined long-term is short-term.
Frank Herbert (God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles #4))
For," I said, "a murdered man or woman dies not in God's time, but in Man's. He... or she... is cut short before he... or she... can atone for sin, and so all errors must be forgiven. When you think of it that way, all murderers are a gateway for heaven.
Stephen King (Full Dark, No Stars)
Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to be farsighted enough to trust the end result of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be so short-sighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lover’s of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full. (9)
Elif Shafak
In all of my universe I have seen no law of nature, unchanging and inexorable. This universe presents only changing relationships which are somtimes seen as laws by short-lived awareness. These fleshy sensoria which we call self are ephemera withering in the blaze of infinity, fleetingly aware of temporary conditions which confine our activities and change as our activities change. If you must label the absolute, use its proper name: Temporary.
Frank Herbert (God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles #4))
I came to realize that good and evil were out of my reach, that time was the only thing I had any control over. I could buy time, create intervals. I could not truly make the world a better place, but I could make part of it a better place for a short while.
Sylvain Neuvel (Waking Gods (Themis Files, #2))
God must have known that, in the end, Adam and Eve would eat the apple and have to leave the Garden. But he had bigger plans for them and for the rest of humanity that requires a short stint here in our imperfect world. That is the only way for us to experience all of the joys, the sorrows, the failures, and the triumphs that come with being fully human.
Spencer C Demetros (The Bible: Enter Here: Bringing God's Word to Life for Today's Teens)
I do not feel that I am the product of chance, a speck of dust in the universe, but someone who was expected, prepared, prefigured. In short, a being whom only a Creator could put here; and this idea of a creating hand refers to God.
Jean-Paul Sartre
Some people say it is a shame. Others even imply that it would have been better if the baby had never been created. But the short time I had with my child is precious to me. It is painful to me, but I still wouldn't wish it away. I prayed that God would bless us with a baby. Each child is a gift, and I am proud that we cooperated with God in the creation of a new soul for all eternity. Although not with me, my baby lives.
Christine O'Keeffe Lafser (An Empty Cradle, a Full Heart: Reflections for Mothers and Fathers after Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death)
Increasingly at Southern airports, instead of a “good-bye” or “thank-you,” cashiers are apt to say, “Have a blessed day.” This can make you feel like you’ve been sprayed against your will with God cologne. “Get it off me!” I always want to scream. “Quick, before I start wearing ties with short-sleeved shirts!
David Sedaris (Calypso)
When you settle for anything short of the best life God wants to offer you, then you have been tempted to remain safe and the accountability for not changing your life becomes your prison of regret.
Shannon L. Alder
Ô, Muse of the Heart’s Passion, let me relive my Love’s memory, to remember her body, so brave and so free, and the sound of my Dreameress singing to me, and the scent of my Dreameress sleeping by me, Ô, sing, sweet Muse, my soliloquy!
Roman Payne
Love without truth and honor is licentious in nature. Love without commitment is promiscuous and fleeting. Love without virtue and understanding is savage and selfish. Love without respect is short-lived. Love without these conditions is without God.
David W. Stevens
If we could believe that he [Jesus] really countenanced the follies, the falsehoods, and the charlatanism which his biographers [Gospels] father on him, and admit the misconstructions, interpolations, and theorizations of the fathers of the early, and the fanatics of the latter ages, the conclusion would be irresistible by every sound mind that he was an impostor... We find in the writings of his biographers matter of two distinct descriptions. First, a groundwork of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstitions, fanaticisms and fabrications... That sect [Jews] had presented for the object of their worship, a being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust... Jesus had to walk on the perilous confines of reason and religion: and a step to right or left might place him within the gripe of the priests of the superstition, a blood thirsty race, as cruel and remorseless as the being whom they represented as the family God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, and the local God of Israel. They were constantly laying snares, too, to entangle him in the web of the law... That Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of God, physically speaking, I have been convinced by the writings of men more learned than myself in that lore. [Letter to William Short, 4 August, 1820]
Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
Had I been brighter, the ladies been gentler, the liquor weaker, the gods kinder, the dice hotter - it might have all ended up in a one-sentence story.
Mickey Rooney (Life Is Too Short)
The God I believe in isn't short on cash, mister.
Bono
The higher the hair, the closer to God.
Karin Gillespie (A Dollar Short: The Bottom Dollar Girls Go Hollywood (Bottom Dollar Girls #2))
My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as "quothe." Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I've had more names than anyone has a right to. The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it's spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree. "The Flame" is obvious if you've ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably have been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it's unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I have been set afire. "The Thunder" I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age. I've never thought of "The Broken Tree" as very significant. Although in retrospect, I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic. My first mentor called me E'lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them. But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant "to know." I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))
In Paris the cashiers sit rather than stand. They run your goods over a scanner, tally up the price, and then ask you for exact change. The story they give is that there aren't enough euros to go around. "The entire EU is short on coins." And I say, "Really?" because there are plenty of them in Germany. I'm never asked for exact change in Spain or Holland or Italy, so I think the real problem lies with the Parisian cashiers, who are, in a word, lazy. Here in Tokyo they're not just hard working but almost violently cheerful. Down at the Peacock, the change flows like tap water. The women behind the registers bow to you, and I don't mean that they lower their heads a little, the way you might if passing someone on the street. These cashiers press their hands together and bend from the waist. Then they say what sounds to me like "We, the people of this store, worship you as we might a god.
David Sedaris (When You Are Engulfed in Flames)
– But here is a question that is troubling me: if there is no God, then, one may ask, who governs human life and, in general, the whole order of things on earth? – Man governs it himself, – Homeless angrily hastened to reply to this admittedly none-too-clear question. – Pardon me, – the stranger responded gently, – but in order to govern, one needs, after all, to have a precise plan for a certain, at least somewhat decent, length of time. Allow me to ask you, then, how can man govern, if he is not only deprived of the opportunity of making a plan for at least some ridiculously short period, well, say, a thousand years , but cannot even vouch for his own tomorrow? And in fact, – here the stranger turned to Berlioz, – imagine that you, for instance, start governing, giving orders to others and yourself, generally, so to speak, acquire a taste for it, and suddenly you get ...hem ... hem ... lung cancer ... – here the foreigner smiled sweetly, and if the thought of lung cancer gave him pleasure — yes, cancer — narrowing his eyes like a cat, he repeated the sonorous word —and so your governing is over! You are no longer interested in anyone’s fate but your own. Your family starts lying to you. Feeling that something is wrong, you rush to learned doctors, then to quacks, and sometimes to fortune-tellers as well. Like the first, so the second and third are completely senseless, as you understand. And it all ends tragically: a man who still recently thought he was governing something, suddenly winds up lying motionless in a wooden box, and the people around him, seeing that the man lying there is no longer good for anything, burn him in an oven. And sometimes it’s worse still: the man has just decided to go to Kislovodsk – here the foreigner squinted at Berlioz – a trifling matter, it seems, but even this he cannot accomplish, because suddenly, no one knows why, he slips and falls under a tram-car! Are you going to say it was he who governed himself that way? Would it not be more correct to think that he was governed by someone else entirely?
Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita)
In itself, every idea is neutral, or should be; but man animates ideas, projects his flames and flaws into them; impure, transformed into beliefs, ideas take their place in time, take shape as events: the trajectory is complete, from logic to epilepsy . . . whence the birth of ideologies, doctrines, deadly games. Idolaters by instinct, we convert the objects of our dreams and our interests into the Unconditional. History is nothing but a procession of false Absolutes, a series of temples raised to pretexts, a degradation of the mind before the Improbable. Even when he turns from religion, man remains subject to it; depleting himself to create fake gods, he feverishly adopts them: his need for fiction, for mythology triumphs over evidence and absurdity alike.
Emil M. Cioran (A Short History of Decay)
...in all my writings I have always tried — how far successfully I know not — to advance the cause of Truth and Right and to induce my readers to put their trust in the love of God our Saviour, for this life as well as the life to come.
R.M. Ballantyne (Personal Reminiscences In Book Making: and Some Short Stories)
Write the following: "Private missive, from Lieutenant Master-Sergeant Field Quartermaster Pores, to Fist Kindly. Warmest salutations and congratulations on your promotion, sir. As one might observe from your advancement and, indeed, mine, cream doth rise, etc. In as much as I am ever delighted in corresponding with you, discussing all maner of subjects in all possible idioms, alas, this subject is rather more official in nature. In short, we are faced with a crisis of the highest order. Accordignly, I humbly seek your advice and would suggest we arrange a most private meeting at the earliest convenience. Yours affectionately, Pores." Got that, Himble?' 'Yes sir' 'Please read it back to me.' '"Pores to Kindly meet in secret when?"' 'Excellent, Dispatch at once, Himble
Steven Erikson (The Crippled God (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10))
But really, anybody could die any day, whether you were ready or not. It could be your pet fish or your sister or you. Nothing is the same forever. Maybe all the people on Earth are God's little pet fish. God lives such a long time that people's lives probably seem really short to him. He watches them swim for a little while, and then they stop swimming.
Suzanne LaFleur (Love, Aubrey)
You don't bless what you love...It's when you want to love and you can't manage it. You stretch out your hands and you say God forgive me that I can't love but bless this thing anyway...We have to bless what we hate...It would be better to love, but that's not always possible.
Graham Greene (Complete Short Stories)
God, is too complicated a concept to tweet about. As the Simpsons said: "Short answer 'No,' Long answer 'Yes,' with a 'But,
Patrick Stump
Demigods today. I blame social media for their short attention spans. When you can't even take the time to listen to a god hold forth, that's just sad.
Rick Riordan (The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2))
Someday I will stop being young and wanting stupid tattoos. There are 7 people in my house. We each have different genders. I cut my hair over the bathroom sink and everything I own has a hole in it. There is a banner in our living room that says “Love Cats Hate Capitalism.” We sit around the kitchen table and argue about the compost pile and Karl Marx and the necessity of violence when The Rev comes. Whatever the fuck The Rev means. Every time my best friend laughs I want to grab him by the shoulders and shout “Grow old with me and never kiss me on the mouth!” I want us to spend the next 80 years together eating Doritos and riding bikes. I want to be Oscar the Grouch. I want him and his girlfriend to be Bert and Ernie. I want us to live on Sesame Street and I will park my trash can on their front stoop and we will be friends every day. If I ever seem grouchy it’s just because I am a little afraid of all that fun. There is a river running through this city I know as well as my own name. It’s the first place I’ve ever called home. I don’t think its poetry to say I’m in love with the water. I don’t think it’s poetry to say I’m in love with the train tracks. I don’t think it’s blasphemy to say I see God in the skyline. There is always cold beer asking to be slurped on back porches. There are always crushed packs of Marlboro’s in my back pockets. I have been wearing the same patched-up shorts for 10 days. Someday I will stop being young and wanting stupid tattoos.
Clementine von Radics
[M]an cannot be wicked without being evil, nor evil without being degraded, nor degraded without being punished, nor punished without being guilty. In short … there is nothing so intrinsically plausible as the theory of original sin.
Joseph de Maistre (The Executioner)
We cannot find God without God. We cannot reach God without God. We cannot satisfy God without God—which is another way of saying that our seeking will always fall short unless God’s grace initiates the search and unless God’s call draws us to him and completes the search.
Os Guinness (The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life)
The coast's a jungle of Moors, Turks, Jews, renegades from all over Europe, sitting in palaces built from the sale of Christian slaves. There are twenty thousand men, women and children in the bagnios of Algiers alone. I am not going to make it twenty thousand and one because your mother didn't allow you to keep rabbits, or whatever is at the root of your unshakable fixation." "I had weasels instead," said Philippa shortly. "Good God," said Lymond, looking at her. "That explains a lot.
Dorothy Dunnett (Pawn in Frankincense (The Lymond Chronicles, #4))
Concerning the gods I cannot know either that they exist or that they do not exist, or what form they might have, for there is much to prevent one's knowing: the obscurity of the subject and the shortness of man's life.
Protagoras
When you come to look into this argument from design, it is a most astonishing thing that people can believe that this world, with all the things that are in it, with all its defects, should be the best that omnipotence and omniscience have been able to produce in millions of years. I really cannot believe it. Do you think that, if you were granted omnipotence and omniscience and millions of years in which to perfect your world, you could produce nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan or the Fascists? Moreover, if you accept the ordinary laws of science, you have to suppose that human life and life in general on this planet will die out in due course: it is a stage in the decay of the solar system; at a certain stage of decay you get the sort of conditions of temperature and so forth which are suitable to protoplasm, and there is life for a short time in the life of the whole solar system. You see in the moon the sort of thing to which the earth is tending -- something dead, cold, and lifeless.
Bertrand Russell
I love you sons of bitches. You’re all I read any more. You're the only ones who’ll talk all about the really terrific changes going on, the only ones crazy enough to know that life is a space voyage, and not a short one, either, but one that’ll last for billions of years. You’re the only ones with guts enough to really care about the future, who really notice what machines do to us, what wars do to us, what cities do to us, what big, simple ideas do to us, what tremendous misunderstanding, mistakes, accidents, catastrophes do to us. You're the only ones zany enough to agonize over time and distance without limit, over mysteries that will never die, over the fact that we are right now determining whether the space voyage for the next billion years or so is going to be Heaven or Hell.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater)
Scientists are slowly waking up to an inconvenient truth - the universe looks suspiciously like a fix. The issue concerns the very laws of nature themselves. For 40 years, physicists and cosmologists have been quietly collecting examples of all too convenient "coincidences" and special features in the underlying laws of the universe that seem to be necessary in order for life, and hence conscious beings, to exist. Change any one of them and the consequences would be lethal. Fred Hoyle, the distinguished cosmologist, once said it was as if "a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics". To see the problem, imagine playing God with the cosmos. Before you is a designer machine that lets you tinker with the basics of physics. Twiddle this knob and you make all electrons a bit lighter, twiddle that one and you make gravity a bit stronger, and so on. It happens that you need to set thirtysomething knobs to fully describe the world about us. The crucial point is that some of those metaphorical knobs must be tuned very precisely, or the universe would be sterile. Example: neutrons are just a tad heavier than protons. If it were the other way around, atoms couldn't exist, because all the protons in the universe would have decayed into neutrons shortly after the big bang. No protons, then no atomic nucleuses and no atoms. No atoms, no chemistry, no life. Like Baby Bear's porridge in the story of Goldilocks, the universe seems to be just right for life.
Paul C.W. Davies
I am what some would say 'holy, and wholly other than you.' The problem is that many folks try to grasp some sense of who I am by taking the best version of themselves, projecting that to the nth degree, factoring in all the goodness they can perceive, which often isn't much, and then call that God. And while it may seem like a noble effort, the truth is that it falls pitifully short of who I really am. I'm not merely the best version of you that you can think of. I am far more than that, above and beyond all that you can ask or think.
William Paul Young (The Shack)
It just wasn't fair. God made some people naturally skinny and some people naturally fat. I'd never know how my life would have been different if I'd been one of the ones He made skinny. I didn't know how He chose. This one will be blonde, with long thin legs and great skin. This one will be short and fat with legs that rub together when she walks. I just knew I wasn't one of the lucky ones.
Donna Cooner (Skinny)
There are moments when I dare not think of it, but there are others when I rise in spirit to where she ever dwells; then I can thank God that I love the noblest lady in the world, the most gracious and beautiful, and that there was nothing in my love that made her fall short in her high duty.
Anthony Hope (The Prisoner of Zenda (The Ruritania Trilogy, #2))
Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it. Your problem is, you just can't let this one go. It's over, Groceries. David's purpose was to shake you up, drive you out of that marriage that you needed to leave, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light could get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you had to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master and beat it. That was his job, and he did great, but now it's over. Problem is, you can't accept that this relationship had a real short shelf life. You're like a dog at the dump, baby - you're just lickin' at an empty tin can, trying to get more nutrition out of it. And if you're not careful, that can's gonna get stuck on your snout forever and make your life miserable. So drop it.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
To make matters worse, everyone she talks to has a different opinion about the nature of his problem and what she should do about it. Her clergyperson may tell her, “Love heals all difficulties. Give him your heart fully, and he will find the spirit of God.” Her therapist speaks a different language, saying, “He triggers strong reactions in you because he reminds you of your father, and you set things off in him because of his relationship with his mother. You each need to work on not pushing each other’s buttons.” A recovering alcoholic friend tells her, “He’s a rage addict. He controls you because he is terrified of his own fears. You need to get him into a twelve-step program.” Her brother may say to her, “He’s a good guy. I know he loses his temper with you sometimes—he does have a short fuse—but you’re no prize yourself with that mouth of yours. You two need to work it out, for the good of the children.” And then, to crown her increasing confusion, she may hear from her mother, or her child’s schoolteacher, or her best friend: “He’s mean and crazy, and he’ll never change. All he wants is to hurt you. Leave him now before he does something even worse.” All of these people are trying to help, and they are all talking about the same abuser. But he looks different from each angle of view.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
You thought you had the choice to stay still or move forward, but your didn't. As long as your heart kept pumping an your blood kept blowing and your lungs kept filling, you didn't. The pang she felt for Tibby carried something like envy. You couldn't stand still for anything short of death, and God knew she had tried.
Ann Brashares (Sisterhood Everlasting (Sisterhood, #5))
We are nearly always longing for an easy religion, easy to understand and easy to follow; a religion with no mystery, no insoluble problems,no snags; a religion that would allow us to escape from our miserable human condition; a religion in which contact with God spares us all strife, all uncertainty,all suffering and all doubt; in short, a religion without a cross
Paul Tournier
I know something of shame [...] How can we not all feel it? We are all small-minded people, creeping about the earth grubbing for our own advantage and making the very mistakes for which we want to humiliate our neighbors. [...] I think we wake up every day with high intentions and by dusk we have routinely fallen short. Sometimes I think God created the darkness just so he didn't have to look at us all the time.
Helen Simonson (Major Pettigrew's Last Stand)
What does somebody like you want? More power? More toys? More sex?" "All of the above. All the time." "Greedy bugger." "Kid, let me tell you something. Most people spend their short time in this world less than half alive. They wander through their days in a haze of responsibility and resentment. Something happens to them not long after they're born. They get conflicted about what they want and start worshipping the wrong gods. Should. Mercy. Equality. Altruism. There's nothing you should do. Do what you want. Mercy isn't Nature's way. She's an equal opportunity killer. We aren't born the same. Some are stronger, smarter, faster. Never apologize for it. Altruism is an impossible concept. There's no action you can make that doesn't spring from how you want to feel about yourself. Not greedy, Dani. Alive. And happy about it every single fucking day.
Karen Marie Moning (Iced (Fever, #6))
A God who could make good children as easily a bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave is angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice, and invented hell--mouths mercy, and invented hell--mouths Golden Rules and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people, and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man's acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites his poor abused slave to worship him!
Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger)
One day or one night—between my days and nights, what difference can there be?—I dreamed that there was a grain of sand on the floor of my cell. Unconcerned, I went back to sleep; I dreamed that I woke up and there were two grains of sand. Again I slept; I dreamed that now there were three. Thus the grains of sand multiplied, little by little, until they filled the cell and I was dying beneath that hemisphere of sand. I realized that I was dreaming; with a vast effort I woke myself. But waking up was useless—I was suffocated by the countless sand. Someone said to me: You have wakened not out of sleep, but into a prior dream, and that dream lies within another, and so on, to infinity, which is the number of the grains of sand. The path that you are to take is endless, and you will die before you have truly awakened. I felt lost. The sand crushed my mouth, but I cried out: I cannot be killed by sand that I dream —nor is there any such thing as a dream within a dream. — Jorge Luis Borges, The Writing of the God
Jorge Luis Borges (The Aleph and Other Stories)
Very often (nearly always, I'm afraid) when I come to church my feelings are uppermost in my mind. This is natural. We are human, we are "selves," and it takes no effort at all to feel. But worship is not feeling. Worship is not an experience. Worship is an act, and this takes discipline. We are to worship "in spirit and in truth." Never mind about the feelings. We are to worship in spite of them. Finding myself scattered in all directions and in need of corralling like so many skittish calves, I kneel before the service begins and ask to be delivered from a vague preoccupation with myself and my own concerns and to be turned, during this short hour, to God.
Elisabeth Elliot (Let Me Be a Woman)
God wants us to be stronger than we are--more fixed in our purpose, more certain of our commitments, eventually needing less coddling from Him, showing more willingness to shoulder some of the burden of His heavy load. In short, He wants us to be more like He is and, if you haven't noticed, some of us are not like that yet.
Jeffrey R. Holland (Created for Greater Things)
Either god exists or it doesn’t exist. If a god does exist, it either interacts with the universe in some detectable way or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, that god is indistinguishable from a non-existent god. That only leaves a god who interacts with the universe in some detectable way. But if science, which is the greatest realization of the use of our senses to, you know, detect things, hasn’t found this god, that doesn’t say much for individuals. In short, the god you’ve created is, in fact, undetectable by science. The limits of science are not the province of religious knowledge. Where science is ignorant, so is religion. The only difference is that religion lacks the integrity of science.
Matt Dillahunty
Age is real life is short. It's foolhardy to deny it. We grow up, our bodies grow frail, death is coming. There's so much I want to do! There's a whole world out there I havent seen, ppl I havent met and who havent know me. God, there 're a million books I want to read. I dont want to sleep... I want to be awake. This is my life - I want to live it
Mary Alice Monroe (The Book Club)
Christ, in short, asks us to give everything, all our false redemption in the lifeboat, all our false ideas about who God is, all our trust in something other than God to redeem us. In so doing, we die to our broken natures in exchange for His perfect nature, and find unification with Him that will allow God to see us as one.
Donald Miller (Searching for God Knows What)
I know a person who, though no poet, composed some verses in a very short time, which were full of feeling and admirably descriptive of her pain: they did not come from her understanding, but, in order the better to enjoy the bliss which came to her from such delectable pain, she complained of it to her God. She would have been so glad if she could have been cut to pieces, body and soul, to show what joy this pain caused her. What torments could have been set before her at such a time which she would not have found it delectable to endure for her Lord's sake?
Teresa de Jesús (The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by Herself)
He's gawking at me when I open the door. "Damn girl," he says, looking me over, "what the hell are you trying to do to me?" I look down at myself, still trying to wake up the rest of the way and realize I'm in those tiny cotton white shorts and varsity tee with no bra on underneath. Oh my God, my nipples are like beacons shining through my shirt! I cross my arms over my chest and try not to look at him i the eyes when he helps himself the rest of the way inside. "I was going to tell you to get dressed," he goes on, grinning as he walks into the room carrying his bags and the guitar, "but really, you can go just like that if you want." I shake my head, hiding the smile creeping up on my face.
J.A. Redmerski (The Edge of Never (The Edge of Never, #1))
You are not you--you have no body, no blood, no bones, you are but a thought. I myself have no existence; I am but a dream--your dream, a creature of your imagination. In a moment you will have realized this, then you will banish me from your visions and I shall dissolve into the nothingness out of which you made me. I am perishing already, I am failing, I am passing away. In a little while you will be alone in shoreless space, to wander its limitless solitudes without friend or comrade forever—for you will remain a thought, the only existent thought, and by your nature inextinguishable, indestructible. But I, your poor servant, have revealed you to yourself and set you free. Dream other dreams, and better! Strange! that you should not have suspected years ago—centuries, ages, eons, ago!—for you have existed, companionless, through all the eternities. Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that your universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction! Strange, because they are so frankly and hysterically insane—like all dreams: a God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave his angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice and invented hell—mouths mercy and invented hell—mouths Golden Rules, and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man's acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him! You perceive, now, that these things are all impossible except in a dream. You perceive that they are pure and puerile insanities, the silly creations of an imagination that is not conscious of its freaks—in a word, that they are a dream, and you the maker of it. The dream-marks are all present; you should have recognized them earlier. "It is true, that which I have revealed to you; there is no God, no universe, no human race, no earthly life, no heaven, no hell. It is all a dream—a grotesque and foolish dream. Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought—a vagrant thought, a useless thought, a homeless thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities!
Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger)
I believe that the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms on the grasslands of Africa gave us the model for all religions to follow. And when, after long centuries of slow forgetting, migration, and climatic change, the knowledge of the mystery was finally lost, we in our anguish traded partnership for dominance, traded harmony with nature for rape of nature, traded poetry for the sophistry of science. In short, we traded our birthright as partners in the drama of the living mind of the planet for the broken pot shards of history, warfare, neurosis, and-if we do not quickly awaken to our predicament-planetary catastrophe.
Terence McKenna (Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge)
I didn't really want to talk. I'd wanted him there, but I asn't sure why. Maybe just to have someone to drink with. Actually, that sounded pretty good at the moment. I sat on the seat of the chaise and he sat on the foot, and we just drank at each other for a while. After a few minutes, he leaned back against the railing, like maybe he wanted a backrest, and I shifted my feet over to make room. But I guess I didn't shift far enough, because a large, warm hand covered my right foot, adjusting it slightly. And then it just stayed there, like he'd forgotten to remove it. I looked at it. Pritkin's hands were oddly refined compared to the rest of him: strong but long fingered, with elegant bones and short-clipped nails. They always looked like they'd wandered off from some fine gentleman, one they'd probably like to get back to, because God knew they weren't getting a manicure while attached to him.
Karen Chance (Hunt the Moon (Cassandra Palmer, #5))
Rowdy, hopped-up college kids pass us in an endless, noisy blur like they're being mass produced or squeezed out of a tube - guys skulking in their T-shirts and cargo shorts, girls in low-slung jeans and flip-flops, pimples and breasts and tattoos and lipstick and legs and bra straps, and cigarettes; a colorful, sexy melange. I feel old and tired and I just want to be them again, want to be young and stupid, filled with angst and attitude and unbridled lust. Can I have a do-over, please? I swear to God I'll make a real go of it this time.
Jonathan Tropper (This is Where I Leave You)
A little lifting up of the heart suffices; a little remembrance of God, an interior act of adoration, even though made on the march and with sword in hand, are prayers which, short though they may be, are nevertheless very pleasing to God, and far from making a soldier lose his courage on the most dangerous occasions, bolster it. Let him then think of God as much as possible so that he will gradually become accustomed to this little but holy exercise; no one will notice it and nothing is easier than to repeat often during the day these little acts of interior adoration.
Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God)
Anyway, now she thinks of Estha and Rahel as Them, because, separately, the two of them are no longer what They were or ever thought They would be. Ever. Their lives have a size and a shape now. Estha has his and Rahel hers. Edges, Borders, Boundaries, Brinks and Limits have appeared like a team of trolls on their separate horizons. Short creatures with long shadows, patrolling the Blurry End. Gentle half-moons have gathered under their eyes and they are as old as Ammu was when she died.
Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)
Let's say that the consensus is that our species, being the higher primates, Homo Sapiens, has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years, maybe more. Francis Collins says maybe 100,000. Richard Dawkins thinks maybe a quarter-of-a-million. I'll take 100,000. In order to be a Christian, you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about 25 years, dying of their teeth. Famine, struggle, bitterness, war, suffering, misery, all of that for 98,000 years. Heaven watches this with complete indifference. And then 2000 years ago, thinks 'That's enough of that. It's time to intervene,' and the best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the Middle East. Don't lets appeal to the Chinese, for example, where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization. Let's go to the desert and have another revelation there. This is nonsense. It can't be believed by a thinking person. Why am I glad this is the case? To get to the point of the wrongness of Christianity, because I think the teachings of Christianity are immoral. The central one is the most immoral of all, and that is the one of vicarious redemption. You can throw your sins onto somebody else, vulgarly known as scapegoating. In fact, originating as scapegoating in the same area, the same desert. I can pay your debt if I love you. I can serve your term in prison if I love you very much. I can volunteer to do that. I can't take your sins away, because I can't abolish your responsibility, and I shouldn't offer to do so. Your responsibility has to stay with you. There's no vicarious redemption. There very probably, in fact, is no redemption at all. It's just a part of wish-thinking, and I don't think wish-thinking is good for people either. It even manages to pollute the central question, the word I just employed, the most important word of all: the word love, by making love compulsory, by saying you MUST love. You must love your neighbour as yourself, something you can't actually do. You'll always fall short, so you can always be found guilty. By saying you must love someone who you also must fear. That's to say a supreme being, an eternal father, someone of whom you must be afraid, but you must love him, too. If you fail in this duty, you're again a wretched sinner. This is not mentally or morally or intellectually healthy. And that brings me to the final objection - I'll condense it, Dr. Orlafsky - which is, this is a totalitarian system. If there was a God who could do these things and demand these things of us, and he was eternal and unchanging, we'd be living under a dictatorship from which there is no appeal, and one that can never change and one that knows our thoughts and can convict us of thought crime, and condemn us to eternal punishment for actions that we are condemned in advance to be taking. All this in the round, and I could say more, it's an excellent thing that we have absolutely no reason to believe any of it to be true.
Christopher Hitchens
By giving us control, our new technologies tend to enhance existing idols in our lives. Instead of becoming more like Christ through the forming and shaping influence of the church community, we form, and shape, and personalize our community to make it more like us. We take control of things that are not ours to control. Could it be that our desire for control is short-circuiting the process of change and transformation God wants us to experience through the mess of real world, flesh and blood, face-to-face relationships?
Tim Challies (The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion)
I had always thought that life was the actual thing, the natural thing, and that death was simply the end of living. Now, in this lifeless place, I saw with a terrible clarity that death was the constant, death was the base, and life was only a short, frgile dream. I was dead already. I had been born death, and what I thought was my life was just a game death let me play as it waited to take me. . . Death has an opposite, but the opposite is not mere living. It is not courage or faith or human will. The opposite of death is love. How had I missed that? How does anyone miss that? Love is our only weapon. Only love can turn mere life into a miracle, and draw precious meaning from suffering and fear. For a brief, magical moment, all my fears lifted, and I knew that I would not let death control me. I would walk through the godforsaken country that separated me from my home with love and hope in my heart. I wouuld walk until I had walked all the life out of me, and when I fell I would die that much closer to my father.
Nando Parrado (Miracle in the Andes)
A single word can brighten the face of one who knows the value of words. Ripened in silence, a single word acquires a great energy for work. War is cut short by a word, and a word heals the wounds, and there’s a word that changes poison into butter and honey. Let a word mature inside yourself. Withhold the unripened thought. Come and understand the kind of word that reduces money and riches to dust. Know when to speak a word and when not to speak at all. A single word turns the universe of hell into eight paradises. Follow the Way. Don’t be fooled by what you already know. Be watchful. Reflect before you speak. A foolish mouth can brand your soul. Yunus, say one last thing about the power of words – Only the word “I” divides me from God.
Yunus Emre
At this point I reveal myself in my true colours, as a stick-in-the-mud. I hold a number of beliefs that have been repudiated by the liveliest intellects of our time. I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven't changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must still try to learn from history. History is ourselves. I also hold one or two beliefs that are more difficult to put shortly. For example, I believe in courtesy, the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people's feelings by satisfying our own egos. And I think we should remember that we are part of a great whole. All living things are our brothers and sisters. Above all, I believe in the God-given genius of certain individuals, and I value a society that makes their existence possible.
Kenneth Clark (Civilisation)
Strange! that you should not have suspected years ago--centuries, ages, eons, ago!--for you have existed, companionless, through all the eternities. Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that your universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction! Strange, because they are so frankly and hysterically insane--like all dreams: a God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave his angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice and invented hell--mouths mercy and invented hell--mouths Golden Rules, and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man's acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him!
Mark Twain
We are like fruitflies, measuring everything in terms of our own lifespan. But since our lifespans are so short, our perspective is entirely wrong. God, who inhabits eternity, sees things differently. He knows that our lives are just a mist. We should trust Him. It was not that long ago that Jesus came and it will not be that long before He returns.
Douglas Wilson
You know this girl. Her hair is neither long nor short nor light nor dark. She parts it precisely in the middle. She sits precisely in the middle of the classroom, and when she used to ride the school bus, she sat precisely in the middle of that, too. She joins clubs, but is never the president of them. Sometimes she is the secretary; usually, just a member. When asked, she has been known to paints sets for the school play. She always has a date to the dance, but is never anyone’s first choice. In point of fact, she’s nobody’s first choice for anything. Her best friend became her best friend when another girl moved away. She has a group of girls she eats lunch with every day, but God, how they bore her. Sometimes, when she can’t stand it anymore, she eats in the library instead. Truth be told, she prefers books to people, and the librarian always seems happy to see her. She knows there are other people who have it worse—she isn’t poor or ugly or friendless or teased. Of course, she’s also aware that the reason no one teases is because no one ever notices her. This isn’t to say she doesn’t have qualities. She is pretty, maybe, if anyone would bother to look. And she gets good enough grades. And she doesn’t drink and drive. And she says NO to drugs. And she is always where she says she will be. And she calls when she’s going to be late. And she feels a little, just a little, dead inside. She thinks, You think you know me, but you don’t. She thinks, None of you has any idea about all the things in my heart. She thinks, None of you has any idea how really and truly beautiful I am. She thinks, See me. See me. See me. Sometimes she thinks she will scream. Sometimes she imagines sticking her head in an oven. But she doesn’t. She just writes it all down in her journal and waits. She is waiting for someone to see.
Gabrielle Zevin (Love Is Hell)
So Janie waited a bloom time, and a green time and an orange time. But when the pollen again gilded the sun and sifted down on the world she began to stand around the gate and expect things. What things? She didn't know exactly. Her breath was gusty and short. She knew things that nobody had ever told her. For instance, the words of the trees and the wind. She often spoke to falling seeds and said, 'Ah hope you fall on soft ground,' because she had heard seeds saying that to each other as they passed. She knew the world was a stallion rolling in the blue pasture of ether. She knew that God tore down the old world every evening and built a new one by sun-up. It was wonderful to see it take form with the sun and emerge from the gray dust of its making. The familiar people and things had failed her so she hung over the gate and looked up the road towards way off. She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie's first dream was dead, so she became a woman.
Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God)
In short, the Enlightenment privatized marriage, taking it out of the public sphere, and redefined its purpose as individual gratification, not any 'broader good' such as reflecting God's nature, producing character, or raising children. Slowly but surely, this newer understanding of the meaning of marriage has displaced the older ones in Western culture.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
As an inmate of a concentration camp, Corrie Ten Boom heard a commotion, and saw a short distance away a prison guard mercilessly beating a female prisoner. “What can we do for these people?” Corrie whispered. “Show them that love is greater,” Betsie replied. In that moment, Corrie realized her sister’s focus was on the prison guard, not the victim she was watching. Betsie saw the world through a different lens. She considered the actions of greatest moral gravity to be the ones we originate, not the ones we suffer.
Terryl L. Givens (The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life)
What more consolation can there be! A God-believing Hindu may expect to be reborn a king; a Muslim or a Christian might dream of the luxuries he hopes to enjoy in paradise as a reward for his sufferings and sacrifices. What hope should I entertain? I know that will be the end when the rope is tightened round my neck and the rafters move from under my feet. To use more precise religious terminology, that will be the moment of utter annihilation. My soul will come to nothing. If I take the courage to take the matter in the light of ‘Reward’, I see that a short life of struggle with no such magnificent end shall itself be my ‘Reward.’ That is all.
Bhagat Singh (Why I Am An Atheist: An Autobiographical Discourse)
Until I die there will be those moments, moments seeming to rise up out of the ground like Macbeth's witches, when his face will come before me, that face in all its changes, when the exact timbre of his voice and tricks of his speech will nearly burst my ears, when his smell will overpower my nostrils. Sometimes, in the days which are coming--God grant me the grace to live them-- in the glare of the grey morning, sour-mouthed, eyelids raw and red, hair tangled and damp from stormy sleep, facing, over coffee and cigarette smoke, last night's impenetrable, meaningless boy who will shortly rise and vanish like the smoke, I will see Giovanni again, as he was that night, so vivid, so winning, all of the light of that gloomy tunnel trapped around his head.
James Baldwin (Giovanni's Room)
She looked at them with shining eyes. Her chin went up. She said: "You regard it as impossible that a sinner should be struck down by the wrath of God! I do not!" The judge stroked his chin. He murmured in a slightly ironic voice: "My dear lady, in my experience of ill-doing, Providence leaves the work of conviction and chastisement to us mortals-and the process is often fraught with difficulties. There are no short cuts.
Agatha Christie (And Then There Were None)
...We always look for Christ amid magnificence. But ... Christ has a history of showing up amide the unlovely. Born in a dirty stall. Crowned with thorns. Died gasping on a shameful cross atop a jagged rise. We don't need to be beautiful for Christ to take us in. He is equally at home when we're broken-down and dirty. It's like George Herbert wrote: 'And here in dust and dirt, O here, The lilies of God's love appear.' We think magnificence is in short supply, that dust and dirt choke out the lilies. But that's not true and never was. Lilies may root in dirt, but they reach for heaven—and in the reaching, reveal their magnificence.
Philip Gulley (Home to Harmony (Harmony, #1))
If God wants something from me, he would tell me. He wouldn't leave someone else to do this, as if an infinite being were short on time. And he would certainly not leave fallible, sinful humans to deliver an endless plethora of confused and contradictory messages. God would deliver the message himself, directly, to each and every one of us, and with such clarity as the most brilliant being in the universe could accomplish. We would all hear him out and shout "Eureka!" So obvious and well-demonstrated would his message be. It would be spoken to each of us in exactly those terms we would understand. And we would all agree on what that message was.
Richard C. Carrier (Why I Am Not a Christian: Four Conclusive Reasons to Reject the Faith)
Her religious poetry was surprisingly slender, and as I was eager to know more about her religion, I asked her about this aspect of her poetry. She replied with these lines from Keats' Ode to a Grecian Urn: 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty'--that is all Ye know on eath, and all ye need to know'. Do not ask me to immortalise the great Mystery of Life. I am just a humble worker. For beauty, look to the Pslams, to Isaiah, to St. John of the Cross. How could my poor pen scan such verse? For truth, look to the Gospels-- four short accounts of God made Man. There is nothing more to say.
Jennifer Worth (The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times)
I saw a banner hanging next to city hall in downtown Philadelphia that read, "Kill them all, and let God sort them out." A bumper sticker read, "God will judge evildoers; we just have to get them to him." I saw a T-shirt on a soldier that said, "US Air Force... we don't die; we just go to hell to regroup." Others were less dramatic- red, white, and blue billboards saying, "God bless our troops." "God Bless America" became a marketing strategy. One store hung an ad in their window that said, "God bless America--$1 burgers." Patriotism was everywhere, including in our altars and church buildings. In the aftermath of September 11th, most Christian bookstores had a section with books on the event, calendars, devotionals, buttons, all decorated in the colors of America, draped in stars and stripes, and sprinkled with golden eagles. This burst of nationalism reveals the deep longing we all have for community, a natural thirst for intimacy... September 11th shattered the self-sufficient, autonomous individual, and we saw a country of broken fragile people who longed for community- for people to cry with, be angry with, to suffer with. People did not want to be alone in their sorrow, rage, and fear. But what happened after September 11th broke my heart. Conservative Christians rallies around the drums of war. Liberal Christian took to the streets. The cross was smothered by the flag and trampled under the feet of angry protesters. The church community was lost, so the many hungry seekers found community in the civic religion of American patriotism. People were hurting and crying out for healing, for salvation in the best sense of the word, as in the salve with which you dress a wound. A people longing for a savior placed their faith in the fragile hands of human logic and military strength, which have always let us down. They have always fallen short of the glory of God. ...The tragedy of the church's reaction to September 11th is not that we rallied around the families in New York and D.C. but that our love simply reflected the borders and allegiances of the world. We mourned the deaths of each soldier, as we should, but we did not feel the same anger and pain for each Iraqi death, or for the folks abused in the Abu Ghraib prison incident. We got farther and farther from Jesus' vision, which extends beyond our rational love and the boundaries we have established. There is no doubt that we must mourn those lives on September 11th. We must mourn the lives of the soldiers. But with the same passion and outrage, we must mourn the lives of every Iraqi who is lost. They are just as precious, no more, no less. In our rebirth, every life lost in Iraq is just as tragic as a life lost in New York or D.C. And the lives of the thirty thousand children who die of starvation each day is like six September 11ths every single day, a silent tsunami that happens every week.
Shane Claiborne (The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical)
Somethings worth having defy logic. They come with obstacles, challenges, battles and long periods of wandering in the dark. Your path won't make sense to your family or friends. People will weigh in with their life rules and fears, but in the end it is your life. That pull you feel is real and often your intuition. It nags at you everyday. Follow it for as far as it takes you because life is too short to dwell on indecision, while you forget to live. Take a chance because if you have a good heart God isn't going to abandon you. He will travel wherever you need to go, in order to find the missing pieces of your soul.
Shannon L. Alder
Xhex couldn't stop herself from torturing them both. She sent him a mental scene, drilling the image right into his head : the two of them in a private bathroom, him up on the sink and leaning back, her with one foot planted on the counter, his sex deep in hers, the two of them panting. While he stared accross the crowded room, John's mouth parted, and the flush on his cheeks had nothing to do with embarrassment and everything to do with the orgasm that was no doubt pounding up his shaft. God, she wanted him. His buddy, the readhead, snapped her out of the madness. Blaylock came back to the table with three beers hanging from their necks, and as he took a look at John's hard, sexep-up face, he stopped short and glanced over at her in surprise. Shit. Xhex waved off the bouncers who were coming up to her and walked out of the VIP section so fast, she nearly bowling-pinned a waitress. Her office was the only place that was safe, and she headed there at a dead run.
J.R. Ward (Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #7))
You know about the Mother Goddess - the first female god, a fat woman with a lion on one side and a child between her legs. She was the first god of humankind. Do you know why than ancient people of Anatolia chose her as their god? Because men were not aware of their roles as impregnators. They thought that it was the wind, the rain, the rivers, in short, nature, that impregnated women. And this was not at all a strange idea at the time. People viewed themselves as part of nature. They thought birth was magic, a miracle.
Ahmet Ümit (Patasana)
Evil then consists not in being created but in the rebellious idolatry by which humans worship and honour elements of the natural world rather than the God who made them. The result is that the cosmos is out of joint. Instead of humans being God's wise vice-regents over creation, they ignore the creator and try to worship something less demanding, something that will give them a short-term fix of power or pleasure.
N.T. Wright (Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church)
God wills our liberation, our exodus from Egypt. God wills our reconciliation, our return from exile. God wills our enlightenment, our seeing. God wills our forgiveness, our release from sin and guilt. God wills that we see ourselves as God’s beloved. God wills our resurrection, our passage from death to life. God wills for us food and drink that satisfy our hunger and thirst. God wills, comprehensively, our well-being—not just my well-being as an individual but the well-being of all of us and of the whole of creation. In short, God wills our salvation, our healing, here on earth. The Christian life is about participating in the salvation of God.
Marcus J. Borg (The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith)
is a broken man an outlaw?" "More or less." Brienne answered. Septon Meribald disagreed. "More less than more. There are many sorts of outlaws, just as there are many sorts of birds. A sandpiper and a sea eagle both have wings, but they are not the same. The singers love to sing of good men forced to go outside the law to fight some wicked lord, but most outlaws are more like this ravening Hound than they are the lightning lord. They are evil men, driven by greed, soured by malice, despising the gods and caring only for themselves. Broken men are more deserving of our pity, though they may be just as dangerous. Almost all are common-born, simple folk who had never been more than a mile from the house where they were born until the day some lord came round to take them off to war. Poorly shod and poorly clad, they march away beneath his banners, ofttimes with no better arms than a sickle or a sharpened hoe, or a maul they made themselves by lashing a stone to a stick with strips of hide. Brothers march with brothers, sons with fathers, friends with friends. They've heard the songs and stories, so they go off with eager hearts, dreaming of the wonders they will see, of the wealth and glory they will win. War seems a fine adventure, the greatest most of them will ever know. "Then they get a taste of battle. "For some, that one taste is enough to break them. Others go on for years, until they lose count of all the battles they have fought in, but even a man who has survived a hundred fights can break in his hundred-and-first. Brothers watch their brothers die, fathers lose their sons, friends see their friends trying to hold their entrails in after they've been gutted by an axe. "They see the lord who led them there cut down, and some other lord shouts that they are his now. They take a wound, and when that's still half-healed they take another. There is never enough to eat, their shoes fall to pieces from the marching, their clothes are torn and rotting, and half of them are shitting in their breeches from drinking bad water. "If they want new boots or a warmer cloak or maybe a rusted iron halfhelm, they need to take them from a corpse, and before long they are stealing from the living too, from the smallfolk whose lands they're fighting in, men very like the men they used to be. They slaughter their sheep and steal their chicken's, and from there it's just a short step to carrying off their daughters too. And one day they look around and realize all their friends and kin are gone, that they are fighting beside strangers beneath a banner that they hardly recognize. They don't know where they are or how to get back home and the lord they're fighting for does not know their names, yet here he comes, shouting for them to form up, to make a line with their spears and scythes and sharpened hoes, to stand their ground. And the knights come down on them, faceless men clad all in steel, and the iron thunder of their charge seems to fill the world... "And the man breaks. "He turns and runs, or crawls off afterward over the corpses of the slain, or steals away in the black of night, and he finds someplace to hide. All thought of home is gone by then, and kings and lords and gods mean less to him than a haunch of spoiled meat that will let him live another day, or a skin of bad wine that might drown his fear for a few hours. The broken man lives from day to day, from meal to meal, more beast than man. Lady Brienne is not wrong. In times like these, the traveler must beware of broken men, and fear them...but he should pity them as well
George R.R. Martin
The simplistic way of not conforming is to see what is in style in our culture and then do the opposite. If short hair is in vogue, the nonconformist wears long hair. If going to the movies is popular, then Christians avoid movies as “worldly.” The extreme case of this may be seen in groups that refuse to wear buttons or use electricity because such things, too, are worldly. A superficial style of nonconformity is the classical pharisaical trap. The kingdom of God is not about buttons, movies, or dancing. The concern of God is not focused on what we eat or what we drink. The call of nonconformity is a call to a deeper level of righteousness, that goes beyond externals. When piety is defined exclusively in terms of externals, the whole point of the apostle’s teaching has been lost. Somehow we have failed to hear Jesus’ words that it is not what goes into a person’s mouth that deflies a person, but what comes out of that mouth. We still want to make the kingdom a matter of eating and drinking.
R.C. Sproul (The Holiness of God)
A Short Testament Whatever harm I may have done In all my life in all your wide creation If I cannot repair it I beg you to repair it, And then there are all the wounded The poor the deaf the lonely and the old Whom I have roughly dismissed As if I were not one of them. Where I have wronged them by it And cannot make amends I ask you To comfort them to overflowing, And where there are lives I may have withered around me, Or lives of strangers far or near That I've destroyed in blind complicity, And if I cannot find them Or have no way to serve them, Remember them. I beg you to remember them When winter is over And all your unimaginable promises Burst into song on death's bare branches.
Anne Porter (Living Things: Collected Poems)
Begin. Keep on beginning. Nibble on everything. Take a hike. Teach yourself to whistle. Lie. The older you get the more they'll want your stories. Make them up. Talk to stones. Short-out electric fences. Swim with the sea turtle into the moon. Learn how to die. Eat moonshine pie. Drink wild geranium tea. Run naked in the rain. Everything that happens will happen and none of us will be safe from it. Pull up anchors. Sit close to the god of night. Lie still in a stream and breathe water. Climb to the top of the highest tree until you come to the branch where the blue heron sleeps. Eat poems for breakfast. Wear them on your forehead. Lick the mountain's bare shoulder. Measure the color of days around your mother's death. Put your hands over your face and listen to what they tell you.
Ellen Kort
The future of the world no longer disturbs me; I do not try still to calculate, with anguish, how long or how short a time the Roman peace will endure; I leave that to the Gods. Not that I have acquired more confidence in their justice, which is not our justice, or more faith in human wisdom; the contrary is true. Life is atrocious, we know. But precisely because I expect little of the human condition, man's periods of felicity, his partial progress, his efforts to begin over again and to continue, all seem to me like so many prodigies which nearly compensate for monstrous mass of ills and defeats, of indifference and error. Catastrophe and ruin will come; disorder will triumph, but order will too, from time to time. Peace will again establish itself between two periods and there regain the meaning which we have tried to give them. Not all our books will perish, nor our statues, if broken, lie unrepaired; other domes and pediments will rise from our domes and pediments; some few men will think and work and feel as we have done, and I venture to count upon such continuators, placed irregularly throughout the centuries, and upon this kind of intermittent immortality.
Marguerite Yourcenar
Ancient Egypt, like that of the Olmecs (Bolivia), emerged all at once and fully formed. Indeed, the period of transition from primitive to advanced society appears to have been so short that it makes no kind of historical sense. Technological skills that should have taken hundreds or even thousands of years to evolve were brought into use almost overnight-- and with no apparent antecedents whatever. For example, remains from the pre-dynastic period around 3500 BC show no trace of writing. Soon after that date, quite suddenly and inexplicably, the hieroglyphs familiar from so many of the ruins of Ancient Egypt begin to appear in a complete and perfect state. Far from being mere pictures of objects or actions, this written language was complex and structured at the outset, with signs that represented sounds only and a detailed system of numerical symbols. Even the very earliest hieroglyphs were stylized and conventionalized; and it is clear that an advanced cursive script was it common usage by the dawn of the First Dynasty.
Graham Hancock (Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization)
I happened to see Larry King interview Billy Graham shortly after the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. I had read an article the previous month about violent video games and their effects on the minds of children, desensitizing them to the act of killing. Larry King asked Billy Graham what was wrong with the world, and how such a thing as Columbine could happen. I knew, because Billy Graham was an educated man, he had read the same article I had read, and I began calculating his answer for him, that violence begets violence, and that we live in a culture desensitized to the beauty of human life and the sanctity of creation. But Billy Graham did not blame video games. Billy Graham looked Larry King in the eye and said, 'Thousands of years ago, a young couple lived in a garden called Eden, and God placed a tree in the Garden and told them not to eat from the tree...' And I knew in my soul he was right.
Donald Miller (Searching for God Knows What)
Until i die there will be these moments, moments seeming to rise up out of the ground like Macbeth's witches, when his face will come before me, that face in all its changes, when the exact timbre of his voice and tricks of his speech will nearly burst my ears, when his smell will overpower my nostrils. Sometimes, in the days which are coming--God grant me the grace to live them--in the glare of the grey morning, sour-mouthed, eyelids raw and red, hair tangled and damp from my stormy sleep, facing, over coffee and cigarette smoke, last night's impenetrable, meaningless boy who will shortly rise and vanish like the smoke, I will see Giovanni again, as he was that night, so vivid, so winning, all of the light of that gloomy tunnel trapped around his head.
James Baldwin
It needs more than ever to be stressed that the best and truest educators are parents under God. The greatest school is the family. In learning, no act of teaching in any school or university compares to the routine task of mothers in teaching a babe who speaks no language the mother tongue in so short a time. No other task in education is equal to this. The moral training of the children, the discipline of good habits, is an inheritance from the parents to the children which surpasses all other. The family is the first and basic school of man.
Rousas John Rushdoony (The Institutes of Biblical Law, Volume 1 of 3)
There is no need to ”believe” in Jupiter or Wotan—something that is no more ridiculous then believing in Yahweh however—to be pagan. Contemporary paganism does not consist of erecting altars to Apollo or reviving the worship of Odin. Instead it implies looking behind religion and, according to a now classic itinerary, seeking for the “mental equipment” that produced it, the inner world it reflects, and how the world it depicts as apprehended. In short, it consists of viewing the gods as “centers of value” and the beliefs they generate as value systems: gods and beliefs may pass away, but the values remain.
Alain de Benoist (On Being A Pagan)
Nothing belongs to itself anymore. These trees are yours because you once looked at them. These streets are yours because you once traversed them. These coffee shops and bookshops, these cafés and bars, their sole owner is you. They gave themselves so willingly, surrendering to your perfume. You sang with the birds and they stopped to listen to you. You smiled at the sheepish stars and they fell into your hair. The sun and moon, the sea and mountain, they have all left from heartbreak. Nothing belongs to itself anymore. You once spoke to Him, and then God became yours. He sits with us in darkness now to plot how to make you ours.” K.K.
Kamand Kojouri
Call the world, if you please, "the Vale of Soul Making". Then you will find out the use of the world.... There may be intelligences or sparks of the divinity in millions -- but they are not Souls till they acquire identities, till each one is personally itself. Intelligences are atoms of perception -- they know and they see and they are pure, in short they are God. How then are Souls to be made? How then are these sparks which are God to have identity given them -- so as ever to possess a bliss peculiar to each one's individual existence. How, but in the medium of a world like this? This point I sincerely wish to consider, because I think it a grander system of salvation than the Christian religion -- or rather it is a system of Spirit Creation... I can scarcely express what I but dimly perceive -- and yet I think I perceive it -- that you may judge the more clearly I will put it in the most homely form possible. I will call the world a school instituted for the purpose of teaching little children to read. I will call the human heart the hornbook used in that school. And I will call the child able to read, the soul made from that school and its hornbook. Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul? A place where the heart must feel and suffer in a thousand diverse ways.... As various as the lives of men are -- so various become their souls, and thus does God make individual beings, souls, identical souls of the sparks of his own essence. This appears to me a faint sketch of a system of salvation which does not affront our reason and humanity...
John Keats
40. The gods either have power or they have not. If they have not, why pray to them? If they have, then instead of praying to be granted or spared such-and-such a thing, why not rather pray to be delivered from dreading it, or lusting for it, or grieving over it? Clearly, if they can help a man at all, they can help him in this way. You will say, perhaps, ‘But all that is something they have put in my own power.’ Then surely it were better to use your power and be a free man, than to hanker like a slave and a beggar for something that is not in your power. Besides, who told you the gods never lend their aid even towards things that do lie in our own power? Begin praying in this way, and you will see. Where another man prays ‘Grant that I may possess this woman,’ let your own prayer be, ‘Grant that I may not lust to possess her.’ Where he prays, ‘Grant me to be rid of such-and-such a one,’ you pray, ‘Take from me my desire to be rid of him.’ Where he begs, ‘Spare me the loss of my precious child,’ beg rather to be delivered from the terror of losing him. In short, give your petitions a turn in this direction, and see what comes.
Marcus Aurelius
Grace is the first ingredient necessary for growing up in the image of God. Grace is unbroken, uninterrupted, unearned, accepting relationship. It is the kind of relationship humanity had with God in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were loved and provided for. They knew God’s truth, and they had perfect freedom to do God’s will. In short, they were secure; they had no shame and anxiety. They could be who they truly were. Perhaps you have experienced this kind of love and grace with someone. You can be exactly who you are. You do not need to hide your thoughts or feelings; you do not need to perform; you do not need to do anything to be loved. Someone knows the real you, and loves you anyway.
Henry Cloud (Changes That Heal: The Four Shifts That Make Everything Better…And That Everyone Can Do)
A dam inside my own heart opened up, and the feelings of heaviness and unease lifted like wind against the winter sky. I loved him. I loved his slow wit and his gruff demeanor and his tender disposition. I loved his endless empathy and his world-weary cynicism and his innocence. I loved that he was a walking, breathing paradox. I loved his lank hair and his iron earring and the tooth missing at the back of his mouth. I loved the way he laughed, music incomparable to any song, and the way he smiled, like you could see the child in him and the animal in him and the man in him all at once. I loved that he listened to crappy music, the kind that made me want to put my head through a wall, and I loved the charcoal stains on his knuckles and the pencils he tucked behind his ears. I loved that he told me to shut up as though I could actually say anything. I loved that he made me feel as though I could. I loved his short fingers and his rough palms and his long legs and his flat belly. I loved that he liked to read Kerouac but didn't know how to pronounce Kerouac. I loved his brown skin and his blue tattoos and his tempestuous blue eyes. I loved that he loved the land. I loved him. I loved him. Oh, God. I loved him.
Rose Christo (Looks Over (Gives Light, #2))
Then he's here, emerging from the water like some kind of myth, some fabled Ai'oan god, his hand smoothing his wet hair back from his face, his chest and shoulders gleaming with water and moonlight. Behind him, a pale shimmering trail of blue light marks his passage through the water. His wet shorts hang a bit lower on his hips than they usually do, tempting my imagination. He extends the flower, which I take with trembling fingers. (...) He smiles a small, crooked smile, and I think he knows exactly how tightly he's bound my tongue in knots. I suspect fetching me the passionflower was only half his purpose in swimming through the glowing pool.
Jessica Khoury (Origin (Corpus, #1))
Henry liked to put to himself when he was a schoolboy: what are the chances of this particular fish, from that shoal, off that continental shelf ending up in the pages of this copy of the Daily Mirror? Something just short of infinity to one. Similarly, the grains of sand on a beach, arranged just so. The random ordering of the world, the unimaginable odds against any particular condition, still please him. Even as a child, and especially after Aberfan, he never believed in fate or providence, or the future being made by someone in the sky. Instead, at every instant, a trillion trillion possible futures; the pickiness of pure chance and physical laws seemed like freedom from the scheming of a gloomy god.
Ian McEwan (Saturday)
I remember clearly the deaths of three men. One was the richest man of the century, who, having clawed his way to wealth through the souls and bodies of men, spent many years trying to buy back the love he had forfeited and by that process performed great service to the world and, perhaps, had much more than balanced the evils of his rise. I was on a ship when he died. The news was posted on the bulletin board, and nearly everyone recieved the news with pleasure. Several said, "Thank God that son of a bitch is dead." Then there was a man, smart as Satan, who, lacking some perception of human dignity and knowing all too well every aspect of human weakness and wickedness, used his special knowledge to warp men, to buy men, to bribe and threaten and seduce until he found himself in a position of great power. He clothed his motives in the names of virtue, and I have wondered whether he ever knew that no gift will ever buy back a man's love when you have removed his self-love. A bribed man can only hate his briber. When this man died the nation rang with praise... There was a third man, who perhaps made many errors in performance but whose effective life was devoted to making men brave and dignified and good in a time when they were poor and frightened and when ugly forces were loose in the world to utilize their fears. This man was hated by few. When he died the people burst into tears in the streets and their minds wailed, "What can we do now?" How can we go on without him?" In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, mo matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror....we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
These are the three stages of enlightenment, the three glimpses of satori. 1. The first stage enlightenment: A Glimpse of the Whole The first stage of enlightenment is short glimpse from faraway of the whole. It is a short glimpse of being. The first stage of enlightenment is when, for the first time, for a single moment the mind is not functioning. The ordinary ego is still present at the first stage of enlightenment, but you experience for a short while that there is something beyond the ego. There is a gap, a silence and emptiness, where there is not thought between you and existence. You and existence meet and merge for a moment. And for the first time the seed, the thirst and longing, for enlightenment, the meeting between you and existence, will grow in your heart. 2. The second stage of enlightenment: Silence, Relaxation, Togetherness, Inner Being The second stage of enlightenment is a new order, a harmony, from within, which comes from the inner being. It is the quality of freedom. The inner chaos has disappeared and a new silence, relaxation and togetherness has arisen. Your own wisdom from within has arisen. A subtle ego is still present in the second stage of enlightenment. The Hindus has three names for the ego: 1. Ahamkar, which is the ordinary ego. 2. Asmita, which is the quality of Am-ness, of no ego. It is a very silent ego, not aggreessive, but it is still a subtle ego. 3. Atma, the third word is Atma, when the Am-ness is also lost. This is what Buddha callas no-self, pure being. In the second stage of enlightenment you become capable of being in the inner being, in the gap, in the meditative quality within, in the silence and emptiness. For hours, for days, you can remain in the gap, in utter aloneness, in God. Still you need effort to remain in the gap, and if you drop the effort, the gap will disappear. Love, meditation and prayer becomes the way to increase the effort in the search for God. Then the second stage becomes a more conscious effort. Now you know the way, you now the direction. 3. The third stage of enlightenment: Ocean, Wholeness, No-self, Pure being At the third stage of enlightenment, at the third step of Satori, our individual river flowing silently, suddenly reaches to the Ocean and becomes one with the Ocean. At the third Satori, the ego is lost, and there is Atma, pure being. You are, but without any boundaries. The river has become the Ocean, the Whole. It has become a vast emptiness, just like the pure sky. The third stage of enlightenment happens when you have become capable of finding the inner being, the meditative quality within, the gap, the inner silence and emptiness, so that it becomes a natural quality. You can find the gap whenever you want. This is what tantra callas Mahamudra, the great orgasm, what Buddha calls Nirvana, what Lao Tzu calls Tao and what Jesus calls the kingdom of God. You have found the door to God. You have come home.
Swami Dhyan Giten
If I were Satan and wanted to destroy a society, I think I would stage a full blown blitz on its women. I would keep them so distraught and distracted that they would never find the calming strength and serenity for which their sex has always been known. He has effectively done that, catching us in the crunch of trying to be superhuman instead of realistically striving to reach our indiviual purpose and unique God-given potential within such diversity. He tauntingly teases us that if we don't have it all- fame, fortune, families, and fun- and have it every minute all the time, we have been short changed; we are second class citizens in the race of life. You'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to get these messages in today's world, and as a sex we are struggling, and our society struggles. Drugs, teenage pregnancies, divorce, family violence, and suicide are some of the every-increasing side effecs of our collective life in the express lane.
Patricia T. Holland (A Quiet Heart)
When it comes to the Civil War, all of our popular understanding, our popular history and culture, our great films, the subtext of our arguments are in defiance of its painful truths. It is not a mistake that Gone with the Wind is one of the most read works of American literature or that The Birth of a Nation is the most revered touchstone of all American film. Both emerge from a need for palliatives and painkillers, an escape from the truth of those five short years in which 750,000 American soldiers were killed, more than all American soldiers killed in all other American wars combined, in a war declared for the cause of expanding "African slavery." That war was inaugurated not reluctantly, but lustily, by men who believed property in humans to be the cornerstone of civilization, to be an edict of God, and so delivered their own children to his maw. And when that war was done, the now-defeated God lived on, honored through the human sacrifice of lynching and racist pogroms. The history breaks the myth. And so the history is ignored, and fictions are weaved into our art and politics that dress villainy in martyrdom and transform banditry into chivalry, and so strong are these fictions that their emblem, the stars and bars, darkens front porches and state capitol buildings across the land to this day.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy)
At the end of that class Demian said to me thoughtfully: "There’s something I don’t like about this story, Sinclair. Why don’t you read it once more and give it the acid test? There’s something about it that doesn’t taste right. I mean the business with the two thieves. The three crosses standing next to each other on the hill are almost impressive, to be sure. But now comes this sentimental little treatise about the good thief. At first he was a thorough scoundrel, had committed all those awful things and God knows what else, and now he dissolves in tears and celebrates such a tearful feast of self-improvement and remorse! What’s the sense of repenting if you’re two steps from the grave? I ask you. Once again, it’s nothing but a priest’s fairy tale, saccharine and dishonest, touched up with sentimentality and given a high edifying background. If you had to pick a friend from between the two thieves or decide which one you’d rather trust, you most certainly wouldn’t choose the sniveling convert. No, the other fellow, he’s a man of character. He doesn’t give a hoot for ‘conversion’, which to a man in his position can’t be anything but a pretty speech. He follows his destiny to it’s appointed end and does not turn coward and forswear the devil, who has aided and abetted him until then. He has character, and people with character tend to receive the short end of the stick in biblical stories. Perhaps he’s even a descendant of Cain. Don’t you agree?" I was dismayed. Until now I had felt completely at home in the story of the Crucifixion. Now I saw for the first time with how little individuality, with how little power of imagination I had listened to it and read it. Still, Demian’s new concept seemed vaguely sinister and threatened to topple beliefs on whose continued existence I felt I simply had to insist. No, one could not make light of everything, especially not of the most Sacred matters. As usual he noticed my resistance even before I had said anything. "I know," he said in a resigned tone of voice, "it’s the same old story: don’t take these stories seriously! But I have to tell you something: this is one of the very places that reveals the poverty of this religion most distinctly. The point is that this God of both Old and New Testaments is certainly an extraordinary figure but not what he purports to represent. He is all that is good, noble, fatherly, beautiful, elevated, sentimental—true! But the world consists of something else besides. And what is left over is ascribed to the devil, this entire slice of world, this entire half is hushed up. In exactly the same way they praise God as the father of all life but simply refuse to say a word about our sexual life on which it’s all based, describing it whenever possible as sinful, the work of the devil. I have no objection to worshiping this God Jehovah, far from it. But I mean we ought to consider everything sacred, the entire world, not merely this artificially separated half! Thus alongside the divine service we should also have a service for the devil. I feel that would be right. Otherwise you must create for yourself a God that contains the devil too and in front of which you needn’t close your eyes when the most natural things in the world take place.
Hermann Hesse (Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend)
The questions of God – meaning in Milton’s phrase “The god who hung the stars like lamps in heaven” – I don’t think psychedelics can address that definitively, but there is another god, a goddess, the goddess of biology, the goddess of the coherent animal human world, the world of the oceans, the atmosphere, and the planet. In short, our world! The world that we were born into, that we evolved into, and that we came from. That world, the psychedelics want to connect us up to… Our individuality, as people and as a species, is an illusion of bad language that the psychedelics dissolve into the greater feeling of connectedness that underlies our being here, and to my mind that’s the religious impulse. It’s not a laundry list of moral dos and don’ts, or a set of dietary prescriptions or practices: it’s a sense of connectedness, responsibility for our fellow human beings and for the earth you walking around on, and because these psychedelics come out of that plant vegetable matrix they are the way back into it.
Terence McKenna
Must you say things like that in public, for God's sake?" "What do you mean?" He lowered his voice to a hiss. "Remember yesterday at the inn? My 'pistol' is making an appearance, thanks to you." She glanced down at his trousers, which only made them bulge more obviously. Then she lifted a mischievous gaze to his face. "Whatever will you do, now that you're in this...state?" "Conjugate Latin," he said tersely. "Think of England. Think of anything but you and me doing--Bloody hell, there it goes again, and we're nearly to Rotten Row." He stopped short and stepped behind a bench with a high back that sat near the river. She stood next to him, pretty as the proverbial picture, her eyes dropping to his trousers with virginal curiosity. "Would you stop looking at me there? he growled. "You're not helping." She laughed. "You're the one who started it by trying to seduce me with words. Serves you right if you have to suffer for it." -Giles and Minerva
Sabrina Jeffries (How to Woo a Reluctant Lady (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #3))
The soul was not made to run on empty. But the soul doesn’t come with a gauge. The indicators of soul-fatigue are more subtle: • Things seem to bother you more than they should. Your spouse’s gum-chewing suddenly reveals to you a massive character flaw. • It’s hard to make up your mind about even a simple decision. • Impulses to eat or drink or spend or crave are harder to resist than they otherwise would be. • You are more likely to favor short-term gains in ways that leave you with high long-term costs. Israel ended up worshiping a golden calf simply because they grew tired of having to wait on Moses and God. • Your judgment is suffering. • You have less courage. “Fatigue makes cowards of us all” is a quote so ubiquitious that it has been attributed to General Patton and Vince Lombardi and Shakespeare. The same disciples who fled in fear when Jesus was crucified eventually sacrificed their lives for him. What changed was not their bodies, but their souls.
John Ortberg (Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You)
Christians must show that misery fits the good for heaven, while happiness prepares the bad for hell; that the wicked get all their good things in this life, and the good all their evil; that in this world God punishes the people he loves, and in the next, the ones he hates; that happiness makes us bad here, but not in heaven; that pain makes us good here, but not in hell. No matter how absurd these things may appear to the carnal mind, they must be preached and they must be believed. If they were reasonable, there would be no virtue in believing. Even the publicans and sinners believe reasonable things. To believe without evidence, or in spite of it, is accounted as righteousness to the sincere and humble christian. In short, Christians are expected to denounce all pleasant paths and rustling trees, to curse the grass and flowers, and glorify the dust and weeds. They are expected to malign the wicked people in the green and happy fields, who sit and laugh beside the gurgling springs or climb the hills and wander as they will. They are expected to point out the dangers of freedom, the safety of implicit obedience, and to show the wickedness of philosophy, the goodness of faith, the immorality of science and the purity of ignorance.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
Souls, like rays of light, exist in perfect, parallel equality, always. But for when infinitely short a time they pass through the rough and delaying mechanism of life, they separate and disentangle, encountering different obstacles, traveling at different rates, like light refracted by the friction of things in its path. Emerging on the other side, they run together once more, in perfection. For the short and difficult span when confounded by matter and time they are made unequal, they try to bind together as they always were and eventually will be. The impulse to do so is called love. The extend to which they exceed is called justice. And the energy lost in the effort is called sacriface. On the infinite scale of things, this life is to a spark what a spark is to all the time man can imagine, but still, like a sudden rapids or bend in the river, it is that to which the eye of God may be drawn from time to time out of interest in happenstance.
Mark Helprin (In Sunlight and in Shadow)
Thus Milton refines the question down to a matter of faith," said Coleridge, bringing the lecture to a close, "and a kind of faith more independent, autonomous - more truly strong, as a matter of fact - than the Puritans really sought. Faith, he tells us, is not an exotic bloom to be laboriously maintained by the exclusion of most aspects of the day to day world, nor a useful delusion to be supported by sophistries and half-truths like a child's belief in Father Christmas - not, in short, a prudently unregarded adherence to a constructed creed; but rather must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God. This is why religion can only be advice and clarification, and cannot carry any spurs of enforcement - for only belief and behavior that is independently arrived at, and then chosen, can be praised or blamed. This being the case, it can be seen as a criminal abridgement of a person's rights willfully to keep him in ignorance of any facts - no piece can be judged inadmissible, for the more stones, both bright and dark, that are added to the mosaic, the clearer is our picture of God.
Tim Powers (The Anubis Gates)
I believe in Free Will, the Force Almighty by which we conduct ourselves as if we were the sons and daughters of a just and wise God, even if there is no such Supreme Being. And by free will, we can choose to do good on this earth, no matter that we all die, and do not know where we go when we die, or if a justice or explanation awaits us. I believe that we can, through our reason, know what good is, and in the communion of men and women, in which the forgiveness of wrongs will always be more significant than the avenging of them, and that in the beautiful natural world that surrounds us, we represent the best and the finest of beings, for we alone can see that natural beauty, appreciate it, learn from it, weep for it, and seek to conserve it and protect it. I believe finally that we are the only true moral force in the physical world, the makers of, ethics and moral ideas, and that we must be as good as the gods we created in the past to guide us. I believe that through our finest efforts, we will succeed finally in creating heaven on earth, and we do it every time that we love, every time that we embrace, every time that we commit to create rather than destroy, every time that we place life over death, and the natural over what is unnatural, insofar as we are able to define it. And I suppose I do believe in the final analysis that a peace of mind can be obtained in the face of the worst horrors and the worst losses. It can be obtained by faith in change and in will and in accident and by faith in ourselves, that we will do the right thing, more often than not, in the face of adversity. For ours is the power and the glory, because we are capable of visions and ideas which are ultimately stronger and more enduring than we are. That is my credo. That is my belief, for what it's worth, and it sustains me. And if I were to die right now, I wouldn't be afraid. Because I can't believe that horror or chaos awaits us. If any revelation awaits us at all, it must be as good as our ideals and our philosophy. For surely nature must embrace the visible and the invisible, and it couldn't fall short of us. The thing that makes the flowers open and the snowflakes fall must contain a wisdom and a final secret as intricate and beautiful as the blooming camellia or the clouds gathering above, so white and so pure in the blackness. If that isn't so, then we are in the grip of a staggering irony. And all the spooks of hell might as well dance. There could be a devil. People who burn other people to death are fine. There could be anything. But the world is simply to beautiful for that. At least it seems that way to me.
Anne Rice (The Witching Hour (Lives of the Mayfair Witches, #1))
perhaps that’s what it’s for – self-confidence and courage and energy and peace – perhaps it’s to be used in the world. Perhaps there’s only one thing to do with it: spend it. I’m always super-conscious of how whenever I go out into the world, whenever I get involved in a relationship, my idea of who I think I am utterly collides with the reality of who I actually am. And I continue to go out even though who I am always comes up short. I always prove myself to be less generous, less charming, less considerate, not as bold or energetic or intelligent or courageous as I imagined in my solitude. And I’m always being insulted, or snubbed, or disappointed. And I’m never in my pyjamas. And yet, in some way, maybe this is better. Each of us in this room could suffer the pangs of withdrawal and gain the serenity of the non-smoker. We could be demi-gods in our little castles, all alone, but perhaps, at heart, none of us here wants that. Maybe the only cure for self-confidence and courage is humility. Maybe we go out in order to fall short... because we want to learn how to be good at being people... and moreover, because we want to be people.
Sheila Heti
God will not be tolerated. He instructs us to worship and fear Him. In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him. Because we don’t often think about the reality of who God is, we quickly forget that He is worthy to be worshiped and loved. We are to fear Him. The answer to each of these questions is simply this: because He’s God. He has more of a right to ask us why so many people are starving. As much as we want God to explain himself to us, His creation, we are in no place to demand that He give an account to us. Can you worship a God who isn’t obligated to explain His actions to you? Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation? If God is truly the greatest good on this earth, would He be loving us if He didn’t draw us toward what is best for us (even if that happens to be Himself)? Doesn’t His courting, luring, pushing, calling, and even “threatening” demonstrate His love? If He didn’t do all of that, wouldn’t we accuse Him of being unloving in the end, when all things are revealed? Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life? Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on the things of this world? Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. Jesus’ call to commitment is clear: He wants all or nothing. Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. If life is a river, then pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream. When we stop swimming, or actively following Him, we automatically begin to be swept downstream. How could we think for even a second that something on this puny little earth compares to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior of it all? True faith means holding nothing back; it bets everything on the hope of eternity. When you are truly in love, you go to great lengths to be with the one you love. You’ll drive for hours to be together, even if it’s only for a short while. You don’t mind staying up late to talk. Walking in the rain is romantic, not annoying. You’ll willingly spend a small fortune on the one you’re crazy about. When you are apart from each other, it’s painful, even miserable. He or she is all you think about; you jump at any chance to be together. There is nothing better than giving up everything and stepping into a passionate love relationship with God, the God of the universe who made galaxies, leaves, laughter, and me and you. Do you recognize the foolishness of seeking fulfillment outside of Him? Are you ready and willing to make yourself nothing? To take the very nature of a servant? To be obedient unto death? True love requires sacrifice. What are you doing right now that requires faith? God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. If one person “wastes” away his day by spending hours connecting with God, and the other person believes he is too busy or has better things to do than worship the Creator and Sustainer, who is the crazy one? Am I loving my neighbor and my God by living where I live, by driving what I drive, by talking how I talk?” If I stop pursuing Christ, I am letting our relationship deteriorate. The way we live out our days is the way we will live our lives. What will people say about your life in heaven? Will people speak of God’s work and glory through you? And even more important, how will you answer the King when He says, “What did you do with what I gave you?
Francis Chan (Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)
How great indeed is our debt to [Joseph Smith]. His life began in Vermont and ended in Illinois, and marvelous were the things that happened between that simple beginning and that tragic ending. It was he who brought us a true knowledge of God the Eternal Father and His Risen Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. During the short time of his great vision he learned more concerning the nature of Deity than all of those who through centuries had argued that matter in learned councils and scholarly forums. He brought us this marvelous book, the Book of Mormon, as another witness for the living reality of the Son of God. To him, from those who held it anciently, came the priesthood, the power, the gift, the authority, the keys to speak and act in the name of God. He gave us the organization of the Church and its great and sacred mission. Through him were restored the keys of the holy temples, that men and women might enter into eternal covenants with God, and that the great work for the dead might be accomplished. . . . "He was the instrument in the hands of the Almighty.
Gordon B. Hinckley
Wisdom is really the key to wealth. With great wisdom, comes great wealth and success. Rather than pursuing wealth, pursue wisdom. The aggressive pursuit of wealth can lead to disappointment. Wisdom is defined as the quality of having experience, and being able to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting. Wisdom is basically the practical application of knowledge. Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs. Become completely focused on one subject and study the subject for a long period of time. Don't skip around from one subject to the next. The problem is generally not money. Jesus taught that the problem was attachment to possessions and dependence on money rather than dependence on God. Those who love people, acquire wealth so they can give generously. After all, money feeds, shelters, and clothes people. They key is to work extremely hard for a short period of time (1-5 years), create abundant wealth, and then make money work hard for you through wise investments that yield a passive income for life. Don't let the opinions of the average man sway you. Dream, and he thinks you're crazy. Succeed, and he thinks you're lucky. Acquire wealth, and he thinks you're greedy. Pay no attention. He simply doesn't understand. Failure is success if we learn from it. Continuing failure eventually leads to success. Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly. Whenever you pursue a goal, it should be with complete focus. This means no interruptions. Only when one loves his career and is skilled at it can he truly succeed. Never rush into an investment without prior research and deliberation. With preferred shares, investors are guaranteed a dividend forever, while common stocks have variable dividends. Some regions with very low or no income taxes include the following: Nevada, Texas, Wyoming, Delaware, South Dakota, Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Panama, San Marino, Seychelles, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Curaçao, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Monaco, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Bermuda, Kuwait, Oman, Andorra, Cayman Islands, Belize, Vanuatu, and Campione d'Italia. There is only one God who is infinite and supreme above all things. Do not replace that infinite one with finite idols. As frustrated as you may feel due to your life circumstances, do not vent it by cursing God or unnecessarily uttering his name. Greed leads to poverty. Greed inclines people to act impulsively in hopes of gaining more. The benefit of giving to the poor is so great that a beggar is actually doing the giver a favor by allowing the person to give. The more I give away, the more that comes back. Earn as much as you can. Save as much as you can. Invest as much as you can. Give as much as you can.
H.W. Charles (The Money Code: Become a Millionaire With the Ancient Jewish Code)
But he wanted to smile. He would have done, if he'd been able. Surely that had to be the most important thing. The jabbing at his leg stopped for a bit, then started up again. Then there was a lovely, short pause, and then- Damn, that hurt. But not enough to cry out. Although he might have moaned. He wasn't sure. They'd poured hot water on him. Lots of it. He wondered if they were trying to poach his leg. Boiled meat. How terribly British of them. He chuckled. He was funny. Who knew he was so funny? "Oh, my God!" he heard Honoria yell. "What did I do to him?" He laughed some more. Because she sounded ridiculous.Almost as if she were speaking through a foghorn.Oooorrrrhhhh myyy Grrrrrrrrrd. He wondered if she could hear it,too. Wait a moment..Honoria was asking what she'd done to him?Did that mean she was wielding the scissors now?He wasn't sure how he ought to feel about this. On the other hand...boiled meat! He laughed again,deciding he didn't care.God,he was funny.How was it possible no one had ever told him he was funny before?
Julia Quinn (Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet #1))
I can hear myself whining again 'Why does God torture me?' - But anybody who's never had a delirium tremens even in their early stages may not understand that it's not so much a physical pain but a mental anguish indescribable to those ignorant people who don't drink and accuse drinkers of irresponsibility - The mental anguish is so intense that you feel you have betrayed your very birth, the efforts nay the birth pangs of your mother when she bore you and delivered you to the world, you've betrayed every effort your father ever made to feed you and raise you and make you strong and my God even 'educate' you for life, you feel a guilt so deep you identify yourself with the devil and God seems far away abandoning you to your sick silliness - You feel sick in the greatest sense of the world, breathing without believing it, sicksicksick, your soul groans, you look at your helpless hands as tho they were on fire and you can't move to help, you look at the world with dead eyes, there's on your face an expression of incalculable repining like a constipated angel on a cloud - In fact it's actually a cancerous look you throw on the world, through browngray wool fuds over your eyes - Your tongue is white and disgusting, your teeth are stained, your hair seems to have dried out overnight, there are huge mucks in the corners of your eyes, greases on your nose, froth at the sides of your moth: in short that very disgusting and well-known hideousness everybody knows who's walked past a city street drunk in the Boweries of the world
Jack Kerouac (Big Sur)
Superstition is the need to view the world in terms of simple cause and effect. As I have already said, religious fundamentalism was on the rise, but that is not the type of superstition I am referring to. The superstition that held sway at the time was a belief in simple causes. Even the plainest of events is tied down by a thick tangle of permutation and possibility, but the human mind struggles with such complexity. In times of trouble, when the belief in simple gods breaks down, a cult of conspiracy arises. So it was back then. Unable to attribute misfortune to chance, unable to accept their ultimate insignificance within the greater scheme, the people looked for monsters in their midst. The more the media peddled fear, the more the people lost the ability to believe in one another. For every new ill that befell them, the media created an explanation, and the explanation always had a face and a name. The people came to fear even their closest neighbors. At the level of the individual, the community, and the nation, people sought signs of others’ ill intentions; and everywhere they looked, they found them, for this is what looking does. This was the true challenge the people of this time faced. The challenge of trusting one another. And they fell short
Bernard Beckett
Side by side with the human race there runs another race of beings, the inhuman ones, the race of artists who, goaded by unknown impulses, take the lifeless mass of humanity and by the fever and ferment with which they imbue it turn this soggy dough into bread and the bread into wine and the wine into song. Out of the dead compost and the inert slag they breed a song that contaminates. I see this other race of individuals ransacking the universe, turning everything upside down, their feet always moving in blood and tears, their hands always empty, always clutching and grasping for the beyond, for the god out of reach: slaying everything within reach in order to quiet the monster that gnaws at their vitals. I see that when they tear their hair with the effort to comprehend, to seize this forever unattainable, I see that when they bellow like crazed beasts and rip and gore, I see that this is right, that there is no other path to pursue. A man who belongs to this race must stand up on the high place with gibberish in his mouth and rip out his entrails. It is right and just, because he must! And anything that falls short of this frightening spectacle, anything less shuddering, less terrifying, less mad, less intoxicated, less contaminating, is not art. The rest is counterfeit. The rest is human. The rest belongs to life and lifelessness.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
I've been thinking about this mouth all day" he said before covering my lips with his. I licked at his bottom lip and he opened for me, letting me leisurely taste him. The gentle pressure of his mouth was perfect and made me a little dizzy. His fingers slip up my thigh until both hands were gripping my butt. One of his fingers traced the edge of my panties. "I really like this skirt," he murmured against my lips. I really liked it too at the moment. My breath was coming in short gasps as he slid one hand inside the edge of my panties. He gripped my bare butt with one hand while he slid his other slowly back down my thigh and shifted closer to my inner thigh. I liked what his next move would be. What I didn't know was if I was going to let it go that far. Then he moaned into my mouth as his fingers touched the inside of my thigh and my leg fell open of its own accord. The slow, easy kiss became frenzied as we both fought to calm our breathing. His hand inched higher and higher up my exposed thigh. The second his finger grazed the outside of my panties, I jerked in his hold, and something very close to pleading squeaked in my throat. Sawyer pulled back, and his accelerated breathing made me tingle with pleasure. I loved knowing I did that to him. He kissed down my neck until he met the curve of my shoulder. He went very still. His warm breath bathed my chest and neck. His hand slowly moved again. One lone finger slipped inside the edge of my panties and made direct contact. He murmured something against my neck, but I couldn't focus enough to understand. My brain was in a foggy haze, and my heart was about to pound out of my chest. The urge to move against the hand, which now cupped the crotch of my panties, was strong. But I waited while he eased his finger farther inside and gently ran it along the folds. "oh, oh, oh my god," I managed to get out in a breathless chant. "God, you're so warm," he whispered in a strained voice as he began kissing the spot where he had buried his head in my neck. When he slipped his other hand over my leg and pulled it farther open then reached down and pulled my panties to the side as he gently stroked me, I started to come apart in his arms. "That's it, baby," he encouraged me as I clung to him, calling his name and wanting it to never end.
Abbi Glines (The Vincent Brothers (The Vincent Boys, #2))
Ruby and Aaron are both crazy patient; they’re good parents.” “I could be a good dad,” Ivan whispered, still feeding Jess. I could have told him he’d be good at anything he wanted to be good at, but nah. “Do you want to have kids?” he asked me out of the blue. I handed Benny another block. “A long time from now, maybe.” “A long time… like how long?” That had me glancing at Ivan over my shoulder. He had his entire attention on Jessie, and I was pretty sure he was smiling down at her. Huh. “My early thirties, maybe? I don’t know. I might be okay with not having any either. I haven’t really thought about it much, except for knowing I don’t want to have them any time soon, you know what I mean?” “Because of figure skating?” “Why else? I barely have enough time now. I couldn’t imagine trying to train and have kids. My baby daddy would have to be a rich, stay-at-home dad for that to work.” Ivan wrinkled his nose at my niece. “There are at least ten skaters I know with kids.” I rolled my eyes and poked Benny in the side when he held out his little hand for another block. That got me a toothy grin. “I’m not saying it’s impossible. I just wouldn’t want to do it any time soon. I don’t want to half-ass or regret it. If they ever exist, I’d want them to be my priority. I wouldn’t want them to think they were second best.” Because I knew what that felt like. And I’d already screwed up enough with making grown adults I loved think they weren’t important. If I was going to do something, I wanted to do my best and give it everything. All he said was, “Hmm.” A thought came into my head and made my stomach churn. “Why? Are you planning on having kids any time soon?” “I wasn’t,” he answered immediately. “I like this baby though, and that one. Maybe I need to think about it.” I frowned, the feeling in my stomach getting more intense. He kept blabbing. “I could start training my kids really young…. I could coach them. Hmm.” It was my turn to wrinkle my nose. “Three hours with two kids and now you want them?” Ivan glanced down at me with a smirk. “With the right person. I’m not going to have them with just anybody and dilute my blood.” I rolled my eyes at this idiot, still ignoring that weird feeling in my belly that I wasn’t going to acknowledge now or ever. “God forbid, you have kids with someone that’s not perfect. Dumbass.” “Right?” He snorted, looking down at the baby before glancing back at me with a smile I wasn’t a fan of. “They might come out short, with mean, squinty, little eyes, a big mouth, heavy bones, and a bad attitude.” I blinked. “I hope you get abducted by aliens.” Ivan laughed, and the sound of it made me smile. “You would miss me.” All I said, while shrugging was, “Meh. I know I’d get to see you again someday—” He smiled. “—in hell.” That wiped the look right off his face. “I’m a good person. People like me.” “Because they don’t know you. If they did, somebody would have kicked your ass already.” “They’d try,” he countered, and I couldn’t help but laugh. There was something wrong with us. And I didn’t hate it. Not even a little bit.
Mariana Zapata (From Lukov with Love)
These are among the people I've tried to know twice, the second time in memory and language. Through them, myself. They are what I've become, in ways I don't understand but which I believe will accrue to a rounded truth, a second life for me as well as them. Cracking jokes in the mandatory American manner of people self-concious about death. This is the humor of violent surprise. How do you connect things? Learn their names. It was a strange conversation, full of hedged remarks and obscure undercurrents, perfect in its way. I was not a happy runner. I did it to stay interested in my body, to stay informed, and to set up clear lines of endeavor, a standard to meet, a limit to stay within. I was just enough of a puritan to think there must be some virtue in rigorous things, although I was careful not to overdo it. I never wore the clothes. the shorts, tank top, high socks. Just running shoes and a lightweight shirt and jeans. I ran disguised as an ordinary person. -When are you two going to have children? -We're our own children. In novels lately the only real love, the unconditional love I ever come across is what people feel for animals. Dolphins, bears, wolves, canaries. I would avoid people, stop drinking. There was a beggar with a Panasonic. This is what love comes down to, things that happen and what we say about them. But nothing mattered so much on this second reading as a number of spirited misspellings. I found these mangled words exhilarating. He'd made them new again, made me see how they worked, what they really were. They were ancient things, secret, reshapable.The only safety is in details. Hardship makes the world obscure. How else could men love themselves but in memory, knowing what they know? The world has become self-referring. You know this. This thing has seeped into the texture of the world. The world for thousands of years was our escape, was our refuge. Men hid from themselves in the world. We hid from God or death. The world was where we lived, the self was where we went mad and died. But now the world has made a self of its own.
Don DeLillo (The Names)
There was an old Taoist who lived in a village in ancient China, named Master Hu. Hu loved God and God loved Hu, and whatever God did was fine with Hu, and whatever Hu did was fine with God. They were friends. They were such good friends that they kidded around. Hu would do stuff to God like call him "The Great Clod." That's how he kidded. That was fine with God. God would turn around and do stuff to Hu like give him warts on his face, wens on his head, arthritis in his hands, a hunch in his back, canker sores in his mouth and gout in his feet. That's how He kidded. That God. What a kidder! But it was fine with Hu. Master Hu grew lumpy as a toad; he grew crooked as cherry wood; he became a human pretzel. "You Clod!" he'd shout at God, laughing. That was fine with God. He'd send Hu a right leg ten inches shorter than the left to show He was listening. And Hu would laugh some more and walk around in little circles, showing off his short leg, saying to the villagers, "Haha! See how the Great Clod listens! How lumpy and crookedy and ugly He is making me! He makes me laugh and laugh! That's what a Friend is for!" And the people of the village would look at him and wag their heads: sure enough, old Hu looked like an owl's nest; he looked like a swamp; he looked like something the dog rolled in. And he winked at his people and looked up at God and shouted, "Hey Clod! What next?" And splot! Out popped a fresh wart. The people wagged their heads till their tongues wagged too. They said, "Poor Master Hu has gone crazy." And maybe he had. Maybe God sent down craziness along with the warts and wens and hunch and gout. What did Hu care? It was fine with him. He loved God and God loved Hu, and Hu was the crookedest, ugliest, happiest old man in all the empire till the day he whispered, Hey Clod! What now? and God took his line in hand and drew him right into Himself. That was fine with Hu. That's what a Friend is for.
David James Duncan (The River Why)
Long black hair and deep clean blue eyes and skin pale white and lips blood red she's small and thin and worn and damaged. She is standing there. What are you doing here? I was taking a walk and I saw you and I followed you. What do you want. I want you to stop. I breathe hard, stare hard, tense and coiled. There is still more tree for me to destroy I want that fucking tree. She smiles and she steps towards me, toward toward toward me, and she opens he r arms and I'm breathing hard staring hard tense and coiled she puts her arms around me with one hand not he back of my head and she pulls me into her arms and she holds me and she speaks. It's okay. I breathe hard, close my eyes, let myself be held. It's okay. Her voice calms me and her arms warm me and her smell lightens me and I can feel her heart beat and my heart slows and I stop shaking an the Fury melts into her safety an she holds me and she says. Okay. Okay. Okay. Something else comes and it makes me feel weak and scared and fragile and I don't want to be hurt and this feeling is the feeling I have when I know I can be hurt and hurt deeper and more terribly than anything physical and I always fight it and control it and stop it but her voice calms me and her arms warm me and her smell lightens me and I can feel her heart beat and if she let me go right now I would fall and the need and confusion and fear and regret and horror and shame and weakness and fragility are exposed to the soft strength of her open arms and her simple word okay and I start to cry. I start to cry. I want to cry. It comes in waves. THe waves roll deep and from deep the deep within me and I hold her and she holds me tighter and i let her and I let it and I let this and I have not felt this way this vulnerability or allowed myself to feel this way this vulnerability since I was ten years old and I don't know why I haven't and I don't know why I am now and I only know that I am and that it is scary terrifying frightening worse and better than anything I've ever felt crying in her arms just crying in her ams just crying. She guides me to the ground, but she doesn't let me go. THe Gates are open and thirteen years of addiction, violence, hell and their accompaniments are manifesting themselves in dense tears and heavy sobs and a shortness of breath and a profound sense of loss. THe loss inhabits, fills and overwhelms me. It is the loss of a childhood of being a Teeenager of normalcy of happiness of love of trust anon reason of God of Family of friends of future of potential of dignity of humanity of sanity f myself of everything everything everything. I lost everything and I am lost reduced to a mass of mourning, sadness, grief, anguish and heartache. I am lost. I have lost. Everything. Everything. It's wet and Lilly cradles me like a broken Child. My face and her shoulder and her shirt and her hair are wet with my tears. I slow down and I start to breathe slowly and deeply and her hair smells clean and I open my eyes because I want to see it an it is all that I can see. It is jet black almost blue and radiant with moisture. I want to touch it and I reach with one of my hands and I run my hand from the crown along her neck and her back to the base of her rib and it is a thin perfect sheer and I let it slowly drop from the tips of my fingers and when it is gone I miss it. I do it again and again and she lets me do it and she doesn't speak she just cradles me because I am broken. I am broken. Broken. THere is noise and voices and Lilly pulls me in tighter and tighter and I know I pull her in tighter and tighter and I can feel her heart beating and I know she can feel my heart beating and they are speaking our hearts are speaking a language wordless old unknowable and true and we're pulling and holding and the noise is closer and the voices louder and Lilly whispers. You're okay. You're okay. You're okay.
James Frey
TJ frowns; she can’t write about willing wind and water in the official report. Voicing elements is a rumor. However, she remembers what her grandmother said five decades ago when she was a child; (it was shortly after the war): “Anyone who trains hard can be a Grade A by the time they’re forty or fifty. But it takes decades more to become strong enough to voice one element.” “One element?” TJ asked. “Do you want to voice the entire universe then?” “Can’t I?” Grandmother didn’t answer, not directly anyway, as most great masters do. They never say you can’t do this or no one can do that or that thing is impossible just because they couldn’t do it, or because they hadn’t found it yet. True masters answer differently. Wisely. Like her grandmother answered that day. “Do you know why we evolve, Tirity?” “Because we’re supposed to?” TJ replied. “Yes. It’s in the grand design. We’re ‘supposed to’ evolve. Not just in body, but also in mind,” she said. “In time. You see, time is the key. If given infinite time, you can evolve your mind infinitely. But we live only for a hundred years or so.” “A hundred years is ‘only’?” “You’re so young, Tirity! But yes, it is little for a complete cognitive evolution. Most hard trainers can prolong it to a couple of hundred years. They even get to call the wind or grow a giant plant that could touch the clouds. But voicing everything in the universe? I think only God can do it, the God who created everything with only words. And if God created the world so that he could see how far the humans can evolve, then I’d say, yes, even a human could get godly power. Godlier than voicing one or two elements. If. Given. The. Time.” “How much time?” “More than thousands of years, maybe. Could even need millions, who knows? …” TJ smiles drily; she remembers how her eyes sparkled at the thought of becoming a goddess who could voice everything. She dreamed of flying in the air or walking in space. She thought of making her own garden full of giant flowers where only enormous butterflies would dance. Some days, when she played video games in VR, she even dreamed of voicing the thunder and lightning to join her wooden sword. She thought time could help her do it. But she didn’t know then, time only makes you grow up. Time steals your dreams. Time only turns you into an adult.
Misba (The High Auction (Wisdom Revolution, #1))
Your grandparents are English?" "Grandfather is,but Grandmere is French. And my other grandparents are American,of course." "Wow.You really are a mutt." St. Clair smiles. "I'm told I take after my English grandfather the most, but it's only because of the accent." "I don't know.I think of you as more English than anything else.And you don't just sound like it,you look like it,too." "I do?" He surprised. I smile. "Yeah,it's that...pasty complexion. I mean it in the best possible way," I add,at his alarmed expression. "Honestly." "Huh." St. Clair looks at me sideways. "Anyway.Last summer I couldn't bear to face my father, so it was the first time I spent the whole holiday with me mum." "And how was it? I bet the girls don't tease you about your accent anymore." He laughs. "No,they don't.But I can't help my height.I'll always be short." "And I'll always be a freak,just like my dad. Everyone tells me I take after him.He's sort of...neat,like me." He seems genuinely surprised. "What's wrong with being neat? I wish I were more organized.And,Anna,I've never met your father,but I guarantee you that you're nothing like him." "How would you know?" "Well,for one thing,he looks like a Ken doll.And you're beautiful." I trip and fall down on the sidewalk. "Are you all right?" His eyes fill with worry. I look away as he takes my hand and helps me up. "I'm fine.Fine!" I say, brushing the grit from my palms. Oh my God, I AM a freak. "You've seen the way men look at you,right?" he continues. "If they're looking, it's because I keep making a fool of myself." I hold up my scraped hands. "That guy over there is checking you out right now." "Wha-?" I turn to find a young man with long dark hair staring. "Why is he looking at me?" "I expect he likes what he sees." I flush,and he keeps talking. "In Paris, it's common to acknowledge someone attractive.The French don't avert their gaze like other cultures do. Haven't you noticed?" St. Clair thinks I'm attractive. He called me beautiful. "Um,no," I say. "I hadn't noticed." "Well.Open your eyes." But I stare at the bare tree branches, at the children with balloons, at the Japanese tour group. Anywhere but at him. We've stopped in front of Notre-Dame again.I point at the familiar star and clear my throat. "Wanna make another wish?" "You go first." He's watching me, puzzled, like he's trying to figure something out. He bites his thumbnail. This time I can't help it.All day long, I've thought about it.Him.Our secret. I wish St. Clair would spend the night again.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
My Darling, It is late at night and though the words are coming hard to me, I can’t escape the feeling that it’s time that I finally answer your question. Of course I forgive you. I forgive you now, and I forgave you the moment I read your letter. In my heart, I had no other choice. Leaving you once was hard enough; to have done it a second time would have been impossible. I loved you too much to have let you go again. Though I’m still grieving over what might have been, I find myself thankful that you came into my life for even a short period of time. In the beginning, I’d assumed that we were somehow brought together to help you through your time of grief. Yet now, one year later, I’ve come to believe that it was the other way around. Ironically, I am in the same position you were, the first time we met. As I write, I am struggling with the ghost of someone I loved and lost. I now understand more fully the difficulties you were going through, and I realize how painful it must have been for you to move on. Sometimes my grief is overwhelming, and even though I understand that we will never see each other again, there is a part of me that wants to hold on to you forever. It would be easy for me to do that because loving someone else might diminish my memories of you. Yet, this is the paradox: Even though I miss you greatly, it’s because of you that I don’t dread the future. Because you were able to fall in love with me, you have given me hope, my darling. You taught me that it’s possible to move forward in life, no matter how terrible your grief. And in your own way, you’ve made me believe that true love cannot be denied. Right now, I don’t think I’m ready, but this is my choice. Do not blame yourself. Because of you, I am hopeful that there will come a day when my sadness is replaced by something beautiful. Because of you, I have the strength to go on. I don’t know if spirits do indeed roam the world, but even if they do, I will sense your presence everywhere. When I listen to the ocean, it will be your whispers; when I see a dazzling sunset, it will be your image in the sky. You are not gone forever, no matter who comes into my life. you are standing with God, alongside my soul, helping to guide me toward a future that I cannot predict. This is not a good-bye, my darling, this is a thank-you. Thank you for coming into my life and giving me joy, thank you for loving me and receiving my love in return. Thank you for the memories I will cherish forever. But most of all, thank you for showing me that there will come a time when I can eventually let you go. I love you
Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle)
Leaders instill courage in the hearts of those who follow. This rarely happens through words alone. It generally requires action. It goes back to what we said earlier: Somebody has to go first. By going first, the leader furnishes confidence to those who follow. As a next generation leader, you will be called upon to go first. That will require courage. But in stepping out you will give the gift of courage to those who are watching. What do I believe is impossible to do in my field, but if it could be done would fundamentally change my business? What has been done is safe. But to attempt a solution to a problem that plagues an entire industry - in my case, the local church - requires courage. Unsolved problems are gateways to the future. To those who have the courage to ask the question and the tenacity to hang on until they discover or create an answer belongs the future. Don’t allow the many good opportunities to divert your attention from the one opportunity that has the greatest potential. Learn to say no. There will always be more opportunities than there is time to pursue them. Leaders worth following are willing to face and embrace current reality regardless of how discouraging or embarrassing it might be. It is impossible to generate sustained growth or progress if your plan for the future is not rooted in reality. Be willing to face the truth regardless of how painful it might be. If fear causes you to retreat from your dreams, you will never give the world anything new. it is impossible to lead without a dream. When leaders are no longer willing to dream, it is only a short time before followers are unwilling to follow. Will I allow my fear to bind me to mediocrity? Uncertainty is a permanent part of the leadership landscape. It never goes away. Where there is no uncertainty, there is no longer the need for leadership. The greater the uncertainty, the greater the need for leadership. Your capacity as a leader will be determined by how well you learn to deal with uncertainty. My enemy is not uncertainty. It is not even my responsibility to remove the uncertainty. It is my responsibility to bring clarity into the midst of the uncertainty. As leaders we can afford to be uncertain, but we cannot afford to be unclear. People will follow you in spite of a few bad decisions. People will not follow you if you are unclear in your instruction. As a leader you must develop the elusive skill of leading confidently and purposefully onto uncertain terrain. Next generation leaders must fear a lack of clarity more than a lack of accuracy. The individual in your organization who communicates the clearest vision will often be perceived as the leader. Clarity is perceived as leadership. Uncertainty exposes a lack of knowledge. Pretending exposes a lack of character. Express your uncertainty with confidence. You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. Self-evaluation is helpful, but evaluation from someone else is essential. You need a leadership coach. Great leaders are great learners. God, in His wisdom, has placed men and women around us with the experience and discernment we often lack. Experience alone doesn’t make you better at anything. Evaluated experience is what enables you to improve your performance. As a leader, what you don’t know can hurt you. What you don’t know about yourself can put a lid on your leadership. You owe it to yourself and to those who have chosen to follow you to open the doors to evaluation. Engage a coach. Success doesn’t make anything of consequence easier. Success just raises the stakes. Success brings with it the unanticipated pressure of maintaining success. The more successful you are as a leader, the more difficult this becomes. There is far more pressure at the top of an organization than you might imagine.
Andy Stanley
The Peacemaker Colt has now been in production, without change in design, for a century. Buy one to-day and it would be indistinguishable from the one Wyatt Earp wore when he was the Marshal of Dodge City. It is the oldest hand-gun in the world, without question the most famous and, if efficiency in its designated task of maiming and killing be taken as criterion of its worth, then it is also probably the best hand-gun ever made. It is no light thing, it is true, to be wounded by some of the Peacemaker’s more highly esteemed competitors, such as the Luger or Mauser: but the high-velocity, narrow-calibre, steel-cased shell from either of those just goes straight through you, leaving a small neat hole in its wake and spending the bulk of its energy on the distant landscape whereas the large and unjacketed soft-nosed lead bullet from the Colt mushrooms on impact, tearing and smashing bone and muscle and tissue as it goes and expending all its energy on you. In short when a Peacemaker’s bullet hits you in, say, the leg, you don’t curse, step into shelter, roll and light a cigarette one-handed then smartly shoot your assailant between the eyes. When a Peacemaker bullet hits your leg you fall to the ground unconscious, and if it hits the thigh-bone and you are lucky enough to survive the torn arteries and shock, then you will never walk again without crutches because a totally disintegrated femur leaves the surgeon with no option but to cut your leg off. And so I stood absolutely motionless, not breathing, for the Peacemaker Colt that had prompted this unpleasant train of thought was pointed directly at my right thigh. Another thing about the Peacemaker: because of the very heavy and varying trigger pressure required to operate the semi-automatic mechanism, it can be wildly inaccurate unless held in a strong and steady hand. There was no such hope here. The hand that held the Colt, the hand that lay so lightly yet purposefully on the radio-operator’s table, was the steadiest hand I’ve ever seen. It was literally motionless. I could see the hand very clearly. The light in the radio cabin was very dim, the rheostat of the angled table lamp had been turned down until only a faint pool of yellow fell on the scratched metal of the table, cutting the arm off at the cuff, but the hand was very clear. Rock-steady, the gun could have lain no quieter in the marbled hand of a statue. Beyond the pool of light I could half sense, half see the dark outline of a figure leaning back against the bulkhead, head slightly tilted to one side, the white gleam of unwinking eyes under the peak of a hat. My eyes went back to the hand. The angle of the Colt hadn’t varied by a fraction of a degree. Unconsciously, almost, I braced my right leg to meet the impending shock. Defensively, this was a very good move, about as useful as holding up a sheet of newspaper in front of me. I wished to God that Colonel Sam Colt had gone in for inventing something else, something useful, like safety-pins.
Alistair MacLean (When Eight Bells Toll)
The end of this short story could be a rather disturbing thing, if it came true. I hope you like it, and if you do, be sure to COMMENT and SHARE. Paradoxes of Destiny? Dani! My boy! Are you all right? Where are you? Have you hurt yourself? Are you all right? Daniiii! Why won’t you answer? It’s so cold and dark here. I can’t see a thing… It’s so silent. Dani? Can you hear me? I shouldn’t have looked at that text message while I was driving… I shouldn’t have done it! I'm so stupid sometimes! Son, are you all right?... We really wrecked the car when we rolled it! I can’t see or hear a thing… Am I in hospital? Am I dead…? Dani? Your silence is killing me… Are you all right?! I can see a glimmer of light. I feel trapped. Dani, are you there? I can’t move. It’s like I’m wrapped in this mossy green translucent plastic. I have to get out of here. The light is getting more and more intense. I think I can tear the wrapping that’s holding me in. I'm almost out. The light is blinding me. What a strange place. I've never seen anything like it. It doesn’t look like Earth. Am I dead? On another planet? Oh God, look at those hideous monsters! They’re so creepy and disgusting! They look like extraterrestrials. They’re aliens! I'm on another planet! I can’t believe it. I need to get the hell out here. Those monsters are going to devour me. I have to get away. I’m so scared. Am I floating? Am I flying? I’m going to go higher to try to escape. I can’t see the aliens anymore and the landscape looks less terrifying. I think I've made it. It’s very windy. Is that a highway? I think I can see some vehicles down there. Could they be the extraterrestrials’ transport? I’m going to go down a bit. I see people! Am I on Earth? Could this be a parallel universe? Where could Dani be? I shouldn’t have looked at that text message while I was driving. I shouldn’t… That tower down there looks a lot like the water tank in my town… It’s identical. But the water tank in my town doesn’t have that huge tower block next to it. It all looks very similar to my neighborhood, but it isn’t exactly the same: there are a lot of tower blocks here. There’s the river… and the factory. It’s definitely my neighborhood, but it looks kind of different. I must be in a parallel universe… It’s amazing that I can float. People don’t seem to notice my presence. Am I a ghost? I have to get back home and see if Dani’s there. God, I hope he’s safe and sound. Gabriela must be out of her mind with the crash. There’s my house! Home sweet home. And whose are those cars? The front of the house has been painted a different color… This is all so strange! There’s someone in the garden… Those trees I planted in the spring have really grown. Is… is that… Dani? Yes, yes! It’s Dani. But he looks so different… He looks older, he looks… like a big boy! What’s important is that he’s OK. I need to hug him tight and tell him how much I love him. Can he see me if I’m a ghost? I'll go up to him slowly so I don’t scare him. I need to hold him tight. He can’t see me, I won’t get any closer. He moved his head, I think he’s started to realize I’m here… Wow I’m so hungry all of a sudden! I can’t stop! How are you doing, son?! It’s me! Your dad! My dear boy? I can’t stop! I'm too hungry! Ahhhh, so delicious! What a pleasure! Nooo Daniii! Nooooo!.... I’m your daaaad!... Splat!... “Mum, bring the insect repellent, the garden’s full of mosquitoes,” grunted Daniel as he wiped the blood from the palm of his hand on his trousers. Gabriela was just coming out. She did an about turn and went back into her house, and shouted “Darling, bring the insect repellent, it’s on the fireplace…” Absolute cold and silence… THE END (1) This note is for those who have read EQUINOX—WHISPERS OF DESTINY. This story is a spin-off of the novel EQUINOX—WHISPERS OF DESTINY and revolves around Letus’s curious theories about the possibility of animal reincarnation.
Gonzalo Guma (Equinoccio. Susurros del destino)
With the best of intentions, the generation before mine worked diligently to prepare their children to make an intelligent case for Christianity. We were constantly reminded of the superiority of our own worldview and the shortcomings of all others. We learned that as Christians, we alone had access to absolute truth and could win any argument. The appropriate Bible verses were picked out for us, the opposing positions summarized for us, and the best responses articulated for us, so that we wouldn’t have to struggle through two thousand years of theological deliberations and debates but could get right to the bottom line on the important stuff: the deity of Christ, the nature of the Trinity, the role and interpretation of Scripture, and the fundamentals of Christianity. As a result, many of us entered the world with both an unparalleled level of conviction and a crippling lack of curiosity. So ready with the answers, we didn’t know what the questions were anymore. So prepared to defend the faith, we missed the thrill of discovering it for ourselves. So convinced we had God right, it never occurred to us that we might be wrong. In short, we never learned to doubt. Doubt is a difficult animal to master because it requires that we learn the difference between doubting God and doubting what we believe about God. The former has the potential to destroy faith; the latter has the power to enrich and refine it. The former is a vice; the latter a virtue. Where would we be if the apostle Peter had not doubted the necessity of food laws, or if Martin Luther had not doubted the notion that salvation can be purchased? What if Galileo had simply accepted church-instituted cosmology paradigms, or William Wilberforce the condition of slavery? We do an injustice to the intricacies and shadings of Christian history when we gloss over the struggles, when we read Paul’s epistles or Saint Augustine’s Confessions without acknowledging the difficult questions that these believers asked and the agony with which they often asked them. If I’ve learned anything over the past five years, it’s that doubt is the mechanism by which faith evolves. It helps us cast off false fundamentals so that we can recover what has been lost or embrace what is new. It is a refining fire, a hot flame that keeps our faith alive and moving and bubbling about, where certainty would only freeze it on the spot. I would argue that healthy doubt (questioning one’s beliefs) is perhaps the best defense against unhealthy doubt (questioning God). When we know how to make a distinction between our ideas about God and God himself, our faith remains safe when one of those ideas is seriously challenged. When we recognize that our theology is not the moon but rather a finger pointing at the moon, we enjoy the freedom of questioning it from time to time. We can say, as Tennyson said, Our little systems have their day; They have their day and cease to be; They are but broken lights of thee, And thou, O Lord, art more than they.15 I sometimes wonder if I might have spent fewer nights in angry, resentful prayer if only I’d known that my little systems — my theology, my presuppositions, my beliefs, even my fundamentals — were but broken lights of a holy, transcendent God. I wish I had known to question them, not him. What my generation is learning the hard way is that faith is not about defending conquered ground but about discovering new territory. Faith isn’t about being right, or settling down, or refusing to change. Faith is a journey, and every generation contributes its own sketches to the map. I’ve got miles and miles to go on this journey, but I think I can see Jesus up ahead.
Rachel Held Evans (Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions)
BOWLS OF FOOD Moon and evening star do their slow tambourine dance to praise this universe. The purpose of every gathering is discovered: to recognize beauty and love what’s beautiful. “Once it was like that, now it’s like this,” the saying goes around town, and serious consequences too. Men and women turn their faces to the wall in grief. They lose appetite. Then they start eating the fire of pleasure, as camels chew pungent grass for the sake of their souls. Winter blocks the road. Flowers are taken prisoner underground. Then green justice tenders a spear. Go outside to the orchard. These visitors came a long way, past all the houses of the zodiac, learning Something new at each stop. And they’re here for such a short time, sitting at these tables set on the prow of the wind. Bowls of food are brought out as answers, but still no one knows the answer. Food for the soul stays secret. Body food gets put out in the open like us. Those who work at a bakery don’t know the taste of bread like the hungry beggars do. Because the beloved wants to know, unseen things become manifest. Hiding is the hidden purpose of creation: bury your seed and wait. After you die, All the thoughts you had will throng around like children. The heart is the secret inside the secret. Call the secret language, and never be sure what you conceal. It’s unsure people who get the blessing. Climbing cypress, opening rose, Nightingale song, fruit, these are inside the chill November wind. They are its secret. We climb and fall so often. Plants have an inner Being, and separate ways of talking and feeling. An ear of corn bends in thought. Tulip, so embarrassed. Pink rose deciding to open a competing store. A bunch of grapes sits with its feet stuck out. Narcissus gossiping about iris. Willow, what do you learn from running water? Humility. Red apple, what has the Friend taught you? To be sour. Peach tree, why so low? To let you reach. Look at the poplar, tall but without fruit or flower. Yes, if I had those, I’d be self-absorbed like you. I gave up self to watch the enlightened ones. Pomegranate questions quince, Why so pale? For the pearl you hid inside me. How did you discover my secret? Your laugh. The core of the seen and unseen universes smiles, but remember, smiles come best from those who weep. Lightning, then the rain-laughter. Dark earth receives that clear and grows a trunk. Melon and cucumber come dragging along on pilgrimage. You have to be to be blessed! Pumpkin begins climbing a rope! Where did he learn that? Grass, thorns, a hundred thousand ants and snakes, everything is looking for food. Don’t you hear the noise? Every herb cures some illness. Camels delight to eat thorns. We prefer the inside of a walnut, not the shell. The inside of an egg, the outside of a date. What about your inside and outside? The same way a branch draws water up many feet, God is pulling your soul along. Wind carries pollen from blossom to ground. Wings and Arabian stallions gallop toward the warmth of spring. They visit; they sing and tell what they think they know: so-and-so will travel to such-and-such. The hoopoe carries a letter to Solomon. The wise stork says lek-lek. Please translate. It’s time to go to the high plain, to leave the winter house. Be your own watchman as birds are. Let the remembering beads encircle you. I make promises to myself and break them. Words are coins: the vein of ore and the mine shaft, what they speak of. Now consider the sun. It’s neither oriental nor occidental. Only the soul knows what love is. This moment in time and space is an eggshell with an embryo crumpled inside, soaked in belief-yolk, under the wing of grace, until it breaks free of mind to become the song of an actual bird, and God.
Rumi (The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems)