“God certainly abases the pride of men, but he does not despise the mind which he himself has made.” – John R. W. Stott

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“If we turn away from darkness on principle, doing everything we can to avoid it because there is simply no telling what it contains, isn’t there a chance that what we are running from is God?”

Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to Walk in the Dark

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“The reason that many of us don’t ardently believe in the gospel is that we have never given it a rigorous testing, thrown our hard questions at it, faced it with our most prickly doubts.” – Eugene Peterson

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“Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all. If you are merely a skeptic, you must sooner or later ask yourself the question, ‘Why should anything go right; even observation and deduction? Why should not good logic be as misleading as bad logic? They are both movements in the brain of a bewildered ape.’ The young skeptic says, ‘I have a right to think for myself.’ But the old skeptic, the complete skeptic, says, ‘I have no right to think for myself. I have no right to think at all.’ … With a long and sustained tug we have attempted to pull the mitre off pontifical man; and his head has come off with it.”

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy.

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“It was precisely as Christianity was on the verge of assuming political and social power, during the days of the final, ineffectual persecutions of the church, that the movement of Christian monasticism began to flower in the Egyptian desert; and, after the conversion of Constantine, the movement grew at a remarkable rate… It was from them that another current opened up within Christian culture: a renunciation of power even as power was at last granted to the church, an embrace of poverty as a rebellion against plenty, a defiant refusal to forget that the Kingdom of God is not of this world. The sayings of the desert fathers have been copiously preserved, and they are fascinating testaments to the birth of a new spiritual polity in the very midst of the Christianized empire, a community whose sole concern was to discover what it really meant to live for the love of God and one’s neighbor, to banish envy, hate, and resentment from the soul, and to seek the beauty of Christ in others. These sayings reflect, among other things, what one might best call the heroism of forgiveness, and frequently a piercingly wise simplicity, and just as frequently a penetratingly subtle psychology. And the guiding logic of the life they lived was that of spiritual warfare: that is to say, now that the empire had “fallen” to Christ and could no longer be regarded as simply belonging to the kingdom of Satan, the desert fathers carried the Christian revolution against the ancient powers with them into the wild, to renew the struggle on the battleground of the heart. And this, I think, might be viewed as the final revolutionary moment within ancient Christianity: its rebellion against its own success, its preservation of its most precious and unadulterated spiritual aspirations against its own temporal power (perhaps in preparation for the day when that power would be no more), and its repudiation of any value born from the fallen world that might displace love from the center of the Christian faith.”

David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies, pages 240-241

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Hope is the refusal to accept the reading of reality which is the majority opinion; and one does that only at great political and existential risk. On the other hand, hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretension of the present, daring to announce that the present to which we have all made commitments is now called into question.”

Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination

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“When we. . . consider the reality that baptism signifies, we should be “awed. . . that God can throw down nations and plant new ones with a few drops of water.”

James K.A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom (quoting Peter Leithart, The Priesthood of the Plebs)

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“When people are very detached, very devoid of purpose and a coherent world view, Christians must be very suspicious of talk about community. In a world like ours, people will be attracted to communities that promise them an easy way out of loneliness, togetherness based on common tastes, racial or ethnic traits, or mutual self-interest. There is then little check on community becoming as tyrannical as the individual ego. Community becomes totalitarian when its only purpose is to foster a sense of belonging in order to overcome the fragility of the lone individual. Christian community, life in the colony, is not primarily about togetherness. It is about the way of Jesus Christ with those whom he calls to himself. It is about disciplining our wants and needs in congruence with a true story, which gives us the resources to lead truthful lives. In living out the story together, togetherness happens, but only as a by-product of the main project of trying to be faithful to Jesus.”

Hauerwas & Willimon, Resident Aliens

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“For every thinker who desires to conform his thinking to reality, there are others whose desire is clearly to conform reality to their thinking.”

– Os GuinnessFool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion

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“Those who have entirely lost the ability to see the transcendent reality that shows itself in all things, and who refuse to seek it out or even to believe the search a meaningful one, have confined themselves for now within an illusory world, and wander in a labyrinth of dreams. Those others, however, who are still able to see the truth that shines in and through and beyond the world of ordinary experience, and who know that nature is in its every aspect the gift of the supernatural, and who understand that God is that absolute reality in whom, in every moment, they live and move and have their being—they are awake.”

David Bentley Hart, The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss

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