Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Because twice makes a tradition, this two hundredth post will be dedicated to ten memorable quotes from the previous hundred entries here.

10) J. W. McGarvey from The Wisdom of J. W. McGarvey who I was excited to find was yet another outspoken proponent of pacifism in the history of the now militaristic Churches of Christ.

I would rather, ten thousand times, be killed for refusing to fight than to fall in battle, or to come home victorious with the blood of my brethren on my hands.

9) Bill Maher from The Wisdom of Bill Maher? Don't ask why I was watching Bill Maher.

And not to put too fine a point on it, but nonviolence was kind of Jesus’ trademark, kind of his big thing. To not follow that part of it is like joining Green Peace and hating whales. There’s interpreting and then there’s just ignoring. It’s just ignoring if you’re for torture, as are more evangelical Christians than any other religion.

8) John of Sinai from Sunday of St. John of Sinai. These entries, and this quote in particular, represent the profound importance to me of Lent and the devotional struggle it entails.

The place of temptation is the place where we find ourselves having to put up a bitter fight against the enemy, and wherever we are not involved in a struggle is surely the place where the enemy is posing as a friend.

7) Gregory Akindynos from The Wisdom of Gregory Akindynos who represents a startling source from which to receive a call to intellectual restraint.

For you should have known not only how to write discourses and devise syllogisms, but also where to do this and who ought to do it and from what motives.

6) Peter of Damascus from Texts on Thanksgiving who revolutionized the way I understood and expressed gratitude toward God.

The purpose of what we say in our prayers is as follows. The thanksgiving is in recognition of our incapacity to offer thanksgiving as we should at this present moment, of our negligence in doing so at other times, and of the fact that the present moment is a gift of God's grace.

5) David Lipscomb from David Lipscomb on Zeal and Giving. In addition to being a wonderful example of the rhetorical genius and force of Lipscomb's teaching, this is still a relevant critique of the fundraising activities of modern churches.

A pure consecrated church will spread by the force of the zeal and devotion of its own members. Only a cold, lukewarm, selfish, unconsecrated church needs other devices to spread it...When the church has not zeal, devotion, self-consecration to cheerfully and gladly do the will of God, it should be taught its duty. If it refuses to do it, it would be a blessing to the world and an honor to God for it to die.

4) Ron Paul from A Memorial Day Salute to Saluting expressing the irony of the uncritical worship offered to American soldiers.

The endless praise offered to those who serve in the military--“thank you for your service” in defending the empire--is a required politically correct salutation to our “universal” soldiers. No, they never say thank you for “defending the empire”; it’s much more decent--it’s thank you for defending our freedoms, our Constitution, and for fighting “them” over there so we don’t’ have to fight them here at home. Though the wars we fight are now unconstitutional, the military is endlessly praised for defending our liberties and Constitution.

3) Katharine Hepburn (as Eleanor of Aquitaine) from The Lion in Winter offering a popular audience the kind of thinking that could revolutionize the world if it ever took hold.

How clear we make it. Oh, my piglets, we are the origins of war. Not history's forces, nor the times, nor justice, nor the lack of it, nor causes, nor religions, nor ideas, nor kinds of government, nor any other thing. We are the killers. We breed wars. We carry it, like syphilis, inside. Dead bodies rot in field and stream because the living ones are rotten. For the love of God, can't we love one another just a little? That's how peace begins.

2) Panayiotis Nellas from Christ and True Ontology. Nellas gives so much meat to theological thinking; this is only an example.

Man finds his existence and being in Christ. Before and outside Christ, his being is a being-unto-Christ. And when it is not oriented towards Christ--when, to be more precise, it is defined in freedom and consciousness independently of Christ--then it is a being-unto-death, as Heidegger called it, quite correctly according to his own perspective. United with Christ, the iconic biological being of man becomes a true being-in-Christ. In Christ, man finds his true ontological content.

1) Petru Dumitriu from The Wisdom of Petru Dumitriu. Having first encountered Dumitriu over two years ago and too quickly abandoned him out of necessity, his word have nevertheless haunted me. They echo my own acute awareness of the absurdity of everything especially God and existence, all the while being expressed in faith.

Finally, to reduce all these questions to one: how can one love God when he obviously does not exist? And -- putting the same question in a different way -- how can one love human beings, when they are as they are, and when there is no God?

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