“[Death] is too tough a morsel to eat at one bite. You will meet that brook more often than you think: and each time you will suppose that you have done with it for good. But some day you really will.”—C.S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress
“Novelists think a lot about God … [because] we create whole worlds and we people them and then we tell the people what to do: We make them fall in love or fall out of windows. So there is that curiosity about God that I think all novelists have.”—On today’s Fresh Air, writer Scott Spencer talks about religion, chaos, prison writing, violence and defending others. (via nprfreshair)
“You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words:… . Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling…of that something which you were born desiring…?”—C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
“If the Cross of Christ is anything to the mind, it is surely everything—the most profound reality and the sublimest mystery. One comes to realize that literally all the wealth and glory of the gospel centres here. The Cross is the pivot as well as the centre of New Testament thought. It is the exclusive mark of the Christian faith, the symbol of Christianity and its cynosure.”—Samuel Zwemer, The Glory of the Cross
“"Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" the old negro spiritual asks. And we must answer, "Yes, we were there." Not as spectators only, but as participants, guilty participants, plotting, scheming, betraying, bargaining and handing him over to be crucified.”—John Stott, The Cross of Christ
“Despite the great importance of [Jesus’] teaching, his example, and his works of compassion and power, none of these was central to his mission. What dominated his mind was not the living but the giving of his life. This final sacrifice was his “hour” for which he had come into the world.”—John Stott, The Cross of Christ
"And there’s this: parents who, particularly in this country, are expected to be superhuman, to raise children who outpace all their peers, don’t want to see what we see. The long truth about their children, about themselves: that none of it is forever"
“He stood waiting for the raging pain, the intolerable hurt that was his due, to begin, so that he could ignore it, but he continued to feel nothing. He stood light-headed at the window and it was not until he realized there would be no pain that he collapsed.”—Flannery O’Connor, The Violent Bear It Away
“God has entrusted us, His Church, with the best story in the world. With great ingenuity we have managed, with the aid of much theory, to make that story boring as hell.”—Stanley Hauerwas, Preaching As Though We Had Enemies
“Yet it is not our part of master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”—Gandalf, Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
“The teaching of Christ is the most hopeless thing in the world apart from his Spirit. It is only when we have received the Holy Spirit that we can really see the divine glory of the gospel. A Christian is not a Christian till he is surprised to find himself doing the things that he had always thought were impossible. Christ living in us is the complete life.”—D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“They see only that which is good in me, they see me only at my best. I shudder when I realise how unworthy I am and how ignorant they are of the dark and hidden recesses of my soul where all that is devilish and hideous reign supreme, at times breaking through on to the surface and causing a turmoil that God and I alone know of.”—D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, on the perception his mother and brother have of him.
The man who sows for worldly results gets them, and everyone can see these and know them and appreciate them. The Christian, on the other hand, has very little that the world can appreciate. That is why the Way of Life is a difficult way — it is a life of faith.
When you enter upon it, you give up everything that the world treasures most, and it is inevitable that at times we shall experience a sense of loss. You start by giving up everything. What makes it still more difficult is that as you go on the demands do not lessen but become even greater and you have no immediate reward except a loving heart and an honest soul.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”—JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
“We must walk open-eyed into that trap, with courage, but small hope for ourselves. For, my lords, it my well prove that we ourselves shall perish utterly in a black battle far from the living lands…But this, I deem, is our duty. And better so than to perish nonetheless—as we surely shall, if we sit here—and know as we die that no new age shall be.”—Gandalf, Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien