Insane Worship

"The Christians' choice of a cross as the symbol of their faith is the more surprising when we remember the horror with which crucifixion was regarded in the ancient world. We can understand why Paul's 'message of the cross' was to many of his listeners 'foolishness', even 'madness' (1 Cor. 1:18, 23). How could any sane person worship as a god a dead man who had been justly condemned as a criminal and subjected to the most humiliating form of execution? This combination of death, crime and shame put him beyond the pale of respect, let alone of worship." - John Stott, The Cross of Christ, 23

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Liebniz was the Last

"We need to get one thing straight before we go any further. Gottfried Wilhem von Leibniz (1646-1716) was the last man who knew everything. This means that no matter how compulsive we may be, no matter what expectations we think our professors or our congregations may have of us, no matter who we think we are, we can no longer hope to know everything. We cannot even know everything about some biblical book or pericope we might want to preach from. One important key to a lifetime of faithful, solid and productive exegesis is to remember that it truly does take a lifetime-and even then, it will not be finished! Go with what you have; build on what you gain. Listen, assimilate, absorb, but take your time... The temptation to feel responsible for buying a book (let alone reading it!) simply because it exists is an invitation to drop into the abyss." - Richard Erickson

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Dealing with the bad news

"(The doctrine of sin) ... is bad news, and like all bad news is not very welcome, especially if you let yourself take seriously the implication that we actually want the destructive things we do, that they are not just an accident that keeps happening to poor little us, but part of our nature; that we are truly cruel as well as truly tender, truly loving and at the same time truly likely to take a quick nasty little pleasure in wasting or breaking love, scorching it knowingly up as the fuel for some hotter or more exciting feeling. We would, on the whole, very much like this not to be true, and our culture conspires to help us avoid and defer and ignore the sting of it as much as possible."

- Francis Spufford, Unapologetic, p. 29-30


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Belief involves the most uncompromising attention.

"The funny thing is that to me it's exactly the other way around. In my experience, it's belief that involves the most uncompromising attention to the nature of things of which you are capable. It's belief which demands that you dispense with illusion after illusion, while contemporary common sense requires continual, fluffy pretending."

Francis Spufford, Unapologetic, p. 7

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Why Bilbo Baggins?

“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.” 

- Gandalf, in The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

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The kind of breaking we need.

Note: Everything Spurgeon wrote is quotable. For instance:

Again; we will not for one moment allow that a self-righteous man can have a broken heart. Ask him to pray, and he thanks God that he is every way correct. What need has he to weep because of the iniquity of his life? for he firmly believes himself to be well-deserving, and far enough removed from guilt. He has attended his religious duties; he is exceedingly strict in the form of his devotions… read more

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Hearts broken by bereavement bidding adieu to joy.

“We have also seen hearts broken by bereavement. We have known tender wives who have laid their husbands in the tomb, and who have stood by the grave-side until their very heart did break for solitary anguish. We have seen parents bereaved of their beloved offspring one after another; and when they have been called to hear the solemn words, "Earth to earth…

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The Same God

“...the Psalmist has here placed another fact side by side with this wondrous act of God; he declares that the same God who leadeth the stars, who telleth the number of them, and calleth them by their names, healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.  …

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Longing for Home

"Many a time of an evening, when I sat alone looking at the fire, I thought, after all, there was no fire like the forge fire and the kitchen fire at home."

- Pip thinking to himself, from Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, Ch XXXIV.

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