Quotes

Some of my favorites.

Wendell Berry

“Living without expectations is hard but, when you can do it, good. Living without hope is harder, and that is bad. You have got to have hope, and you mustn’t shirk it. Love, after all, “hopeth all things.” But maybe you must learn, and it is hard learning, not to hope out loud, especially for other people. You must not let your hope turn into expectation.”
Hannah Coulter

“I began to know my story then. Like everybody’s, it was going to be the story of living in the absence of the dead. What is the thread that holds it all together? Grief, I thought for a while. And grief is there sure enough, just about all the way through. From the time I was a girl I have never been far from it. But grief is not a force and has no power to hold. You only bear it. Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery.”
Hannah Coulter

“A house for sale is not a “home.” Economics is not “science,” nor “information” knowledge. A knave with a degree is a knave. A fool in a public office is not a “leader.” A rich thief is a thief.”

“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community

“So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute…Give your approval to all you cannot understand…Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years…Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts….Practice resurrection.”
The Country of Marriage

“But love, sooner or later, forces us out of time…of all that we feel and do, all the virtues and all the sins, love alone crowds us at last over the edge of the world. For love is always more than a little strange here…It is in the world, but is not altogether of it. It is of eternity. It takes us there when it most holds us here.”
Jayber Crow

GK Chesterton

“All men matter. You matter. I matter. It’s the hardest thing in theology to believe.”
The Scandal of Father Brown

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.  An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.”
On Running After One’s Hat

“The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.”
Orthodoxy

“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.”
Orthodoxy

“Love is not blind; That is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound, the less it is blind.”

“But the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. . . . As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. . . . The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.”
Orthodoxy

John Gresham Machen

“The industrial world of today has been produced not by blind forces of nature but by the conscious activity of the human spirit; it has been produced by the achievements of science …Though the most palpable achievements are in the sphere of physics and chemistry, the sphere of human life cannot be isolated from the rest, and with the other sciences there has appeared, for example, a modern science of history, which, with psychology and sociology and the like, claims, even if it does not deserve, full equality with its sister sciences. No department of knowledge can maintain its isolation from the modern lust of scientific conquest …”
Christianity and Liberalism

“So many convictions have had to be abandoned that men have sometimes come to believe that all convictions must go.”
Christianity and Liberalism

Alistair Macleod

“And then there came into my heart a very great love for my father and I thought it was very much braver to spend a life doing what you really do not want rather than selfishly following forever your own dreams and inclinations.”
The Lost Salt Gift of Blood

“There are times even now, when I awake at four o’clock in the morning with a terrible fear that I have overslept; when I imagine that my father is waiting for me in the room below the darkened stairs.”
The Lost Salt Gift of Blood

“All of us are better when we’re loved.”
No Great Mischief

“And I am overwhelmed now by the awfulness of over-simplification. For now I realize that not only have I been guilty of it through this long and burning day but also through most of my yet young life and it is only now that I am doubly its victim that I begin to vaguely understand. For I had somehow thought that ‘going away’ was but a physical thing. And that it had only to do with movement and with labels like the silly ‘Vancouver’ that I had glibly rolled from off my tongue; or with the crossing of bodies of water or with the boundaries of borders. And because my father told me I was ‘free’ I had foolishly felt that it was really so. Just like that. And I realize now that the older people of my past are more complicated than perhaps I had ever thought. And that there are distinctions between my sentimental, romantic grandfather and his love for coal, and my stern and practical grandmother her hatred of it; and my quietly strong but passive mother and the souring extremes of my father’s passionate violence and the quiet power of his love. They are all so different.”
The Lost Salt Gift of Blood

Oscar Wilde

All women become like their mothers.  That is their tragedy.  No man does.  That’s his.  The Importance of Being Earnest

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Lady Windermere’s Fan

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”
The Critic as Artist

C.S. Lewis

“In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”
The Abolition of Man

Marilynne Robinson

When you encounter another person, when you have dealings with anyone at all, it is as if a question is being put to you.  So you must think, What is the Lord asking of me in this moment, in this situation?  If you confront insult or antagonism, your first impulse will be to respond in kind.  But if you think, as it were, This is an emissary sent from the Lord, and some benefit is intended for me, first of all the occasion to demonstrate my faithfulness, the chance to show that I do in some small degree participate in the grace that saved me, you are free to act otherwise than as circumstances would seem to dictate.  You are free to act by your own lights.  You are freed at the same time of the impulse to hate or resent that person.  He would probably laugh at the thought that the Lord sent him to you for your benefit (and his), but that is the perfection of the disguise, his own ignorance of it.
Gilead

Arthur Schopenhauer

“Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see”

J.I. Packer

Repentance means turning away from as much as you know of your sin to give as much as you know of yourself to as much as you know of your God, and as our knowledge grows at these three points so our practice of repentance has to be enlarged.
To David, About His Education
by Howard Nemerov
The world is full of mostly invisible things,
And there is no way but putting the mind’s eye,
Or its nose, in a book, to find them out,
Things like the square root of Everest
Or how many times Byron goes into Texas,
Or whether the law of the excluded middle
Applies west of the Rockies. For these
And the like reasons, you have to go to school
And study books and listen to what you are told,
And sometimes try to remember. Though I don’t know
What you will do with the mean annual rainfall
On Plato’s Republic, or the calorie content
Of the Diet of Worms, such things are said to be
Good for you, and you will have to learn them
In order to become one of the grown-ups
Who sees invisible things neither steadily nor whole,
But keeps gravely the grand confusion of the world
Under his hat, which is where it belongs,
And teaches small children to do this in their turn.

The endless cycle of idea and action, Endless invention, endless experiment, Brings knowledge of motion, but not a stillness; Knowledge of speech, but not of silence; Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
-TS Eliot

“It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.”
– Abigail Adams

“Brother, I’m not depressed and haven’t lost spirit. Life everywhere is life, life is in ourselves and not in the external. There will be people near me and to be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter – this is what life is, herein lies its task. I have come to recognize this.”
– Fyodor Dostoevsky

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