January 21, 2021


“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.”  (G.K. Chesterton)

“Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” (Flannery O’Connor)

“Ring the bells that still can ring/Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.”  (Leonard Cohen)

“The main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the atmosphere produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to look after, and it is the one thing that is being continually assailed.” (Oswald Chambers)

“Between God and the soul there is no between.” (Julian of Norwich)

“My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart  from that desire. And I know that, if I do this , You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.” (Thomas Merton)

“A comprehended God is no God at all.” (St. John Chrysostom)

“Well, I can’t figure out God.” (Oral Roberts)

The modern church “is a safe place to escape the awful demands of God.” (Madeline L’Engle)

“The human experience of weakness is God’s blueprint for calling attention to the supremacy of his Son. When miserably failing people continue to belong to, believe in, and worship Jesus, God is happy.”  (Michael Spencer)

“I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” (C.S. Lewis)

“How strange for the church of Christ that claims to know Truth (the Creator himself), claims to be seen in the eyes of God as worthwhile enough for redemption and the death of Christ–how strange for this group of people who claim such a close relationship, a restored relationship no less, with the Creator himself, to forget and abandon creativity, a God-given gift, and more, to see it, when it is practiced at all, merely as a utilitarian means to an end, part of the professional Christian machinery.”  (Frank Schaeffer)

“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So he got up, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.  (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit)

“I always have a quotation for everything — it saves original thinking.”  (Dorothy Sayers)


  1. Love your enemies. But don’t forget that they’re your enemies. They’re not your friends.

  2. “A witty quote proves nothing.” -Voltaire

  3. This one’s for you, Franky:

    Whatever creativity is, it is in part a solution to a problem. – Brian W. Aldiss

  4. Loved every one of those. “A comprehended god is no god at all.” That is particularly poignant to me as I am going through changes in my understanding of God.
    Here’s a few from our old friend Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers) …won’t you be my neighbor.

    “Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort.”

    “It’s not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life that ultimately nourish our souls. It’s the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our very being is firm.”

    And lastly:
    “We need to help people to discover the true meaning of love. Love is generally confused with dependence. Those of us who have grown in true love know that we can love only in proportion to our capacity for independence.”

  5. Another Chesterton quote (or a couple, even):

    “It takes three to make a quarrel. There is needed a peacemaker. The full potentialities of human fury cannot be reached until a friend of both parties tactfully intervenes.” (from “The Thing”, a collection of essays, 1929)

    “… But, as a matter of fact, another part of my trade, too, made me sure you weren’t a priest.’
    ‘What?’ asked the thief, almost gaping.
    ‘You attacked reason,’ said Father Brown. ‘It’s bad theology.'” (from “The Blue Cross”, 1910)

  6. One more Mike says

    “No matter where you go — there you are.”
    Buckaroo Bonzai from “The adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai across the 8th dimension” and a more solid piece of theology than anything being heard from any pulpit of late. Unless N.T. Wright was saying it…

    • Lord John Whorfin: “Full speed ahead. And may I remind you, to fasten your’a seat belts, and esstinguish all smoking material…

  7. Christiane says

    There are times when this quote really hits home:

    “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”
    Flannery O’Connor

  8. “Vision is for sale, or claims to be for sale, everywhere. But give me a man who will do a day’s work for a day’s pay, who will refuse bribes, who will not make up his facts, and who has learned his job.” – C.S. Lewis, The Poison of Subjectivism

    and . . .

    “Gotta get out of bed, get a hammer and a nail
    Learn how to use my hands,
    Not just my head, I think myself into jail
    Now I know a refuge never grows
    From a chin in a hand in a thoughtful pose
    Gotta tend the earth if you want a rose.” – the Indigo Girls

  9. “If Christianity only means one more bit of good advice, then Christianity is of no importance. There has been no lack of good advice for the last four thousand years. A bit more makes no difference.” (C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.)

    “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)

    “I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are details.” (Albert Einstein)

    “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” (Albert Einstein)

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” (Nelson Mandela)

    “My only desire is to know the truth, my only fear to cling to error.” (author George Eliot…born Mary Anne Evans)

    “Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.” (André Gide)

  10. “I knew the job was dangerous when I took it” ~ Dudley Doright

  11. Quotes from three of my favorite people:

    “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” — Oscar Wilde

    “Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion, or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.” — C.S. Lewis

    “There is no tragedy in avoidable stupidity.” –Sharyn McCrumb

  12. “The Jews tried to keep Christ contained within their law, while the Greeks sought to turn Him into a philosophy; the Romans made of Him an empire; the Europeans reduced Him to a culture, and we Americans have made a business of Him.”


    • ouch.

    • Western civlization in a nutshell. But what of the east? …including Eastern Orthodox Christian thought? Just curious ….

      • The Singular Observer says

        Jim, having some Orthodox acquintances, it is evident that for the most, the East is stuck between the last and the next-to-last phases in that sad procession…

        • I would love to see some iMonk discussion on East vs. West in the evolution of the Church and culture in general. Several of Christ’s disciples ended up moving and teaching to the east and south and contributed monumentally to the spread of the Gospel (i.e., Thomas). We’ve been “stuck” with Pauline views. Surely God was moving in China, India, and the far East and there must be a history there to tell. In other words …

          …having our roots in the Roman Church, are we Westerners conspiratorially deprived of an understanding of the East? …or was it “occidental”? : )

  13. Men in the Western governments, who were themselves often modern men, did not understand that freedom without chaos is not a magic formula which can be implanted anywhere […] They had carefully closed their eyes to the fact that freedom without chaos had come from a Christian base. They did not understand that freedom without chaos cannot be separated from its [Christian] roots. And when these outward forms are imposed on a world view that would have never produced freedom without chaos in the first place, people will not stand when the pressures increase. Reports in the newspapers remind us that in many countries where democracy has been imposed from outside or from the top downward authoritarianism has increasingly become the rule of the day. – Francis Schaeffer –

  14. “The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.” – G. K. Chesterton

    “All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.” – Blaise Pascal

    “I think we’re going to need a bigger boat.” from Jaws or maybe Rob Bell 😉

  15. First off, the quote in the post that resonated the most with me and made me smile, was a Micheal morsel. Thanks *smile*

    Some of these I have no author to give credit to:

    ~ Don’t waste your time trying to change someone who is not willing to change – Not even God can change someone who is unwilling

    ~ Jesus’ love for us is not based on our behavior, but on His character alone

    ~ A message that even inadvertently teaches that works win God’s acceptance inevitably leads people away from the gospel

    ~ Don’t ever become so holy that you can’t forgive someone that misses the mark

    ~ Following Jesus will make a noticeable difference in the life of any believer, much more than following a list of rules

    ~ The message of Christianity is not “worldliness is bad”, it’s “Jesus is Lord”. It’s not “try not to sin”, it’s “think about Jesus”

    ~ As we draw near Jesus and walk with Him, we reflect more of Him in our lives. But listen: THIS IS NOT BECAUSE WE FOLLOW THE RULES! IT IS BECAUSE WE FOLLOW HIM!

    ~ If you do not have a loving and caring relationship in a persons life, your words are useless. Truth without a foundation is going to turn others away

    ~ The richest testimonies come from people that Christ made whole and still remember what it was like to be broken. Beth Moore

  16. I think Chesterton is one of those people who is a quote machine…

    “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.”

    “If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment.”

    • brilliantvapor says

      Why do I always read these things when I’m in a location where I can’t chortle aloud? I end up snorting around and emitting high-pitched stifled giggles. Chesterton is especially bad for this.

  17. Silence is God’s first language; everything else is just a poor translation. – Thomas Keating

  18. “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.” Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame.

  19. How about some Bonhoeffer quotes:

    “Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”

    “One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons”

    “The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”

    “Politics are not the task of a Christian.”

    “It is very easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements in comparison with what we owe others.”

    “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

  20. A personal favorite from an unlikely source:

    “If life teaches anything at all, it is that there are so many happy endings that a man who believes there is no God needs his rationality called into serious question”- Stephen King, It

  21. I must go cultivate my garden, Candide to professor Panglos. Or talk is cheap, but it takes real money to buy good whiskey.

  22. I like this one from Luther,

    ” The good you do will not save you, and the evil you do will not condemn you.”

    (because of Christ Jesus)

  23. Too long really to be a quote, but I just have to excerpt this poem (or part of a poem) by W. B. Yeats (partly because my father, too, called starlings “stares” and I never heard anyone else use the term).

    From “Meditations in Time of Civil War” ( the Irish Civil War, 1922-23)

    VI. The Stare’s Nest by My Window

    The bees build in the crevices
    Of loosening masonry, and there
    The mother birds bring grubs and flies.
    My wall is loosening; honey-bees,
    Come build in the empty house of the state.

    We are closed in, and the key is turned
    On our uncertainty; somewhere
    A man is killed, or a house burned,
    Yet no clear fact to be discerned:
    Come build in he empty house of the stare.

    A barricade of stone or of wood;
    Some fourteen days of civil war;
    Last night they trundled down the road
    That dead young soldier in his blood:
    Come build in the empty house of the stare.

    We had fed the heart on fantasies,
    The heart’s grown brutal from the fare;
    More Substance in our enmities
    Than in our love; O honey-bees,
    Come build in the empty house of the stare.

  24. Or the joke about when Pope John XXIII was asked how many people worked in the Vatican, and he allegedly replied “About half of them”.


    • Martha, I used your joke at Alpha tonight!

      • I hope it went down well and did not occasion lots of blank stares and “Who’s John the 23rd?”


        • They loved it! Lots of Catholics in the group, with warm memories of John XXXIII.

          • and John XXIII as well …. 🙂

          • I’m glad to see the Temporally Displaced Catholic minority was represented amongst ye last night; assure them of my future allegiance, as a loyal daughter of Mother Church, to the Successor of Peter who will assume the triple tiara in the name of John XXXIII.

            Though I misremember – is that going to happen in the 27th or the 31st century?


  25. “In the begining God created man in his own image. Ever since that time man has been trying to return the favor.”
    Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

  26. As a general rule, people, even the wicked, are much more naive and simple-hearted than we suppose. And we ourselves are, too.
    -Fyodor Dostoevsky

    I believe language to have been given us to make our meaning clear, and not to wrap it in dishonest doubt.
    -Charlotte Bronte

  27. Napolean Dynamite when asked about his drawing skills – “…about the best that I know of.”

  28. HiddenNChrist says

    For every tear I’ve had to cry, for every stone that bruised my feet;

    For all the blood and sweat and grime, for blinding storms and burning heat;

    My heart sings but a grateful song, these were the things that made me strong.

    Tis not the softer things in life that stimulate man’s will to strive, but bleak adversity and strife do most to make man’s will survive;

    Ore rose smooth paths the weaklings creep, but brave hearts dare to climb the steep. – Unknown

  29. The writings of J.R.R. Tolkien seem to have quotes that just jump off the page. One of my favorites is: “Indeed in nothing is the power of Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him” Haldir to Legolas, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, Chapter 6 Lothlorien. I know this is taken out of context but sadly enough, seems to have held true throughout the centuries. All those that comment (mostly read) here at IM represent a diversity that is rather wide. For the most part the politeness with which we interact, is refreshing.

  30. The Singular Observer says

    It’s all damn nonsense, but more than that, its nonsense that can damn – GK Chesterton.

  31. “Get a bigger hammer.”

    Every mechanic I have ever known

  32. Josh S Blake says

    Never laugh at a live dragon.
    Bilbo Baggins in Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”

  33. “I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” (C.S. Lewis)

    It seems to echo Augustine’s motto: “Credo ut intelligam” (believe in order that you may understand).

    • Forgive the quibble, but it’s Anselm of Canterbury, not Augustine: “I believe in order that I may understand.”

  34. flatrocker says

    This one’s for you Jeff…

    Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
    ~Groucho Marx

  35. “Let us not tire of preaching love; it is the force that will overcome the world.” – Oscar Romero

  36. One more Mike says

    “You knew I was a scorpion when you gave me a ride” A scorpion to a crocodile in an old fable that ends quite badly.

  37. “I find it very difficult to take some of the
    Protestant propositions even seriously. What is any man who has
    been in the real outer world, for instance, to make of the
    everlasting cry that Catholic traditions are condemned by the
    Bible? It indicates a jumble of topsy-turvy tests and tail-foremost
    arguments, of which I never could at any time see the sense.

    “The ordinary sensible skeptic or pagan is standing in the street (in the
    supreme character of the man in the street) and he sees a
    procession go by of the priests of some strange cult, carrying their
    object of worship under a canopy, some of them wearing high
    head-dresses and carrying symbolical staffs, others carrying
    scrolls and sacred records, others carrying sacred images and
    lighted candles before them, others sacred relics in caskets or
    cases, and so on. I can understand the spectator saying, “This is all
    hocus-pocus”; I can even understand him, in moments of irritation,
    breaking up the procession, throwing down the images, tearing up
    the scrolls, dancing on the priests and anything else that might
    express that general view. I can understand his saying, “Your
    croziers are bosh, your candles are bosh, your statues and scrolls
    and relics and all the rest of it are bosh.”

    “But in what conceivable frame of mind does he rush in to
    select one particular scroll of the scriptures of this
    one particular group (a scroll which had always belonged
    to them and been a part of their hocus-pocus, if it was
    hocus-pocus); why in the world should the man in the street say
    that one particular scroll was not bosh, but was the one and only
    truth by which all the other things were to be condemned? Why
    should it not be as superstitious to worship the scrolls as the
    statues, of that one particular procession? Why should it not be as
    reasonable to preserve the statues as the scrolls, by the tenets of
    that particular creed?

    “To say to the priests, “Your statues and scrolls are condemned
    by our common sense,” is sensible. To say, “Your statues are
    condemned by your scrolls, and we are going to worship one part
    of your procession and wreck the rest,” is not sensible from any
    standpoint, least of all that of the man in the street.”

    – G. K. Chesterton, The Catholic Church and Conversion

  38. “She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick.” – Flannery O’Connor

  39. mountainguy says

    “All species have some sort of evolutionary path, except for telemarketing executives, who come straight from Hell.”
    misattributed to Charles Darwin

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