Quotes Sampler

Here is a selection of independent quotations from books I am reading. I hope they offer as much food for thought for you as they have for me!

“Naomi holds nothing back from her God. She blasts God with the full weight of her anger and misery. She pounds her fists against God’s chest. She yells in his face. She lays all the blame at his feet. Ruth could never do that with Moloch.” (Buchanan, God Walk)

“Once we understand what omnipotence is, we can begin to understand that God couldn’t eradicate evil without eradicating us. It is indisputable that humanity is one of the major causes of evil and suffering in our world.” (Broom, Without God)

“What you care about shapes what you feel. Your emotions are always expressing the things you love, value, and treasure, whether you understand them or not.” (Smith and Groves, Untangling Emotions)

“You might say that our emotions are like relational price tags, communicating the value we place on things.” (Smith and Groves, Untangling Emotions)

Quotes Sampler

Here is a selection of independent quotations from books I am reading. I hope they offer as much food for thought for you as they have for me!

St. Augustine: Solvitur ambulando. “It is solved by walking.” (Quoted in Buchanan, God Walk)

“Many people view God’s laws as oppressive restrictions, but for Christians, they are the instructions for the dance with God that leads to our flourishing, not our enslavement.” (Broom, Without God)

“Here is the big idea: Our negative emotions, like God’s, play a necessary role in our lives. They tell us that something is wrong. Just as happiness, joy, peace, and contentment look around and conclude that things are as they ought to be, so disgust, annoyance, discouragement, and fury are designed to identify places where this fallen world is fallen, where disorder, damage, and destruction have broken something we rightly hold precious. Evaluating the world as fractured and being moved in response are deeply Christian experiences.” (Groves and Smith, Untangling Emotions)

Quotes Sampler

Here is a selection of independent quotations from books I am reading. I hope they offer as much food for thought for you as they have for me!

Dr. JoAnn E. Manson of the Harvard Medical School says, “If there was a pill that people could take that would nearly cut in half the risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, reduce the risk of cognitive decline, depression, reduce stress, improve emotional well-being—everyone would be clamoring to take it, it would be flying off the shelf. But that pill, that magic potion, really is available to everyone in the form of thirty minutes a day of brisk walking.” (Buchanan, God Walk)

“But the new rebel is a Sceptic, 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 . . . 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 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.” (G. K. Chesterton quoted in Broom, Without God)

“You were made in the image of God himself, and that means you were made to see the world as he sees it, to respond as he responds, to hate what he hates, and to be bothered by what brings him displeasure.” (Groves and Smith, Untangling Emotions)

One to One Bible reading

The four most important words in a Bible discussion are often “What do you think?”

Helm, David. One-to-One Bible Reading (Kindle Locations 206-207). Matthias Media. Kindle Edition. 


I am sure you can think of many other words which are more important than these four, for example the actual words of the text, but take an hour and read through this short book. I highly recommend it.

The Psalms

This is a helpful look at the role the Psalms ought to play in both our individual and corporate worship.

Neste, Ray Van, and C. Richard Wells, eds. Forgotten Songs: Reclaiming the Psalms for Christian Worship. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Academic, 2012.

Page: 9

The analogy between manners at the breakfast table and the life of faith is fairly straightforward. Left on our own, there are all sorts of things we would never choose to say to God. “Thank you” and “I’m sorry” are near the top of the list. Thus, the reason worship leaders should challenge us to say and sing words we are still “growing into” and may not “feel” presently is that this is a potent means of spiritual growth.

Page: 13

In the American church Christians have traditionally categorized worship services as either “traditional” or “contemporary.” But the longer I work in the field of worship, the more I am convinced that a much more telling and instructive dichotomy is between worship that is merely expressive and that which is both expressive and formative.

Page: 27

One of the main functions of Scripture is to instill in the people of God a proper grasp of the world’s true story.

Page: 28

The psalms employ rhetoric to achieve their end of shaping the worshippers’ inner life. Rhetoric is the way someone presents his ideas, in a way that moves people to feel the way he wants them to. In the hands of the unscrupulous, rhetoric can be a tool for manipulating; but in the service of virtue, it can move its audience to do what they know to be right.

Page: 78

Seek Christ in the psalms and then measure everything else by what you find there. When selecting and writings songs, we should ask, Is it psalm-like? An honest answer will enable you to rise above the inappropriate and tread on the high places of the earth.

Page: 137

The psalms are lyric poems that obey the ordinary rules of lyric poetry about which we learn in high school and college English courses, and whatever other use we make of such poems, we should at least read and ponder them in our private, devotional worship.

Page: 146

God’s psalms have a robust, rough-hewn character that can give backbone to a person’s faith, as well as muscle tone and stamina.

Page: 146

The biblical psalms are not “nice.”

Page: 150

Singing imprecatory lament psalms is dangerous activity because it is not innocent “special music” or a concertized solo testimonial. Psalm-singing is quoting God back in God’s face, invoking God’s presence to do justice on our troubled earth. No self-righteous, naïve persons should apply. But when a communion of repentant sinful saints covered by the blood of Jesus Christ chooses to do it because they are deeply disturbed by Incorporated Evil and the principalities in the world laying God’s creatures to waste, then we can come to know a little of the depth and riches the Lord has provided for us in God’s Word.

Page: 212

In the psalms it’s as if we pass on the glory of God from one generation to the other. As one of the psalms itself declares: One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. . . . My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever. (Ps 145:4–7,21)

The Inbox

Here are a few things that have made me think, smile, or laugh over this past week:


Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone. Dorothy Parker



Video: JJ Heller: At My Table

This video has been on loop in my mind over the past weeks.


Estar en Babia

There is a phrase some Spanish children hear all the time in school, “¿Estás en Babia?” It is our equivalent of, “Are you daydreaming?”

“To be in Babia” became an easy way to describe someone who was someplace else mentally. The phrase goes back to the kings and queens of Spain when they would leave their castles and political responsibilities and head for the mountains. They would disconnect in the silence of nature. Babia is a comarca (larger than our counties, but smaller than our states) in the northern mountains of Spain, about an hour and a half north of us.

We visited for a few days, wanting to escape and “estar en Babia.”

Shrill and opinionated

I had worked for many years with rickety logic: religious busyness is the same thing as spiritual maturity. The more you do, the more you love Jesus. I’d never have put it this tactlessly. But it was the air I breathed, the water I drank. It was an undisclosed and unexamined conviction that drove and colored everything I did. But I started to notice that religious busyness tends to make those of us caught up in it not deeper, wiser, kinder, but more shrill, more opinionated, more judgmental.