Pithy quotes from our current reading which give us pause to reflect

That’s a good question, Dale. Maybe one could begin to approach it by imagining this question (at least for married people). How do you know you have a right relationship with your wife?

I would suggest that while you probably can come up with various descriptions and definitions for that, it is nonetheless something you don’t have to consult any manual about. Whatever that right relationship with her is, you know when you have it - and you especially know when you don’t! And in fact, I suspect that rather than being itself something that needs much definition, it instead is more the axiomatically provided reasons for why you do or don’t do a lot of other lesser stuff in your life. Why do you do thus and such? Because you know your spouse would really appreciate it. And that is the end of the causal reasoning chain … no other further reason need be provided! One’s marriage probably won’t be the most stable (much less happy) one in the world if all a spouse cares to attend to is a list of dos and don’ts and that’s the end of their interest in the matter! They are at least ahead of one who doesn’t even attend to that, either out of neglect or even outright enmity with their partner. But presuming something not so dire as all that, most of us enjoy and work for happy homes. And how much better would you like it if somebody actually wants to please you because they love you? They will find any list of rules entirely insufficient for any proper relationship, because they want to do so much more than that! They are interested in the spirit behind such lists - trying to see in your heart and why you want the things you want and dislike the things you dislike because that way they have further insight into what your “codes” are really all about.

I think that is an ideal place that we all should aspire towards, that we should love and want what God loves and wants. Because we have faith that this God loves and wants good things for all us children. So long as we know some of our loves are more aligned with our personal desires, at the expense of others, we know that there is work to be done (on ourselves) before we should count ourselves as “right with God”. I will also go so far as to say that the best purpose the law was able to fulfill for us, was to show us that we’ll never ‘measure up’ that way. Not that we ‘measure up’ by adopting ‘new or improved’ attitudes either - the whole point is that we stop measuring. That’s love. If we’re always asking ourselves whether or not our loved ones have ‘done enough’ for us today (or we for them), then we’re not abiding in love. A young man wildly in love with his hoped-for and courted beloved doesn’t count the cost. He will move mountains to curry her favor. That’s love!

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Thank you for that, it was so loving.
You forget and are being judgmental:


I never said they were sufficient. Yardsticks, rulers and other measuring tools cannot in themselves make a child grow, nor can laws of love in themselves mature a child of God.

ETA: They can tell us where we have failed and need to grow.

The irony in that is that my paltry list of rules coincides with Jesus’ list and Paul’s.

You may recall this as well:

Quite right to call me on that! Thanks. I hope my edit improved it - since as you say, it isn’t your list and shouldn’t be referred to as paltry. Sorry about that.



See? :slightly_smiling_face: Abiding in love is on the list, and it would appear that I am to abide here a while longer (it’s been five years).

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Gladly I close this festive day,
Grasping the altar’s hallow’d horn;
My slips and faults are washed away,
The Lamb has all my trespass borne.

C.H. Spurgeon

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

And my God will meet [provide] all your needs1 according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19


It was the person and teaching of Jesus that played the formative role in the nt’s language about God as ‘Father.’ For Jesus, ‘Father’ was the principal and most frequent designation for God. He used not only the common Jewish ‘our [or your] Father’ (e.g., Matt. 5:45; 6:9) but also the intimate family word for ‘father’ in his native Aramaic language, abba, which was also appropriated in the later liturgical practice of the church (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). Not only did the concept of God as ‘Father’ express the personal relationship to God affirmed by Jesus and the church (e.g., Matt. 11:25-27), but in that cultural setting the term included especially the connotations of obedience, agency, and inheritance. Those who address God as ‘Father’ acknowledge God as the one to whom absolute obedience is due (Matt. 7:21; 26:42) and themselves as the agents who represent God and through whom God works (Matt. 11:25-27; John 10:32) and as God’s heirs (Rom. 8:16-17).
Names of God in the NT


1 Father is sovereign over time and space, timing and placing, providentially. We have evidence that is foolish to deny.

Got another new book on hand to vie for my affections, David Bentley Hart’s The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss. Just picked it up from the San Francisco public library on our way back from walking the dogs (and ourselves). Their selection is a good deal better than we have in Berkeley. About him Wiki says:

In 2015, he was appointed as Templeton Fellow at the University of Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study.[11] and is currently a collaborative scholar in the departments of Theology and German for Notre Dame.

As a philosopher and a religious studies scholar, Hart’s work engages classical, medieval and continental European philosophy, philosophy of mind, philosophical and systematic theology, patristic texts, South and East Asian culture, religion, literature, philosophy and metaphysics.

I’m looking into this because Iain McGilchrist named this book as one of the 30 most influential books for his newest book, The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions, and the Unmaking of the World

My wife read me most of the introduction on the way home and it didn’t take long to find a juicy quote to share. Unfortunately it is too long, extending from p238 to p250 which is the beginning of chapter 5, so I may try to pare it down to several shorter bits.

Then I had a better idea. Why rush it? I will begin another thread devoted to just this chapter or perhaps only its beginning. I’m envisioning something like the one @Mervin_Bitikofer has going with quotes from MacDonald (selections from Lewis).

I think this may be of interest to anyone with an interest in philosophy, philosophy of mind or philosophy of religion so @mitchellmckain, @vulcanlogician, @Kendel, @Jay313 and apologies in advance to any I may have left out … @Klax, @Christy, @Hoogenworf, @jstump, @jpm?

Now I’ll go start that thread and then I’ll come back here to link it: Discussion of chapter 5 from Hart's The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss


While I would not consider myself even a novice when it comes to Aquinas, I still find him and his place in history to be incredibly interesting.

What I gathered from reading Pieper, was Aquinas was coming against a form of Christianity that found the world to be irrelevant. Maybe that’s not the right word. It was a world of mere representation. Aquinas found in Aristotle a concrete world and this fit the Hohenstaufen roots from which he came. And yet Aquinas was part of an evangelical order which took vows of poverty and separated itself from the world.

I thought the quote was interesting and of interest here for the type of comments I’ve seen responding to the issue of whether it matters if the earth is young and merely has the appearance of age.

I’m just starting to work through Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, fearfully and tremblingly myself. It’s a strange book, but it is worth working for. In thinking I am laborious. I will continue to attempt to be thorough, rather than quick. I intend to miss as little of value as possible.

In those old days it was different: then, faith was a task for one’s entire life because people assumed that the capacity to have faith was not acquired either in days or weeks. When the old man, tried and tested, approached his end, had fought the good fight and kept the faith, then his heart was youthful enough not to have forgotten that anxiety and trembling which had disciplined the youth, which the man certainly mastered, but which no person ever entirely outgrows—unless, that is, one were to succeed, the sooner the better, in going further. So, the point at which those venerable figures arrived— that is where everyone in our times begins, in order to go further. (Fear and Trembling (Kirmmse, trans.) pp. 5 & 6.)

And another:

Even if one were able to restate the entire content of faith in conceptual form, it does not follow that one has grasped faith, grasped how one entered into it or how it entered into oneself. (Fear and Trembling (Kirmmse, trans.) p. 6)

And finally, for now, from page 10:

The man was not a thinker, he felt no need to go beyond faith; it seemed to him that the most splendid thing was to be remembered as its father, an enviable destiny to possess, even if no one knew of it.


Thanks to @MarkD I accidentally ran across the sermon, “Ultimatum,” from Kierkegaard’s Either/Or v.2. This is from near the beginning. Read it aloud. It’s easier to follow.

If I should speak in a different way, I would remind you of a wisdom you certainly have frequently heard, a wisdom that knows how to explain everything easily enough without doing an injustice either to God or to human beings. A human being is a frail creature, it says; it would be unreasonable of God to require the impossible of him. One does what one can , and if one is ever somewhat negligent, God will never forget that we are weak and imperfect creatures. Shall I admire more the sublime concepts of the nature of the Godhead that this ingenuity makes manifest or the profound insight into the human heart, the probing consciousness that scrutinizes itself and now comes to the easy, cozy conclusion: One does what one can? Was it such an easy matter for you, my listener, to determine how much that is: what one can? Were you never in such danger that you almost desperately exerted yourself and yet so infinitely wished to be able to do more , and perhaps someone else looked at you with a skeptical and imploring look, whether it was not possible that you could do more ? Or were you never anxious about yourself, so anxious that it seemed to you as if there were no sin so black, no selfishness so loathsome, that it could not infiltrate you and like a foreign power gain control of you? Did you not sense this anxiety? For if you did not sense it, then do not open your mouth to answer, for then you cannot reply to what is being asked; but if you did sense it, then, my listener, I ask you: Did you find rest in those words, “One does what one can”?

Or were you never anxious about others? Did you not see them wavering in life, those you were accustomed to look up to in trust and confidence? And did you not then hear a soft voice whisper to you: If not even those people can accomplish the great things, what then is life but bad troubles, and faith but a snare that wrenches us out into the infinite, where we really are unable to live–far better, then, to forget, to abandon every requirement; did you not hear this voice? For if you did not hear it, then do not open your mouth to answer, for you cannot reply to what is being asked about; but if you did hear it, my listener, I ask you: Was it to your comfort that you said “One does what one can”? Was not the real reason for your unrest that you did not know for sure how much one can do, that it seems to you to be so infinitely much at one moment, and at the next moment so very little? Was not your anxiety so painful because you could not penetrate your consciousness, because the more earnestly, the more fervently you wished to act, the more dreadful became the duplexity in which you found yourself: that you might not have done what you could, or that you might actually have done what you could but no one came to your assistance?

So every more earnest doubt, every deeper care is not calmed by the words: One does what one can. If a person is sometimes in the right, sometimes in the wrong, to some degree in the right, to some degree in the wrong, who, then, is the one who makes that decision except the person himself, but in the decision may he not again be to some degree in the right and to some degree in the wrong? Or is he a different person when he judges his act than when he acts? Is doubt to rule, then, continually to discover new difficulties, and is care to accompany the anguished soul and drum past experiences into it? Or would we prefer continually to be in the right in the way irrational creatures are? Then we have only the choice between being nothing in relation to God or having to begin all over again every moment in eternal torment, yet without being able to begin, for if we are to be able to decide definitely whether we are in the right at the present moment, then this question must be decided definitely with regard to the previous moment, and so on further and further back. Doubt is again set in motion, care again aroused[.]


Came across a poem a little less far out along the deepity axis. But it causes a funny sort of disequilibrium for me as the sense I make of “nobody” keeps shifting.

Nobody by Kristina Mahr

I am nobody’s love, and I stand where
nobody stands. If you look, you will see
nobody in my heart, nobody in my mind,
I wait and I wait and I wait for nobody.

Nobody makes me want more than this and
I long for nobody, I dream of nobody, I write
poetry for nobody.

And yet everyone thinks
I’m lying when
I tell them, to me, you are


I’ve had this song from Kansas going through my head the last few days … a trip down memory lane for anybody with an ear for classic rock and roll. The lyrics are probably applicable to much of our tempests around here.


… Carry on, my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more

… Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion
I was soaring ever higher
But I flew too high
Though my eyes could see, I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think, I still was a mad man
I hear the voices when I’m dreaming
I can hear them say

… Carry on, my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more

… Masquerading as a man with a reason
My charade is the event of the season
And if I claim to be a wise man, well
It surely means that I don’t know
On a stormy sea of moving emotion
Tossed about, I’m like a ship on the ocean
I set a course for winds of fortune
But I hear the voices say

… Carry on my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more, no

… Carry on, you will always remember
Carry on, nothing equals the splendor
Now your life’s no longer empty
Surely heaven waits for you

… Carry on, my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry, don’t you cry no more

… No more


Thanks, Merv! I could never make out the verses. Now the song will be in my head all week, and I’ll be coming back to your post for review.
I always find it interesting how much thoughtful material is in rock (all genres and subgenres), when it is so often seen as vapid, base and/or narcissistic. Maybe that’s why guys like Mike Warnke worked so hard to demonize it.

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Talking ‘bout my generation…
Great lyrics, Like so many songs, I never really heard them when listening.


Yep. Mine too. Showing our ages here I guess! I was surprised to hear one of my students at school recognize the song by title because … she recognized it as one of her dad’s go-to repertoire.

That and “Dust in the Wind” are two of my favorites of theirs. (or more accurately, the only two songs by Kansas which I remember enough to name.)


Our pastor today preached on how we drift away from God, not realizing our being caught in the current, using Hebrews 2:1 as his text:
We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

Naturally, I had Simon and Garfunkel running in my mind during the sermon:

Whoah God only knows, God makes his plan
The information’s unavailable to the mortal man
We’re workin’ our jobs, collect our pay
Believe we’re gliding down the highway, when in fact we’re slip sliding away

Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away


The sneer runs deep in their music and resonates with teens eager for their turn. One of those where the mood/point of the song doesn’t require hearing all the lyrics. The Who had several songs like that, most notably Won’t Get Fooled Again and [Summertime Blues](https://the who summertime blues youtube)

We did fancy ourselves (generationally) as pretty special, maybe even the very dawning of the Age of Aquarius.


I wore out my The Who- Who’s Next cassette tape.

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