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

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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Same. Boy, that summer I worked at Safeway between 11th and 12th grade, Summertime Blues was my anthem:

Well, I’m a gonna raise a fuss, I’m gonna raise a holler
About workin’ all summer just to try an’ earn a dollar
Everytime I call my baby, to try to get a date
My boss says, no dice, son, you gotta work late
Sometimes I wonder what I’m gonna do
'Cause there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues

Well, my mom an papa told me, son, you gotta make some money
If you want to use the car to go ridin’ next sunday
Well I didn’t go to work, told the boss I was sick
Now you can’t use the car 'cause you didn’t work a lick
Sometimes I wonder what I’m gonna do
'Cause there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues

I’m gonna take two weeks, gonna have a vacation
I’m gonna take my problem to the United Nation
Well I called my congressman and he said quote
“I’d like to help you son, but you’re too young to vote”
Sometimes I wonder what I’m gonna do
'Cause there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues

Well, I’m a gonna raise a fuss, I’m gonna raise a holler
About workin’ all summer just to try an’ earn a dollar
Sometimes I wonder what I’m gonna do
'Cause there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues

Yeah, sometimes I wonder what I’m gonna do
'Cause there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues
No, there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues

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Just came across this poem by William Carpenter. My wife taught weaving workshops three times at the Haystack School of Craft located on the coast at Deere Island, Maine. It is a beautiful campus and I have many pleasant memories from those weeklong stays. In addition to good simple food served family style three times a day preceded by the ringing of a triangle the director would always read two poems by Carpenter at an opening ceremony on the first evening, this one inspired by a painting taken in the famous Gardener Museum theft and another titled California. Not sure how much my valuation of this is shaded by the location, views, food and creative people, but I find it takes me away every time.

“Girl Reading a Letter” [by William Carpenter]


A thief drives to the museum in his black van. The night
watchman says Sorry, closed, you have to come back tomorrow.
The thief sticks the point of his knife in the guard’s ear.
I haven’t got all evening, he says, I need some art.
Art is for pleasure, the guard says, not possession, you can’t
something, and then the duct tape is going across his mouth.
Don’t worry, the thief says, we’re both on the same side.
He finds the Dutch Masters and goes right for a Vermeer:
“Girl Writing a Letter.” The thief knows what he’s doing.
He has a Ph.D. He slices the canvas on one edge from
the shelf holding the salad bowls right down to the
square of sunlight on the black and white checked floor.
The girl doesn’t hear this, she’s too absorbed in writing
her letter, she doesn’t notice him until too late. He’s
in the picture. He’s already seated at the harpsichord.
He’s playing the G Minor Sonata by Domenico Scarlatti,
which once made her heart beat till it passed the harpsichord
and raced ahead and waited for the music to catch up.
She’s worked on this letter for three hundred and twenty years.
Now a man’s here, and though he’s dressed in some weird clothes,
he’s playing the harpsichord for her, for her alone, there’s no one
else alive in the museum. The man she was writing to is dead -
time to stop thinking about him - the artist who painted her is dead.
She should be dead herself, only she has an ear for music
and a heart that’s running up the staircase of the Gardner Museum
with a man she’s only known for a few minutes, but it’s
true, it feels like her whole life. So when the thief
hands her the knife and says you slice the paintings out
of their frames, you roll them up, she does it; when he says
you put another strip of duct tape over the guard’s mouth
so he’ll stop talking about aesthetics, she tapes him, and when
the thief puts her behind the wheel and says, drive, baby,
the night is ours, it is the Girl Writing a Letter who steers
the black van on to the westbound ramp for Storrow Drive
and then to the Mass Pike, it’s the Girl Writing a Letter who
drives eighty miles an hour headed west into a country
that’s not even discovered yet, with a known criminal, a van
full of old masters and nowhere to go but down, but for the
Girl Writing a Letter these things don’t matter, she’s got a beer
in her free hand, she’s on the road, she’s real and she’s in love.

– from The Best American Poetry 1995 edited by Richard Howard


I adore Vermeer. I adore letters. I adore writing letters. I adore the poet’s story telling. I adore the letter-writing-reading girl in love, drinking beer and driving 80 down the freeway in a van full of Dutch masters and her liberating thief.