Every man, not very holy or very arrogant, has to ‘live up to’ the outward appearance of other men: he knows there is that within him which falls far below even his most careless public behaviour, even his loosest talk. In an instant of time—while your friend hesitates for a word—what things pass through your mind? We have never told the whole truth. We may confess ugly facts—the meanest cowardice or the shabbiest and most prosaic impurity—but the tone is false. The very act of confessing—an infinitesimally hypocritical glance—a dash of humour—all this contrives to dissociate the facts from your very self. No one could guess how familiar and, in a sense, congenial to your soul these things were, how much of a piece with all the rest: down there, in the dreaming inner warmth, they struck no such discordant note, were not nearly so odd and detachable from the rest of you, as they seem when they are turned into words. We imply, and often believe, that habitual vices are exceptional single acts, and make the opposite mistake about our virtues—like the bad tennis player who calls his normal form his ‘bad days’ and mistakes his rare successes for his normal. I do not think it is our fault that we cannot tell the real truth about ourselves; the persistent, life-long, inner murmur of spite, jealousy, prurience, greed and self-complacence, simply will not go into words. But the important thing is that we should not mistake our inevitably limited utterances for a full account of the worst that is inside.
[Christianity] has the seemingly arbitrary and idiosyncratic character which modern science is slowly telling us to put up with in this wilful universe, where energy is made up in little parcels of a quantity no one could predict, where speed is not unlimited, where irreversible entropy gives time a real direction and the cosmos, no longer static or cyclic, moves like a drama from a real beginning to a real end. If any message from the core of reality were ever to reach us, we should expect to find it in just that unexpectedness, that wilful, dramatic anfractuosity which we find in the Christian faith. It has the master touch—the rough, male taste of reality, not made by us, or, indeed, for us, but hitting us in the face.
Loosen your jaw and begin chewing, this gristle is tough. Adam, living in his story rightly, would have done the same. Adam would not have been the well-behaved Mormon teenager, abstaining from the fruit. He would have looked at Eve, seen her curse, seen her enemy, and gone after that serpent with pure and righteous wrath. He would have then turned to face the pure and righteous wrath of God Himself (that Adam had just imaged), and he would have said something quite simple, something that would be said by another, thousands of years later.
“Take me instead.”
Adam could have been conqueror rather than conquered. Regardless, fallen or unfallen, he was born to die. So are you. So am I. Life is a story. Why do we die? Because we live. Why do we live? Because our Maker opened His mouth and began to tell a story.
I think it’s fair to say that many of today’s large computer programs rank among the most complex intellectual achievements of all time. They’re absolutely trivial by comparison with any of the works of God, but still they’re somehow closer to those works than anything else we know.
Ben Howard - End of the Affair
Your world is tiny, yes. But God gets tinier. Not one dust mite falls through the carpet fibres and into the pad apart from your Father. He’s big enough that *small* doesn’t matter. Dust-mite drama doesn’t use up his attention, taking it away from something deemed by mentally incontinent college professors to be more worthy of His attention. When one is infinite, one can enjoy two black holes arm-wrestling over a galactic snack, and an uncoordinated junior high quarterback struggling to escape an uncoordinated junior high defensive end. Infinite goes all the way up and all the way down; at every level, with equal attention, He creates with the full dose of His personality.
The message of Christian Orthodoxy isn’t that I’m right and someone else is wrong. It’s that I am wrong yet God is filled with grace. I am wrong, and yet God has made a way for me to be forgiven and accepted and loved for eternity. I am wrong, and yet God gave his Son, Jesus, to die in my place and receive my punishment. I am wrong, but through faith in Jesus, I can be made right before a holy God.
And I say also this. I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes.
A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered. You are speaking as if pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing… What you call remembering is the last part of the pleasure… When you and I met, the meeting was over very shortly, it was nothing. Now it is growing something as we remember it. But we still know very little about it. What it will be when I remember it as I lie down to die, what it makes in me all my days till then—that is the real meeting. The other is only the beginning of it…
The poem is a good example. For the most splendid line becomes fully splendid only by means of all the lines after it; if you went back to it you would find it less splendid than you thought. You would kill it.
Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?