Saturday, January 26, 2013

We Have To Be Reminded

"...[I]f you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily prayers and religious readings and church-going are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?"

-C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Giving New Life to Our Daily Art

"Christianity has not, and does not profess to have, a detailed political programme for applying 'Do as you would be done by' to a particular society at a particular moment. It could not have. It is meant for all men at all times and the particular programme which suited one place or time would not suit another. And, anyhow, that is not how Christianity works. When it tells you to feed the hungry it does not give you lessons in cookery. When it tells you to read the Scriptures it does not give you lessons in Hebrew and Greek, or even in English grammar. It was never intended to replace or supersede the ordinary human arts and sciences: it is rather a director which will set them all to the right jobs, and a source of energy which will give them all new life, if only they will put themselves at its disposal."

-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Dangers of Comparing

"Negative speaking so often flows from negative thinking, including negative thinking about ourselves. We see our own faults, we speak of--or at least think--critically of ourselves, and before long that is how we see everyone and everything."     

"Most 'thou shalt not' commandments are meant to keep us from hurting others, but I am convinced the commandment not to covet is meant to keep us from hurting ourselves."

(both quotes by Jeffrey R. Holland)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tutoring Experiences

"Let us not resent those tuturing experiences which can develop our own empathy further."

-Neal A. Maxwell

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Changing the Inner Man

"Morality, then, seems to be concerned with three things. First, with fair play and harmony between individuals. Secondly, with what might be called tidying up or harmonising the things inside each individual. Thirdly, with the general purpose of human life as a whole: what man was made for: what course the whole fleet ought to be on: what tune the conductor of the band wants it to play.

"You may have noticed that modern people are nearly always thinking about the first thing and forgetting the other two . . .

"What is the good of telling the ships how to steer so as to avoid collisions if, in fact, they are such crazy old tubs that they cannot be steered at all? What is the good of drawing up, on paper, rules for social behavior, if we know that, in fact, our greed, cowardice, ill temper, and self-conceit are going to prevent us from keeping them? I do not mean for a moment that we ought not to think, and think hard, about improvements in our social and economic system. What I do mean is that all that thinking will be mere moonshine unless we realise that nothing but the courage and unselfishness of individuals is ever going to make any system work properly. It is easy enough to remove the particular kinds of graft or bullying that go on under the present system: but as long as men are twisters or bullies they will find some new way of carrying on the old game under the new system. You cannot make men good by law: and without good men, you cannot have a good society."

-C.S Lewis, in Mere Christianity

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Patience in Growth

When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice it is small, but we do not criticize it as "rootless and stemless." We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed.

When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don't condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; we do not criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place, and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development.

The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change: Yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.

A flower is not better when it blooms than when it is merely a bud; at each stage it is the same thing . . . a flower in the process of expressing its potential.

-Timothy Gallway

Likewise, each of us is a god in embryo. We do not need to lament the fact that we have not bloomed yet to reach our full potential--rather, we need to recognize what it is that we were born to become and "stand in wonder at the process taking place."

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Blessings of Confinement

I love this quote from The Count of Monte Cristo, when the younger prisoner (Edmond Dantes) asks the older prisoner (a priest) a very thought-provoking question:

"I was reflecting, in the first place," replied Dantes, "upon the enormous degree of intelligence and ability you must have employed to reach the high perfection to which you have attained;--if you thus surpass all mankind while but a prisoner, what would you not have accomplished free?"

"Possibly nothing at all;--the overflow of my brain would probably, in a state of freedom, have evaporated in a thousand follies; it needs trouble and difficulty and danger to hollow out various mysterious and hidden mines of human intelligence. Pressure is required, you know, to ignite powder: captivity has collected into one single focus all the floating faculties of my mind; they have come into close contact in the narrow space in which they have been wedged, and you are well aware that from the collision of clouds electricity is produced--from electricity comes the lightning, from whose flash we have light amid our greatest darkness."