Category Archives: Quotes

in the heart’s own wax

One book, printed in the heart’s own wax
Is worth a thousand in the stacks.

~ Jan Luyken (Dutch poet)


O heart, too much like stone, you,
and chisel dulled;
or, better, a hard drive,
with too many hurried bytes.

A tablet of wax
beckoning the fresh
of lettered treasures old and new…

Too many in the stacks;
Move, O bookish stylus, to the wax!

stylus on wax

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Posted by on December 7, 2015 in Poetry, Quotes, Uncategorized


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what I’m reading: Moonwalking with Einstein

Once upon a time, memory was at the root of all culture, but over the last thirty millennia since humans began painting their memories on cave walls, we’ve gradually supplanted our own natural memory with a vast superstructure of external memory aids – a process that has sped up exponentially in recent years. 

Imagine waking up tomorrow and discovering that all the world’s ink had become invisible and all our bytes had disappeared. Our world would immediately crumble. Literature, music, law, politics, science, math:
Our culture is an edifice built of externalized memories.

So good, this.

O for the rebuilding of the internalized palace of living, breathing memory! Before the bytes disappear…


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Posted by on December 4, 2015 in Books, Quotes, Uncategorized


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non-verbal God

My friend Jessie painted the cover of her Bible.
Epic. Cover.

Jessie's Tree It immediately took me to the story of Brother Lawrence…

Brother Lawrence was born Nicholas Herman in the Lorraine region of France in 1611. At age eighteen, he experienced a profound conversion, that is, a radical change of mind and heart, when he saw a bear tree in the middle of winter standing gaunt and leafless against the snow. Anticipating the miracle of this same tree burgeoning with new life the following spring, Nicholas was overwhelmed by “a high view of the providence and power of God,” which never left him and which kindled in him an intense love for God.
~ Mother Tessa Bielecki, in the Foreward to The Practice of the Presence of God

My mind immediately leapt to another text I encountered last year in Carl R. Trueman’s The Creedal Imperative (I enjoyed the read, as I recall). In fact, reading the one after the other gives me some significant mental whiplash:

Merely looking at a tattered and broken piece of humanity hanging on a piece of wood, or imagining such with the mind’s eye, is of no use whatsoever. It is the cross set within its context of the biblical story of humanity’s creation and fall that has significance; and this requires verbal communication. One might add that since there is no other way of communicating this message that can bypass the use of words. Neither painting nor mime nor dance is remotely adequate for the message. Only clear, verbal statement of the matter can bring the message home and frame the matter in such a way that the response can then be either those of faith or of unbelief.

I love this statement for the wonderful job security it gives me as a speaking and writing Pastor. And there is truth in it, to be sure. I’m sure Brother Lawrence had a context of homiletical verbal statements from many a mass. So, perhaps you’re right, Mr. Trueman. Merely looking at a tattered and broken piece of humanity hanging on a piece of wood is of no use whatsoever.

But evidently sometimes all it takes is the sight of a bare tree in winter.

Our verbal God is so wondrously non-verbal in his communication too.
Which is really good news for all us non-verbal learning types.


Hey. Pie charts don’t lie.

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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in haverings, Quotes


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reading is powerful

Behold, the power of reading.
A wee snippet from a great blog post by Orange Marmalade.

Reading is powerful.

Reading aloud together forges enduring, companionable bonds as we journey together to new places and into new relationships, Jesse Wilcox Smith reading girlsexperience the emotions of a story together, make sense of stories together, create memories and build associations through story. We build a Secret Club, as it were, with passwords of just the odd word or phrase from countless stories that trigger curiously sweet camaraderie.  As we read, we join a larger community with all those who love sorting hats or Frogs and Toads or a red-haired girl who hates being called Carrots. Connection happens through reading, and connection makes the world a better place…

Reading heals.


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Posted by on March 28, 2015 in Books, Quotes, Reading


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clearer ran the words

In honor of Tolkien reading day.reading_day-300x224-1
My favorite reading from Lord of the Rings. Fellowship of the Ring. Book Two. From the chapter entitled “Many Meetings” (being a pastor, that title is precious to me…)
On a good day, this is where holy Writ and worship take me when clearer run the words…

At first the beauty of the melodies
and of the interwoven words in elven-tongues,
even though he understood them little,
held him in a spell,
as soon as he began to attend to them.
Almost it seemed that the words took shape,
and visions of far lands and bright things
that he had never yet imagined
out before him;
and the firelit hall
became like a golden mist
above seas of foam that
upon the margins of the world.

Then the enchantment became
more and more dreamlike,
until he felt that an endless river of
swelling gold
and silver
was flowing over him,
too multitudinous for its pattern
to be comprehended;
it became part of
the throbbing air about him,
and it drenched and
drowned him.
Swiftly he sank under
its shining weight
into a deep realm
of sleep.

There he wandered
long in a dream of music
that turned
into running water,
and then suddenly into
a voice.
It seemed to be the voice of
Bilbo chanting verses.
at first
and then
clearer ran the words.

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Posted by on March 25, 2015 in Quotes


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silent night

Richard Rohr’s emailed devotion today was the first gift I got to open. shh
Oh the glory of being grandparents!
We’re the ones who wake up first now
and then wait in the silence…

Do what it takes.
Grab some silence today.
Your soul needs it.

When peaceful silence lay over all, and when night had run half way her swift course, down from the heavens, from the royal throne, leapt your all-powerful Word. –Book of Wisdom 18:14-15

Words are necessarily dualistic.
That is their function. They distinguish this from that, and that’s good. But silence has the wonderful ability to not need to distinguish this from that! As in the magnificent quote above from the Catholic Bible, the divine word itself can only enter the world in silence and at nighttime. Silence can hold impossibilities together in a quiet, tantric* embrace. Silence, especially loving silence, is always non-dual, and that is much of its secret power. It stays with mystery, holds tensions, absorbs contradictions, and smiles at paradoxes—leaving them unresolved, and happily so. Any good poet knows this, as do many masters of musical chords. Politicians, engineers, accountants, and most seminary trained clergy have a much harder time.

Max Picard, in his classic book The World of Silence, says, “The human spirit requires silence just as much as the body needs food and oxygen.” As a general spiritual rule, you can trust this: The ego gets what it wants with words. The soul finds what it needs in silence. The ego prefers full solar light—immediate answers, full clarity, absolute certitude, moral perfection, and undeniable conclusions. The soul, however, prefers the subtle world of shadow, the lunar world that mixes darkness and light together, or as the Book of Wisdom more poetically puts it above, “When night had run half way her swift course…”!

Robert Sardello, in his magnificent, demanding book Silence: The Mystery of Wholeness, writes: “Silence knows how to hide. It gives a little and sees what we do with it.” Only then will it or can it give more. Rushed, manipulative, or opportunistic people thus find silence impossible, even a torture. They never get to the “more.” Sardello goes on to say, “But in Silence everything displays its depth, and we find that we are a part of the depth of everything around us.” This is so good and so true!

When our interior silence can actually feel and value the silence that surrounds everything else, we have entered the house of wisdom. This is the very heart of prayer. When the two silences connect and bow to one another, we have a third dimension of knowing, which many have called spiritual intelligence or even “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2: 10-16). No wonder that silence is probably the foundational spiritual discipline in all the world’s religions, although it is only appreciated as such at the more mature and mystical levels. Maybe the absence of silence and the abundance of chatter is the primary reason that so much personal incarnation does not happen. Christmas remains a single day instead of a lifetime of ever deepening realizations.

* tantric – yes it’s one of those eastern religious words; new to me. Evidently a combination of “elaboration” and “liberation,” I’ll take elaborated liberation any day! Tantric beats tantrums…


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Posted by on December 25, 2014 in Quotes


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comment thread wisdom

This is chewy, but read:

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Alexander Hamilton, October 27, 1787, Federalist #1

Such wisdom here. Such relevance.

The words have yellowed with time but they came to life like Ezekiel’s dry bones, leaping off the page, aggressively juxtaposing themselves between me and many posts on controversial issues (everything from high profile pastor resignations to gay marriage) and too many comment streams following (providing a new meaning to the words “bottomless pit”) that I have been perusing these past few days.

These words were written for us.

And as a service for those whom the chewiness is a bit much, here’s my translation:

We can feel so strongly about so many issues that even good people end up venting and retching, rather than reasoning – right or wrong – on the powerful issues of the day; which is a summons to slow down; to wait before hitting “enter” or pressing “send.” Even our best intentions can be fouled by baser motives moving us unseen, as we confuse increased volume and the decibels of damnation with successful argument.

In other words, in the dance speak of Country Two Step, this is a quick quick hear…sloooooooooooooow speak move on the dance floor of conversation.

Oh yes.

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Posted by on October 19, 2014 in Quotes


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