More Than Some Antics

Inevitably, some people will never like punning because it fogs up the lens of clarity through which they view the world and impose order, or at least the illusion of order. But if puns seem, at times, to confuse, they actually enlighten us through both laughter and insight. They keep us from taking ourselves too seriously, and sharpen our capacity for creative thinking. Ultimately, puns keep our minds alert, engaged and nimble in this quickening world, revealing new connections and fresh interpretations. And that’s why, even as we hurtle into a future of uncertain opportunities, puns will always be more than some antics.

— John Pollack, The Pun Also Rises, p. 152

Not a Traffic Cop

Walking beside others is what we are here to do. That’s why others have gathered. But walking side by side is far different than pushing our specific direction on someone else. If our motive is to express joy about another’s journey, allowing her or him to have what fits for them, we are fulfilling God’s will for us. If, instead, we are directing traffic, we have usurped God’s role in their lives, and it’s time to back off.

— Karen Casey, Let Go Now, p. 77

A Kindred Soul

Over the years I have collected so many books that, in aggregate, they can fairly be called a library. I don’t know what percentage of them I have read. Increasingly I wonder how many of them I ever will read. This has done nothing to dampen my pleasure in acquiring more books. But it has caused me to ponder the meaning they have for me, and the fact that to me they epitomize one great aspect of the goodness of life.

— Marianne Robinson, When I Was a Child, I Read Books, p. 19

A Moment of Incarnation

Prayer is a moment of incarnation — God with us. God involved in the details of my life. Another author of an otherwise excellent book on prayer said that prayer was mainly about us being with God and not about God answering our prayers. As an example he mentioned that “mothers in the days of high infant mortality used to pray desperately that their children would not die in infancy. Modern medical techniques have put an end to those prayers in the West.” Maybe. Or maybe modern medical techniques were developed in the West because young mothers in the West were praying for the lives of their children.

— Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life, p. 125

Interpreting Jesus

Listen to how someone prays — it will reveal what they really think about Jesus. Does he sound near, or does the prayer make him seem far away, up above the sky somewhere? Does it sound as though Jesus might be someone we are bothering with our requests, someone with far more important things to do? Does he have a sense of humor, or is he always serious? Is it formal, and religious, or “Good morning, Papa”? Do they even sound like they know him? Really, listen to their prayers. Listen to your own.

We interpret Jesus through our brokenness. A painful truth, but also a hopeful truth. Maybe we can open up the doors and windows we didn’t know we closed….

This is actually good news, friends — a fair share of your difficulty with Jesus is simply your own brokenness getting in the way. It’s good news because it enables us to realize that our perceptions may be wrong, that this isn’t what Jesus is like — this is our brokenness talking. And second, healing our brokenness is exactly what Jesus came to do. How did he handle every broken person that ever came to him?

— John Eldredge, Beautiful Outlaw, p. 159-160

Solutions in Reading

I am one of those overeducated library types who might be expected to look down her nose at self-help books — but the whole bookstore is a self-help section to me. When something needs to be fixed, when I need something to change, my first and abiding instinct is to read. I think I can read my way to a solution. Or at least an evasion.

— Lauren F. Winner, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, p. 23

Our Own Music

If we cannot hear the music of our own sweet nature calling to us, if we cannot remember that the intention is to live who we really are, it’s hard to know how to move, where to begin, how to dance. That’s why it’s not always a good idea to start shouting enthusiastically about what we are going to do, how we are going to live our soul’s longing, no matter how strongly this longing is felt in the moment. Sometimes we need to just stand quietly together, hand in hand, until one of us hears the music and begins to dance.

— Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Dance, p. 15

Antidote to Life’s Doldrums

My curiosity and love of learning have been sustained by the advice Merlin gave Arthur in T. H. White’s Once and Future King: “The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn.” I can’t count the number of times I have conjured up Merlin’s advice, and it always proves true — learning is a wonderful antidote to life’s doldrums and it keeps me alive to the wonders of the world.

— Diane W. Frankenstein, Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read, p. 2