The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was, is lost.
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Too often nowadays, they [elected officials]…don’t understand their jobs in the context of the distinct forms and functions our system assigns them, but in terms of the roles they play in the culture-war theater of our politics, where the goal is not legislative bargaining or executive action or judicial review but performative outrage for a partisan audience.
Writing a book is like moving into an imaginary house. The author, the sole inhabitant, wanders from room to room, choosing the furnishings, correcting imperfections, adding new wings. Often, this space feels like a sanctuary. But sometimes it is a ramshackle fixer-upper that consumes time father than cash, or a claustrophobic haunted mansion whose intractable problems nearly drive its creator mad…
One of the literary lessons I’ve learned from pruning fruit trees every spring is that a well-pruned tree, like a well-pruned essay, doesn’t look pruned, just nicely shaped. None of what has come off is missed after a second glance, nor does any remembrance remain of what the tree looked like beforehand. Pruning does not simply encourage dendritic aesthetics and stimulate fruit production, but allows light and air to penetrate to the center of the tree, discouraging disease and pests. “He who pruned not, hateth his tree” — which proverb is related to “Everybody needeth an editor.”
It rained every day for three months, from late fall till spring… it was dank and cold, and the sky was low, like the ceiling of a coal mine, the clouds the color of asphalt. By March the low places ran with muddy water and washed whole lifetimes away, and storms tore up some parts of the South like they were held together with shoeboxes and glue. Things rusted that never had, doors swelled and jammed, and the roots of hundred-year-old trees lost their grip in the liquid soil and fell under their own weight. It even caused a kind of moldering in the mind, an absence of optimism, like we had tracked the red mud into our finer nature.
Good news in today’s world is like a fugitive, treated like a hoodlum and put on the run. Castigated. All we see is good-for-nothing news…
I always turn to the sports section first. The sports section records man’s accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man’s failures.
The most beautiful people we have known, are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
Inevitably, when I can’t harm the people who harmed me, I just end up harming the people who love me.
“…darkness almost always harbors some bit of goodness tucked out of sight, waiting for an unexpected light to shine, to reveal it in its deepest hiding place.”
Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.
Long before Johannes Gutenberg and his printing press, and 1,000 years before cloistered monks and their illuminated manuscripts, the principal storage facility for history, poetry, and folktales was the human head. And the chief means of transmitting that cultural wealth, from generation to generation, was the human voice.
Either that wallpaper goes, or I do. (his last words)
I’ve been around that trashy behavior all my life, I’m gettin’ tired of puttin’ up with it.
And kid, remember, do not swing at the pitcher’s pitch. Make sure you swing at your pitch.
In its gathered, visible form in the granary, seed is useless. To serve the purpose for which it exists, it must be scattered. It disappears into the soil and literally dies. When seed is doing the work for which it was intended, it is invisible.
You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
When one person kills another there is immediate revulsion at the nature of the crime. But in time so short as to seem indecent to the members of the personal family, the dead person ceases to exist as an identifiable figure. To those individuals in the community of good will and empathy, warmth, and compassion, only one of the key actors in the drama remains with whom to commiserate— and that is always the criminal. The dead person ceases to be a part of everyday reality, ceases to exist. She is only a figure in a historic event. We inevitably turn away from the past, toward the ongoing reality. And the ongoing reality is the criminal; trapped, anxious, now helpless, isolated, often badgered and bewildered. He usurps the compassion that is justly his victim’s due. He will steal his victim’s moral constituency along with her life.
We’re all just walking each other home.
There are three things we cry for in life: things that are lost, things that are found, and things that are magnificent.
At fourteen I wanted to play guitar very badly. By fifteen I did.
Art makes visible what is invisible.
Nothing kills credibility like excessive enthusiasm. Nothing poisons truth so quickly as an assurance that one has found it. ‘The impeded stream is the one that sings.’
Prosperity breeds amnesia.
It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral…
Because it is politically expedient to sacrifice the future — which does not vote — to the consumption of government services by those who do, America is eating its seed corn.
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.
Books are like children that grow up and leave one’s house, and then have an independent life of their own. One may be surprised, delighted, or appalled at what happens along the way, but the outcome is beyond one’s control.
He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
Have we really reached the point where the basic argument that men and women are different, or that free men and women will often make different choices in large part because they are different, or that religion and ancient traditions can inform and guide our lives today, are now so toxic that their advocates must and should face a relentless campaign to drive them from the public square?
One of the signs of a great society is the diligence with which it passes culture from one generation to the next. This culture is the embodiment of everything the people of that society hold dear: its religious faith, its heroes…when one generation no longer esteems it’s own heritage and fails to pass the torch to its children, it is saying in essence that the very foundational principles and experiences that make the society what it is are no longer valid. This leaves that generation without any sense of definition or direction, making them the fulfillment of Karl Marx’s dictum, ‘A people without a heritage are easily persuaded.’ What is required when this happens and the society has lost its way, is for leaders to arise, who have not forgotten the discarded legacy and who love it with all their hearts. They can then become the voice of that lost generation, wooing an errant generation back to the faith of their fathers, back to the ancient foundations and bedrock values.
To me, history ought to be a source of pleasure. It isn’t just part of our civic responsibility. To me, it’s an enlargement of the experience of being alive.
Perhaps we are not more judgmental than in previous days, but our technology, freedom, and affluence have enabled us to be much more democratic and public in our judgments, outspoken about our opinions and positions in public forums. As a result, the air we breathe is filled with violence, not peace. We raise our flags and wear our colors proudly these days, and are unafraid to shout down the other army and its soldiers. We are not often heeding the call of Romans 12:18 — “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Violence — inner, spoken, attitudinal, expressed — too often marks how we relate to each other.
Get to know people you’ve been taught to avoid.
By virtue of Creation and, still more, of the Incarnation, nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see.
One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night.
…paranoid populism and tribalism derive their power from the instinct for ascribing every misfortune to human will and planning. Again, “they” are out to get “us,” and the proof can be found in our anger or bad luck. So everything we do to stop “them” is self-justifying. One problem: The world isn’t nearly so bleak and zero-sum…No one is “running” the show…there’s no Oz behind the curtain, no cabal successfully pulling the strings or pulling the wool over our eyes. American politics is a big, sprawling, buzzing confusion of competing interests, agendas, and arguments. You think everything is going according to Mitch McConnell’s plan? Donald Trump’s? Nancy Pelosi’s? The Koch brothers’? George Soros’s? Please.
Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions — forgetting the image of God we should see in each other.
Some 60 million people died in World War II. On average, 27,000 people perished on each day between the invasion of Poland (September 1, 1939) and the formal surrender of Japan (September 2, 1945) — bombed, shot, stabbed, blown apart, incinerated, gassed, starved, or infected. The Axis losers killed or starved to death about 80 percent of all those who died during the war.
The universe isn’t divided into the Forces of Goodness and the Forces of Evil. That divide runs through every human heart and, therefore, every human institution. Recognizing this fact is the first step toward humility and decency in politics and life.
If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep the streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep the streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper, who swept his job well.’”
Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.
Everyone wants to do better. Trust them. Leaders are everywhere. Find them. People achieve good things, big and small, every day. Celebrate them. Some people wish things were different. Listen to them. Everybody matters. Show them.
People get caught up in grandeur, forgetting that the best times they ever had in their lives were in tiny spaces with low ceilings and the best things ever said to them were whispered. When I design a house, I start with the site to figure out exactly what elements you want to engage with emotionally and spiritually. Then I consider the communion of people and objects and create containment around them. My consideration is always what it’s going to feel like together. Only lastly do I concern myself with what a house looks like. The only real value of building a house is to increase the territory of your own heart. The only real truth is to create something that will settle your spirit.
We don’t believe something by merely saying we believe it, or even when we believe that we believe it. We believe something when we act as if it were true.
If we want to live a wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating rest and play, and we must work to let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth.
We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.
…bullshit thrives because we, collectively, have become indifferent to the truth. Fake news thrives because there’s a market for it, willing consumers of bullshit. We believe any claim that suits our purposes. And when we’re confronted by inconvenient facts we treat them suspiciously and dismiss them as fake. Truth has become politicized. We’ll say and believe whatever helps us win.
If you think free speech is assault but assault is free speech you’re a moron of world-historical proportions.
Selfishness is not living your life as you wish. It is asking others to live their lives as you wish.
Transgenderism rests upon a metaphysics of personhood that will attempt to rewrite all of social reality as we know it (case in point: the Department of Defense’s Handbook)…We have now become whoever and whatever we happen to think we are, and the world needs to be remade in a manner that plays to our fantasies.
Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
…both of our major parties are intensely nostalgic and backward looking. The Left wishes it was always 1965, the Right wishes it was always 1981, and they have both decided to just pretend that it is and so to treat every election as a choice about which era to return to. That makes for political debates that are disconnected from reality—they ignore how our country has changed over the decades, and so they ignore both our strengths and our weaknesses and they don’t speak to the problems people actually confront.
It’s not tolerance if you always agree with those you tolerate.
We give them back to thee, dear Lord, who gavest them to us. Yet as thou didst not lose them in giving, so we have not lost them by their return. What thou gavest thou takest not away, O Lover of souls; for what is thine is ours also if we are thine. And life is eternal and love is immortal, and death is only an horizon, and an horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
Perhaps passing through the gates of death is like passing through the gate in a pasture fence. On the other side, you keep walking, without the need to look back. No shock, no drama, just the lifting of a plank or two in a simple wooden gate in a clearing. Neither pain, nor floods of light, nor great voices, but just the silent crossing of a meadow.
Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.
If you understand too much, eternity passes you by.
It is impossible to be grateful and hateful at the same time.
I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens who, reading newspapers, live and die in the belief that they have known something of what has been passing in their time.
The EU has a flag no one salutes, an anthem no one sings, a president no one can name, a parliament whose powers subtract from those of national legislatures, a bureaucracy no one admires or controls, and rules of fiscal rectitude that no member is penalized for ignoring.
When dealing with the finest lines in this or any other language, you should let Shakespeare do the talking. If you insist on interposing your ego, you ensure that all in the audience, wherever they sit, get an obstructed view. When you stage Shakespeare, you are fashioning a setting for the most precious of jewels. The work demands all your artifice. The goldsmith’s craft may be creative, original, dazzling — but it must be deployed in the service of enhancing the gem, not smothering it.
When media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
…you don’t need a grand plan. Just take the next step, do the unglamorous tasks enthusiastically and expect the unexpected.
The biggest problem we face as a culture…is that we use words like justice, rights, freedom and dignity without any commonly shared meaning. . . . Our most important debates boil out to who can deploy the best words in the best way to get power.
We often wonder how people of the past, including the most revered and refined, could have universally engaged in conduct now considered unconscionable. Such as slavery. How could the Founders, so sublimely devoted to human liberty, have lived with — some participating in — human slavery? …While retrospective judgment tends to make us feel superior to our ancestors, it should really evoke humility. Surely some contemporary practices will be deemed equally abominable by succeeding generations. The only question is: Which ones?
Whatever you do in this world, you’ve got a responsibility and a privilege of doing it the very best way you can.
I’ve learned that style is the product of my limitations.
I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis.
When someone isn’t willing or ready for spiritual oneness, emotional oneness, legal oneness, financial oneness — why let them steal physical and soul oneness from you?
God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.
The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.
Science is never settled, because science is the craft of unsettling what we know at any given moment. If science could settle, man would never learn to fly or read by electric light.
A gentleman accepts the responsibility of his actions and bears the burden of their consequences.
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, does not go away.
As a pastor I have stood at the bedside of literally thousands of people as they took their last breath. I have never once had somebody at their dying moment say, ‘Bring me my bowling trophy, I want to see it one more time; bring me my certificate, my college degree so I can look at it one more time; bring me the nice gold watch I got for 30 years of service at my company.’ Nobody ever says that; they say, ‘Bring me the people that I love.’ In the closing moments of their life, what people want are those they love the most around them.
[Laughter] allows us to step back from an event over which we have no control and deal with it and then move on with our lives. It helps distinguish us from animals. No matter what hyenas sound like, they are not actually laughing. It also helps define our sanity. The schizophrenic has no sense of humor. His world is a constantly daunting, unfriendly place. The rational man is able to find humor in his. …People with a sense of humor tend to be less egocentric and more realistic in their view of the world and more humble in moments of success and less defeated in times of travail. I certainly don’t delude myself that there aren’t certainly more important things to do in life than make people laugh, but I can’t imagine anything that would bring me more joy.
Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble this football.
Pleasure depends on where you are, who you are with, what you are eating. Happiness is different. Happiness does not depend on where you are. I live in prison. And I have not had a day of depression in 25 years. I have been upset, angry. I have been sad. But never depressed. I have a reason for my being.
When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws.
Time is sequential – a thread spanning the distance between birth and death…
The old field of space, time, matter, and the senses is to be weeded, dug, and sown for a new crop. We may be tired of that old field: God is not.
You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt…
…could we not wear grown-up suits when we are running for high office?
People think sex is a good way to understand another person, but it’s like studying someone’s shadow to determine how reliable or smart or confident or sincere or knowing or dangerous they are.
When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.
Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand: / Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!
I can explain it to you, but I can’t comprehend it for you.
Build on failure…use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. Don’t try to forget the mistakes…but don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.
“As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their ‘right’ place.”
In my writing, as much as I could, I tried to find the good, and praise it.
One can revere youth or wisdom, but not both.
Life is too short to have anything come out of your mouth that isn’t true.
“There seems to be an inverse relationship between written instruments of freedom, such as a Charter, and freedom itself. It’s as if freedom were too fragile to be put into words: If you write down your rights and freedoms, you lose them.”
“I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of a national emergency – even if I’m in a cabinet meeting.”
A generation is a group of people who share a basic outlook on life shaped by their common age location in history, their common ‘generational setting…’ ‘Youth,’ on the other hand…
“Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other.”
Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
Not too long ago, people walked with their heads up, looking at the water, the sky, the sand and at one another, talking. Now they often walk with their heads down, typing…
The truth is like a lizard; it leaves its tail in your hands and runs away; it knows that it will shortly grow another one.
Once politics was about only a few things; today, it is about nearly everything.
A sense of humor is incompatible with the complete acceptance of any dogma, any religious, political, or economic prescriptions for salvation.
The gospel is an embodied announcement about this world: it is good, and we’re home, and the word took on flesh and moved into the neighborhood. Heaven and earth are, in fact, coming together. We’re home. Soil is good, and so is wine, and sex, and music, and muscle, and arranging things, and building things, and getting hungry people the food they need, and jobs that empower people to make better lives for themselves.
Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.
If it’s a-sagging, a-bagging, or a-dragging, I’m gonna get it sucked, tucked, or plucked…God didn’t make plastic surgeons so they can starve.
David Lean wouldn’t be allowed to make movies today, John Ford would be forced to turn John Wayne into a 30-something failure-to-launch hipster whose big moment is missing the toilet in the vomit scene in Hangover Ten. Our movie culture has descended into immaturity, deep and inhuman violence, a pervasive and flattened sexuality. It is an embarrassment.
Washington is the place where one never writes if one can call, never calls if one can speak, never speaks if one can nod, and never nods if one can wink.
…Uncle Sam is the drunk and the tea partiers are the annoyingly sober — and a bit self-righteous — cousin.
Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions — and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large.
The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.
“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”
Repentance is taking God’s position against our own.
If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.
Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
…leave out the parts that readers tend to skip….Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he’s writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character’s head, and the reader either knows what the guy’s thinking or doesn’t care. I’ll bet you don’t skip dialogue. My most important rule is one that sums up the 10. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.
Be yourself and your readers will follow you anywhere. Try to commit an act of writing and they will jump overboard to get away.
…it’s rare to find a consistently creative or insightful person who is also an angry person. They can’t occupy the same space, and if your anger moves in, generosity and creativity often move out. It’s difficult to use revenge or animus to fuel great work.
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as ‘bad luck.’
“Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”
“An idol is a good thing made into an ultimate thing.”
“Italians come to ruin most generally in three ways, women, gambling, and farming. My family chose the slowest one.”
I grew up without a father around. I have certain memories of him taking me to my first jazz concert and giving me my first basketball as a Christmas present. But he left when I was two years old. And even though my sister and I were lucky enough to be raised by a wonderful mother and caring grandparents, I always felt his absence and wondered what it would have been like if he had been a greater presence in my life. I still do.
We avoid the reality of Christ’s power in a number of ways. For instance, we’re tempted to spiritualize his power, to reduce the elemental potency and energy to a moment of personal religious inspiration. The stilling of the storm is about psychologist storms in our lives. The healing of the lame is about solving emotional problems cripple us. Jesus bringing sight to the blind is about God’s ability to help us see our lives clearly. And so on and so forth. If we do that enough, we begin to think the Gospel stories are nothing but metaphors, and metaphors primarily about us.
“It is a form of vanity to imagine you are living in the worst of times—there have always been worse. In bad times and heavy seas, the natural fear is that things will get worse, and never better. It’s a jolt to a Western, instinctively progressive mind, trained to think of history as ascendant—like the stock market, like housing prices—to find trends running in the other direction.”
“The rabbi was talking about political civility, and he said it’s in the Judeo-Christian tradition that before you criticize someone you have to sit down with them and restate their position to them such that they’ll say, ‘Yes, that’s what I mean,’ and then they have to state your position to you so that you say, ‘Yes,’ so you both agree that you understand what the positions are, then you each introduce your facts. So I wanted to… I took the advice to heart. I said: ‘Well, as a good liberal I better be able to state the conservative position.’ So I started researching and I started reading, and it dawned on me that I was not a liberal, that although I could state the position of who I thought were my enemies, the conservatives, I could not rationally state the position of the liberals.”
“You will fail at some point in your life. Accept it. You will lose, you will embarrass yourself, you will suck at something—there’s no doubt about it. And I know that’s probably not a traditional message for a graduation ceremony, but hey, I’m telling you, embrace it, because it’s inevitable.” (U Penn graduation, 2011)
“Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
“…since our technology is really just an extension of ourselves, we don’t have to have contempt for its manipulability in the way we might with actual people. It’s all one big endless loop. We like the mirror and the mirror likes us. To friend a person is merely to include the person in our private hall of flattering mirrors.”
“It is not merely the trivial that clutters our lives, but the important as well.”
“They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad to realize that I’m going to miss mine by just a few days.”
“…I think of my father Vernon and my mother Bonita, who were only together one time because she wore a poodle skirt that day. A sperm meets an egg and a life comes into being, but it is so much bigger than that. I am not here because Vernon and Bonita decided to stop on the way home from school one day. Nor are you. Your life is no accident; you were literally loved into being. You exist because God loves you.”
“Vocation is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.
He [Newt Gingrich] was the smartest guy in the room, who didn’t notice the rooms had gotten smaller.
Buildings can hold the spirit of what happens in them, I think, for good or ill.
The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if…
What would you do with a friend who had lied to you as many times as your fears have lied to you?
All America lies at the end of the wilderness road, and our past is not a dead past, but still lives in us.
The graveyards are full of indispensable men.
Biden has a not unrare condition in which the gear box that normally regulates the speed of your mouth has been ground down to a nub…
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
There is a tendency among Christians to get excited about ‘listening to God’…
Kerosene helped wean America (and everyone else) off our “addiction” to whales. Oil and coal helped end our addiction to wood.
The trouble with socialism is socialism. The trouble with capitalism is capitalists.
We make our friends, we make our enemies, but God makes our next-door neighbor.
Complain as little as possible about the wrongs you suffer.
It’s like a law of nature, a law of aerodynamics, that anything that’s written or anything that’s created wants to be mediocre.
To make an apple pie from scratch — really from scratch — you must first invent the universe.
Members of the ruling class love populism because they think it will help their section of the elite gain power.
Ever try making corn syrup? Or red dye 29?
The church has become a business that sells Jesus.
Superficiality is the curse of our age. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, of gifted people, but for deep people.
Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
If we can’t catch a man whose name was on a counterterrorism watch list, who can we catch?
One might have hoped that, with so gracious a creature as wine…
The best talkers are those who are devoted to keeping the conversation going…
I think relevance is a crock.
I’m told that when the Warsaw Pact went belly up and the poor deprived Commies suddenly got the latest Hollywood flicks…
To this day, the memory’s a ghost that never seems to fade.
How small of all that human hearts endure, that part which laws or kings can cause or cure.
In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.
The line between good and evil runs through every human heart.
The adjective “planetary” describes a problem in such a way that it cannot be solved.
Champions are made by risking more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible.
Today, real naked women are just bad porn.
Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but—more frequently than not —struggles against the divine Word…
Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists.
The civil rights movement has not given us better communities.
For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes.
Americans used to say they wanted their kids to be just like Lincoln: kind, principled, resolute. But what we’ve really wanted is for Lincoln to be like us.
School systems innovate as compulsively and as eagerly as factories.
… fears are a matter of fashion. Worries are like clothing styles, they come and go, rise and fall, based on what the worry fashion leaders tell the herd of independent minds to fear this year.
The journalistic rule is that conservatives pander, liberals “grow.”
Someday, somebody will explain to me the motive of a newspaper.
The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.
Two centuries ago when a great man appeared, people looked for God’s purpose in him; today we look for his press agent.
Man’s difficulties are caused by his inability to sit, quietly, in a room by himself.
Pressure is something you feel only when you don’t know what you’re doing.
The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.
The instrument through which you see God is your whole self.
One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting every one else to give it up.
If I have shown men to be ridiculous or ludicrous, it was in no way out of any desire for comic effect…
Community… aspires toward stability.
I believe I have something more to say, insight for the next generation to help them on their journey of faith.
Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person.
For anyone who wants to get out of poverty, the prescription is clear.
It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one’s neighbor.
You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.
…The reason we love a redemptive story is because it is the Epic in which we live.
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.
Marriage is the very basis of society because it creates kinsmen out of strangers; it turns hostile outsiders into ‘in-laws.’
You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.