As a nonparent, I stand in awe of parents.
Christian faith is… basically about love and being loved and reconciliation. These things are so important, they’re foundational and they can transform individuals, families.
For me, prayer is not so much me setting out a shopping list of requests for God to consider as it is a way of ‘keeping company with God.’
God already knows the naked truth about us, of course. Why not acknowledge it?
God endorses the confusion and even outrage that we feel when mysterious things happen.
I have come to know a God of compassion and mercy and love.
I think guilt is directional. You should get rid of it, but the way to get rid of it is not to get rid of the guilt feelings. It is to get rid of the wrong that you did that caused the guilt feelings.
I wrote a book on grace, and grace is a free gift, but to receive the gift you have to have your hands open. And a lot of people don’t have their hands open, there’s something they’re grasping because there’s a lot of things to grasp in a prosperous country.
In China, where you can be arrested and imprisoned for your faith, getting together with other Christians is a lifeline and you’ll risk anything for the privilege. No one attends church in China casually, or for a social advantage – quite the opposite.
In some ways, evil is backhanded proof of Gods existence.
It’s too bad prayer comes bundled in a package of ‘spiritual disciplines.’ Really, we should see prayer as a spiritual privilege. We don’t do it as a callisthenic exercise to gain points with God; we do it, because it is good for us in every way.
Most observers understand the difference between a committed Christian who accepts Jesus as a model for living and a ‘cultural Christian’ who happens to live in a nation with a Christian heritage. Most Muslims do not.
Most of the great books on prayer are written by ‘experts’ – monks, missionaries, mystics, saints. I’ve read scores of them, and mainly they make me feel guilty.
Much of the misgiving that Muslims feel for the West stems from our strong emphasis on freedom, always a risky enterprise. I’ve heard some say they would rather rear their children in a closely guarded Islamic society than in the United States, where freedom so often leads to decadence.
Muslims have great reverence in their prayers but not much intimacy.
One of the greatest things about writing as a profession is that the words of Tolstoy, Chesterton and Dostoyevsky have lived for a hundred years and are just as powerful today. Their words have changed me just as much as the people I actually met.
Parents learn the uses of power and its limits. They can insist on certain outward behavior but cannot change inner attitudes. They can require obedience but not goodness – and certainly not love.
People instinctively know the difference between something done with a profit motive and something done with a love motive.
People who think they are free eventually end up slaves to their own desires, and those who give their freedom away to the only One you can trust with that freedom eventually get it back.
The borderlanders are people who are kind of caught in the middle. They think there must be another world out there. There probably is a God, but they are either turned off by the church or wounded by the church or wary of the church for whatever reason.
The New Testament persistently presses us upward, toward higher motives for being good.
The self-sacrificing, servant aspect of the Christian life has many parallels to parenthood.
The world says you gain your life by getting more and more and more and more, but Jesus says, ‘No, that leads to death. You get it back by giving it away and when you give it away you get it back.’
We’re in a celebrity culture, and when I turn on the news today I hear about Lindsay Lohan, Tiger Woods and Paris Hilton and the Kardashian sisters and ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ one thing after another, Kate Gosselin’s new body.
What I see in the Bible, especially in the book of Psalms, which is a book of gratitude for the created world, is a recognition that all good things on Earth are God’s, every good gift is from above. They are good if we recognize where they came from and if we treat them the way the Designer intended them to be treated.
When I write, I try to represent the ordinary person in the pew, which means that, ironically, I’m qualified to write about prayer by being unqualified!
When suffering happens, it forces us to confront life in a different way than we normally do.
You are free to reject God. Make sure that you’re really rejecting God, not some caricature of God that the church has shown you. But I, one, respect a God who not only allows us to reject Him but includes the arguments we can use against Him in the Bible. I respect that.