“Just nonsense. The result of sitting down with Red Stripe and a spliff.”—Noel Gallagher (once described by Q Magazine as the greatest songwriter of all time) on the lyrics to the smash hit Don’t Look Back In Anger
The more the Holy Spirit works, the more Christians will be used in battle, and the more they are used, the more there will be personal cost and tiredness. It is quite the opposite of what we might first think. People often cry out for the work of the Holy Spirit and yet forget that when the Holy Spirit works, there is always tremendous cost to the people of God - weariness and tears and battles.
- Francis Schaeffer, ‘The Lord’s Work in the Lord’s Way’
When the devil throws our sins up to us and declares that we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: “I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? Does this mean that I shall be sentenced to eternal damnation? By no means. For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Where he is, there I shall be also.”
It is grace at the beginning, grace at the end. So that when you and I come to lie upon our deathbeds, the one thing that should comfort and help and strengthen us there is the thing that helped us at the beginning. Not what we have been, not what we have done, but the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. The Christian life starts with grace, it must continue with grace, it ends with grace. Grace, wondrous grace. “By the grace of God I am what I am… yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
“We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake or we cannot be accepted at all. This is not true of us only when we believe it is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing. No matter what our attainments in Christian graces, or our achievements in behaviour may be it is always on the basis of his blood and righteousness alone that each of us can rest.”
“Maybe sometimes we don’t do the right thing because the wrong thing looks more dangerous, and we don’t want to look scared, so we go and do the wrong thing just because it’s dangerous. We’re more concerned with not looking scared than with judging right. It’s very hard.”
“The truth of the Gospel is the principle article of all Christian doctrine… Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.”—Martin Luther
Religion is, I fear, most often practiced to buy off God’s anger, to pay for a sin done, so that one is free to go on in it. We throw ourselves into church or confession as a burglar might throw a steak to a watchdog - to keep him at a safe distance.
Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be “tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine”, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.
So, who watches The West Wing? Ratings show that the US audience splits evenly across Republican and Democratic lines. The unifying factor seems to be the audience’s income. The West Wing is the number one show in households making more than $100,000 a year. There are many potential explanations… …Important is a form of pluralism in Sorkin’s commander in chief. He stays on the fence for important issues: he is antiabortion but will not legislate against it; he feels strange having dinner alone with a man but is not opposed to same-sex marriage; he is a free-market economist but is not averse to quoting Chairman Mao. It seems that Bartlet acts as a repository for the desire for meaning, any meaning, in order to hold out against a perceived relativism in the sociopolitical sphere. The result seems to be that, whether donkeys or elephants, any patriarch will do in a storm.
Patrick Finn, ‘The West Wing’s Textual President’ in ‘The West Wing: the American Presidency as television drama’
He is the most magnanimous of captains. There never was his like among the choicest of princes. He is always to be found in the thickest part of the battle. When the wind blows cold he always takes the bleak side of the hill. The heaviest end of the cross lies ever on his shoulders. If he bids us carry a burden, he carries it also. If there is anything that is gracious, generous, kind, and tender, yea lavish and super-abundant in love, you always find it in him.
“Clarence Macartney told the story about Dr. John Witherspoon … a signer of the Declaration of Independence and president of the (then) College of New Jersey. He lived a couple of miles away from the college at Rocky Hill and drove horse and rig each day to his office at the college.
“One day one of his neighbors burst into his office, exclaiming, ‘Dr. Witherspoon, you must join me in giving thanks to God for his extraordinary providence in saving my life, for as I was driving from Rocky Hill the horse ran away and the buggy was smashed to pieces on the rocks, but I escaped unharmed!’
“Witherspoon replied, ‘Why, I can tell you a far more remarkable providence than that. I have drive over that road hundreds of times. My horse never ran away, my buggy never was smashed, I was never hurt.’
“So we must beware of thinking that God is only in the earthquake, wind, and fire; of thinking that manna but not grain is God’s food. Most of God’s gifts to his people are not dazzling and gaudy but wrapped in simple brown paper. Quiet provisions of safety on the highway, health of children, picking up a paycheck, supper with the family—all in an ordinary day’s work for our God.”