Epiphanies

Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.

– Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”




Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same Everlasting Father, who takes care of you today, will take care of you tomorrow, and every day. He will either shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations!

– St. Francis de Sales





My first instrument flight plan after earning my rating.






The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

– The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. James M. Washington (594).




In my house, anyone who uses one word when they could have used ten just isn’t trying hard.

– Aaron Sorkin, writing for Jed Bartlet in The West Wing.




Anticipation is the heart of wisdom.

– Mark Helprin, A Soldier of the Great War, 18.




Now I think we all need to be converted - over and over again, but having a personal savior has always struck me as, well, elitist, like having a personal tailor. I’m satisfied to have the same Lord and Savior as everyone else.

– Kenneth L. Woodward, “Ushering in the Age of the Laity: Some Cranky Reservations,” Commonweal CXXI, 15 (9 September 1994), 9, quoted in Stanley Hauerwas, Sanctify Them in the Truth: Holiness Exemplified (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 235).




Expectations is the place you must always go to before you get to where you are going.

– Susan Nanus after Norman Juster, The Phantom Tollboth




Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Philippians 4:8-9 (The Message)




I’d start with ‘all men are created equal.’ … That equality clause will go all the way through. We’ll never get rid of it. Nobody quite believes it. … But you don’t ever wish it hadn’t been written.

And that ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness….’ And how grand it is that in a capitalistic country like this, that he did not follow Locke and have ‘life, liberty and property.’

If the equality clause will trouble us a thousand years, as Frost said, if it’ll trouble us, then the pursuit of happiness will mystify us forever. And I like the trouble and I like the mystery.

– James Cox, professor of literature, Dartmouth College, on the key contributions of Thomas Jefferson.  Interview for Thomas Jefferson, a film by Ken Burns.




Lutheran Airlines preflight briefing announcements.  

Fare is by free-will offering, and the plane won’t land until the budget is met… Meals during flight are potluck… rows 16-21, bring a hot dish….






For some people, even those who are eyewitnesses of events that others around them attribute to the miraculous, it is simply impossible to accept that the supernatural can overlap with the natural, that anything can occur for which there is no rational explanation. It is always a matter of reason over faith, of the known over the “might be.” Yet for many people, the experiences of their lives have led them to accept that there is genuine mystery in the world, that the world is full of evidence that the supernatural does overlap with the natural, that the line between the two is permeable. For religious people, this mystery, the overlap between the natural and the supernatural, is seen as evidence of God’s transcendence of the categories by which God’s creatures understand the world to be ordered and of God’s intervention in the workings of creation. It is thus a question of faith whether one can acknowledge the possibility and, indeed, reality of God’s miraculous intervention in creation.

– Gail O’Day, “The Gospel of John,” in The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume IX (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996). Dr. O’Day is the dean of the Wake Forest University School of Divinity.














Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father.

– G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (New York: John Lane Company, 1909), 85.




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