Some Great Quotes by Some Great Writers

by Mark Votava

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“Modern society is losing its appetite for community…”  Jen Pollock Michel Teach Us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith

“A dark night of the soul is not an intellectual exercise but a life-shattering experience.  This kind of experience cannot be crafted or sought after – it can only be submitted to.  Darkness of the soul, though terrifying, is a profound grace.  It is an invitation by the Spirit to transformation.”  Phileena Heuertz Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life

“We stop looking to the future; we take time to live.  We are no longer in a hurry because we have discovered that there is gift and grace in the present…”  Jean Vanier Community and Growth

“Let us remember that attentiveness toward others is attentiveness to God.  We cannot have one without the other…”  Natalie Smith Stand On Your Own Feet: Finding a Contemplative Spirit in Everyday Life

“The voices of the poor simply aren’t as loud or demanding as the ones constantly insisting that I deserve to satisfy my every whim…  When I really focus, though, and when I do pay attention to the voices of the poor, I hear in them God’s own wisdom.”  Margot Starbuck Small Things With Great Love: Adventures in Loving Your Neighbor

“I’d never before considered how my identity was tied to my place…  I’d never realized how my place defined me until I was no longer there…”  Michelle DeRusha Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith

“Community carries us over the rough spots of life.  It lifts us in its current and moves us when we cannot move ourselves.”  Joan Chittister Listen with the Heart: Sacred Moments in Everyday Life

“After years of being taught that the way to deal with painful emotions is to get rid of them, it can take a lot of reschooling to learn to sit with them instead, finding out from those who feel them what they have learned by sleeping in the wilderness that those who sleep in comfortable houses may never know.”  Barbara Brown Taylor Learning to Walk in the Dark

“…if people skimp on their inner work, their outer work will suffer as well.”  Parker J. Palmer Let Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation

“Once we’ve found a community that accepts the way God has made us… we stay.  We grow roots.  We take a vow of stability.”  Marlena Graves A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness

“God can work in me even when I can’t see squat…”  Becky Garrison Jesus Died for this? A Satirist’s Search for the Risen Christ

“Walking lends itself to a contemplative rhythm…”  Carolyn Weber Holy is the Day: Living in the Gift of the Present

“While earthly kingdoms belong to the rich and powerful, Jesus spoke of a kingdom that belongs to the meek and the gentle, the merciful and the peacemakers.  Whereas earthly kingdoms usually start with a sovereign leader taking control, Jesus said his kingdom would start small, like a mustard seed, and grow from the bottom up.  While earthly politicians associate with the rich and elite, Jesus associated with the outcasts.  While earthly kings prefer liberty by conquest, Jesus spoke of liberty through forgiveness.”  Rachel Held Evans Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions

“Jesus had come to make the world a place in which it was a little easier to be grateful…”  Mary Jo Leddy Radical Gratitude

“Fixating on differences leads us to ignore glaring commonalities…”  Christena Cleveland Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart

“It is, of course, impossible not to hear things from one’s own position, but it is possible to listen in a sensitive and careful way that has the power to unsettle our preconceived ideas.  This means that one pays attention to what the other says, allowing the words and phrases to place our own assumptions into question.”  Peter Rollins The Idolatry of God: Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction  

“We cannot miss that Jesus makes no such division or distinction between the spiritual and material needs of humanity.  The righteousness and justice we are called to hunger and thirst after, and the shalom we are called to create in the world… are absolutely concerned with the whole person, and indeed all of creation…”  Jamie Arpin-Ricci The Cost of Community: Jesus, St. Francis and Life in the Kingdom

“We are an infamously mobile nation…”  Maggie Jackson Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age

“For centuries, humility was seen as a key component of a healthy spiritual life.  In more recent times, humility has lost a good deal of status…”  Paula Huston Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit

“On any given morning, I might not be able to list for you the facts I know about God.  But I can tell you what I wish to commit myself to, what I want for the foundation of my life, how I want to see…  Let this be the place I work, struggle, play, rest.  I commit myself to this.”  Lauren F. Winner Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis

“The reality of God appearing in live action is to be found only in this sense of the present moment, because it alone is living, real, dynamic…”  Beatrice Bruteau Radical Optimism: Practical Spirituality in an Uncertain World

“Life can too easily get away from us when we unintentionally just follow whatever daily rhythm we fall into.  When we do not take a moment to reflect on what values are guiding our decision making.  But when it comes to their own habits, the wise will choose awareness.”  Sarah Cunningham The Well-Balanced World Changer: Staying Sane While Doing Good

“God picks us up, carries us a little way on the journey, and then puts us down for a rest.  Then God picks us up and carries us a little farther, and stops, giving us small increments on the journey, one piece at a time, in the hope that we might stop focusing on where we are going and instead notice where we are.”  Lillian Daniel When “Spiritual But Not Religious” Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church

“Inevitably, all adaptive work is a creative act…”  Sharon Daloz Parks Leadership Can Be Taught: A Bold Approach for a Complex World

“Where you have freedom in love, the space to be yourself, there you truly exist…”  Ilia Delio Compassion: Living in the Spirit of St. Francis

“Although Jesus had a tremendous amount of power, he did not refer to himself as a leader or a king.  Yet no one else has influenced this world as much as Jesus.”  MaryKate Morse Making Room for Leadership: Power, Space and Influence

“There are Dorothy Days everywhere.  Some are known; others serve invisibly.  None seem to be interested in personal recognition, and dismiss characterizations as saints as silly and irrelevant…”  Mirabai Starr God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam

“When I experience myself as separate from everyone else, it creates an automatic mentality of scarcity and an automatic sense of competing for limited resources.  Another person’s gain is at least potentially my loss, so I need to be constantly vigilant that my rights and needs are being upheld; that I am not being taken advantage of…”  Cynthia Bourgeault Mystical Hope: Trusting in the Mercy of God

“We all shape and are shaped by others and by our own experiences.  I do not believe there is one way of following Christ…”  Wendy McCaig From the Sanctuary to the Streets: How the Dreams of One City’s Homeless Sparked a Faith Revolution that Transformed a Community

“It is no more possible to live in the future than it is to live in the past.  If life is not now, it is never.  It is impossible to imagine ‘how it will be,’ and to linger over that task is to prepare a disappointment.  The tomorrow I hope for may very well be worse than today.  There is great waste and destructiveness in our people’s desire to ‘get somewhere’…”  Wendell Berry The Long-Legged House

“This gift, to see Christ in others, is mystical…”  Emilie Griffin Wonderful and Dark is this Road: Discovering the Mystic Path

“May we all keep growing, continue learning, and become communities that bear light together, even in our brokenness.  And as you go forward wherever you find yourself, remember, you are not alone – others are on similar paths.  This is hard work.  It’s okay to find closure.  It’s okay to make mistakes.  It’s okay to start simply.”  Kelly Bean How To Be A Christian Without Going To Church: The Unofficial Guide to Alternative Forms of Christian Community

“Hospitality is not the only answer to difference, but it is one way to respond to this challenge.  It points us to the future that God intends, where riotous difference is welcomed!  Hospitality will not make us feel safe, but it will lead us to risk joining in the work of mending the creation without requiring those whom we encounter to become like us.”  Letty M. Russell Just Hospitality: God’s Welcome in a World of Difference

“Wherever there is love, the poor can have hope, and we can have it with them.”  Jon Sobrino No Salvation Outside the Poor: Prophetic-Utopian Essays

“As we keep traveling forward on this bumpy, beautiful road looking for signs of life, we turn our attention to the passions we have inside of us to love, serve, create, advocate, and cultivate some of our dreams…”  Kathy Escobar Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart

“What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible?  Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love.  It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life…”  Henri Nouwen Seeds of Hope

“Commitment to a place and a people means that relationships can be formed that are able to withstand trials and disagreements, but often people move in and out of… communities before deep roots are established.  When expectations of mobility are combined with a consumer mind-set, people are very likely to leave when things get difficult.”  Christine D. Pohl Living into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us

“Although Western Christianity would eventually be defined as a belief system about God, throughout its first five centuries people understood it primarily as spiritual practice that offered a meaningful way of life in this world – not as a neat set of doctrines, an esoteric belief, or the promise of heaven…”  Diana Butler Bass Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening   

Which quote resonates with you?