It is the meaning that men attribute to their life, it is their entire system of values that define the meaning and the value of old age. The reverse applies: by the way in which a society behaves toward its old people it uncovers the naked, and often carefully hidden, truth about its real principles and aims.
—Simone de Beauvoir in The Coming of Age
No Useful Past
What is worrisome is the absolute domination of the present in so many homes, and the absence of any shared past. It isn’t a class phenomenon so much as it is the result of a society which moves around a lot and thus disposes of objects which other, more stable societies would retain; this, combined with a relentless and largely media-driven compulsion to worry most about the new, whatever it may be, makes a concern with the novels and essays, or for that matter the spoken memories, of an older generation marginal. In too many cases, it isn’t even marginal.
—John Garvey in Commonweal (Oct. 21, 1988)
When We Are Weak We Are Strong
I relive each moment of my visit with Corrie ten Boom [paralyzed by a stroke], I recall how our eyes met as we were fed our cucumber sandwiches. Helpless and for the most part dependent, I felt our mutual weakness. Yet I am certain neither of us had ever felt stronger. It makes me think of the Cross of Christ—a symbol of weakness and humiliation, yet at the same time, a symbol of victory and strength.…
For a wheelchair may confine a body that is wasting away. But no wheelchair can confine the soul … the soul that is inwardly renewed day by day.
For paralyzed people can walk with the Lord.
Speechless people can talk with the Almighty.
Sightless people can see Jesus.
Deaf people can hear the Word of God.
And those like Tante Corrie, their minds shadowy and obscure, can have the very mind of Christ.
—Joni Eareckson Tada, quoted in My Heart Sings
(ed. Joan Winmill Brown)
Prayer As A Convenience
Prayer times have been slipped into the local church calendar week almost like fillers. We pray for one minute here and four minutes there. The pastor prays the pastoral prayer on Sunday, and somebody offers opening and closing prayers for everything from softball games to car washes to choir concerts. Somehow we feel that if we pray at the beginning and end of something, God is bound to bless whatever falls in between.…
The once-popular early morning prayer breakfast has been replaced in many churches by a motivational speaker or Christian businessman who sends us charging into our day—in between an opening and closing prayer!
—Jim Smoke in Whatever Happened to Ordinary Christians?
New Indoor Sport
We live in an age where the ridicule of blacks is forbidden, where anti-Semitism is punishable by political death, but where Christian-bashing is a popular indoor sport; and films mocking Jesus Christ are considered avant-garde.
—Patrick J. Buchanan in Focus on the Family
Jesus Then And Now
For thirty years Jesus did nothing, then for three years He stormed every time He went down to Jerusalem. Josephus says He tore through the Temple courts like a madman. We hear nothing about that Jesus Christ today. The meek and mild Being pictured today makes us lose altogether the meaning of the Cross. We have to find out why Jesus was beside Himself with rage and indignation at the Pharisees and not with those given over to carnal sins. Which state of society is going to stand a ripping and tearing Being like Jesus Christ Who drags to the ground the highest respected pillars of its civilized society, and shows that their respectability and religiosity is built on a much more abominable pride than the harlot’s or the publican’s? The latter are disgusting and coarse, but these men have the very pride of the devil in their hearts.
—Oswald Chambers in The Highest Good
Brightening The Shadows
It’s tough to be in the dark and not let the dark get in you. The unending struggle for the Christian is to walk in the light and at the same time keep moving into the shadows.
—Tim Goble in World Christian (March/April 1988)
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