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This is a menu of the topics on this page (click on any): George Bernard Shaw    Edmund Burke    Rainer Maria Rilke    Martin Luther King    People of Thanksgiving    Who is Man?    The Truth of Our Identity, by Thomas Merton.    Doing Something Well, by E. B. White.    Embracing Brokenness, by Parker Palmer.    Give Birth to Yourself, from Janusz Korczak.    Words with profound meaning, from A.S.    Nothing to Say, George Eliot   .

George Bernard Shaw

This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of spendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

Edmund Burke

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Rainer Maria Rilke

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for
may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing to you as no one ever has,
streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

Martin Luther King

Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.

We shall have to repent in this generation, not so much for the evil deeds of the wicked people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.

Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.

Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority.

We must combine the toughness of the serpent with the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

All from Martin Luther King, Jr, 1929 - 1968

People of Thanksgiving

We are a eucharistic people which means that we are a people of thanksgiving, people who realize that we are prodigal sons and daughters. We are not called to judge or to condemn but to be instruments of life, to give life and to receive life.

Source: Jean Vanier: From Brokenness to Community

Who is Man?

From a Speech Delivered By ROBERT McNAMARA as Reported in the NY Times, July 8, 2009

“Who is man? Is he a rational animal? If he is, then the goals can ultimately be achieved. If he is not, then there is little point in making the effort. All the evidence of history suggests that man is indeed a rational animal, but with a near infinite capacity for folly.

His history seems largely a halting, but persistent effort to raise his reason above his animality. He draws blueprints for utopia, but never quite gets it built. In the end, he plugs away obstinately with the only building material really ever at hand: his own part-comic, part tragic, part-cussed, but part-glorious nature”

Taken from his obituary and life descrition, NYT 07/08/09. Words of a speech he gave in 1966 while still Secretary of Defense

The Truth of Our Identity, by Thomas Merton.

Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny.... This means to say that we should not passively exist, but actively participate in God's creative freedom, in our own lives, and in the lives of others, by choosing the truth. To put it better, we are even called to share with God the work of creating the truth of our identity. We can evade this responsibility by playing with masks, and this pleases us because it can appear at times to be a free and creative way of living. It is quite easy, it seems, to please everyone. But in the long run the cost and the sorrow come very high. To work out our own identity in God, which the Bible calls 'working out our salvation,' is a labor that requires sacrifice and anguish, risk and many tears. It demands close attention to reality at every moment, and great fidelity to God as God is revealed, obscurely, in the mystery of each new situation.

Source: Seeds of Contemplation, 1949

Doing Something Well, by E. B. White.

I have no heroes, no saints. I do have a tremendous respect for anyone who does something extremely well, no matter what. I would rather watch a really gifted plumber than listen to a bad poet. I'd rather watch someone build a good boat than attend the launching of a poorly constructed play. My admirations are wide-ranging and are not confined to arts and letters. ("excellence")

Source: The New Yorker

Embracing Brokenness, by Parker Palmer.

The wilderness constantly reminds me that wholeness is not about perfection.... I have been astonished to see how nature uses devastation to stimulate new growth, slowly but persistently healing her own wounds. Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. Knowing this gives me hope that human wholeness---mine, yours, ours---need not be a utopian dream, if we can use devastation as a seedbed for new life.

Source: A Hidden Wholeness

Give Birth to Yourself, from Janusz Korczak.

You yourself are the child you must learn to know, rear, and above all enlighten. To demand that others should provide you with textbook answers is like asking a strange woman to give birth to your baby. There are insights that can be born only of your own pain, and they are the most precious. Seek in your child the undiscovered part of yourself.

Source: unknown

Also see:

Words with profound meaning, from A.S.

"Reconciliation" (As you know, I am always interested in the work of bringing together and exploring the common ground between faith and peoples who sometimes have disparate perspective. This is a big New Testament word and an important concept in my own ministry.

"Grace or Gracefulness" is another important workd for me. Grace is a word that open up an understanding of God as one who chooses to give freely, abundantly to creation and his children. To practice gracefulness in our relationship toward each other and our world is to attempt to reflect this openness of God who wishes to bless.

A third term that comes to mind is "human dignity" . The Christian Faith, particularly as we profess and practice it in the Episcopal Church (see the baptismal covenant), respects the dignity of every human being, as bearers of the image of God. This is an imporant term for me and the community that shapes me.

Nothing to Say, George Eliot

Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, refrains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.

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