Sunday, February 18, 2018

Living with Achish

David is more or less doing what he has to do: surviving as best he can under conditions that are decidedly uncongenial to what we’re apt to call “the spiritual life.” He doesn’t stand up in indignation against Achish, confront his Philistine culture of brutality and idolatry. He doesn’t get on his moral high horse and announce to Achish that the only way he can in good conscience serve him is as a noncombatant and offer his company’s good Samaritan experience and expertise in his service. None of that. He lives not only on the money economy of Philistine Gath but also on the moral economy.

The storyteller doesn’t say that this is the right thing to do, simply that this is what David does. And in precisely these conditions, God works out his purposes. God protects David from violating the covenant; he guards David’s faithfulness to his anointing; he works out his salvation. The primary concern of the spiritual life isn’t what we do for God but what God does for us.

...What I want to say is this: God is perfectly capable of working out his purposes in our lives even when we can’t lift a finger to help. Better yet, God is faithfully working out our salvation even when every time we lift a finger it seems to contribute to the wrong side, the Philistine side.

-Eugene Peterson, Leap Over a Wall, 98-99.

Thursday, February 8, 2018


Man’s real work is to look at the things of the world and to love them for what they are. That is, after all, what God does, and man was not made in God’s image for nothing.

-Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb, 19.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Peel an Orange

...Peel an orange. Do it lovingly—in perfect quarters like little boats, or in staggered exfoliations like a flat map of the round world, or in one long spiral, as my grandfather used to do. Nothing is more likely to become garbage than orange rind; but for as long as anyone looks at it in delight, it stands a million triumphant miles from the trash heap. That, you know, is why the world exists at all. It remains outside the cosmic garbage can of nothingness, not because it is such a solemn necessity that nobody can get rid of it, but because it is the orange peel hung on God’s chandelier, the wishbone in His kitchen closet. He likes it; therefore it stays. The whole marvelous collection of stones, skins, feathers, and string exists because at least one lover has never quite taken His eye off it, because the Dominus vivificans has his delight with the sons of men.

-Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb, 4-5.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Amateur Lovers

The world may or may not need another cookbook, but it needs all the lovers—amateurs—it can get. It is a gorgeous old place, full of clownish graces and beautiful drolleries, and it has enough textures, tastes, and smells to keep us intrigued for more time than we have. Unfortunately, however, our response to its loveliness is not always delight: It is, far more than it should be, boredom. And that is not only odd, it is tragic; for boredom is not neutral—it is the fertilizing principal of unloveliness.

-Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb, 3-4.

Saturday, February 3, 2018


At [exasperation's] heart is a self-exaltation over others, and a dissatisfaction with the way God is ordering and orchestrating the events of our lives.

-Sinclair Ferguson, Devoted to God

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Morning Prayer

Oh God, the Author of all good,
     I come to thee for the grace another day will require for its duties and events.

I step out into a wicked world,
I carry about with me a wicked heart,
I know that without thee I can do nothing,
     that everything with which I shall be concerned,
     however harmless in itself,
     may prove an occasion of sin or folly,
     unless I am kept by thy power.
Hold me thou up and I shall be safe.

Preserve my understanding from subtlety of error,
     my affections from love of idols,
     my character from stain of vice,
     my profession from every form of evil.

May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore thy blessing,
     and in which I cannot invite thy inspection.

Prosper me in lawful undertakings,
     or prepare me for disappointments.

Give me neither poverty nor riches;
     feed me with food convenient for me,
     lest I be full and deny thee and say, Who is the Lord?
     or be poor, and steal, and take thy name in vain.

May every creature be made good to me by prayer and thy will;
Teach me how to use the world, and not abuse it,
     to improve my talents,
     to redeem my time,
     to walk in wisdom toward those without, and in kindness to those within,
     to do good to all men, and especially my fellow Christians

And to thee be the glory.

-The Valley of Vision

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Imago Dei

For in religion all men are equal, as all pennies are equal, because the only value in any of them is that they bear the image of the King.

-G. K. Chesterton

Sunday, June 18, 2017


And suddenly she was struck by a thought as blinding as a flash of lightning. Who had bought the clothes? Who had bought the furniture, some of it new and some of it so old? Who had arranged all the lovely things in her bedroom? Who had arranged all the things in the other rooms, thinking it all out so carefully so that all her wishes were granted at every point? Who had built the house? Who had planted the garden? Who had made the earth upon which the house stood and in which the flowers bloomed? Who had set the woods about her house, with the wild birds singing in the trees? Who had arched the sky over it, with the sun to give her light by day and the moon and stars by night? Who had--?

-Elizabeth Goudge, Henrietta's House, 149.


'Behave yourself!' said Grandfather sternly, for though he loved all human souls he loved them better when they did not spit. 'And don't you dare to disparage fairy tales. A fairy tale, dear sir, in relating miraculous happenings as though they were normal events of every day, is a humble acknowledgement of the fact that this universe is a box packed full of mysteries of which we understand absolutely nothing at all. You can wonder till you're blue in the face as to how the giraffe got his neck, or the gooseberry puffed himself out, but you don't know. You can't know. Any theory you may evolve about a giraffe's neck, my dear sir, is a fairy tale.'

-Elizabeth Goudge, Henrietta's House, 114-115.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 27

Q. What do you understand by the providence of God?

A. Providence is the almighty and ever present power of God by which he upholds, as with his hand, heaven and earth and all creatures, and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness, prosperity and property—all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but from his fatherly hand.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

On Haircuts

I can tell you through hard won personal takes time to find the person who understands the way your hair moves and makes it look good, and that person is very very rarely your wife and almost never an attachment to a vacuum cleaner. 

-Judge John Hodgman

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Little Cheese

At that, Phronsie made a little cheese and sat right down on the pavement in an ecstasy.

-Margaret Sidney, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, 225.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Habitation of Dragons

I am a poor, weak creature; unstable as water, I cannot excel. This corruption is too hard for me, and is at the very door of ruining my soul; and what to do I know not. My soul is become as parched ground, and a habitation of dragons. I have made promises and broken them; vows and engagements have been as a thing of nought. Many persuasions have I had that I had got the victory and should be delivered; but I am deceived; so that I plainly see, that without some eminent succor and assistance, I am lost, and shall be prevailed on to an utter relinquishment of God. But yet, though this be my state and condition, let the hands that hang down be lifted up, and the feeble knees be strengthened. Behold the Lord Christ, who hath all fullness of grace in his heart, all fullness of power in his hand: he is able to slay all these his enemies. There is a sufficient provision in him for my relief and assistance: he can take my drooping, dying soul, and make me more than a conqueror. He can make the dry, parched ground of my soul to become a pool, and my thirsty, barren heart as springs of water; yea, he can make this habitation of dragons, this heart so full of abominable lusts and fiery temptations, to be a place for grass and fruit for himself.

-John Owen, The Mortification of Sin, 146-147

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sick Day Reading

A week-long cold has oficially graduated into a sinus infection. I'm sick of being sick - but thankful for a rich stack of old and new books...

Gone Crazy in Alabama, Rita Williams-Garcia
The Odds of Getting Even, Sheila Turnage
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, Alexander McCall Smith
Knucklehead, Jon Scieszka
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?, Lauren Child
A Baby Sister for Frances, Russell Hoban
Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosch
So Brave, Young, and Handsome, Leif Enger
Grief Undone, Elizabeth W. D. Groves
The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Summer 2015 Reading List

Ruby Redfort Catch Your Death, Lauren Child
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman
The Imaginary, A. F. Harrold and Emily Gravett
Apple of My Eye, Helene Hanff
A Sudden Wild Magic, Diana Wynne Jones
Anastasia Again!, Lois Lowry
The Four Graces, D. E. Stevenson
The Two Mrs. Abbotts, D. E. Stevenson
Luther on the Christian Life, Carl Trueman
The Queen of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner
Mennyms Alone, Sylvia Waugh
Mennyms Alive, Sylvia Waugh
The Cockatoucan, E. Nesbit

Monday, September 7, 2015


"It went off very well, I think," said Mr. Grace. "In spite of the heat everyone seemed to be enjoying it, and the bride looked charming."

"It always does, and she always does," declared Liz. "I mean I've never heard of a wedding that didn't go off well, have you, darling? Can you imagine anyone saying, 'It didn't go off very well, did it? And wasn't the bride plain?"

-D. E. Stevenson, The Four Graces, 13.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Mr. Fezziwig's Ball

“He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ‘em up: what then? The happiness he gives is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.”

-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lying in Bed

Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a coloured pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.

- G. K. Chesterton, In Defense of Sanity, 39.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


But what is truly strange is that I never liked mornings when I could have them with real sunrises and real dew on real roses and real paperboys wrecking real bicycles on the sidewalk outside my window. How I could ever have remained asleep and voluntarily missed a sunrise, I can't explain.
-N. D. Wilson, Leepike Ridge, 141.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Real fellowship requires stepping outside of you.

-Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, 116.