No Christian should have blind patriotism. Christ is above Cæsar. This does not mean that the Church is above the State. Christ is more than the State, more than the Church. One of the blessings of free government, of the people, by the people, for the people, is precisely this: that the alternative between Christ and the State is avoided.
Archibald Robertson, Paul The Interpreter of Christ.

LifeLight Festival 2014


…What I didn’t realize was that the Kingdom had come. It is always that way with the kingdom. It is so strange, so low; it is seldom recognized. It looks like a mistake.
Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, page 212
Many of us wish God were more visible. We think that if we could see him better or know what is going on, then faith would come more easily. But if Jesus dominated the space and overwhelmed our vision, we would not be able to relate to him. Everyone who had a clear-eyed vision of God in the Bible fell down as if he were dead. It’s hard to relate to pure light.
Paul E. Miller, A Praying life: connecting with God in a distracting world, page 193.
Because we live in a fallen world, God has to use broken images of himself, such as fathers. In fact, all the images God gives us of himself in Scripture are flawed. Think of king or lord…The early church’s experience of Caesar was not pleasant, yet they took Caesar’s title, “Lord,” and applied it to Jesus, calling him “Lord Jesus.”
Paul E. Miller, A praying life: connecting with God in a distracting world, page 178
Yet the mythology of conventional journalism gave its readers reason to believe they could do just that: live an intelligent life, ignore the possibility of forces beyond themselves, and construct a progressive public square in which objectivity ruled and religion was relegated to something you did for fun when you went home. Literary journalism, by contrast—which Sharlet calls “the hybrid genre, the monster genre—half-report, half-story, half-ethnography, half-magic” —fires back that no, there is no way for a world freed from religion to exist. Religion, or the search for something beyond ourselves, is not something we construct and toss away at will. It is rooted deep in us. It works on us in unexpected ways. It leaves us questioning our own powers of reasoning. It can leave us speechless in the face of the unexplainable.

Alissa Wilkinson, Is Religious Journalism Haunted?, Books & Culture.

This review of Radiant Truths is really good. I added it to my reading list.

It’s a common and easy enough distinction, this separation of books into those we read because we want to and those we read because we have to, and it serves as a useful marketing trope for publishers, especially when they are trying to get readers to take this book rather than that one to the beach. But it’s a flawed and pernicious division. This linking of pleasure and guilt is intended as an enticement, not as an admonition: reading for guilty pleasure is like letting one’s diet slide for a day—naughty but relatively harmless. The distinction partakes of a debased cultural Puritanism, which insists that the only fun to be had with a book is the frivolous kind, or that it’s necessarily a pleasure to read something accessible and easy. Associating pleasure and guilt in this way presumes an anterior, scolding authority—one which insists that reading must be work.

But there are pleasures to be had from books beyond being lightly entertained. There is the pleasure of being challenged; the pleasure of feeling one’s range and capacities expanding; the pleasure of entering into an unfamiliar world, and being led into empathy with a consciousness very different from one’s own; the pleasure of knowing what others have already thought it worth knowing, and entering a larger conversation. Among my catalogue are some books that I am sure I was—to use an expression applied to elementary-school children—decoding rather than reading. Such, I suspect, was the case with “Ulysses,” a book I read at eighteen, without having first read “The Odyssey,” which might have deepened my appreciation of Joyce. Even so—and especially when considering adolescence—we should not underestimate the very real pleasure of being pleased with oneself. What my notebook offers me is a portrait of the reader as a young woman, or at the very least, a sketch. I wanted to read well, but I also wanted to become well read. The notebook is a small record of accomplishment, but it’s also an outline of large aspiration. There’s pleasure in ambition, too.

Rebecca Mead, The Pleasure of Reading to Impress Yourself, The New Yorker.
He whom loves touches not, walks in darkness
Agathon in The Symposium by Plato.
Bruno Latour has recently offered a new, intriguing paradigm that challenges traditional views of the relationship between science and religion. He argues in effect that there is no proper relationship between science and religion. He makes this argument at length in his new book An Inquiry into Modes of Existence (2013) but more succinctly in this essay. Latour believes we’ve fundamentally misunderstood what science and religion do and this misunderstanding has led us to falsely oppose these modes of thinking and being. Latour explains that the scientific mode was developed to access phenomena beyond the grasp of our senses—viruses, solar systems, DNA, climate patterns, gravity, etc. But it turns out that we never grasp these phenomena through science; all science does is create longer and longer chains of mediators—images, sentences, equations, sound files, instrument read-outs—referring to the phenomena. The longer, richer, and more stable these chains of reference, the more solid our knowledge of the phenomena can rightly be said to be. But at no point does science make these phenomena present to us—it actually absents us from them, one mediator at a time. The religious mode, on the other hand, is all about the experience of presence. Like a profession of love, the religious act continually and intimately re-knit humans to themselves and to each other. Instead of referential inscriptions, the mediators of religion are “angels”—beings, texts, objects, and experiences that catalyze our transformation from lost to found, from lost to saved, from absent to present.
Lynda Walsh, Bruno Latour and the Relationship Between Science and Religion at The Partially Examined Life blog.