Quotes

Thought-provoking quotes that feed my thinking, writing, and living:

But poetic discipline is impossible without piety and admiration, without faith in the infinite layers of being that are hidden within an apple, a man, or a tree; it challenges one through becoming to move closer to what is.

Czeslaw Milosz, Native Realm

What remained? Not their politics—their poetry. Poetry is stronger than politics.”

Elie Wiesel, speaking in 1998 of biblical prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, Rewrite Radio podcast July 17, 2019

Literature is indispensable to the world. The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way a person looks at reality, then you can change it.

James Baldwin

Thanks to its compression, and extensive use of analogy, poetry can yoke the heavy burden of reality as if it were light.

Artur Rosman, “The Catholic Imagination of Czeslaw Milosz” (2014 dissertation)

We milk the cow of the world, and as we do

We whisper in her ear, ‘You are not true.’

Richard Wilbur, “Epistemology”

Truth without love is brutality. And love without truth is hypocrisy.”

Warren Wiersbe

The idea that physical limits are a problem, rather than a condition for flourishing, is a huge modern assumption.

Ken Myers

The gate is narrow but not the life. The gate opens out into largeness of life.

Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman

Nobody has any business to use the word “progress’ unless he has a definite creed and a cast-iron code of morals. Nobody can be progressive without being doctrinal.

G. K. Chesterton, Heretics

“True witness isn’t just about violence and war. To only notice those things is to witness only to a part of our existence. But there is also wonder…. Is it foolish to speak of little joys that occur in the middle of tragedy? It is our humanity. Whatever we have left of it. We must not deny it to ourselves.” 

Ilya Kaminsky

“The arts speak to aspects of human nature ignored or denied by a culture captivated by brutal notions of ‘efficiency’ or quasi-scientific narratives that reduce us to animals. It’s in literature, poetry, film, and so many other art forms that we hear echoes of a biblical understanding of humanity—that we are created in God’s image, animated by hungers and hopes, made to delight and play. In other words, the arts are evidence of what I’ve called ‘cracks in the secular’—the recalcitrant mystery at the heart of the human that refuses to be eviscerated. Art continues to shout Nein! to our disenchantment.”

James K. A. Smith