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

Czeslaw Milosz

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

It is easy for me to imagine that the next great division of the world will be between people who wish to live as creatures and people who wish to live as machines.”

Wendell Berry

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

“Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer. We shall be left defending, not only the incredible virtues and sanities of human life, but something more incredible still, this huge impossible universe which stares us in the face. We shall fight for visible prodigies as if they were invisible. We shall look upon the impossible grass and the skies with a strange courage. We shall be of those who have seen and yet have believed.”

G. K. Chesterton, Heretics

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

“Despite the aha’s of some modern philosophers, metaphysical systems do not, generally speaking, break down, shattered by later, keener insight; they are simply abandoned…like drafty old castles. [Which is to say] they are no longer understood or have fallen out of style…. The victorious positions of existentialists, absurdists, positivists, and the rest are not demonstrably more valid but only, for the moment, more hip.”

John Gardner