God's relationship with man does not work in a way in which man stumbles and then God has to drop what he is doing in order to lift him up; rather, man stumbles so that God can lift him up. Hence it is utterly impossible to truly diminish his glory.
If beauty is relative, then any and everything when compared to the beauty of God is absolutely hideous.
Initially, the God of the Old Testament might seem overwhelming and domineering to you, or tyrannical, or perhaps even evil, which is good. It is the first telling that God is indeed God, by sheer definition, and not some ear-tickling fairy by which one in his depravity is guaranteed to find another form of stale romanticism or love at first sight. For such a first impression as the latter would be problematic to the essence of Christianity. Therefore the Christians are right in saying that the nature of imperfect men cannot ultimately co-exist with the nature of a perfect God; and that the hope of each man is now desperately found in God's sending of Christ.
The ongoing struggle to achieve a profound harmony between the deepest and most conflicting impulses of human beings instates the murkiness of my soul. The battle against the amorphousness of sin and depravity, and seeking unity and clarity, trace their origins to the primeval fire that launched humanity. This ancient warfare for control of the soul allows me to create myself. Because of the primordial inconsistences between ecstasy and reason, I am the repentant artist of my being. I am a beardless, sensuous, and androgynous sculptor, the redeemer and the transformer of my naked self.
In a fallen world marked by human depravity and deep-seated sin, in a world where Hitler and Stalin had recruited millions of followers to commit mass murder, love must harness power and seek justice in order to have moral meaning. Love without power remained impotent, and power without love was bankrupt.
What's simple is that everything good comes from God, and everything bad comes from man. Where it gets complicated is that everything seemingly good but ultimately bad comes from man, and everything seemingly bad but ultimately good comes from God.
Some days you feel like you're the worst of sinners, others like you're the most righteous person on earth. I am convinced that the former is when you're closest to God.
We often use the Bible as a source for personal validation and defense, a sidekick and a shield, but these will prove ineffective without first the other part. We must also allow ourselves to be wounded by it. We tend to forget its authority - that it is a double-edged sword. Our decrepit, depraved hearts must be completely ripped out in order to welcome that of God.
...reclusiveness itself may be a kind of violence. It leaves an abyss for us to throw our fantasies into.
Sadly enough, some people are insecure in such a way that they cannot bear the thought of the sovereignty of God, the thought of His Being as greater than themselves. It makes them feel insignificant. But I know if I were to worship and obey anything, I would like it far greater than myself or any person or human system, preferably to the point that which it, perhaps, in all its majesty, makes me feel lost and even 'creatural' in my sheer humanity. Only this God - He who is great beyond human measure, yet still considers His creation precious - I find to be more than worthy of praise; otherwise, I bow down and worship nothing. And if the thought of such a superior and almighty God were to indeed offend me, I would have to remember that it is because I am only as significant as the things which I am idolizing, things which are ultimately separating me, the creation, from my original Creator.
In the course of my life I have had pre-pubescent ballerinas; emaciated duchesses, dolorous and forever tired, melomaniac and morphine-sodden; bankers' wives with eyes hollower than those of suburban streetwalkers; music-hall chorus girls who tip creosote into their Roederer when getting drunk...I have even had the awkward androgynes, the unsexed dishes of the day of the *tables d'hote* of Montmartre. Like any vulgar follower of fashion, like any member of the herd, I have made love to bony and improbably slender little girls, frightened and macabre, spiced with carbolic and peppered with chlorotic make-up.Like an imbecile, I have believed in the mouths of prey and sacrificial victims. Like a simpleton, I have believed in the large lewd eyes of a ragged heap of sickly little creatures: alcoholic and cynical shop girls and whores. The profundity of their eyes and the mystery of their mouths... the jewellers of some and the manicurists of others furnish them with *eaux de toilette*, with soaps and rouges. And Fanny the etheromaniac, rising every morning for a measured dose of cola and coca, does not put ether only on her handkerchief.It is all fakery and self-advertisement - *truquage and battage*, as their vile argot has it. Their phosphorescent rottenness, their emaciated fervour, their Lesbian blight, their shop-sign vices set up to arouse their clients, to excite the perversity of young and old men alike in the sickness of perverse tastes! All of it can sparkle and catch fire only at the hour when the gas is lit in the corridors of the music-halls and the crude nickel-plated decor of the bars. Beneath the cerise three-ply collars of the night-prowlers, as beneath the bulging silks of the cyclist, the whole seductive display of passionate pallor, of knowing depravity, of exhausted and sensual anaemia - all the charm of spicy flowers celebrated in the writings of Paul Bourget and Maurice Barres - is nothing but a role carefully learned and rehearsed a hundred times over. It is a chapter of the MANCHON DE FRANCINE read over and over again, swotted up and acted out by ingenious barnstormers, fully conscious of the squalid salacity of the male of the species, and knowledgeable in the means of starting up the broken-down engines of their customers.To think that I also have loved these maleficent and sick little beasts, these fake Primaveras, these discounted Jocondes, the whole hundred-franc stock-in-trade of Leonardos and Botticellis from the workshops of painters and the drinking-dens of aesthetes, these flowers mounted on a brass thread in Montparnasse and Levallois-Perret!And the odious and tiresome travesty - the corsetted torso slapped on top of heron's legs, painful to behold, the ugly features primed by boulevard boxes, the fake Dresden of Nina Grandiere retouched from a medicine bottle, complaining and spectral at the same time - of Mademoiselle Guilbert and her long black gloves!...Have I now had enough of the horror of this nightmare! How have I been able to tolerate it for so long?The fact is that I was then ignorant even of the nature of my sickness. It was latent in me, like a fire smouldering beneath the ashes. I have cherished it since... perhaps since early childhood, for it must always have been in me, although I did not know it!
God loves each person, I believe; although, just like we do in our private homes, He reserves His kingdom only for those whom He enjoys.
I wonder if there is anyone who is not depraved. A wearisome thought.I want money. Unless I have it....In my sleep, a natural death!
Maybe the real miracle in any miracle is our ability to believe that despite our own depravity, in the eyes of God we are worthy of a miracle.
All the accounts of the burial of Jesus are somber, laced through with the silence of grief, the shock that violence does to one's soul, even experienced vicariously in the body of another who is loved. They are written as though they are dirges, laments hidden in the silences and spaces between the words.
The men who are dropped in a jungle or a desert and expected video games and got mundanity and depravity and friends dying like animals.
The curse of the fall didn't affect only manual work, as we often seem to think. Excessive ambiguity that prevent us from figuring out how to navigate is really a form of confusion. Overload is one of the forms that frustration takes. The inordinate challenges we face in knowledge work can be traced to the fall just as much as the challenges in manual work. Send it especially lies behind the villain of lack of fulfillment. The reason we lack fulfillment is because we aren't fulfilling our true purpose, that is because we have sinned and deviated from God's path.
A life of hardship and personal suffering is unavoidable. A person must endure many humiliations of the mind and body, and expect persons whom they trusted to someday betray them. People inevitably witness the death of their loved ones. We also witness acts of depravity committed by criminals that lurk in every society and rouge acts of scandal committed by government officials in charge of the public welfare. A person must nonetheless resist personal discouragement, sadness, dejection, and despondency. I must reach an accord with pain, suffering, and anguish, or forevermore be tortured by reality while constantly seeking to escape from the inescapable agony of being.
The unavoidable harshness of life surprised none of them, for they were Christians one and all, believing that they inhabited a fallen world, albeit one filled with God's grace.
If I had a single wish, I would wish sixty seconds of total depravity upon myself. For one of the greatest gifts of all is to have ‘nothing’ so that I can finally learn how to appreciate ‘everything’.
Every moment thou waitest does but increase thy misery, thine attempts to plume thyself and make thyself fit for Jesus are all vanity.
Cheer up! You're a worse sinner than you ever dared imagine, and you're more loved than you ever dared hope.
Thou hast gone on in all thy life hitherto, ever since thou wast born, in a continual opposition to God Himself, unto the infinite Lord, the eternal first being of all the world; thy life hath been nothing but enmity to this God: thou hast as directly opposed, and striven against, and resisted Him, as ever man did oppose, and resist, and strive with another man, and this thou hast done in the whole course of thy life: certainly there is more in this to humble a man than anything that can be spoken to shew him the evil of sin.
All our good is apparently from God, because we are first naked and holy without any good, and afterwards enriched with all good.
Why, since folly or perversity is expected of individuals, should we expect anything else from government?
Every artifact of human culture is a positive response to God's general revelation and simultaneously a rebellious assertion against His sovereign rule over us.
If you spend your life on a moral hill-top, you see nothing but the mud below. If, like me, you live in the mud itself, you get a damned good view of clear blue sky and clean green hills above. There's none so evil-minded as those with a moral mission, and none so pure in heart as the depraved.
There is good even in church people. You find it hard to believe, right? Jesus never shut the door on religious people. He just made sure that they understand He was that door, and not their deeds and tasks. Some of us, even I, need to be reminded of this. This being understood, the people of the church are like broken pieces of glass fixed into beautiful mosaic to reflect Jesus. The picture is beautiful, but the pieces do indeed still have sharp edges that can cut.