the quote book

When I turned 18, three months after graduating high school, a good family friend gave me a leather-bound journal. Being wrapped up at the time in my second reading of Madeleine L’Engle’s book, Walking on Water, I was also wrapped up in the notion of a quote book, as she quoted her own quote book multiple times on each page.

In those days, I was reading Elizabeth Elliot at the same time as L’Engle; both strong women, the former pushed extreme faithfulness and the latter extreme thoughtfulness. Even then the pages of my quote book were covered in people who would likely disagree with other, and that has continued through the years. Nearly twenty years later, the book grows and is nearly filled, still sitting neatly by my desk lamp as it has all these years. I’ll begin collecting quotes here now as well, as I’ve wanted to be able to “search” the book… sometimes faster than sifting through the pages.

The quote at the bottom is the first quote written in that book (and no doubt the longest) all those years ago. I remember playing and pausing the movie…the VHS movie…to get it copied in. I’ll have to keep adding to the parchment for principle’s sake, but I’ll begin adding here as well, with the most recent at the top of this page… just below.

Enjoy them, and add your own.

+++ QUOTE BOOK last updated September 2020 +++

“Lost really has two disparate meanings. Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing.” + Rebecca Solnit, p 22, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were and say ‘Why not?’ + Robert F Kennedy, quoted by John Lewis, p 1, Across that Bridge

“Before we can become who we really are, we must become conscious of the fact that the person who we think we are, here and now, is at best an imposter and a stranger.” + Thomas Merton, p. 24

“The original, shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all. Instead, we live out all the other selves, which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather.” + Frederick Buechner, p. 23

“All models are wrong, but some are useful.” + George Box as quoted by Cron, I. M. (2016) in The Road Back to You, p. 20.

“In the regime of Jesus, there is enough for all. And it can be shared.” + W. Brueggeman, Gift & Task, p277


“And if we ponder our destination, perhaps it is to be to the neighborhood of shalom, the neighborhood of shared resources, of inclusive politics, of random acts of hospitality and intentional acts of justice, of fearless neighborliness that is not propelled by greed or anxiety or excessive self-preoccupation.” – Walter Brueggemann, p. 5

“America is living stormy Monday, but the pulpit is preaching happy Sunday. The world is experiencing the Blues, and pulpiteers are dispensing excessive doses of non-prescribed prosaic sermons with severe ecclesiastical and theological side effects.” – Rev. Otis Moss, III 

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Elie Wiesel


“In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the stillness of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.” + Howard Thurman

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“Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.” – Joan Didion, “After Life,” from New York Times Magazine

“People hurt the things they fear.” – Glennon Doyle Melton, Carry on Warrior 

“If you want to be holy, be kind.” – Buechner

“I don’t understand how and why I come to be only as I lose myself, but I know from long experience that this is so.” Madeleine L’Engle, The Irrational Season

“Our talks then and at the dinner table were long and lighthearted, and they were our movies, our concerts, and our theatre.” – Robert Fitzgerald on friendship with Flannery O’Connor

“No daylight to separate us. Only kinship. Inching ourselves closer to creating a community of kinship such that God might recognize it. Soon we imagine, with God, this circle of compassion. Then we imagine no one standing outside of that circle, moving ourselves closer to the margins so that the margins themselves will be erased. We stand there with those whose dignity has been denied. We locate ourselves with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless. At the edges, we join the easily despised and the readily left out. We stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop. We situate ourselves right next to the disposable so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away.” – Fr. Gregory BoyleTattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

“We are all connected. When we deny it and create a world full of strangers, we are silently condoning violence. We can no longer imagine or feel sympathy for what the stranger must be going through. In a culture of strangers, anger and misunderstanding and ignorance of one another thrive. Once we get to ‘them’ and ‘us,’ it is hard to stand on common ground.” – Rev. Becca Stevens, Funeral for a Stranger

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi

“Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in this world, but people capable of giving them their attention.” – Simone Weil

“To love and bear, to hope till hope creates from its own wreck the thing it contemplates.” – Shelley

“Shame is the root of all addictions.” – John Bradshaw

“Divine love is incessantly restless until it turns all woundedness into health, all deformity into beauty, and all embarrassment into laughter.” – Beldon Lane

“How much greater is the God we have than the one we think we have.” – Fr. Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart

“Find the real world, give it endlessly away, grow rich flinging gold to all who ask. Live at the empty heart of paradox. I’ll dance there with you–cheek to cheek.” – Rumi

“You concede, ‘God loves us,’ and yet there is this lurking sense that perhaps you aren’t fully part of the ‘us.’ The arms of God reach to embrace and somehow you feel yourself just outside God’s fingertips.” – Fr. Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them,
“Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud;
Someone would call the cops.
Still though, think about this
This great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always saying with that sweet moon
What every other eye in this world
Is dying to

–Havez, ‘With That Moon Language”

“Our common human hospitality longs to find room for those who are left out. It’s just who we are if allowed to foster something different, something more greatly resembling what God had in mind. Perhaps, together, we can teach each other how to bear the beams of love, persons becoming persons, right before our eyes. Returned to ourselves.” – Fr. Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart

“Stand in awe of what the poor have to carry rather than in judgment of how they carry it.” – Fr. Gregory Boyle, CCDA 2013

“Denial may be neither a matter of telling the truth nor intentionally telling a lie. There seem to be states of mind, or even whole cultures, in which we know and don’t know at the same time.” – Stanley Cohen, States of Denial

“My healing journey has taken thousands of prayers, countless small bites of breads, and gallons of wine one sip at a time.” – Becca Stevens, Snake Oil

“Most people lead with their strength, but if they believe you can help ease their pain, people will show you their weak spots. It is a privilege to get to hold a broken arm or touch fresh scars.” – Becca Stevens, Snake Oil

“To preserve faith, we need to teach our children to love it. We teach our children the faith that was passed down to us, we teach them what justice and truth mean to us, and we help form the faith that will grow in them. … We hear the stories, we try to live into them, and we spend our lives teaching children as best we can what it means to carry the faith on.” – Becca Stevens, Snake Oil

“Speaking peace into this harsh world is hard. It makes it harder when you have to speak about not what you believe, but what you hope to believe. The words you use are spoken knowing that if we pray the words over and over, it will help form what we believe.” – Becca Stevens, Snake Oil

“God gives when he finds empty hands.” – Augustine, City of God

“How I know I have forgiven someone is that he or she has harmless passage in my mind.” – Rev. Karyl Huntley

“Discovery consists not so much in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

“Forgiveness is the release of all hope for a better past.” – unknown

“Passion is tricky, though, because it can point to nothing as easily as it can point to something.” – Donald Miller

“But grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though what you want is clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on.” – Anne Lamott, Help, Thanks, Wow

“We learn through pain that some of the things we thought were castles turn out to be prisons, and we desperately want out, but even though we built them, we can’t find the door.” – Anne Lamott, Help, Thanks, Wow

“A sober friend from Texas said once that the three things I cannot change are the past, the truth, and you. I hate this insight so much.” – Anne Lamott, Help, Thanks, Wow

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted, and behold, service was joy.”
– Bengali poet Rabindraneth Tagore

“The power of the future is not in the hands of those who believe in scarcity and monopolize the world’s resources; it is in the hands of those who trust God’s abundance.”
-Walter Brueggeman

“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain.
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
unto his nest again
I shall not live in vain.”
– Emily Dickinson (VI)

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak truth quietly and clearly. Listen to others even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.” – Desiderata

“May all of your expectations be frustrated,
May all of your plans be thwarted,
May all of your desires be withered into nothingness,
that you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child,
and can only sing and dance in the love of God,
Who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
– Brennan Manning

“God became man to turn creatures into sons, not simply to produce better men of the old kind, but to produce a new kind of man.” – CS Lewis

“Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“The higher a soul aspires to perfection, the more dependent it is on grace.” – Brother Lawrence

“I am in the hands of God, and He has His own good purposes regarding me. I do not concern myself, therefor, about anything that people can do to me. If I cannot serve God here, I will find some place else in which to serve Him.” – Brother Lawrence

“I am a Christian not because someone explained the nuts and bolts of Christianity to me, but because there were people who were willing to be the nuts and bolts.” – Rich Mullins

“God became man to fur creatures into sons: not simple to produce better men of the old kind, but to produce a new kind of man.” – CS Lewis

“God loves us as we are, not as we should be. For we will never be as we should be.” – Brennan Manning

“The world looks for spectacular displays; God uses a holy life.” – Henry Blackaby

“When we have held true to the story it has been a life-giving one. When we have tried to control or manipulate or legalize it, it has been the cause of mayhem and murder.” – Madeleine L’Engle on the Bible.

“Here and there in the world and now and then in ourselves is a new creation.” – Tillich

“So I am praying while not knowing how to pray. I am resting while feeling restless, at peace while tempted, safe while still anxious, surrounded by a cloud of light while still in darkness, in love while still doubting.” – Henri Nouwen

“Love every leaf, every ray of light.
Love the animals, love the plants, love each separate thing.
Loving all, you will perceive the mystery of God in all.”
– Dostoevsky

“Evil’s greatest triumph may be its success in portraying religion as an enemy of pleasure when, in fact, religion accounts for its source; every good and enjoyable thing is the invention of a creator who lavished gifts on the world.” – Philip Yancey

“The glory of God is a person fully alive.” – Irenaeus

“You are never a great man when you have more mind than heart.” – Beauchene

“In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism, skepticism, and humbug, and we shall want to live more musically.” – Vincent Van Gogh

“I hope that I will never forget the salvific power of joyful laughter.” – Madeleine L’Engle

“It is the heart that is not yet sure of its God that is afraid to laugh in its presence.” – George MacDonald

“If we begin with certainties, we will end in doubt. But if we begin with doubts and bear them patiently, we may end in certainty.” – Francis Bacon

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”- Upton Sinclair

“In our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” – Aeschylus

“To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.” – Cardinal Suhard

“Those who believe they believe in God, but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God and not in God himself.” – Unamuno

“We all tend to make zealous judgments, and thereby close ourselves off from revelation. If we feel that we already know something in its totality, then we fail to keep our ears and eyes open to that which may expand or even change that which we so zealously think we know.” Madeleine L’Engle in Walking on Water

“Zeal is a bad mark for a cause. Nobody has any zeal about arithmetic. It is not the vaccinationists but the antivaccinationists who generate zeal. People are zealous for a cause when they are not quite sure that it is true.” – Bertrand Russell

“The weight of these sad times we must obey; Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.” – King Lear, [5.3.324-325]

“Let him tell the truth to them. Before the gospel is a word, it is silence. it is the silence of their own lives and of his life. It is life with the sound turned off so that for a moment or two you can experience it not in terms of the words you make it bearable by, but for the vulnerable mystery that it is. Let him say, ‘Be silent and know that I am God, saith the Lord.’ Be silent and know that even by my silence and absence I am known. Be silent and listen to the stones cry out.” – Frederick Buechner from Telling the Truth

“Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.” – Meister Eckhart

“We are always looking for justice; the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is––never look for justice, but never cease to live it.” – Oswald Chambers

“…So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. And I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, “once more unto the breach dear friends.”
But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer.
And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much…” – from Good Will Hunting

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