Sarah McCarten

Thirty things from books. A guest post from Caris Adel.

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I love this, because Caris is another one of my I-met-her-on-the-internet friends, and because these words make me want to read these books, I can’t wait to get started, thank you so much Caris.

I love to read books of all kinds.  When I read something I really like, rather than write it down, I just photocopy the page and stick it in my file folder.  So, I went through my folder to find some of my most favorite quotations.  Here are thirty things from books:

  1. “Both sexes are called to practice hospitality, to care intimately for children, to provide for extended family, and to love and serve the body of Christ as well as the wider world in real, life-supporting ways.” – Real Love for Real Life.
  1. “For most of us, laying down our life will not happen with one grand act.  Rather, it will consist of a thousand small turnings of our will from its natural self-absorption to the self-giving ways of God.” -Real Love for Real Life.
  1. “When one is a stranger to oneself then one is estranged from others too.  If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others.”  – Gift From the Sea.
  1. “But I want first of all – in fact, as an end to these other desires – to be at peace with myself.  I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can.” – Gift From the Sea.
  1. “Living within the event that is testified to in Christianity is more important than the affirmation that one is a Christian, or in other words, the event contained in the affirmation of God is more important than the belief in God.” – The Fidelity of Betrayal.
  1. “How many of us have treated the gospel as an object that can answer a deep-seated need (for acceptance, happiness, companionship, a clear conscience), and in so doing have approached Christianity in self-interested weakness, hoping that it will be the pill that will cure us, the liquid solution that will provide the ultimate solution.  Bonhoeffer wondered whether it is possible to embrace God out of love and lightness of heart, out of a seduction that is caught up in the call of God rather than the need of God.” – The Fidelity of Betrayal.
  1. “This luminous life can never be captured, contained, or pulled apart; it is lived.  This event in which nothing changes is an event so radical that nothing remains the same.” – The Fidelity of Betrayal.
  1. “Housework is never ‘done’ in the same sense that gardening is never done or that God’s providential involvement in the world is never done.” – Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life.
  1. “But repetition, in itself, is not equivalent to oppressive futility.  The sun comes up every morning.  Christians gather every Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  Every year brings the cycle of the seasons and of the Christian calendar.  Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Eastertide, Pentecost, Ordinary Time.  As we engage with the litany of everyday life, we engage with life itself, with our fellow human beings, with the world in which God has set us all, and thus with God himself.”- Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life.
  1. “Patience does not mean ‘doing nothing.’  Rather, patience is ‘sticking to’ what you are doing because you believe that it is worthy and worthwhile.” – Hannah’s Child.
  1. “The apocalyptic character of our faith in Christ requires that we learn how to recognize how extraordinary the ordinary is.  To be baptized into Christ is to be made a citizen of a new age in this age.”  – Hannah’s Child.
  1. “I sometimes worry that my hunger for friendship may be pathological……I have no reason to deny it is a tricky business to have so many friends, but it is a business that I believe lies at the heart of what it means to be a Christian.  Writing and lecturing are for me the discovery of community.” – Hannah’s Child.
  1. “The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit.  We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed.” –The War of Art.
  1. “Therefore Christian spirituality is not an escape from this world, rather it is the discovery and the experience of spiritual purpose in this world.” – The Divine Embrace.
  1. “If a writer is so cautious that he never writes anything that cannot be criticized, he will never write anything that can be read.  If you want to help other people you have got to make up your mind to write things that some men will condemn.” – Echoing Silence.
  1. “The real writer lives in deep communion with his readers, because they share in common sufferings and desires and needs that are urgent.” – Echoing Silence.
  1. “If I had more humility and did not rush to write things down so fast, and did not assume that everything is interesting if you put it in writing I would make fewer crazy statements and say some things so that they are as true as I see them.” – Echoing Silence.
  1. “We put frames of words around silence and shells of stone and wood around emptiness, but it is the silence, the emptiness themselves, that finally matter and out of which the Gospel comes as word.” – Telling the Truth.
  1. “A particular truth can be stated in words – that life is better than death and love than hate….But truth itself is another matter….Truth itself cannot be stated.  Truth simply is, and is what is, the good with the bad, the joy with the despair, the presence and absence of God….” – Telling the Truth.
  1. “But in the interests of truth-telling, there seems to be no risk that Shakespeare is not willing to run as if from the conviction that if the truth is worth telling, it is worth making a fool of yourself to tell.” – Telling the Truth.
  1. “Why do we settle for worship services that are so small?  God reveals Himself through ritual, splendor, majesty, the best of all the musical and visual and poetic arts from all the ages, the boldest proclamations, the deepest of liturgies, a fullness of participation by everyone in attentiveness and chants and gestures.” – The Sense of the Call.
  1. “As Emmanuel, Cardinal Suhard says, “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.”
    ―  Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art.
  1. “The artist, if he is not to forget how to listen, must retain the vision which includes angels and dragons and unicorns, and all the lovely creatures which our world would put in a box marked, ‘Children Only.”
    ―  Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art.
  1. “I will have nothing to do with a God who cares only occasionally. I need a God who is with us always, everywhere, in the deepest depths as well as the highest heights. It is when things go wrong, when good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly.”
    ―  Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage.
  1. “Any definition of true worth to you as a writer will and must come to you experientially.” – Before We Get Started.
  1. “One doesn’t have to have had a bizarre life before that life becomes worthy of writing about.” – Before We Get Started.
  1. “What makes the desert beautiful,’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well.”
    ―  The Little Prince.
  1. “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
    ― Jack KerouacOn the Road.
  1. “Most of the time we were alone and mixing up our souls ever more and ever more” ― Jack KerouacOn the Road.
  1. “Bitterness, recriminations, advice, morality, sadness—everything was behind him, and ahead of him was the ragged and ecstatic joy of pure being.”
    ― Jack KerouacOn the Road.

profileheadCaris Adel is passionate about loving people, defending the oppressed, and being a voice for justice.  She’s been married for 11 years, and with 5 kids, somehow finds the time to write about affirming the humanity at

Author: sarahmccarten

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