A word after a word after a word is power. -Margaret Atwood, poet and novelist (b. 1939)

When I give people food, they call me a saint. When I ask why there is no food, they call me a communist. Dom Helder Câmara, archbishop of Recife, Brazil

If I am hungry, that is a physical problem; if my neighbor is hungry, that is a spiritual problem. Nicolai Berdyaev

"I made a peculiar prayer. It's a prayer that sometimes I say, one that is perhaps self-serving, but because I believe that God is not limited by time and space as we are, I believe perhaps he can influence the past even though it has already happened. So sometimes when I'm alone, especially at night, in the dark, and I begin to dwell on the suffering that people have probably experienced before their deaths, I ask God to retroactively relieve their pain, to be with them in body and mind, to numb their senses, to cool whatever flame licked at their eyes in their final moments." James Lee Burke

"Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt." Paul Tillich

"Here is my advice to Christians who want to influence people like me: be open to reaching out to people who disagree with you, instead of forcing us to adopt your beliefs in order to win your approval." - Hemant Mehta, atheist author of `I Sold My Soul on eBay'

"When I was a delegate at the 1975 Assembly of the World Council of Churches I found over and over again that it was when we said what we really meant, expressing ourselves and our viewpoints most clearly, that real fellowship and trust came about — not when we hid the light of truth under a bushel of tolerance. - Anglican theologian N.T. Wright.

"When faith simplifies things that need to remain complex instead of giving us strength to live with complexity, when it gives answers where none exist, instead of helping us appreciate the sacredness of living with questions, when it offers certainty when there needs to be doubt, and when it tells us that we have arrived when we should still be searching - then there is a problem with that faith." - Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, author of the new book "You Don't Have to be Be Wrong for Me to Be Right."

"One of the most sublime experiences we can ever have is to wake up feeling healthy after we have been sick." - Rabbi Harold Kushner

"You cannot avoid paradise. You can only avoid seeing it." - Charlotte Joko Beck, Zen teacher and author.

"If you ever expect to get a reservation in heaven, you will have to have a letter of recommendation from the poor.” - James Forbes, former pastor of Riverside Church in New York City.

"This is the most beautiful place on earth. There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary. A houseboat in Kashmir, a view down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, a gray gothic farmhouse two stories high at the end of a red dog road in the Allegheny Mountains, a cabin on the shore of a blue lake in spruce and fir country, a greasy alley near the Hoboken waterfront, or even, possibly, for those of a less demanding sensibility, the world to be seen from a comfortable apartment high in the tender, velvety smog of Manhattan, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Rio or Rome — there's no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment." - From the beginning of Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

"Any idiot can face a crisis; it is this day-to-day living that wears you out." -- Anton Chekov

"I’ve always been a bit more comfortable with my subconscious and not so comfortable when I think about things too much. It’s like when I doodle. That’s when I know it means something to me on some weird level, as opposed to sitting down with the idea of drawing a skeleton. Say I’m on the phone, just sitting around, doodling. I’ll look at what I’ve done and think, Oh, that’s a strange character. Then I’ll notice myself doing it over and over. Those are the ones that have the most power for me, because they’re coming from within." -- Tim Burton, from What I've Learned (Esquire, Jan. 2008).

A book is a gift. No matter how poorly written it is, or if we don’t like it—we think it’s simplistic or if we find it to be odious—someone did spend time working on this. Someone did take a part of their lives to make this happen. Even in the most kind of nonsense, banal books there is a note of grace in it…As a kid, I was just reading. And I never lost that sense that sometimes there are terrible books which for me produce really pleasing results in my mind and in my heart. And sometimes there are incredibly brilliant books that don’t do any of that. And I think I had to have a much more generous sense of what reading means and what it can do. Junot Díaz

"Humanity's always been uncomfortable with zero and the void. The ancient Greeks declared them unnatural and unreal. Theologians argued that God's first act was to banish the void by the act of creating the universe ex nihilo, and Middle-Ages thinkers tried to ban zero and the other Arabic 'ciphers.' But the emptiness is all around us — most of the universe is void. Even as we huddle around our hearths and invent stories to convince ourselves that the cosmos is warm and full and inviting, nothingness stares back at us with empty eye sockets." --Charles Seife, author of Zero: The Biography Of A Dangerous Idea

"An original writer is not one who imitates no one, but whom no one can imitate." --Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand

“There are very few ideas worth talking about. Those ideas are good for all times, but unless a poet has a new way of dealing with those ideas, they become commonplace. And new insights, new connections, are inseparable from their language, which is why a paraphrase of a poem always sounds banal.” - Lisel Mueller

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy? Mahatma Gandhi

Society is composed of two great classes: those who have more dinners than
appetite, and those who have more appetite than dinners. Sebastien-Roch-Nicolas de Chamfort, writer (1741-1794)

"Believe that the Universe holds a whole lot for you, and it will. Believe it holds very little, and disappointment will be your constant companion." - Barbara Berg

In the common words we use every day, souls of past races, the thoughts and feelings of individual men stand around us, not dead, but frozen into their attitudes like the couriers in the garden of the Sleeping Beauty. Owen Barfield, author (1898-1997)
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