"I not only have my secrets, I am my secrets."
Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets

"Christian agnostics don't deny a personal God; they display their unbelief by ignoring the sacred. The paltriness of our lives is mute testimony to the shabby furniture of our souls."
Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

"Dead on arrival at three a.m.
Heaven received the parcel I sent
Embalmed in grandiose poetry
Bloodless, lifeless, and beautifully bound and gagged
Well manicured

The prayer was was not heard
Vainly voiced, unfelt, unheard
This sad routine...lay dead
Dead on arrival at three a.m.

To God such prayers must seem the miracle of modern art
A starving mind strangling a heart that's nearly dry
Whispering barely wishful thoughts
Its lips call prayer..."
Rich Mullins, a previously unpublished poem printed in Ragamuffin Prayers, edited by Jimmy Abegg

"We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children and friends loved or wounded us.
That's the truth of our lives. That's the truth I want you to claim for yourself.
That's the truth spoken by the voice that says, "You are my Beloved."
Henri J. M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

"Without your wounds where would your power be? It is your melancholy that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men and women. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In Love's service, only wounded soldiers can serve."
Thornton Wilder, "The Angel That Troubled the Waters"

"Every man who will not have softening of the heart must at last have softening of the brain."
Gilbert K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

"When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Nachfolge (The Cost of Discipleship)

"This is the God of the gospel of grace. A God who out of love for us, sent the only Son he ever had wrapped in our skin. He learned how to walk, stumbled and fell, cried for his milk, sweated blood in the night, was lashed with a whip and showered with spit, was fixed to a cross and died whispering forgiveness on us all."
Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

"God calls us to stop hiding and come openly to Him. God is the father who ran to His prodigal son when he came limping home. God weeps over us when shame and self-hatred immobilize us."
Brennan Manning, Abba's Child

"Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music and rhythm
and grace and song and laughter?
Why am I afraid to live, I who love life and the beauty of flesh
and the living colors of the earth and sky and sea?
Why am I afraid to love, I who love love?"
Eugene O'Neill, The Great God Brown

"To say that I was born again, to use that traditional phrase, is to say too much because I remained in most ways as self-centered and squeamish after the fact as I was before, and God knows remain so still."
Frederick Buechner, The Sacred Journey

"Religion is for people who are afraid of hell; spirituality is for people who have been there."
quoted in Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies

"You will not be damned if you do not know whether the Spirit
proceeding from the Father and the Son had one or two beginnings,
but you will not escape damnation if you do not cultivate the fruits of the Spirit..."

"The courage to live as a prophet and lover is beyond human reach.
Without the grace of God we cannot even desire God.
Without the grace of God I cannot walk the talk of Christ and the kingdom lifestyle.
All my goodwill and grim resolve could not keep me sober....
However hidden and undramatic your witness may be, I pray that you will be
daring enough to be different,
humble enough to make mistakes,
courageous enough to get burnt in the Fire,
and real enough to help others see
that prose is not poetry, speech is not song, and tangibles, visibles,
and perishables are not adequate ultimates for beings signed with the blood of the Lamb."
Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus

"Many Christians... find themselves defeated by the most psychological weapon that Satan uses against them. This weapon has the effectiveness of a deadly missile. Its name? Low self-esteem. Satan's greatest psychological weapon is a gut level feeling of inferiority, inadequacy, and low self-worth. This feeling shackles many Christians, in spite of wonderful spiritual experiences and knowledge of God's Word. Although they understand their position as sons and daughters of God, they are tied up in knots, bound by a terrible feeling of inferiority, and chained to a deep sense of worthlessness."
David Seamands, Healing for Damaged Emotions

"The Lord is in the person next to you; the people with whom you rub shoulders everyday, the people whom you think you can read as an open book. Sometimes He is buried there, sometimes He is bound hand and foot there, but He is there."
Brennan Manning, The Wisdom of Accepted Tenderness

"Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily percieved as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, 'Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.'... I am no good, I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the 'Beloved.' Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence."
Henri J. M. Nouwen, Life of The Beloved

"Love feels no burden, values no labours, would like to do more than it can do, without excusing itself with impossibility, because it believes that all is lawful and possible for it to do."
Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

"When we love someone, a thousand arguments do not make one proof nor do a thousand objections make one doubt."
Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus

"Today the heart of God is an open wound of love.
He aches over our distance and preoccupation.
He mourns that we do not draw near to him.
He grieves that we have forgotten him.
He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness.
He longs for our presence."
Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding The Heart's True Home

"It costs God nothing, so far as we know, to create nice things; but to convert rebellious wills cost Him crucifixion."
Clive Staples Lewis, Mere Christianity

"I believe because it is absurd."
attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo

"Christians no longer act. They form committees."
Frederick Buechner, The Return of Ansel Gibbs

"Why do we people in churches seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the Absolute?...
On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry set, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning."
Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk

"Some place their devotion only in books,
others in holy pictures and others in external symbols and ceremonies.
Many have Me on their lips, but few in their hearts.
There are others, who, being enlightened in their mind,
and purified in their affections,
always sigh after eternal things,
unwillingly speak of earthly things,
and sorrowfully serve to the necessities of nature;
these understand that which the Spirit of Truth tells them interiorly.
For the Spirit teaches them to despise earthly things
and to love heavenly things;
to despise the world, and day and night to desire Heaven."
Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

"But if I ever learn what my heart already knows
And not feel the hurt that I wear on my sleeve
But the laughter that burns inside my soul
Let the child come alive and drive away these ghosts
You know my head ain't even close to what my heart already knows"
a Ragamuffin Band, "My Heart Already Knows"
Prayers of a Ragamuffin, Myrrh Records 2000

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