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Quips and quotes  -  2

Intellectual adherence is never owed to anything whatsoever,  for it is never in any degree a voluntary thing.   Attention alone is voluntary.   It alone forms the subject of an obligation.

Simone Weil

The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals.   That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals.   It's just that they need more supervision.

Lynne Lavner

Teaching and learning
If there is anything that we wish to change in the child,  we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.

C.G. Jung

Nature's experiment
Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed,  but nature does not depend on us.   We are not the only experiment.

Buckminster Fuller

The Church
The Church is simply the path of history,  and not the actual kingdom of God.

Nicolas Berdyaev


The compassion that you see in the kindhearted is God's compassion.   He has given it to them to protect the helpless.


No God but mine?
The fool says in his heart:  'There is no God'  (Psalm 14:1).   There is,  however,  another type of fool,  more dangerous and sure of himself,  who says in his heart and proclaims to all the world:  'There is no God but mine'.

Joseph Campbell

To be uncertain is to be uncomfortable,  but to be certain is to be ridiculous.

Chinese proverb

Reputable economists
Whether the flavour of economic advice you like is conservative or liberal,  you will find that flavour available from some 'reputable' economist,  since there is no single standard to which all 'reputable' economists must repair.

Barbara Bergman

If you see a man approaching you with the intent of doing you good,  you should run for your life.



Body and soul
You cannot devalue the body and value the soul  -  or anything else. . . .   Contempt for the body is invariably manifested in contempt for other bodies  -  the bodies of slaves,  labourers,  women,  animals,  plants,  the earth itself.

Wendell Berry

A lesson from lettuce
When you plant lettuce,  if it does not grow well,  you don't blame the lettuce.   You look into the reasons it is not doing well.   It may need fertilizer,  or more water,  or less sun.   You never blame the lettuce.   Yet if we have problems with our friends or our family,  we blame the other person.   But if we know how to take care of them they will grow well,  like lettuce.   Blaming has no positive effect at all,  nor does trying to persuade using reason and arguments.   That is my experience.  No blame,  no reasoning,  no argument,  just understanding.   If you understand,  and you show that you understand,  you can love,  and the situation will change.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Unity is plural
Unity is plural and,  at minimum,  is two.

Buckminster Fuller

Bright idea?
An effort was made in the 1960s to increase the tonnage of fish caught in Lake Victoria,  Africa's largest lake.   Nile perch were introduced,  on the recommendation of marine biologists.   These took to the lake with a vengeance,  some of them growing to six feet in length.   Other fish populations have diminished,  as a consequence.   The promised increase in total catch is yet to eventuate.

Harvey Sindima

A theory
There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here,  it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.   There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'


What can I do,  as only one person,  to help the environment?
I suppose that's a question most often asked of me by people who would like to make a positive contribution towards a sustainable future and a healthy environment.   There are so many things that need to be done that sometimes it seems overwhelming.   I try to remind everyone that no one person has to do it all but if each one of us follows our heart and our own inclinations we will find the small things that we can do,  and together we will come up with enough to create a sustainable future and a healthy environment.

John Denver

Sauce for the goose
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery,  I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.

Abraham Lincoln

Parent and child
I was frightened of my parents,  being born too soon for Dr Spock.   I caught the tail end of the Victorian philosophy that parents were perfect,  and children always in the wrong,  a righteous target for round-the-clock criticism.   This made me very shy in company,  and as a child I had none of the social ease of my lucky grandchildren,  who assume unless it is proved to the contrary that grown-ups are their friends.

Anne Scott-James

The ties that bind
So if salvation is not to be found in the invisible hand of the market or in the high hand of government,  where is it?   I suggest that it is right under our noses  -  in ourselves.   The key is to strengthen the unseen ties that bind people in trust and loyalty:  what a perceptive economist,  the late Arthur Okun,  once called the 'invisible handshake'.   It is these ties that enable markets and governments to function at all,  and that account for most else of what matters to us:  love,  friendship,  honour,  fun,  fulfilment.

Tim Hazledine:  'Taking New Zealand Seriously'

Infant saint
St Nicholas was remarkable in his infancy for piety and knowledge of the scriptures,  and disposed so early in life to conform to ecclesiastical rule that,  when at the breast,  he fasted on Wednesday and Friday,  and sucked but once on those days.


The Wesley spirit
But although a difference in opinions or modes of worship may prevent an entire external union,  yet need it prevent our union in affection?   Though we cannot think alike,  may we not love alike?   May we not be of one heart,  though we are not of one opinion?   Without all doubt,  we may.   Herein all the children of God may unite,  notwithstanding these smaller differences.   These remaining as they are,  they may forward one another in love and in good works.

John Wesley

The Bible and Christian life
What does seem to me to be completely true is that a Christian life and the Bible go hand in hand.   Ignoring the Bible is like trying to go through life unable to remember anything that happened before today.

Lloyd Lee Wilson  (Quaker)

A friendship
A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil  -  but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small silly presents every so often  -  just to save it from drying out completely.

Pam Brown

Warfare  -  a feminist definition
Warfare is maleness in its absurdest extremes.   Here is to be studied the whole gamut of basic masculinity,  from the initial instinct of combat,  through every form of glorious ostentation,  with the loudest accompaniment of noise.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Be fair to God
God may be subtle,  but He isn't plain mean.

Albert Einstein


What is needful
Justice and fairness,  not religion or atheism,  are needful for the protection of the state.

Jami  (Sufi)

Moral error
If your morals make you dreary,  depend upon it,  they are wrong.   I do not say give them up,  for they may be all you have,  but conceal them like a vice lest they should spoil the lives of better and simpler people.

Robert Louis Stevenson

The great rulers  -  the people do not notice their existence.   The lesser ones they attach to and praise them.   The still lesser ones  -  they fear them.   The still lesser ones  -  they despise them.   For where faith is lacking it cannot be met by faith.

Tao Te Ching

It is well to remember that the entire universe,  with one trifling exception,  is composed of others.

John Andrew Holmes

Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation.



A great wind
Sometimes I go about in pity for myself,  and all the while a great wind
is bearing me across the sky.

Ojibwa saying

I come not from religion:  religions cause wars.   I come from a spirituality  -  a spirituality that teaches respect for the sky father and the earth mother.

Maori speaker at NGO Women's Forum,  Beijing

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Second attempt
I believe that our Heavenly Father invented man because he was disappointed with the monkey.

Mark Twain

The problem
Every Mexican baby is born owing $1000 to a Northern bank.   It's the $1000  -  not the baby  -  that is causing the environmental headache.

New Internationalist 235


Most people really believe that the Christian commandments  (e.g. to love one's neighbour as oneself)  are intentionally a little too severe  -  like putting the clock ahead half an hour to make sure of not being late in the morning.


Behold how all those people are merchants who shun great sins and would like to be good and do good deeds in God's honour,  such as fasts,  vigils,  prayers,  and similar good deeds of all kinds.   They do all these things so that our Lord may give them something,  or so that God may do something dear to them.   All these people are merchants.

Meister Eckhart

The sun and moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands.

Havelock Ellis

The pace of existence
The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.

H.E. Fosdick

There are things so serious that you can only joke about them.



Not coercive
The essence of Christianity is the appeal to the life of Jesus as a revelation of the nature of God's activity in the world.   Jesus rejected the notion of God as coercive power.   Did that mean that God was powerless?   The paradox is that there is a power in persuasive love.

Charles Birch

Just consequences
In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments  -  there are consequences.

Robert G. Ingersoll

How often I found out where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else.

Buckminster Fuller

Faith or belief?
Faith is much better than belief.   Belief is when someone else does the thinking.

Buckminster Fuller

All special
We are all special cases.

Albert Camus


Conscience is thoroughly well bred and soon leaves off talking
to those who do not wish to hear it.

Samuel Butler

Speaking the truth
Speaking the truth to the unjust is the best of holy wars.

The Prophet Mohammed

Mental habit
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it the superficial appearance of being right,  and raises a formidable outcry in defense of custom.

Thomas Paine

Religious truth
In the spring of 1940 I read the Bhagavad-Gita.   Strange to say it was in reading those marvellous words,  words with such a Christian sound,  put into the mouth of an incarnation of God,  that I came to feel strongly that we owe an allegiance to religious truth which is quite different from the admiration we accord to a beautiful poem.

Simone Weil

Meeting God
God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by a process of subtraction.

Meister Eckhart


Children seldom misquote you.   In fact,  they usually repeat word for word
what you shouldn't have said.


You cannot,  at the same time,  mount two horses;
You cannot,  at the same time,  bend two bows;
You cannot,  at the same time,  serve two masters  . . .

Gospel of Thomas 47

Nature bats last
Dinosaurs dominated the earth well before humanity and survived over 150 million years.   Humans,  on the other hand,  have been around for about 3 million years.   Nature destroyed them,  are we next?   Something must be done soon because remember  'Nature bats last!'

Joel Campbell

Never work before breakfast.   If you have to work before breakfast,  get your breakfast first.

Josh Billings

To live like Christ
Really living like Christ will not mean reward,  social recognition,  and an assured income,  but difficulties,  discrimination,  solitude,  anxiety.   Here,  too,  the basic experience of the cross applies:  the wider we open our hearts to others,  the more audibly we intervene against the injustice that rules over us,  the more difficult our lives in the rich unjust society will become.

Dorothee Sölle


The human race has one really effective weapon,  and that is laughter.

Mark Twain

If you do not hope
If you do not hope,  you will not find what is beyond your hopes.

Clement of Alexandria

What is the matter with the poor is poverty;  what is the matter with the rich is uselessness.

George Bernard Shaw

Trust,  but . . .
Trust in God,  but tie your camel first.

The Prophet Mohammed

Without warning
The market does not reflect long-term declines in natural resources such as oil.   The market is like the float in a carburettor:  as the engine demands more gas,  the float falls and allows more gas to flow from the tank.   But the float has no information concerning the amount of gas left in the tank until the fuel line is unable to keep up with demand.

Jay Hanson




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