"We know that the seed of the Word of God is a very growy thing."
"We are, in the end, conflicted creatures--about all our relationships, God included. Our deepest longing is to be known and loved and yet it takes more courage than any of us has to enter into relationships of true knowing and loving."
"If a writer is to tell his own story--tell it slowly, and as if it were a story about other people--if he is to feel the power of the story rise up inside him, if he is to sit down at a table and patiently give himself over to this art--this craft--he must first have been given some hope." [especially that last part]
"Could the hope for the inner cities lie in part in the retrieval of the doctrine of justification by grace? How could dead streets receive life from a dead doctrine? Imagine that you have no job, no money, you live cut off from the rest of society in a world ruled by poverty and violence, your skin is the "wrong" color--and you have no hope that any of this will change. Around you is a society governed by the iron law of achievement. Its gilded goods are flaunted before your eyes on TV screens, and in a thousand ways society tells you every day that you are worthless because you have no achievements. You are a failure, and you you know that you will continue to be a failure because there is no way for you to achieve tomorrow what you have not managed to achieve today. Your dignitiy is shattered and your soul is enveloped in the darkness of despair. But the gospel tells you that you are not defined by outside forces. It tells you that you count--even more, that you are loved unconditionally and infinitely, irrespective of anything you have achieved or failed to achieve...Imagine now this gospel not simply proclaimed but embodied in a community that has emerged not as a "result of works" (Eph. 2.10). Justified by sheer grace, it seeks to "justify" by grace those who are made "unjust" by society's implacable law of achievement. Imagine furthermore this community determined to infuse the wider culture, along with its political and economic institutions, with the message that it seeks to embody and proclaim. This is justification by grace, proclaimed and pacticed. A dead doctrine? Hardly."