Ever since I wrote the post “Old Friends” (Nov. 14, 2011), a thought has been brewing in my head. (These things take time…) All those notebooks filled with deep and delicious words that I copied out of my favorite books are just sitting on my shelf. It seems like such a shame. So, I’ve decided to share some of my old friends here from time to time. I hope the quotations inspire you for a moment or more. Perhaps they will whet your appetite for the book or author and you can make some new friends of your own.
From “Into the Depths of God” by Calvin Miller:
“Bathos (Greek word for ‘deep’) is a word I really discovered at the Great Barrier Reef. My son had come to scuba dive while my wife and I snorkeled. While my son plunged deeply beneath clear waters to bury himself in the wonder of the mysterious ocean depths, my wife and I, wearing masks, only floated on the surface facedown.
In some ways, what we were all seeing looked the same. However, the truth is that the content of our experience was greatly different. We will both spend the rest of our lives talking about that experience and our enthusiasm will always be exuberant. But only our son really knew the Reef; he understood the issue of depth…. In some ways it seems to me that much of Christianity is a conversation of snorkelers talking to each other of scuba experiences.
The inscrutable glories of the deep cannot be described to those hooked on the safety of shallowness…. We can see that the tide pools hold no deep adventure. We can even feel the lure of the dark and haunting indigo of the ocean’s soul. Still, we balk at real inward adventure. Our shallow spirituality holds nothing profound, but it is safe.”
On prayer: “I suspect that the difference between a person of seasoned prayer and one of smaller prayer experience is the amount of time they spend talking rather than listening. I used to be troubled by Paul’s admonition to ‘pray without ceasing’. I now believe this is only possible to those who have had enough significant prayer experience to make the listening prayer the largest part of their praying. Those whose prayers are unending monologues make themselves a giant mouth while making God a small ear. St. Anthony said that the best prayer comes when we no longer remember we are praying.”
On time: “We cannot possibly flatter the Almighty by hurrying into his presence, flinging a song and a prayer at him, and hurrying out of church back into our hassled lifestyles. God is never flattered by our sanctified exhaustion… God does not wear a watch. His unthinkable glory is learned only in our time-consuming communion with him… All watches must be checked at the gates of the throne room. Real relationships never keep their eye on the clock… The believer who wants an in-depth affair with Christ must not allow time clocks and ledger sheets to destroy that wonderful holy leisure by which we make friends with God.”
What are your thoughts, my Small Drop friends?
No man can be called friendless who has God and the companionship of good books. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning