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“God is love,” as Scripture says, and that means the revelation is in the relationship. “God is love” means God is known devotionally, not dogmatically. “God is love” does not clear up old mysteries; it discloses new mystery. “God is love” is not a truth we can master; it is only one to which we can surrender. Faith is being grasped by the power of love.

William Sloane Coffin, Jr. (1924-2006) American minister, social activist
“Emmanuel,” sermon (1979-12-09)
    (Source)

Sermon on Matthew 1:23.

Coffin had used very similar language in an earlier sermon, "Born to Set Thy People Free" (1977-12-04), on John 1:14:

God is known devotionally, not dogmatically. If as Scripture says, "God is love," then the revelation is the relationship. Christianity is not cleaning up old mysteries; it's the disclovsure of a new mystery. It is not a truth that you can master; it's only one to which you can surrender. Faith is being grasped by the power of love.
 
Added on 23-Oct-23 | Last updated 23-Oct-23
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She was his life,
The ocean to the river of his thoughts,
Which terminated all.

Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
“The Dream,” st. 2 (1816)
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Added on 28-Sep-23 | Last updated 28-Sep-23
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Love is swift, pure, dutiful, pleasant and agreeable; it is strong, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, manly, never seeking its own advantage. For when anyone seeks that, he falls away from love.

[Est amor velox, sincerus, pius, prudens, longanimis, virilis, et seipsum nunquam quærens. Ubi enim seipsum aliquis quærit, ibi ab amore cadit.]

Thomas von Kempen
Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German-Dutch priest, author
The Imitation of Christ [De Imitatione Christi], Book 3, ch. 5, v. 7 (3.5.7) [Christ] (c. 1418-27) [tr. Knox-Oakley (1959)]
    (Source)

Comparing love from God, what love toward God should be like, and an ideal of human love.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Love is swift, pure, meek, joyous and glad, strong, patient, faithful, wise, forbearing, manly, and never seeking him self or his own will ; forwhensoever a man seeketh himself, he falleth from love.
[tr. Whitford/Raynal (1530/1871)]

The Love of God is nimble in its Motions, sincere in its Intentions, ardent and zealous in Devotion, sweet to the Soul, brave in Attempting, patient in Enduring, faithful in Executing, prudent in Action, slow in Resentment, generous and manly, and seeks not to please the Person's self, but the Person beloved. For, where a Man seeks his own Advantage only, there Interest, not Love, is the Principle upon which he moves.
[tr. Stanhope (1696; 1706 ed.), 3.6]

Love is swift, sincere, pious, sweet and delightfull: strong, patient, faithfull, prudent, suffering, full of courage, and never seeking it selfe. For where one seeketh him∣selfe, there he falleth from love.
[tr. Page (1639), 3.5.25-26]

Love is active, sincere, affectionate, pleasant and amiable ; courageous, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, manly, and never seeking itself. For in whatever instance a person seeketh himself, there he falleth from Love.
[tr. Payne (1803), 3.4.11]

Love is active, sincere, affectionate, pleasant and amiable; courageous, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, manly, and never seeking itself. For in whatever instance a person seeketh himself, there he falleth from Love.
[ed. Parker (1841), 3.4.7]

Love is swift, sincere, pious, pleasant, and agreeable; brave, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, and generous; and never seeketh itself; for that which seeketh itself, falls immediately from Love.
[tr. Dibdin (1851), 3.4.11]

Love is swift, sincere, pious, pleasant, and delightful; strong, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, courageous, and never seeking itself; for where a man seeks himself, there he falls from love.
[ed. Bagster (1860)]

Love is swift, sincere, pious, pleasant, gentle, strong, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, manly, and never seeking her own; for wheresoever a man seeketh his own, there he falleth from love.
[tr. Benham (1874)]

Love is active, sincere, affectionate, pleasant, and amiable; courageous, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, manly, and never seeking itself. For in whatever instance a person seeketh himself, there he falleth from love.
[tr. Anon. (1901)]

Love is swift, sincere, kind, pleasant, and delightful. Love is strong, patient and faithful, prudent, long-suffering, and manly. Love is never self-seeking, for in whatever a person seeks himself there he falls from love.
[tr. Croft/Bolton (1940)]

Love is alert, frank, duteous, cheerful and pleasing: brave, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, manly, and never seeking self. For wherever anyone seeks self, there he falls away from love.
[tr. Daplyn (1952)]

Love is swift, pure, tender, joyful, and pleasant. Love is strong, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, vigorous, and never self-seeking. For when a man is self-seeking he abandons love.
[tr. Sherley-Price (1952)]

Love is eager, sincere and kind; it is glad and lovely; it is strong, patient and faithful; wise, long-suffering and resolute; and it never seeks its own ends, for where a man seeks his own ends, he at once falls out of love.
[tr. Knott (1962)]

Love is swift, sincere, pious, pleasant and delightful. It is strong, silent, patient, trustful and wise. It is tolerant. It has a manly disregard for personal profit. The self-seeker fails in love.
[tr. Rooney (1979)]

 
Added on 13-Sep-23 | Last updated 28-Sep-23
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Power is like money. You can usually get it if you’re competent and it’s the only thing you want in life.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Trumps of Doom, ch. 3 [Merlin] (1985)
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Added on 9-Mar-22 | Last updated 9-Mar-22
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But a man’s best friend is the one who not only wishes him well but wishes it for his own sake (even though nobody will ever know it).

[φίλος δὲ μάλιστα ὁ βουλόμενος ᾧ βούλεται τἀγαθὰ ἐκείνου ἕνεκα, καὶ εἰ μηδεὶς εἴσεται]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 9, ch. 8 (9.8, 1168b.1) (c. 325 BC) [tr. Thomson/Tredennick (1976)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

He is most a friend who wishes good to him to whom he wishes it for that man’s sake even though no one knows.
[tr. Chase (1847)]

A man's best friend is he who wishes him well for his own sake, without caring whether others are aware of his affection.
[tr. Williams (1869)]

The best friend is he who, when he wishes the good of another, wishes it for the other's sake, and wishes it even if nobody will know his wish.
[tr. Welldon (1892)]

He is most truly a friend who, in wishing well to another, wishes well to him for his (the other’s) sake, and even though no one should ever know.
[tr. Peters (1893)]

Man's best friend is one who wishes well to the object of his wish for his sake, even if no one is to know of it.
[tr. Ross (1908)]

The best friend is he that, when he wishes a person's good, wishes it for that person's own sake, even though nobody will ever know of it.
[tr. Rackham (1934)]

The one who is most a friend is the one who wishes good things to the person he wishes them to for that person's sake, even if no one will know.
[tr. Reeve (1948)]

A best friend is one who wishes the good of another for that other's sake, even if no one is to know this.
[tr. Apostle (1975)]

My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.

 
Added on 7-Dec-21 | Last updated 14-Dec-21
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How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) English poet
Sonnets from the Portuguese, #43 (1850)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-Aug-21 | Last updated 3-Aug-21
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The one and only test of a valid religious idea, doctrinal statement, spiritual experience, or devotional practice was that it must lead directly to practical compassion. If your understanding of the divine made you kinder, more empathetic, and impelled you to express this sympathy in concrete acts of loving-kindness, this was good theology. But if your notion of God made you unkind, belligerent, cruel, or self-righteous, or if it led you to kill in God’s name, it was bad theology. Compassion was the litmus test for the prophets of Israel, for the rabbis of the Talmud, for Jesus, for Paul, and for Muhammad, not to mention Confucius, Lao-tsu, the Buddha, or the sages of the Upanishads.

Karen Armstrong (b. 1944) British author, comparative religion scholar
The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness (2004)
    (Source)
 
Added on 12-Oct-20 | Last updated 12-Oct-20
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I’m working at trying to be a good Christian, and that’s serious business. It’s like trying to be a good Jew, a good Muslim, a good Buddhist, a good Shintoist, a good Zoroastrian, a good friend, a good lover, a good mother, a good buddy — it’s serious business. It’s not something where you think, Oh, I’ve got it done. I did it all day, hotdiggety. The truth is, all day long you try to do it, try to be it, and then in the evening if you’re honest and have a little courage you look at yourself and say, Hmm. I only blew it eighty-six times. Not bad.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
“The Art of Fiction,” Paris Review, #116, Interview with George Plimpton (1990)
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Added on 3-Jan-19 | Last updated 3-Jan-19
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Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.

Brown - reflect the kind of care they get - wist_info quote

H. Jackson "Jack" Brown, Jr. (b. 1940) American writer
Life’s Instructions for Wisdom, Success, and Happiness (2001)
 
Added on 30-Aug-16 | Last updated 30-Aug-16
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HAMLET: Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.

Shakespeare - never doubt I love - wist_info quote

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Hamlet, Act 2, sc. 2, l. 124ff (2.2.124-127) (c. 1600)
    (Source)

A letter from Hamlet to Ophelia, read by Polonius.
 
Added on 13-Jun-16 | Last updated 29-Jan-24
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To most Christians, the Bible is like a software license. Nobody actually reads it. They just scroll to the bottom and click, “I agree.”

Maher - Bible I Agree - wist_info quote

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
(Attributed)
 
Added on 8-Jun-16 | Last updated 8-Jun-16
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Although we tend to think about saints as holy and pious, and picture them with halos above their heads and ecstatic gazes, true saints are much more accessible. They are men and women like us, who live ordinary lives and struggle with ordinary problems. What makes them saints is their clear and unwavering focus on God and God’s people.

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) Dutch Catholic priest and writer
Bread for the Journey (1996)
 
Added on 18-Mar-16 | Last updated 18-Mar-16
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If she asked for the sun, he would climb the sky until he burned.

Daniel Swensen (b. c.1975) American writer
Orison (2014)
 
Added on 7-Sep-15 | Last updated 7-Sep-15
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Thank goodness, many years ago, I had a preceptor, for whom my admiration has never died, and he had a favorite saying, one that I trust I try to live by. It was: always take your job seriously, never yourself.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, New England “Forward to ’54” Dinner, Boston (21 Sep 1953)
 
Added on 14-May-15 | Last updated 14-May-15
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The believer sings louder than he speaks.

Abdal Hakim Murad (b. 1960) British Muslim shaykh, researcher, writer, academic [b. Timothy John Winter]
“Contentions 2,” #33
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Added on 8-May-15 | Last updated 8-May-15
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“There are no atheists in foxholes” isn’t an argument against atheism, it’s an argument against foxholes.

James Morrow (b. 1947) American author, humanist
Towing Jehovah, Part 2, “Famine” (1994)
    (Source)

Paraphrase of this passage:

"There are no atheists in foxholes, people say, and it's so true, it's so fucking true." Cassie swallowed, savoring the aftertaste of the Cheerios. "No ... no, I'm being too hard on myself. That maxim, it's not an argument against atheism -- it's an argument against foxholes."

 
Added on 9-Sep-14 | Last updated 1-Nov-23
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Most Mens Anger about Religion is as if two Men should quarrel for a Lady they neither of them care for.

George Savile, Marquis of Halifax (1633-1695) English politician and essayist
“Religion,” Political, Moral, and Miscellaneous Thoughts and Reflections (1750)
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Added on 17-Jan-14 | Last updated 30-Jan-20
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Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business, is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Scottish essayist, novelist, poet
“An Apology for Idlers” (1881)
    (Source)
 
Added on 19-Feb-09 | Last updated 13-Nov-20
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He who carves the Buddha never worships him.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Chinese proverb
 
Added on 12-May-04 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
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He who knows the Truth is not equal to him who loves it, and he who loves it is not equal to him who delights in it.

[知之者、不如好之者、好之者、不如樂之者]

Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [論語, 论语, Lúnyǔ], Book 6, verse 20 (6.20) (6th C. BC – 3rd C. AD) [tr. Soothill (1910), 6.18]
    (Source)

Earlier translations use Legge's verse numbering, 6.18. The source material uses 之 (zhi, "it") without a clear antecedent. Soothill suggests it may refer to Truth, Virtue, or the Right. Some translations provide what they think is the reference; others leave it ambiguous or footnote it, as shown below.

(Source (Chinese)). Alternate translations:

They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it.
[tr. Legge (1861), 6.18]

They who know it are not as those who love it, nor they who love it as those who rejoice in it.
[tr. Jennings (1895), 6.18]

Those who know it are not as those who love it; those who love it are not as those who find their joy in it.
[tr. Ku Hung-Ming (1898), 6.18]

Those who know aren't up to those who love; nor those who love, to those who delight in.
[tr. Pound (1933), 6.18]

To prefer it is better than only to know it. To delight in it is better than merely to prefer it.
[tr. Waley (1938), 6.18; "the Way"]

The man who loves truth (or learning) is better than the man who knows it, and the man who finds happiness in it is better than the man who loves it.
[tr. Lin Yutang (1938)]

Being fond of The Right Way is better than just knowing it; and taking one’s delight in it is better than just being fond of it.
[tr. Ware (1950)]

To be fond of something is better than merely to know it, and to find joy in it is better than merely to be fond of it.
[tr. Lau (1979), 6.20]

Those who understand a thing are not equal to those who are fond of it, and those who are fond of it are not equal to those who delight in it.
[tr. Dawson (1993), 6.20]

To know something is not as good as loving it; to love something is not as good as rejoicing in it.
[tr. Leys (1997), 6.20]

Those who know it are not comparable to those who love it; those who love it are not comparable to thsoe who delight in it.
[tr. Huang (1997)]

The persons who know something are not better than the persons who favor something; The persons who favor something are not better than the persons who enjoy something.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998), 6.20, #140]

To truly love it is better than just to understand it, and to enjoy it is better than simply to love it.
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998), 6.20; "knowledge and learning"]

Knowing it is not as good as loving it; loving it is not as good as taking delight in it.
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998), 6.20; virtue]

To understand something is nothing like loving it. And to love something is nothing like delighting in it.
[tr. Hinton (1998), 6.19]

To know it is not as good as to approve it. To approve it is not as good as to find joy in it.
[tr. Watson (2007), 6.20]

To know something is not as good as to have a love for it. To have a love for something is not as good as to find joy in it.
[tr. Annping Chin (2014), 6.20; learning, cf. 6.11 and 7.19]

Learned people are inferior to those who are eager to learn. Those who are eager to learn are inferior to those who enjoy learning.
[tr. Li (2020), 6.20]

Better than the one who knows what is right is he who loves what is right.
[Common English translation]

 
Added on 12-May-04 | Last updated 8-May-23
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