The omniscient angel of history looks on the wreckage of the past, impotent
Walter Benjamin talks of the sorrows of knowing what will happen but being unable to prevent it:
"My wind is ready for flight,
I would like to turn back.
If I stayed timeless time,
I would have little luck.
The importance of rigourous self-examination before confronting evil
"That is why we must not engage the Powers without rigorous examination of our own inner evil, which we often project onto our opponents. We must ask how we are like the very Power we oppose, and attempt to open these parts of ourselves to divine transformation. We must attempt to stop the spiral of violence both within ourselves and in our tactics vis-a-vis the Powers."
Growth against your norm of compassion
"Your norm of compassion is with the way you have lived in the past. Against that background, seek signs of growth."
Noisy contemplation and crabgrass Christians
"Noisy contemplation is for crabgrass Christians. Crabgrass grows anywhere. Its roots dig deep and bind the earth. It needs little care, is resistant to drought, wind, and sun. People can walk all over it and try to kill it. It will grow where there is even a crack in the sidewalk, but can burst forth in powerful growth when conditions are favorable.
Instead of seeking blocks of time to be alone, we can convert many small moments of our day into cumulative habits of prayer."
Cultivating a contemplation of nature as a spiritual discipline
"We forget to look for rainbows when the rain clouds part near sunset. We get up too late to watch the dawn. We forget to gaze at the stars and to recall the vast light's journey to reach our eyes. We take the water for granted and wish the rain would go away. We stop bending low enough to witness the toiling ant. We lose our wonder for growing plants and the mysteries by which the seed falls to the earth and brings forth grain a hundredfold.
In the beginning, if we are rusty and out of practice, we shall have to remind ourselves constantly to open our eyes, our ears, and our hearts to what we see.
A quick glance at sunset or sunrise on a busy day can bond us with nature, even if no extended moments are available, just as a parent can bond with a child in a swift glance.
Plunging the prevailing idolatries into the corrosive acids of the Gospel
Fidelity to the gospel lies not in repeating its slogans but in plunging the prevailing idolatries into its corrosive acids.
Conversion from the violent spirtuality of the Principalities and Powers
"Many modern Christians have unfortunately understood injustice in simply materialistic terms and have not recognized the need to "convert" people from the spirituality that binds them to a particular
The certain victory of satyagraha
"Given a just cause, capacity for endless suffering, and avoidance of violence, victory is certain."
Ministering to the soul of America
We cannot minister to the soul of America unless we love its soul.