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 Joy Davidman Quotes
9 Famous Quotes by Joy Davidman
4/18/1915 - 7/13/1960
Also Known As:  
Joy Gresham     Helen Joy Davidman
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About Joy Davidman

The idol-maker may know, more or less clearly, that he is only giving shape to the half-formed concept of God in his head; that his images are solid metaphors -- what we call symbols. The skeptical Greek philosopher may remind us that, after all, the image of Athena is only a symbol, only a means of fixing one's rambling thoughts upon the spirit that is Athena. Yet the idolater will persist in losing sight of the forest for the trees, and the god for the image. The gold and ivory statue of Athena becomes holy in itself, an answerer of prayer, a mysterious source of power, a material object somehow different from other objects. The crucifix, the plaster image, the saint's relic or miraculous medal or cheaply and illegibly printed Bible may become themselves things considered holy and magical, able to stop a bullet. Worse yet, the god confined in an image is a shrunken and powerless god. Because you have limited your concept of God to a man shape on a carved crucifix, you may be in danger of inferring that you are free to outrage the man shapes walking and breathing around you. Because you worship the god in a specially baked wafer and a specially designed chalice, you may forget to worship the God of all bread and all wine.

Christianity Quotes, by Joy Davidman

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Feast of Thomas More, Scholar & Martyr, & John Fisher, Bishop & Martyr, 1535 We sometimes come to God, not because we love Him best, but because we love our possessions best; we ask Christ to "save Western civilization", without asking ourselves whether it is entirely a civilization that Christ could want to save. We pray, too often, not to do God's will, but to enlist God's assistance in maintaining our "continually increasing consumption". And yet, though Christ promised that God would feed us, he never promised that God would stuff us to bursting.

Christianity Quotes, by Joy Davidman

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Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist "Thou shalt not" is the beginning of wisdom. But the end of wisdom, the new law, is, "Thou shalt." To be Christian is to be old? Not a bit of it. To be Christian is to be reborn, and free, and unafraid, and immortally young.

Christianity Quotes, by Joy Davidman

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Feast of John of the Cross, Mystic, Poet, Teacher, 1591 A Christian should always remember that the value of his good works is not based on their number and excellence, but on the love of God which prompts him to do these things. St. John of the Cross December 15, 2000 Two thousand years of failure have not taught some reformers that you can't stop sin by declaring it illegal. Two thousand years have not taught them that you can't save a man's soul by force -- you can only lose your own in the attempt. Drunkenness and gambling and secularism and lechery -- various hopeful churchmen have earnestly tried to outlaw them all; and what is the result? A drunken nation, a gambling nation, a secularist nation, an adulterous nation. And, often, a ruined Church.

Christianity Quotes, by Joy Davidman

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Taken as practical counsel for survival, the Fifth Commandment is now almost a dead letter. Yet if our world were truly Christian, the change might be a reason for rejoicing. We no longer need our families -- we are therefore free to love them with complete unselfishness. Now at last it is possible to honour our parents genuinely, because they no longer have the power to kill us if we don't. The old sort of honour was sometimes an ugly sham: the son who respects Father only out of fear of punishment is not much of a son, just as the Christian who worships God only out of fear of hell is precious little of a Christian. But the new sort of honour can be a beautiful and holy thing. There are many sweet and sane families bound together by love; there are plenty of experts who remind us that only love can make the modern family work at all. And one must admit that there are plenty of parents very willing to be honoured. The catch is that not so many of them are willing to be honourable.

Christianity Quotes, by Joy Davidman

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Feast of Juliana of Norwich, Mystic, Teacher, c.1417 We of the churches often gather our robes away from contamination, and thank God that we are not as other men. We don't despise God's name; in fact, we call upon it constantly to justify ourselves... If we object to meat-eating, we declare that God is vegetarian; if we abhor war, we proclaim a pacifist Deity. He who turned water into wine to gladden a wedding it now accused by many of favouring that abominable fluid grape juice. There can hardly be a more evil way of taking God's name in vain than this way of presuming to speak in it. For here is spiritual pride, the ultimate sin, in action -- the sin of believing in one's own righteousness. The true prophet says humbly, "To me, a sinful man, God spoke." But the scribes and Pharisees declare, "When we speak, God agrees." They feel no need of a special revelation, for they are always, in their own view, infallible. It is this self-righteousness of the pious that most breeds atheism, by inspiring all decent, ordinary men with loathing of the enormous lie.

Christianity Quotes, by Joy Davidman

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Feast of Barnabas the Apostle The essential amorality of all atheist doctrines is often hidden from us by an irrelevant personal argument. We see that many articulate secularists are well-meaning and law-abiding men; we see them go into righteous indignation over injustice and often devote their lives to good works. So we conclude that "he can't be wrong whose life is in the right" -- that their philosophies are just as good guides to action as Christianity. What we don't see is that they are not acting on their philosophies. They are acting, out of habit or sentiment, on an inherited Christian ethic which they still take for granted though they have rejected the creed from which it sprang. Their children will inherit some what less of it.

Christianity Quotes, by Joy Davidman

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There have always been two kinds of Christianity -- man's and Christ's. Does anyone today remember how the emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion? It is said that he had a vision -- saw a cross in the sky with the inscription, "In this sign shalt thou conquer." He accepted the new faith promptly, because he thought it would defeat his enemies for him. That is man's Christianity, a means to earthly triumph. And in our present crisis we are appealing to it to defeat the Russians for us. We hear of the life-and-death struggle between Christianity and Communism, the necessity of "keeping God alive as a social force" -- as if our Lord could not survive a Soviet victory! It is a poor sort of faith that imagines Christ defeated by anything men can do.

Christianity Quotes, by Joy Davidman

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The old pagans had to choose between a brilliant, jangling, irresponsible universe, alive with lawless powers, and the serene and ordered universe of God and law. We modern pagans have to choose between that divine order, and the grey, dead, irresponsible, chaotic universe of atheism. And the tragedy is that we may make that choice without knowing it -- not by clear conviction but by vague drifting, by losing interest in Him. A nominal deist will say: "Yes, of course there must be some sort of Force that created the galaxy. But it's childish to imagine that It has any personal relation to me!" In that belief atheism exists as an undiagnosed disease. The man who says, "One God," and does not care, is an atheist in his heart. The man who speaks of God and will not recognize him in the burning bush -- that man is an atheist, though he speak with the tongues of men or angels, and appear in his pew every Sunday, and make large contributions to the church.

Christianity Quotes, by Joy Davidman

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