Elizabeth Gilbert on Thoughts

“So I’ve started being vigilant about watching my thoughts all day, and monitoring them. I repeat this vow about 700 times a day: “I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore.” Every time a diminishing thought arises, I repeat the vow. I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore. The first time I heard myself say this, my inner ear perked up at the word “harbor,” which is a noun as well as a verb. A harbor, of course, is a place of refuge, a port of entry. I pictured the harbor of my mind – a little beat-up, perhaps, a little storm-worn, but well situated and with a nice depth. The harbor of my mind is an open bay, the only access to the island of my Self (which is a young and volcanic island, yes, but fertile and promising). This island has been through some wars, it is true, but it is now committed to peace, under a new leader (me) who has instituted new policies to protect the place. And now – let the word go out across the seven seas – there are much, much stricter laws on the books about who may enter this harbor.

You may not come here anymore with your hard and abusive thoughts, with your plague ships of thoughts, with your slave ships of thoughts, with your warships of thoughts – all these will be turned away. Likewise, any thoughts that are filled with angry or starving exiles, with malcontents and pamphleteers, mutineers and violent assassins, desperate prostitutes, pimps and seditious stowaways – you may not come here anymore, either. Cannibalistic thoughts, for obvious reasons, will no longer be received. Even missionaries will be screened carefully, for sincerity. This is a peaceful harbor, the entryway to a fine and proud island that is only now beginning to cultivate tranquility. If you can abide by these new laws, my dear thoughts, then you are welcome in my mind – otherwise, I shall turn you all back toward the sea from whence you came.

That is my mission, and it will never end.”

Eat, Pray, Love… Elizabeth Gilbert

(Thanks to The Boho Life for writing out the quote, so I didn’t have to try and transcribed it from the audio book!)

P.T. Forsyth Quotes

From The Soul of Prayer

Only living Prayer keeps loneliness humane. 11

In every act of prayer we have already begun to do God’s will, for which above all things we pray. The prayer within all prayer is “Thy will be done.” And has that petition not a special significance here? (13)

When we are in God’s presence by prayer we are right, our will is morally right, we are doing His will. However unsure we may be about other acts and efforts to serve Him we know we are right in this. If we ask truly but ask amiss, it is not a sin, and He will in due course set us right in that respect. (26)

A prayer is also a promise. Every true prayer carries with it a vow. If it do not, it is not in earnest. It is not of a piece with life. Can we pray in earnest if we do not in the act commit ourselves to do our best to bring about the answer? …. What is the value of praying for the poor if all the rest of our time and interest is given only to becoming rich? (27)

No true God could promise us an answer to our every prayer. No Father of mankind could. The rain that saved my crop might ruin my neighbour’s. It would paralyse prayer to be sure that is would prevail as it is offered, certainly and at once. We should be terrified at the power put into our foolish hands. Nothing would do more to cure us of a belief in our own wisdom than the granting of some of our eager prayers. And nothing could humiliate us more than to have God say when the fulfilment of our desire brought leanness to our souls, “Well, you would have it.” (28-29)


Wendell Berry – On the creation of Poetry

“[Poetry is] communal and filial. It can only exist as a common ground between the poet and other poets and the other people, living and dead…Poetry can be written only because it has been written.”

(Wendell Berry)

Davis, Ellen F. Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture : An Agrarian Reading of the Bible. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. 44

Julian of Norwich – Poo

‘A man walks upright, and the food in his body is shut in as if in a well-made purse. When the time of his necessity comes, the purse is opened and then shut again, in most seemly fashion. And it is God who does this, as it is shown when he says that he comes down to us in our humblest needs. For he does not despise what he has made’

(Julian of Norwich)

From Revelations of Divine Love, Chapter 6

Augustine of Hippo – A Prayer

Lord, you are great and infinitely worthy of praise.
Great is your power and inscrutable your widsom.
Man (sic) is a puny part of your creation, and his desire is to praise you. He bears everywhere his mortality, the sign of his sin, to remind him that you resist the proud.
And yet this man desires to praise you, since he is a puny part of your creation.
It is you who bring him to seek joy in praising you, because you have made us for yourself and our heart is restless until it finds rest in you.’

(Augustine of Hippo)

From The Confessions, Book 1

Davis on Contemplation and action

Contemplation and action are not separate strategies, nor is the latter a corrective to the former. They are part of a single complex process: accurate perception leading to metanoia*, and that in turn leading to more reflective behaviour.

*On metanoia. True contemplation can be achieved only by those who accept metanoia, a profound change of mind – what English speakers call (somewhat inadequately) “repentance” – “as a path and way of life”.


Davis, Ellen F. Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture : An Agrarian Reading of the Bible. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. 47


Wendell Berry On Imagining

To preserve our places and to be at home in them, it is necessary to fill them with imagination, To imagine as well as see what is in them. Not to fill them with the junk of fantasy and unconsciousness, for that is no more than the industrial economy would do, but to see them first clearly with the eyes, and then to see them with the imagination in their sanctity, as belonging to the creation.

(Wendell Berry)

Source: Davis, Ellen F. Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture : An Agrarian Reading of the Bible. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. 42

Bonhoeffer on God sees the world as good

God’s seeing protects the world from falling back into the void, protects it from total destruction. God sees the world as good, as created – even where it is the fallen world – and because of the way God sees his work and embraces it and does not forsake it, we live.

(Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Source: Davis, Ellen F. Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture : An Agrarian Reading of the Bible. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. 42


Luke Timothy Johnson, Imagining the World Scripture Imagines

‘If Scripture is ever again to be a living resource for theology, those who practice theology must become less preoccupied with the world that produced Scripture and learn again how to live in the world Scripture produces. This will be a matter of imagination, and perhaps of leaping.’

(Luke Timothy Johnson)

Luke Timothy Johnson, ‘Imagining the World Scripture Imagines’, in Theology and Scriptural Imagination: Directions in Modern Theology ed L. Gregory Jones and James J. Buckley (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998), 3