a humble pride in the impossible truth

So far as a man may be proud of a religion rooted in humility,
I am very proud of my religion;
I am especially proud of those parts of it that are most commonly called superstition.
I am proud of being fettered by antiquated dogmas and enslaved by dead creeds
(as my journalistic friends repeat with so much pertinacity),
for I know very well that it is the heretical creeds that are dead,
and only the reasonable dogma that lives long enough to be called antiquated.

–G. K. CHESTERTON, in Autobiography, 1936


Brennan Manning: 1934-2013


Some small snippets from this great man:

As we come to grips with our own selfishness and stupidity,
we… accept that we are impoverished and broken,
and realize that, if we were not, we would be God.

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the
light side and the dark.

There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples who never
wear a false face
and do not pretend to be anything but who they are.

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is

The temptation of the age is to look good without being good.

Do the truth quietly without display.

The litmus test of our love for God is our love of neighbor.


From A Resident Alien [letter 12]

Letter 12 – The one in which Maria & David prepare to leave Charleston

The Englishman-in-America undergoes a daily dose of being asked where he is from.  At present, I spend about thirty hours a week waiting tables in a restaurant, serving in the region of 200 people; about 20% of them ask me where I'm from.

"Where's home?" they ask.

Answering is tricky.  What is 'home' anyway?

Home sweet home
Optional answers:

i. Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home
But I've had about sixteen homes in the last twelve years, in four countries, and I wouldn't regard any of these houses as 'home'.

ii. Home is where the heart is
Sadly, it isn't feasible to set up perpetual camp on Stanage Edge outside Sheffield, nor in the blackberry-strewn sunken lanes of east Devon in early September.  Alas.

iii. Home is where you're from
I was born in Yorkshire and raised in Hertfordshire, to parents from the Westcountry whose antecedents include Cornish, Norman, German, Irish, Welsh, and Saxon people.  And my wife is Lebanese-German-English-American.

iv. Home is where you're going
Which means that if I've been adopted into the family of God, I will always ache to be 'somewhere else', and if I haven't, then home is an idealised construct that will never exist outside my imagination.  Checkmate.

Stanage Edge
In the context of the restaurant, it's not really important to have an answer – most people are only asking so that they have an excuse to tell me about their friend who once went to London, or to ask me what I think of William and Kate – but it's worth thinking about at the moment, since Maria and I are preparing to move (again) in our neverending quest for life in all its fullness.

We have been invited by Joce and Josiah Lockhart (friends from our time in Edinburgh) to partner with them on establishing the Lockhart Family Farm,* and will be moving up to Fredericksburg, Virginia, in the next few months to commence our new life there.

The Farm is a social enterprise aiming to address social and environmental issues through permaculture farming, education programmes for adults and children, consumer buy-in schemes, and a bunch more interesting stuff which we will be part of creating.

In addition to farm-related work, we will be looking to continue pursuing our vocations in the spheres of church [me], and of health, fitness, and nutrition [Maria].  And hopefully we will find home along the way.