"A free public library is a revolutionary notion, and when people don’t have free access to books, then communities are like radios without batteries. You cut people off from essential sources of information — mythical, practical, linguistic, political — and you break them. You render them helpless in the face of political oppression."
"...how vital the community is for how we perceive God. And when they mishandle you [...] it's not just because your social network disintegrates and we all need one, maybe it's because we actually perceive God through each other, it hurts, and it's hard to recover from that. If there's a commercial for the community nature of the Christian faith (not the individualistic nature), that's it."
"Hell is where no one has anything in common with anybody else except the fact that they all hate one another and cannot get away from one another and from themselves."
"One of the greatest blessings conferred on our lives by the Arts is that they are our chief means of breaking bread with the dead, and I think that, without communication with the dead, a fully human life is not possible."
"There is truth and then again there is truth. For all that the world is full of people who go around believing they've got you or your neighbor figured out, there really is no bottom to what is not known. The truth about us is endless. As are the lies."
"The spiritual logic of a community of faith is that they can live a smaller but living version of what they seek for the larger world."
"It has always been assumed that the most important things in the Gospels are the ethical maxims and commandments. But for me the most important thing is that Christ speaks in parables taken from life, that He explains the truth in terms of everyday reality. The idea that underlies this is that communion between mortals is immortal, and that the whole of life is symbolic because it is meaningful."
"A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other's lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves."
“What we find in books is like the fire in our hearths. We fetch it from our neighbors, we kindle it at home, we communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.”
"Community is the fruit born through shared brokenness, and intimacy is the fruit that grows through touching one another's wounds."
"Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let's not be afraid to receive each day's surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity."
"Our society encourages individualism. We are constantly made to believe that everything we think, say, or do, is our personal accomplishment, deserving individual attention. But as people who belong to the communion of saints, we know that anything of spiritual value is not the result of individual accomplishment but the fruit of a communal life.
Whatever we know about God and God's love; whatever we know about Jesus - his life, death, and resurrection - whatever we know about the Church and its ministry, is not the invention of our minds asking for an award. It is the knowledge that has come to us through the ages from the people of Israel and the prophets, from Jesus and the saints, and from all who have played roles in the formation of our hearts. True spiritual knowledge belongs to the communion of saints."
"I think Christians should argue more, because it's healthy. They don't do it as well as the Jews do. If we look at the New Testament, Jesus is frequently arguing with fellow Jews, and what that means is it puts him right in the heart of Judaism rather than takes him out of Judaism. If you look at rabbinic literature, post-Biblical Jewish literature, it's "Rabbi This says this, rabbi That says that, some third rabbi says some third thing, the people do what they want, and they've been arguing over this stuff for two thousand years. The reason we can do it so well is because at the end of the day, we're all still Jews.
Jews never settle down just to be a religion and just to be a belief system. Jews have always kept an ethnic component or a people-hood component to who we are. So our arguments take place in the family, and just as a relatively healthy family will have certain disagreements, at the end of the day, you're all still brothers and sisters and parents and children.
What happens in Christian communities is if you argue too much, if you disagree too much, you put yourself out of the community, because if you get into a tradition by belief you get out by belief. I think if Christians took baptism more seriously, they'd be able to argue better. Because baptism means you're in the system, and it's not something that washes off."
"For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies - to be met not with cooperation but with conquest, to be subjugated and mastered.
We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community, men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear - only a common desire to retreat from each other - only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this there are no final answers."