touchstone archives


Piquant excerpts lifted from Touchstone editors' own reading & listening.

Issue: Sept/Oct 2022

Eloquence and wisdom serve the task of naming the world Christianly.

Robert Littlejohn
Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning (2006)

Christianity Commonplaces #140 Sept/Oct 2022

Jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in the history of Western culture for almost twenty centuries. If it were possible, with some sort of super magnet, to pull up out of that history every scrap of metal bearing at least a trace of his name, how much would be left?

Jaroslav Pelikan
quoted in The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

Christianity Commonplaces #141 Sept/Oct 2022

How are we to get out of so dark a night? I know only one way out. That one I have tried, and I can testify from my own experience that it is good. What is that way out of difficulty? It is to bring your doubt to Jesus and tell Him openly how matters stand. Say that you have doubts, and tell Him what you doubt. Then He will remove your doubt. We cannot drive doubt away by thinking or arguing, but Jesus takes it away if He gets the chance. How it is done I do not know: I only know He does it.

Ludvig Hope
Norwegian lay evangelist, Thy Kingdom Come, trans. by Olaf Lysnes (1939)

Christianity Commonplaces #142 Sept/Oct 2022

His name was on too many dotted lines. The too little he earned by too much work already belonged to other people before he even earned it.

Wendell Berry
Jayber Crow (2001)

culture Commonplaces #143 Sept/Oct 2022

There is a proverb which says that the wife brings more to the farm or out of it in her apron than the man can cart in or out with a pair of horses. I do not know how far the proverb dates back, but its truth has been admitted from of old. But the Christian housewife had to bear the responsibility for the welfare not only of those nearest to her—or, we may say, those nearest to her were not only her husband, children and kinsfolk; her neighbor meant to the Christian woman of the Middle Ages all with whom she came in personal contact, the neighborhood and above all its sick and poor, the beggar who came to her door or stretched out his hand to her as she passed on the road, the whole congregation belonging to her parish church, the wayfarer who asked shelter of her, the orphans, and childless old people who came within her cognizance.

Sigrid Undset
Stages on the Road (1934)

Christianity Commonplaces #144 Sept/Oct 2022

What a talker he was, what a persuader!

All appearances took on whatever coloring he imposed on them. The great persuaders are those without principles; sincerity stammers.

Men of faith and men of genius have this in common: they know (observe and remember) many things they are not conscious of knowing. They are attentive to relationships, recurrences, patterns and “laws.” . . . Minds that are impatient for clarity—or even reasonableness—become gradually narrower and dryer.

Thornton Wilder
The Eighth Day (1967)

culture Commonplaces #145 Sept/Oct 2022

I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and inbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.

John Milton
Areopagitica (1644)

Christianity Commonplaces #146 Sept/Oct 2022

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