Friday, September 22, 2006

Two Thoughts on the Heart

"When we have met our Lord in the silent intimacy of our prayer, then we will also meet the market, and in the town square. But when we have not met him in the center of our own hearts, we cannot expect to meet him in the busyness of our daily lives." (Henri Nouwen)

"If only there were evil people somewhere, insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?" (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)

I came across these two quotes a number of pages apart in Cornelius Plantinga's book Engaging God's World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living. (Hat tip to the wonderful Hearts and Minds Booknotes for putting me onto this fine book. I can't seem to get hyperlinks working, but they're at

I'm still thinking through both quotes, and they're trying to spin/weave themselves into something that feels suspiciously like a poem but hasn't really become one yet.

The Solzhenitsyn quote feels particularly sobering on a day when we've learned that the number of U.S. deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan now equals the death toll from September 11.


Erin said...

The second quote jumps out at me too. It certainly does make things complicated, not being able to have the world set up in stark contrasts. It's why I always wind up sympathizing with most villains in movies and such; I always want to see the good part triumph over the evil.

Nathan and I had a Smallville marathon last night and finished the fourth season, and good does not seem to be triumphing nearly as much as I would like it to...

Beth said...

Hmm...I'm sure one could have many fine theological discussions based on Smallville!

I think most of us, if we're honest, can sympathize with villians in stories (at least human ones, even if they've lost or are on their way to losing their humanity) because we know the darkness that can lie in our own hearts. And I think that's why we find stories of grace transforming darkness, and good defeating evil, so powerful.

Isn't it interesting how many people still love and worry about Snape, for instance?!