"The words of the wise are like goads, their collected
sayings like firmly embedded nails." Ecclesiastes 12:11
A Few Words of Wisdom and Insights On the Human
Condition That Seemed Worth Remembering
(I began this collection in college, about 1949.)
Faith is walking to the edge of all the light you have—and then taking one more step.
--from a poster
Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I'd be the last one to cast the first stone, but...
--from a Bible class discussion
Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered, and no one was there!
--sign over the fireplace of Hind's Head Hotel, near London
"De debil votes agin' you, God votes fo' you, and you cas' the decidin' vote!"
--Brother Marshall Keeble
The practice of honesty is more convincing than the profession of holiness.
The original worrier may have been Mrs. Noah, when she said, "Just the same, I'd feel better if those termites were in a jug!"
--A college prof at ACU circa 1948
Meetings are where the boastful find listeners,
the aggressive find victims,
and the indolent find repose.
--Letter to editor, Datamation magazine, July 86, from Clemmer G. Walt
I don't know how you cover so little in one lesson!
--Comment from my wife, Avalyn, after a Bible class I taught
The opposite of "love" may not be "hate," but "indifference."
Man lives by believing in something, not by debating and arguing many things.
Freedom is what you have when you don't have anything else. When you have something else, you have responsibility.
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.
(Line in Song: "Me & Bobby McGee", by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster)
[For a long time I thought the line went: "Freedom is just another word for nothing left to do."... still works for me!]
Malcolm Muggeridge, quoting G.K. Chesterton on loss of faith:
"It is often supposed that when people stop believing in God,
they believe in nothing. Alas, it is worse than that...
When they stop believing in God they believe in anything!"
Writing about music, is like dancing to architecture.
--(Writing about faith, is like ???? Still working on this one!)
I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education.
I identify with the father in Mark 9:24 who said to Jesus,
"I do believe—help me overcome my unbelief."
--The Holy Bible
I am subject to short bursts of enthusiasm...
No, I haven't lost my mind, it's backed up on disk around here somewhere!
--An E-Mail Signature
Tact is what you think...that you don't say.
Just once, I would like to get a blessing that is not in disguise!
Working for the Lord doesn't pay much, but the retirement plan is out of this world!
--My Mother, Zorene
"Ray Mack, main strength and awkwardness is not the way to solve a problem--use your head!"
--My Dad, Neil [Right after I had twisted off a head bolts in an engine block, and similar occasions!]
Learning is the new form of labor.
--Shoshana Zuboff, Omni Magazine April 91
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
--Arthur C. Clarke
We judge others by their behavior, but ourselves by our intentions!
"He held a wide line between right and wrong."
--(Eulogy to an old cowboy, TV Program Legacy of the Land: A Tale of Texas, narrated by John Henry Faulk)
God is in the details.
--Mies van de Rohe
A child watching television for the first time was asked which he liked better, radio or television.
"Radio," he replied, thoughtfully. "Why?" probed his questioner.
"Because the pictures are better," replied the child.
--(Quoted on PBS Television program, "Empire of the Air: The Men who Made Radio")
Change is constant.
"Joy" is the flag that flies over the castle when the King is in residence!
I was in basic training in the Air Force, we were subjected to the usual coercion, punishments, and discipline that you would expect.
They taught us how to make hospital corners on our beds and to keep our footlockers in perfect alignment and order.
Being a born neatnik, I thought the last set of rules made all the other stuff OK!
-You can never be too thin, too rich, or have too many MIPS!
(Philosophy of people who are addicted to the personal computer. MIPS
[millions of instructions per-second] is a term that defines the speed of a computer.)
Information is any difference that makes a difference.
The first difference is the mark; the second is the need for interpretation.
The moment a difference is perceived, information is created.
Cyberspace: A new universe, a parallel universe created and sustained by the world's computers and communication lines.
A world in which the global traffic of knowledge, secrets, measurements, indicators, entertainments,
and alter-human agency takes on form: sights, sounds, presences never seen on the surface of the earth blossoming in a vast electronic night.
Writing, is the most fun you can have by yourself.
You can't trust a memory when it has had too much time.
--Line from a song by The Statler Bros.
Time is a stream in which there is no abiding.
--Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180), Adapted
Ray & Avalyn's Song
When I fall in love it will be forever, or I will never fall in love.
When I give my heart it will be completely, or I will never give my heart.
And the moment I can feel that you feel that way too,
Is when I fall in love with you.
--Song Sung by Nat King Cole circa 1959
I have gone to find myself; If I show up before I return will you please keep me there until I can get back and tell you what to do?
--Stolen from my sister, Barbara Jane
It is not the literal past, the "facts" of history, that shape us, but images of the past embodied in language...
we must never cease renewing those images; because once we do, we fossilize.
--Brian Friel, "Translations" (1979)
No one will ever know or understand the fun there was; for there was fun and there was laughing—
foolish, silly fun and foolish, silly laughing; but what it was all about you can't remember, can you?
Just the memory of it—that's all you have now—just the memory; and even now, even so soon,
it is being distilled of all its coarseness; and what's left is going to be precious, precious gold...
--Brian Friel, "Philadelphia, Here I Come!" (1965)
People who believe in large conspiracies have a desire for a perfect world.
Even an evil world that's perfect is preferable to them than a chaotic world.
--Norman Mailer, In interview about his book on the Kennedy assassination (1995)
Life is like a jigsaw puzzle--with some of the pieces missing.
--M. Comet (found on the internet - 1995)
Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close knit family—living in another city.
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
Television has made dictatorship impossible but democracy unbearable.
--Israeli PM Shimon Peres
I have the kind of mind that does not retain much consciously but should someone remind me of a significant event,
its sights and sounds come flooding back—free of the emotional baggage from the time of the incident.
And, I know that my present self is shaped by as much self-deception as anyone else's, guided by the maps I myself have drawn.
--Playwright Edward Albee
Want to make God laugh?...make a plan without him!
--from the internet/OLM Mail List
I have not yet begun to procrastinate!
There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.
--Graham Greene , The Power and the Glory
Time is too slow for those who wait,
too swift for those who fear,
too long for those who grieve,
too short for those who rejoice,
but for those who love, time is eternity.
--Read by Her Sister at Princess Diana's Funeral
It ain't so much the things you don't know that get you in trouble. It's the things you know that just ain't so.
What do you know when you know a person's race?
As a person grows up he discovers that cynicism is a facile and simple view. It requires no faith.
You don't have to venture, you don't have to jump over the abyss. The cynic feels,
after he has concluded that nothing is of value and that there is no hope, that he himself is not charged with any responsibility.
It is ultimately self-serving.
--Jame Lee Burke
God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.
--E-Mail Signature stolen from Lee Meador
I sometimes think I will write about some of the unusual experiences I have had.
But when I tell one of them, everyone says, "Oh yes, that happened to me once."
Which I know is a lie, because I made it up!
--My Sister, Barbara Coleman
I never know how much of what I say is true.
[Our family associates this personal assessment with Barbara!]
I think most Americans would agree with me that the greatest benefit of being a U.S. citizen,
aside from having the freedom to change long-distance phone companies on a daily basis,
is the sense of security we get from knowing that, while sitting on the commode, we are relatively safe from cannon fire.
--Dave Barry (I thought this was funny until 9/11/01, when our world changed...)
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.
Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the things you have to do,
when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. It is the first lesson that ought to be learned.
--Thomas H. Huxley (1825-1895 British Biologist & Educator)
When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty, I only think about how to solve the problem.
But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
--Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983
When our memories outweigh our dreams we become old, but America is destined to be perpetually young!
--President Bill Clinton, New Year's Address from Washington Monument (December 21, 1999)
Hope is the parent of faith.
--C.A. Bartol, Radical Problems, 1872
Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience,
knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle.
--Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..."
-- Isaac Asimov
Self expression can become self-indulgence.
--Robert J. Samuelson (Newsweek, 6/15/00)
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right.
True wisdom starts with a heart full of faith, not a head full of facts.
-- From Bruce Williams; Author Unknown
Don't ever become a pessimist...a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist,
but, an optimist has more fun--and neither can stop the march of events.
--Robert A. Heinlein
The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.
-- Arnold Joseph Toynbee
No evidence, is not some evidence.
-- Biblical Archaeologist, William Foxwell Albright
Gaps in our knowledge provide the magic for our wondering.
Thy children shall not faint nor fear,
Sustained by this delightful thought--
Since thou, their God, art everywhere,
They cannot be where thou art not!
--Hymn, Words by John Bowring (1824)
Words are not enough
To tell you of our love,
So listen to our hearts.
--Prayer Song, Listen to Our Hearts
Math for the Soul:
Grace is a constant; my faith is the variable!
-- [RMT, Adapted]
Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless.
-- Sinclair Lewis
Good memories are worth waiting for, and the longer the better!
Jewish philosopher Elie Wiesel tells the story of the "just man" who goes to a wicked city to preach against the evil there.
After many years of preaching, without any apparent success, he is asked why he continues to preach.
The "just man" answers, "I will continue to speak out against the evil I see...so that the evil does not change me."
Logic will get you from A to B - Imagination will take you anywhere...
Yesterday is history...
Tomorrow is a mystery...
Today is a gift; that's why they call it the present.
I’ve always been thankful for growing up in the country instead of the city...
We lived seven miles from nowhere, and a hundred miles from harm."
--Song by Tom T. Hall
We don't necessarily learn from experiences. We only learn from experiences we reflect on.
"Christ will lead you into many situations that will seem impossible,
but stay in the middle of them, for that is where you will experience God!"
“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated”
(Although I hate to admit it, I know this to be true of myself. So why do I overlook its importance to those around me?)
Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.
The two offices of memory are collection and distribution.
We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are.
It’s not until we get to the end of ourselves that we get to the beginning of God.
We are, each of us, angels with only one wing. And we can only fly embracing each other.
—Luciano de Crescenzo
The heart has its reasons, that reason knows nothing about.
The problem with quotes found on the Internet is that they're not always accurate.
“God sees the larger eternal frame for our lives, instead of the small one we see of this life’s events.”
“Whatever our past has been, we have a spotless future!”
THEOLOGY: God’s plan for man (and me!) as revealed in the Bible.
DOCTRINE: My interpretation of God’s plan.
Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you
disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or
hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree
with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense.
You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.
“The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.”
I believe in the sun, even when it isn’t shining.
I believe in love, even when I am alone.
I believe in God, even when he is silent.
(Written on Concentration Camp Wall)
Remember, women always have the last word in an argument...
Anything a man adds after that is the beginning of a new argument!