I tried to categorize these under helpful labels like “art,” “ministry,” “happiness,” but quit after a few minutes.  For example, is the Salinger quote here because it speaks to me as a preacher or as an artist?  Both.  It was hopeless.

Now they’re in alphabetical order by author–reversed, because I spent the first 7/8 of my life with the last name Zucker. I have a horror of misattributions, so please send corrections if you have any.

A student said to Master Ikkyu, “Please write for me something of great wisdom.” Master Ikkyu picked up his brush and wrote one word: “Attention.” –Zen story

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The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. –Terry Tempest Williams

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One can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways. –Edith Wharton, A Backward Glance

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The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.

Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about: We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.  We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.  It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.

–Bishop Ken Untener  (often attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero)

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I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. –Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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“If only you’d remember before ever you sit down to write that you’ve been a reader long before you were ever a writer.  You simply fix that fact in your mind, then sit very still and ask yourself, as a reader, what piece of writing in all the world Buddy Glass would most want to read if he had his heart’s choice.  The next step is terrible, but so simple I can hardly believe it as I write it.  You just sit down shamelessly and write the thing yourself.”            –J. D. Salinger, “Seymour:  An Introduction” (Seymour Glass to his brother Buddy)

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“If you are holding out for universal popularity, I’m afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time.” –J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Albus Dumbledore to Hagrid)

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Why don’t you think of [God] as the one who is coming, who has been approaching from all eternity, the one who will someday arrive, the ultimate fruit of a tree whose leaves we are? What keeps you from projecting [God’s] birth into the ages that are coming into existence, and living your life as a painful and lovely day in the history of a great pregnancy? . . . .

As bees gather honey, so we collect what is sweetest out of all things and build [God]. Even with the trivial, with the insignificant (as long as it is done out of love) we begin, with work and with the repose that comes afterward, with a silence or with a small solitary joy, with everything that we do alone, without anyone to join or help us, we start [God] whom we will not live to see, just as our ancestors could not live to see us. And yet they, who passed away long ago, still exist in us, as predisposition, as burden upon our fate, as murmuring blood, and as gesture that rises up from the depths of time. –Rainer Maria Rilke, letter of December 23, 1903, Letters to a Young Poet, trans. Stephen Mitchell

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“We have to build the Republic of Heaven where we are, because for us there is no elsewhere.” –Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass (John Parry to Will and Lyra)

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La inspiración existe, pero tiene que encontrarte trabajando. / Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.  –Pablo Picasso

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The long memory is the most radical idea in this country.  –Utah Phillips

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When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn’t work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.  –Emo Philips

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when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak                             –Audre Lorde, “A Litany for Survival”

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Light is the left hand of darkness
and darkness the right hand of light.
Two are one, life and death,
lying together like lovers . . .
like hands joined together,
like the end and the way.             –Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness

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A book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us. –Franz Kafka

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You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.   –Franz Kafka

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I cannot live without books. –Thomas Jefferson

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Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law. –coined by Douglas Hofstadter

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There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.   –Martha Graham

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I fought the Dharma and the Dharma won.  –Allen Ginsberg, “Do the Meditation Rock”

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I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.  –Gandhi

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To live outside the law, you must be honest.   –Bob Dylan, “Absolutely Sweet Marie”

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We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both. –Justice Louis Brandeis

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The sculptor Giacometti was commissioned by the French Government to design a coin in commemoration of the artist Henri Matisse. He spent five full days in Matisse’s bedroom sketching and sketching the old artist. Drawing after drawing displeased Giacometti and finally he shouted in despair, “Oh Master, I cannot draw” and Matisse replied, “None of us can.” –told by Paulus Berensohn, Finding One’s Way with Clay